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E-commerce. Up? Down? All Around?

ConfrontationWelcome to this Friday’s version of surveys, research and statistics to ponder. Of course, how and what you ponder always has more to do with the source of the statistics and your mood which makes the numbers kinda funky but ‘Hey!’, if we didn’t have stats what would we do with our days?

This latest statistical ‘he said / she said’ consists of different numbers regarding the state of e-commerce. Today’s particpants are, “In the red corner”, comScore. They are in the red corner because they are reporting that e-commerce is slipping for the first time in the history of the world (you get it right?). “In the blue corner” is Forrester who tells everyone to not get our knickers in a twist because even in the cruddy economy e-commerce is the light on the hill or a veritable economic ‘beacon o’ hope’. Today’s match is brought to you by the Wall Street Journal.

All Your eCommerce Are Belong to Google

Google CrownI think every single one of us could share a frustrating online shopping experience, especially one about trying to find a product you know a retailer offers, but doesn’t show up in their search results. Google wants to make it easier for all of us with their new enterprise offering, Google Commerce Search.

To participate, you submit all your data to Google Merchant Center and Google Product Search (via data feeds, direct uploads or the API), and then customize the look and feel of your search engine with Google. Although Google doesn’t mention this in the documentation, I can only assume you have to do something to incorporate the Commerce Search into your site (probably replacing your old search engine). (Oh, and PS, it starts at $50k/yr.)

Did Old Navy Acquire Ask.com?

Other than looking like an Old Navy commercial, I really don’t know what to make of this new Ask.com TV ad.

Still, when did Ask.com ads ever make sense? ;-)

Amazon Goes Mobile–Mobile Payments, That Is

amazonI know it’s a conundrum you’ve just puzzled over for years. When will “the mobile” “arrive”? What will it take to get mobile payments off the ground in the US? A month ago, we looked at Read Write Web’s series on this subject, where they concluded that mobile payments wouldn’t take off until a site users know and trust implemented a secure system.

Facebook has already announced a mobile payments “solution” (all buzz words get scare quotes today) with Zong—but Amazon might beat them to the punch. Amazon, one of the (if not the) most popular online commerce sites, premieres its own Mobile Payments System today—and it’s not just for their site.

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66% Americans Don’t Want Ad Tracking…or “2 for 1″ on Coke 12-Packs

Professors at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley just conducted one of the largest independent studies on privacy and advertising tracking–and you may want take note of the findings.

Of 1,000 adult internet users:

…66 percent that said tailored ads were “not OK,” an additional 7 percent said such ads were not OK when they were tracked on the site. An additional 18 percent said it was not OK when they were tracked via other Web sites, and an additional 20 percent said it was not OK when they were tracked offline.

Omniture & comScore Join Forces for Good Measure!

It seems that getting itself acquired by Adobe isn’t enough to keep the web analytics giant Omniture busy. It has announced today that it will partner with the Boy That Cried Wolf comScore to unify online audience metrics.

Joking aside, it looks like a peanut butter/chocolate moment for the world of online audience measurement. The partnership will see comScore combine the data it gets from a 2 million person global panel with Omniture’s–raise pinky to side of mouth–1 trillion quarterly web site transactions. According to the announcement:

This strategic partner relationship blends these two methodologies in a highly automated way to create a unified approach for audience measurement designed to enable publishers to represent themselves in a more comprehensive manner to advertisers, and for advertisers to better optimize their media planning with the benefit of more extensive media reach data.

Bing Cashback Goes Big

Admit it: when you first heard about Microsoft Live’s cashback promotion, you thought it was a kooky idea that wouldn’t last long. Announced in May 2008, the program offered to share revenue from Microsoft’s shopping partners with you, the buyer. At the time, we said it sounded like a last-ditch attempt to buy our loyalty.

But over the last year, cashback has surprised us a bit—and not just by sticking around. In October and November, the service was showing an increase in traffic, sales and revenue for participating partners. Still, the promotion didn’t really help them in overall traffic, and seemed like mostly an afterthought—until now. Check out the latest Bing commercial:

The newest addition to Bing’s marketing blitz touts the cashback program.