Articles of the Day

Google, Yahoo In Talks To Fend Off Antitrust Action: Report — Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) are in talks with the Justice Department over their proposed ad deal, in an effort to head off an antitrust challenge, reports WSJ, citing sources. While the regulatory investigators are building their case to block this deal, settlement talks are also in an early stage. The drumbeat against the deal has been steadily growing louder over the last month or so, as rival companies and associations have come out against the search ad deal. In settlement talks, the two companies are considering some concessions, including lowering the volume of queries on Yahoo on which Google’s ads would be shown, and that Yahoo would continue to be a search ad player and not abandon it. Also, a reporting mechanism that would ensure compliance (and also monitor ad pricing) is also being considered, the story says.

NBCU Local Sites Look Beyond TV — NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) is widening the purview of its local TV stations’ sites, even as it tries to downplay the sites’ identities as broadcast extensions. The sites, which are being relaunched around station sites in nine cites, are being encouraged to develop their individuality and not have a uniform look and feel. And to achieve that, the sites will go beyond the 6- and 11 p.m. newscasts to begin aggregating content from outside bloggers and news sites. From an ad standpoint, John Wallace, president of NBC Local Media, said that this is all an effort to attract a more narrow group of “influencers” to the sites. The announcement is seen as part of a gradual move to establish the TV station sites as hyperlocal hubs in cities such as LA, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New York.

Joost Launches Flash Version For Browsers: Easier But No Hulu — Online video site Joost is finally, officially easier to use. The Flash-based, download-free version for browsers can be accessed now but the full-featured version is supposed to launch at midnight. Joost boasts of having the “largest online library of legal video programming.” The company says it has doubled the number of videos in the past 10 months to more than 46,000 with a 50 percent increase in hours for a total of more than 8,000 hours. Content partners include investors CBS (NYSE: CBS) and Viacom; Sony (NYSE: SNE) Pictures Television; Warner Bros. Television Group; the NBA; PBS and a number of international providers.

Yahoo Faces Another Seach Ad Challenger: YouTube — While the search ad pact between Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) has been placed on hold until the Department of Justice determines whether to block it or not, YouTube has quietly moved into the number two search ad driver—a spot Yahoo had held since the rise of Google, according to comScore figures. AdAge shows how Google hopes that its latest strategy to prompt YouTube into an important revenue driver involves taking a page from its own successful formula. The move comes on the heels of YouTube’s other recent ad plans, including adding affiliate sales links to its videos.

Nielsen Online Launches Chinese Venture — Nielsen Online has formed a joint venture with the parent of ChinaRank, which publishes Web site rankings in China, to track Internet use in the country. The new venture, CR-Nielsen, will be the first company to provide standard Internet measures such as traffic figures in China. “With more than 250 million Internet users, China represents a significant opportunity for our clients, and there has been a loud call to support this expanding market with high-quality, independent online measurement services,” said Itzhak Fisher, executive chairman of Nielsen Online, in a statement.

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