Marketing Biz: Yahoo CEO Trashes Product Team, Can AOL Patch Patch?, New Searchmetrics Backlink Analysis Tool

Welcome to the first edition of Marketing Biz, a new weekly column dedicated to business-related news and announcements in online marketing. Each Friday we’ll deliver the most interesting news items in the past week coupled with a quick take and perspective.

Marketing business news for the week revolved around the accelerating changes in search, social, local and mobile. Chaos at web 1.0 survivors were mixed with new product launches and startup hopes.

Marin Software Raises $30M, Aims (Eventually) For IPO

The new round was led by Asian investment firm Temasek, with funding from SAP Ventures (which, like Temasek, is a new investor in Marin), Benchmark Capital, Crosslink Capital, DAG Ventures, and Triangle Peak Partners. Founder and CEO Chris Lien said the money will be spent on building the sales and customer support teams, and on product development. He also said this will probably be Marin’s last round of private funding (it has raised a total of $80 million): “At some point in the future, Marin expects to be a public company.”

There are a number of players in this space, but the opportunity here is huge. The migration of offline advertising to the online world is accelerating and everyone is racing to help companies manage their spend wisely.

Yahoo’s New CEO ‘Trashed’ Yahoo’s Product Team Last Week, Plans Big Changes

Another Yahoo we spoke to says that people at the company expect big, sometimes painful changes from Thompson, and that’s OK and even wanted. But this person says Thompson has to make his big move quickly and in one go; he has to rip the bandage off.

Yahoo has been the Silicon Valley soap opera for a number of years, only rivaled recently by Twitter and the Facebook lawsuit drama. It remains to be seen whether all this bark will translate into bite. I, for one, would like to see Yahoo find its way once again.

AOL may never be able to patch up Patch

Whatever it does, it will need to in the next year. Not only is Armstrong’s dream of a thriving hyperlocal news hub at stake, more than 1,000 jobs are too. “I don’t know for sure if Patch will pay off,” admits Saul Hansell, former Programming Director for AOL’s Seed.com and one of Armstrong’s first prominent journalistic hires.

The opportunity around hyperlocal is tantalizing and could (and should) include a mobile component. In the interim, I think AOL probably has two years to fix up Patch since political candidates will be throwing money at them in 2012.

How $66 dollars could double Facebook’s advertising revenue

Ok, let’s do that. Suppose Facebook charges a mere $66 a month for a Facebook Page. At that rate, each customer would pay $792 a year. Multiply that by the 4 million businesses that have Pages and you get more than $3.16 billion a year from Facebook’s existing Page customers –which more than doubles their current advertising revenue.

Would Facebook charge people for Pages? It seems to fly in the face of their long held advertising model but subscription businesses do have some advantages. Even if it weren’t $66, charging a monthly fee could help shed empty Pages and encourage businesses to invest more resources into providing a better Page experience.

Opera Acquires Two Mobile Advertising Firms

Opera said these acquisitions will enable the company to more effectively monetize the traffic that flows through Opera Mini and Opera Mobile browsers. Opera offers advertising solutions for mass-market feature phone and smartphone platforms, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Java and Symbian. And Opera’s mobile browsers serve more than 160 million monthly active users that generate more than 100 billion page views, and consume more than 16 petabytes of mobile data services a month, as of December 2011.

Remember that desktop browser you tried once? It was pretty nice but you stuck with the one you were used to anyway. That browser might have been Opera. Don’t look now but Opera has a substantial foothold in the mobile browser space. The question is whether they can hold on to it as others join the fray.

Pinterest’s Rite of Web Passage—Huge Traffic, No Revenue

“Pinterest’s monetization strategy isn’t in the oven and it’s not even off the baking table,” said Jeremy Levine, a board member of Pinterest and a venture capitalist at Bessemer Venture Partners. “We have one hundred ideas but no execution as of yet.”

Pinterest has been riding the hype machine roller coaster. You couldn’t open up an RSS feed without tripping over a Pinterest post. So not only is Pinterest passing through the rite of web passage from a business model perspective, but also from a public relations angle.

Gnip Will Be First Authorized Reseller of Historical Twitter Data

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves; by “historical,” Gnip means the past 30 days. Most of Twitter’s history is still locked in the vault.

The historical data is more than just learning what your friend had for lunch 28 days ago but can help companies better understand sentiment and manage their brand. 30 days worth of data is a lot given the volume of Tweets and this taste will whet the appetite for a larger slice of history in the future.

LinkShare Search Marketing Clients Outperform Industry While Dramatically Increasing Online Sales

“In today’s e-commerce environment, maximizing return on investment means more than simple keyword management, it requires strategic planning, advanced technology and certified expertise,” said Yaz Iida, president and CEO of LinkShare. “Our ability to help our clients beat industry averages reflects our commitment to becoming the leading agency for comprehensive search marketing services.”

LinkShare is well known in the affiliate world, but is also building out capabilities in search marketing and other channels. Unlike Marin Software, LinkShare is both blessed and cursed with their leadership in the affiliate space. The trust they’ve established is valuable but can it be transferred to other channels?

Searchmetrics Launches New Backlink Analysis in Open Beta Release

The new tool gives global marketers instant access to the number and quality of a site’s backlinks, an analysis considered an important key to a site’s previous SEO strategies and current rankings.

With the demise of Yahoo Explorer a new spot opens up for a backlink analysis tool. Searchmetrics will have some competition though from folks like SEOmoz and MajesticSEO. It’s free for the next three months.

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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