links for 2009-05-06

  • Last August, Hewlett-Packard Co. signed a letter of intent to pay $360 million cash for LeftHand Networks Inc., a venture-backed provider of storage systems. A few weeks later, Wall Street’s collapse sent the economy in a tailspin and threatened to knock the screws out of the deal.
    But after a two-week pause the two sides got back together and in November closed the acquisition on the same terms. Asked how LeftHand was able to command the same price despite the uncertainty created from the financial markets, an investor in the company said, “Maybe it’s because every Sunday I went to church and lit candles. Faith and religion are very important in the sale process.”
  • E-Commerce merchant and affiliate network Shopster announced the launch of a new online retailing solution in PowerMerchant.
    A popular online drop-shipping solution, Shopster previously focused on helping affiliates aggregate products from wholesalers and sell those products as they chose. At last count there were more than one million products from 130 suppliers. PowerMerchant widens the scope of potential customers for Shopster by enabling more traditional merchants to list and sell their own products – not just tap into databases of Shopster partners and suppliers.

  • Uf you’re an iPhone user longing for a better way to manage your AT&T (NYSE: T) account directly from your phone, this new application is for you.
    Today AT&T announced a new application for the iPhone that grants users the power to manage their account directly from their handset. Quite frankly, I am surprised it took AT&T so long to offer this.
    The application works in conjunction with AT&T’s online myWireless tool. AT&T myWireless Mobile enables a host of account-management features. With it, users can:
    (tags: iphone att)
  • A little over a decade ago, archaeologists experienced a collective nightmare–the emergence of eBay, the Internet auction site that, among other things, lets people sell looted artifacts. The black market for antiquities has existed for centuries, of course, with devastating consequences for the world’s cultural heritage. But we could at least take some comfort that it was largely confined to either high-end dealers on one end of the economic spectrum or rural flea markets on the other. The sheer physical constraints of transporting and selling illegal artifacts kept the market relatively small. But the rise of online auction sites promised to drastically alter the landscape. And so it did, just not in the dire way we had anticipated.
    Back in the pre-eBay days, the cost of acquiring and selling an antiquity was high.
    (tags: eBay Security)
  • One way for social networks to make money is by sharing information about users with advertisers and others who are interested in understanding consumer behavior and exploiting online trends.
    Social networks typically promise to remove “personally identifying information” before sharing this data, to protect users’ privacy. But researchers from the University of Texas at Austin have found that, combined with readily available data from other online sources, this anonymized data can still reveal sensitive information about users.
    In tests involving the photo-sharing site Flickr and the microblogging service Twitter, the Texas researchers were able to identify a third of the users with accounts on both sites simply by searching for recognizable patterns in anonymized network data. Both Twitter and Flickr display user information publicly, so the researchers anonymized much of the data in order to test their algorithms.
    (tags: social)

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