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Stock Option Auction Plan for Google Employees

A new Google program will allow employees, with vested stock options, to sell them online without the normal hassles of exercising and selling. CNET reports the new program will be managed by Morgan Stanley and is aimed at financial institutions.

It would work like this: once an employee’s options are vested, he or she can look for bidders in the private auction. A financial institution may offer the employee, for example, $150 per option. If the employee’s strike price was $400 and the stock was trading at $500, the employee would have made $50 more per option going the auction route rather than selling them on the public market. Employees can also set a minimum price at which to sell.

Still Causing a Stir with Google Click Fraud Report

It seems like the conversation I started about Google’s click fraud rate, has rolled down the hill and picked up some momentum.

Matt Cutts wants his readers to read my article and Shuman Ghosemajumder’s own blog post. Danny Sullivan also digs into the numbers.

As my updated report suggested, Google’s user-detected click fraud is less than 2% of all invalid clicks (and not all clicks, as first reported). If that number is in the single digits, isn’t Google now admitting that click fraud across all clicks is less than 0.2%?

I was roasted for helping spread the word that the rate was at 2%, what kind of fury will appear with the suggestion that the rate is actually less than 0.2%?

The conversation continues.

Law Requires Disclosure of Affiliate Marketing Links, Word-of-mouth and Paid Reviews

Copyblogger has been digging around a new statement made by the Federal Trade Commission and reported by the Washington Post.

The bottom line, the FTC is pushing to make companies disclose any compensation received when promoting a product or company. While this is not a new law, the FTC wants marketers to know how it intends to interpret existing legislation.

…companies engaging in word-of-mouth marketing, in which people are compensated to promote products to their peers, must disclose those relationships…Word-of-mouth marketing can take any form of peer-to-peer communication, such as a post on a Web blog, a MySpace.com page for a movie character, or the comments of a stranger on a bus.

Have a quickie…

…actually, have two quickies:

  1. Nathan reports that internet browser Opera has renewed its partnership with Google.
  2. Pronet Advertising – home of Neil and Cameron of ACS – are offering to pimp the links of a new site each week.

Maybe Alexa Stats Can Be Trusted After All

Well look what the Alexa folks shared on their blog. They took the publicly available Sitemeter stats for a couple of web sites and matched them against the Alexa traffic history graphs.

Here’s the comparison for TechCrunch.

The green graph is the site stats and the blue line is Alexa overlaying them.

Interesting, Rand, what do ya think? It appears Alexa is able to get the numbers right, relative to data within one site, maybe they just suck at comparing data from differnt sites.

Google Adds New Features to Google Finance

Just heard from Google that they are adding new features to Google Finance today.

New features include:

  • Enhanced Charts: Comprehensive charts now display up to 40 years of historic data for US stocks.
  • Market Trends: A “top-mover” module on the Google Finance homepage now highlights the market’s top moving companies (featured categorically by price, market cap, volume, and queries).
  • Customizable Portfolios: Store multiple portfolios and upload information from other online portfolios to Google Finance. Preset views and tracking offer users various ways to customize and organize portfolio interactions.
  • New Homepage Design: Users can now also view currency information, sector performance for the US market, and a listing of top market movers – all from the Google Finance homepage.

Yahoo’s New Search Marketing Platform Open to New Advertisers

If you’ve not yet had a chance to use Yahoo’s new search marketing platform (aka Panama), you can get a look by signing up for a new account. Yahoo has announced that as of today, new advertisers signing-up, will get direct access to the new platform.

Existing advertisers will be upgraded over the coming weeks, but can request a faster upgrade here.