New Twitter feature will let ads target words in tweets

Twitter is introducing a feature that lets advertisers target ads based on words that appear in users’ tweets.

Twitter said in a blog post Wednesday that users won’t see any difference in their use of Twitter and the change doesn’t mean ads will show up more frequently.

Rather, Twitter says this keyword targeting will bring its users ads that are more relevant to them. For example if someone writes a tweet about a band they like, they might see an ad about the band’s upcoming concert nearby.

Twitter is privately held and doesn’t disclose revenue figures. Research firm eMarketer, however, expects the San Francisco company’s worldwide ad revenue to hit $583 million this year. Next year it is expected to grow to nearly $1 billion.

Mattel’s income quadruples on new fashion dolls’ sales

Mattel said Wednesday its first-quarter net income more than quadrupled helped by strong sales of dolls like Monster High, Disney Princess and American Girl.

Results beat expectations and shares rose more than 4 percent in morning trading after briefly hitting its highest level in 15 years.

The fashion doll category has been one of the toy industry’s strongest, helped by new entrants such as Monster High — a doll line based on the offspring of famous monsters — which has grown to the No. 2 doll category in just three years of existence, according to Mattel.

Barbie is still the No. 1 doll, but its sales slipped 2 percent, hurt by the stronger dollar. It’s the third straight quarter of domestic revenue decline for the 54-year-old fashion doll.

Google Fiber taking over Provo’s fiber-optic system

Google will take over a troubled municipal fiber-optic system and make Provo, Utah, the third city to get its high-speed Internet service via fiber-optic cables, the company announced Wednesday.

Google Fiber was rolled out in Kansas City, Mo., last year. The Mountain View, Calif., company announced earlier this month it will make Austin, Texas, the second city to get ultra-fast Internet service.

The Provo deal is the first time Google plans to acquire an existing fiber-optic system. The city of 115,000 created the fiber-optic network, iProvo, in 2004. It planned to operate the system itself for Internet, television and phone service but found the operation too daunting and turned it over to a succession of private partners that have struggled.

Fed’s Beige Book report calls growth ‘moderate’

The U.S. economy is growing at a “moderate” pace, as housing’s rebound and the continued recovery in the auto sector offset weaknesses stemming from federal government budget cuts, the expiration of the payroll tax cut and winter weather, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.

The Beige Book report released by the Fed, covering the period from late February to early April, is just slightly stronger in tone than the last Beige Book, which said the economy was growing “at a modest to moderate” pace.

Of the Fed’s 12 districts, five reported “moderate” growth, five reported “modest” growth, and New York and Dallas reported slight accelerations.

The Beige Book breakdown doesn’t come as much of a surprise and is backed up by recently released data.

Number of startups falls as jobless rate improves

Fewer people are starting small businesses now that the job market is looking better.

The number of companies started in 2012 fell along with the unemployment rate — a sign that people chose new jobs over launching their own companies. That’s the finding of a study released Wednesday by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

The foundation, which follows trends in entrepreneurship, estimates that there were 514,000 new business owners per month last year, down from 543,000 each month in 2011. In 2010, the peak of the recession and its aftermath, there were 565,000 new business owners each month, the highest for any of the 16 years tracked by the survey.

–From news service reports