Articles of the Day

Microsoft Rejigs For Commercial Search, Multimap Leads The Way — Microsoft is restructuring its Search Business Group to add a new group geared toward commercial search. It’s picked Multimap CEO Jeff Kelisky to be GM of this new Commercial Search unit, which covers Live Search cashback, MSN Shopping, local, consumer mapping, Virtual Earth and mobile. It’s part of the big plan to improve the performance of Live as a search and advertising platform. Kelisky will report to Search Business Group GM Brad Goldberg in Redmond but will remain based in London. Goldberg: “We are increasing our focus on commercial search, including changes to the search leadership team and engineering team and in order to lead this market we need to bring all find, explore and commerce needs together. (Jeff) will direct this team to ensure Microsoft continues to innovate and deliver so that consumers choose us to find local information and services.” Goldberg said Kelisky understood particularly how to navigate search, local services, business search and mobile.

Google Tweaks Bidding System — Google is updating the system it uses for judging ad quality to calculate results in real-time, Cnet reports. The so-called ad quality score is a critical measurement that influences how ads are placed next to search results. Google weighs both the ad quality score and the amount the advertiser is willing to pay in determining which ad to place. For ads with low quality scores, which are determined using criteria like click-through rate and the speed with which the advertisers’ landing page loads, Google raises the minimum bid requirement. But changes are coming to this system, too. According to Cnet, ad quality will now be judged at the time each user searches, instead of relying on old, static quality data to assess ad placement. This way, AdWords will use the most accurate, specific, and up-to-date performance information when determining whether an ad should be displayed,” Google said on its blog, adding that it would test the changes over the next few days before deploying them across its network next week.

ComScore: Google Still Leads Search — ComScore’s monthly comScore qSearch analysis of the U.S. search marketplace indicates that in July 2008, U.S. users conducted 11.8 billion core searches (up 2% vs. June) as Google Sites slightly extended its lead in core search market share by 0.4 percentage points. Google Sites led the U.S. core search market in July with 61.9% of the searches conducted–up from 61.5% in June, followed by Yahoo Sites (20.5%), Microsoft Sites (8.9%), Ask Network (4.5%), and AOL LLC (4.2%).

Reed Business Sale Expected As Early As October; Gruner & Jahr Now Interested — Reed Elsevier expects the sale of its Reed Business Information trade magazine unit to complete as early as October. In a memo seen by Dow Jones, Marianne van Leeuwen, CEO of the Holland operation, says bids were made for RBI “since last week”. “In the first three weeks of September, the global board of Reed Business will give a management presentation to potential acquirers,” Van Leeuwen wrote, though she said she did not know who the buyers would be. BusinessWeek publisher McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHP), private equity house Bain Capital, Providence Equity Partners and Apollo Management have been linked with bids, while Billboard publisher Nielsen was also linked. In half-year earnings last month, Reed Elsevier reported “strong buyer interest” in RBI. This means we will have a new owner of Variety very soon.

Yahoo News’ Original Content Efforts, Again; Also on Music — Yahoo News is doing more and more original content, something it planned to do when Lloyd Braun came in to do that for the whole Yahoo Media group, and then pulled back after he left….now it is picking up the baton once again, this time as a series of high profile video/text interviews with world leaders, as AFP points out. Among its recent interviews: South Korean president Lee Myung-bak, the first internet-only interview US president George W. Bush, and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the latter two done in association with Yahoo is also working with Politico reporters for coverage of the coming Democratic and Republican party conventions. The pitch is simple to get these “exclusives”: “We get these interviews because we have this global audience of 500 million viewers,” director of editorial programming Jessica Barron told AFP. “Yahoo News is a news organization,” she said. That’s news. Yahoo News has typically worked with newswires and other content providers for its site, and it still is the biggest part.

American Social Nets Struggle In China — China has the world’s largest Internet audience. As such, it should be the holy grail for social networking sites, but the likes of MySpace and Facebook have found the going rather tough in China. This is partly due to the country’s “perilous” regulatory environment, which renders social networks responsible for any piece of content on their site. Indeed, if a site doesn’t comply with government regulations, authorities have the right to shut it down. Unaccustomed to this, MySpace and Facebook trail Chinese social networks, whose elaborate censorship technologies block or delete politically sensitive material. As Forbes reports, these “social networks operate just the opposite way in the U.S., where users are allowed to freely share all kinds of data without the threat of government intervention.” For this reason, “American social networks will find it extremely difficult to make inroads in China.”

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