Groupon files for IPO- Groupon filed an IPO on Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, stating that it expects to “increasingly compete against other large internet and technology-based businesses, such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft, each of which has launched initiatives which are directly competitive to our business.” Groupon didn’t disclose how much it expects to raise from the IPO, which has sparked countless speculations across the blogosphere. The WSJ states , “Our Journal colleagues previously reported Groupon could seek to raise as much as close to $1 billion at a valuation of about $20 billion. (Don’t be thrown by the $750 million number on Groupon’s filing. That’s just a placeholder number used to calculate filing fees.)” Many are skeptical about Groupon’s claimed worth. To learn why, check out Shira Ovide’s article on WSJ Deals .
Google introduces Google Offers- On the exact same day Groupon announced its IPO, Google debuted its first daily deal service, Google Offers, in Portland. The numbers from Google’s initial launch were astounding. ClickZ  reported that 1,708 out of 2,000 vouchers for a coffee shop were sold on the first day. With today’s offer  Google sold 432 out of 500 vouchers. While everyone is comparing Google’s daily deal service to Groupon, Michael Boland at Search Engine Watch sees it differently. Rather than comparing the two, Boland sees Google Offers as an extension of search. He writes in an article on SEW,
“After all the talk about Groupon or Square , Google’s Offers/Wallet combo won’t really be either. It will lie somewhere between by closing the loop on deal distribution, redemption and payments, in ways not really being accomplished by anyone right now. This comes down to the continuity of finding deals, saving them to mobile and then paying for them in a way that automatically applies a discount at the point of sale. The beauty is reducing friction for users (no printouts), and enabling clearer ROI for merchants. But at the heart of all of this, make no mistake, it could just be all about search. As is often the case with Google’s ancillary products, they are in the end a collective moat  around its true profit center.”
Checkout badges no longer displayed on search ads- Google announced this week that starting June 2nd they will no longer display Google Checkout badges under text ads. Google Checkout badges have been replaced by other more efficient extensions. According to the announcement released  by Google, “Over the last few years, we’ve tested and launched many new extensions to ads on Google search results, including ad sitelinks, product extensions, seller rating extensions, call extensions, and location extensions. We’re constantly making changes aimed at improving the user experience and advertiser ROI.”
Important changes to Google’s AdWords location extensions- Google announced this week its plans to incorporate directions into its location extensions suite. Location extensions currently provide users with business addresses, telephone numbers and other information. Google’s research has observed that location extensions with directions provide a better user experience and generate more ad interaction. According to a post announcing  the change, “Over the next few weeks, you’ll see performance metrics for directions alongside those for clicks and phone calls. We’ll also begin to charge for clicks on directions in the same manner as clicks on your ad’s headline or phone number. If your campaign has a high number of these clicks, this indicates that your customers are interacting with your ads to get directions to your business.” To learn more, check out Lisa Shieh’s post on Inside Adwords .
Twitter introduces Follow Button- Twitter introduced its new Follow Button , which, like Facebook ‘Like,’ will enable logged in Twitter users to directly follow third-party sites.
Google, Yahoo and Microsoft team up- Google, Microsoft and Yahoo teamed  up this week to standardize web tags. The three have agreed upon a standardized list of HTML tags to help webmasters create better optimized websites that can be more easily found by search engines. Together the three have launched Schema.org  which, according to the site, provides “a shared markup vocabulary that makes it easier for webmasters to decide on a markup schema and get the maximum benefit for their efforts.”