Author Archive for: ‘WebProNews Staff’

What’s Sotomayor’s Stance On Intellectual Property?

As Big Content continues its assault on network neutrality, privacy, personal and digital freedom, and stacks government with industry friendly insiders, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor should be heavily scrutinized regarding her stance on intellectual property and copyright issues.

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Execs Mulling Subscription Model For Hulu

Jonathan Miller, the new chief digital officer for News Corp., wants to see Hulu become a pay site. In fact, Miller thinks Web companies are going to have to find a way to charge for what they used to give away for free.

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Google PageRank: Sullivan & Cutts discuss nofollow

PageRank sculpting is a pretty advanced SEO tactic, and it has been widely used by SEO pros since Google’s Matt Cutts described its use on YouTube, giving the strategy the official green light. At SMX Advanced in Seattle, the same harbinger of Google insider information offered a stunning revelation: Google changed the way it handled link structures intended for sculpting.

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Cutts Explains How Blogs Can Rank Higher In Google

If you want your blog to do better in Google’s search results, Matt Cutts recommends WordPress. According to a presentation Google’s Webspam captain gave at WordCamp San Francisco, Word Press takes care of about 80-90 percent of SEO mechanics.

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Blackhatters Hit Google, Twitter

PandaLabs has identified thousands of links designed to target searchers looking for information on recently popular targets. With the goal of infecting unsuspecting victims with scareware, Twitter recently has also been bombarded with trending spam.

Blackhat SEOs targeting Google search results came to light this spring to redirect trusting users to scareware sites—sites falsely warning targets of viruses on their machine, offering fake system scans, promoting expensive fake anti-virus programs, and installing Trojans.

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Twitter Used For Mass Psychic Experiment

If you’ve ever listened to late night AM radio standard “Coast To Coast AM,” you’ve likely heard Art Bell or George Norry talk about remote viewing—the practice of viewing geographic locations telepathically, once experimented with by the CIA and the KBG. Well, how about some remote tweeting?

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Tools And Tactics For Professional Tweeting

Though a large percentage of created Twitter lay dormant—one study found 10 percent do 90 percent of the tweeting—that isn’t stopping aggressive and forward thinking marketers from squeezing every last drop of utility out of it. A pair of the top social media and search marketers in the country think the last thing a marketer should do is take Twitter lying down.

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Men Most Followed on Twitter

Bill Heil and Mikolaj Piskorski, grad student and professor at Harvard Business School, examined a random sample of 300,000 Twitter users and discovered an interesting phenomenon. Though women outnumber men on the microblogging site, men have more followers and are twice as likely to follow a man than a woman.

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Facebook Won’t Give You Bad Grades

In April, Ohio State University rode the publicity wave provided by news outlets everywhere reporting the school’s finding that Facebook users had lower grades than non-Facebook users. A new study contradicts the first and the authors declare the opposite correlation while ripping on the first author’s methods. An academic catfight ensued, and those are guaranteed as interesting as a solid …

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Errant Google Snippet Draws Lawsuit For Webmaster

Sometimes all it takes is precedent to fuel similar actions, so webmasters should be aware a Dutch court found a website operator liable for how a snippet appeared in Google’s search results, even if the appearance was the result of an algorithmic quirk.

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What’s Digital Terrorism?

“Digital terrorism” isn’t a phrase one hears often. There might be good reason for that: it’s not abundantly clear what digital terrorism entails. Is it hacking into air traffic control to give dangerous instructions to pilots? Is it using YouTube to promote a violent, hateful cause? Is it setting up a Facebook group to give members a chance to voice a yea in favor of something offensive? Is it trolling comment areas and flaming an author?

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Four People Who Don’t Get “The Internet”

It’s interesting how “the Internet” has come to be a singularly collective, authoritative entity. On a radio morning show today, a woman called in and said, regarding concrete foundations, “the Internet said you needed footers.”

