Street Fight Daily: Google Changes Desktop Search Ads, Yahoo to Start Reaching Out to Bidders

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A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…

Google Makes Desktop Search Look More Mobile-ish to Milk More Shopping-Ads Cash (Recode)
Google has made a seismic shift in its bedrock search page, ditching ads that appear on the right side and adding up to four paid ads above the unpaid or “organic” listings. In essence, Google has rebuilt desktop results to resemble mobile ones, an indication of its effort to push advertisers to spend more readily on handheld devices, where a bulk of searches now happen.

Yahoo Said to Start Approaching Possible Bidders As Soon As Today (Bloomberg)
Yahoo will begin approaching potential corporate and private equity buyers as soon as Today. Companies like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T are among the interested parties, as well as buyout firms like Bain, KKR, and TPG. Yahoo said Friday it hired financial advisers and told independent board members to explore its strategic options.

How the Google My Business API Changes the Local Ecosystem (Street Fight)
Damian Rollison: The move to release a My Business API is a good thing for business owners but even better for Google itself, which in providing a better means to gather data will improve the freshness and accuracy of that data.

What Is Groupon’s Real Value to Alibaba? (Crain’s Chicago Business)
Joe Cahill: Groupon CEO Rich Williams’s turnaround strategy has started paying off, but it won’t erase Groupon’s fundamental disadvantages. The company has no particular edge in higher-margin categories and lacks the financial muscle for sustained combat with industry giants. But a deep-pocketed owner like Alibaba, which has resources to match Amazon’s, might improve its chances.

Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, Others Launch IoT Standards Group (VentureBeat)
Giants of the tech world are banding together to found a new group supporting the burgeoning Internet of Things industry. The Open Connectivity Foundation is touted as a group to unify standards, expedite innovation, and “create IoT solutions and devices that work seamlessly together.”

Case Study: For Lead Generation, Cleaning Firm Prefers Emails to Website Clicks (Street Fight)
Despite recent successes with mobile advertising, Herminio Gomes of Sharp Cleaning estimates he currently spends just 4 percent of his marketing budget on digital channels. The rest is divided between direct mailers, newspaper ads, flyers, and commissions.

Axel Springer, Longtime Google Foe, Turns Google Partner with AMP Launch (Recode)
Axel Springer, the German publishing powerhouse, is no friend of Google’s. In fact, you could call it a nemesis: Its execs have a long-standing beef with Google over its aggregation practice. Still, Axel Springer is a digital publisher, and one of its properties will be a launch partner with Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages publishing product.

Forrester Research Finds More Than Half of B2B Marketers Struggle to Engage with First-Time Customers on Digital Platforms (The Drum)
It’s increasingly clear that B2B organizations have been slower than B2C marketers to embrace digital marketing, preferring to continue investing in more traditional channels like in-person events. A Forrester Consulting survey noted that this is preventing B2B marketers from reaching early-stage buyers.

Qubit Raises $40M to Power Big-Data Analytics for Marketing That Goes Beyond Adwords (TechCrunch)
The halcyon days of people clicking on Google search links and instantly converting into customers are over. But a startup called Qubit, founded by four ex-Googlers, has built a big-data analytics platform that it believes could make selling online today and in the future nearly as easy and successful.

Seattle Startup DealTapp Streamlines Deal-Posting for Restaurants, Bars, and Entertainment Venues (GeekWire)
Many startups have removed friction for consumers trying to cash in on an online deal. Sites like Groupon and LivingSocial send out targeted alerts when deals come online, store payment info for quick checkouts, and encourage users to get deep discounts before they sell out. A new Seattle startup called DealTapp aims to bring that frictionless feeling to the other side of the table.

Backed with Verizon’s Data and New Targeting Tools, AOL Creates a Chief Mobile Officer (Adweek)
AOL has a new mobile chief tasked with growing the company’s revenue and competing with the likes of Google, Facebook, and Twitter for a piece of the growing mobile pie. Mark Connon, previously EVP of platform business at Millennial Media, has been elevated to the newly created position of global chief mobile officer for AOL platforms and advertising.

The Mobile Electorate (TechCrunch)
Nic Denholm: Network TV is becoming a legacy platform because voters can engage with what it broadcasts via the same digital channels they use to access everything else. Mainstream media gatekeepers face obsolescence because the social Web opens its own gates every day. This new, mobilized — and mobile-ized — electorate is a force to be reckoned with. As we head into the primaries, the sturdiness of these digital grassroots will be tested to their limit.

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