Daily Roundup for 2008-03-25

  • Regions of the West Coast and Midwest moved ahead of Washington as top destinations for venture capital in recent years, as the local venture economy grew more slowly than the national average, a Washington Post analysis shows. In 2001, the year the technology bubble popped, Washington ranked sixth among top destinations for venture capital, after Silicon Valley, New England, the New York metro area, Texas and the Southeast. Last year, it was ranked 10th, overtaken by the Northwest, San Diego, the Midwest and Los Angeles/Orange County.
  • Scroll the list of the 10 most popular Web sites in the U.S., and you’ll encounter the Internet’s richest corporate players — names like Yahoo, Amazon.com, News Corp., Microsoft and Google. Except for No. 7: Wikipedia. And there lies a delicate situation. With 2 million articles in English alone, the Internet encyclopedia ”anyone can edit” stormed the Web’s top ranks through the work of unpaid volunteers and the assistance of donors. But that gives Wikipedia far less financial clout than its Web peers, and doing almost anything to improve that situation invites scrutiny from the same community that proudly generates the content.

  • Board communication has been the topic of a handful of conversations over the past few weeks as several of the companies I work with have grappled with both the right level of communication as well as the correct forum for certain board level discussions and decisions. Although there are a handful venues in which boards communicate, fundamentally they fall into one of two categories: conversations between a subset of the board (often just the CEO and an individual board member) and those that involve the full board.
  • The New York Times reported yesterday on a New York state bill that would make it a crime to use personal information for advertising without consumers’ consent—punishable by a fine. That sounds like a potentially serious blow to online advertisers. But it could be a blessing in disguise, according to David Hallerman, a senior analyst at eMarketer.
  • Google plans to roll out enhancements to its online spreadsheet program, including the ability to display data in new ways using lightweight "gadgets" and to notify users via e-mail when data is changed. The enhancements, expected to go live either late Tuesday or early Wednesday, will be extended later to the other Google Docs components: the word processor and presentation applications. The gadget feature will let third-party developers and Google create new features for the spreadsheet application in a componentized way, said Jonathan Rochelle, senior product manager for Google Docs.
  • A 21-year-old could face up to 10 years in prison in the U.S. after pleading guilty to installing advertising software on PCs located around Europe without permission. Robert Matthew Bentley, of Panama City, Fla., is scheduled for sentencing May 28 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. He could also face a fine of up to $250,000.
  • The Internet presents a real dilemma for parents with younger children. On the one hand, it’s filled with fun and wholesome sites for kids, and lots of educational material. On the other, it teems with inappropriate content and potentially dangerous means of communicating with strangers. There are tools for dealing with the problem, most commonly, filtering software that attempts to bar sexual, violent and other objectionable material. But these can frustrate kids and parents, by either blocking too many things or not blocking enough. This week marks the launch of a parental-control service with a somewhat different approach. It’s called KidZui, and it aims to offer kids a safe subset of the Internet where they can roam freely without triggering parental worry. KidZui, for children ages 3 to 12, hopes to emphasize the positive, rather than the negative.
  • UK online advertising is still going strong. The UK leads Europe in terms of total online advertising spending. The total rose by over 30% in 2007 and it will rise another 27% in 2008. Moreover, online advertising spending in the UK will continue to show double-digit annual growth through 2010, and will approach £5 billion ($8.7 billion) in 2012.
  • The US Internet population remains firmly skewed toward females. In 2008, 100.4 million females and 93.5 million males will go online at least once a month, according to eMarketer’s latest estimates. In 2012 females will outnumber males online by more than 8 million.

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