theEweekly Wrap: TechCrunch, WordPress and Skype

TechCrunch sold Technology blog TechCrunch was purchased this week by AOL for a tidy sum, estimated at $25-$30 million (£16-£19 million). Notoriously abrasive editor and founder Michael Arrington will stay on; he signed the deal live on stage at a TechCrunch conference, but is bound by a confidentiality clause to keep quiet about the price tag.

TechCrunch has always been committed to giving outspoken and honest views on the industry. It now joins Engadget and Switched as AOL's third technology blog, giving them control over a large chunk of media output. However, Arrington reassured readers that "we feel free to criticize AOL when we think they deserve it".

FaceSkype Reports emerged this week that calling and video chat service Skype would be tightly integrated with Facebook in version 5.0. Users will now be able to sign into Skype through Facebook, or call Facebook friends through Skype. It's a partnership that should be mutually beneficial, increasing engagement with both sites and turning Skype into a form of social media.

Skype has a total of 560 million registered users, although only 124 million use the site on a monthly basis. The recent move to sync Facebook with Windows Live Messenger saw impressive growth in the latter's daily users, perhaps due to featuring within a site that so many people check or use on a daily basis.

WordPress Windfall Microsoft abandoned its Live Spaces blogging site this week, and passed all 7 million users to open-source rival WordPress. Describing the cast-off as an 'upgrade' for customers, Live Spaces will be encouraging bloggers to migrate over the next six months, and then deleting any remaining blogs.

Interestingly, Live Spaces will also be handing over its ad revenues with no quarrel. Currently powering 8.5 per cent of the internet by acting as a simple and spam-safe content management system, WordPress has potential for lucrative marketing space. Its main competition is the Google-powered Blogger.com, which created this very post.

Changes to AdWords Google announced changed to AdWords this week that could affect PPC campaigns. The Keyword Tool now allows marketers to buy 'negative keywords', in an attempt to negate irrelevant adverts. The Product Extensions tool was also released, almost a year after the US launch.

Product Extensions allows PPC campaigns to include pictures of their products in an extendable plus box below their main ad. There is no charge if users expand the box without clicking through, ensuring better value for money for PPC campaigns. According to the AdWords blog, Sonystyle.com reported a 9% increase in conversion thanks to the product extension ad on the right.

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