Marketing Biz: Twitter Tightens The Screws, Vicarious Search & Didit Buys Inceptor

This week Twitter continued to play hard ball, cutting off Tumblr and the display of third-party apps. Non-traditional search was also in the news with funding for Vicarious and impressive results from Walmart’s shopping search engine. Agencies also continue to morph and adapt as the digital landscape matures.

Last but certainly not least, technology is catching up with our ideas, disrupting the entertainment, commerce and clothing verticals. After a week off, this is … Marketing Biz.

Tumblr becomes next property to have Twitter friend-finding privileges revokedTumblr Has Twitter Privileges Revoked

As with Instagram, the change does not seem to have affected sharing outwards, but will impede users’ ability to follow friends that they may know from Twitter. This is part of Twitter turning the screws on sharing information about the users of its network out to other services like Instagram (and by extension, Facebook) and Tumblr.

This does not surprise me. In the end, sites like Tumblr and Instagram are competitors. The days of Twitter being some altruistic paragon that eschewed traditional business are over.

Twitter no longer displays what client a tweet was posted with on web

This move makes tweets client-agnostic to the reader. For someone viewing Twitter, which a lot of people do exclusively, it looks like a cohesive whole, not a set of posts coming from disparate clients. This is part of the company’s move to make it feel more homogenous and to emphasize its first-party clients.

Uniformity and consistency matter a lot to advertisers so … it matters to Twitter. Now developers will really need to become Twitter Certified to gain any amount of traction.

Facebook acquires Threadsy

Facebook has acquired San Francisco-based Threadsy, which offers Klout-like service called Swaylo to connect brands and influencers. Some of that product will be taken down after the deal closes, but SwayloPro will continue to operate as an independent company owned by its current investors, according to an announcement on Swaylo’s blog.

Understanding influence within a social graph is important and this could provide an easy response to Tumblr’s most liked and reblogged feature. Yet, those seem like easy things for Facebook to build and why allow SwayloPro to continue? What am I missing?

Got a great check-in you want to let your friend know about? Tag them on Facebook and Twitter!

Want to let a friend know that you’re trying the dish they recommended, invite them to join you at the bar, or let the world know you’re hanging out with them? You can mention them in your foursquare check-in, and automatically tag them on Facebook and Twitter too!

Foursquare keeps chugging along, now allowing users to tag people on Twitter and Facebook via a check-in. This is a smart move since both Facebook and Twitter don’t have a robust local offering. I’m guessing that the follow-on engagement on these mentions will occur more often within Foursquare than in Facebook and Twitter.

Vicarious Announces $15M Series A Funding Led by Good Ventures

Vicarious is developing machine learning software based on the computational principles of the human brain. Since its launch in February 2011, the company has developed a visual perception system that interprets the contents of photographs and videos in a manner similar to humans. Powering this technology is Vicarious’ key innovation: a new computational paradigm called the Recursive Cortical Network™. The research at Vicarious is expected to have broad implications for robotics, medical image analysis, image and video search, and many other fields.

This is one to keep an eye on because image and video search are clearly huge opportunities in the future. It feels like an acquisition target for one of the larger players. Of note, Good Ventures is founded by Facebook’s Dustin Moskovitz.

Mo’ Money Mo’ Clothes!

Today we are pleased to announce the close of $4MM in Series A funding, which means we’ll be able to bring you even more great fashion, witty tips on beach camping and updates on the thrifty shopping habits of the royals. We are also hard at work on building out some fab new site features that will make it even easier to buy and sell on Twice, so get excited!

My background at Alibris makes me interested in any secondary market. Clothing seems like a tough one to pull off for a number of reasons. Yet, there’s huge upside since the market is gigantic (and replenishes), fragmented and inefficient. Would you buy through Twice?

PLAiR Announces $2.1 Million in Seed Funding From Roger McNamee and FLOODGATE

The world is quickly falling out of love with traditional and cumbersome methods of entertainment,” stated Saad Hussain, PLAiR co-founder and CEO. “At PLAiR, we are defining a new entertainment paradigm with the founding idea that people should be able to watch anything, anytime, anywhere. With wide interoperability across consumer devices, PLAiR promises to become as pervasive as the smartphone.”

The way we consume entertainment is absolutely changing. I caught up with the series Alphas by streaming it on my iPad using Netflix as I worked out on my elliptical. That’s just the tip of the iceberg! I fully expect that we’ll have time and device agnostic consumption in the near future. How it’s monetized is the big question.

WePay’s new payment buttons let anyone become an online merchantWePay Button Interface

WePay Payment Buttons, released Wednesday, underscore the company’s interest in universal appeal; they give anyone the capability to grab some YouTube-style embed code and stick a payments button on a website. The payments buttons come in “Buy Now,” “Donate,” and “Register” varieties to allow sellers to create plug-and-play e-commerce experiences.

As PayPal races to catch up in the mobile payments space they’re also facing stiff competition on the web itself. These WePay buttons are a clever way to reach long-tail SOHO and SMB markets that are traditionally underserved.

Fleishman Hillard and GMR Marketing Acquire Content Company

Gary Reynolds, the chief executive of GMR Marketing, said marketers are now understanding “that content doesn’t just exist where their brands are live,” so they are increasingly turning to create content that is more editorial. “It’s very much a social media, media-driven activity,” Mr. Reynolds said. “They have to share their story, and the story can’t be so commercial.”

The big agencies are ramping up their content marketing efforts. Part of me thinks this is a good thing and another makes me think they’re going to turn it into a commodity.

Didit Acquires Inceptor

The transaction expands Didit’s capabilities to include SEO, CSE and Social Media while providing Inceptor clients access to Didit’s industry-leading Maestro ad campaign management technology for search, social, CSE and exchange-based display.

It’s nice to see Kevin Lee and Didit growing. The acquisition of Inceptor moves Didit further along toward being a full-service agency. I for one like to see these types of home-grown outfits succeed.

Walmart builds its own shopping search engine

Unlike the previous search engine from Endeca, which was bought by Oracle last year, Polaris does more than just match text or look at what’s selling well recently. Polaris looks at the search term and tries to understand what a user is really looking for by matching the term and all its variations to a knowledge graph. It also applies engagement scoring and previous user actions to help refine its results.

Walmart claims that the new search engine has boosted conversions to sales by 10-15 percent on One of the areas where I think Google is vulnerable is in eCommerce. They still don’t understand it as well as they should. So let me put my tin-foil hat on and connect some dots between Marissa Mayer who sits on Walmart’s Board and her new position as CEO of Yahoo. Will Yahoo try to take a leading position in eCommerce search and discovery?

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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