AOL & Yahoo Plan Merger? Building an “Exclusive” on…Well, Nothing Actually

Sometimes, merger and acquisition rumors are juicy, thrilling, with a sense of mystery.

Other times, they’re a lame duck and you wonder why anyone–let alone Reuters–would waste the time writing the story.

Exhibit A:

Exclusive: AOL mulls breakup, then merger with Yahoo

Ooh, that’s a BIG story, right? AOL, trying to reinvent itself and Yahoo, looking at a boatload of options to survive.

This is a huge story for a Monday in December. Let’s examine the “smoke” to this “fire” shall we?

…The plans are still in the exploratory stage…

Oh, OK. But I am sure the two sides are deep in talks, right?

…and Yahoo has not been contacted, the sources said…

Oh well, I’m sure Reuters has someone reliable that can be quoted here.

Today’s Deal: Google Buys Groupon for $2.5B?

I think someone at Google might have had a little too much spiked apple cider over Thanksgiving, because rumors are heating up that the search giant just acquired online coupon service Groupon for $2.5 billion!

According to VatorNews…

Google has just purchased Groupon for $2.5 billion, according to an unnamed insider who spoke with VatorNews.  Neither Google nor Groupon could be reached for comment to confirm the report, but Vator’s source is reliable and the report falls in line with the recent string of Groupon acquisition rumors.

If that is true, then Groupon might just be a bigger acquisition than the monstrous purchase of YouTube back in 2006. Not only is the purchase price about $1B more, but unlike YouTube at the time, Groupon is said to be raking in as much as $50 million a month!

Grougle? Googlepon? Rumors Anyone?

Well, this will be a nice way to tidy up the week by adding to the rumor mill that has Google actively looking to purchase Groupon. Yup, that’s right. There is some rumor mill fodder to consider but from the heavy hitters like Kara Swisher at AllThingsDigital’s BoomTown as she reports

According to multiple sources close to the situation, Google is in discussions with local deals powerhouse Groupon about buying it.

Without making the requisite joke about the deal of the day, sources said the price being considered is certainly no discount–well above the $2 billion to $3 billion that Yahoo offered Groupon in acquisition talks that took place earlier this year.

But sources cautioned that the talks are not complete, and could also end up without any result, as the Yahoo discussions did.

Foursquare’s Crowley Gets Undeserved Ribbing

Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley took a lot of ribbing yesterday for a comment he made to a blogger at an NYU panel discussion. The panel was called “The Case for Media Optimism,” and Crowley stated that he thought referral fees would be the next big thing in social media marketing.

For example, if someone Tweets about a new movie and 500 of his friends follow a link to buy a ticket for the movie, then the original referrer gets a kickback for each ticket. When asked if Foursquare was working on this idea, Crowley said it was on a long list of ideas under consideration.

Here’s where it gets sticky. Jeff Bercovici from Forbes.com asked Crowley how he would get around the FTC ruling that required full disclosure when an endorsement was offered on social media in return for payment of some kind (cash, product or service.)

Not So Cuil Now, Are You?

When you live by the sword, you die by the sword. Right?

Well, Cuil had its PR engine revved to the max, when it launched in 2008. It claimed to be bigger, better, and safer to use than Google.

Fast forward a little over two years and let’s see how things are working out for Cuil, shall we?

Yikes, apparently it can’t even keep the lights on. I mean, if the rumors are true, and Cuil’s still trying to find a buyer to rescue it, then you’d think someone would cough up the $10 needed to host a “We’ll be right back!” page. Apparently not.

So much for the “Google Killer” with a $200 million valuation.

Will Google Me Become Reality?

Google’s Chief Executive Eric Schmidt started a buzz or maybe a wave when he let it “slip” today that Google will be adding a  ‘social layer’ this fall.

Oh, there’s so much to discuss in that statement. First of all, ‘social layer?’ Some reporters are taking this to mean that Google will be adding social elements to all of their current sites as opposed to developing a new site specifically aimed at competing with Facebook. This being the case, it’s likely they’ll create a home page for people that allows them to link to and follow all of the related info from their friends.

Remember, Google already tried a similar trick with Google Buzz which was a horrendous failure. But Buzz was like Twitter meets Digg and not a true social networking site where you can spend virtual time with your friends.

Is Daily Radar Gone For Good?

A few minutes ago, I pointed by my browser to the Daily Radar Blips sites with the intention of dropping a link to my last post here on Marketing Pilgrim. This is what I found:

Apparently Future US, the parent company of Daily Radar, has pulled the plug on the entire network including BallHype, ShowHype and my beloved TVBlips. Seriously? Just like that?

I took a turn around the internet and Twitter and was surprised to find that it wasn’t a big topic of conversation. Few people seem to have noticed the closure and maybe that, right there, explains it all.