MySpace Tries To Move In On Twitter, Facebook With New Mood Settings

Facebook may have eclipsed MySpace in terms of traffic (via Compete), and Twitter may be growing by leaps and bounds, but MySpace isn't content to sit back and watch its rivals steal market share and potential ad dollars. News Corp.'s social network is trying to claw its way back to the forefront of the social graph with an upgrade to its status and mood history that we've learned goes live tonight—giving users more control over the kinds of updates their friends see, how often they see them and even the option of making their status and mood updates public. more 

News Corp. To Lose MySpace Founders?

News Corp. may soon lose MySpace co-founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson, the Financial Times reports. According to an unnamed source, the contracts of both men expire in October, and each has privately said there is a chance he could leave at that stage.

However, in an interview with the paper, DeWolfe was quick to quell those rumors, saying both he and Anderson were "very happy at MySpace". He said: "We love the people, the product, and we believe in the future of the company. We are not thinking of leaving...our heads are down and completely focused on building a profitable, scalable business." more 

Apple Heats Up The Browser Wars

The battle to build the best Web browser is now a five-way fight.Just when you thought the browser wars couldn't get any weirder, here comes Steve Jobs rumbling onto the scene like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man tromping over buildings in downtown Manhattan. If last year's release of Safari for Windows seemed like an experiment, Apple's (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ) release Tuesday of a beta version of Safari 4 for Mac and Windows makes it clear this is going to be the messiest fight since Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray battled Zuul and Gozer the Gozerian in the movie Ghost Busters. Currently, Microsoft's (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ) Internet Explorer owns 67.6% of the browser market, followed by Mozilla's Firefox with 21.5%, Apple's Safari with 8.3%, Google's (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) Chrome with 1.1% and Opera with 0.7%, according to NetApplications. more 

Authors Guild turns up heat on Kindle 2's "Text to Speech"

When Amazon unveiled Kindle 2, its new electronic book reader, the Authors Guild was quick to critize the device's new Text to Speech feature, which reads e-books aloud, arguing that it could undermine the lucrative market for audiobooks. Now the Guild has fired another shot across the bow with an op-ed piece in the New York Times titled "The Kindle Swindle?"                                

Google joins EU antitrust case against Microsoft

Google Inc has added its voice to the case against Microsoft Corp as the European Commission probes antitrust charges related to the software giant's Internet Explorer browser. "Google believes that the browser market is still largely uncompetitive, which holds back innovation for users," Sundar Pichai, Google vice president product manager, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. Google introduced the Chrome browser last year, which has taken little market share. more 

News Corp’s Slingshot Labs Launches First Public Project: Gossip Site DailyFill

imageAnother day, another celeb site—this time from News Corp internet incubator Slingshot Labs. Snarky DailyFill, which has been up in beta since November, officially launches Tuesday. It's the first public project for Santa Monica-based Slingshot Labs, started last year by News Corp to create and launch quick, low-cost online businesses that can be profitable early on. Slingshot's initial funding was $15 million. more 

How to Get Your Facebook Profile Removed Once You're Dead (It's Harder than You Think)

When Emmy-award winning investigative journalist William Bemister passed away last November, his sister Stephanie decided to have his Facebook profile removed. You might think such a thing would be simple, but during a time of grief, Facebook makes it as hard as possible for profiles to be removed.

Ms. Bemister sent a copy of her brother's death certificate, but Facebook refused to remove the profile. More 

Microsoft Drops Return of Overpayments Demand

Microsoft Monday backed off its requests that recently laid-off workers who received too much cash in their severance packages return the money. However, by waiting two days since the story broke before reversing itself, Microsoft's seemingly miserly behavior may have cost itself more through bad publicity than could be offset by the relatively minor financial loss.  more 

Ticketmaster Settles Over Springsteen Incident

Ticketmaster Entertainment (NASD: TKTM) has settled charges brought by the New Jersey Attorney General that it shunted ticketbuyers from its flagship site to an auction site where tickets sold for far above face value, Billboard reported. The company will pay $350,000 to cover fees associated with the AG's investigation, and also agreed to stop linking customers to its TicketsNow secondary ticketing auction site for at least one year.  The charges were brought after consumers looking to purchase tickets to Bruce Springsteen concerts were redirected to TicketsNow -- even though tickets were still available for purchase at face value on  

News Corp. President Peter Chernin is Leaving

Peter Chernin, Rupert Murdoch's longtime top lieutenant, plans to leave News Corporation when his contract expires in June, a move that renews questions of succession at one of the world's biggest media companies. After deciding over the weekend to leave the company after 20 years, Mr. Chernin attended the Academy Awards Sunday night, where "Slumdog Millionaire," a film released by a unit of the News Corporation that he oversees, won best picture. Mr. Chernin's exit will now cast a brighter spotlight on James Murdoch, Mr. Murdoch's youngest son and the only one of his children with an executive role at the company. In late 2007, James Murdoch was elevated to the newly created postof chairman and chief executive for Europe and Asia.  from NYTimes 

Gmail users hit by blackout

Google has apologised for the outage that hit business and consumer users of its popular e-mail service. The GMail service went offline at 0930 GMT and, Google claims, was unavailable to all for "approximately two and a half hours". But anecdotal evidence suggests it was out of action for many users for about four hours - one of the longest downtimes ever suffered by Google. More than 113 million people use Google mail worldwide, according to comScore.  more 

Yahoo Management Shakeup Imminent

Yahoo's Chief Executive Carol Bartz could announce a major management reorganization as early as this coming week, most likely on Wednesday, according to the blog AllThingsDThe Wall Street Journal-affiliated blog, citing several sources inside and outside the Internet company, said the shift could be pushed out a week or two or rolled out in pieces. The blog cited a February 20 Bartz memo to employees, in which she said, "Get well-rested, because next week's a biggie." 

