Internet Marketing Weekly News Update #143 April 18, 2012

Maryland law bans employers from peeking into Facebook pages.
A new law in Maryland prohibits employers from requiring prospective employees to provide their log-ins for Facebook and other social media sites. Employers had been using the technique to obtain some private insight into potential hires. While info posted on public pages remains fair game, the Maryland law protects the individual's right to keep some opinions, activities and history private. The big question is whether other states will follow suit with similar protections.
Search Engine Journal

Browser preferences change with time of day.
Usage patterns show that while Microsoft's Internet Explorer captures the greatest share of browser activity at all times, its peak usage tends to occur during the workday. In contrast, Google's Chrome browser sees a pick-up in usage in the afternoon and evening. This suggests that while Microsoft benefits from being the corporate standard, more and more individuals are choosing Chrome. Also, marketers may want to gear SEO strategies toward this usage pattern.
Search Engine Journal

Local targeting gets very local with new in-store network.
While mobile ad targeting had previously reached the level of in-store specificity, a new ad network from Point Inside takes an even more detailed approach. The nSide network directs ads at customers depending on where they are in the store relative to specific products.

Yahoo Search lives to fight another day.
Following its recent staff cutback, Yahoo has been the subject of speculation as to what key units, including search, might be eliminated as a result. However, a new reorganization plan from CEO Scott Thompson has search (and its 1,800 employees) surviving within a unit of Yahoo's Consumer group.
Search Engine Watch

Google+ gets a facelift and some new features.
Google+ is rolling out some changes, including cosmetic alterations such as an updated design and navigation. Among the design changes is a timeline-style photo display for profiles, which seems inspired by Facebook's timeline design. Functions available include a new invitation list in Hangouts, an Explore page that highlights activity connected with trending topics, and an updated chat list.
Search Engine Watch

Search activity continues to grow -- except at Yahoo.
Monthly market share statistics from comScore were fairly static between February and March, with Google continuing to hold a commanding 66.4% of the market. Perhaps most telling was the fact that virtually every other provider -- including Google, Bing, AOL and Ask -- saw an increase in the absolute number of search queries, compared to a decrease of 5% at Yahoo.
Search Engine Land

Increases in paid search varied by market in the first quarter of 2012.
Various sources agree that paid search spending grew in the first quarter; estimated levels of growth ranged from 15% -- according to a study focused on the tech sector -- to 30%, according to an analysis focused on retail. Google was able to take advantage of its dominant market share to bring year-over-year costs-per-click down in the first quarter, while costs-per-click within the Yahoo-Bing alliance rose over the same period.
Search Engine Land

Users appreciate search engines, but draw the line at personalized search.
Recent findings from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project show that most Americans perceive search results as accurate and important. However, many have concerns about personalized search: 65% of respondents believed that this practice would limit the results they see, and 73% felt it would be an invasion of privacy.
Pew Research Center

Google's stock split is about control, not price.
Shareholders have long clamored for Google to split its stock, to make the price per share more accessible to the average investor than the current level of around $650. However, the split comes with a catch: New shares will lack voting rights, concentrating control of the company in the hands of its chairman and co-founders.
The New York Times

Barnes & Noble resists electronic reader pricing war with new Nook features.
Because of their relatively simple functionality, electronic readers seemed destined to compete purely on price, with Amazon's Kindle enjoying a clear advantage over the Barnes & Noble Nook. However, Barnes & Noble has tweaked the features on the Nook Simple Touch, giving it a glow light and an anti-glare screen, in an attempt to hold the line on price by competing qualitatively.

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