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  • Steven Woda

Daily Roundup for 2008-03-12

If you thought click fraud was bad, consider this: your Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing ads and Microsoft adCenter accounts are new targets for spyware applications, hackers and scam artists. If thieves obtain access to your pay-per-click account, they are in complete control of your pay-per-click activity and could place ads on their behalf but charge your account for them.

Virtually anyone can edit an entry on Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia. But its founder is finding it’s not so easy to cover his tracks after a messy breakup with a TV personality and a dust-up over his expenses began playing out on the Web. It’s not the first time that Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia’s de facto leader, has found his behavior questioned — especially since no subject appears too arcane for dissection by Wikipedia’s passionate community of users. The latest episodes, however, reverberated beyond the usual die-hards.

The advantage and disadvantage for Internet ads has always been "the last click." On one hand, its inherent measurability has established the Web as the most quantifiable medium. On the other, it has resulted in Internet ads that are more geared to response than branding. Now, advertisers are moving beyond counting clicks and even impressions to get a fuller view of the contribution other, richer forms of digital ads make to eventual sales. Microsoft has started to test "Engagement Mapping," a tool that promises to assign value to all forms of digital advertising preceding the last click to that advertiser’s Web site.

Many marketers say they have a handle on Web 2.0. They’re LinkedIn, they update their status in Facebook and have followers on Twitter. But in reality, there’s a lot of talk about the social media space — and not necessarily a lot of actual work behind the words. When creating new concepts for a company to incorporate Web 2.0 features, such as user-generated reviews, viral marketing tactics and spreading information via word of mouth, keep in mind that without allowing consumers to have input and control, a carefully crafted marketing or advertising program can end up with very few users, or can even be lambasted on the latest industry blog that lives to make fun of poorly conceived campaigns.

Word-of-mouth marketing is a high impact, low cost tactic everyone wants to leverage. In theory, it’s a marketers’ dream — communications that pass from person-to-person, requiring no effort or additional money? And the messages travel through extended social networks of brand advocates? Sign us up! But in practice, word-of-mouth campaigns can be difficult to execute and sometimes they backfire.

25% of traffic to e-commerce and classified advertising sites in February came from search engines, according to new data from Internet research firm Hitwise. The same percent came from search engines in February 2007.

Online brand abuse trended upwards in 2007, although there were pockets of progress, reports MarkMonitor, a company that protects brands from online abuse. The company’s Brandjacking Index, developed by tracking millions of Internet actions and e-mails, shows that the most common way criminals try to take advantage of well-known brands is by “cybersquatting,” creating web sites whose domain names include trademarked names. As an example, MarkMonitor points to, a site selling counterfeit goods whose URL combined the well-known fashion names Gucci and Fendi. There were 382,000 instances of cybersquatting noted in the fourth quarter of 2007, a 33% increase from the first quarter of the year.

Do you belong to any online communities, and if so, what are they and why do you find them useful? Online communities are not as easy to form as you would think, although we all hear about Facebook and MySpace and Twitter as if it took nothing to build one. As part of Stealthmode’s mission, I’ve been helping some sites develop their online communities lately, and I’ve been studying the issue to try to find out what makes them work. The four sites are completely different.

A new study indicates that bloggers are better adjusted and have happier social lives. That’s probably because their businesses are doing better. Smaller businesses, are you blogging yet? TechCrunch reports on the research: "A new study has found Bloggers are better adjusted and live healthier, happier social lives. The research, from Swinburne University of Technology found that "people felt they had better social support and friendship networks than those who did not blog" after a two month blogging period when compared to people who do not blog." If blogging can do that for your social life imagine what it can do for your business?

With the announcement of Open AIM 2.0, AOL is making its Instant Messenger (AIM) network available to developers and third-party instant messaging applications, giving businesses more options in how they manage communications.

Building brand loyalty has become a struggle for retailers; however, personalization has the potential to help them to enhance customer allegiance and differentiate their products in highly competitive markets. Though in an early stage of evolution at the moment, customized shopping experiences are expected to become more common as the e-commerce market’s ongoing maturation continues.

For anyone doing business online, commerce meets collaboration at a Web 2.0 portal — a mutual touchpoint for a company, its partners and customers (plus all their contacts) as well as a personalized filter of information and services found on the Web. Th

Apple Inc. unveiled plans to make the iPhone more appealing to corporate users, part of an ambitious effort to reshape the cellular-phone business that has picked up a deep-pocketed new backer, Kleiner Perkins.

Investor Warren Buffett has displaced Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates at the top of the list of the world’s richest individuals for 2008, Forbes magazine said. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, a 23-year-old worth $1.5 billion, is the world’s youngest billionaire, according to Forbes.

It seems like just yesterday we were introduced to Internet Explorer 7. Now the next member of the browser is on its way. Internet Explorer 8 is currently in its beta testing phase. And it’s open to the public. So you can get a look at what’s to come.

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