theEweekly Wrap: Cutbacks, spell check and check ins

By Rachel Hand topicIcon Manchester
Yahoo axe to fall Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson has announced that the company intends to axe up to 50 of its properties in the near future. He didn't specify which products are on the chopping block, other than saying they "don't contribute meaningfully to engagement of revenue". Search Engine Land speculated that these could include 'ghost town' products Fire Eagle, Upcoming and Koprol, as well as the US branch of the Yahoo Directory. The cuts come just weeks after the announcement of 2000 layoffs at Yahoo, perhaps the culmination of several years of bad luck.

However, it now seems there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. Yahoo's Q1 financial results were revealed this week, showing a 28 per cent rise in earnings; the first quarterly sales growth in three years. Furthermore, Thompson revealed he was still interested in selling off Yahoo's valuable stake in Alibaba. He also pointed out that the Search Alliance agreed with Microsoft in 2009 is "not delivering" as expected, prompting analysts to speculate Thompson may look elsewhere in his bid to turn the company around.

PPC spell check Google announced in an AdWords blog on Tuesday that it is set to make some changes to exact and phrase match ad behaviour. From May onwards, any misspellings or close variants within a "phrase match" or [exact match] search term will be ignored, and the user will be served PPC ads for what Google judges to be their 'intended' search query.

Acronyms, abbreviations, accents, and plural/singular variants will all be filtered out by the change. Google estimates that seven per cent of all search queries contain a spelling mistake or typo – which usually means they lose out on the chance to make revenue from PPC ads for that seven per cent. Of course, AdWords marketers have been building their own keyword lists to include these variants for a long time, and will still be able to opt out of this PPC campaign automation and choose variants manually if they'd prefer more control.

Foursquare day April 16th (4/16 in the US) was celebrated by Foursquare users across the world this week. Fans of the location-based social service christened the date 4sqDay back in 2010, and this year, anyone checking in was awarded a special badge for their collection. With no involvement from the company (but plenty of coverage), there were meet-ups, events, parties, special check-in offers and various baked goods to celebrate the occasion.

Foursquare took the opportunity to announce that it has now passed the 20 millionth user milestone – very impressive, seeing as in May 2011 they were only edging up to 10 million – averaging at 1 million new users every month. These faithful users have made a total of 2 billion check-ins between them, in over 35 million locations, from the White House to the North Pole, and even theEword office.