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Internet Gets American Idol Wrong

Every year one can take a quick a look at Internet activity and predict who’s going to win American Idol. It totally worked last year, with David vs. David, and years before that. This year, though the Internet bet wrong.

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Twitters Set Up ‘Twitition’ To Save Earl

If you’re a fan of the TV show “My Name Is Earl” and you haven’t yet heard the news, wipe your Cheetos fingers so you don’t get orange stripes on your face after I tell you this: NBC just cancelled it.

Yes, I know we still don’t know who Earl Jr.’s real daddy is, but there’s still hope. A Twitition (Twitter petition) is already under way.

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How Bad Times Are Good Times For Small Business

Bankruptcies are the highest they’ve been since 2001, a million people have lost their jobs, and small businesses got the stimulus package shaft. And that’s the good news.

It’s all good news, says Mark Deo, executive director of The Small Business Advisory Network and author of The Rules of Attraction: Fourteen Practical Rules to Help Get the Right Clients, Talent and Resources to Come to You!

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Gov’t Still Doesn’t Know How To Deal With Internet Sex

The way state attorneys general have been dealing with sex in the digital age lately shows government officials have no idea how to deal with sex in the digital age. Two cases in point: craigslist erotic services listings and teen sexting.

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No “End” In Sight For Web Campaigners

Other than involving their respective Web campaigns, these two tidbits are only semantically related—you can file them both under odds and ends. While artist stages the inaugural “Intellectual Property Asshole Competition,” fans of unfortunately named and since changed Butt Hole Road have waged an Internet campaign to change the name back to the rude original.

AP versus Shepard Fairy

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Sony CEO Says He Does So Get The Internet

Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton fired back at critics roused by his statement that nothing good has come from the Internet with a lengthy column published on the Huffington Post.

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MSN Launches Celebrifeed

Tired of the pervasive coverage of celebrity minutia? Too bad, because Microsoft just made it much, much easier to follow celebrities’ every move online. The software company’s Wonderwall has introduced the “Celebrifeed.”

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Kutcher Threatens To Delete Twitter Account

Smell that? That’s the aroma of publicity stunt. It may or may not be wafting from the matrimonial abode of Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, or from executive producer offices of an ill-described reality show.

When generating buzz, sometimes people’s own imaginations are more effective than your own, and a little bit of vagueness can go along way. Here’s the sentence that has Ashton Kutcher threatening to stop tweeting (gasp! quelle horreur!):

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Online Classifieds Usage Doubles In Four Years

Almost half (49%) of all Internet users have visited an online classified site like craigslist, a percentage that’s more than doubled over the past four years. In 2005, that number was just 22 percent, according to Pew Internet.

On any given day, about a tenth of Internet users, (9%) visit online classifieds, up from four percent in 2005.

Pew’s findings are based on an April 2009 telephone survey of 2,253 adults. Pew says the margin of error sits at about plus or minus 2.4 percent.

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Corporate Spam Levels Hit 90% In May

Spammers operate on a US work schedule, according to MessageLabs’ May spam report (PDF), either because the most active spammers—the workaholic-type spammers—are more likely to be operating in the US. But affluence among American workers, and their affinities for social networking and webmail also make them attractive targets.

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Soviet Business Prodigy Drops $200 Million On Facebook

Facebook announced today the company will accept a $200 million investment from Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies. A couple hundred million nets Digital Sky just under two percent equity in Facebook at a $10 billion valuation.

Other companies with similar offers in recent weeks were rejected by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, primarily because Zuckerberg did not wish to lose control of the board of directors. Zuckerberg currently holds one seat and one empty one to secure control of the company.

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Following The Purchase Path To Lower Acquisition Costs

The phrase “attribution model” may be a bit too industry-jargonish, and for those of us who remember parcels of information left over from late-night Psych-class cramming, “attribution” means something else entirely.

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Kids/Teens Drawn to Virtual Worlds, Not Marketers

What do you get when you cross a video-game with social networking? Virtual worlds – and they’re no joke, particularly with younger generations who are immersing themselves in increasing numbers.

