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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.

Shopping Down, But Online Research Up

Econsultancy has the results of a survey by Channel Advisor (PDF) on online shopping in the US. The semi-annual survey shows that online shopping is down overall—but there is some good news for the Internet.

Spending online shopping is down overall, with fewer people reporting monthly purchases of over $76 (down by 9% to 25%), and more people reporting monthly spending of $0-$20 (up by 11%, now at 27%). However, they’re devoting more of their time online to product research—with growth in shopping search queries and time spent on retail sites. 51% were influenced by product reviews or ratings, but free shipping was most influential in purchase decisions.

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Internet Fraud is Internet Fraud, Right?

fraudAs online marketers most are concerned about click fraud. The endless battle to make sure that when you are buying a click it’s a real click and not something else. Marketers lose sleep over this every night but ht economy may have created a whole other category of fraud called “friendly fraud”.

First, I am not sure where we are headed when we can call fraud “friendly fraud” like we find in an article over at the Wall Street Journal. Sounds too much like “friendly fire” and there is nothing friendly about that. So what exactly is it? According to the article

Online merchants are fighting a surge in so-called friendly fraud, as more consumers try to get out of paying for their Internet purchases in the recession.