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Microsoft and Yahoo Seal the Deal

Friday brought Microsoft and Yahoo one step closer to the search deal they announced in July. The terms of the deal received final approval from two very important groups—Microsoft and Yahoo.

Although the two were supposed to have the details hammered out by late October, they took a few extra weeks to refine their agreement. This agreement still needs regulatory approval, and such agencies as the US Department of Justice are on the record as saying they will scrutinize the deal closely.

Meanwhile, the deal isn’t projected to warrant much concern from the European Commission—but the DOJ is probably the bigger concern. Not only are both companies headquartered in the US, but also scrutiny from the Department of Justice—and threats of anti-trust action—ultimately killed a search ad deal between Yahoo and Google last year—will the Bingahoo deal suffer the same fate?

Smart Move! Google Acquiring “Intelligent Display Advertising” Company Teracent

Can you tell the difference between these two ads?

Look closely:

Well the one on the bottom just made the founders of Teracent, very, very rich!

OK, that’s not quite the same example that Google just gave over at the official blog, but it did announce that it plans to acquire Teracent.

What does Teracent do?

Teracent’s technology can pick and choose from literally thousands of creative elements of a display ad in real-time — tweaking images, products, messages or colors. These elements can be optimized depending on factors like geographic location, language, the content of the website, the time of day or the past performance of different ads.

Things That Should Never Go Together: Pickles & Ice Cream, Time Warner & AOL

Sometimes, what looks like it will be as tasty as chocolate and peanut butter, ends up tasting more like pickles and ice cream. Nothing matches that last culinary disaster better than the merger of AOL and Time Warner.

Well, on December 9th, that union will be no more.

You can read the wordy Time Warner press release, but you’ll probably either fall asleep or your head will explode, before you reach the end. Instead, we’ll turn to trusty Reuters to translate the announcement into plain English:

Time Warner shareholders of record on Nov. 27 will receive an AOL stock dividend for every 11 shares of Time Warner common stock they hold…Based on the closing price of Time Warner’s stock at $32.35 and its 1.17 billion outstanding shares, the ratio would effectively value AOL’s market capitalization at around $3.44 billion…AOL common stock will begin trading on a ‘when-issued’ basis on the New York stock Exchange on Nov. 24 and will start trading under the ‘AOL’ symbol on Dec. 10.

Google Acquires AdMob

ad_mob_logo_headerIf you’re into smartphones or mobile advertising, you’ve probably heard of AdMob, a popular mobile display advertising company. And apparently Google’s heard of them, too—Google announced today that they have acquired AdMob for $750M in stock.

Google reports some mobile ad stats:

  • iPhone and Android users browse the Internet more often than anyone else [Morgan Stanley], contributing to Google’s 5x mobile search growth over the past two years
  • And a quarter of these same iPhone and Android users spend nearly 90 minutes per day using applications on their devices [AdMob]

As noted in the stats, Google is doing well in mobile search (though there’s still plenty of competition). But, Google says, they’re not the only ones who’ll benefit from this acquisition. Publishers will get better products, tools and monetization. Advertisers will get greater reach and “better, more relevant ads” for users engaged with mobile content. Users will get more mobile content and more useful mobile ads.

Singing a Different Tune to DOJ: Please Okay Bingahoo!

It hardly seems possible, but it was just last year that the Goohoo (Yahoogle?) search ad deal was under scrutiny from the US government. Ultimately, that scrutiny killed the deal—since the DoJ informed Google that they’d face anti-trust charges if they went through with the deal.

Here we are, a year later, and two search giants are once again bringing a proposed search ad deal before the skeptical DoJ. And once again, we have a powerful organization weighing in. Last year, major advertising groups, including the American Association of Advertising Agencies, spoke out against the Googahoo deal. This year, they’re weighing in again—this time in favor of Microsoft and Yahoo’s deal.

In a letter (PDF) to the Department of Justice, Nancy Hill, president and chief executive of the 4A, urged the governmental body to approve the deal—and fast:

Google Buys reCAPTCHA

what the crap captchaThere’s nothing we love more than warped words (or random numbers and letters) we have to type in before we’re allowed to comment. These CAPTCHAs cut down on spam (and, sometimes, legitimate comments. grrr.)—and every once in a while, someone comes along with a great idea to make that kind of technology useful, like reCAPTCHA using words scanned from old texts that OCR software can’t recognize.

A great idea, right? It’s so popular more than 100,000 websites have signed up to use the specialized CAPTCHAs, including Facebook and craigslist. I’m sure you can guess how this story ends: Google buys reCAPTCHA.

craptchaThis is doubly beneficial for Google:

  1. They get cooler CAPTCHAs than the random strings of letters they’ve been using on Blogger and other services.

WordPress Acquires Grammer Gramer Grammar Checking Software

I’ve always maintained that it’s dangerous to take a single Marketing Pilgrim post and assume you understand our sentiment and bias towards any one company. If you read yesterday’s criticism of WordPress, you’d think we were “automattic” haters.

Today, you’d be eating humble pie.

Automattic has announced the acquisition of After the Deadline, a service that provides spell checking, style checking, and grammar checking. Huzzah!

While I’m somewhat puzzled that WordPress.com users get After the Deadline baked-in, while us .org user are left once again with just a plugin, I still applaud the acquisition. Why? Because spell checking and grammar checking are the bane of any blogger’s existence!