A summary of search related news items that occurred this week including Yahoo! Search Marketing now provides the ability for advertisers to block domains, Microsoft agrees to acquire Jellyfish.com – a discount shopping site, Performance Pricing sues AOL, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo over their competitive bidding patent, Alaska Airlines the first U.S. airline to test in-flight Internet access, and finally, an individual that stood up to record companies demanding settlements for illegally downloaded music lose her court case and is ordered to pay $222,000.
- Yahoo! Search Marketing Will Allow Advertisers to Block Domains – In a new feature planned to launch later this month, Yahoo! Search Marketing will now allows its advertiser to block up to 250 domains that they do not want their ads to be displayed on. This could be a result of competition or simply sites in which advertisers may not wish to associate their ads or brand with. Blocked domains can include an entire domain, a sub domain, or up to two subdirectories per domain. This new feature gives advertisers more control over their campaigns by letting them specify partner websites or sections of a website that don’t meet business needs and on which you don’t want your ads to appear.
- Microsoft Acquires Jellyfish.com Discount Shopping Site - TechCrunch reports that Microsoft has agreed to acquire discount shopping site, Jellyfish.com for an undisclosed sum. JellyFish compare themselves to eBay but in reverse. In other words instead of prices rising, they drop. As users watch the price fall, they are torn between letting it fall lower or buying the item at the current price before the mystery quantity is sold out. Sounds interesting. The Microsoft Live Search team said they “think the technology has some interesting potential applications as we continue to invest heavily in shopping and commerce as a key component of Live Search.” Under the terms of the deal, Jellyfish.com will maintain its standalone identity and its 26 employees will remain in Wisconsin.
- AOL, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo Sued Over Competitive Bidding Patent - Performance Pricing is suing four of the five largest search engines, alleging that each engine’s PPC divisions violated their “competitive bidding” patent. The patent describes a system for competitive bidding. “The present invention comprises a business model used to determine the price of goods and/or services to be provided from a seller or sellers to a buyer or buyers,” the patent explains. “Various forms of electronic competition and/or entertainment are used as intermediary activities between said buyers and sellers to ultimately determine a contract price.” The patent claims to cover a wide variety of activities including video games, electronic board games, crossword puzzles or other word games, sports betting, card games, or any other activity or combination of activities. Apparently, the plaintiff also believes the patent covers Internet ad auctions as well.
- Alaska Airlines Tests In-Flight Internet Access - Yes – Internet access while flying place to place. Marketing Pilgrim reports that Alaska Airlines will be the first U.S. airline carrier to test
satellite internet service on their flights. They will perform the test on one single plane in which if all goes well, they will add the service to their entire fleet. The service will be provided by Row 44, which will hold over water and across international borders. As to the cost? No details have been release as of yet. Boeing tried to offer a similar service in the past but did not follow through due to the fact that they could not get enough airlines to sign on. Some of that was affected by 9/11 and perhaps because the service was quite expensive. Their service, also by satellite, was to run $10 for the first hour, or $27 for 24 hours.
- Record Companies Win Lawsuit Over Illegal Downloading of Music - Yahoo News reports that Jammie Thomas, who decided to stand up to record companies demanding settlements for allegedly illegally downloading music, lost her case on Thursday and was ordered to pay $222,000. Six major record companies accused Thomas of offering 1,702 songs on the Kazaa file-sharing network. At trial, they focused on 24 songs and jurors decided that Thomas willfully violated the copyright on all 24. They recommended she pay damages of $9,250 per song, or $222,000. What is ironic about this story is the fact that Thomas denied that the Kazaa account at issue during the trial was hers. Also neither side presented the computer hard drive Thomas owned in 2004 and 2005, which she allegedly use to download and offer the songs. So where is the proof? Sounds to me like an appeal is in order.