Komodo Links: Self Serving Reviews, FriendFeedFeed, an Open Letter to Google, and AOL Buys Bebo

We’ve got some interesting and humorous links from the past week for this installment of Komodo Links. So sit back and enjoy while you wait for the weekend to begin.

RealSelf.com, an independent site for consumers to discuss anti-aging treatments, has accused plastic surgery corporation, Lifestyle Lift, of breach of contract and computer fraud. Basically RealSelf.com claims that Lifestyle Lift agents posed as patients and posted positive reviews about Lifestyle Lift procedures. These charges were filed as a counterclaim to a Lifestyle Lift lawsuit filed against RealSelf.com for trademark infringement. MediaPost has more on this plastic surgery soap opera.

Here’s a funny post (and comments) about FriendFeedFeed. FriendFeedFeed, currently in “pre-beta,” aggregates all your social networking aggregator feeds into one aggregated feed of aggregator activity feeds. Definitely a quality piece of Web 2.0 satire.

On a more serious note, Danny Sullivan writes an open letter to Google. In the letter, Danny asks Google to divest itself of Performics, DoubleClick’s SEO firm. “Google’s in the SEO business now, …conflict of interest? You bet.”

And in an unexpected move, AOL buys social network Bebo for $850 million. In response, AOL users ask their grandchildren, “what’s a Bebo?”

Google Finally Gets EU Approval for Acquisition of DoubleClick

The European Commission announced today that Google’s $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick can proceed without conditions. Google proposed the deal back in April to increase its sales of online display ads. Microsoft had vigorously opposed the deal saying it would hinder competition in the global online ad market. In the end Microsoft could only stall the deal, not kill it. You can read the rest over at Bloomberg.

Komodo Links: Why Data Matters, Landing Page Load Time and Quality Score, New Yahoo Maps Data, Zuckerberg on Facebook

It’s Friday and its time for some Komodo Links. Google, Yahoo Maps, and an interview with Mark Zuckerberg are on the list.

The Google Blog posted Why Data Matters a couple days ago. A great read including “a brief history of search.”

In the next few weeks Google’s AdWords will begin to factor landing page load time into your quality score. The primary goal is to improve the user experience.

Yahoo Maps has been updated with new data and functionality.
Improvements include:

  • 300 cities with new neighborhood data added throughout North America
  • 12,000 new neighborhoods added
  • Expanded worldwide coverage
  • New Points-of-Interest (POI) information

And to finish up, BusinessWeek has a short interview with Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. In the interview Zuckerberg discusses Sheryl Sandberg’s role at Facebook, their expansion plans, and his perspective on a possible initial public offering of stock.

Apple: America’s Most Admired Company

Apple took the top spot in Fortune Magazine’s “America’s Most Admired Companies” ranking for 2008. Google came in at number four and Microsoft made it into the Top 20 at number sixteen.

The Industry Champions list is worth looking at as well. Anheuser-Busch is not only the King of Beers but the King of Beverages. Altria Group is the champion of the tobacco industry. I guess thats a good thing… Two companies with a large presence in Florida made the Industry Champions list. Publix Super Markets took the top spot in the “food and drug stores” category, and FPL Group (Florida Power and Light) took the honors in the “electric and gas utilities” category.

Komodo Links: News Corp and Yahoo, Search Engine Audience Profiles, NewsClipper, and RFPs

Komodo Links is back and we’ve got some quality links for you this week.

Enjoy.

Google AdWords Display URL Policy Update

Google’s AdWords blog, Inside Adwords, has posted an advance notice of new changes to their display URL policy. According to the post, redirects, vanity URLs, and certain uses of tracking URLs will no longer be acceptable. This new policy will go into effect on April 1st and will be strictly enforced. The blog post gives a brief example of what will still be allowed in regards to tracking URLs and sub-domains.

I don’t think most advertisers will be unduly affected by this new policy, but I encourage you to read up on the new policy so you aren’t caught off guard.

