theEweekly Wrap: AdWords, Renren, and the e-book boom

By Rachel Hand topicIcon Manchester
Policing AdWords Google has introduced more stringent requirements for AdWords users, taking effect on 17 May 2011. Revealed in an official AdWords blog, the measures have been put in place to guarantee "a safe, fair, and trusted marketplace for both you and the users who click on your ads".

If PPC ads link to a site that requests any personal or financial information, or involves payment – in short, all e-commerce sites – must abide by three new rules. Sites must feature a clear and prominently-placed disclosure of intent, and communication opt-out. Furthermore, sites must have an SSL connection (https://) in place for private information or transactions. Those not complying could have their ads, or even accounts, suspended; in effect allowing Google to police all sites that use AdWords.

Renren floated With just 5 million users a month, Renren doesn't seem like a very popular social network; especially when its country of origin has a population of over a billion. However, the Chinese social network was floated on the New York Stock Exchange this week, raising an unexpectedly high total of $743.3 million (£453 million). The company is six years old and made a loss of £39 million last year.

Also this week, the Chinese government created a new ministry – the State Internet Information Office – to regulate the public's access to the internet. The BBC reported that this was following in-fighting between smaller organisations charged with maintaining the 'great firewall of China', and dissent being spread online in the so-called Jasmine Revolution.

Kindle power According to the Publisher Association, sales of e-books in the UK have quadrupled in the last year. Sales of consumer titles including novels increased from £4 million to £16 million, while academic and professional e-books made £180 million. In the US, Amazon announced they had sold more Kindle books than print books in February 2011.

Meanwhile, rumours abound that Amazon will follow up the hugely successful Kindle with their own tablet device to rival the iPad. DigiTimes reported that Quanta Computer (manufacturers of the Blackberry Playbook) has received an order of 80,000 units in the second half of 2011. Mashable called the rumours "plausible", due to Amazon's existing ties with Android.