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TV Still Video King, YouTube Still Hulu’s Daddy

According to Nielsen, almost 99 percent of the video watched in the US is on a television. That leaves 1.1 percent for the Internet, and 0.1 percent on mobile devices.

In fact, though video viewing online and on mobile is increasing dramatically, neither medium is taking away from TV. Americans are actually watching more TV than ever and just adding online viewing to their schedules.

That’s bad news for gyms, eh?

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EFF Posts Gripe Site Legal Guide

Because copyright and trademark lawyers have had such itchy trigger fingers when it comes to issuing DMCA takedown notices, there’s a lot of confusion out there what exactly constitutes infringement, and what webmasters can and can’t do with intellectual property.

Part of the problem is that websites hosting other people’s content—YouTube, Blogger, eBay, etc.—remove the content at the slightest whiff of a DMCA notice to avoid trouble. This leads, of course, to abuse and to targets without any great recourse.

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EBay Pressures Senate To Outlaw Minimum Pricing

eBay, Burlington Coat Factory, and the US Federal Trade Commission are pressuring the US Senate to pass a law banning vertical price-fixing, effectively overturning a 2007 Supreme Court decision.

Manufacturers and retailers actually call it vertical “retail price management” (RPM). The practice entails setting a minimum price retailers can sell specific items for. Remember last Christmas, when you spent hours online comparative shopping only to find out everybody who carried it was selling it for exactly the same price?

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The Long Arm Of Internet Law

The new digital society brings up lots of questions and existing law doesn’t always answer them. In cases where it does, the answer doesn’t often make sense. It’s as though, if law wasn’t complicated enough, governments are going to have rewrite their legal code from the ground up.

So as that painful process continues—my guess is for at least the next 40-50 years—the law and the Internet are clashing with increasing frequency. To follow are just six (out of dozens) of recent examples.

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British Rail Operator Tweets Delays

In what appears to be a first for a British rail transport operator, Twitter is being used to disseminate information to travelers concerning delays and changes to train operations.

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No Rest For The Twitterati

Somebody you follow on Twitter incessantly telling you how great they are? Somebody else you want to prove tweeted something but the offending tweet has been deleted? If you’re the vindictive type, we’ve got two Twitter-based sites for you.

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Mozilla Launches Jetpack API

The developers at Mozilla Labs have introduced their new Application Programming Interface known as "Jetpack." Jetpack enables ordinary users who know basic web development languages, such as HTML, Javascript, and/or CSS, to write and distribute their own custom made Firefox add-ons using these languages.

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Google Not Buying a Newspaper

For a while, the blogs were burning with the rumors that Google was going to buy a newspaper. Eric Schmidt has laid these suspicions to rest by announcing that Google will not pursue that option.

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AppRiver Offers Free Email Disaster Recovery Program

Cloud computing services company AppRiver has made available its Digital Disaster Recovery Program, a free email redirection service offered in the event of a natural disaster.

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Over Half of Britons Working From Bed

When one thinks of gadgets for use in the bedroom, one doesn’t think of a laptop. But then again, one may not be British.

According to a survey by Credant Technologies, a quarter of UK employees can’t keep their hands off their mobile devices for work purposes, even in bed. Of those who work until it’s time to sleep, 57 percent spend 2-6 hours a week at it despite their partners finding it “very annoying.” So much for eating crackers, eh?

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Social Media A Stumbling Block For IT Pros

A survey of 1,300 IT professionals worldwide conducted by Websense reveals a majority of IT managers are still unsure what constitutes Web 2.0, and are ill-equipped to combat security concerns associated with social media. 

About 95 percent of businesses allow access to social media in the workplace, and 86 percent of IT managers surveyed reported being pressured to expand social media accessibility—most often from marketing, sales, and C-level executives—despite security concerns.

