Cashing Out: Week of May 27th – June 2nd 2012 in Online Marketing News

Google could spend millions purchasing over 50 domains

If Google has its way, it will soon be snapping up over 50 new domains.

The company has applied with ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) for a slew of Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) – alternatives to .com, like .edu or .org – that would cost them millions.

In a May 31 official blog post titled “Expanding the Internet domain space,” Google’s Vint Cerf explained that the domains Google has been eyeing fall into four major categories: existing trademarks, like .google, domains related to their core business, domains that will improve user experience, like .youtube, and lastly, domains that have “have interesting and creative potential, such as .lol.”

But these domains don’t run cheap. “Applicants have to pay a $185,000 evaluation fee, as well as additional fees once their applications have been accepted,” writes TechCrunch, which also notes that ICANN’s gTLD expansion program is likely to create anywhere between 300 and 1,000 gTLDs yearly.

Naturally, Google is acting altruistic about the new domains, with Cerf writing in his blog post that “By opening up more choices for Internet domain names, we hope people will find options for more diverse—and perhaps shorter—signposts in cyberspace.” What he doesn’t mention is the possibly huge advantage Google could gain by owning some of the more “creative” domains they’ve applied for.

Facebook stock dips even further

“The saga of Facebook’s disappointing IPO,” a highly anticipated offering that “turned into a flop,” “pain, pain, and more pain” – those were the words used by Mashable, The New York Times (NYT), and TechCrunch, respectively, to describe the situation the world’s leading social network is in after its stock market debut last week.

That’s because, after opening on its first day with shares priced around $42, Facebook’s value has dropped by around $35 billion. As of May 29, their shares had sunk below $29.

“That gives the company a market capitalization of $79.02 billion, down from $115 billion market cap Facebook opened at on the day of its IPO when it started trading at $42.05 a share,” TechCrunch noted, citing “the key factor affecting share prices” as options trading.

But Facebook’s IPO doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and it appears to have been affecting investors as well as other companies contemplating their own IPO. According to the NYT, travel website Kayak has decided to postpone its offering and “no offerings have priced since Facebook’s debut.”

And, though the NYT laid part of the blame for IPO troubles on the economic situation in Europe, they note that “still, Facebook, by failing to instill confidence among investors and executives, has made a weak market weaker.”

According to TechCrunch, if Facebook is going to get its shares back up, the company is going to need to boost its revenue streams. “There are lots of possibilities,” writes TechCrunch. “We could see Karma turning into an interesting gifting revenue stream, improved search becoming the basis of Google-like advertising, an Adsense-like display advertising network across the web and an expansion of payments and Facebook Credits outside of social gaming.”

Do Not Track will be default on Microsoft IE10

A May 31 blog post from Microsoft’s Chief Privacy Officer Brendon Lynch announced that the latest version of Internet Explorer, IE10, which will be bundled with Windows 8, will have Do Not Track (DNT) on by default.

“We’ve made today’s decision because we believe in putting people first. We believe that consumers should have more control over how information about their online behavior is tracked, shared and used,”  Lynch said.

And though he went on to say that internet advertising is an important part of the economy, and that Microsoft hopes consumers recognize the value of receiving personalized and relevant messages and make a conscious decision to share information, many advertisers still aren’t happy with IE10’s default DNT.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) wrote that the Digital Advertising Alliance, which Microsoft has membership in, says the company’s recent decision “ran counter to the industry’s agreement with the White House announced earlier this year to honor ‘do not track’ as long as it is not a default setting.”

Nonetheless, Microsoft is standing firm by its decision, with a post on the IE blog arguing that consumers’ right to privacy outweighs the benefit tracking provides to advertisers:

“While some people will say that this change is too much and others that it is not enough, we think it is progress and that consumers will favor products designed with their privacy in mind over products that are designed primarily to gather their data.”

RIM projects loss as key employee steps down

It’s been a bad week amid a bad year for RIM.

