According to Chinese state media, authorities there have shut down 206 microblogs, citing pornographic or “vulgar” content. More than half of the microblogs came from Weibo, a service comparable to Twitter that even limits each post to 140 Chinese characters. Reuters reports that Chinese state agency Xinhua News Agency and the State Internet Information Office said internet portals should “refuse to be used as a platform to spread obscene material,” and they promised to keep similar pressure on internet companies.
• Meanwhile, back in the States, AOL has merged three sets of its hyperlocal Patch news sites: Franklin Lakes and Wyckoff, N.J.; Glen Rock and Ridgewoo, N.J., and Clayton and Concord, Calif. Ad Age cites an unspecified source as saying that if these mergers provide similarly unspecified desired results, AOL will execute more Patch mergers in the first quarter of 2012. Patch spokesperson Janine Iamunno said the decisions actually came from the editors of the sites in question, who had noted overlap in their respective beats. Patch had formerly projected 1,000 hyperlocal sites by the end of 1,000; currently, it has 860.
• Ad Age also published a chart today running down Google’s top advertising spenders for 2011, as estimated by Kantar Media. At the number one spot, spending over $174 million, is IAC/InterActiveCorp, which owns, among other companies, Ask.com, Match.com, and Citysearch. Amazon and A&T each spent over $100 million ($118.5 million and $115.6 million, respectively).