Monday, April 23, 2012
  • Gavin O'Malley, April 23, 2012, 12:07 PM
  • Google Triples Lobbying Spend Doing everything possible to fend off government regulation, Web giants are spending more than ever on their respective lobbying efforts. This quarter, Google spent a whopping $5.03 million on lobbying fees -- tripling its spend from the same period a year ago -- reports TechCrunch, citing the most recent disclosure reports filed in the U.S. Senate’s lobbying database. By contrast, Microsoft only spent $1.8 million on lobbying for the quarter. Small by comparison, Facebook doubled down on its own lobbying efforts ahead of its IPO in May. According to TechCrunch, the social network spent $650,000 on lobbying in the first quarter of the year -- up from $230,000 in the same quarter last year. What issues are Google pushing in Washington? This past quarter, as TechCrunch reports, Google’s lobbying strategy focused on SOPA, patent reform, data privacy and accountability, online advertising regulation, intellectual property and trademark issues, cyber security and online privacy, renewable energy, freedom of expression and censorship, immigration reform and the Startup Visa Act, science, technology and math education, free trade, broadband access, freedom of expression and intellectual property in international trade agreements, “openness and competition in the online services market,” cloud computing, tax reform, and internet standards of service. Read the whole story...
  • Has Pinterest Popped? Could the party already be over for Pinterest? That isn’t likely, but, after losing momentum in March, new data suggests that the picture-based social network is actually losing users, this month. According to AppData, which monitors how often users of third-party apps and Web sites interact with Facebook, the number of Facebook-connected Pinterest users has declined precipitously the past 50 days. As Business Insider notes, “most Pinterest users sign-up to the site using their Facebook accounts.” By AppData’s calculations, Pinterest’s monthly active users are down from 11.3 million on March 1 to 11.15 million on April 1 to just 8.3 million, today. Yet, the decline “probably isn't as scary as it looks for Pinterest,” BI admits. “The first three months of this year saw an explosion in coverage of Pinterest, according to Google Trends.”  A lot of first-timers decided the site wasn’t for them. Adds BI: “Our guess: Pinterest will continue shedding try-out-the-latest-hot-thing types and then start growing again, the way it used to: through word-of-mouth.”   Read the whole story...
  • Why Google & Facebook Fail At Mobile Like countless industry leaders before them, are Google and Facebook growing fat, happy, and complacent? Citing their lack of mobile focus as evidence, so suggests Nick Bilton. “This month, when Google showcased a new design for Google Plus, the company’s social network, it was as if mobile phones and tablets were still a glimmer in some future inventor’s eye,” Bilton writes on The New York Times’ Bits blog. “The made-over Web site was beautifully designed, but the smartphone app and mobile site were completely ignored.” Facebook’s willingness to drop $1 billion on the two-year-old Instagram is clear evidence that the social network has also struggling with its mobile strategy. “Its mobile app, which is sometimes painfully slow, was updated only after the Web site was redesigned for Timeline,” Bilton notes. Bigger picture, Bilton has a theory on why both Google and Facebook have been slow to capitalize on the shift to mobile. “It’s that working at these companies is like going to work on an all-inclusive cruise ship,” he posits. “The analogy is apt in terms of the luxury -- and the isolation.”     Read the whole story...