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Admiral backs away from Confused.com sale

Admiral, parent company of insurance comparison site Confused.com, has reportedly decided to end talks over the sale of a stake in the company.

The Telegraph reports that Admiral had received approaches from interested parties about a deal for the site, but was reluctant to relinquish control over its strategy.

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Second Life reforestation project up for an award

Second Chance Trees, a Second Life project that aims to help preserve endangered rainforests, has been selected as a finalist in the American Express Members Project competition.

Second Chance Trees was conceived by social media agency Converseon, in partnership with Plant It 2020, and encourages Second Life residents to plant virtual trees at Second Chance Trees Island.

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Charities failing to make the most of the web

Many of the UK's charities are failing to make the most of the internet, according to E-consultancy's second annual Charity Website Benchmarks  report, with research conducted by iConcertina.

The study found that many charity sites have improved in terms of usability and communication, but there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to transparency and accessibility.

Some 120 charity websites were benchmarked across six core areas: usability, accessibility, communication, transparency, responsiveness and integration. We'll look at some of the headline findings after the jump...

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Whole Foods boss rumbled for anonymous postings

The boss of Whole Foods Market, the organic food retailer that launched a huge store in London last month, has been caught using Yahoo!’s stock market forum to criticise a competitor, which he then proceeded to buy.

John Mackey, chief executive of Whole Foods, used the moniker 'Rahodeb' to make postings about rival Wild Oats over several years, according to a filing from the Federal Trade Commission.

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Shopping search engine bags $15m

US shopping search engine TheFind  has received $15m (£7.3m) in third round funding, bringing the total raised by the company to $26m (£12.7m).

Unlike some other shopping search engines, TheFind searches products from as many sources as possible, not just from companies that have paid to be listed, though some sponsored links are included on the site.

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Online video site Brightcove launches in UK

US online video platform Brightcove has opened an office in London.

Brightcove

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E-marketing read rates decline, Wednesday still rules

Fewer people are reading marketing emails, according to a new survey.

The study, conducted by agency eROI concluded: "We continue to see a decline in read rates across the board as more and more email clients are adopting the 'images off' default setting."

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How much traffic does my competitor get?

Even if you had a spy in the heart of your competitor's e-commerce team, you might struggle to answer this question.

It's far from impossible that your competitors are neither appropriately recording their web traffic nor confident in which metrics to analyse.

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Navman tests transactional banner ads

Creative agency Fhlame  says it has achieved promising results from early tests of transactional banners - ads that allow customers to make purchases without having to click through to an online store.  

A trial campaign for satnav company Navman produced a 15%+ response rate on three motoring websites in the month up to July 10th, according to Fhlame.

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Facebook developers to profit from VC interest

US venture capital firm Bay Partners has launched AppFactory, a program that will invest in developers creating applications for the Facebook platform.

The FT reports that Bay Partners is looking to make up to 50 investments of between $25,000 to $250,000 (£12,000 to £120,000) to help developers build Facebook applications.

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Google adds developers' Mapplets to maps

Google Maps has launched an on-site applets platform that could do for the mapping tool what Apps have done for Facebook.

Mapplets are mini web applications that can be bolted on to extend a user's Google Maps experience with a range of new functions, from petrol prices to Manchester's Metro system.

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Last.fm signs content deal with Sony

Internet radio station / social network / E-consultancy's favourite web app Last.fm has concluded a content deal with Sony BMG, which the company's extensive back catalogue available to Last.fm listeners.

This deal will give Last.fm, which now has around 20m worldwide listeners, the largest music catalogue of any online radio service.

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