Facebook’s new Graph Search was the attention getting headline this week and for good reason. But there were also a number of reorganizations (perhaps the first of many New Year’s resolutions) including StumbleUpon layoffs, Patch’s community pivot, Advance Publications’ purchase of Pop and a new advertising hire for Bazaarvoice.

New funding for Janrain and Curalate also returned attention to compelling trends for marketers to watch from social identity capture to the high rate of link rot. 

This is … Marketing Biz.

Janrain Raises $33 Million To Drive Social Identity Capture and User Engagement for Leading Online Brands

Janrain Sign In Options

Since 2008, Janrain customers have been able to use social login to better understand their website users.  The company’s Janrain User Management Platform (JUMP) provides a single, unified view of users across multiple online properties and social identities.  The third and latest generation of its industry-leading user management solution is the first to integrate profile data with a broad array of component technologies such as email marketing tools, ecommerce platforms and personalization engines.

That’s a pretty ominous headline isn’t it? Identity capture! But Janrain has been providing a social login solution for years and users are finally beginning to catch up and trust these social logins more often. So of course Janrain is looking to the next thing, using and mining that login data for those sites. Smart, but a bit creepy too.

Advance Publications Buys Ad Agency Pop To Assist Transition to Digital

Advance Publications, parent company of Conde Nast and magazines like Wired, Vogue and Vanity Fair, has acquired Pop, a digital ad agency based in Seattle.

“Pop and Advance see the opportunity to continue the transition they are in the process of making from a traditional media company to a digital media company,” said Pop CEO and founder Bill Predmore. “One thing I hope we can do together is help them make that transition with the numerous brands in the family.”

Traditional media companies have long seen the light but have waited on the sidelines, thinking they had more time to ‘go digital’. But digital media publications are flourishing while many long standing traditional publications are being shuttered. Advance has actually been more forward thinking than many but this clearly signals an acceleration of plans to stake out their share of the digital landscape.

Pinterest Analytics Service Curalate Raises $3M

Curalate Analytics

Curalate provides both analytics and marketing tools. It tells brands which pinned content referred what traffic, and helps them run Pinterest contests.

CEO Apu Gupta says the company’s approach of using image recognition is better than those of keyword-based competitors, because only 10 percent of Pinterest posts include the name of a brand explicitly. Plus, as much as 48 percent of the most popular Pinterest pins are linked to expired pages on retailers’ sites.

I hope that Curalate isn’t solely focused on Pinterest because I like the product concept and wouldn’t want them to hitch their wagon to a site versus a general image based curation trend. The statistic here about the number of broken links is staggering. The rate of link rot on the Internet is increasing and smart marketers should monitoring this issue to ensure the efficiency and longevity of those content assets.

Patch aims for profitability, shifts platforms

There will be “as much and more quality original content,” Webster said, though “content” will mean not only reported stories but also community conversations as encouraged by the new platform. Running a community hub, Webster said, is “definitely going to be a big part of what our editors do.”

The promise of hyperlocal content just hasn’t come to fruition. The opportunity is there but I don’t think this is the way to get there. Throwing community conversations and user generated content aggregation into the mix seems like a step back, not a step forward. Already a target for link spam, Patch will have serious issues around community management that just can’t be scaled with ease.

Introducing Graph Search Beta

Facebook Graph Search Example

Graph Search and web search are very different. Web search is designed to take a set of keywords (for example: “hip hop”) and provide the best possible results that match those keywords. With Graph Search you combine phrases (for example: “my friends in New York who like Jay-Z”) to get that set of people, places, photos or other content that’s been shared on Facebook. We believe they have very different uses.

For years I’ve been predicting that Facebook would get into search and when they did it might not look the way we expected. Sure enough, Facebook finally did do something about search and it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I don’t see this as a Google competitor but instead puts it firmly in competition with local recommendation engines like Yelp and Foursquare.

I’m not the biggest Facebook fan but there’s a lot to like here if you’ve invested in building a Facebook network. And for those who haven’t it might drive user re-engagement and reconfiguration which would benefit all ad targeting products.

StumbleUpon Lays Off 30% Of Staff As It Restructures Company Into A Profitable StateStumbleUpon Logo

Now that 40 percent of StumbleUpon’s traffic is from mobile devices, he said, a “rebalancing” of the engineering team was in order. While the bulk of today’s layoffs impacted non-technical company divisions such as marketing and community, some desktop-focused engineers were also let go.

StumbleUpon is one of the least understood marketing platforms. They have simply never made a clear case to marketers as to the real value of those 1.03 page views per visit visits (say that three times fast!) So the layoff in marketing is a poor signal in my view. Would it kill you to do some multi-funnel attribution studies StumbleUpon?

Expanding the Twitter Certified Products Program

Today, we’re expanding the program by adding nine members that address challenges we continue to hear often from publishers and brands, particularly around engagement and analytics.

Marketers should be pleased that Twitter is actively addressing the need for third-party tools to manage and analyze their efforts on Twitter. Overall, Twitter has largely moved from a developer friendly focus to a marketing friendly focus. This makes complete sense in their move to become a brand advertising platform. 

Changes coming to Crowdbooster: replacing freemium with paid-only subscriptions

Crowdbooster Logo

As Crowdbooster has become mission-critical to many of you, we started falling behind on our promise to give you the highest quality service and we hated it. Instead of the unsustainable freemium model, we’ve decided to charge a low monthly price of $9 for the currently free service. This freedom will allow us to innovate faster (like our new export feature) and provide you an even better service. We think great analytics can be a difference maker in how we learn to communicate and tell stories using social media.

I like Crowdbooster but do I like it enough to fork over $9 a month? I would have liked to have seen more development on the platform prior to the change. Are you planning on becoming a paid subscriber?

Ad Tech Vet Ari Paparo Joins E-Commerce Platform Bazaarvoice

Last year, Bazaarvoice, which helps e-commerce companies manage customer reviews, got into the media business by buying Longboard Media, which helps the same companies run and target ads.

Ari Paparo is best known for his time at DoubleClick and could certainly bring interesting skills and connections to Bazaarvoice’s advertising integration plans. I still see review identity as an opportunity that would bring interest from a number of partners, most notably Google.

Reachli (formerly Pinerly) raises seed money for in-image ads 

Reachli now has access to images on the websites of more than 700 publishers. The company’s algorithms identify categories of images and suggest them to advertisers. Then, advertisers can buy an ad for the image that is basically a text link that appears when a user rolls over the image with their cursor. The idea is that the link will direct users to something relevant to the image — a home goods sale if it’s a photo of an interior, for example.

I’m a big fan of images as a way to communicate on the Internet. But I’m not sure that the context of images is always right for these text ads. It’s worth a test but as many retailers have found out the hard way, image traffic can often be far less valuable. It’s the difference between a window browser and a shopper.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

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About The Author: is Owner of Blind Five Year Old, a San Francisco Internet Marketing firm specializing in search. An experienced marketing executive with a successful track record spanning 20 years, AJ combines a deep understanding of search marketing with a passion for product strategy and iterative product development, fusing design and user experience with quantitative analysis.




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