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Mobile App Offers ‘Glympse’ Of Where You Are

A company called Glympse, Inc. launched a mobile phone app allowing users to share their location and provide a GPS-tracking map to a select group of people for a certain period of time.

For example, when Godot is running he late, he could send word and interactive Google Map application showing where he is, how fast he’s traveling, and what time he expects to arrive. Those waiting for Godot could know he’ll be there in about 10 minutes and they should just get started without him.

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Nielsen: The Rise and Rise of Power Moms

The power of mommy bloggers continues to gain momentum. At least that’s what recent research from Nielsen Online appears to show.

According to Nielsen, the number of “Power Moms” online is rising (pdf).   Identified as those women aged between 25 and 54 with at least one child and who regularly participate in online activities, this segment now accounts for almost 20% of the active online population.

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Harvard Prof To Argue P2P Is Fair Use

One of the biggest legal fights between the music industry and a file sharer is slated for this summer, and the outcome will determine more than just whether defense counsel is a genius or out of his flippin’ mind.

Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson made headlines by taking the case of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharer Joel Tenenbaum, in a fight for his financial life against habitual copyright law abuser the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA—now with five former attorneys heading up your Department of Justice).

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FTC Issues Restraining Order Against Yahoo, MSN

On behalf of the Federal Trade Commission, a federal court issued a restraining order against Yahoo, MSN, AllTheWeb, and Altavista to prevent the search engines from allowing mortgage finance scammers to use a government URL in sponsored search results, thus representing themselves as the operator of the site.
Mortgage Scammers

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Associated Blogosphere Seeds Begin To Sprout

I’ve been trying to coin phrases since I started this gig in 2005—fraugs (fraud blogs), googlings (Google nuts), spitter (Twitter spammer) etc.—and not a one has stuck except “hamsterbating,” which I didn’t actually create but was credited for in an online dictionary.

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Do We Need a New ‘Youth Payment Service’?

UPDATE: BillMyParents wanted to clarify the partnerships the company has forged: "The company did launch with partnerships with Artix Entertainment, Habbo, Outspark and RockYou! to integrate the BillMyParents payment system into their online games, virtual and social networks." 

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Twellow Makes Top 10 Business Tools List

Mega-thanks to BusinessPundit for naming Twellow one of 10 essential Twitter tools for business. We’re mighty proud of our creation and encourage our readers to give Twellow a go. You can find Twitter users in any city, doing any profession, talking about just about any topic. You can search profiles or categories, or even see who’s tweeting in your “twellowhood.” …

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South Carolina AG Threatens Criminal Charges Against Craigslist

Craigslist can’t win for losing, especially when it comes to grandstanding attorneys general who understand the value of a high profile crusade more than they do the law. The latest example comes out of South Carolina, where the attorney general has threatened criminal prosecution of craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster and founder Craig Newmark for displaying prostitution ads and “graphic pornographic material.”

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Internet Gives Boost to Vanity Publishing

For decades the cost of publishing on dead trees gave the publishing industry significant leverage over hopeful writers. But the Internet, specifically sites like Lulu and Scribd, are about to change all that.

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Harvard Professor Claims Google Conversions Inflated

Benjamin Edelman,  assistant professor at Harvard Business School, claims Google and partners are inflating PPC conversion rates and increasing advertiser cost via four specific channels, including Google’s own Chrome browser.

Google makes money by charging advertisers every time a user clicks on a Google advertisement, but in the instances described and documented by Edelman, he makes it appear Google and partners are colluding to intercept traffic to websites that would be navigated directly (and for free) rather than by searching.

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Stop Making It Hard For People To Give You Their Money

Sometimes one has to state the obvious: You’re in business to make money. You make money by convincing lots of people to give you some of their money. Success depends on making this process as painless as possible*.

But many online businesses may be making it too difficult for customers to hand over the cash, which is a bad business practice by any account.

