Reading List: Slate Says Google Plus is Dead

Each day we provide a roundup of five stories from around the Web that our editors read and found noteworthy. Follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day @digiday.

Google Plus Doomed?: It seems like people can’t be lukewarm on Google Plus. There’s a constituency that believes Google really nailed search this time around and will give Facebook a run for its money. After all, that’s what drove the excitement around Google Plus’ launch of brand account yesterday. And then there’s the hard-core skeptic audience, which puts Google Plus in the long line of Google social missteps. Slate’s Farhad Manjoo is in the latter group. “Google+ is dead,” Manjoo baldly states, noting its mistakes in handling anonymous accounts and brand pages. Those 40 million users don’t impress Manjoo either, not considering Google’s marketing might. This could be one of those too-soon-to-tell things, but the vibe certainly seems to be this won’t do much of anything to challenge Facebook, which will adopt many of the innovations Google Plus rolls out. Slate — Brian Morrissey  @bmorrissey

Adobe Surrenders to HTML5: Much to Adobe’s annoyance, Apple has refused to build Flash compatibility into its mobile and tablet devices, opting instead to promote the uptake of HTML5 as an alternative to the rich-media plug-in. Having originally pledged to continue development of the product nonetheless — for use on platforms such as Google’s Android OS, for example — Adobe today announced it’s reversing that decision and said that HTML5 is “the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms.” That admission will likely accelerate the development of HTML5-based technologies further, particularly in the mobile arena. Wired — Jack Marshall @JackMarshall

Netflix, Please Sell Ads: On Tuesday at Digiday’s Digital Video conference, Universal McCann’s Elizabeth Firth, when asked about Netflix, said, “Please let us buy ads on your service.” Yet Netflix to date has stubbornly resisted becoming an ad-supported company. According to LiveRail CEO Mark Trefgarne, in a column for Ad Age, advertising could represent a major revenue opportunity, while also helping to calm the masses still angry by some of Netflix’s recent missteps (price hikes, Qwikster). Trefgarne echoes Firth’s sentiment — that brands would love to be able to buy Netflix’s huge audience — one that is watching content on three screens. That’s a rare opportunity for a media buyer. And ad revenue would certainly help fund more series like the upcoming “House of Cards.” But the big question left unanswered by Firth and Trefgarne is, how does a free, ad-supported Netflix offering not eat into the company’s existing subscription businesses, which customers are already steaming over?
Ad Age— Mike Shields @digitalshields

Groupon Slow to Pay Up: The hits just keep on coming. Questionable accounting forced Groupon to revise its IPO last summer when it was discovered that the company had confused “gross” with “net.” Now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that competitors are coming after the newly flush coupon distributor because it can take more than 60 days for Groupon to give merchants all the money it owes. And part of Groupon’s business model depends on the float that it enjoys between the time that it collects money from consumers for a deal and when it sends money to merchants for that deal. When consumers redeem their coupons, merchants have to cover the costs of goods and services being discounted. Groupon currently pays merchants in three installments over the course of two months. LivingSocial has been making inroads by paying in full within 15 days. As LivingSocial closes in on its own IPO, it will be interesting to see if it can tempt merchants with the promise of quick payment. WSJ— Anne Sherber @annesherber

TumTiki, Anyone?: Amazon and Hulu are getting closer together with the launch of TumTiki, a site launched by Frontier Communications that brings 700,000-plus titles from Hulu and Amazon along with local television and Web shows. This might be the all-in-one video solution that advertisers dream of, blending geo-targeted local TV with Web and national shows, or it might be just another aggregation site with premium inventory. Regardless, Frontier Communications might play up the site’s local programming appeal to make it more than just one more also-ran. Hollywood Reporter
–Carla Rover @carlarover
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