Internet Marketing Weekly News Update #090 March 16, 2011

Blekko search engine tries new spam filter.
The Blekko search engine is trying a new, aggressive spam filter called AdSpam, which it claims has blocked 1.1 million web sites from its search results. How this works, and whether the approach catches on to larger search engines, could further redefine where the line between SEO and spam is considered to be.
Search Engine Land

Financial analyst claims Charlie's Tweets add a sheen to Twitter's valuation.
An analyst with Wedbush securities is extrapolating the huge popularity of Charlie Sheen's Twitter account into a massive valuation for the micro-blogging site. Analyst Lou Kerner says that the rapid rise in Charlie Sheen's number of followers justifies a valuation of $10 billion if Twitter were to go public, though it largely remains to be seen how this valuation would be supported by revenues.
The New York Times

New white-label offering adds to concerns about fragmentation in the daily deals space.
Former employees of DoubleClick and Google have created a white-label platform for brands wanting to offer their own daily deals services. This heightens concerns that the daily deals concept is becoming over-saturated. While Groupon and LivingSocial have the all-important critical mass that comes from being first-movers, the availability of a white-label option underscores the relatively low barrier to entry technologically.

Buoyed by higher success rates, Bing makes slow gains in search share.
Google continues to dominate search with a 66.69 percent market share, but Bing-powered searches (those on Yahoo and Bing) made inroads in February, rising from a 27.44 percent to a 28.48 percent share of the market. According to Experian Hitwise, Bing-powered searches yield much higher success rates, at around 81 percent compared to just under 66 percent for Google.
Marketing Pilgrim

Google makes it easier for users to blacklist sites from search results.
Users who find blatantly inappropriate sites popping up in their search results on Google can now ban those sites from their future searches on Google with just a single mouse click. This sudden-death option may put a greater onus on producing relevant and worthwhile content as part of SEO efforts.
Marketing Pilgrim

Study shows that organic search results draw the most user attention.
Eye-tracking research by User Centric found that search users focus their attention squarely on organic search results, while spending less time on paid result placements. 100 percent of users studied viewed organic results, and spent an average of 14.7 seconds on those results for Google searches, and 10.7 seconds on them for Bing searches. Paid placements in the center got noticed around 90 percent of the time, but for less than a second. Placements on the left and right sides of the screen got significantly less attention.

Niche websites deliver stronger click-through results.
While advertisers often focus their attention on the most popular web sites in an attempt to reach a wide audience, a study by CONTEXTWEB found that more narrowly-targeted sites yielded click-through rates that were 24 percent higher on average.

Twitter sees a greatly expanded role for Promoted Tweets, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Twitter announced plans to deploy Promoted Tweets across its entire user base in the fourth quarter of this year, after testing the approach on a limited basis over the past year. Usage characteristics will determine which Promoted Tweets people receive, and a Twitter representative thinks the approach could be similar toGoogle's AdWords.

Google to forge ahead with mobile payment tests.
Google will begin testing payments via mobile phones using near-field communication (NFC) at selected merchants in New York City and San Francisco. Apple reportedly backed away from incorporating NFC capability in the iPhone 5 because standards for the technology have not yet been developed.
Search Engine Land

Social media gaffes have as much reach as marketing.
As companies try to incorporate all aspects of social media into their marketing approaches, two recent incidents highlighted how the immediacy of the medium can have its drawbacks. Insensitive comments on Twitter involving Aflac and Chrysler highlighted the importance of having clear social media policies--though the Chrysler comment was made by a marketing company supposedly specializing in new media.
The New York Times


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