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Google Acquiring Video Game Ad Company

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Google has agreed to acquire Adscape, a company that puts ads inside of video games, for $23 million. Google had missed out on Massive, a company Microsoft picked up for $200-400 million about a year ago, and is going to have to settle for the much smaller Adscape, which it will have to build into a bigger player. Judging by Google’s great success with dMarc, I’d assume nothing at this point.

Adscape is a video game advertising company whose AdverPlay product lets developers place dynamic ads right inside the game and Real Virtual Gateway product enables two-way text, audio and video communication via SMS Text or eMail.

Also, Google has added a column in its AdWords interface that shows an ads quality score, which determines how much advertisers must pay above the minimum bid if their ad isn’t particularly good. They are also making some changes in how the quality score is calculated.

Google has also taken Webmaster Central out of beta
and added comments to its Webmaster Central blog. The blog is now the first official Google blog to have comments, as far as I know, probably due to a desire to have a more official place for public feedback than Matt Cutts blog.

Another change: Advertisers can now use site targeting for pay-per-click ads, not just CPM ads. I can imagine some AdSense publishers not liking this one, others thinking its sliced bread good.

Also, AdSense publishers got two 1099 tax forms from Google this year due to some sort of error. Google says they will not need to worry, as the forms may have been printed twice for publishers, but they were not sent twice to the IRS. Still, I’m worried, because my 1099 had my name misspelled! How do you misspell something when the computer that spits out my monthly checks from Google knows the right spelling? Did someone type up these forms by hand?

Finally, Ask.com is doing a funny thing: If you search for yahoo.com on Google, you might see an ad by Ask advertising their search engine. Yahoo is a pretty popular search term, because some idiots use Google for typing URLs instead of the always-there address bar, and Ask is hoping to catch their attention. Craziness.

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