picture-225-1Google turns on ads for the iPhone map — Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land says, “the ads are pretty unobtrusive.” That was Google’s trick when they launched search engine ads, too.

By making their ads less visually disruptive, Google wins over irritated computer users like me. The company claims that no blinky-flashy is necessary to run up some CPC action. Google’s smarter targeting software, the fan wisdom goes, serves customers ads they want to click on.

socialads1Facebook opens up APIs for advertisers — Inside Facebook explains how advertising campaign managers will be able to target their ads better, and Facebook users will hopefully have a less spammy, more serendipitous experience:

“Performance advertisers have had to either manage their Facebook Ads campaigns manually, or hack their own tools. Now, Facebook is testing simple yet powerful APIs that allow agencies and advertisers to create thousands of ads with different creative and targeting permutations and optimize bids in real time.

“For example, say you wanted to test which combinations of geographic targeting, demographic targeting, and keyword targeting yielded the most conversions to your social game. That could easily mean 10,000 different ads. Finding which ones perform best is now a lot easier.”

Social media marketing: Is it a must-have for brands, or just the latest fad? The Wall Street Journal follows the money for social media gurus.

The start-up 3 Green Angels, for example, charges clients a $400 fee to organize Twitter parties — real-time discussions on specific topics. Everywhere LLC, another specialty firm in Atlanta, charges clients up to $20,000 to arrange three streaming video press conferences led by popular bloggers.

More interesting to me is the guy in the story who turned himself into the Web 2.0 personal presence for his cafe in Houston. He says it takes no more than 30 minutes a day. I say he’s kidding himself.

02blog2_190The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, believe it or not, has really creative student blogs — The New York Times went to visit and found out that MIT’s admissions department pays a handful of students $10 an hour for up to four hours a week to write blog entries about campus life that will entice prospective students to apply. Oh-so-true quote: “M.I.T. is the closest you can get to living in the Internet.” I discovered the Internet at MIT in 1981 and haven’t logged off since.

Also out of MIT, its neighbor BU made a nice chunk of change in battery maker A123Systems’ IPO last week — When battery maker A123Systems was looking for a home in the Boston area, it found a sweet spot across the river from MIT at Boston University. Seven years later, the company has gone public (in a blockbuster IPO closing 50 percent above anticipated share prices), and BU has culled a cool $10 to $13 million from the sale.

Could swine flu take the Internet down? No.