How do you know if you’re getting the scoop on Snoop or some impostor?  Facebook’s name-verification facelift. If you didn’t get notified, you need to raise your level of clout…

Badgeville also made changes, integrating information from Klout, giving brands the ability to interpret if social ‘studs’ or ‘duds’ are taking part in ‘gamification.’

Are tweets allowed in all countries?  That’s a good question explored in Ryan Buddington’s post on Twitter and international censorship.

Do you plan on taking a trip this spring?  If you’re using Kayak to book a hotel, you’ll be pleased to know Durba Chatterjee blogged about how Kayak has integrated TripAdvisor ratings, helping the former’s users make better decisions based on the experiences of others.


Around the Web

Ken Wisnefski and Danny Sullivan were featured in a Fox News article on political Google bombs.

Rand Fishkin discusses and provides suggestions in regard to forming a Web marketing team.

Todd Bailey comments on social media remembering Whitney Houston.

Greg Sterling reflects Valentine’s search and mobile stats.

Matt McGee on January, online usage stats.

Liz Borod Wright on social media tips for bloggers.

Neil Patel on getting attention through social sharing.

If you’re old enough to remember, some prime-time television stars (Roseanne Barr) were credited using only their first names.  I’m not really sure how one ‘officially’ reached such plateaus of stardom regarding 80′s television, but if you’re exceptionally ‘down’ in today’s pop culture and social media world, Facebook will dial-up your account asking you to confirm your ‘alternate’ identity (a nickname, brand name, well-known moniker or otherwise).

A Tech Crunch post explains Facebook’s (starting today) intentions of changing how stars and ‘big names’ label accounts, allowing their (better known?) names to stick.  For instance, if I asked you if you’re friends with Calvin Broadus you may look at me awkwardly, thinking that’s an odd question?  Why would you know Calvin Broadus?  What if I asked if you knew him by his pop-culture name, Snoop Dogg?  With Calvin’s Snoop’s permission and conformity to the verification process, he can officially (through Facebook) change his name.  From Tech Crunch post:

There’s no way to volunteer to be verified, you have to be chosen. These users will be prompted to submit an image of a government-issued photo ID, which is deleted after verification. They’ll also be given the option to enter an “alternate name” that can be used to find them through search and that can be displayed next to their real name in parentheses or as a replacement.

So, what gives?  It’s likely most of us are not dropping an album like it’s hot or being asked to make a spectacle of the National Anthem (and ourselves?) before a baseball game, reaching the kind of heights warranting Facebook’s (Did you catch Ken Wisnefski’s discussion of the newest Facebook application?) verification prompt.

If your brand’s executives (or one of your marketing clients) are well known, you may want to prompt them to go along with the verification switch.  Why?  Just as I displayed above with Snoop, consumers are more likely to search for a pop-culture reference than a person’s birth-given name.  If Snoop Dogg adheres, “Snoop Dogg” will appear more often in ‘Subscribe’ suggestions (Facebook has 8x more subscribers than Twitter), increasing his chances of accumulating more subscribers (Snoop Dogg raises more ears than Calvin Broadus, right?)

With Facebook’s asymmetrical follow feature, Snoop doesn’t have to worry about befriending subscribers; in a one-sided fashion, subscribers can keep up with the lowdown on Snoop.  However, Facebook doesn’t currently symbolize ‘verified’ accounts (like Twitter), which could cause confusion.

Facebook workers are aggressively pushing the new process, contacting ‘worthy’ personalities.  As the Tech Cruch post suggests, Facebook’s ‘Subscribe’ feature threatens the wingspan of Twitter’s long-term growth.  The new shift could significantly impact how users engage social media and pursue information related to popular celebrities and brand names.  It will be interesting to track the progress of Facebook’s latest maneuver.

Happy weekend, search fans!  You have some time this weekend.  Catch-up on your online marketing/search engine optimization reading.  I’ve read, synopsized, and delivered links to informative tidbits from around the world of search.  Take a gander at what I’ve gathered:


The Facebook brand is not shy about showing its face in the media.  WebiMax CEO, Ken Wisnefski, made contributions to this MSNmoney article on Facebook’s IPO.  Additionally, it’s always enlightening to know a little about the man behind the business machine; get friendly with Mark Zuckerberg‘s managerial style through Todd Bailey’s post.  Lastly, what are Facebook’s plans for mobile advertising?  The mobile industry is expected to dial-in big numbers this year.  Read about Facebook’s mobile advertising participation through John Borkowski’s post.


