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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!

MySpace to Acquire iLike?

ilikemyspaceTechCrunch reports that multiple credible sources have confirmed that MySpace, the first social network to garner the hype (then hatred) of the media mind, is fighting its way out of stagnation with a possible acquisition of music-social site iLike. TC lists the price tag as $20 million for the first acquisition since Owen Van Natta (former COO of Facebook) took the helm in April.

iLike is a social music recommendation system. You may have seen the iLike app on friends’ Facebook profiles (or use it yourself), since the app has nearly 10 million users. TechCrunch reports that it’s the top music app on Facebook—and Bebo and Hi5 and most social networks (other than MySpace, which has MySpace Music). With such a wide user base, it seems like iLike was ripe for the picking.

Breaking: Facebook Acquires FriendFeed

This is one of those posts that we’d rather bring to you quickly and fill in the blanks later–Facebook has just announced that it has agreed to acquire social network aggregator FriendFeed.

Facebook today announced that it has agreed to acquire FriendFeed, the innovative service for sharing online. As part of the agreement, all FriendFeed employees will join Facebook and FriendFeed’s four founders will hold senior roles on Facebook’s engineering and product teams.

The full release is here.

It’s interesting that Facebook has intentions to become an aggregator of the social web. It’s already testing the integration of Twitter feeds, and this acquisition confirms its intentions. The big question for me is how will FriendFeed’s loyal users react? Many of them–Robert Scoble included–flocked to FriendFeed’s apparent bipartisan approach to social networking. Will that disappear now that it’s part of Facebook?