Daily Roundup for 2008-03-19

  • A woman who claims the recording industry’s anti-music piracy campaign threatens and intimidates innocent people has filed a new complaint accusing record companies of racketeering, fraud and illegal spying.
  • One of the great things about the Internet is the way people post reviews on just about anything you are considering trying, whether it is a movie, a new restaurant or the local florist.  This also introduces one of the worst things about the Internet: trying to figure out which reviews to trust. Was that effusive praise written surreptitiously by the merchant? Was that anonymous online slam posted by a devious competitor?  The dilemma might be unavoidable in this age of abundant user-generated content, when we have to be smarter about separating signals from noise. But a startup called RatePoint Inc. begs to differ. It wants to play referee, giving consumers more clarity into a business’ reputation and protecting the business from unwarranted blights on its credibility.

  • Environmental interests have typically been viewed as antithetical to those of business and industry. Jonathan Silver, a managing partner at Core Capital Partners, agrees, pointing out that though developing a green energy alternative can be expensive, actually building new factories and power plants requires yet more capital. It can also take far longer to experience any returns made on these investments.
  • Under new CEO John Donahoe, eBay is moving to take its affiliate marketing in-house, a tipster tells us. The auction giant could dump ValueClick’s Commission Junction, which currently pays website publishers to direct bidders to eBay’s stores, for its own eBay Partner Network. The eBay website is already active, with what appears to be a login for beta testers.
  • Jacked is a service aimed at multitasking sports fans for whom merely watching the big game on oldteevee is not enough. It’s a little different than most of the online video sites we cover in that, well, it doesn’t do video. Instead, the company is looking to enhance the television-watching experience by delivering a stream of real-time data to your computer, such as up-to-the-minute stats, visualizations of plays and info on your favorite players.  Jacked was founded in June 2007, and has raised $6.5 million in venture funding from Provenance Ventures, Core Capital Partners and Gabriel Venture Partners.
  • The creator of the web has said consumers need to be protected against systems which can track their activity on the internet.  Sir Tim Berners-Lee told BBC News he would change his internet provider if it introduced such a system.  Plans by leading internet providers to use Phorm, a company which tracks web activity to create personalised adverts, have sparked controversy.  Sir Tim said he did not want his ISP to track which websites he visited.
  • One of the great things about the Internet is the way people post reviews on just about anything you’re considering trying, whether it’s a movie, a new restaurant or the local florist.  This also introduces one of the worst things about the Internet: trying to figure out which reviews to trust. Was that effusive praise written surreptitiously by the merchant? Was that anonymous online slam posted by a devious competitor?  The dilemma might be unavoidable in this age of abundant user-generated content, when we have to be smarter about separating signals from noise. But a startup called RatePoint Inc. begs to differ.
  • The Washington Post Company announced today that it will sponsor a global competition for digital startups from LaunchBox Digital, a Washington, DC-based investment firm focused on cutting edge mobile and Web technologies. Called “LaunchBox08,” the competition encourages applicants to submit innovative ideas in order to receive seed funding and participate in a 12-week business building program with access to first-rate mentors and advisors.
  • Just as soon as AOL veteran Lynda M. Clarizio was promoted last week to lead Platform A, the company’s ambitious online advertising network, firecrackers started to go off around her.

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