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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.


Google redefines ROI, misleads marketers

Lots and lots of people use Google AdWords, and have more recently layered Google Analytics over the top. But the search giant has confused these users by re-defining a well-defined business metric: 'ROI'. 

This has led to confusion within companies - and at worst, caused Google AdWords users to think their campaigns are more profitable than they are, and thus pump more money into Google while decreasing their own business' profitability.

So has Google 'done evil' this time?

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Last.fm signs deal with Warner Music

Last.fm has teamed up with Warner Music Group in its first deal with a major music company.

The agreement will see Warner's music catalogue made available to the Last.fm's listeners. It will initially roll out in the US, with Europe to follow shortly after. 


Google makes its email service available to all

Google has announced that its free, web-based email service Googlemail will now be universally available, rather than invitation only, as it has been since 2004.

From today, any UK will be able to sign up for an account. Google is also launching a new, downloadable version of Googlemail for use with mobiles.