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Local.com Pays $5m for Local Ad Solution Provider Octane360

Local search site Local.com has acquired Octane360, a provider of domain-based local ad solutions for small businesses, domain portfolio owners, agencies and channel partners.

Local.com is paying $5 million in cash and stock, with an earnout of up to $5.9 million if certain performance criteria are met in the two-year period following the closing.

Ben Huh Talks Building a Business Founded on Lolcats
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Do you think lolcats are silly? You may be right, but that doesn’t mean they can’t provide important business lessons (if you can get lessons from Justin Bieber, why not lolcats?).

Google Generated $54b for Businesses, Publishers, Non-profits in ’09
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Google has released a report that details its economic impact in each of the 50 states in the U.S. In the report, Google says it generated $54 billion of economic activity for American businesses, website publishers, and non-profits in 2009.

"In a time of tighter budgets and a slow economic recovery, we’re glad to support so many small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country by helping them find new customers more efficiently and monetize their websites through targeted advertising," says Claire Hughes Johnson, Vice President, Global Online Sales.

MerchantCircle Aims to Duplicate U.S. Success Internationally
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MerchantCircle is going international. The local business social network, which gets nearly six million unique monthly visitors (according to Compete data), should be increasing that number greatly as it expands into Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

How Are The Olympics And Entrepreneurs Similar?
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The winter Olympics are off to an interesting start, as always. And while I’ve only caught parts, I did manage to watch short track skating when Apolo Ohno miraculously won silver. From the qualifying heats to the final race he was pretty amazing to watch.

While his competition in those qualifying races wasn’t super stiff, you could still see the mark of experience…As well as how strong and fit he is going into this competition. In both of those early heats he calmly hung out in the back of the pack waiting for the chance to make his move.

Google’s Place Pages Just Got More Useful
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Google has introduced some new features for its recently launched Place Pages for local businesses. Most notably, businesses can now instantly (close anyway) post data to their Place Pages from Google’s Local Business Center dashboard. If you log in, you can post updates, coupons, announcements, etc. that will go live in minutes.

Businesses Benefit From Reviews On Their Website

Small businesses that features reviews on their website are seeing significant returns, according to a new survey from RatePoint.

Among the 30 percent of small business retailers who had product reviews on their websites, 43 percent said reviews had led to more sales, while 28 percent indicated they had resulted in more traffic.
Neal-Creighton

Social Media Not a Priority for Many Small Businesses
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Citibank has released the results of a survey about small business social media use. According to Citibank, few small business owners and managers are increasingly using social networking sites.

Over 500 small business executives across the United States were surveyed, and 76% of them haven’t found sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to be helpful in generating business leads or expanding their business during the last year. 86% said they hadn’t used social networks to get business advice or information either.

Google Gives Local Businesses New Way to Advertise
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Google has introduced a new type of ad for local businesses called Local Listing Ads. They are designed to display when users search for a business in its local area. Google says it’s the easiest way to advertise your business to local customers on Google, because they require no maintenance. 

Google Revamps Mobile Local Search Experience
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Google has launched a new version of local search for mobile. This version heavily utilizes Google Maps to make organization of results easier on your phone.

The new local search for mobile lets you find business listings on Google Maps while you’re on your computer, where you can "star" them. Once you star them, you can easily find your starred listings grouped together from your phone, making it easy to keep the listings you need while you’re out, together. This can potentially make errand running a lot easier, as demonstrated in the video below.

AT&T Enters the Yahoo Ad-Selling Business
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Yahoo and AT&T announced a partnership, where AT&T will sell Yahoo! display ad inventory to local businesses in the US. They will begin doing so later this summer.

"Local businesses are looking to drive in-store traffic, and our alliance with AT&T Interactive will help them reach a local audience of highly-engaged potential customers on Yahoo!," said Jim Schinella, Senior Vice President, North America Region, Yahoo!.

Yahoo Giving Out $20K in Search Marketing Credits
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Yahoo is launching a campaign with Bank of America this week, which a spokesperson for Yahoo tells WebProNews is essentially "a big online push for BofA to build visibility and facilitate dialogue in the small business community."

Yahoo’s Small Business Answers Center is designed for small business owners with "great ideas and good questions," who don’t always get credible answers.

eBay Challenges Sellers to Use Only eBay
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eBay aims to "spark the entrepreneurial spirit" among its sellers with today’s launch of the eBay Sellers Challenge. The challenge is for sellers to answer the question: "How would you use $25,000 go grow – or start – an eBay business?"

How Bad Times Are Good Times For Small Business
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Bankruptcies are the highest they’ve been since 2001, a million people have lost their jobs, and small businesses got the stimulus package shaft. And that’s the good news.

It’s all good news, says Mark Deo, executive director of The Small Business Advisory Network and author of The Rules of Attraction: Fourteen Practical Rules to Help Get the Right Clients, Talent and Resources to Come to You!

Google Launches Network to Promote Small Business Causes
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Google announced the launch of a new initiative called the Small Business Network in an effort to contribute what it can to the success of small businesses, which are Google’s bread and butter.

Small Businesses Name Economy As Job No. 1 For Obama
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With the inauguration of President-Elect Obama just days away, small business owners affected by recession see restoration of the country’s economy as his top priority, but many lack faith in him to improve matters, according to a poll of 50,000 small business clients by email and direct mail marketing company VerticalResponse.

Google Gets More Integrated Into TV Advertising
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NBC UniversalAs more television makes the transition to the Internet, Google is doing its part to bring a little of the Internet back to television. It is doing so through a newly signed deal with NBC Universal (NBCU) in a move to help NBCU attract "new kinds" of advertisers.

Google Thinks AdWords Is Your Best Friend
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As a small business or site publisher, the route to Moneyville displays signs pointing to Google’s advertising products. In Google’s estimation, of course, but they may be correct.

Yahoo Offers New Hosting Service For Small Businesses

Yahoo Small Business said on Wednesday that it is offering unlimited disk space, data transfer and email storage space for $11.95 per month.

The service plan allows small businesses to launch a new business or expand an existing one online. Business owners will not have to be concerned about the bandwidth and storage limits of their plan.

For Local/B2B, Organic May Be Better Than PPC
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It can be especially difficult for business-to-business companies and brick-and-mortar stores to stand out in search results, especially if their relying on local results or paid listings. The answer to that, of course, is good (old fashioned?) SEO.

Galen De Young, managing director of Francis SEO, says research suggests b2b customers overwhelmingly ignore PPC ads in favor of organic listings. That and local search often fails to present businesses that serve a larger area than just their home base, or also nearby cities.

Marks Post Link Bait?

I recently spotted a blog post by Adam Senour over at Walk My Path. The post outlines why Gene Marks is right on certain comments from the blog post. I must say I didn’t think I would find someone defending Gene marks comments like Adam has.