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Comcast Launches Faster Internet Service In Four New Markets

Comcast said today that it has launched its wideband Internet service in four more markets including Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore and Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Lynsey Silvesti, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, Comcast, told WebProNews that the roll out brings the company to its goal of reaching 10 major markets this year.

Ad Clutter Bad For Users, Advertisers
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Sites that are loaded with ads or what users view as ad clutter are more likely to have their messages ignored all together according to a new survey from Burst Media

The survey polled 4,000 Web users to gauge how ad clutter impacts their Internet experience and how it affects the perception of advertisers who place their ads on cluttered sites.

LinkedIn Gets a Google Brain
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LinkedIn has managed to swipe away a high profile Google executive to serve as Vice President of Products. Dipchand "Deep" Nishar has been working at Google as Director of Products, Asia-Pacific.

He is credited with helping start Google’s mobile business. According to Jessica E. Vascellaro at the Wall Street Journal:

LinkedIn Gains A Google Veteran

While it certainly is not an exodus there have been some high profile Google executives leaving the Mountain View nest for other opportunities.

Yahoo Spits Out Poison Pill
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As part of its plan to make an acquisition extremely unpalatable to Microsoft, Yahoo adopted a poison pill severance plan six months ago.  Now, for the sake of satisfying some shareholders who sued it, Yahoo has made it slightly easier for a new owner to fire employees.

Text Messaging Available In Gmail Chat
If you live in the US and are a user of Gmail’s chat service then you now have access to a pretty cool feature which allows you to send text messages right through the chat window!

We’re just trying it out for cell phones in the United States right now, but you can send texts to your friends with US phone numbers from anywhere in the world.

YouTube Provides a Support Resource for Abuse
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YouTube is introducing an Abuse and Safety Center at the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) conference in Washington, D.C. today. This provides users with a place to report problems as well as learn about ways to deal with different issues.

Blogs Are For More Than Just SEO

There are many benefits to publishing a business blog and improved search engine visibility is one of the most popular.  It’s pretty common advice to hear: start a blog and the fresh content will attract links, improving your search results.  Such tactical advice can be very effective.

Text Messaging Right From Gmail
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Gmail has introduced a new Labs feature that allows users to send SMS text messaages to their contacts directly from Gmail. This will help stay in touch with people you have been chatting with in Gmail if they are away from their computer.

To utilize this feature:

1. Click on Settings
2. Got to the Labs tab
3. Scroll down until you see "Text Messaging (SMS) in Chat"
4. Select Enable
5. Save Changes

Online Consumers Spending About The Same This Year
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Yes, online visits to retail sites have been up. Yes, retailers are seeing increases in transactions and visitors. What they’re not seeing, though, is more money spent per transaction, which could make things roughly square with last year.

Though there were 2 million more shoppers whipping about online on Cyber Monday, a 22 percent increase over last year and a full 34 percent of the shopping population did their shopping online, Cyber Monday revenue went up a paltry one percent.

Search Advertising For Beginners
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In the session "Search Advertising 101" the speakers offered advice to those who are new to the search advertising industry.

(Coverage of SES Chicago continues at WebProNews Videos.  Keep an eye on WebProNews for more notes and videos from the event this week.)

Google Opens New Office For Federal Enterprise Sales
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In a recession, steady customers are a business’s best friend, and it’s hard to name anything as rock-solid (impending change of leadership aside) as the U.S. government.  So Google’s done a rather clever thing and opened an office for the federal division of its Enterprise Sales group in Reston, Virginia.

Microsoft’s adCenter Desktop To Exit Beta
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Microsoft’s adCenter Desktop, currently in beta testing, is about to go public, said Jeremy Lamothe, Search Account Manager for Microsoft Advertiser and Publisher Solutions at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in Chicago.

(Coverage of SES Chicago continues at WebProNews Videos.  Keep an eye on WebProNews for more notes and videos from the event this week.)

Yahoo Investor Wants Search Business Sold To Microsoft

Ivory Investment Management can’t order anyone to do anything.  Since it’s only in control of 1.5 percent of Yahoo’s stock, Ivory may not even be able to make suggestions using a loud voice.  Still, the investment firm is adding to all the previous Yahoo-Microsoft mess by recommending a sale of Yahoo’s search business.

Online Holiday Spending Up 7 Percent
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Online holiday spending continues to be the one bright spot in the woeful economy, according to a new report from comScore.

For the holiday season through December 7, $15.63 billion has been spent online, about the same level compared to the same period last year. During the first week since Cyber Monday (December 1-December 7), sales totaled $4.45 billion, up 7 percent over a year ago.

Google Pushing Charity Through iGoogle Themes
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Keeping within the Holiday spirit, Google is doing something a little more significant than helping track the path of Santa Claus. They’re offering a number of iGoogle themes for causes in an effort to spread awareness and raise donations.

They’re clearly taking it seriously because there is a link to them right from the front page of the search engine, and usually there is not a whole lot of change going on there aside from the occasional doodle.

Congress Tells Martin He Officially Sucks

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin won’t be leaving his post with his legacy in tact or without a kick to the backside from Congress.

SEO Tools To Get Things Done
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In the session "SEO Tools" the panel discussed a variety of tools that can be used for site optimization.

(Coverage of SES Chicago continues at WebProNews Videos.  Keep an eye on WebProNews for more notes and videos from the event this week.)

Bob Briski, Software Marketing Consultant, Raybeam, recommended the following tools:

Yahoo! Pipes

Google Analytics

Yahoo Site Explorer

AOL Trying To Monetize Bebo

I know I have been tough on AOL in the recent past. Unfortunately, they make themselves such an easy target that you almost feel dirty taking shots.

Yahoo’s Guide to Laying Off Workers

Google’s frenemy Yahoo is laying off many people and provides a detailed guideline for management on how to tell employees the news. The guideline, which was leaked to Valleywag, contains instructions like the following:

Bebo Opens Up With Social Inbox

The AOL owned social networking site Bebo, has launched a "Social Inbox" that allows users to aggregate all of their social media into their profiles.

The Social Inbox aggregates feeds and updates from Twitter, Flickr, Delicious, YouTube, and AIM. Users will also be able to access Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and AOL Mail in one-click. The new mail feature allows users to see previews of new email messages.

Users of AOL and AIM will now be able to log directly into Bebo using their existing screen names.

People Don’t Trust Your Blog

Forrester Research has released a report (you must fill out a form to get it) that details how much people trust different information sources. At the top of the list is email from people they know. At the bottom are company blogs. This is precisely why company blogs should be treated more like emails to friends.

SEM Tips For Small Businesses
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In the "SEM Small Business Blitz" session the speakers focused on how to use social media in an affordable and practical way.

 (Coverage of SES Chicago continues at WebProNews Videos.  Keep an eye on WebProNews for more notes and videos from the event this week.)

Jennifer Evans Laycock, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Guide, offered advice on social media marketing.

Browsers Judged On Privacy, Personalization
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Personalization can be nice; looked at one way, it’s what leads the bartender at a favorite pub to get your Guinness the moment you arrive.  It can be kind of a drag, too, though – do you want your friendly neighborhood pharmacist to remember your every problem? – and so personalization was weighed against privacy in an SES Chicago session called "Battle of the Browsers."