Microsoft unveils new program (Elevate America) to train 2 million tech workers

Microsoft today unveiled a new initiative dubbed Elevate America that is designed to give up to two million people the technical skills "needed to succeed in the 21st-century economy." Visitors to the Elevate America site can access Microsoft online training programs, instructing people on how to use email and the Internet as well more advanced Microsoft certifications. As part of that effort, the company is announcing one million free "Microsoft Learning" vouchers for people interested in gaining technical certifications. more 

Microsoft mixes social networking with recruiting in new pilot site

 Microsoft's job cuts aren't keeping the company from experimenting with new approaches in online recruiting. The company is piloting a new Web 2.0-style jobs site ( for its Entertainment & Devices Division -- with features including recruiter profile pages, live chat and built-in connections to the top social-networking sites. more 

What the HP website can teach you this very second

With 13.5 million monthly visitors and a Quantcast traffic ranking of 56, the Hewlett Packard site ( is one of the most visited sites on the Internet.  Each pixel on such a heavily trafficked web page is a piece of prime real estate in the virtual world. It's therefore interesting to see that the prime spot on the page, the Central Park West of the HP website so to speak, is devoted to a simple text box that asks for the user's email address.  After the user enters her/his email address, the smart marketers at HP will remarket their products and services to that consumer through relevant messages with the goal of moving the consumer along the sales cycle.

CNN, Facebook Team Up Again for State of the Union and Facebook will on Feb. 24 attempt to replicate their wildly successful live streaming/commenting collaboration as seen during President Barack Obama's inauguration, as the site ramps up coverage of the new president's much-anticipated State of the Union Address. As with the inauguration on Jan. 20, which yielded record-smashing traffic numbers ( see this earlier report), visitors will be able to stream live coverage of the inaugural address, while concurrently commenting on the address via their Facebook status-updating tool—all on a single Web page. And just like last time, these viewer' friends will be notified about the Live coverage via their Facebook News Feeds.

Hulu - war

 The plot thickens in the emerging rivalry between CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS)-owned and Hulu LLC . After a day or two of reflection, CBS decided to step into the ring by responding to Hulu's claim that it had "contractual rights" to pull the plug on programming from NBC Universal and Fox Broadcasting Co. that was running on more 

Facebook's Comment Box Travels to Less Social Websites

Facebook has launched a Comment Box widget, which webmasters can use to encourage conversation on their site. Comment Box enables clients to add a conversational component to their sites. Additionally, people that also use Facebook can also post those comments on their profiles and share them with friends, enabling the discussion to travel. The service is part of Facebook Connect, a developer-targeting feature that enables websites to port the activities of their customers onto users' Facebook Newsfeeds.


How to Reach Baby Boomers with Social Media

A new report from Forrester Research revealed some surprising information: apparently Baby Boomers aren't exactly the technology Luddites that people think they are. In fact, more than 60 percent of those in this generational group actively consume socially created content like blogs, videos, podcasts, and forums. What's more, the percentage of those participating is on the rise.

Ticketing Startups Launch Multi-Million Dollar Funds To Combat TicketMaster Merger

With the proposed $2.5 billion merger between TicketMaster and Live Nation looming large, many venue owners and promoters are up in arms, deeming the deal anti-competitive and monopolistic (they may be right - the deal is being examined for possible anti-trust violations). Now ShowClix, a TicketMaster competitor that launched in early 2007, is launching the Fair Ticketing Fund, setting aside up to $5 million to entice venues and promoters away from the pending Live Nation Entertainment goliath. Other ticket vendors are also beginning to offer similar deals, including TicketBiscuit, which launched a $10 million fund last week.

Adidas runs mobile campaign to promote sportswear

Adidas tapped mobile ad network AdMob and ad agency Isobar for a mobile advertising campaign to promote its Originals collection of vintage clothing, retro shoes and urban wear that blend '70s and '80s designs with sports styles.

AdMob ran graphical banner ads and text link ads targeted toward college students and consumers in its Downloads and Communities Channels across select sites in its network, including and CBS Sports Mobile. AdMob's graphical banner ads and text link ads drove traffic to the Adidas Originals mobile Web site. more 

FlipGloss Debuts Glossy Digital Photo Magazine

FlipGloss, a Forbes Media-funded digital magazine focused purely on editorial and advertising photo content, has launched the beta version of its site. Featuring "lifestyle" based photography focused on fashion, design and travel, FlipGloss wants to combine search engine capabilities with the experience of flipping through photo content of a magazine. more 

Yahoo! Steals Search Share from Google in January 2009

Yahoo! gained 0.5 percentage points in comScore search engine rankings for January 2009. Google just happened to lose the same amount of percentage points during the same month. But they're not the only two swapping points. Microsoft stole 0.2% from These are small percentage points, so things mostly stayed steady. If these trends were to keep up, that's when things could get a little interesting. So, stay tuned. more 

Twitter Tests a Search Box on the Root Domain

Twitter is testing a search box on the root URL of its site, meaning on the home page and user pages. Currently, search resides on a subdomain, There is a "Find People" search on the root, but searching tweets is on the root.

