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US digital agency iCrossing buys Spannerworks

Spannerworks, a leading UK search marketing agency, has been acquired by the US digital agency iCrossing in a deal worth “well in excess” of £10 million, the Spannerworks CEO has told E-consultancy in his first interview about the deal. 


Labels may be split on DRM in wake of Jobs memo

Music industry representatives have thumbed their noses at Apple CEO Steve Jobs' call this week for DRM to be dropped from digital downloads.

Referring to Jobs' suggestion of licensing Apple's FairPlay DRM technology far and wide, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) CEO Mitch Bainwol tol the AP: "We have no doubt that a technology company as sophisticated and smart as Apple could work with the music community to make that happen."


Truphone aims to up VoIP ante

Kent-based mobile VoIP provider Truphone hopes to make its software compatible with 25 mobile handsets this year.

James Tagg, CEO of the company which routes calls from regular mobiles over WiFi internet, told GigaOm Truphone will shortly work on Symbian S60 and UIQ (largely Nokia and Sony Ericsson) as well as Windows Mobile.


Search market jumps 62% in North America

Spending by North American advertisers on search rose 62% to $9.4bn last year, according to new figures from the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organisation (SEMPO) .

The group estimates that SEM spending – including paid placement, paid inclusion, SEO and the purchase of technology platforms - will double by 2011, at an aggregate spending total of $18.6bn.


Property search engine nets funding

Property search engine Zoomf has landed a second round of financing from web investment fund Howzat Media .

The move will see Hugo Burge, Howzat’s co-founder and vice chairman of price comparison site Cheapflights, joining Zoomf’s board.


SMS use up, marketing adoption gains

Americans are finally beginning to use SMS mobile text messaging, according to new research.

The Mobile Marketing Association's (MMA) latest annual survey found the proportion of customers who engage in texting daily rose from 41% in 2005 to 44% last year; 69% use the feature generally.

It is thought the American Idol pop talent show was a major driving force behind the upward trend - 64.5m SMS votes to the programme set a new texting record in the country last year.


Email Census highlights lack of ROI measurement

E-consultancy has this week published its Email Marketing Industry Census in association with Adestra.


Brands fail to bag Myspace domain extensions

Have you bothered to register a personalised URL for your company on Myspace? If not, you’re not on your own.

Major brands such as McDonalds, Cingular, Nike and Pepsi – as well as Myspace itself – appear to have been too slow after the site allowed users to create their own extensions to Myspace.com.


Virgin Media launches, response mixed

Virgin Media was today unveiled as the new name for ntl and Telewest, with the new entity aiming to shake up UK consumer telephony, entertainment and communications provision with a quad-play offering.

The cable company last year completed the £962m acquisition of Virgin Mobile, making Richard Branson a 10.7% shareholder in the firm, which celebrated today by firing a volley of press releases.


Warner calls on moblog for movie promo

British user-generated content network moblogUK will provide the backend to a promotional website for the forthcoming Warner Pictures movie, The Science of Sleep.

The Michel Gondry film will ask people to people to capture their dreams in video, audio or still image, and post them to a moblog (mobile phone photo weblog) used to support the release. DreamBlog.co.uk is linked to from the movie's official website.


'Not guilty', says Apple on music DRM

Amid growing consumer demand for platform-neutral digital music without cumbersome copy protection, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has fired the digital rights management (DRM) ball firmly into the record labels' court.

In a surprise open letter, titled "Thoughts on Music" and published on apple.com last night, Jobs wrote:-

"The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players.


Vodafone to offer MySpace on its mobiles

Vodafone has cut a deal with News Corporation's MySpace to allow users of its mobile network to access the social network via their mobiles.

The service will launch first in the UK, followed by other major European markets, believed to be France, Italy and Germany.