The Morning Lowdown 02.17.2011

» has been penalized by Google (NSDQ: GOOG) for selling links on their website. Specifically, Google said that it was linking to other sites that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. [Search Engine Roundtable]

»  What led to Borders’ downfall? Ill-fated expansion plans and too many stores are just some of the reasons. [Deal Journal]

»  How social media saved Conan O’Brien and how he used it — particularly Twitter — to save himself. [Fortune Tech]

»  A new study from MerchantCircle shows that 55 percent of small businesses that have tested group-buying platforms like Groupon and LivingSocial don’t plan to use those services again. Thirty-two percent said they used Facebook Places for promotion and more merchants are turning to Foursquare usage. [ClickZ]