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Evercore Upgrades Google Ahead Of Q1 Report

There are six days to go until Google announces its first quarter financial results, and as people begin to weigh in with predictions, the analysts at investment banking firm Evercore are optimistic that things will go well.  Indeed, Evercore upgraded Google and raised its price target today.

With respect to the first half of that development, Swetha Gopinath reported, "Evercore Partners upgraded Google Inc to ‘equal-weight’ from ‘underweight’ citing positive advertising trends on strong e-commerce spending but said Facebook remains a concern."

AOL Adds New Content Partnerships

AOL has reached new content partnerships with Sporting News, Everyday Health and Move Inc as part of its strategy to create unique original content.

Tim-Armstrong-AOL “AOL will be doubling down on our strategy in 2011,” said Tim Armstrong, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AOL Inc.

comScore Assigns Gains To Google, Bing In December
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New stats from comScore are out, and as seen by the research firm, it seems the December search market was an eventful place.  Google and Bing both managed to increase their market shares, while Yahoo saw a somewhat substantial drop occur.

Let’s start at the top.  According to comScore, Google’s market share rose to 66.6 percent, putting it a rounded decimal point away from being the search engine used by two-thirds of Americans (if you figure that 66 and two-thirds would round up to 66.7).

Building a Better Twitter Following
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The concept of quality over size when it comes to an audience is nothing new, and frankly when it comes to social media, the sermon is getting a little tired. We’ve heard it plenty of times. 

However, Twitter has been sharing some interesting information on its media blog lately that really drives the point home, providing data to back up the notion that quality over quantity is important when building a healthy Twitter following. 

Facebook Desktop Sends You Notifications Without Browser
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A computer scientist named Charles Bihis, who works for Adobe, has created a desktop client for Facebook, fittingly named Facebook Desktop. The app is a side project for Bihis, and is not directly affiliated with either Adobe or Facebook, but Facebook users may find it useful nonetheless. 

Rumor Points To More Problems For Google-ITA Deal
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Don’t call your stockbroker or even place an informal bet just yet.  The latest info on the proposed Google-Fairsearch deal represents a rumor twice over.  Still, a report’s indicated that the Department of Justice might decide to step in and stop the acquisition.

Foursquare Launches Quest to Get More Local Businesses
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Foursquare announced the expansion of its "Ambassador Program", a pilot program the company launched last year that lets users get their favorite venues signed up for the Foursquare’s Specials platform. The program is designed to get more businesses on Foursquare. 

Bing-Yahoo Transition Moves Forward In Australia, Brazil, Mexico
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Australia, Brazil, and Mexico have populations of 22.5 million, 190.7 million, and 112.3 million people, respectively.  Which adds up to 325.5 million potential users, all in all.  It’s a big deal, then, that the Bing-Yahoo search transition progressed in these three countries today.

Irrelevant Keywords Can Be Costly
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Some Google AdWords advertisers are not pleased with what they are finding in Google’s Search Query Performance reports for their campaigns. These reports show advertisers what keyword queries are surfacing their ads, and some are finding some of these keywords questionable. 

PayPal Provides Payment Solution for New WebMatrix
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Today, Microsoft launched WebMatrix, a new tool described as a way  to make web development easier for people of all skill sets – from the novice to the expert. Now, PayPal has announced the PayPalX helper built specifically for Microsoft’s offering. 

PayPalX Helper lets developers integrate payments within their web sites or e-commerce applications built using WebMatrix.

John F. Kennedy Archive Moves Online
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The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation has introduced the nation’s largest online digitized presidential archive, offering access to papers, records, photographs and recordings of President Kennedy’s thousand days in office.

People Want More Information About Doctors Online
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U.S. adults with a primary care physician spend more time researching the latest electronic gadget or a gift for a friend than they do choosing a doctor, according to a new study released by Insider Pages and conducted by Harris Interactive.

At the same time, the majority of U.S. adults with a primary care physician wish they could find more comprehensive information about their doctors online.

Experian Hitwise Records Another Bing Bump In December

Last month, Bing employees got a present of sorts, only this wasn’t the type of thing a person can stuff under a tree or into an envelope.  New data from Experian Hitwise instead indicates that Bing’s share of the search market rose by five percent between November and December.

That’s significant on its own, considering how well and how long Google’s dominated the field.  As an added bonus: Yahoo’s share of the search market stayed rock-steady, meaning the Bing-Yahoo team increased its standing as a whole.

Zillow Adds Real Estate Agent Ratings
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Real estate website Zillow has introduced a new feature that allows home buyers and sellers to search for local real estate agents based on ratings and reviews.

When people use the Zillow Directory to search for a real estate agent in their area, results are sorted by local agents with the highest overall ratings and the largest number of reviews.

Microsoft Launches WebMatrix Web Dev Tool with Built-in SEO
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Microsoft has released a new web development tool called WebMatrix, which the company says is designed to let developers of "all skill levels" create, customize, and publish websites to the Internet. 

WebMatrix brings together a Web server, a database, and programming frameworks, letting users code, test, and deploy both deploy both ASP.NET and PHP applications side by side. It also includes built-in SEO features. 

CityVille Hits 100 Million User Mark
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Less than two months ago, something called "CityVille" launched on Facebook.  Now, statistics indicate it’s hit a tremendous milestone – the 100 million user mark – making the game a huge success and its creator, Zynga, a good deal richer.

Facebook Groups As A Small Business Intranet Option
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When Facebook Groups was unveiled last year, I was skeptical. Facebook tinkers with its platform so much (to its credit) that I sometimes just tune out. Professionally, I need to know about these changes. And, more importantly, I need to know how they impact my clients. But, this one just didn’t do much for me.

Until I started revisiting the tool recently.

German Government May Fine Businesses for Using Google Analytics
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How much do you rely on web analytics? Probably a great deal, and with good reason. It’s incredibly hard to get ahead online without looking at analytics and using that information to your advantage. Many of you probably use Google Analytics for this, but what if the government threatened to fine you for doing so? 

Yahoo Launches Online Sports Magazine
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Yahoo Sports has launched “ThePostGame,” an online magazine it says “covers the world of sports from a lifestyle and entertainment perspective.”

ThePostGame features one-on-one interviews with athletes and coaches, The High Five, a daily line up of the five most popular sports links and original content from sports related blogs.

MySpace CEO Admits Sale, Merger, Spinoff Possibilities
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In an attempt to increase its appeal, homeowners often clean, repaint, and recarpet a house before trying to sell it.  And similarly, following a talk by CEO Mike Jones, it’s starting to look more and more like a significant overhaul and major layoffs at MySpace are geared towards helping News Corp. get rid of the property.

Which Parts of Your Company Should Be Listening to Social Media

Co-authored by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund

“Once upon a time, customer contact was centralized around the switchboard, and the phone was the preferred method for communication between companies and customers. When it rang, you answered, because it was likely a customer or a potential customer on the other end of the line. Now, the calls are coming through online, via the social phone.”

iOS 4.3 Beta Reveals New iPhone, iPad Features
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Apple’s iOS may have been surpassed by Android on Millennial Media’s network, but iOS is stealing the headlines this week. 

Turning to the Human Brain for More Accurate Market Research
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Google Changes Display URLs for AdWords Ads
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Google will be changing the way display URLs look in AdWords ads in the next week or so. The domain portion of the display URL will always be showing in lowercase letters.  For example, Subdomain.Example.com/Subdirectory will appear as subdomain.example.com/Subdirectory. Google suggests that the move can actually boost clickthrough rates.