Here’s what people (especially men) are used to:

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Paid Search Traffic Down 26% Last Month

Hitwise reports paid search traffic was down 26 percent across the board over the past month. Overall, in the four weeks preceding May 9th, paid search delivered 7.25 percent of business traffic, compared to 9.84 percent this time last year.

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Google To Allow Trademarks In Text Ads

Sometimes Google has some very interesting timing. Just as Texas litigants are filing for class action status over trademark keyword bidding, the search giant swings the door wide open and announces US advertisers will now be able to use trademark keywords in ad text.

For years Google was the only major search engine advertisers could bid on trademarked keywords to trigger their ads. Until today, though, advertisers were not allowed to actually use those trademarks in the ad text.

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Google Slows to a Crawl

Update: Google has addressed the issue on the Official Blog. The company says:

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150,000 Facebook Spoofs

At least 200,000 websites designed to spoof social networks like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter exist on the Web and are growing, according to research by Websense Security Labs. Most of them, about 150,000 target Facebook users.

With the aim of phishing for information, spreading viruses and malware, propagating spam, or avoiding email filters, the phony domains piggyback on the popularity of social networks and depend especially upon unsophisticated or unaware users to further cybercriminal agendas.

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Women Prefer Blogs/Facebook To Twitter

Women keep their personal lives and business lives very separate when it comes to social media, according to the 2009 Women in Social Media Study by BlogHer, iVillage, and Compass Partners. While women consider blogs great sources of information, especially regarding purchases, the vast majority of women use social networks solely for keeping in touch with family and friends.

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Half Respond To Display Ads By Searching

For the longest time, hardcore ROI-focused PPCers saw little to convince them of the benefits of traditional branding online. Rampant ad blindness among consumers and lack of data to support “awareness” arguments* led many to maintain trimmer, search-focused budgets with measurable results.

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Kanye Puts Caps On Blast Against Twitter

Rapper, singer, professional pout composer Kanye West has a new beef, this time with the fake Twitter accounts being set up in his name.

The musician popular for remaking The Fray songs set his keyboard on caps lock and blogged his displeasure, the uncensored rant as follows:

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Craigslist Folds On Erotic Services Debate

After a series of murders perpetrated by the now famed “craigslist killer” and significant pressure from state attorneys general and law enforcement across the country, Craigslist is shutting down its “erotic services” category.

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Google To Expand Trademark Bidding Worldwide

This June, Google will expand advertiser’s ability to bid on trademarked keywords worldwide in over 200 countries despite a class action lawsuit filed in Texas. The plan to do so illustrates Google’s confidence that trademark bidding is not a violation of trademark laws—apparently anywhere.

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Mobile Advertising Booming in Britain

Despite being a nascent industry in tough economic times, mobile advertising in the UK is growing at a faster rate than previously expected.

The IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers research demonstrates that mobile advertising has experienced an impressive and steady growth in the UK in an overall declining market. In 2008, as more brands trialed and embraced the medium, spending increased by a whopping 99.2% to $44 million. 

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Google Quietly Patches Huge Vulnerability

A security researcher known by the online handle of “Inferno” discovered a cross-site scripting ( XSS) vulnerability in mid-April affecting a range of Google services like Gmail, Google Documents, iGoogle, and Analytics.

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Stweet Takes Twitter Stalking To The Next Level

It’s not clear why anyone would want to do this but it’s interesting nonetheless. Stweet, aside from making those who speak its name sound like an infant, is a mashup of Google Maps and Twitter enabled by TwitterFon, an iPhone and iPod Touch application.

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Facebook Defends Holocaust Denial Groups

Facebook has faced a fair amount of heat over its tolerance of Holocaust denial groups on the social networking site, especially from billionaire Mark Cuban’s attorney brother, Brian Cuban.

Yesterday, in an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg*, Cuban reiterated his request that Facebook remove Holocaust denial groups. Cuban claimed allowing them to remain only helps them “spread their message of fear and hate.”

