Potter finale sets Amazon pre-order record

The forthcoming final Harry Potter book has become Amazon's most ever pre-ordered item - and the pre-ordering isn't finished yet.

Online orders for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows passed the previous 1.5m mark set by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince yesterday.


Dollar-pound rate 'unfair' on US e-marketers

A US pay-per-click marketing agency has complained the current rate of the dollar against sterling leaves UK advertisers with an unfair advantage over their American counterparts.

The pound yesterday rose to a new high of $2.0170 - and concern is growing Stateside.


Hotel group to host Second Life meetings

Hotel group Crowne Plaza has set up free meetings facilities in Second Life to promote its brand to businesses in the virtual world.

On the company’s ‘The Place to Meet Island’, launched at the end of last month, firms can reserve “secure, private meeting rooms” equipped with streaming audio, video, presentation and image viewing abilities.

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Keyword research – an essential market research tool

The web has made market research widely available but the conclusions drawn from different methods of research provide different and sometimes conflicting results.

The savvy manager will not just depend on one source of research about the market but several – and keyword research should be an essential part of any research project.


Yahoo! launches targeted ad system

Yahoo! has introduced a new service that allows advertisers to customise display ads to browsers' age, gender, location and online behaviour.

The SmartAds system, to be introduced today, enables variations of firms' ads to be submitted to Yahoo!'s network with the most relevant version being matched to web surfers' profiles.


AdSense for YouTube video ads spotted

One of the first AdSense advertisements in a YouTube video has been spotted in the wild.

The video in which the ads are embedded includes two tell-tale yellow segments in the time seek bar.


Google, others sued over parked domain ads

Google is among a host of web firms facing a lawsuit from companies complaining about programmes that place online ads on unused, parked domain names.

Vulcan Golf filed the complaint in Illinois arguing the practice, by which individuals register attractive domain names but place only ads on them, is a "shocking and egregious, intentional, bad faith scheme to generate revenue and profit from illegal and deceptive actions".


Tesco moving into the online property market

Supermarket giant Tesco is planning to provide a website for private sellers to list their property for sale without the need for an estate agent.

According to the Telegraph, private sellers will be able to list their houses for £199, with viewings and offers arranged through the site. Customers will also get a Tesco 'for sale' sign.


Wonga bags £3m for online loans service

UK startup Wonga has received £3m in funding for its upcoming quickfire online loans service.

The soon-to-be-launched UK site says it will give decisions on whether to loan money to borrowers within 30 minutes, faster than any other loan provider.

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Google encourages gadget developers

Google has launched a pilot programme that will provide funding to developers using its gadget API to develop their own applications.

Under the scheme, developers can apply for a grant if their app is in Google's gadgets directory and has at least 250,000 weekly page views.


Silver surfers are biggest home PC users

A survey of the UK's home computing habits has revealed that over-55s are the most frequent home PC users in the UK.

The Microsoft survey of 1,000 UK PC users found that 95% of those aged 55 and over used the internet on a daily basis, compared with 85% of 16-24 year olds. Seventy seven percent of the group go online more than once a day, compared with 72% of 16-24s.

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MySpace feels heat from UK rivals, jumps shark?

Alarm bells will be ringing at MySpace UK after the News Corp-owned site posted a 300,000 drop in visitors last month, according to new stats from Nielsen//NetRatings.

The month saw MySpace’s unique visitors from Britain falling from 6.8m to 6.5m in May – only the second monthly drop it has experienced since November 2005.

With Facebook in the ascendancy, has MySpace finally jumped the shark?