Tina Brown snags Andrew Sullivan

I was pretty skeptical when I heard that Tina Brown would be tapped to resurrect Newsweek as a result of the merger with The Daily Beast. So I was pleasantly surprised to see her convince Andrew Sullivan to move his blog from The Atlantic and to join the Newsweek/Daily Beast family. Sullivan is one of the best bloggers on the web, with significant, organic traffic. He’s an excellent commentator, so he’ll be a great addition to Newsweek as well.

Ms. Brown is off to a good start.

Google embraces porn in search results

We’ve noticed over the past several months that Google seems to be giving even more weight to porn sites over mainstream sites when tame search terms like “Hot Babes” or “Hot Blondes” are used. Instead of featuring mainstream sites that have bikini and lingerie models like Maxim, you end up with hard core porn sites.

What’s going on here? Google has outsmarted itself, and now the search results are a complete mess.

New push to legalize online poker

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After Harry Reid failed to get an online poker provision passed in the lame-duck session of Congress at the federal level, several states are now pushing the issue as people realize that it’s foolish not to tax and regulate online gambling.

In Iowa, there’s a new bill that would regulate and permit online poker, and this follows a bill passed in New Jersey that has been sent to the governor. There’s also a push in Florida and California.

Hopefully, cash-strapped states will drive the agenda here, as the federal government won’t act due to the religious right.

Facebook keeps pushing the envelope in the online dating game

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The online dating landscape keeps evolving, and Facebook and other social media sites are often leading the way. The latest out of Facebook let’s you set up a notice system so you get notified when someone you are interested in changes their status and is no longer “taken.” This breakup notifier will likely be a very popular feature.

Managing a brand online and on social media

As the Internet evolves and social media continues to take over our lives, brands have a huge opportunity to engage their customers, but there are pitfalls as well. This area is very new, and there will inevitably be pitfalls along the way. Brands can’t just hand this over to an intern who floods the social media world with tweets and updates.

Here’s some useful information from The New York Times:

A new study just released by ExactTarget and CoTweet finds that more than 90 percent of consumers have “broken up” with at least one brand via Facebook, email or Twitter.

The study surveyed 1500 consumers and found the most common reasons given for a social media breakup are that the company sends too many messages (“The stalker”), the consumer receives too many messages in general from companies (“The belle of the ball”) or the company’s communications become boring and repetitive (“The spark is gone”).Around a quarter of consumers are more mercenary and “only after one thing”. They sign up to receive messages from a brand only to receive a one-time offer and then opt out.

Consumers who follow a brand through Facebook and Twitter are also much less likely to formally indicate that they are no longer interested in receiving information from a company and just ignore it (“not returning your calls”).

Basically, brands have to treat social media like any other interaction with their customers. You have to engage customers, not flood them with useless information. Take it easy on the updates, and make them all meaningful.

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