Cashing Out: Week of February 4th – 11th 2012 in Online Marketing News

Klout’s first acquisition, local app Blockboard

Social influence measurement company Klout is gaining, well, clout with its very first acquisition, reports TechCrunch.

In a February 7 post on the company blog, Klout announced a new deal with Blockboard, a local and mobile app for connecting people within a neighborhood. Blockboard essentially allows neighbors to communicate about hyper-local issues, with a Blockwatch for crime and infrastructure problems, among other features – a sort of online community to compliment an existing physical one.

“With their experience, Blockboard brings an awareness of how social media can be meaningfully woven into the fabric of a local community, as well as a killer mobile app development team,” Klout founder and CEO Joe Fernandez wrote in the blog post.

“Integrating the Blockboard team, technology and expertise is a significant investment into enriching the local and mobile experience for our passionate users, and will be an incredible boost for all of us.”

Though the financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, its likely Klout used some of the newfound cash from its recent $30 million funding round to foot the bill. The entire Blockboard team will be joining Klout’s.

LinkedIn buys social data startup Rapportive, membership and revenue up

Everything’s coming up roses for LinkedIn.

The professional social network just posted its fourth quarter results, announcing February 9 that it had exceeded Wall Street’s expectations with a 105 percent increase in revenue, to $167.7 million, since 2010’s Q4.

The number of LinkedIn members has increased as well, growing by 20 million members since November to reach a current 150 million.

And, according to a February 7 report from AllThingsD, LinkedIn is adding to this string of successes with the new acquisition of social data startup Rapportive.

The startup works as an email add-on, to display social data about email contacts and their activity on social networks as you email them. For the time being, Rapportive only works with Gmail.

Though neither LinkedIn or Rapportive have offered a comment on the deal yet, AllThingsD writes:

“Sources familiar with the negotiations said LinkedIn offered Rapportive ‘low teens’ of millions of dollars worth of cash. The deal has not officially closed yet.”

Amazon scores unlimited TV deal with Viacom

A February 7 release from Reuters reported that Viacom is about to become Amazon’s newest partner for the company’s Prime Instant Video Service.

Prime users, as well as owners of the Kindle Fire have access to unlimited TV streaming, and with the new deal, that includes shows from Viacom’s impressive roster of channels: MTV, VH1, CMT, Nickelodeon, Spike, and Comedy Central, among others.

Econsultancy argues that deals such as these, which keep expanding Amazon’ content library, as well as the low price of its service and the fact that it manufactures its own devices, are giving Amazon a definite competitive edge over the likes of Netflix.

Google pays users to forget about privacy

In a new strategy to collect even more detailed data on people’s web use, Google is offering juicy new incentives to users who agree to share their browsing information with the search giant.

Termed Screenwise, the new project asks users to add a browser extension “that will share with Google the sites you visit and how you use them.”

This, Google says, “will help us improve Google products and services and make a better online experience for everyone.”

So what’s in it for the users? In return, those who sign up for Screenwise are given an initial $5 Amazon gift card, and an additional $5 gift card every three months that they remain with the project, to a maximum of $25 in Amazon credit. Participants are required to be 13 and older, and be using Chrome.

At the time of writing, Google is not accepting more applicants, with the following message on the Screenwise site:

“We appreciate and are overwhelmed by your interest at the moment. Please come back later for more details.”

After lackluster Q4, Groupon acquires Adku for data targeting

Groupon has just put out its first quarterly earnings report since it went public this past November. And, though the numbers are hardly disastrous, they did fail to meet expectations.

As compared to the same period in 2010, the company’s revenue was up 194 percent, to $506.5 million in 2011’s Q4. Income was up as well, but there remained some figures that concerned Wall Street. TechCrunch stated:

“The company’s numbers are up almost across-the-board compared to the same period last year […]However, Groupon came up short on earnings per share, coming in at negative $0.02, rather than the positive $0.03 EPS that analysts were expecting.”

This last bit seems to have put some investors off, as Groupon shares dipped following the news. The Wall Street Journal reported February 8 that shares had slid by more than 11 percent in after hours trading, a likely response to Groupon’s announcement that it had lost of 8 cents a share in Q4.

But it’s not all bad news for Groupon, which also has a new acquisition to boast about. TechCrunch reported February 6 that the Group buying site has just signed a deal with startup Adku, which makes use of data to personalize shopping for users of eCommerce sites. Writes TechCrunch

“While it’s not clear what the technology will be applied to, the acquisition makes sense on a lot of levels, especially because a personalized experience is where most of eCommerce is headed. Greylock VC David Thacker now runs product for Groupon, so that couldn’t have  hurt either.”