The test will include a search box in the navigation in the top right of the page. Only a small subset of users will see the search box during the test. more 

Local Advertising Isn't Jumping Online

 As the newspaper industry crumbles, online sites figured they'd cash in on local advertising. But "local" doesn't mean much online. For at least a decade, Web startups have spun visions of conquering local ad markets. Their dream is to tap that vast array of attorneys, lawyers, dentists, shoe shops, restaurants, and other close-to-home businesses that tend to advertise in the yellow pages. No single local business spends a lot on ads, but in aggregate, they represent a lot of money.Local interactive advertising is headed for a big slowdown this year, according to Borrell Associates, an online advertising researcher. This year "will be the first in many in which some components of interactive advertising show little or no growth, or may even decline," Borrell said in a November report. The market will grow 4.7%, to $13.3 billion in 2009, after 50% growth in 2008, Borrell says. more 

Yahoo a Better Bet Than Google Analytics?

When it comes to Web analytics, Google has been shaking up the established fee-based players with its free offering – Google Analytics – and quickly grabbed the lead in market share, but researcher CMS Watch said big companies would be well-advised to check out a lesser known analytics player, Yahoo.

Last spring, Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) bought Web analytics company IndexTools and converted the company's service to its own under the name Yahoo Web Analytics. CMS Watch said with the conversion complete, Yahoo is slowly ramping up promotion and further development of the service, but it already offers several advantages over Google Analytics.


Licence fee for MVNOs in India capped at Rs 85 crore (approx USD 20 mn)

The Department of Telecommunications has decided to peg the entry fee for Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) at a maximum of Rs 85 crore for a pan-India licence. MVNOs do not own spectrum or infrastructure. They buy airtime wholesale from the existing mobile operators and then resell it to consumers under own branding and tariff plans. Usually, MVNOs target a specific-user group such as the youth or women.

Companies with an existing retail and distribution chain are ideally suited to become an MVNO. DoT is expected to spell out the policy to give the licences soon. This will enable international companies, which had missed out on getting a telecom licence, to get a foothold in the fastest growing mobile market. Global players including BT (formerly British Telecom), Verizon and France Telecom have approached the telecom regulator to open up this segment. 


Disney Acquires Kerpoof’s Kid-Friendly Creative Suite


Kerpoof, a web-based creative design suite for children that launched at 2007's TechCrunch 40, has been acquired by Disney. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Kerpoof's online portal at will continue to operate as its technology is deployed on Disney's homepage. more 

Mobile Hotel Bookings Show ROI in Recession

Hotel operator Marriott reported an earnings loss for the fourth quarter last week, but there's one small encouraging sign: the chain's mobile bookings. Marriott Mobile generated $2 million in gross revenue between its August 2008 launch and the end of the year. But revenue from mobile bookings in January was headed upward fairly quickly, the hotel chain told Ad Age. Meanwhile, Omni Hotels' mobile site has grown 85% in the past six months, and Hilton's mobile channel has generated a 22% return on investment for the brand. Those kinds of numbers are bright spots in a tough time for hoteliers -- and they show that even in recession, companies are willing to invest in and experiment with new media when the ROI is clear. More 

Marriott Mobile

Windows Mobile 6.5 Debuts But Is It Too Late?

Microsoft trotted out a cornucopia of nifty new products and services at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday, not least of which is a long-awaited Windows Mobile 6.5 update. The announcements also included a competitor to Apple's MobileMe service – dubbed My Phone – and an online application store that bears more than a passing resemblance to the iTunes App Store, named Microsoft Marketplace for Mobile.

A major question remains, however: Will it help improve Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) also-ran image in the smartphone space?  


The Econsultancy Twitter experiment

Econsultancy implemented an experiment to display all tweets featuring the word 'Econsultancy' on their homepage. The 'widget' was patched together in-house and simply searches for 'Econsultancy' via the excellent Twitter API, then aggregates these tweets into a feed. 


'Yahoo Mobile' Upgrades From 'Go'

Yahoo announced the coming of Yahoo Mobile, a long-awaited upgrade to its mobile web service, at the Barcelona GSMA World Mobile Congress. The existing downloadable mobile service, Yahoo Go, is now part of the larger picture of Yahoo Mobile. 

more | CNET | Information Week 

Scout Labs Monitors Brand Buzz Across Interwebs

San Francisco-based Scout Labs has launched a suite of buzz monitoring tools, intended to help marketers monitor discussions about their brands across free-form media, like social networks and consumer-generated content destinations. According to the company, the software is a do-it-yourself — and thus more affordable — version of brand tracking services like Nielsen's Buzz Metrics. The going rate is $250 per month.

From a unified interface, clients — which include Focus Features, Sony BMG, Netflix and HP — can manage conversations about their brands as they occur in real-time. It tracks discussions on Twitter, YouTube, chat rooms and other sites that are not password-protected.


Facebook has become the most popular social network in France

Facebook has become the most popular social network in France, according to the latest figures from comScore. Social networking had a banner year in France, with a 45 percent increase in unique visitors. In Europe as a whole, 211 million (roughly three fourths of total internet users) visited social networking sites.

After Facebook launched a French language interface in February of 2008, the site's popularity skyrocketed, growing 443 percent over the past year to an estimated 12 million visitors. The native social network Skyrock only grew by a paltry 8 percent (in terms of unique visitors). MySpace ranked fourth on the list of leading social networking sites, with 3 million visitors. This is not surprising, since Facebook has been steadily widening the gap with MySpace internationally.

