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theEweekly Wrap – Twitter, Yahoo slump and Google Analytics Intelligence

Twitter goes commercial Twitter has hit the headlines with its plan to introduce paid-for accounts. The micro-blogging service, which has never made a profit, will continue to offer a free service for individuals and businesses alike. But co-founder Biz Stone let slip in a BBC interview that Twitter would introduce paid-for corporate accounts, offering additional features such as analytics and feedback.

Meanwhile, Orange has thrown its weight behind Twitter by becoming the first mobile operator to allow photo-sharing by MMS text. The company is also letting customers retweet and send direct messages on Twitter via an SMS. And as if that wasn’t enough, Twitter is joining Facebook, MySpace and Bebo on Orange World’s networking aggregator Social Life.

Finally, if you want to understand how to track Twitter, check out theEword’s blog on the National Football Museum’s move to Urbis in Manchester. Or in Twitter-speak, @theeword’s blog on @footballmuseum’s move to @urbismanchester

Yahoo’s search slump The latest comScore rankings are out and they make grim reading for Yahoo. In October 2009, the internet giant’s share of US searches nose-dived 0.8 per cent to 18 per cent.

Bing seems to be gaining traction – a monthly rise of 0.5 per cent means Microsoft now accounts for 9.9 per cent of the search market. Unfortunately for Steve Ballmer and co, it’s still no closer to Google. The world’s biggest search engine also grew 0.5 per cent in October, serving 65.4 per cent of all US searches.

Google Analytics gains a brain It may have escaped your notice but Google Analytics just got smarter. Google Analytics Intelligence automatically alerts online marketers to major changes in website traffic patterns. If there has been a significant drop-off in visitors from England or if there has been a spike in PPC hits, it will let you know. Google Analytics Intelligence also assigns a significance rating to each alert. But despite being hyped as your “dedicated assistant”, there’s still no sign of it making the coffee.

Breaking news Finally, online news continues to be a key battleground for the search community. Rupert Murdoch may have accused the major search engines of stealing content from his beloved News Corporation. Unperturbed, Yahoo has made a raft of changes to improve the way it shows major news stories.

Users searching for breaking news like the Space Shuttle Atlantis launch will now be presented with an enhanced version of the Yahoo News Shortcut. Basically, three more tabs have appeared at the top of the search engine results pages. ‘Photos’ shows them a selection of relevant images, ‘videos’ takes them to rich media content and ‘Twitter’ shows recent tweets and videos that have been shared on Twitter about the subject.

Ivan Davtchev and Nitzan Achsaf, of Yahoo Search, explained: “This is our first integration of fresh, social content like Twitter into web search, and we are planning to continue along these lines. In the future, we will enhance your search experience with more real-time content so you can find all the information you need about an unfolding news event in one place.”

Just don’t tell Murdoch…

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