Mumbai attack - Microhoo deal fiction - Murdoch's love for newspapers - urlfan - Icahn increases his share - CNN wire threatening AP - Lycos EU shutdo

Hi folks,

Sorry for the short break. The unfortunate terror attack in Mumbai kept me off for a while. May God give strength to the families of the deceased.

News

Web outperforms Media in Mumbai Blast

The usage of web came in a new colour and flavour as the mobile and fixed line circuits to city were clogged since large number of people was trying to get in touch with each other in the city. Amidst a situation beleaguered by terror from all sides, blogging became a major source of information.

Unilever's Polman, Cescau Rescued in Terrorist Attack

Incoming Unilever CEO Paul Polman and current CEO Patrick Cescau were in the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai when it was attacked by terrorists last week, trapped there for hours until rescued in the wee hours of Friday morning by police and firefighters.

"Total Fiction": There Is No $20 Billion Microsoft Deal to Buy Yahoo Search (Not Yet, at Least!)

A story in today's Murdoch-owned Sunday Times has been rubbished by Kara Swisher at the Murdoch-owned All Things Digital blog, which is an offshoot of the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal.

News Corp.'s Murdoch: Mired as Ever in Newspapers

Michael Wolff's new book "The Man Who Owns the News" explores the mumbling, ferociously competitive News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch. Wolff says he has more admiration for Murdoch's independence than for his successes: "I just like the idea of the guy who essentially pays attention to no one else." Murdoch invented Fox News Channel and has done well with 20th Century Fox studio because, Wolff writes, he runs them "not for glamor but for cash flow." The book claims that Murdoch invented the modern media conglomerate in the 1980s in order to generate more cash to buy more newspapers, the properties he best understands. "There was no grand strategy.... He was just an avaricious guy."

URLFAN - Perhaps The Best Influence Index on The Web
://URLFAN is an indexing service which ranks websites by popularity, based on blog mentions. It's been around for a while, but it's reached the point now where it's a very useful tool to measure influence on the Internet. ://URLFAN is similar to Alexa and its measurement of popularity is reminiscent of Google's PageRank. ://URLFAN also has similarities to Technorati, except that instead of indexing just blogs - ://URLFAN indexes all websites.

Icahn Increases Yahoo Holdings By Nearly 7 Million Shares

Apparently no one told Carl Icahn this was supposed to be a slow news day ... the Yahoo director added nearly 7 million shares to his holdings in the company this week at an almost bargain-basement cost of roughly $67 million.  According to a filing with the SEC Wednesday, various Icahn entities acquired 3,697,181 shares at $9.7988 per share Monday, 2,704,780 shares at $9.9678 Tuesday, and another 376,843 shares at $9.9988 Wednesday. That brings his total stake in Yahoo to 75.6 million shares. This last batch averaged well below one-third of the $34.75 per share Icahn suggested Microsoft pay for Yahoo back in June.

AP Acknowledges Threat From CNN's Wire Service; But Challenger Still 'Needs Improvement'

As CNN prepares to go head-to-head with the Associated Press when it launches its new wire service, the cable news outfit will have to prove to newspaper editors that it can transfer its cable TV credibility to breaking print news. A long piece in the NYT takes a look at the challenges the upstart CNN Wire faces, as well as how its established rival is reacting. CNN Wire has been in limited trial at a handful of newspapers the past month. Editors from about 30 papers have been invited to CNN's Atlanta headquarters for a presentation called the CNN Newspaper Summit this week. Acknowledging that it lacks ties with newspapers, CNN hopes it can dazzle editors enough to get them to give its services a try.

Lycos Europe To Shut Down After Failing To Find Buyer

It's the end of the road. After putting itself on the auction block in April, Lycos Europe has finally conceded what had become increasingly clear - no one wants to buy the ailing portal. It confirmed Wednesday morning it will wind up its portal and its web-hosting activities. It's now about asset stripping - the company said it still wants to sell its domain names, its Danish business and its shopping sites. As a result, Lycos Europe will give back $60 million (€50 million) to its shareholders. All subject to a December 12 shareholders meeting. As the Web 2.0 fraternity might say, "epic fail". Release.

Blackberry Storm Drenched In Bugs; NYT's Pogue Calls It A "Dud"

The warning came in the form of a scathing review printed in The New York Times, which calls the device "a dud." The well-respected David Pogue must have pulled out his thesaurus for this one to come up with all ways to say "it sucks." He wrote: "Now, I wouldn't come down this hard on some product — especially one that was so eagerly anticipated, customers lined up at dawn on the day of its release — without getting a second, third and fourth opinion. And I'm telling you, there wasn't a soul who tried this machine who wasn't appalled, baffled or both." But it gets worse...he says people come to that conclusion before they discover that it doesn't have Wi-Fi, and worse has "more bugs than a summer picnic." It freezes, suddenly reboots, and has non-responsive controls and "other cosmetic glitches."

Nokia to cease sales in Japan

Nokia, the world's biggest mobile phone maker, said on Thursday it will stop selling mobile phones in Japan except for its luxury Vertu brand after struggling to expand its presence. Finnish Nokia has previously said it will cut costs 'decisively', expecting global mobile phone sales to shrink next year amid an economic downturn. Japan is the world's fourth largest mobile phone market after the United States, China and India. But it makes up only a tiny part of sales at Nokia, whose products have failed to lure customers away from more sophisticated Japanese ones. Mobile phone companies also see limited scope for growth in Japan, where 109 million subscribers, or some 85 percent of the population, already own a mobile phone. In addition, a new sales model based on higher handset prices is expected to slash annual mobile phone sales in Japan by some 20 percent.

Battelle attacks on Social Media And Marketing Do Mix myth

Search guru John Battelle attacks "the myth" that social media and marketing don't mix, citing a recent article in Advertising Age that uses one P&G digital marketing exec's opinions to conclude that advertising on social networks doesn't work. "Ad Age drew what I must say is an extremely lazy conclusion," Battelle says. "Look, a senior guy from Procter says so!" That senior guy is Ted McConnell, P&G's Manager of Digital Marketing Innovation, who opens the article with the following statement: "Social networks may never find the ad dollars they're hunting for because they don't really have a right to them." Battelle responds: "I'm here to call bull on this myth." The search guru points out that social media "assets" aren't packaged in any way similar to television or magazines, and nor should they be: "You can't barge into the middle of a conversation and yell, 'buy my stuff!' and then leave," he says. "A brand that does that will certainly be remembered -- as a clod." The reason you can't do that is there's no algorithm for understanding the nuance of conversation, and conversations are what drive social media. However, this does not mean there is no future for social media marketing. In fact, "Social media is an extraordinary place to market," Battelle says, "But you have to understand the medium you're in...as a brand, you have to understand how and when to have a conversation." Marketers simply need to adapt, and use the targeting algorithms as tools for finding a more conversational approach, instead of letting targeting alone determine what ad goes where. What does he mean by a more "conversational approach"?

Nielsen: 10 Million Mobile Users Watch TV On Phones

Per Nielsen, in the third quarter of 2008, more than 100 million U.S. consumers--42% of mobile subscribers--have video-capable cell phones. Some 10.3 million of those mobile consumers are watching TV/video on their cell phones, an increase of 14% over 2Q. Not surprisingly, 65% of those watching are under the age of 35, compared to 35% for total mobile subscribers. Some 32% of mobile video viewers are between 25 and 34 years old, and 18% are teens.


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