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Amazon Gets Social, Buys Book Recommendation Site Goodreads

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This week's need-to-know social-media news.


Remember when Amazon was thought of as just an online bookseller? Despite its expansion into other areas of ecommerce and its reinvention as a full-fledged technology powerhouse, Amazon plans to continue dominating the market for books. There could be no clearer sign of that ambition than the recent announcement that Amazon is set to acquire Goodreads, a social website for book recommendations.

The news upset some of the 16 million members of Goodreads, who fear that under Amazon's ownership the social network will suffer some of the same problems as Amazon's own review system, which has been tarnished by writers' buying five-star reviews of their own work. But Otis Chandler, a Goodreads founder, told The New York Times that the site would continue to operate as an independent company in San Francisco under its current management team. And the acquisition might be a boon to self-published Kindle authors, who will now have an easy time promoting their books on Goodreads. -- Amazon and The New York Times

LinkedIn gets personal with search.

Last year, LinkedIn handled 5.7 billion searches by professionals and company recruiters. The social network is continuing to streamline and enhance its search tool, adding suggested searches, automated alerts and other features. And there's a deep level of personalization to its new search functions, LinkedIn says. "Even if you search for the same thing as someone else, your results will be customized to you," the company explained in a blog post. "LinkedIn's search efforts are founded on the ability to take into account who you are, who you know and what your network is doing to help you find what you’re looking for." -- LinkedIn Blog

Social shopping site Wanelo is attracting big retailers.

Wanelo, the two-year-old social shopping startup that aims to connect consumers with products, now has 6 million users. Also, 5 million products have so far been posted to Wanelo -- which stands for "want, need, love" -- and these goods have been saved 700 million times. With so much action, retailers are responding. Urban Outfitters is one major brand that has set up a storefront on Wanelo. Unlike Pinterest, Wanelo allows users to purchase the items from within its own interface. No wonder its tagline is "Literally buy all the things." -- TechCrunch

Instagram photos will now affect your Klout score.

Klout, the company that purports to measure your social influence by weighing your interactions across various social networks, will now take into account your Instagram photos when creating your score. Perhaps more important for the long-term, Klout also announced this week an extension of its partnership with Bing. Users can now connect their Klout accounts to Bing, and eventually Bing search results with influence Klout scores. You'll even be able to see someone's score. -- Mashable

One restaurant takes to Twitter to shame no-show guests.

Los Angeles restaurant Red Medicine recently used Twitter to call out some would-be patrons who didn't show up for their reservations, leaving the restaurant with empty tables. While there are competing schools of thought on the appropriateness and efficacy of naming-and-shaming like this, owner Noah Ellis had a reasonable explanation for his actions. "[It] really wasn’t fair to the guests who took a 6:15 or 9:30 reservation instead of the 7:30 or 8:00 they wanted," he told Eater L.A. "I was frustrated, so I blew them up [on Twitter]." -- Eater L.A.

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