Worldwide, Facebook had an estimated 221.8 million unique visitors, up from 200.2 million visitors in November, showing an 11 percent growth in visitors. That compares to 125 million unique visitors for MySpace versus 120.7 million visitors in November, a 4 percent increase.

While Facebook is dominating in the global space, MySpace still is at the top in the U.S. , Facebook's growth hasn't stagnated


Analyst: Google May Dump MySpace

Barclay's analyst Doug Anmuth thinks Google is planning to scrap its $900 million search monetization deal with News Corp.'s MySpace. "Good riddance," says Silicon Alley Insider's Henry Blodget. "Google has had a devil of a time making the deal work economically, and there's no need to throw good money after bad."

In fact, Anmuth says that Google is now so dominant in search, that there's little incentive for the company to pay for any more distribution deals. Meanwhile, Microsoft "seems determined to buy share at any cost," having recently scooped up significant deals with Dell and Verizon. Therefore, says Blodget, if Google dumps MySpace, Microsoft should be happy to step in and overpay for the opportunity to be a substitute.

Says Anmuth: "In our opinion, Google no longer sees the need to win distribution at any cost, and we also think it is internally re-evaluating its relationship with MySpace which includes ~$900 million in payments in the 3.5 year term leading up to mid-2010. Importantly we do not believe Google would lose share as a result of this shift."

Google: More than a million Latitude users in first week

More than a million wireless subscribers signed up for Google's new mobile friend finder Latitude in its first week according to Vic Gundotra, the web services giant's vice president of engineering. Speaking during a mobile Internet panel at Mobile World Congress 2009 here in Barcelona, Gundotra pointed to the location-based Latitude effort (launched earlier this month) as a prime example of the kinds of new applications enabled by the emergence of more powerful mobile web browsers and software developed to better exploit the technological capabilities of wireless devices.

Online Kids Playground Gets Rough

Kids brands are shifting dollars into their digital ad buckets, say industry insiders, which is good news for category leaders, and

But at the same time, per buyers, the digital kids space is far more competitive than just a few years ago, as virtual worlds and kids-oriented ad nets attempt to corner market share. Also, non-ad-supported outlets like the iPhone and the Nintendo Wii continue to siphon away kid hours.

Facebook reverts its TOS

Just saw on Facebook, they have reverted their TOS. Buckling under the firestorm they have now sent out this message on the Facebook profile

Terms of Use Update

A couple of weeks ago, we posted an update to our Terms of Use that we hoped would clarify some parts of it for our users. Over the past couple of days, we have received a lot of questions and comments about these updated terms and what they mean for people and their information. Because of the feedback we received, we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised.

Bill Gates wants to help the third world with cellphone banking

The GSMA, a worldwide consortium of mobile industries, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (owned by the guy who used to run Microsoft and his lady wife) have teamed up to found the the Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) initiative, allowing folks in developing countries to carry out mobile banking from their non-smartphones and keep and grow their money in a safe and affordable fashion.

The Foundation has donated $12.5 million to the endeavor and is currently working to "catalyze a new wave of mobile money innovation" and will support 20 projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The ultimate goal? Supply 20 million unbanked people with mobile financial services by 2012.


Skype Nabs Nokia Deal

Internet telephony company Skype has secured a landmark deal with mobile handset maker Nokia to preload Skype software onto some of its new smartphones, beginning in the third quarter of this year. Skype's technology allows consumers to make cheap long-distance calls over the Web to land lines or cell phones; calls to other Skype users are completely free. The eBay company has been slowly moving into the mobile phone arena with deals with operators like Hutchison Whampoa's 3.’s Jan. Figures Soar Thanks to Relaunch

The recently revamped saw a 263% increase in unique viewers, 1,261% increase in streams, and 4,435% increase in minutes viewed in January, per Nielsen VideoCensus. Other stats, such as monthly users and visits, increased substantially as well, according to Nielsen Online, writes MediaPost.

As late as November, the CBS-owned website was suffering, with unique viewers down 55% from the previous May; videos per viewer, minutes per viewer, and minutes per video were also down during the same months, according to comScore Video Metrix.


New York Times to Launch 'Skimmable' Digital Sunday Paper

The New York Times announced the launch of a digital Sunday issue on First Look, a subsite that showcases's new features and services.

The yet-to be-named website features headlines extended across a broad space, mimicking the experience of reading a spread-out Sunday Times over brunch, only without "the crinkle of the paper, the circular stain of coffee, and the smell of newsprint."

No launch date was given, but the Times has published a working prototype called Article Skimmer:


Facebook Scrambles to Nip Privacy Controversy

 Facebook moved quickly this week to assure users they are still in control of the information they post to the popular social networking site. But the company did not say it would make any changes in its Terms of Service (TOS) agreement at the heart of the current controversy.

At issue are changes Facebook made a few weeks ago to its TOS, the online contract users agree to in order to join community sites such as Facebook. In a Feb. 16 blog post headlined, "Facebook: All Your Stuff is Ours, Even if You Quit," the Consumerist Web site noted what it called "a seemingly slight but very important (and disturbing) change in Facebook's terms of service regarding user-generated content."


Yahoo Shuts Down MyWeb Bookmarking Services

Last week, the struggling Sunnyvale, California web portal disappointed the fans of MyWeb, announcing that its four-year-old web bookmarking service, will be discontinued from March 18. The company is now encouraging its users to continue using other Yahoo! bookmarking services instead.

