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Net Briefs - August 2010

Posted on 6.22.2010

You already know that every issue of Website Magazine is filled with practical articles on a variety of topics from industry thought leaders. What you may not know is that within each issue we dedicate a few pages to covering the most important news and events in the industry - those that are most meaningful to the success Web professionals. Take a look below at the 'Net Briefs from our August 2010 issue below and don't miss out on another issue - subscribe to our monthly magazine now!

Google’s Caffeine Boost
Consumers are encountering a much different search results page thanks to Google’s new Web indexing system, Caffeine. Make no mistake – the impact on Internet businesses will be substantial moving forward. Google claims Web search listings are now 50 percent fresher as Caffeine enables index updates on a continuous basis rather than every few weeks. The result is an environment where more universally accessible content (video, image, audio and reviews) is available and it is intersecting with real-time search in a prominent way. The new index will force Web professionals to step up content development creation and their social media creativity to stay ahead of the competition and relevant to consumers.

Now Playing On YouTube
Creating videos to market your products and services became much simpler thanks to the introduction of a new set of cloudbased video editing tools from YouTube. Web marketers and content publishers can now build a library of online videos and increase opportunities for brand exposure at the same destination. YouTube users have the capability to cut from videos, create montages of different clips and add or change accompanying music using YouTube’s commercial library of licensed songs. While in itself a significant development, there’s also the possibility that the new video editor may be integrated into Google’s Chrome operating system to provide a completely Web-based tool for businesses looking to expand their use of YouTube.

Happy Bing Day!
Microsoft’s search engine Bing recently turned one year old, and it has maintained steady if not spectacular growth since being launched last June. ComScore has it accounting for 11.8 percent of U.S. Internet searches in the most recent monthly data, while Hitwise has a slightly more modest number of 9.43 percent. Both figures, however, are considerably higher than the numbers posted in May, 2009, the last data for Microsoft’s search product before it was re-launched under the Bing brand. The real opportunity for small business advertisers hoping to increase their ROI with Bing, however, should come when the Microsoft-Yahoo! search deal is implemented later this year.

Social Uprising
May was a telling month about the global power of social media, but it didn’t start out particularly well for category leader Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. An outpouring of criticism over the social network’s privacy policies was followed by a sweat-soaked, pseudo-apologetic stage appearance by Zuckerberg, all of which resulted in a Quit Facebook Day grassroots movement scheduled for the last day of the month. But research firm comScore reports that Facebook gained more than 8.5 million unique monthly visitors in May, rendering the estimated 30,000 defections irrelevant. In the U.K., social networks (11.88%) gained a higher percentage of Internet traffic in May than search engines (11.33%) for the first time in history — all indications that social may be on the way to overtaking search as the smart choice for advertising spend from marketers around the world.

Not Just for Daytime Anymore
The demand continues to grow for online video, which is great news for providers like Hulu and and their advertisers. According to a recent published report, the number of people in the U.S. who watched Internet video during television viewing hours rose 14 percent in the last year. That figure is now at around 65 million viewers tuned in to their computers and mobile devices instead of their televisions in the evenings during the week, and they are increasingly watching a broader range of content. Content then becomes the key piece to the puzzle as advertisers position themselves for the launch of Google TV and other platforms that will allow consumers to view virtually anything on a single device.

Hot Button Issues
While Facebook has brought privacy to the forefront of Internet users’ minds, security has not been far behind as the most hotly debated Web topic in recent weeks. Numerous Google employees were recently anonymously quoted as pointing to breaches in the Microsoft Windows operating system as the cause for attacks from Chinese hackers back in January, indicating that a companywide migration to Mac, Linux or Google’s own Chrome OS was forthcoming. Microsoft almost immediately responded with a post on its Windows blog that vigorously defended the product, and numerous Internet security companies have subsequently come out with their own support for the Windows operating systems. A week later, Microsoft launched a timely series of television commercials touting the primary features of Internet Explorer 8: security and privacy.

Better Days Ahead?
According to forecasting and analysis firm MagnaGlobal, worldwide online advertising revenues in 2010 are predicted to grow 12.4 percent higher than their 2009 totals. The projection for 2011 is another 11.7-percent rise, with growth leveling off at 11 percent for the next three years and global online ad spending to reach $103 billion in 2015. Paid search is expected to account for 49 percent of the world’s total online ad spending in 2010, up 16.5 percent from last year. The channels that make up the remaining 51 percent of the 2010 totals will constitute an 8.7-percent rise since 2009. In the U.S., paid search will represent 48 percent of the 2010 revenue, projected to reach $13 billion.

The Whole Package
Cisco Systems is trying to make it a little easier for small businesses to meet their growing IT demands in the face of over-extended budgets. Executives recently announced that Cisco is turning its small-business storage platforms into multipurpose devices with several features geared toward companies with less than 100 employees. In addition to hard drives and backup and encryption capabilities, the new NSS 300 Series Smart Storage systems can include a Web server, e-mail server, FTP server, RADIUS authentication server and other free features if customers choose to turn them on. Cisco said it believes that many small businesses don’t have these types of servers and will welcome the ability to implement them without having to buy and deploy a separate hardware platform.

Twitter’s Bombshell
Twitter dropped a bomb on the real-time search and social media community with the introduction of its T.CO URL shortening service. Twitter has been routing links within Direct Messages through its own link shortening service for security measures for several months, but they were previously wrapped with a URL. When the new T.CO service launches for all tweets later this summer, users will have a way to automatically shorten URLs when posted directly through Twitter. Since the micro-blogging service will be routing links through their own analytics system to gather metrics, its recently announced Promoted Tweets advertising platform cannot be too far behind. Twitter users may continue to use alternate URL shorteners, but the company plans to wrap all shortened links that are submitted. In one fell swoop, Twitter may have single-handedly squashed all URL shortening services.

iPhone 4
Perhaps Apple’s worst-kept secret was officially let loose in June, with the announcement of iPhone 4. Among the most progressive changes in the device are multitasking, HD video recording, on-the-fly video editing and the ability to video chat with both front- and rear-facing cameras and the new FaceTime app. During Steve Jobs’ unveiling, a crowded Wi-Fi connection kept the device from showing its stuff on several occasions. While not directly linked to AT&T’s notorious call-dropping reputation, it does hint at some potential problems; including the notion that multitasking could choke an already-burdened network. Who doesn’t have this problem? Android — due to the fact that its network is spread among several carriers.

Social to Go!
New data from comScore shows that mobile usage of social networking applications is exploding — to the tune of a 240 percent increase from April of this year, compared to April, 2009. Mobile visitors to social networking sites via browsers grew 90 percent, to 30 million users. This data points to the importance of a social and mobile strategy for businesses, including apps. The same study found that mobile application usage overall increased 28 percent, including news apps (124%), sports information (113%) and online banking (near double usage).

Admob is Banned From the Premises
Apple’s proposed new developer terms would prohibit any apps that include AdMob mobile ads from all of Apple’s mobile devices, including iPhone and iPad. Instead, Apple will use iAd, its own advertising platform. Omar Hamoui, founder of AdMob, had this to say on his blog: “This change is not in the best interests of users or developers. In the history of technology and innovation, it’s clear that competition delivers the best outcome. Artificial barriers to competition hurt users and developers and, in the long run, stall technological progress.” He added, “…we’ll be speaking to Apple to express our concerns about the impact of these terms.”

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