Internet Marketing Weekly News Update #124 November 30, 2011

Cultivating bloggers is a growing aspect of brand strategy.
Brand managers understand that bloggers can influence the reputation of their products, so they are increasingly making an effort to actively develop relationships with those bloggers. Across several different categories of bloggers, the majority report commenting on specific brands in their blogs, and nearly half say they have positive relationships with brand representatives.

Online travel market looks poised for continued growth in 2012.
Online travel continues to be a thriving area of online marketing. Looking ahead to next year, eMarketer estimates that 117.6 million US Internet users will research travel online, and 98.3 million will book travel online. Those figures are up from this year's projected totals of 114.5 million and 93.9 million, respectively. Just 9% of travelers report still using a traditional travel agent.

Google angles for share of the iPad search market with new app update.
In an effort to draw users away from the iPad's Safari search engine, Google has updated its search app for the iPad. The new offering includes Google's Instant search, which displays presumed results as the user types, and an improved visual display of results.

Google pares unsuccessful offerings.
Even though it has made frequent news with acquisitions this year, Google is also trimming down by discontinuing unsuccessful products. The most recent examples include Knol, a version of Wikipedia which failed to compete in terms of popularity. Other discontinued products include Wave, Friend Connect and Gears.

Microsoft shuffles brand name for its daily deals.
Microsoft has changed the brand umbrella under which it keeps its daily deals product, re-branding the offering from Bing to MSN as "MSN Offers." With this change, the product could benefit from MSN's heavy traffic, and the change could also avoid confusion with Bing's Deals page, which aggregates offers from multiple sources around the country. However, the change also illustrates how Microsoft sometimes struggles to establish distinctive brand identities.
Search Engine Land

Google links search results for authors into Google+ profiles.
Google is using author profiles on Google+ to augment its search results. When an author has a profile on Google+, search results involving that author will include a link to that Google+ profile. Google is also integrating Google+ content into Google Places results.
Search Engine Land

FTC imposes strict privacy standards on Facebook in settlement.
Facebook has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission regarding charges that it mislead users about privacy policies. These charges stem from a 2009 change in privacy settings that was made without warning to users. Now, changes to privacy settings will require a user opt-in. The settlement spells out other privacy requirements, including periodic independent audits of Facebook's privacy program.

Cyber Monday results set new high for online spending.
According to an early report from comScore on Cyber Monday shopping activity, $1.25 billion was spent on that day this year. That represents a 22% increase over last year's Cyber Monday, and a new daily high for online spending. In a revealing sidenote, half the activity reportedly came from work-based computers.
Search Engine Journal

Brands offer examples of Facebook marketing success.
A diverse group of six major consumer brands offered case studies of measurable sales results from marketing via Facebook. Mazda, Ford, Levi's, 1-800-FLOWERS, 20th Century Fox, and ADT all increased sales, store traffic, or online visits through Facebook promotions, though in some cases these promotions also included significant discounts.

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