A visit to the sites homepage will welcome users with the following message:

We are streamlining our bookmark services. As part of this effort Yahoo! will be shutting down MyWeb on March 18, 2009 and moving users to Yahoo! Bookmarks. Your MyWeb bookmarks are already available to you on Yahoo! Bookmarks. You can begin using this new service now or continue using MyWeb until the shutdown date.


Second Google phone unveiled

HTC Magic
The HTC Magic does not feature a keyboard and uses a touchscreen

A new phone based on Google's operating system Android has been unveiled by Vodafone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The touchscreen HTC Magic will feature a 3.2 Megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, and GPS, but no slide-out keyboard.

The first "Google phone", called the G1, was launched in September by HTC and is exclusive to T-mobile. The Magic will feature new Android firmware, known as "Cupcake", with changes based on G1 user suggestions. more 

with changes based on G1 user suggestions.

Adobe Flash Coming To A Mobile Phone Near You

Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) announced Adobe Flash Lite 3.1 Distributable Player at Mobile World Congress, initially available for Nokia (NYSE: NOK)'s S60 platform and Windows Mobile. Although not in their official press release, it is reported that they will also support the Palm Pre. Notably absent is any mention of the iPhone.

Adobe's Flash technology is used for advertising, games and movies. Bringing that to mobile devices will bring the web experience on your phone one step closer to that of your desktop. Flash has been the format behind YouTube videos and a number of third party programs have been written to allow some phones to play those videos, but all other Flash content was unsupported.


Intel collaborates with LG on mobile Internet devices

After a successful run in the netbook market with its low-power Atom processor, Intel is embracing mobile internet devices (or MIDs) and has announced a partnership with LG Electronics to push a series of devices based on the upcoming Moorestown hardware platform alongside the Linux Moblin OS. In a joint statement released at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the companies said this cooperative effort "will deliver the best internet experience while dramatically reducing power."

LG Goes 3D with Windows Mobile

LG made a major commitment to producing Windows Phones on Monday, unveiling a new, 3D interface for its high-end phones at the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2009) show in Barcelona. The first phone coming from the alliance is the GM730, a touch-screen phone that will feature Windows Mobile 6.1 at launch and Windows Mobile 6.5 later this year. The GM730 runs LG's new 3D, "S-Class" user interface, which uses lots of big, tactile graphics to make complex phones more fun and easy to use.


Revised TOS Gives Facebook Perpetual Rights to User Content

This month Facebook revised its Terms of Use, a document it is legally permitted to update at any time without informing users. Users demonstrate tacit acceptance of the Terms by continuous use of the site. The revision grants Facebook complete, perpetual ownership of content uploaded or added to Facebook — including the rights to sublicense said content. 

A Facebook group, People Against the new Terms of Service (TOS), has been launched in protest of the February 4 revision. As of this writing, members number close to 600.


Worries Grow That News Corp.'s Chernin Will Bolt

The contract for Rupert Murdoch's chief lieutenant, News Corp. President Peter Chernin, expires June 30, and the two executives have been locked in negotiations for months. They haven't struck a deal, and concern is mounting inside the company, and on Wall Street, that Chernin will not renew.

Some Fox executives worry that Chernin, who has been key to the company's smooth operations, might leave News Corp. at a difficult time. For his part, Chernin has been tight-lipped about his plans. Some analysts are alarmed by the domino effect in management his departure could trigger. "We fear the longer time goes by, the less likely Chernin is to renew his contract," says Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield. "His departure would raise significant investor concern and could lead to other management changes at News Corp."

During a recent conference call with analysts to discuss earnings, Chernin played a less prominent role than he had in the past. Murdoch dominated the call, fielding questions about the entertainment properties that have long been Chernin's specialty. Chernin has been known to take negotiations down to the wire. His last contract renewal, in July 2004, was announced three days before the agreement took effect.

Google Lets Select Users Hide Unwanted Search Ads

Google is testing a feature that enables users to hide unwanted ads in search results.

The service - an X icon in the upper right-hand corner of sponsored search results, indicating they can be hidden - is part of Google SearchWiki, which lets users customize search results: boosting organic listings most relevant to their query, for example, and burying or removing those they deem less fit, writes MarketingVOX.

When users click on the X above a series of ads, the ads will be hidden for that search and for the same search conducted in the future. The feedback will likely be incorporated into AdWords marketers' overall ad quality score.


Google Exits Radio Ad Business, Recommits to TV

Google is shutting down its offline radio advertising program, Audio Ads and Adsense for Audio products. It is also making plans to sell Google Radio Automation.

About 40 employees working in Google's broadcast radio advertising sector can expect to lose their jobs. Advertisers will be able to use Google Audio Ads until May 31.

The move comes less than a month after Google's decision to shut down its print ad business, an effort which allowed advertisers to buy ads across hundreds of U.S. newspapers. The initiative was not as successful as the company had hoped, Google said at the time. 


As The Economy Sours, LinkedIn’s Popularity Grows

As layoffs continued to pound the economy in January, one beneficiary was job networking site LinkedIn. According to the latest January data from comScore, the LinkedIn's U.S. unique visitors shot up 22 percent to 7.7 million, up from 6.3 million in December. Total minutes spent on the site doubled in January to 96.8 million, from 47.6 million in December.


Microsoft Slammed With Suit Over Vista-To-XP Downgrade Fees

A Los Angeles woman has slammed a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, over claims that the software maker is allegedly violating anti-competitive behavior over a $59.25 charge for downgrading her Windows Vista PC to XP.

