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
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
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
Another 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
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 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
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
The plot thickens in the emerging rivalry between CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS)-owned TV.com 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 TV.com. more
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.
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 MovieTickets.com and CBS Sports Mobile. AdMob's graphical banner ads and text link ads drove traffic to the Adidas Originals mobile Web site. more
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 Ask.com. 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 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, http://search.twitter.com. 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
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
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.
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.
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 Kerpoof.com will continue to operate as its technology is deployed on Disney's homepage. more
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
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?
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 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.
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, 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.
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."
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.
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.
The recently revamped TV.com 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.
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 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."
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.
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 (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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
The aftermath in a nutshell: The campaign is now stopped, Google is embarrassed, apologizes and penalizes the Japanese site with a PageRank reduction.
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 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.
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.
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. -
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.
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.
Travel search site Kayak.com 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.com 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.
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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.
The online retailer crushed the Street's expectations by snaring customers and snapping up market share as traditional merchants foundered. Being bullish on Amazon.com 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Sites I read, in no particular order
- Ad Week
- Adage Digital
- All Things Digital
- BBC Tech
- Brand Week
- iMedia Connection
- Information Week
- Internet News
- Marketing Vox
- Media Buyer Planner
- Media Post
- Media Week
- Mobile Marketer
- Moco News
- Paid Content
- Radio and Music
- Read Write Web
- Tech Crunch
- Telecom Paper
- Yahoo Tech Blogs