Komodo Links: It’s all about Microsoft and Yahoo

It’s the end of the week so that means it’s time for Komodo Links. Yes I’m still in the office on a Friday night. We’re heading out for the IFA annual convention tomorrow so we’ve been tying up all the loose ends today. This week’s Komodo Links has a laser focus. It’s all about Microsoft and Yahoo.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Google News Gets Local

Google News launched a local news feature late last night. Simply enter the city and state or the zip code in the local news section and Google will populate it with news pertaining to that locality. I took a look at it and so far I like what I see. I have used Google News for quite a few years and it is one of my go to destinations for news stories. It’s great having a local section right there in the mix, so that I can quickly see what’s going on without having to go to individual local sites.

The Google News blog post briefly (and generally) describes how their local feature works and how it’s different from other local news aggregating sites.

While we’re not the first news site to aggregate local news, we’re doing it a bit differently — we’re able to create a local section for any city, state or country in the world and include thousands of sources. We’re not simply looking at the byline or the source, but instead we analyze every word in every story to understand what location the news is about and where the source is located.

Below is a screen shot of the local news section for Miami Beach. (click to enlarge)

As you can see…it’s a pretty slow day in Miami Beach today. But the weather is nice. 😉

Yahoo is Feeling the Pressure from Microsoft’s Bid

Yahoo! is feeling cornered after Microsoft made its takeover bid last week. The Yahoo! board said it would take its time to review the Microsoft bid. They haven’t acted on the bid yet.

The New York Times posted an article reviewing the current situation with some great commentary from Wall Street analysts. The article also explores some other options open to Yahoo! if they decide to decline the Microsoft bid, including an advertising partnership with Google, courting other buyers, or forcing a leveraged buyout to take the company private.

Some highlights from the article:

But if Yahoo spurns Microsoft, analysts believe it probably will have to swallow its pride and forge an advertising partnership with Google if the alliance could win antitrust clearance.

Under this scenario, Yahoo would rely on Google to run its search engine while joining thousands of other Web sites that depend on the Internet search leader for a steady stream of ad revenue generated from text-based links that produce commissions with every click.

But getting Google’s advertising help probably wouldn’t be enough to trump Microsoft’s offer by itself. To placate shareholders, Yahoo probably would have to line up enough money to pay a special dividend or perhaps even take the company private in a leveraged buyout.

The list of so-called ”white knights” willing to come to Yahoo’s rescue appears to be dwindling. Several of the most logical candidates, including News Corp., AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp., reportedly have no interest in trying to top Microsoft’s bid.

Yahoo’s board conceivably could even turn down Microsoft on the grounds that the current offer grossly undervalues the company, given its stock traded as high as high as $34.08 in late October.

If Yahoo assumes that stance, it might provoke a showdown at its annual meeting in a few months. Microsoft has until March 13 to nominate its own slate of directors if it tries to seize control of Yahoo’s board.

What do you think Yahoo should do? Should they take the Microsoft offer, partner with Google, or something else? Let us know.

I personally like the suggestion made by the Merrill Lynch analyst Justin Post, who “believes Yahoo should dangle the prospect of a Google partnership to persuade Microsoft to raise its bid and then accept the higher offer.” Microsoft could call their bluff believing that either Yahoo won’t approach Google or that regulators would deny the partnership on anti-trust grounds. I don’t believe they would call the bluff though. I think Microsoft is just too eager to get this deal done.

Komodo Links: Anonymous Google Bomb, Open Access Wireless Spectrum, and G-phone by Dell?

Introducing Komodo Links, stories and posts from the news world and blogosphere that we found interesting. Yes I know posting links is nothing new and that pretty much 99% of blogs do it. This is just our version. We will probably start out posting links to our favorite stories once a week to start. It could be more than once a week real soon, just don’t hold me to it. So without further ado….our Komodo Links for this week: