Google Rolls Out Panda 2.5

SearchMetrics has the usual victim list. At this point, the results are pretty random. Google is probably identifying sitewide factors based on what predicts user behavior across all sites. Now that the obvious spammers have been hit, the traits Google identifies will be more superficially unrelated.

In other Google news, they’ve released a torrent of data about AdWords. The headline number: a third of search ads uxe special formats. Given the time investment in using those formats, that’s extraordinary. And there are also numbers on top-grossing Youtube partners. The range is surprisingly narrow.

Blekko Raises Money From Yandex (Among Others)

Indie search engine Blekko has raised a substantial round. It’s not especially strategicially valuable for Yandex to own a piece of Blekko, but it might help them to have access to some US-market behavioral data. Expect this deal to be a bit deeper than it currently looks.

Zynga Reports Q2

Zynga reported a huge drop in net income, and a drop in active users. But they’re still able to gradually raise revenue per active user, making near-term fluctuations in revenue less relevant. Their earnings will fluctuate based on the timing of their big releases, like the movie industry. Unlike the movie industry, they’re just getting started with derivative, lucrative sequels.

Apple Ubiquity Update

Apple’s latest iPhone updated disappointed a few rabid fans, but the big news was around existing products. They now have iPhones at the $99 and $0 (with a phone plan) price points. That’s going to bring far more people over to the iOS platform. Great for iOS publishers, but not great for Apple itself; Apple users seem disproportionately likely to stretch their financial resources for the cheapest iteration of a product; this kind of price cut cannibalizes sales from higher-priced models.

“The many lives of Susan Lyne”

Fortune has a surprising profile of the Chairman of Gilt Groupe, Susan Lyne. This illustrates one big difference between New York and Silicon Valley: in New York, startups are willing to embrace the establishment much faster.

Some Daily Deals’ Discounts Systematically Overestimated

Thumbtack compares stated discounts to market prices for “local services” like house painting and cleaning. There are examples from LivingSocial and Groupon, so it’s not endemic to the controversialsales practices of one daily deal provider or another.

In other news Groupon utterly dominates all group buying markets. This validates the land-grab theory behind their initial growth.

Greylock Buys into SEO Affiliates has raised $30 million from Greylock in order to fund their growth in the highly competitive, well-SEO’d field of online coupons.

Q&A With an Adobe Corp Dev Employee

Kenneth Berger, an Adobe employee who works on acquisitions and purchases, answers questions on Hacker News. It’s not interesting as a broad view of the market, but does underscore how idiosyncratic acquisitions can be.

Seamless Turns Menupages into Advertorials

Online food delivery company Seamless has purchased Menupages. This is the kind of pure vertical integration that could be easily accomplished by a referral agreement rather than a merger. It’s also a sign that Seamless is abandoning their direct-to-business-only roots. That could be a prelude to larger national expansion.

“Innovation Starvation”

Science fiction author Neal Stephenson decries the lack of true innovation. Modern markets are far more geared towards investing in incremental improvements rather than revolutions—a problem some of them are explicitly trying to fix.

Kayak Holds IPO

Kayak filed to go public nearly a year ago; they’ve finally conceded that it won’t happen any time soon. Their competitive position has deteriorated substantially since then, and investors have enough travel stocks to keep them entertained already.

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Panda 2.5, parsing Zynga, and Innovation Starvation