Net Briefs - April '14

Getty Images Unlocks Its Photo Vault

Getty Images is making millions of its stock images available free via a new embedding tool. Now, anyone can share Getty images for non-commercial use on websites, blogs and social media. The embedded images include photographer attribution and links back to, where photos can be licensed for commercial use. Although this may seem like a huge change of heart from the stock photography juggernaut, which has been known to fight against the illegal use of its content, the new tool will actually allow Getty to track the use of its images and could ultimately lead to new monetization possibilities.

eBay Tries on Virtual Fitting Room Tech

eBay recently acquired PhiSix, a technology startup that creates 3-D models of clothing from photos and pattern files, which is expected to be integrated across eBay's portfolio of services in the near future. The technology enables customers to understand the fit and movement of clothes better without having to try them on, which may increase conversions.

Twitter Keeps Ads Top of Mind

Since its IPO, Twitter has put a bigger focus on ads, understandably. For example, the official network of Larry the Bird rebranded its Ads API as well as expanded its Promoted Accounts offering in February. The rebrand changes the name of Twitter's Ads API to the Twitter Marketing Platform Program and features a new website for the program. Conversely, the expansion of Promoted Accounts brings the advertising option, which was previously only seen in Timelines, to the Twitter search result pages. According to Twitter, the social network will select relevant queries for Promoted Accounts based on an advertiser's targeting settings.

Google Hightlights Consumer Opinions in Search Ads

Google is rolling out a new format for search ads that features consumer opinion data. Dubbed Consumer Ratings Annotations, the format highlights one or more "strongly rated" aspects of an advertiser's business. An insurance company, for instance, could run an ad that features an annotation on claims handling. According to Google, tests with beta advertisers showed that the feature increased click-through rates (CTR) by 10 percent on average.

Social Sites that Drive Sales

A recent study from Shopify shows just how important social is to a merchant's bottom line. Data from the report revealed that Facebook is the top source of social traffic and sales, with almost two thirds of all social media visits to Shopify stores originating from the popular social network. Moreover, Facebook has the highest conversion rate for all social media ecommerce traffic at 1.85 percent. That said, the social site that generates the highest average order value (AOV) is a bit of a surprise, with data finding that community style site Polyvore is producing an AOV of $66.75, topping Instagram at $65, Pinterest at $58.95 and Facebook at $55.

WordPress Officially Welcomes E-Ecommerce

Ecommerce merchants can now publish content on their WordPress sites and sell on them too, as the Web software provider has unveiled a new offering for business users that enables them to connect their sites to their online stores. The offering provides three ecommerce partners to choose from: Ecwid, Shopify and ShopLocket. To connect sites, users need to visit the 'ecommerce Plugins' option from their dashboard, select the desired service and enter necessary account details. It is also important to note that Business users without online stores can create one from the 'Settings' page.

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