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Toolkit News: Google Boost | Funding for new digital ad ventures | Marketing for non-profits | Social media election tracking tool

Local Search

Google's introduced a new online advertising beta called Boost that enables business owners to create online search ads from directly within their Google Places account. The beta is available to select local businesses in San Francisco, Houston and Chicago. Boost ads can appear in the "Sponsored Links" section of Google.com and Google Maps search result pages. So, Google explains, if you’re a restaurant owner in San Francisco who has signed up for Boost, your ad may show up when someone does a related search for your particular cuisine and location. Beyond the basics like company name, address, phone number and website, the ad may also include the number of reviews received, an average star rating and a link to the business' Place page to help potential customers find additional useful information about your business. When a map appears alongside the results, a blue pin will help customers find the location on the map. Businesses using Google Tags will also see their yellow tag appear in the ad.

Digital Media Funding

Goodway Group has launched an incubator fund to invest in early stage marketing and digital media companies. Started by three digital industry entrepreneurs Dave Wolk, Jay Friedman and Dan Mauch, the fund’s criteria includes ideas that are simple enough for the average buyer of the product to understand and that can get off the ground for less than $250,000.

Email Marketing

Contactology has released version 2 of its email API, which is based on a RESTful architecture that allows developers to integrate email with their own software products. The free API provides dozens of function calls and wrappers. Users only pay for the emails they send or the number of contacts uploaded into their account.

Marketing for Non-profits

Convio has introduced Nonprofit Live TV, along with several best practices guides and tip sheets on donor management, social media, fundraising, email marketing and website management. The following complimentary resources are now available: Nonprofit Live TVDonor Management Made Easy, Social Media for NonprofitsConvio Online Fundraising Guide and Nonprofit Email Marketing Guide.

Social Media Election Tracking Tool

Mediabistro blog AllFacebook.com has launched Election Tracker, a Facebook fan tracking tool for the 2010 midterm elections. Users can follow how Senate, House, and Gubernatorial races are shaping up based on each candidate's Facebook fan base. Election Tracker shows that in-cycle Democrats have 1.25+ million Facebook fans while Republicans have 3+ million fans and Independents have 46,000 fans.

Smartphone Apps

Sprint is rolling out new tools for developers  to build apps for its network phones. Called Sprint Services Framework, it is a web-based portal into a bevy of development tools, including direct access to APIs for accessing Sprint network services in apps as well as location-based service tools for app developers.

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