Google Updates

  • Google is using third-party sites for rich snippets. This is an important precedent: it’s one of the few cases where Google gives up brand-blessed real estate for non-brand sites.
  • There are some rumblings that Google’s privacy policies may violate HIPAA, but Google appears to fall outside the purview of that law.
  • Google released a few search quality tweaks, including better recurring event detection—just in time for “what time is the super bowl?
  • A Google engineer argues that “SEO isn’t good for users,” which is not the party line. (He likely meant “The things I classify as ‘SEO,’ as opposed to ‘Good content about what people are looking for,’ are bad for users.)

New York’s Startup Ecosystem

Hacker Dojo, an SV coworking space, might be shut down over building code violations. New York City’s government also cares about incubators: they’re starting their own. New York as a better startup hub than Silicon Valley is still a better trend-piece topic than an actual trend. But these small nudges can have a huge net impact.

Paywalls as NPR Memberships

Clay Shirky tells NPR that paywalls will function like NPR totebags.

How to Flub a Social Media Promotion

Woody Harrelson offered to do a Reddit interview. The result was a disaster; the answers were vague, and obsessively focused on the film he’s promoting. Unlike a regular interview, where forgiving hosts can cut the awkward parts and stick with an actor-friendly message, Harrelson was stuck with an interview that’s almost entirely awkward. (It didn’t help that the most popular question was about Harrelsoncrashing a prom afterparty.)

Social media consultants tend to advise their clients to just be themselves. In Harrelson’s case, his actual personality is totally incompatible with anything a PR person would approve of. The result reads like an interview with the PR guy, which is not exactly what this audience is looking for.

Tumblr Introduces Promotion, Self-Promotion

Tumblr is now offering highlighted posts for $1 each, which is a nice form of price discrimination. (“$1″ being the design snob’s answer to 99 cents.) They’ve also started hiring people to write about Tumblr-specific news.

Early Evernote Investors Sell to Sequoia

Facebook isn’t the only company heralding a new pseudo-public / pseudo-private paradigm. Evernote has now seen an early-stage VC exit by selling to a later-stage VC.

Bing Licenses Full Articles

Bing’s answer to Google Health is here: they’re licensing some full articles from the Mayo Clinic, which will appear inline in search results, rather than on a separate page. This just continues the search results page’s evolution from an intermediate click to a hybrid navigation and destination page.

Meanwhile, Bing’s Stefan Weitz was interviewed on social search. As always, Bing is taking a more measured and subtle approach than Google—which is a surprising departure from the Microsoft tradition, but which makes sense in light of Google’s ability to brute-force solutions by throwing extra data at them.

About.com Weighs Down the NYT

The New York Times is reporting worsening results from its content farm, About.com. About wasn’t as hard-hit by Panda as other content farms, but it’s certainly seen traffic take a hit. And since About’s ads are so well targeted compared to e.g. ads in the NYT’s article archive, that’s an especially painful loss.

China’s Display Market Oddities

In China, display is bought on a ‘cost per time’ basis by default. That’s the most notable snippet from this AdExchanger interview with a startup CEO who intends to change that.

Inside a Quinstreet Acquisition

J D Roth at GetRichSlowly details how he sold his site to Quinstreet. It’s an interesting look at roll-ups from the other side. And it’s especially compelling given that QuinStreet tends to buy much thinner affiliate sites. If their model leans more towards soft lead-gen like these blogs, that could be a positive sign for their long-term traffic.

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Coworking coast-to-coast, a social media promotion disaster, and paywalls as tote bags…