Marketing Biz: Google Penguin Update, Microsoft Patent Trade & Automattic Grows Up

This week search took center stage as Google implemented the Penguin Update targeting black-hat SEO. Meanwhile Facebook was busy buying those AOL patents from Microsoft but declined to purchase Bing. (No we would not like fries with that.) We also got insight into Android and Automattic, while being reminded of our Web marketing history.

Microsoft Shuttles AOL Patents to Facebook

On Apr. 9, AOL announced that it would sell over 800 patents to Microsoft and grant the software giant a nonexclusive license to 300 more, for a price of $1.056 billion in cash. Now, Microsoft says that it purchased 925 AOL patents and patent applications outright and that a majority of these will move to Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg and company will pay Redmond $550 million for about 650 patents and patent applications as well as a license for the AOL patents that Microsoft will retain and own.

This is starting to feel more like the NBA and not high technology. In a type of sign and trade deal, Microsoft sends a large chunk of AOL patents to Facebook. This is just more pre-IPO maneuvering by Zuckerberg and a strong signal to Yahoo that Facebook won’t succumb to patent blackmail.

Dmitry Shapiro to Join Google+ as Head of Product

Shapiro is currently building his own social networking startup Anybeat, previously Altly. Before founding Anybeat, he was the CTO of MySpace Music, which is not exactly a shining example of success in the social networking arena. Previously Shapiro founded and sold two companies in the video and P2P security space to Qlipso and Qwest.

This still resides in the rumor department but it would make some sense given how strongly Larry Page feels about social and Google+. The acqui-hires of Kevin Rose and (potentially) of Dmitry Shapiro are a small price to pay for the deep knowledge they have regarding social behavior and interaction.

WHOA: Microsoft DID Try To Sell Bing To Facebook

This offer was made without the knowledge of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.  Zuckerberg declined, saying Facebook needed to concentrate on its current businesses.

This isn’t altogether shocking to me. Bing continues to lose money hand over fist and Facebook seems to have (finally) realized that search might actually be something they want to explore. I simply think Facebook wants to do it on their own terms and will likely leverage all of the data they’ve acquired via the Open Graph.

Automattic Grows Up: The Company Behind Shares Revenue Numbers and Hires Execs

WordPress now powers 70 million sites, up from 35 million sites a year ago. Almost half of the biggest blogs in the world are hosted by or run on their own versions of the open-source WordPress platform.

The company is profitable, and expects to bring in $45 million in revenue this year, according to CEO Toni Schneider and founder Matt Mullenweg.

It’s automatic baby. Okay, you might not be familiar with the name Automattic but they are a real juggernaut. There was a time when Blogger and TypePad were pretenders to the blogging platform throne but those days are gone. WordPress is the clear leader and is more than holding their own against foes like Twitter, Tumblr and Google+.

Google “Read Data” Offer Rare Look Inside World Of Android, Mobile Ad Revenues

Yesterday The Verge published internal Google data about Android and mobile ad revenues. They offer a fascinating window into Google’s projections and expectations for the platform and mobile in general. These data are the first “real numbers” that have been exposed about Android and mobile ad performance at Google — beyond the $2.5 billion “run rate” figure exposed last year on a Google earnings call.

More evidence that Google’s Android strategy may be more effective than many pundits believe. Android commands more than 50% of the smartphone market. That dominant position gives them the ability to experiment and time to work out the kinks. These documents show that they’ve been quietly doing just that.

Another step to reward high-quality sites

In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content. While we can’t divulge specific signals because we don’t want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics.

The new Google algorithm change has been named Penguin. I can’t help but note that both major updates aimed at site quality are named for animals that are predominantly black and white. Is this a subtle hint that Google sees things in black and white? I’ll believe it if the next update is named Zebra.

Spin-out from Covario Offers SEO and Social Media Software Tools for In-house Marketers and Digital Agencies

The technology team at the San Diego-based search marketing firm is launching Rio SEO™ as a business unit and a brand that will focus on serving the automation needs of in-house SEO managers extending from large to mid-size companies, as well as search marketing practitioners at digital agencies who provide SEO and social media services to their clients.

Enterprise SEO agency Covario is entering the already crowded SEO and Social Media tool market. Pricing for Rio SEO is dynamic which leads me believe this might be more of a lead generation and client identification tool for Covario. Would you swap your current SEO toolset to give Rio SEO a try?

Dr. Ralph Wilson Announces Sale of Web Marketing Today

Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, creator and long-time editor of industry-leading e-zine Web Marketing Today (, today announced the sale of this historic website and newsletter, effective May 1, 2012, to e-commerce publishers Kerry and Joy Murdock of Practical eCommerce.

This is like a trip down memory lane. Web Marketing Today has been around since the beginning and I can remember when the debate was about whether web marketing would work at all or if eCommerce would ever catch on. It’s a reminder of how times have changed.

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

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Marketing Biz


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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