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What’s the ROI of Twitter? Acquisition Might Finally Answer That Question

There’s one question that seems to be asked of Twitter all the time: what’s the ROI?

I tend to reply with some smart alec comment such as “That’s like asking: what’s the ROI from my telephone!” Yeah, that doesn’t go down too well, but it’s true. Twitter is a channel, a tool. Just like your telephone, it has no ROI unless you put in place a strategy that can be measured.

Well, that may be all well and good, but Twitter’s not taking any chances. It’s not prepared to sit back and hope its business users are smart enough to figure out the “ROI of Twitter,” so it’s made an important acquisition. It’s just acquired an analytics company.

Invidi Takes Google’s Money; Avoids Being Stripped for Parts

They Don't Make Trucks Like This Anymore!What do you do when you want to invest in alternative advertising models for television but haven’t exactly seen a lot of success in that channel?

The answer?

Don’t buy a risky start-up, when you can invest in it and share some of that risk with other venture capital firms. If it succeeds–and you happen to be Google–you can sweep-in and acquire the company. If it fails, you don’t have to put up with the press giving you a hard time about yet another failure.

And, that’s exactly the approach Google has taken with Invidi–a start-up that’s hoping to find a better TV ad model:

FTC Homing in on GoogleMob?

Since Google announced its acquisition of AdMob six months ago, the companies have face opposition. First consumer groups eyed the deal—then the FTC started taking statements from other companies in the industry. Now, it looks like the FTC is gearing up for even more scrutiny.

Of course, it may not have a whole lot to do with the US federal government’s deep-rooted concern for the mobile advertising industry. Reports AllThingsD:

“The federal government is looking for a way to discipline Google in some way, because of larger concerns about its search power on the Web,” said one source. “And this is where it looks like it will try to show that concern.”

Google Acquires LabPixies to Tick off Apple

Google has announced its latest acquisition, an Israeli company that builds iGoogle and Android gadgets. The Israeli financial news site TheMarker speculates the deal’s value at $25M. While LabPixies does seem like a natural fit for Google, some speculate this is just the latest volley in the building Apple v. Google war.

Just last week, Google snapped up Agnilux, a startup founded by former Applers. While the LabPixies acquisition will help Google expand further across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the most direct threat to Apple is that LabPixies also designs widgets and apps for the iPhone. MediaPost reports:

Though a bit player, the fact that LabPixies develops personalized Web gadgets for the iPhone won’t be lost on some analysts who’ve speculated that Google buys companies just to annoy Apple.

Yahoo Earnings Up On Search Deal Hopes

Yahoo’s earnings are looking up already from the MicroHoo deal. Microsoft and Yahoo have managed to remind investors by “finalizing” the deal every quarter since its announcement. This time, however, it was the DoJ that gave them that boost when it finally approved the deal in February.

Along with the beginning of reimbursement payments, it looks like the deal was enough to persuade investors and advertisers alike. Reports CNET:

Revenue in the first quarter was $1.6 billion, up just 1 percent from the first quarter of last year. Excluding traffic acquisition costs, net revenue was $1.13 billion, or roughly flat with analyst expectations of $1.17 billion. Revenue from display advertising on Yahoo’s site grew 20 percent compared to the prior year.

Google Pops Across the Pond to Purchase Plink

I suspect Google’s decision to buy Plink, was not motivated by the start-ups amazing ability to analyze mobile pictures of artwork and recognize them.

I’m confident that Google’s not going to launch Google Art Critic anytime soon. ;-)

However, it’s entirely possible that Google has acquired Plink simply to gain access to the two PhD students–Mark Cummins and James Philbin–behind the visual recognition app.

In fact, according to a blog post by the founders, they’re ready to abandon their PlinkArt app and roll-up their sleeves for Google:

PlinkArt will continue to be available for download and work as it currently does today. However, we won’t be updating the app and will instead focus our development efforts on Google Goggles, so you’ll see new functionality appearing there in the future.

Google Acquires a Video Company You’ve Never Heard Of!

While you were either a) drooling over your new iPad, or b) wishing those that had a new iPad would shut-up already, Google went out and bought a company you’ve never heard of.

What’s pretty cool about Episodic’s announcement of their acquisition is that they admit you’ve probably never heard of them. I’ve seen many acquisition announcements that had me scratching my head and saying out loud, “who are these guys?” Episodic answers that exact question for us:

What is Episodic?
Episodic is a comprehensive platform for broadcasting live and on-demand video to the web or any web-enabled device. The platform lets publishers and marketers host, stream, measure and monetize video content. Content creators, marketers and enterprise customers use Episodic to deliver video to the Web and mobile devices.