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Facebook Deals: Could Specialization be the Key to Success?

Facebook is launching a deal site. Who isn’t? But according to Network Effect, Facebook is going to be specific about the kinds of deals they promote and that could be the key to success.

The word is that the deals on Facebook will only be for social activities that you can share with a friend. Half price movie tickets and lift freebies for a ski resort as opposed to discounts on teeth whitening and carpets for your home. Daily deal site KGB will be partnering with Facebook for a five-city test and they say their deal vouchers will be delivered in minutes. I take this to mean that I can sit down with friends on a Friday night, choose an activity and we can all be sharing that discounted fun later on that same evening.

Hotmail Gets Interactive

Did you know that Hotmail is the second most used web-mail client, beating Gmail by over 94%? Gotta wonder how many of those accounts are throw aways for junk mail, but I digress before I even get started.

Microsoft is looking to strengthen its bid to make Hotmail the leading web-mail client by making it more interactive.

Right now, email is either text or HTML based which means your only real option for hooking people up is to include a link in your email. Microsoft wants to take that link and deliver that information right inside the email blank.

Imagine getting that YouTube video of a cat eating spaghetti right in your email client. No need to click! Even better, is the ability to add real time information in an email such as this example from Netflix.

Bing Upgrades Their Mobile Browsing Experience

Bing has just released an upgrade to their mobile browser that takes the best of apps and combines it with the best of the browser for a faster, easier user experience.

SHOPPING

Like the Bing app, the Bing mobile browser offers a scrolling list of categories to help narrow down your choices from the moment you start to search. From there, you can jump to the updated shopping helper which uses more graphics than text to guide you through the next steps. Each category drills down at least twice until you’re presented with a list of pre-selected items, which, unless you’re gift shopping for someone you don’t know, is fairly useless.

Mobile, Mortar and the Scan and Scram Shopper

Yesterday, I went to the closing sale at my local Borders (sigh, and yes, I have book sales on the brain today). They had blu-ray box sets marked down 40%, so thinking I was getting a great deal, I decided to buy one. After I bought it, I used my Google Goggles to look up the item online and found that the price I paid was the same as Amazon’s everyday, low price. If I had scanned before I bought the item, I probably wouldn’t have bought it as it wasn’t the great deal I had hoped for. I would have been a “Scan and Scram Shopper,” and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Reporting from the CTIA Wireless 2011 conference, CNBC says;

Nice Deal! Groupon CEO Rolls Ad Agency Under the Bus

Remember the dustup that Groupon created wit their Super Bowl ads? Most people felt they were offensive while others saw the as being brilliant. In the end, Groupon decided to cave to the majority (in other words, those who pay Groupon’s bills), remove the ads and apologize for their lapse in judgment.

Andrew Mason, Groupon’s CEO, isn’t about to let the world think that the while thing was entirely their fault. In fact, he appears quite happy to paint Groupon’s ad agency, Crispin, Porter + Bogusky (CP+B) as the culprit while acting as if Groupon was just too trusting rather than complicit in the ads.

AdAge reports

After defending controversial Super Bowl ads created with CP&B, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason is now blaming CP&B and himself for trusting it as an ad partner.

Rumor Mill Spits Out Possible $25 Billion Valuation for Groupon

Based on claims that its subscriber base has doubled over the past three months and a push into 100’s of new cities there are rumblings that Groupon’s eventual IPO could peg the service at a $25 billion valuation.

Bloomberg reports

Groupon Inc. has held talks with banks about an initial public offering that would value the online-coupon company at as much as $25 billion, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.

The two-year-old startup’s IPO may happen this year and is unlikely to assign Groupon a valuation of less than $15 billion, according to the people, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its March 21 edition. They asked not to be identified because the talks were private.

Will New Tax Laws End Amazon’s Affiliate Program?

On Tax Day (ironically, or maybe intentionally), Amazon will sever all ties with affiliates in the great state of Illinois, including (also ironically) film critic Roger Ebert.

Back in January, Ebert took some flack from Twitter followers who didn’t think it was right that he Tweet Amazon links. The critic explained in an interview with ClickZ that the small amount of income he made from the links went to keeping his website free for all to read and I agreed. A few ads and a few clicks is a small price to pay in order to keep reading articles such as his half-star review of Battle: Los Angeles. Now, we find the fight was for naught, thanks to a new law signed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.