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Author: Meghan Keane

Meghan Keane

Before becoming US Editor at Econsultancy, Meghan was a staff writer at Wired.com. There she wrote about business, technology and advertising for Wired's business blog Epicenter. Prior to that she was a freelance writer and worked as the Deputy Culture Editor at The New York Sun.

Study: The design of a social network influences behavior

Understanding the ways the social graph changes and influences decision making is something marketers and scientists are frantically trying to figure out. According to a new study out of MIT, people are more likely to start new behaviors when they're recommended by small clusters of people they know well. This may not sound intensely groundbreaking, but it runs counter to the decades-long assumptions social sciencists have been making. 

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Google Instant will change — not kill — SEO

Today Google unveiled a new product called Google Instant, which predicts users' search queries and delivers results as they're typing. The news immediately got people talking. While it will make search faster, not everyone is excited about this new feature. Some, in fact, are worried it will kill SEO and harm paid search advertising results. 

Google, however, knows better than to kill off its cash cow with a new consumer friendly feature. Rumors of Google Instant killing the art of SEO are greatly exaggerated. 

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The future of search: news before you know you want it

Google may be king of search, but the company's executives aren't satisfied to reign over the current search market. They want to redefine it. Speaking at Berlin’s IFA home electronics event on Tuesday, Google CEO Eric Schmidt explained the next phase of search that Google is working on: automatic search.

In the near future, Google is hoping to deliver answers to questions you haven't answered yet. Done correctly, that could be great for consumers - and even better for brands.

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Twitter's link logging will be a boon for businesses

Twitter is getting into analytics. Finally. This week, the microblogging service announced that it will be updating its URL shortener t.co to help alleviate malware problems and track link sharing on its service. 

By the end of the year, t.co links will be more secure, and provide more information to the people that share them. This is good news for marketers.

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Study: Display ad market nearly doubled in 2010, amidst a slow economy

That online display advertising growth so many digital marketers have been anticipating may be arriving a little early. According to a new report from Rubicon Project, digital ad spending grew 47% during the first half of the year.

That's not including search revenues — and despite an economy that has yet to nudge past the brink of rebound.

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Apple is about to teach telecoms to fear free with FaceTime on iPod Touch

Cellphone carriers better prepare to understand the meaning of "tyranny of free." Today at Apple's fall product launch, Steve Jobs announced that iPhone and iPod Touch products can now make calls to other Apple mobile devices without the need for a cellphone contract.

It could take awhile for Apple and Google's similarly free voice calling features to go mainstream. But both products point to an ever present threat in the digital world, where free can be a nasty four letter word. 

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Facebook goes to Target with Facebook Credits gift cards

Facebook may not be a retailer, but that doesn't mean the company can't sell gift cards. Starting September 5, Target will start selling Facebook Credits gift cards in stores nationwide.

Consumers don't necessarily need easier ways to spend money on Facebook, but it is a great trick to introduce more consumers to Facebook games. Free marketing for Target, too.

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Study: Be prepared for the smartphone takeover

More than a few businesses are hoping that mobile will save their bottom line in the coming years. Why is that? For a few reasons. But one factor involves consumer tolerance for ads and charges they reject in the desktop environment. Moreover, mobile adoption is skyrocketing.

According to a new study by Burson-Marsteller and Proof Integrated Communications, smartphone shipments will exceed PC shipments within two years. Marketers need to start paying attention. 

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Can low prices and customer rewards nurse Borders back to health?

Competition is getting tough in the digital reader category. Tight margins and rapidly evolving devices are likely to thin the marketplace by next year. Currently, a price war is going on. Today, bookseller Borders lowered the price of its e-reader devices...again. Starting at $99, the Alarutek is the cheapest e-reader on the market.

Borders is trying to get back into the black with fewer stores and a focus on digital books. But can cheap prices and customer rewards save a business? That's not clear.

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MySpace can partner with brands. Without users, it doesn't matter.

MySpace may not have as many users as Facebook, but the company is trying to reposition itself (again) as a place where brands can find traction online.

The trouble is, brands usually follow users. Can MySpace flip that equation on its head and use great brand partnerships to attract users?

MySpace executives hope so.

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Old Spice's viral video success is no match for free product giveaways

Old Spice's popular viral videos have been winning the company accolades all summer — including an Emmy nod this week. Now it looks as if something a little more powerful contributed to the company's strong sales figures this year: coupon offers.

As soon as Old Spice stopped offering coupons for the products touted in the viral "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" ads, the company's sales bounce disappeared. If Wieden + Kennedy's lauded creative can't move product, the campaign could serve as a warning to those seeking viral video glory online.

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Apple iAds for developers: high cost with low returns?

Apple's new iAd mobile advertising platform offers the enticing proposition of advertising seamlessly integrated into Apple's myriad mobile applications. But according to one developer, the acquisition cost on the platform is around $15.

If other users have similar problems, this could spell trouble for Apple.

Developer David Smith of Cross Forward Consulting recently spent $1,251.75 on an iAd campaign that generated only 84 downloads. He documented his issues on the company blog. According to Smith:

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