Will Facebook Succeed in China?

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If the rumors are true, Facebook is planning to enter China’s social-media market through a partnership with the local search giant Baidu.

Facebook will face strong local competition and the same regulatory and political pressures that defeated other Western internet giants like Google, Yahoo, eBay, Amazon and Twitter, according to industry experts.

China already has “social-media properties providing value in a very fragmented social media landscape, so I’m just not sure what compelling value Facebook can provide in a meaningful way,” said Sam Flemming, founder and chairman of CIC. “To become literally the Facebook of China is not going to be easy in a market that’s already very social.”

In addition, Facebook may have waited too long, warned James Lee, a global media analyst at CLSA. “When you have a hyper-competitive space, you need to be there on day one.”

China’s appeal is understandable. The country is home to the world’s largest internet market and it has a vibrant social-media scene, with successful social-media sites such as RenRen, Kaixin001, Qzone and 51.com, Tencent’s QQ instant-messenger platform and Sina’s red-hot microblogging service Weibo.
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Chinese media analysts also question whether Facebook has picked the best suitor in Baidu.

“There is a natural relationship between search and social,” said T.R. Harrington, founder and CEO of Shanghai-based Darwin Marketing and a search-marketing specialist. But Baidu is not necessarily the best choice for Facebook to enter the Chinese market. “It would make a lot more sense to work with someone like Sina’s Weibo [or] Tencent,” established companies that understand China’s social-media market.

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Twitter Ventures into Advertising Revenue Model

In toying with ads, Twitter, the net’s largest micro-publishing service, is going where every internet company in search of a dollar has gone before. But the history of how advertising has been introduced into a formerly commercial-free community is mixed, and success for this billion-dollar baby depends on how they decide to zag.
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Twitter, the net’s largest micro-publishing service,launched an ad service that will let advertisers — beginning with some of the world’s top brands such as Starbucks — have their tweets show up in the top of search results. It’s a first attempt by the service to make money from its users.
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Twitter’s ad model should sound familiar to net users, because it’s not unlike Google’s search ads — which let advertisers have links to their services and products show up above and beside search results. It’s not a bad model to work off, given those tiny ads propelled Google into one of the world’s top tech companies with enough global clout to even take on Microsoft and the Chinese government.

Twitter is moving tentatively, however: Only one “sponsored tweet” will be displayed alongside search results, and the ad has to be something the advertiser already tweeted.

Will the ad model help verify Twitter’s billion dollar valuation? I wonder.

Microsoft and Yahoo try to double team Google

Microsoft appears to have finally locked up rival Yahoo in a long-awaited Internet search partnership aimed at narrowing Google’s commanding lead in the most lucrative piece of the online advertising market.
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A person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press that the details of the Microsoft-Yahoo alliance are expected to be announced Wednesday. This person spoke Tuesday night on condition on anonymity, confirming earlier reports, because the deal was not yet final.

Both Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft and Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo declined to comment late Tuesday.
The deal does not appear to be as far-reaching as many investors envisioned.

For instance, Yahoo would not get cash payments in advance from Microsoft. That development could disappoint investors. Yahoo Chief Executive Carol Bartz had pledged she would join forces with Microsoft only for “boatloads of money.”

Consumers have a recession message for marketers: Will click for coupons.

As consumers troll online to save money, searches that include value words such as “coupons” rose 161% in December vs. 2007 to 19.9 million and “discount” rose 26% to 7.9 million, reports tracker ComScore.
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As a result, spending by marketers on such search words is up, too. They bid online to tie their brands to search terms so their website appears as a “sponsored link” above the unpaid results or their text ad is to the right of the results. They generally offer to pay from 4 cents to $1 each time someone clicks on the link or ad.

Google, which controls 60% of the paid search ad market and whose AdWords is the largest auction system, says ad spending on value-related words such as coupons rose 30% in the fourth quarter over the same period a year earlier.

“Search is very much a barometer of the times,” says John Burke, Google director of industry development.

Promotion Marketing Association Coupon distribution and redemption had been flat in 2008 until the fourth quarter, when coupon distribution rose 7.5% and redemptions rose 15% vs. a year earlier, the Promotion Marketing Association says.

“That’s when consumers suddenly starting saying this is for real and marketers said we need to react with more coupons to keep our sales up,” says Charles Brown, co-chair of PMA’s coupon council and a vice president for coupon company NCH.

Brown says the Web is the fastest-growing coupon distribution medium for big marketers, up 80% in 2008.
How they are searching for sales:

Kraft.

Last fall it added “cooking on a budget” and “value” to its search roster. Offers include $1 coupons for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.

“We are using some different methods of paid search to reach people,” says Basil Maglaris, Kraft spokesman.

Procter & Gamble.

A brand search for Crest Whitening Strips will yield a $7 coupon. “By understanding what search terms to buy we are able to better understand how consumers are searching for our products,” spokeswoman Barbara Hauser says.

Unilever.

A search campaign linking coupon terms with Bertolli’s Oven Bake Meals boosted clicks for a $2 coupon. It’s been “generating a 25% to 30% click-through rate on couponing terms,” says Russel Lilly, senior brand manager. Even better, people buy the meals: The coupon has had a 30% redemption rate.

Your Online Rep Could Hurt Your Job Opportunities

As millions seek new jobs to replace positions lost in the recession, keep in mind that the Internet gives employers unprecedented access to information about you.

Employers aren’t content with facts gleaned from public records. They’re also using the Internet to assess your character. That means they’re searching your name on Google.

They’re visiting social-networking sites and reading blog posts. Unflattering comments and photos can put you out of the running for a job. So, you will want to clean up your online reputation before job hunting.

Search for yourself
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Your first step is to assess your online reputation. Start by doing a Google search of your name and its variations.
Do other searches that include your profession, previous employers and locations. You may be surprised what turns up.

