Ning Allows Quick and Easy Social Network Creation

CNET has details of Ning.com’s public launch at the Web 2.0 Summit this week.

While the company has been operating for more than a year, this week was its official coming-out announcement.

If you’ve not heard of Ning, it lets you easily create you own social networking sites. Options include the creation of your own YouTube-style video site, and a MySpace-style social networking platform.

I’ve been playing around with Ning, and it gets my thumbs-up simply because of ease of use. I’ve already used it to create a local networking site for Internet marketers in the Triangle area of North Carolina, and even tested out their video service.

The company plans to offer new features and upgrades in December, which should make it even more compelling.

Local Internet Ad Spending to Double by 2010

The Kelsey Group has released its annual prediction on the global increase in local search and online classifieds spending.

According to ClickZ

The forecast asserts the local search segment will grow from $3.4 billion in 2005 to $13 billion in 2010, with online classifieds growing from $12.3 billion to $18.1 billion. Overall local search and online classified spending will grow from $15.7 billion in 2005 to twice that, or $31.1 billion, in 2010.

It makes a lot of sense. As more and more small business discover the value of online advertising, they’ll also want solutions that are tailored to their local audience.

Channel Sponsors

Google Gearing-up for Launch of Radio Ads

Back in July, we reported on rumors that Google was preparing to launch AdWords for radio. Now Reuters is reporting confirmation that we will indeed see Google Audio Ads by the end of the year.

 

Google spokesman Michael Mayzel said this week that the company will begin a public test of Google Audio Ads by the end of the year. Advertisers will be able to go online and sign up for targeted radio ads using the same AdWords system they use to buy Web search ads.

As part of the launch, Google is aggressively hiring radio sales people, to help capture the market, and could end up with as many as 1,000 employees focused on radio ads.

Skype to Offer Bloggers Live Chat Rooms

CNET has details of Skype’s plans to offer bloggers the ability to host audio chats from their own web site.

The next version of Skype will enable people to post a link on a blog or Web site that will take people to a public chat room when clicked on.

There’s no timeline for the launch, but Skype execs say the feature is coming “soon”.

Skype is also in talks with many social networking sites about offering services that would allow members to share content with each other in conversations.

Facebook Recovers from Declining Traffic

We recently ran a poll on whether Facebook.com should take the money and run, after reports its traffic had started to decline. 63% of Pilgrims believed (me included) CEO Mark Zuckerberg should take sell the company now, lest the value reduce even further.

What the heck do we know!?!

Hitwise has stats that show Facebook’s decline in traffic was just a seasonal blip, which happens each September as college kids focus on their return to school. As the chart below demonstrates, Facebook is as healthy as ever.

Hat’s off to Zuckerberg – he wins this round of brinkmanship!

LoudLaunch.com Jumps on Paid Blogging Bandwagon

The blogging purists of the world will wince when they discover yet another launch of a service that pays bloggers to write about a certain company or product.

Steve Rubel has the barest of details on LoudLaunch.com which appears to take a slightly different post to the likes of PayPerPost.com.

There’s not much to be found on the LoudLaunch web site either…

Loud Launch is building a smart platform which connects savvy advertisers with influential web personalities (bloggers).

We are excited to tell you more soon, so please sign up to be notified when we launch. You’ll love whats coming…get paid for doing what you already do!

Add Any YouTube Video You iLike to iTunes

“Like” is the word of the week. After the launch of visual shopping search engine Like.com, earlier this week, comes news from TechCrunch that social music site iLike has added the ability to download music videos from YouTube to iTunes.

Every song on iLike includes a link to play a short sample of the actual song. Now there is also a link to “play video.� Click the link and iLike searches for the video on YouTube, embeds it into the site and begins playing it. In our tests iLike found the correct music video about 2/3 of the time.

The entire rollout took just 72 hours from idea to launch!

You can learn more at the iLike blog.