Midweek News Roundup

Some notable happenings from around the local search and media worlds this week:

—MapQuest launched the beta version of a new tool today that helps road-trippers plan routes. It includes some new Ajax functionality to drag and drop points on a map and recalculate directions accordingly. Users can also search for gas stations, hotels, restaurants, ATMs and other places along their travel routes.

—Search Engine Journal reports that click-to-call technology provider eStara has partnered with a new click-to-call service from AzoogleAds. eStara will enable AzoogleAds to provide its advertisers with the ability to bid on leads for targeted customers. AzoogleAds will offer the service to the 14,000 companies in its network of vertical sites that include mortgage, payday loans, debt consolidation and online education.

—And elsewhere in the click-to-call world, Jambo announced last week that it will run pay-per-call ads on remnant radio inventory. It will partner with Bid4Spots.com, which aggregates airtime from 2,000 radio stations and distributes it to advertisers and ad networks.

—From the video game advertising department, RealNetworks has announced it will integrate streaming ads in free online video games.

—paidContent.org reports on online and mobile content usage trends among 16- to 24-year-olds for World Cup video feeds.

—The New York Times ran a piece over the weekend that was an overarching and comparative look at online and offline media. Times tech reporter Bob Tedeschi also wrote earlier in the week about growing online advertising numbers, particularly surrounding classified verticals such as jobs, autos and real estate. Meanwhile, CBSnews.com provides yet another article on the growing online shift in classifieds.

—SEW profiles two new online travel sites.

—GigaOm contributor Robert Young has an interesting column on Google’s missed opportunity to purchase MySpace.

—Elsewhere in Om, USC Annenberg’s Online Journalism Review picks the prolific blogger’s brain about the state and dynamics of the blogosphere, and how it relates to (and affects) the world of journalism.

—eWeek speculates on the reasons behind, and the possible outcomes of, Google’s Gbuy payment system.

—A new study by the Nielsen/Norman Group confirms the somewhat logical assumption that most Internet users avoid viewing banner ads. It also found that text advertising is read more often than display ads.

—And lastly, eMarketer provides some interesting numbers on the growth in local online advertising in its report, Local Online Advertising: Measuring the Potential. A summary is here, and we’ll analyze these numbers further in the near future.

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