Bing looks to see if less is more with its search result format.
Bing has introduced a new, cleaner format for its search results, which seems to be in response to some complaints that Google has added so many different visual components that its results pages look cluttered. In fact, the new Bing results presentation looks somewhat like the old Google version.
Search Engine Land
Preliminary analysis shows big winners and losers from Google algorithm change.
Searchmetrics did a spot check to see which websites gained and lost SEO visibility as a result of changes to Google's search algorithm. For some sites, visibility rose as much as 30%, while for others, it fell by as much as 73%. The big losers tended to aggregate information using databases, compile news stories from other sources, or rely heavily on templates. More visibility changes related to the Panda 3.5 update (approximately April 19) than the anti-spam Penguin update (reported on April 24).
Search Engine Land
Digital advertisers need to be sensitive to customer push-back.
Websites are trying to figure out how much advertising is too much, and advertisers are clamoring to take advantage of the rapid growth in mobile devices. A cautionary signal comes from an Upstream/YouGov poll, which found that two-thirds of U.S. and U.K. Internet users feel there are already too many ads. Further, mobile devices are far and away the channel on which users find excessive advertising most unwelcome.
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
PayPal expands options for small businesses.
PayPal promotes its cost-effective and secure payment solutions for small businesses, and it is expanding these options with PayPal Payments, a range of three payment processing options. Costs range from free to $30 a month, depending on how much control and customization a business owner wants.
Mastercard plans release of an anti-fraud tool for e-commerce merchants.
This May, Mastercard will launch a new anti-fraud tool specifically designed to alert e-commerce merchants in real time about fraud risk. The tool will evaluate the likelihood that a transaction is fraudulent based on a proprietary algorithm. While the tool is not perfect, Mastercard estimates that e-commerce firms could save 15% to 30% in losses by steering away from transactions the tool flags as highly suspicious.
Barcodes are a growing option for print ads.
Barcodes can be scanned to lead customers to web pages with more detail than would be possible in traditional ads. Barcodes are used in this way in only 4% of print ads currently, but that number is growing. General retailers are the leading users, representing 21.9% of the total, followed by technology companies at 13.6% and financial services firms at 6.7%. Competitrack, which provided the data, recommends laying out landing sites with mobile devices in mind, since that's how the barcodes are usually scanned.