Not only has the company projected its second consecutive quarterly loss, as the New York Times reported, but they also halted trading for a “business update” May 29, only to see the markets open the following day with their stock down 10 percent.

Among the revelations in the business update were that RIM will be seeking assistance from The Royal Bank of Canada and J.P. Morgan in order to develop and evaluate financial strategies, says TechCrunch.

Meanwhile, rumors are circulating that major layoffs are on their way, with TechCrunch citing the Financial Post‘s figure of nearly 6,000 jobs at stake. Add to that the fact that their Chief Legal Officer Karima Bawa is stepping down.

Bawa’s departure doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with RIM’s recent troubles (apparently, she’s retiring after more than 11 years with the company) but, as TechCrunch notes, “still, a loss is a loss.”

The situation does seem quite dire for RIM just now, but not everyone has lost all hope. Among the optimists is TechCrunch’s Matt Burns, who wrote:

“I still believe RIM can recover. The company has a good chunk of the enterprise smartphone market and the products in the pipeline are very compelling. However, RIM needs to make it through these dark days first and hiring bankers is a good start.”

Amazon to build warehouses, collect sales tax in NJ

As part of an agreement reached this week with the state of New Jersey, Amazon will begin collecting sales taxes there as of July 2013, TechFlash reported May 30.

In addition, the company will be spending about $130 million on building two new warehouses in the state, also part of the deal. Those warehouses are expected to create thousands of jobs in New Jersey.

So the question is, what does Amazon get out of it? For one, the New York Times reports that the agreement extends the company’s sales tax exemption for ” a certain period of time.”

Of course, Amazon would like to see the implementation of a nationwide online sales tax law, and perhaps their hope is that one will be developed before Amazon ever has to begin collecting sales taxes in Jersey.

“We want to be able to focus on getting federal legislation through that will forevermore remove the sales tax issue,” TechFlash cited Amazon VP of Global Public Policy Paul Misener as saying.

Google Vs. Microsoft: you say patent infringement, I say antitrust

TechFlash reported June 1 on the latest move in the patent war between Google and Microsoft.

In response to patent infringement claims made recently by Microsoft, Google is firing back with accusations of antitrust, filing a complaint with the EU that argues Microsoft and Nokia are involved in anti competitive practices and are “trying to drive up prices on Android smartphones,” as TechFlash puts it.

“Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that side-step promises both companies have made,” TechFlash quoted a Google statement as saying.

The complaint accuses Microsoft and Nokia of transferring 1,200 patents to Mosaid Technologies, a Canadian company that’s been referred to as a “patent troll.”

This week in marketing studies and reports:

Report: Facebook smartphone may be here in 2013

According to a report from the New York Times , Facebook may be releasing a Facebook phone in 2013. This would be Facebook’s third attempt at releasing its own mobile device, the report says, and it will be building off its second, a project started last year and called “Buffy.”

The report cites “employees of Facebook and several engineers who have been sought out by recruiters there, as well as people briefed on Facebook’s plans,” who say Facebook “hopes to release its own smartphone by next year.”

More women than men use social media: survey

A survey from British Telecom reported on by Mashable found that women use social media more than men do. Among the more than 2,000 Brits surveyed, 54 percent of the women said they use social networks like Facebook and Twitter, while only 34 percent of men said the same.

And, according to Mashable, “of those social media users, more women than men reported they would miss those sites if the Internet ceased to exist.”

Long form content now makes up over half video watched online

A report from Ooyala found that more than half of the video content that’s now watched online is long form.

Meanwhile, “The amount of long form content viewed on connected TVs and gaming consoles increased to nearly 90% in Q1 2012 compared to 57% Q4 2011,” says Econsultancy, which picked up the report.

8% of US adults are on Twitter every day

Mashable reported this week on a study from Pew that says, though only about 15 percent of Americans use Twitter, about half of those who do (8 percent of Americans), use it daily.

Mashable says that Twitter usage, overall, has been fairly stable for the past year or so, but that daily usage has increased from 4 percent to 8 percent since May 2011.


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

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