Internet Marketing Weekly News Update #135 February 22, 2012

Google caught bypassing Apple privacy settings.
The default setting on Apple's Safari web browser is to disallow tracking of user activity by advertisers, but the Wall Street Journal has reported that Google used code to circumvent this privacy measure. The revelation is bound to heat up controversy over online privacy issues.
The Wall Street Journal

Path was not alone in storing users' contact data.
When criticized over the uploading and storage of user contact information in its social networking app, Path responded that this was a common industry practice. At least in one case, this may be true -- Twitter has conceded that when users provide address book access to scan for contacts, the social media site retains that information on its server. Significantly, Twitter plans to tweak its disclosure language, rather than to change the practice.
Marketing Pilgrim

Comfort level with privacy policies varies with gender and age.
As online privacy remains a hot topic for discussion, websites will want to note how demographic differences affect attitudes. Men are generally more comfortable with website privacy policies, as are younger people of both genders. However, for both men and women, and across all age groups, there are certain categories of information people are reluctant to provide, such as physical address, income and phone number.

Consumers worry about Internet privacy, but most don't see a specific problem.
Studies by Harris Interactive found that 90% of U.S. Internet users worry at least sometimes about online privacy, yet the majority of those users (59%) feel that they can trust most companies with their personal information.

Test of Facebook Sponsored Stories signals a new wave of ad targeting.
Facebook is testing an approach that targets Sponsored Stories ads to users based on their activity. Previously, such targeting had been limited to users who had chosen to hit Facebook's "Like" button for a given brand or product. Facebook is also rolling out apps that add "Want" and "Own" to "Like" as connections users can make with brands and products.
Search Engine Watch

DuckDuckGo tries to claim room for a new player in search.
Just as it seemed that the search market was securely in the hands of a few giants, upstart DuckDuckGo has carved out a foothold for itself, thanks to rapid growth over the last year. The firm reached a million daily searches for the first time on February 13, up from 176,000 on the same day a year before, though still a far cry from Google's 1 billion searches daily.
Search Engine Watch

Travel marketers gear up for prime time.
Online travel marketers are preparing campaigns for the industry's peak season. Impression volume for travel ads typically starts to surge in April, with click volume following that upward course in May.
Search Engine Watch

A local ad network reports on the power of local search ads.
The local ad network xAd has released some statistics to show the value of targeted local search compared to targeted local display. xAd claims that targeted local search ads had a 7% click-through-rate, compared with 0.6% for targeted local display, and that 37% of these local search clicks had a follow-up action, such as a call to the business or a search for directions.
Search Engine Land

Valentine's Day demonstrated the importance of mobile search.
Google reported that on Valentine's Day, 62% of the searches for major chain restaurants were generated from mobile devices. Not surprisingly, these searches were often tied to a follow-up action, as there was a spike of over 500% in click-to-call volume on that day.
Search Engine Land

New study shows how smartphone use varies by age and income.
A report from Nielsen Wire shows that, not surprisingly, age is a key determinant of smartphone ownership, but that income is also a very significant factor. For example, smartphone ownership among high-income consumers aged 55 to 64 is about on par with that of middle-income individuals between the ages of 35 and 44.

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