Google Adds Editing Features To Mobile Spreadsheets

Ever since Google introduced spreadsheets for mobile phone, the company has been constantly attempting to improve its functionality, and up until now users were only able to read the spreadsheets, but last week Google announced an improvement to the mobile version of Google Docs, which now includes the ability to view, edit, sort, and filter spreadsheets while they are on the go.

Microsoft, Nokia offer app stores

The success of Apple's AppStore for iPhone and iPod Touch has prompted two major rivals to follow suit. Handset giant Nokia and Microsoft have announced their own versions of the online markets for mobile device application software, or apps. From May, Nokia's Ovi Store will offer apps as well as multimedia content specific to a user's location. Microsoft's new "Windows Phones" will feature Windows Marketplace, launching in the last quarter of 2009. 


Google Signs Off Radio Ad Business, Hacks Up To 40 Jobs

Search engine titan Google Inc., on Thursday announced plans to ditch its three-year-old affair with radio-advertising business and hacks as many as 40 jobs, saying the investment did not reaped enough of a payoff.

 The announcement illustrates Google's failure to maneuver its dominance in Internet-search ads into offline media, as the company abandons the two-year-old program intended to put the California firm's online expertise to work auctioning off space on newspaper pages to bargain-seeking advertisers.


Microsoft bounty for worm creator

The software giant is offering $250,000 to help capture the person behind a nasty computer worm known as Conficker. Since it started circulating in October 2008 the Conficker worm has managed to infect millions of computers worldwide.The software giant is offering the cash reward because it views the Conficker worm as a criminal attack. 

Google Japan Apologizes For Awkward PR Campaign, Gets Punished With PageRank Reduction

After an embarrassing pay-per-post campaign Google launched in Japan with the aim of boosting awareness of a new keyword hitlist box on the Google Japan top page, it now turns out the move, which was first brought to light by Japanese super bloggers Masato Kogure and Akky Akimoto, triggered a number of repercussions.

The aftermath in a nutshell: The campaign is now stopped, Google is embarrassed, apologizes and penalizes the Japanese site with a PageRank reduction.


MySpace Quietly Launches Site-Wide Image Search

MySpace has introduced a new image search feature to its integrated search engine, allowing users to quickly search through photos shared by their friends and the MySpace community. While MySpace did not officially announce the new feature, the company has confirmed that it recently went live, and indexes around 3 billion of the site's 7 billion photos. The addition reflects MySpace's apparently increasing focus on its search engine, which also includes the site's video and music content along with a Google-powered web search.

The iPhone Becomes a Web Server

When those Apple advertisements tout "there's an app for just about anything," they aren't kidding. The latest example?
A new iPhone application which just debuted in Japan's App Store transforms the handheld into a full-blown web server. Called "ServersMan@iPhone", the application allows your iPhone to appear just like any other web server on the internet.

GOOGLE wants to monitor your electric usage

Google will announce its entry Tuesday into the small but growing business of "smart grid," digital technologies that seek to both keep the electrical system on an even keel and reduce electrical energy consumption.

Google is one of a number of companies devising ways to control the demand for electric power as an alternative to building more power plants. The company has developed a free Web service called PowerMeter that consumers can use to track energy use in their house or business as it is consumed.


Fake Dalai Lama exiled from Twitter

Microblogging service Twitter has suspended an account that claimed to be run by the Dalai Lama, according to an Agence France-Presse story.

The account purporting to belong to the Tibetan spiritual leader was only a few days old, but had already attracted tens of thousands of followers. To date, it's probably the most high-profile case of a bogus Twitter account actually getting the boot from the service.


Apple Asked Google to Stay Away from Multi-Touch

When Google launched the T-Mobile G1 smartphone, one of the major complaints was that its touch screen didn't use multi-touch, the technology deployed by Apple's iPhone that allows for a screen to accept multiple points of contact at the same time. VentureBeat's MG Siegler explains why, revealing that Apple actually asked Google not to implement it, and Google complied, according to a source from Google's Android team.

The source went on to say that Google was relieved to have made that decision, especially since Apple, which holds several mobile patents, is considering legal action against Palm for using multi-touch technology on its new Pre phone.

For the time being, at least, Google looks to want no part in ruining its relationship with Apple, Siegler says, which makes sense when you consider the many ways in which Google and Apple are aligned. "Not only does Google specially tailor a ton of its products for the iPhone (both with apps like Maps and Google Search, and specially formatted webpages), but its chief executive, Eric Schmidt, is on Apple's board of directors," Siegler says. "And don't underestimate the fact that both share a chief rival: Microsoft." The larger question for Google is: will multi-touch become important enough that Google has to include it in future phones running Android? We shall see. -

Twitter To Start Charging Companies For Having An Account?

Companies using Twitter for commercial purposes may soon start getting charged for that activity, according to an interview British trade magazine Marketing (part of BrandRepublic) held with co-founder Biz Stone.


TicketMaster and Live Nation Agree to $2.5 Billion Merger

The companies will be combined in a tax-free, all-stock merger of equals with a combined enterprise value of approximately $2.5 billion. Under the agreement, Ticketmaster shareholders will receive 1.384 shares of Live Nation common stock for each share of Ticketmaster they own, subject to certain adjustments defined within the agreement. Live Nation and Ticketmaster shareholders will each own approximately 50 percent of the combined company. The new company anticipates generating approximately $40 million of operating synergies through the combination of their ticketing, marketing, data centers and back-office functions.

