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This week in marketing felt a bit like a lesson in evolutionary biology. Things are changing fast. The lion is chasing down the ailing antelope on the digital plain. The big are swallowing up the small. Digital creatures flash their bright colors to ward off predators. And everyone wants to be close to the Internet watering hole.

Google, FTC Near Settlement on Privacy

While the fine likely will represent only a tiny portion of Google’s revenues—last year, the Internet giant raked in that much cash roughly every five hours or so—it counts among a series of negative reports about Google’s privacy practices that could undermine users’ trust in its services.

The $22.5 million fine is really a drop in the bucket and the idea that this will undermine a material amount of mainstream user trust is ridiculous. Many still don’t understand the difference between a search engine and a browser much less cookie privacy.

1 in 3 Americans Has Made a Mobile Payment

33.9% of Americans have used their mobile phone to make a purchase, according to a July 2012 report from IDC Financial Insights. This represents a 76% increase from 19.3% who said they had made a mobile payment a year ago. Among those who have made a mobile payment, PayPal Mobile (56%) counts as the most popular service.

Another survey that points to the acceleration of mobile payments. The sense I get is that this change in behavior will be less gradual and reflect a type of punctuated equilibrium.

Square CEO Jack Dorsey Says Company To Go Outside U.S.

“We’re having a lot of fun,” at Square, he said. “We just keep building, and we’re excited because we’re going outside the U.S. soon.”

I can understand why Square is having a lot of fun and is excited to expand. The nest of rules overseas is thorny but the upside is huge given the higher mobile usage in many other countries.

Dentsu of Japan to Buy Aegis of Britain for About $5 Billion

The deal would combine Dentsu, the fifth-largest advertising company in the world, with the seventh largest. Aegis specializes in media buying, a steady source of earnings, and fast-growing digital marketing, leaving slower-growing businesses like the creation of television advertising to other agencies.

The consolidation of agencies shows that digital advertising is about to tip. These things usually go in cycles and I’d expect to see more consolidation in the near term and then another round of independents cropping up within the next five years.

PM Digital Acquires Zeta Interactive Assets

Search agency PM Digital has acquired the digital services assets of Zeta Interactive to support a suite of multichannel marketing services, such as mobile, social, Web development, analytics, email, and search engine marketing. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

There’s even consolidation closer to home with PM Digital’s acquisition of Zeta Interactive. One of the questions is whether these growing agencies can keep up with the pace of technology. Is the rise and fall of agencies destined to be shorter than it was in the past?

Claire Long Joins Covario as CFO and COO

Long has more than 20 years of financial leadership experience, including senior positions in the publishing, software, analytics, semiconductor, digital media, specialty retail, resort and telecommunications industries. Before she joined the U-T, Long served as the CFO of Visual Sciences (formerly WebSideStory), where she was instrumental in managing its successful acquisition by Omniture, Inc.

Covario has been on a public relations tear lately and moved into new digs in one of my old stomping grounds (University Town Center). This move makes me wonder whether all this activity is about making Covario a target for a high-profile acquisition.

Twitter’s Pitch Deck for Big Advertisers

Twitter Advertising Pitch Deck Slide

Twitter won’t talk publicly about its ad-selling efforts. But you can get a glimpse of what they’re doing via a pitch deck the company recently used to woo a big publicly traded company.

There are two very interesting parts to this pitch deck. First is the focus on mobile which is backed up by Twitter’s recent release of a new mobile app. The second is that Twitter is comparing itself to Facebook. So Twitter believes it is better suited for intent generation versus intent harvesting? It would explain why their search capabilities are still miserable.

500px Makes First Acquisition, Recommendation Software Startup Algo Anywhere

For 500px, that could lead to a significant advantage, especially in the startup’s revenue-generating areas. The photo-sharing service recently introduced a marketplace, where people can buy prints or publication rights to images on its site, and the success of that venture could be greatly helped by putting pictures in front of users that better suit their tastes, professions and purchase intent.

If you haven’t noticed, the web is increasingly visual. Photo-sharing and curation sites are all the rage but it will be those that figure out how to make money from this trend that will survive. So maybe 500px isn’t the first site you think of but they might be one of the last ones standing.

Vevo founder warns Google: Sweeten deal or we’ll go elsewhere

That’s a serious threat given that Vevo — which features videos of Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Rihanna and about 11,000 other artists — is YouTube’s most popular channel, according to ComScore Inc. In May, Vevo’s videos generated 617.8 million views on the site, which Google acquired in 2006 for $1.65 billion.

“Google is charging us a lot of money to put our videos on their platform, and we would like them to reduce their fees,” Morris told The Times in the first public airing of his grievances. “If not, there are at least three other companies who want to take our videos.”

This makes me groan. Why? Because whenever I see that the video I want is from Vevo I know I’m going to have to sit through a dreaded ad. Yet, I often do (though I’m never paying attention to it) because absolutely want to see that Kasabian video. I feel like there has to be a better way to monetize premium content.

Bitly Raises $15M Led by Khosla Ventures

While the relaunch of Bitly as a social bookmarking destination may have upset some existing users, Stern downplayed the drama. “It was a fast-twitch response by semiprofessional users because we changed their workflow.”

There’s been no dropoff in Bitly traffic, and 200,000 new people have registered in the past month, which is a big jump, Stern said. “We gave mainstream users no reason to create a Bitly account before.”

You know what Bitly, screw you. Each time I read this I get a bit more angry. I understand that you need to pivot but disrespecting a very passionate user base while running toward a crowded mainstream market with a sub-par product doesn’t spell success in my book.

(Animals image by Ryan Somma and used via Creative Commons licensing.)

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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