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Google Talking Out of Both Sides of Its Mouth on China?

When Google announced that it would no longer play nicely with China, some suggested that this was a just a ploy to pull out of a country that it was struggling to dominate.

Of course, Google’s official stance was that it was just too much of a compromise to operate any business in China:

We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down, and potentially our offices in China.

Except maybe, for one that’s already successful…

Social Network Traffic to Retail Grows

We’ve seen the trend for a long time: social networks are sending more and more downstream traffic to retail sites. Hitwise has the numbers from December—and the downstream traffic from social networks is up 37%.

The change doesn’t look super significant, I know, but it’s the biggest percentage increase for any category. Fewer people are starting at retailers’ sites or through permission email, so search engines and social media are more important than ever.

So is it more because users are recommending deals to their friends, or is it because of retailers’ presence on social networks? Likely both. Hitwise found that many users were actively seeking info on popular retailers.

50% of Marketers Shifting Funds From Traditional to Online; Social “Top Priority”

We already know that 84% of marketers plan to shift some of their direct marketing budgets to social media. Now, a new report from the Society of Digital Agencies suggests that 50% of marketers will shift budgets from traditional to online media.

Not only that, but the highest priority for this newly allocated budget is social networks:

Now, before all of your social media experts pee your pants with excitement, consider this. While social networking is the top priority, that doesn’t mean that companies expert to spend boatloads on it. In fact, according to this chart, social networking is #4 on the pecking order:

US Holiday E-Commerce Spend Up 4% Year Over Year

The numbers are in according to one tracking firm, comScore, which tell us just how good, bad or indifferent this past holiday season was from an online perspective. With a 4 % increase over last year I wouldn’t say good or bad and maybe not even indifferent. How about we’ll just take it because let’s face it, the economy still sucks.

The data covers the entire November through December time frame. There were some contributing factors that lent to the overall numbers being in the black. Here are some comScore observations.

Survey: Online Shopping Satisfies; Bigger is Better

ForeSee Results has issued the results of its annual E-Retailer Satisfaction Index—a survey of 10,000 shoppers at the top 40 retailers—and the results are good—if you’re a big e-tailer. If not, well—let’s just say you’re pulling down the average.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, the 40 largest online retailers averaged a satisfaction score of 79 on a scale of 100, up five points from the 2007 and 2008 steady results. But for their sample of over 100 large and small e-tailers, overall satisfaction was down to 73, off from 75 in 2008 and 77 in 2007.

MediaPost adds an important finding, too:

ForeSee’s research also finds that shoppers who are highly satisfied are 65% more likely to purchase online, 44% more likely to purchase offline, 70% more likely to recommend, and 49% more likely to return than a dissatisfied shopper.

And the Online Shopping Winner Is…

I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath all holiday season to find out which of the made-up online shopping holidays would be the winner—Cyber Monday for the first time ever? Green Monday again? Brown Monday? Purplish-Blue-Like-a-Bruise Monday?

Sadly, none of the above. Nope, it was some no name: Tuesday, December 15. Coming from behind, that all-but-forgotten day of the week topped the online revenue charts for the first time with $913M in sales. That’s right, nearly one billion dollars in revenue online in one day—and yes, that would be the record for the most online spending in a single day, ever.

2009 Holiday Season To Date vs. Corresponding Days* in 2008
Non-Travel (Retail) Spending
Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore, Inc

Amazon Sued Over Defamatory Google AdWords Ads

Here’s a fun Christmas game for you to play.

How many different types of lawsuits can you think of that include Google AdWords? Put your party creative hats on and see what you can come up.

OK, Sellify, you go first!

Sue Amazon over defamatory statements posted in Google AdWords by one of its affiliates?

Wow! That is creative!

And, it’s actually true! Writes Techdirt:

The two main complaints are over trademark violations of buying keywords, and then defamation. Defamation? Yes, because apparently when people do searches on Sellify or some of its related trademarked names, like OneQuality, some of the ads that come up say things like:

Beware of the SCAM Artist
Camcorders at the Best Price
From the Trusted Source