Microsoft Testing Expanded Publisher Advertising Network

Microsoft has started a pilot program to expand its adCenter contextual advertising network, similar to Google’s AdSense and Yahoo’s publisher network, to smaller publishers. Microsoft told CNET News the program began earlier this year and that “Microsoft’s self-serve advertising offering for publishers is still under development and is currently in a private pilot phase, being tested by select publishers who met the participation requirement.” Microsoft already places contextual advertising on large publishers including the Wall Street Journal and Rodale.

Google Increases Share of Search-Ad Revenue

Google increased it share of US search-ad revenue to 77.4 in the second quarter of 2008, up 2 percent from the year ago period, according to search marketing firm Efficient Frontier. From the year ago period, Yahoo dropped 2 percent to 17.8 percent and Microsoft stayed even at 4.8 percent. Google average cost per click increased 13.8 percent, Yahoo’s dropped 7.3 percent, and Microsoft’s increased 5.6 percent.

Source: CNET News

Congressional Hearings Held for Google-Yahoo Partnership

Yesterday, the U.S. House and Senate Judiciary committees held hearings into the Google-Yahoo partnership. The chief legal counsels for Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft testified during the hearings. During the hearings members of congress expressed concern about effect of the partnership on competition and the amount personal data Google would have on individuals. The biggest moment in the hearings came when Microsoft senior vice president and general counsel Brad Smith claimed that during a meeting Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang: “Look, the search market today is basically a bipolar market. On one pole there’s Google, and on the other pole there is Yahoo and Microsoft both competing with Google. If we do this deal with Google, Yahoo will become part of Google’s pole. And Microsoft, he said, would not be strong enough in this market to remain a pole of its own.” Yahoo general counsel Michael Callahan first refused to address the claim and later stated he had attending the meeting and recalled the conversation as being different.

Source: New York Times

WordPress Releases Version 2.6

WordPress has announced the release of version 2.6 of WordPress. The biggest change is revision tracking, the ability to see changes made each time a post is saved and the ability to revert to a previous version. Basic support for Gears was added, commonly used Javascript and CSS files are loaded into a “Local Server”, decreasing the load time of administrative pages. The update also adds the ability to see a live preview a new theme before making it active on a site. Among the other features are word count, revamped image control, and approximately 194 bug fixes.

Report Predicts Increased Cost for Advertisers From Google-Yahoo Partnership

A report by search marketing manager SearchIgnite claims that the cost of a click on Yahoo! search will go up 22 percent if Google sells the ad according to post on the New York Times Bits Blog. SearchIgnite compared the of cost of clicks at the same position on Yahoo! and Google for 15,000 keywords in 12 million clicks paid. They found that for popular searches terms Yahoo! cost more for the first three results and Google for the rest. For less popular search terms, the kind that would likely be filled by Google, Google cost 14 percent more for the first result and for the fifth through tenth it cost 52 percent more.

FCC Chairman Recommends Sanctions Over Comcast Traffic Throttling

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin recommended that Comcast be sanctioned over its throttling of certain protocols on customers connections according to a New York Times article. Martin’s recommendation to Commission is that Comcast not be fined, but be required to change it practices and provide details in what it had done in the past. The recommendation shows Martin support for network neutrality, the practice of not favoring certain uses of Internet connections. In an interview with the Times Martin said: “The Internet is based upon the idea that consumers can go anywhere they want and access any content they want, When they show they are blocking access to some sort of content, they have the burden to show that what they are doing is reasonable.” He also told the Times that providers needed to tell customers of any limits on bandwidth that they can use. The Commission is scheduled to make its decision on August 1.

Yahoo Opening Search Technology to Other Companies

Yahoo has announced a program to open its search technology and data centers to start-up companies to create new or customized search engines. The program called Boss, bring your own search service, has already signed up two partners. One partner, Me.dium uses information from the users of its social browsing tool to rearrange and supplement Yahoo’s search results based on what sites currently have “buzz”. Yahoo will sell ads on its partners search engines.

Source: New York Times

Click Fraud Tool Adds Automatic Notification to Yahoo

Click Forensics, a click fraud auditor, will provide automatic notification of detected click-fraud in search advertising to Yahoo under a new partnership according to a CNET News report. Currently, filing a inquiry into suspected click fraud requires a tedious manual process. Steve O’Brien, Click Forensics’ vice president of marketing, told CNET News that Click Forensics’ were in conversation with Google about providing the same service, but that so far “Google has taken a different attitude toward click fraud, assuring advertisers that it has a fail-safe means of tracking rogue clicks and that it doesn’t charge for it.”

Google Adds Search Volume Data to AdWords Keyword Tool

Google has added search volume data to the AdWords Keyword Tool. The new data provides the approximate number of searches on Google and their search network for last month and the monthly average for the last twelve months. The tool already provided graphical representation of search volume trends for a twelve-month period and the month that the keyword received its highest volume.

Source: Inside AdWords