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.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-03-12

  • If you thought click fraud was bad, consider this: your Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing ads and Microsoft adCenter accounts are new targets for spyware applications, hackers and scam artists.  If thieves obtain access to your pay-per-click account, they are in complete control of your pay-per-click activity and could place ads on their behalf but charge your account for them.
  • Virtually anyone can edit an entry on Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia. But its founder is finding it’s not so easy to cover his tracks after a messy breakup with a TV personality and a dust-up over his expenses began playing out on the Web.  It’s not the first time that Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia’s de facto leader, has found his behavior questioned — especially since no subject appears too arcane for dissection by Wikipedia’s passionate community of users. The latest episodes, however, reverberated beyond the usual die-hards.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-03-02

  • The recently launched 7 Billion People is an intriguing application to e-commerce of the real-world psychology behind buying behaviors. As CEO Mark Nagaitis tells us, his new Web analytics system tries to discern in a site’s audience different "buying personalities" that marketers can talk with in very different ways.
  • A new study from the Pew Internet Project casts light on the love-hate relationship many Americans have with e-commerce. In response to the survey, 78 percent of U.S. Internet users said that online shopping is convenient, and 68 percent said it saves time. Yet, 75 percent said they don’t like giving out personal information like a credit card number over the Internet.  The security risks, real or perceived, are hampering the growth of the Internet economy, said John Horrigan, associate director of the Pew Internet Project and author of the report.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-02-29

  • The relationship between the venture capitalists of Sand Hill Road and the securities firms and power investors of Wall Street has long been a cozy one. VCs hoping for a return on their investments will need banks eventually, while Wall Street needs VCs to nurture the most promising startups until they’re ready to go public.  Or do they?  Lately, some of New York’s biggest players have been cherry-picking the best pre-IPO investments for themselves.
  • Although the tiny, family-run Joy’s Spa and Nail Salon in Adams Morgan may never get a critique in a newspaper, it’s received 42 reviews on Yelp.com.  Reggie Tull, the owner’s son and a massage therapist, said he noticed an increase in traffic with every new review posted on the recommendation site. He’s also surprised by the time writers invest in each posting.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-02-27

  • When Alden Kellogg discovered a glitch on Wesabe, he went to the personal finance tracker’s home page, looking for a tech support number or e-mail. Instead, he found a link labeled "Talk to Jason, CEO of Wesabe." The page invites users to reach CEO Jason Knight by phone during a four-hour period seven days a week. Kellogg, a 35-year-old attorney in New Orleans, called the number in July, and Knight picked up.
  • Amazon.com Inc. is testing a new paid advertising program that will drive shoppers away from products on its own Web site.  When shoppers click, the advertiser’s site opens in a new window.  And Amazon makes money for sending the user along _ sometimes more than if it had held onto the shopper.  Razor-thin retail margins have prompted Amazon to look beyond directly selling and shipping merchandise to customers.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-02-11

  • On the surface, Microsoft’s $44 billion offer to acquire Yahoo! seems to simplify the US search market share race. The combined firm would be second in online ad revenues to No.1 Google, and ahead of AOL. In 2007, Google rang up nearly $6 billion, while Yahoo! had about $3.4 billion and MSN had $1.4 billion net revenues.
  • McAfee, Inc. today announced that it is making the Internet safer for all users by completing the acquisition of privately held ScanAlert, Inc. ScanAlert is the creator of the HACKER SAFE web site security certification service, which protects over 50 million e-commerce transactions per month and proactively advises consumers about which sites are safe for shopping. The ScanAlert technology will be integrated into McAfee’s award-winning safe search and surf technology, SiteAdvisor(R), which just reached a significant milestone of its own: It has been downloaded more than 100 million times by consumers who request SiteAdvisor’s Web site ratings more than a billion times each day.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-02-06

It has been a big week of news related to Microsoft’s unsolicited bid for Yahoo!.  Today, I thought I would try to provide you with a link to series of articles and analysis on this big Internet development.

  • Most of the talk about Microsoft’s hostile offer for Yahoo has focused on whether the deal could tip the scales in the battle for Internet dominance. Today, I’d like to steer the conversation to something a little more basic that almost everyone has overlooked: the numbers.
  • On its own, Yahoo is a stumbling Internet giant. But to Microsoft and Google, two of the world’s most powerful technology companies, control of Yahoo has come to represent an unmatched strategic prize. Now the duel over Yahoo, initiated by Microsoft’s surprise $44.6 billion offer last week, has set off a policy and public-relations battle between the corporate rivals that revolves around a simple question: Which company, Google or Microsoft, most threatens to become an Internet monopoly?

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