This Week In Social: Groupon Google Rumours, Yammer Round, Gowalla Improves

By Rob McNair

Groupon Google Rumours


A ‘reliable source’ in Google this week told the outside press that Google had bought Groupon, the group-buying site for $2-3 billion. Recent developments suggest that Google is close to closing a deal for Groupon at close to $6 billion.

Groupon is one of the most recent Internet success stories, the young site has a $1 billion and climbing valuation and reported revenues of $50 million per month. there are competitors in the group buying space appearing everyday such as LivingSocial, so adding a Google safety net is probably a wise move.

Google neither confirmed nor denied the acquisition, telling Mashable, “Unfortunately we don’t comment on rumour or speculation”

Keep up to date with any breaking news on Mashable.


Yammer Round


Yammer, the micro blogging site for companies has been given an A round investment of $5 million.

Founded by David Sacks, the former COO of PayPal until its recent acquisition by EBay, Yammer first won the TechCrunch50 giving it an initial investment of $50,000.

The service is aimed at companies, and $5 million should help them make inroads into companies big and small.

There is fierce competition however, Twitter could easily move in on this market by adding a group feature as they have done in Japan.

Find out more on TechCrunch.


Gowalla Improves




Gowalla was struggling to find its feet in the location based service quagmire that the app store has become. Foursquare had the majority of the market, and then Facebook played its hand with Facebook Places.

The comparatively small Gowalla was treading water, but with their latest update they have decided to do something very bold. In Gowalla 3.0 they have fundamentally changed their app, so that it not only lets you check in via Gowalla, but all other geo-location services as well.

Not only does Gowalla 3.0 allow you to check in to places across a wide platform of geo-location services including foursquare, Facebook Places and Twitter, the Gowalla guys have synced all the places across the multiple databases, meaning that if you check in with one service, it will sync your accounts and check you in to that place across all the platforms.

With this update Gowalla is not a checkin anymore, but rather a tool for checkin apps.

With Yelp now doing offers and Facebook deals, as well as Foursquare’s rewards, imagine the freebies you would get by checking in all at once!

Read more details on TechCrunch.


Facebook Lightens Up On Its Promotions Policy


This week Facebook announced some changes to its promotions policy.

Essentially you do not have to have prior written permission to run a promotion on Facebook, here’s what the official Facebook page says:

We have some exciting updates regarding the administration of promotions on Facebook:

  1. We no longer require prior written Facebook approval to administer a promotion on Facebook.
  2. We no longer require a minimum media spend threshold to support the promotion.

As a result of these changes, you can now run a promotion on Facebook without seeking approval or permission from Facebook.

Please note that any promotion you administer is still subject to our Promotion Guidelines, and that these guidelines require that the promotion be administered on Facebook platform.  As a result, in addition to complying with our Promotion Guidelines, promotions on Facebook must also comply with our Facebook Platform Policies.

While promotions must continue to adhere to our policies, we think this update will create new opportunities for brands and developers on Facebook Platform.


Bing and Google Admit Social Search Works


This week Search Engine Land asked Google and Bing six burning questions about social search, they covered what everyone wanted to know, does your social activity effect web page ranks. In short, yes.

Search Engine Land directly questioned representatives from both Search Engines, and found that they are both developing algorithms to gauge the ‘human factor’ of your social activity.

Search Engine Land reports that, “In the end, it’s clear that Twitter data especially plays a role in web search, these days. Who you are is being understood. Are you a trusted authority or not? If there’s PageRank for pages, both search engines have a form of TwitterRank for people. Meanwhile, retweets server as a new form a link building. Get your page mentioned in tweets by authoritative people, and that can help your ranking in regular search results, to a degree.”

Read all the questions and answers at Search Engine Land.


LivingSocial Are Living Well!


The group-buying site LivingSocial has just closed a massive round of investment totalling $183 million.

The majority of that investment has come from Amazon, who invested a healthy $175 million.

LivingSocial said it will use this latest round of investment for rapid global expansion. LivingSocial already reports average revenues of $1 million a day. With this financial backing it is one of the most formidable competitors in the group buying space.

Check out the full story on Mashable.


It’s been an exciting week in social. A lot of money has been thrown around, maybe it’s the festive cheer! What do you think of Gowalla’s attempt to unify all checkins, a desperate move or a work genius? Will Yammer hammer the competition, or will it fall at the feet of Twitter? Is the Google/Groupon alliance ready to defend the group-buying market against Facebook? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


This post was written by Rob McNair

Rob has experience advising some of the worlds most iconic brands. He thrives on helping improving social media knowledge within organisations with the ultimate goal of making theirs brands more social, transparent and accountable.