General Search

WebiMax VP, Todd Bailey, did a guest post on search engine optimization, explaining how to get toward the top of the SERPs for preplanned terms and phrases, taking from his Dx3 Canada presentation.

See the latest Comscore results, showing Bing outscoring Yahoo from Search Engine Land.  Also from SEL, this post on Google traffic; Google still gets traffic from a number of verticals.


Technical SEO

Do you want to address integral, SEO technical issues in an hour?  Read this SEOmoz post by Dave Sottimano.  Before you address problems, maybe you need to develop a technical SEO process; read this post from another Mozzer, Stephanie Chang.


S(eo)aturday Drivethru…

Here are some quick links to read while you’re on the go…

Joanna Lord on inbound marketing

Lisa Barone on 12 respected ladies in search

Jon Cooper on natural link building

Anthony Pensabene on brand awareness

Mark Zuckerberg and crew may have just dialed-in some hefty numbers associated with Facebook’s past-Wednesday IPO.  According to the numbers, things are going swimmingly for the social media giant.  However, as sources tell the New York Times, “We do not currently directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven.”

What?  Didn’t I read some pretty convincing mobile usage statistics a little while ago?  Facebook enjoys a healthy pool of users from America as well as widespread usage in other lands.  Considering many in other countries are leveraging cell phones, it’s surprising Facebook, a brand who has been making good enough decisions to supply the biggest public offering in history, is shying away from mobile marketing.

Maybe I’m being too critical of the social media site; after all, the brand is not alone in attempting to make a smooth transition from PCs to smart phones and mobile devices.  Web masters have to face it; smart phone screens are smaller, providing less playing field for applications; buttons are smaller, making browsing more difficult; and, a plethora of apps and ads are likely to slow site speed, which very little numbers of PC and smart phone users have patience for.

Additionally, usage of smart phones is still in its baby stages despite the boom of interest.  As Noah Elkin, an eMarketer analyst advises, “It’s still immature when compared to online, print and TV advertising.  We’ve had ads on our desktops for 15 years, and we’re used to them.”  The Times article offers an Elkin factoid:  people are eight times more likely to click on computer-hosted ads than ones hosted within mobile devices.

If you’re a bit familiar with Zuckerberg through past and recent press, you may get an image of a man who, despite being a college dropout (an Ivy League dropout), is no dummy.  The article hints at a purposeful neglect of immediate mobile advertising, allowing Facebook to first generate interest in its mobile site and associated applications.  However, Zuckerberg is faced with a new notion of operating his company while considering outside investors.

Surely, investors are no stranger to the tempting numbers associated with mobile marketing.  Facebook garners a majority of its profits from selling ad space on its pages.  As a Tech Crunch post advises, mobile advertising is projected to skyrocket in 2012, surging to $5.8 billion!

But let’s get back to Zuckerberg and his possible strategy.  One serial entrepreneur explains the landscape of mobile advertising as “the art of war.”  Can Facebook boldly make decisions without thinking about competitors?  After ads, Facebook makes its revenue from application partners.  When app partners make sales, Facebook takes a cut.  But when such transactions take place on iPads and iPhones, it has to ‘share’ revenue with Apple (currently taking a 30 percent bite out of app vendor proceeds).  It makes more cents for Facebook to take a lackadaisical approach toward mobile marketing right now.

Joe Hewitt, an app engineer formerly with Facebook, offers insight, “It’s always to Facebook’s advantage to have the Web be their operating system and leverage that to their advantage.”  He is elaborating on the fact that Facebook would have to engineer apps to reflect the range of various cell phone models and manufacturers.

Facebook, after its IPO is more likely to cater to ‘friends’ and investors of the brand.  In the IPO filing, the brand mentions mobile advertising intention.  Advertiser-chosen and highlighted ‘sponsored stories,’ making way into user news streams, may be just one, upcoming mobile implementation.