Gavin O'Malley, May 31, 2012, 10:34 AM
Data: Google's Personalized Search Starving FacebookThe Verge

Supporting the suspicions of some, new data shows that since Google launched its "Search, plus Your World" feature in January, traffic from Google to Facebook fan pages has dropped. When SPYW debuted, Web watchers speculated that, by prioritizing Google+ search results, it would have a negative impact on SEO traffic to competing social networks, i.e., Facebook.

The new study, from analytics provider PageLever, centered around a sample of 500 Facebook fan pages -- each with a minimum of 100,000 fans -- focusing on external referrals from both Bing and Google. Between April of last year and January 9 -- a day before SPYW went into effect -- each page in the sample averaged about 9.25 referrals from Google per day. From January 10 to April 15, however, the average plummeted to just 4.52 external referrals per day -- a drop of about 51%.

“At first glance, then, it would appear that SPYW did indeed have a detrimental effect on Facebook's search engine traffic,” writes The Verge. “Complicating this hypothesis, though, is the fact that traffic from Bing also declined over this same time span, and by an even greater margin -- about 61% between pre- and post-SPYW eras.”

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  • Gavin O'Malley, May 31, 2012, 10:47 AM
  • Google Reverses Course On "Paid Inclusion"Marketing Land The was a time when Google rejected “paid inclusion.” Raising potential concerns for publishers and online searchers, however, the company appears to have embraced the pay-to-play business model. As examples, Marketing Land points to Google Hotel Finder and Google Flight Search, both of which debuted last year. “On the surface, they seem like Google’s other ‘vertical’ or topic-focused search engines,” it writes. “Unlike Google’s other vertical search engines, however, payment seems to have a role in being included in Google Hotel Finder and Google Flight Search. Maybe Google will find your hotel or your flight and list it for “free.” But it seems more likely you’ll appear if you have a paid relationship.” How is Google justifying the about-face? As Amit Singhal, the Google executive who oversees all of Google’s search products, recently told Marketing Land, the search giant needed paid relationships to collect data. “We started noticing that a class of queries could not be answered based upon just crawled data…. We realized that we will have to either license data or go out and establish relationships with data providers.”   Read the whole story...
  • Grubwithus Grubs $5M For Social DiningGigaOm Do people want help organizing dinners with like-minded people whom they might not know in an offline setting? Betting that they do, investors -- led by GRP Partners -- are pouring another $5 million into Grubwithus. Betakit attributes the startup’s appeal among VCs to “its pioneering status in what looks like it might be the latest trend among foodies,” i.e., dining with strangers. “The new cash will be used to help Grubwithus reach out to more restaurant partners, focus and expand marketing efforts, and help drive growth,” according to Betakit. “So far, the site has managed to operate in almost 50 different cities and has doubled its user base, but there’s still plenty of opportunity to grow." Co-founder and CEO Eddy Lu told BetaKit said that one of the startup’s goals for the funds is to drive more frequent engagement. “Our whole mission is to just kind of be a real life social network,” he said. “We want to further that mission, and right now you’ll check the site once or twice a week to see if there are any meals happening, and you’ll go have a meal experience and have a great time, but what about in the future knowing when these casual friends you’ve met are doing other things?”   Read the whole story...
  • Kevin Rose Joins Google VenturesAll Things D Before anyone knew Mark Zuckerberg’s name, Kevin Rose was the Web’s golden boy -- and his pursuits still pique the curiosity of tech watchers everywhere. What’s the founder of Digg.com up to? Well, after joining Google in March to work on Google+ -- along with some of his team from mobile app incubator Milk -- Rose has reportedly moved on to Google Ventures. “Rose is now a venture partner at the firm focused on making new investments, and he has already moved internally,” according to AllThingsD. “Rose famously founded Digg and built a sizable personal following through a career as a TV and video host and an early social media guy.” While Digg lost momentum, however, and Milk failed to develop a killer app, Rose has apparently fostered a successful side career as an angel investor. “Rose’s list of personal investments is long and actually quite strong,” remarks AllThingsD. “It includes Fab, Foursquare, Ngmoco, OMGPOP, Path, Square, Twitter and Zynga.” At Google, Rose was initially named a senior product manager on Google+, while three others from Milk joined the social team as well. The 3-year-old Google Ventures also happened to be a backer of Rose’s Milk. Read the whole story...