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'More education needed' on Web 2.0 benefits

Many European companies have yet to recognise the business benefits of ‘Web 2.0’ apps like blogs, mash-ups and wikis, according to a survey by BEA Systems.

The study, conducted in seven European countries, found most organisations (57%) wanted more education about the potential value Web 2.0 offered.

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Five ways to make online travel sites better

E-consultancy has just released its Travel Website Benchmarks Report - an interesting insight into the good and not so good practices being adopted by travel agencies, car rental firms, hotel aggregators and airlines on the web.

Compiled by Adam Goodvach of Global Reviews, it looks at ways travel sites are enabling users to search for and book products and services, while minimising abandonment rates.

We've listed some of its recommendations after the jump.... 

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RockYou adds visual shopping to its slideshows

Photo widget company RockYou has partnered with visual shopping and image search site Like.com to find clothes that are similar to those worn in its photo slideshows.

Like.com, launched at the end of last year, uses image search technology to find bags, clothes and shoes that are similar to those shown in images. If, for instance, you enter a picture of a bag, Like.com will return similar images with prices and details from online retailers.

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MyStrands launches music video channels

Music discovery/recommendation site MyStrands has launched a version of its service dedicated to videos, allowing users to create music video channels based on their preferences and viewing history.

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NBC jumps into bed with Amazon after Apple split

No surprises to see NBC heading over to Amazon’s Unbox online video service, following the content owner’s decision to ditch a deal with iTunes.

Amazon has catered for NBC’s variable pricing demands, with new shows likely to be priced more highly than older ones. Apple refused to budge on its fixed price policy, which appears to have been the dealbreaker.

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Facebook to allow public searching of profiles

Social network Facebook is planning to allow users to make their profiles on the website searchable by the public and enable search engines to index its members' listings.

Facebook will notify its members of the move today, allowing them to choose whether or not they want their basic profile listings to be made public. Outsiders will only be able to view the name and public profile picture, it says.

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Users ignore heavy formatting - Nielsen

Another nugget of wisdom from Jakob Nielsen - website visitors will often ignore heavily formatted areas of a website as they look too much like advertising.

The usability guru says surfers have trained their brains to ignore 'fancy formatting', in a form of banner blindness. This suggests that ads should be made to look more like actual content in order to attract attention - something Jakob also covered recently.

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Yahoo! buys online ad network BlueLithium

Yahoo! has continued its acquisition spree with a $300m deal for online ad network BlueLithium.

The move will add roughly 1,000 sites to the web giant’s Publisher Network, as well as seeing it pick up BlueLithium’s behavioural targeting technology to enable its clients to serve more relevant ads.

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Is all publicity good publicity in Google's eyes?

Businesses of any kind can fall victim to negative coverage in the press and online media. It’s a fact of business life and a real headache to deal with.

But is there a silver lining? Do the links from authority news sites generated by such stories bring a search engine optimisation benefit?

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Dopplr raises funding for travel social network

Dopplr, a social network for frequent travellers, has raised early stage funding from Martin Varsavsky, Joi Ito, Reid Hoffman and Saul Klein's Accelerator Group.   

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'Live search engine' launches in beta

Claiming to be the world's first live search engine, mylivesearch launched in beta recently. It aims to improve on the major search engines by delivering real time results, and more of them too.

According to the mylivesearch website, results from the major search engines suffer because you only see results from the last time sites were indexed, you only see a small part of the web, and that searches are limited by bias (i.e. number of links, popularity etc).

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Q&A: David Heinemeier Hansson explains Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails creator David Heinemeier Hansson - named Hacker of the Year in 2005 - talks about the web development framework's growing popularity among businesses (including E-consultancy - we have a new Rails-powered site under development) and the problems of managing an open source community. 

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