Author: Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles

I am a tech reporter and have been writing about technology, digital marketing and startups at Econsultancy since January 2009.

Yahoo looks to differentiate with rich media in search ads

Is it differentiation or desperation? That's for you to decide but Yahoo definitely thinks the former when it comes to its introduction of rich media to search ads.

With its new Rich Ads in Search program, Yahoo is allowing advertisers to include images, video and even site search forms with their search ads.

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Friends don't let friends autotweet

The more I use Twitter, the more I've noticed an annoying phenomenon: the autotweet.

What are 'autotweets'? They're tweets sent in an automated fashion, usually through websites connected to Twitter via the Twitter API. The purpose of autotweets: to alert followers to new content posted on the Twitter user's website.

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Memo to TechCrunch: make love not war, because negativity sucks

TechCrunch is one of the blogs that I check on a daily basis. If there's a blog that falls under the category of 'must-read', TechCrunch is it.

TechCrunch made a name for itself by covering new internet startups in Silicon Valley and has a reputation of breaking important technology news.

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US Census Bureau: ecommerce slumped in Q4 2008

We all know the 4th quarter was a tough one for retailers. Despite the holidays, the global economic crisis had consumers pinching pennies and retailers were forced to discount heavily in an effort to entice them to spend.

Some online retailers such as Amazon.com reported 'record' holidays but many weren't quick to quantify what those 'records' meant to the bottom line and according to new numbers, Q4 2008 online sales in the United States were disappointing.

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Facebook makes a huge privacy flub - again

Facebook is on top of the world. Its continued growth is nothing short of amazing and it now has over 175m members worldwide. It's adding 600,000 each day.

Of course, Facebook has yet to turn its popularity into the type of revenue it needs to thrive long-term but if there's one thing that could bring Facebook down, it's not revenue. It's privacy.

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Whither celebrity endorsements?

In this tough economic environment, it's no surprise that big brands are thinking more carefully about celebrity endorsements.

After all, celebrity endorsements don't come cheap, they don't always deliver and, as we've seen recently, sometimes celebrities' bad decisions put them at odds with the values of the brands they're paid millions to represent.

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Fail: Mahalo black hat SEO

Jason Calacanis may be one of the most recognizable internet entrepreneurs in the United States but that doesn't mean that is current startup, Mahalo, is above using questionable SEO tactics to boost its SERPs.

Mahalo is a human-edited web directory that some have criticized in the past as being nothing more than a link farm designed to take advantage of search engines. Which is ironic, given that Calacanis has in the past been critical of SEO.

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Some charges against Pirate Bay tossed in copyright mega-case

Pirate Bay, the Swedish website known for hosting one of the largest indexes of pirated BitTorrent files, is embroiled in perhaps the copyright battle of the century.

Unlike many websites that engage in or facilitate alleged the sharing and downloaded of pirated content, The Pirate Bay has managed to stay in business since 2004 despite its visibility. And as record labels and studios see it, Pirate Bay is a business, complete with management and investors.

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How to lose respect and redirect users

Dale Carnegie's book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, is one of the best-selling self-help books ever published.

One might suspect that Justin.tv, an online video startup based in California, is writing its own book, How to Lose Respect and Redirect Users, after it was discovered that the company is redirecting its users to porn sites when they search for certain keywords.

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How to avoid deadbeat clients

I responded to a post on the Econsultancy forums the other day which dealt with an issue most of us have had the misfortune of dealing with at some time or another: deadbeat clients who haven't paid their bills.

In tough economic times, businesses and contractors providing services to others need to be extra vigilant about deadbeat clients because there are simply more of them out there.

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Reports: ITV looking to end friendship with Friends Reunited

In December 2005, ITV purchased social networking pioneer Friends Reunited for £120m plus an earn-out of £55m. At the time, Friends Reunited had 46m registered users, an impressive number that made the husband-and-wife creation one of the largest social networks in the world.

As competing social networks like Bebo and Facebook gained prominence, Friends Reunited stuck to a subscription model. And despite losses in users and traffic, the service pulled in £22m in 2007, making up a hefty chunk of ITV's online revenue.

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Seth Godin: 5 tips for better online surveys

One of the reasons I often find Seth Godin's advice to be useful is that it's usually so simple.

When it comes to online surveys, Seth has a few common sense tips that seem obvious but, not surprisingly, are usually not implemented. I felt they were worth posting here, along with several suggestions of my own.

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