Apple-Samsung patent war rages on in the US

A February 11 report from Apple Insider details the latest battle in Apple and Samsung’s patent war.

This time, the action is taking place in the US, with the former bringing a federal suit against the latter over four newly acquired patents. Apple claims that certain autocorrect and screen lock features on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus infringe on these patents.

Some see the fact that the device in question is “Google’s Android 4.0 flagship device” as very telling.

Florian Mueller, a patent expert quoted by Forbes, went as far as saying:

“This takes Apple’s infringement case directly to Google’s Android, while focusing the damages upon the most successful Android licensee with the deepest pockets: Samsung.”

Google defends security of Wallet after Android hack

A story first picked up February 9 by The Smartphone Champ reported on a newly discovered security flaw in Google’s Wallet mobile payments service.

Apparently, anyone who takes possession of your phone can very easily clear the app’s data and reset the pin. Writes The Smartphone Champ:

“The problem here is that since Google Wallet is tied to the device itself and not tied to your Google account, that once they set the new pin and log into the app, when they add the Google prepaid card it will add the card that is tied to that device.  In other words, they’d be able to add your card and have full access to your funds,”

The article includes a video showing just how easy all this is to perform; the hack doesn’t require a phone to be rooted.

Google has addressed the issue with the following advice:

“We strongly encourage anyone who loses or wants to sell their phone to call Google Wallet support toll-free at 855-492-5538 to disable the prepaid card,” a spokesperson told Mashable.

“We are currently working on an automated fix as well that will be available soon. We also advise all Wallet users to set up a screen lock as an additional layer of protection for their phone.”

Socialbakers’ analytics come to America

Socialbakers, one of Europe’s biggest social analytics platforms, is planning to move into the US, TechCrunch reported February 9.

The startup has already partnered with Facebook to track and analyze response to the presidential campaign, and has just announced that it will be opening a US headquarters in San Fransisco.

As part and parcel of bringing its “Engagement Analytics” and “Engagement Builder” products to the states, Socialbakers is appointing a new team to lead operations in the US, “which includes veteran technology executive Martin Huml as President and COO and Katrina Wong as VP of Marketing,” TechCrunch reports.

This week in studies and reports:

iPad 3 to be announced in March

A February 9 report from AllThingsD cites sources who say Apple has decided to unveil its iPad3 in the first week of March, and that it “will do so at one of its trademark special events,” in San Fransisco.

These sources describe “a device similar in form factor to the iPad 2, but running a much faster chip, sporting an improved graphics processing unit, and featuring a 2048×1536 Retina Display — or something close to it.”

Tweeted article’s popularity can be predicted

Mashable reported February 10 on an HP Labs study which claims that the popularity of a news article on Twitter can be predicted “with surprising accuracy” before it is even Tweeted.

According to the study (titled The Pulse of News in Social Media: Forecasting Popularity) the level of an article’s popularity on Twitter can be determined with an overall accuracy of 84 percent. That factors that help make the prediction include the article’s source, its relative objectivity, famous names which may be included in the article, and the category of news the article falls into.

55 percent of shoppers don’t like giving credit card info on social sites

A recent Digitas survey picked up by Mashable shows that 55 percent of online shoppers feel uncomfortable giving out their credit card information over a social network, indicating that “weren’t ready to use Facebook et al. as a buying platform.” Or at least, not yet.

About Emily Wilkinson

Emily Wilkinson is a Montreal writer and editor who recently joined Her experience comes largely from her work at print publications like La Scena Musicale, where she alternated between positions as content manager, copy editor and journalist.
She believes in the importance of strong writing, be it in journalism or in other media, like blogging or even social networking. Her prerogative: though language will and ought to evolve, a good writer need never sacrifice the communicative power of text that is written with thought and care, whatever the venue.
Find Emily on Twitter @EditorWilkinson

3 Responses to Cashing Out: Week of February 4th – 11th 2012 in Online Marketing News

  1. […] Cashing Out: Week of February 4th – 11th 2012 in Online Marketing News Apple claims that certain autocorrect and screen lock features on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus infringe on these patents. Some see the fact that the device in question is “Google's Android 4.0 flagship device” as very telling. Read more on ReveNews […]

  2. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of Blockboard. I seem to recall a similar app/service (although I can’t remember the name at this very moment) that never really seemed to gain any traction. Perhaps this is the right time, now, and the right company.

  3. Anaxa77 says:

    He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. – Frederich Nietzsche

    We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible. – Vince Lombardi

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    looks to you. If this is something you wanna do and if this is something
    you gotta do, then you do it. Fighters fight. ~ Marie to Rocky Balboa