Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB): Facebook, Inc. has agreed to pay up to $10 to each user who appeared in the social-networking site’s “Sponsored Stories” advertising program without their permission. The revised class action settlement agreement, lodged Saturday, came two months after a federal judge said he had “serious concerns” about the deal, which had originally provided a $10 million payout to attorneys who were suing Facebook, as well as $10 million to activist and research groups in what is known as a Cy Pres Award.
LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE:LNKD): LinkedIn Corporation unveiled a new feature that will let their 175 million-plus users follow a panel of 150 or so “influencers,” including people such as President Obama, Richard Branson, and a slew of other business leaders, entrepreneurs, bloggers and even LinkedIn Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Weiner. The idea came about because LinkedIn users are generally older and more “professional” than the 950 million-plus Facebook devotees. This will not only give them convenient access to these prominent thought leaders, but it will encourage longer and more frequent visits to the site, which, in turn, will generate more advertising revenue.
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Groupon, Inc. (NASDAQ:GRPN): Groupon, Inc. has run into stiff competition in their attempt to sign up the local merchants, across the country, who provide the deals to fuel Groupon’s discount machine. At the same time, some analysts assert that it has been difficult for Groupon to engender brand loyalty among consumers because, after all, what they look for is the biggest discount and they will purchase from whoever provides it. In lieu of this, Groupon’s growth has been slowing and even though they have tried to counter it by hiring more salespeople to sign up local merchants to provide discounts, other digital companies are trying to poach their best talent because they see weaknesses in the company.
Pandora Media, Inc. (NYSE:P): Pandora Media, Inc. makes an outstanding product and nothing speaks more to that than their growing listener base. Unfortunately, the economics of their business is just too ugly to ignore as they spend about 60% of their revenue just to pay for the songs that allow them to air the advertisements that earn revenue. Not to mention, revenue per thousand listening hours is dropping fast due to the switch to mobile and there are more than a few deep pocketed competitors ready to step in, should Pandora finagle themselves more attractive royalty fees at some point in the future.
Zynga, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZNGA): According to the Wall Street Journal, Laurence “Lo” Toney, a general manager of the game “Zynga Poker” who has also worked on strategy for Zynga, Inc.’s Casino efforts, is leaving the company. Toney is one of a number of recent departures from Zynga and others who have left the firm include Chief Creative Officer, Mike Verdu and Chief Operating Officer, John Schappert.