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Odeo Acquired by SonicMountain

Back in February we reported that Evan Williams had decided to sell-off podcast service Odeo, in light of the success of Twitter.

TechCrunch is now reporting that the deal is done, and Sonic Mountain has acquired the brand and technology for a sum north of $1 million.

Facebook Partners with Oodle for Classifieds

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Facebook is about the only social network I can stand. (Aw, you saw through me. This is a shill to get you to add me as a friend on Facebook—Jordan F McCollum.)

Okay, so there was some news that brought this on. Facebook has traditionally featured few advertisements. On my alma mater’s network, there was usually an ad running in the sidebar, called a “flyer,” often placed by a student. Now they’ve made it easier for students to sell things through their site by partnering with Oodle to provide classifieds. Oodle already featured the ability categorize classifieds by college, it seems like a partnership with Facebook, which was once exclusively for college & high school students, was quite natural.

More Rumors of eBay Purchasing Stumbleupon

Tech CEO’s are a tricky bunch. Whenever asked about deals or new products, their speech is littered with words such as “no plans” or “not currently.” That’s usually enough to send journalists packing or get bloggers talking (especially this one).

So when in April eBay CEO Meg Whitman dismissed the rumors they were acquiring Stumbleupon with the statement that eBay “had nothing on the docket right now,” that pretty much killed rumors.

Well, today those same rumors surface thanks to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

EBay Inc. is in advanced talks to acquire StumbleUpon Inc…according to people familiar with the matter…the potential price for a deal is in the range of $75 million, these people say. One of the people said that no final agreement has been reached and the talks could fall apart. An eBay spokesman said the company doesn’t comment on “rumors or speculation.”

Social Networks Are All About Me.com

Well, if you’re going to launch a service that lets you build your own social network, having the name me.com is a great start.

Mashable looks at whether the great brand matches up with the actual service…

me.com’s SNAPP-powered communities are built to be connected in a way that is described as being similar to a shopping center with anchor tenants, specialty retailers, and shared common areas. This means that there are several levels at which to create an individual presence that differs amongst the many networks that can be built and joined within me.com. Their connected community model lets networks the access to the larger me.com network for building their own traffic base. They’ve also integrated the Google AdSense API, so site admin can earn 50% of revenue displayed on their network.

Four Things to Consider Before Advertising on User-Generated Content Sites

By Greg Howlett.

A recent study from BlueLithium suggests that online retailers can find advertising bargains on Web 2.0 sites that feature user generated content.  While this initially seems like good news, there are additional factors that retailers should consider before jumping on the Web 2.0 bandwagon.

The study compared the cost per conversion between three different groups of sites—user generated content (UGC) sites, non-user generated content (non-UGC) sites, and highly authoritative editorial sites.  Both the non-UGC and authoritative sites had significantly higher click through rates and conversion rates than the UGC sites.  However, when factoring in the ad cost, the UGC sites had a lower cost per click and cost per conversion.

So how is this information relevant to your business?  Just as importantly, what information is not found in this study that you need to know before making advertising decisions about Web 2.0 advertising?  Here are a few thoughts.

  1. Trust is an issue on UGC sites.  Not surprisingly, the authoritative sites generated the highest click through and conversion rates, and were followed by the non-UGC sites.  UGC sites were way behind in these two areas.  This is a clear signal that visitors do not hold UGC sites at the same level of trust as other sites.
  2. UGC sites will only remain an advertising bargain as long as their ad rates are lower than rates on non-UGC sites.  Today, the vast majority of UGC sites have few options for selling advertising, but in the future, it is feasible that even small blogs will have the ability to get much higher ad rates.  If that happens, today’s opportunity may disappear.
  3. This study gives no insight on the “social buzz” phenomenon.  Viral marketing, paying for user generated content, and similar strategies were not addressed.  However, most experts believe that these strategies are where the real advertising opportunities exist with Web 2.0 sites.
  4. The easiest way to advertise on UGC sites is AdWords.  However, few advertisers seem to be able to make this work.  In fact, since Google started allowing advertisers to bid differently for AdSense websites, those bids are dropped drastically and many advertisers refuse to bid for placement on those sites at all.  Going directly to UGC sites to buy advertising does result in lower ad rates.  However, because UGC sites tend to be low traffic, putting together a large campaign is normally too time-intensive to be feasible.

If you choose to advertise on UGC sites with traditional advertising units such as banners or text ads, make sure you are getting as good a deal as you think you are.  It is quite possible that cheap ad rates are being offset by a low click through rate or conversion rate.  As with all advertising, good reporting is critical to identifying problems.

On the other hand, using UGC sites to create social buzz for your product line could be very cost effective and could even lead to dramatic results.  In my opinion, this is the better Web 2.0 alternative for most retailers.

Having launched two multi-million dollar online companies, Greg Howlett has been working in the trenches of internet marketing for over eight years.  He currently is the President/CEO of Vitabase, a leading health supplement company, selling hundreds of products under the Vitabase label.

How Not to Run a Campaign

The world of presidential Internet campaigns is new and largely uncharted. Unfortunately, some of the lessons will be learned the hard way—like Senator Barack Obama’s campaign learned this week.

It all started three years ago when an Obama fan, Joe Anthony, created a MySpace page for the then-candidate. The Senator’s presidential campaign team came across the profile and, with Joe’s cooperation, made it into the “unofficial” MySpace page for the campaign. The page amassed more than 160,000 friends, making Obama’s far and away the most popular of all the presidential candidates’ profiles.

But the site soon became unwieldy to maintain. Joe found maintaining it to be a large draw on his time, even though he’d given the campaign access to the page. He did what most Americans would do in the situation—ask for money. But not just a little money. According to the Wall Street Journal, he asked for $39,000 for the time and effort he’d put into the site over the years.