You should also search networking sites. Pipl, Wink and PeekYou will allow you to search multiple sites quickly.

You will want to make two lists from your searches. On one list, place links to sites with unflattering information. On the other list, place links to flattering information.

Remove the negative

Maybe you posted some of the unflattering images or comments. In that case, remove them immediately. Err on the side of caution and remove anything that is potentially offensive.

Next, contact the owners of sites that cast you in a negative light. Send a polite e-mail message requesting that negative information be removed.

State your case clearly. If a post is erroneous, provide proof of its inaccuracy. It doesn’t hurt to mention that you’re job searching.

Things are more complicated with unflattering photos and truthful information. You will need to appeal to the writer’s sense of decency. Keep your requests pleasant and polite, and you may be successful.
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Promote the positive

Some sites will honor your requests. Other sites may not. So, you may need to mitigate negative posts with positive ones.

I recommend that you start a blog highlighting your professional skills. Write posts on your field to show off your professional knowledge. List your full name at the bottom of your posts. Include links to the positive comments you found. And be sure to list your accomplishments in your bio.

These postings should push the negative postings from Google’s top search results. You can also use your blog to speak indirectly to potential employers.

For example, say you share a name with a porn star. You don’t want potential employers to confuse the two of you. So, create a post listing people who share your name. It’s a good way to eliminate confusion.

Don’t forget networking sites
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Hey we are all on Xanga…use it to help your reputation. Networking sites like Facebook and MySpace are the biggest threat to your job search. Clean up any networking profiles you have.

If you don’t have networking profiles, create them. Then link to them on your blog. Employers will be able to find your profiles easily. Make sure these profiles are squeaky clean.

Why create the profiles? They can eliminate confusion. An employer won’t confuse you with that other Mary Johnson with a raunchy profile.

Create a profile on LinkedIn. Use it to showcase your professional accomplishments. You can also network with others who can help with your job search.

Microsoft Makes Deal with Facebook

Microsoft recently failed in its pursuit of Yahoo. It is paying people to use its search engine. Now Microsoft thinks it has found a promising source of users for its foundering search service: Facebook, the social networking site.
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Microsoft said Thursday at a meeting with financial analysts at its headquarters in Redmond, Wash., that it would soon begin providing Web search services and associated advertisements by the end of the year on the American portion of the popular social network.
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It makes sense in business the adage location, location , location is the mantra retailers use as one of the keys to successful business. “One of the issues with Microsoft search is that people just haven’t been exposed to it,” said Greg Sterling, founder of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm. “Familiarity and inertia keep people using what they use on the Web.”
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To Microsoft, Facebook is a quick way to expand the audience for its search engine. More than 29 million people actively use Facebook in the United States. They will soon see prominent displays of Microsoft’s Live Search box on their friends’ and their own Facebook pages.

The agreement augments an existing advertising deal that the companies struck in 2006 and later expanded globally. Microsoft already sells and manages display advertisements on Facebook. Last October, the companies inched even closer together when Microsoft invested $240 millionfor a 5 percent ownership stake in Facebook.

The search deal could be a lift to Microsoft as it seeks to catch up with Google and Yahoo in the search business. In June, Google accounted for 61.5 percent of search queries in the United States, dwarfing Yahoo, with 20.9 percent, and Microsoft, with 9.2 percent of queries, according to tracking firm comScore. One of the reasons Microsoft pursued Yahoo so doggedly this year was to increase its share in the overall market.

The deal marks the second important distribution agreement for Microsoft’s search service in as many months. In June, Hewlett-Packard, the world’s largest PC maker, agreed to put Microsoft’s service on its desktops.

Useful Techniques to Optimize Your Blog for The Major Search Engines

Nick Stamoulis wrote these ideas regarding effective blogging, should help us all I think. Blogs are generally a win-win situation IF you’re willing to set yourself up for success. To that end, here are some useful techniques to optimize your blog for the major search engines.
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1) Update your content often! – This works for both your readers and the search engines. Your readers love fresh content and it gives them a reason to check your blog more often. If the search engine crawlers determine that your site is updated frequently, they will be more inclined to index your site more often and your ranking opportunities are enhanced.

2) Focus on one keyword per post –It’s OK to provide variations and modifiers on your keyword or phrase but don’t overdo it. In your writing, if you discover other ideas that you want to include, it’s often best to separate that idea into a different blog post.

3) Use the keyword in the title – Use the keyword you want to optimize in the title of the post and make it descriptive. Follow up by using it in the text of your post as well but make it comfortably fit into the content without seeming forced or repetitive.

4) Put the keyword in the URL – Putting the keyword or phrase into the page URL adds extra relevance to the page from a search engine’s perspective. Instead of http://www.yetanotherblog,net/IrrelevantQueryString, try http://www.yetanotherblog.net/ keyword-topic-title

5) Provide relevant links – Look around for related sites that reinforce or even differ with the point you wish to make in your blog post and include them in the body of the text. To take this a step further, make the link itself descriptive. Instead of saying, “Check out this guy’s opinion here,” say, “Check out this guy’s opinion on keyword here’. Also, remember that other blog owners love links as much as you do so if you link to their site, they may be more inclined to link back to yours.

6) Make your blog easy to bookmark and share –Don’t overdo it and make your page seem too crowded with these things but make it easy for your readers to bookmark your site and share it with others by including bookmarking widgets from Digg, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us, etc. These are great tools for creating good linking opportunities and add a very effective Social Media Marketing angle to the blog.

7) Make every post count – It’s important to update your blog often for the reasons stated above but you also need to focus on the quality of the post. Put yourself in another blogger’s position and ask yourself: Is this relevant? Would I want to link to it? Would it be of value to MY readers?