Google Stumbles but Refuses to Fall

In the all good things must come to end category Efficient Frontier is reporting a 13% drop in paid search google-logo spending from their clients which tend to be the big players in the search universe. This number occurred despite an uptick in March.

This is the second consecutive quarter of this trend. Since the previous quarter happened during the holiday season there may be cause for some gloom and doom. The WSJ reports that Google is still doing well and is positioned to whether this storm. Efficient Frontier Chief Executive David Karnstedt stated

Advertisers were in many cases narrowing their keyword selection to search terms that deliver the best bang for their buck, while no longer bidding on less efficient keywords, whose company manages more than $750 million in annual search spending.

FTC and Viral Marketers May Square Off

AdAge reports that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is moving closer free-speechto a proposed plan that will begin regulating viral marketing and blogs. Regardless of what side of the political fence you are on it’s starting to get a bit scary as to just how much the government wants to be the overseer of everything.

Rich Cleland, assistant director of the FTC’s advertising-practices division puts it this way

“The commission is attempting to update guidelines that are 30 years old so that they address current marketing techniques,” he said, “and in particular to address the issue of whether or not the safe harbor that’s currently allowed for ‘result not typical’-type disclaimers is still warranted.”

Ask.com is Still Lurking About

Looking back at the past few months of posts here at Marketing Pilgrim it is real obvious what players dominate the search and ask logosocial media landscape. I am not going to rehash those names again because you will likely read about one or more of them in the next post. One player that gets little attention is Ask.com. They are back trying to make some noise again but is anyone around to hear them?

Ask has been at this search thing for quite a while now. Now a part of IAC / InterActiveCorp the search engine has been around in some way, manner, shape or form since 1996. It even had a butler at one point ;-). Now, however, it struggles to be more than a footnote in the search engine wars running a distant fourth in a three company race (despite seeing some increase in usage in March).

Hyperlocal Gets Some Hype

Hey did you hear that newspapers are having a tough time these days? Of course you have unless you are living under a rock. Younews-image can’t turn around without hearing more doom followed a little more gloom when it comes to the newspaper industry. As discussed here on more than a few occasions, some of these troubles are deserved while others are just part of progress. What was once cool and hip most likely will be set aside for progress unless it decides to play along. Ask those folks who thought that word processing was a fad and that the typewriter would stick around (if you still use a type writer PLEASE comment here and tell your story!)

Facebook and Revenue – You Make the Call

BusinessWeek wonders outfacebook-logo loud in an article about Facebook whether there are premium membership offerings in the future of the social media big shot. Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, spoke with Stephen Adler of the magazine to discuss, what else, how the company was going to make money. You would think that BusinessWeek would have the clout to get them to reveal the secret sauce for monetizing the 200 million users they have. The result is actually speculation of what might happen based on what wasn’t said rather than what was said by Sandberg. For instance:

ADLER: Does Facebook plan on charging a membership fee? Over three-quarters of its users are going into a panic-induced assumption that this is true, even though there hasn’t been talk of a membership fee from the business press or Facebook itself. So can you calm the panic?

Yelp Evens Out the Balance of Power

In the recent past Yelp has ruffled some feathers about business practices that appeared to be, well, yelpquestionable at best. It had to do with the possible sale of the ability to remove negative reviews from a business’ profile on the local review service.

In a move toward a more even approach (read not considered extortion) Yelp is now allowing business owners to publicly refute the negative reviews that are posted on the site. Starting next week the previously one sided approach to business reviews will balance out a bit more, reports the New York Times.

“Business owners for years now have been asking for more and more voice on the site,” said Geoff Donaker, Yelp’s chief operating officer. “As long as it’s done in a respectable way, it’s good for the consumer and good for the business owner.”

Some Needed Good News for Newspapers

It seems that the only time we write about newspapers these day is to gannett-logowrite another obituary or speculate on which newspaper is on its last legs. Well, for today at least, the newspaper industry can breathe a sigh of relief as there is news of an investment company that has doubled its stake in one of the most revered names in the industry Gannett Co.

Ariel Investments LLC has increased its stake in the 12.5% . The WSJ reports

Gannett shares leapt 39% on the news, rising $1.06 to $3.75 in 4 p.m. New York Stock Exchange composite trading, their highest price since the end of February.