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Online Shoppers Want More Interactivity From Retailers
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Consumers want online retailers to be more interactive and offer more personalization features according to a new a survey from IBM.

The changing economy has led to a smarter consumer who uses technology to make more informed buying decisions, exchange information with others, make purchases on-the-go and shop multiple channels.

Would Conan Work on the Web?
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Unless you live under a rock, you are probably at least somewhat familiar with the current controversy regarding NBC’s shifting of late night television talk show programming that appears to be leading to an uncertain future for current Tonight Show host Conan O’Brien. I’m not going to get into that whole story here.

American Idol Hits With “Pants On The Ground”

American Idol may be only two episodes into its ninth season, but the show already has a big online hit on its hands.  63-year-old Larry Platt performed a self-written song called "Pants on the Ground" last night, and hundreds of thousands of people are talking about his energetic routine today.

Once Upon a Time There Was a Business That Needed a Marketing Campaign
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The most powerful marketing campaigns are often the ones that we as consumers can identify with or connect to in some way. One way that businesses invoke such a feeling from potential customers is by telling a story with their marketing. This is called (appropriately) storyteller marketing.

Yahoo, Adobe Identified As Victims Of China Hack
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When Google made its big announcement about an attack originating from China, the company also mentioned that "at least twenty other large companies" had been affected.  Now, it’s become almost certain that one of them was Adobe, and there are signs that Yahoo was another target.

U.S. PC Shipments Up 24%

The global PC market saw double-digit growth in the fourth quarter, led by strong U.S. holiday sales of low-cost netbooks, according to the latest report by IDC.

Google Launches Relief Site To Help Haiti
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Survivors of the earthquake in Haiti are going to receive help from Google in a big way.  On a new Support Disaster Relief site, Google’s released satellite imagery of the destruction to spread awareness, created a list of relevant charities to encourage donations, and promised to contribute $1 million of its own money, as well.

China Responds to Google Situation

Update:  Chinese government officials have responded to Google’s proposed actions. As reported by Bloomberg:

Baidu’s Stock Soars Following Google China News
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Reactions to Google’s announcement about a possible withdrawal from China have been mixed so far; there have been objections from individuals who think its absence will deprive the Chinese people of information, while others approve of what they consider a moral stand.  But Baidu’s investors probably aren’t too conflicted, as the company’s stock imitated a bottle rocket today.

Vevo Attracts 35 Million Visitors In December
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Online music video service, Vevo, was the most visited U.S. website in the entertainment-music category in December with more than 35 million unique visitors, according to comScore.

Partners in Vevo include Universal Music Group, Sony Entertainment and investor Abu Dhabi Media Company. The site is powered by YouTube.

Vevo says its top ranking is an achievement because it did not launch until December 8 and it was not live for the full month of December, which comScore bases its results.

Keyword Hints Used Now More for AdSense For Domains
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Google announced today that AdSense for Domains is now using optional keyword hints more often. Keyword hints are provided by the user, who enters keywords into a field to assist Google in the targeting of ads for potentially ambiguous domains. Google’s Randy Heath explains:

Google Makes More Search Gains
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December’s supposed to be a month of miracles, and – at least in terms of gaining market share – Google seems to have pulled off a minor one.  New Nielsen stats show that the search giant increased the distance between itself and competitors by a considerable amount.

Realtor.com Launches iPhone App
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Realtor.com, the website for the National Association of Realtors, has launched a Real Estate Search iPhone app.

Users can search for every property listed on Realtor.com by price, location, property type, MLS ID number, square foot, lot size, open house events, distance from a user’s current location and age.

The real estate iPhone app allows users to send a link of a specific property via email, Twitter or Facebook to family, friends or a realtor.

Pingdom Names Facebook “Most Engaging Social Network”
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Some people use their Facebook account like another email address, logging in, checking their messages, and logging out.  Others just add a couple of friends, skim a few status updates, and call it a day.  But data from Pingdom proves that Facebook does a far better job of engaging people than other social networks.

Less Than Half Of Americans Read A Daily Newspaper
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Less than half (43%) of Americans say they read a daily newspaper, either online or in print almost everyday, according to a new report from Adweek Media and Harris Interactive.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Americans say they read one at least once a week while 81 percent read a daily newspaper at least once a month. Ten percent say they never read a daily

Google Now Rejecting AdWords Ads Without Proper Display
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Google has made an adjustment to the way it handles display URLs for AdWords ads. This is the URL that appears within the ad itself, that users see before they click on it. The adjustment is for sites that sit on shared or hosted domains.

Facebook, McAfee Partner
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Win-win-win situations don’t crop up too often, but Facebook and McAfee seem to have orchestrated one on a very large scale.  The two companies announced this morning that they’ve partnered to provide Facebook’s users with free security software.

Netflix To Be Available On The Wii This Spring
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Netflix said today it has reached an agreement with Nintendo that will allow Netflix members who own a Wii to instantly stream movies and TV shows directly to their TVs.

Netflix is scheduled to go live on the Wii this spring in the United States at no additional cost to Netflix members who have a plan starting at $8.99 a month, a Wii console and a broadband Internet connection.

Gmail Switches to Default Https Encryption Following Attack
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As news of Google’s China situation dominates headlines, the company has also announced that it is turning on https access for Gmail as the default (Gmail accounts were hacked in China, in case you haven’t read about that yet).

Https, which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is used to provide encryption and secure ID. Back in 2008 Google started giving users the option to use it.

Google May Quit China
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Google released a stunning blog post that details a "sophisticated and targeted attack" on Gmail that "resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google".

Google notes that the attack was not just on Google infrastructure but also on more than twenty other companies from various industries. Google states that they are working with the authorities in the U.S. and will be notifying the companies of the breaches.

VMware’s Acquisition Of Zimbra Made Official
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The rumors about Yahoo selling Zimbra have finally become fact.  Today, VMware announced that it’s acquired the open source email and collaboration specialist, and although the financial details weren’t disclosed, corporate representatives on all sides of the transaction seem pleased.

Google Shows Flu Trends for 121 Cities in the U.S.

Microsoft is not the only one with some new offerings in the way of health search today. Google has added a slew of new cities to its Flu Trends product. The move is timed well, as the company acknowledges that it is National Influenza Vaccination Week.

Facebook Becomes Sponsor Of Apache Software Foundation
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Today, the Apache Software Foundation gained a new sponsor: Facebook.  Facebook is a gold sponsor, too, which means that the social network expressed its support for open source software by volunteering to donate $40,000 per year to the ASF.

Cynics shouldn’t waste their time looking for an ulterior motive.  Facebook won’t get much out of this deal aside from a link on the ASF’s "Thanks" page, an ASF logo to put on its own site, and a PR blurb.

Bing Gets New Health Search Features

Today Microsoft announced some new health search capabilities for its Bing search engine. The "decision engine" is now providing more content from new partners and instant answers with "hard-to-discover data", the company says.

Users can find instant, specialized information about illnesses, treatments, medical facilities, etc. when entering health-related queries.