Facebook Paid $65 Million to Settle ConnectU Lawsuit

Facebook paid $65 million to settle a lawsuit from the founders of ConnectU, a rival social network that claimed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stole the idea from them while they were all at Harvard, a legal blog called the The Recorder reports. The blog cites an announcement from the law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges -- which represented ConnectU -- that states, "Won $65 million settlement against Facebook."

Amazon vs. EBay: Who's the Online Sales King?


Rival to Amazon Kindle Finds Partners

Plastic Logic, maker of an electronic book reader, plans to announce partnership deals on Monday that it says will bring a number of major publications to its planned device. The company plans to make a device with a 10.7-inch diagonal electronic display, larger than the screens on an Amazon Kindle or Sony Reader, two of the more popular models currently on the market. Plastic Logic says the device will be available early next year. It uses the same technology to display print as its main competitors. More 

Online Ad Spend Had A Strong Year In Australia

While even online advertising succumbed to the recession last year, things had been looking up down under. The Interactive Advertising Bureau-Australia says that web ad dollars rose 27 percent to $1.7 billion (Australian dollars) during '08 ($1.1 billion USD). The report (PDF), prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, doesn't note that Australia's online ad business got a fairly late start compared to the U.S. and Europe. Plus, it only judges ad sales across 1,000 sites in Australia. Nevertheless, IAB Australia did notice internet ad revenues slowing in Q4, as spending totaled $462 million, an increase of $83.25 million (or 22 percent) over the previous year and a 2.4 percent rise from Q308. For this year, Paul Fisher, CEO of IAB Australia, is expecting web ad revs to top $2 billion this year for a respectable 17.6 percent gain, if much slower than the 27 percent growth in '08.

Google Next Victim Of Creative Destruction? (GOOG)

The web has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to evolve and leave embedded franchises struggling or in the dirt.    Prodigy, AOL were early candidates.   Today Yahoo and Ebay are struggling, and I think Google is tipping down the same path.    This cycle of creative destruction — more recently framed as the innovators dilemma — is both fascinating and hugely dislocating for businesses.    To see this immense franchises melt before your very eyes — is hard to say the least.

MySpace Begins Monetizing Music Videos With Impressive Results

In an effort to monetize the growing number of music videos on its site, MySpace has just launched a new pilot advertising initiative that places attractive overlays at the bottom of some clips, allowing users to buy the song they're listening to or immediately jump to the artist's homepage.

Murdoch Exhorts to Charge for Content

Media emperor Rupert Murdoch is advocating charging an online subscription fee for The New York Times, much like the model currently in use by his own paper, the Wall Street Journal.

Online, the Wall Street Journal implements a hybrid subscription/free content strategy. Subscribers pay $80 per year for access to all material. And all content, walled-back or not, is indexed by Google.

Subscribers total about one million — about half the traffic The New York Times has, observed Silicon Alley Insider, which estimated that despite its size, the latter only generated between $150 and $175 million in online ad revenue last year.

More Releases Winter Vacation Survey Data

Travel search site has released data about the intentions of Americans for winter vacations. In a tough economy, you might think that winter vacations are on the chopping block, but 76% of consumers still plan to get away this winter.

The news isn't all good as 50% said the credit crunch will have them taking fewer trips this winter. Of course, price will be an important factor. 77% said price and value will be the biggest factors in determining their winter trips.


Amazon Unveils Kindle 2 founder Jeff Bezos displayed the Kindle 2 at a recent New York press conference. The device has a 6-inch, 600 x 800 pixel display that provides 16 shades of gray, an upgrade from its predecessor that only displayed four. The company claims that pages refresh 20 percent faster in the new version of the device, and the Kindle 2 is available for preorder and costs about $360.

Video | NYT 

Kindle books on laptops, iPhone coming soon along with international versions 

Why Pay When Dating's Free Sites Beckon?

Debbie Slowey used to look for love on paid online dating site Then she discovered, which provides similar services at no charge. "It was free, and there were more [people] to choose from," says Slowey, a 49-year-old Florida resident who got engaged to a chiropractor she met on PlentyofFish last summer. "If it's free, why would I go to Match?" Singles around the country are asking the same question, creating a quandary for a whole slew of paid personals sites besides IAC Interactive's (IACI) Among the most prominent are, Yahoo! Personals (YHOO), and And while free sites have been around for several years, they're finally amassing large enough followings to give the paid sites a headache. At times during the second half of 2008, PlentyofFish was the most-trafficked dating Web site in the U.S., according to Hitwise.

more on Business Week

Microsoft to launch cell phone software store

Microsoft Corp is planning to offer new programs and services for mobile phones, including an "online bazaar" for software, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. The online bazaar would be for phones running Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.


Could Google Get MySpaced Like Friendster?

Any way you look at it, Google is a powerhouse. It's the world's best search engine -- simple, fast and relevant. In YouTube it also owns the site that originates the second-most search queries. Its market share increased again in 2008, and it has so badly outflanked its largest competitor that Yahoo's highest hope for securing its future revenue was to have Google sell its ad space. Google is a company that is built to last, branching and pruning its business with a never-ending series of beta tests that allow it to grow and constantly evolve.

What could go wrong? The answer is: a lot. And it could go wrong very quickly. Look to history for the evidence.

Read more

Amazon's Amazing Fourth Quarter

The online retailer crushed the Street's expectations by snaring customers and snapping up market share as traditional merchants foundered. Being bullish on proved to be a smart bet in the fourth quarter. Even as traditional retailers founder amid the worst economic malaise since the Depression, the pioneering e-tailer under CEO Jeff Bezos is using competitive pricing and an ever-expanding arsenal of services and products to produce better-than-expected results.

Read more

Murdoch internet revenues stalling

RUPERT Murdoch has delivered a sobering assessment of the internet as a growth engine, revealing search and advertising revenues at News Corp's Fox Interactive Media division, which houses the popular MySpace networking site, have stalled.

The new-media unit, which has invested heavily in expanding the MySpace site, contributed just $US7 million ($10.4 million) to News Corp's $US818 million second-quarter operating income.

There was a "slight downturn" in revenue at the social networking site, Mr Murdoch said. That compares to $US179 million News Corp made from newspapers including The Wall Street Journal and information services such as the Dow Jones news wire.

Read more

Job cuts ground Flight Simulator

The future of Microsoft's long running Flight Simulator series has been cast into doubt, after the software maker US laid-off the entire development team. Microsoft says it is "committed" to the series, despite shutting the Aces studio when it cut 5000 jobs. But third party developers say Microsoft needs to outline its plans for the game in more detail. Read more

Photos of the new Kindle?

Photos of the new and improved Kindle are starting to circulate through the blogosphere, with Engadget noting that the electronic book reader appears to be much thinner than the previous version and has built-in stereo speakers. is expected to unveil the new device -- rumored to be selling for $359 -- at 7 a.m. Monday. The news spread after the MobileRead forum posted the photos.

Confirmed: TotalMusic Is Dead

TotalMusic, an experimental music initiative created by Sony BMG and Universal Music Group designed to rethink the way music was streamed on the web. After a round of layoffs and the shutdown of Ruckus, a streaming music service acquired by TotalMusic last year, the company looked like it was in bad shape. In what will likely be the most official statement we'll get, Jason Herskowitz, the company's VP of Product Management, has confirmed in a blog post that the music labels have indeed pulled the plug on TotalMusic

WPP Invests Into Omniture

WPP and Omniture Inc., today announced a strategic partnership that will provide clients with more-effective insights globally across both digital and traditional media channels. As part of this partnership, WPP is making a long-term $25 million investment in Omniture common stock.

The two companies will collaborate on technology development, on sharing data and information and in consulting services. The collaboration will focus on providing chief marketing officers and other marketing executives at clients, with greater consumer insights, supported by new technology. This will allow marketers to increase their revenue and profit returns from online marketing and to manage and optimize their overall marketing expenditures.

His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama Joins Twitter

His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama Joins Twitter
It appears the Dalai Lama is following in the footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI and moving into the world of social networking. Today he joined microblogging service Twitter. Going under the obscure Twitter name @OHHDL, The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama sent out a welcome tweet earlier today introducing the official Twitter page of the Dalai Lama.

Gmail gets multiple inboxes

Gmail gets multiple inboxes
Gmail now allows users to have multiple "inboxes" open. Given Google continually confuses language between tags and folders, inbox is an interesting word, because it's not so much a separate account, but the ability to have multiple tag pages, and folders such as sent and starred open at the same time.

Google blog
Washington post

Samsung Unveils Its Mobile Applications Store

Samsung has recently launched its mobile application store for all its
smartphones running under Windows Mobile for Symbian S60. The app store
is initially available for the UK market and comprises a number of
about 1,100 apps in the catalog. The company also prepares the store to
become available for more markets in the near future, while the number
of applications is expected to increase with time.

Google allows web publishers to embed Google News headlines

Google has launched NewsShow Wizard,a
Google News–based online tool that allows website publishers to embed a
NewsShow on their web page and let their users see headlines and
previews of Google News Search results that they have selected. The
tool also allows publishers to customize how the news bar should be

MSN Celeb Site Wonderwall Flips The On Switch

Microsoft's MSN is following AOL's TMZ and Yahoo's OMG with a
10-letter word:
Wonderwall,the joint production of MSN and
BermanBraun Interactive going live today. Wonderwall exemplifies
the latest rage in portal strategy—a site that can stand alone
with its own brand while feeding from and feeding
into the portal.


Amazon Steps into Casual Gaming is already a force in the sales of gaming, but a new portal for casual games is yet another step into the lucrative gaming industry. With hints about a larger digital distribution platform, and 500 games available at launch with free demos, the new casual offering could make quite a splash... and make some competitors nervous.

Bill Gates' mosquito stunt

Microsoft chairman set the tech world, ahem, abuzz by opening a jar of mosquitos at the TED conference today -- reportedly telling the crowd that not only poor people should experience the problem.

Unilever Uses Faux-Flash Technology for Ads on iPhone

Axe Experiments With a 'Work-around' to Run Mobile Game Units. For all the cool things the iPhone can do, running Flash -- a platform that displays interactive graphics and animations -- isn't one of them. But Greystripe isn't waiting around for Apple and Adobe, Flash's maker, to work things out. The mobile in-game ad network in November developed a work-around program that replicates the PC Flash experience on the iPhone. And data from the first full-scale campaign using the 3-month-old ad format -- a push for Unlilever's Axe brand -- show that a rich, multimedia user experience can make an impression. Male grooming brand Axe wanted to be hip and speak to its audience of men 18 to 24 through unconventional channels. It was committed to adapting its existing and successful online web asset, "Dirty Night Determinator," a Flash-based gaming unit, to run on the iPhone. In December, it became the first advertiser to run a full-scale, Flash-simulating iPhone campaign, bringing its online ad to users of the Apple handset.