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URL shorteners sprang into sudden essentialness with the advent of microblogging, and especially with the advent of Twitter. Until yesterday, TinyURL was the shortener of choice, boosted by Twitter’s default shortener setting.

Twitter’s sudden switch to competing URL shortener not only was a surprise to many, but the move could spell an unforeseen and swift death for TinyURL. So what gives? What makes one URL shortener different from another?

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NBC Pounding YouTube Motherlovers

Saturday Night Live fans were treated to a special Mother’s Day collaboration from pop star Justin Timberlake and resident viral video maven Andy Samberg. But if fans wanted to share that video with others, YouTube was not on NBC’s approved sharing list.

General Electric lawyers must have been very busy Sunday with DMCA takedown notices flying at YouTube and YouTube users so fast they must have developed some sort of script just for that purpose. As of today, what used to be uploads of “Motherlover” are now notices of deletion.

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Over Half Of Online Retailers Decreasing Search Spend

The weak economy is driving online retailers to shift their marketing budgets and cut back on search marketing, according to a study by Forrester Research on behalf of

The study surveyed 117 online retailers in the throes of a relatively abysmal first quarter about how they planned to allocate their online marketing budget. While a third will be spending less over all, over half of them (56%) said they would be scaling back search marketing specifically, indicating a plan to reallocate funds toward other venues like email and social media.

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Marketing To Baby Boomers

Have you noticed how many retro ads you’re seeing lately? Going retro is no accident of course. Marketers are vying to grab a suddenly very important demographic: the Baby Boomer.

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Fun With Google Trademark Apps

It’s been long established that just because Google has registered a domain, it doesn’t mean the company has any plans other than keeping the domain out of non-company hands; is a good example. But what about trademark applications? That’s a bit more expensive and serious method of protecting certain names.

A quick search through trademark applications at the USPTO’s website brings back about 60 Google-related attempts at trademarking, many from Google and (surprisingly) many not from Google.

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Wikipedia Founder Slams Wikipedia Art

Some controversy stirred up earlier this week after the Electronic Frontier Foundation stepped in on behalf of the creators of, a site dedicated to a Wikipedia-related art project. The EFF was responding to demands by a lawyer for the Wikimedia Foundation, the parent company of Wikipedia, that the artists turn over control of the domain.

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Fair Use Battle Gets Weird, Kind of Stupid

These are rough times for the concept of fair use, especially when lawyers citing fair use as a defense don’t seem to quite understand it much more than those sending out cease and desist letters. The latest fair use kafuffle stems from the already ridiculous spat between Miss California, Carrie Prejean, and Perez Hilton.

Please don’t make me sum up what that was about; read about it at Wikipedia and come back.

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Men Want It Fast, Women Want It All

The following is based on research, not sexism or prejudice of any kind. Conclusions are by nature overly general, and there are many exceptions to the following “rules” of masculine and feminine behavior. Quite simply, there really are general and stark differences in the behaviors men and women, but this fact should never be used for discrimination or other types of abuse. Also, in the following, jokes and wisecracks abound. The author apologizes in advance if you don’t find him funny and reminds you they’re only jokes.

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Google Results Polluted By Cybercrooks

UPDATE: Since this post was first published, Google has said an algorithm change is pending to address the problem. Read more about that here.

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Cyberbullying Law Makes Being Mean Online A Felony

I always thought that of all the amendments to the US Constitution, the first one was both the most memorable and the easiest to understand: You can say what you like, outside of the famous “shouting fire” example, and the government can’t stop you. Easy. A toddler could get it.

(My mother taught civics/law and justice for 25 years, and I assure you that when your humble author was a toddler he understood the First Amendment.)

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Democrats Letting Net Neutrality Die

Here was what was supposed to happen: With telco-friendly Republican Congress members swept out of the way, Democrats would usher in legislation enshrining Network Neutrality principles and give the FCC the power to enforce them.

Here’s what happened (is happening) instead: The most powerful Net Neutrality supporters (Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton) are kicked upstairs while cable-and-Hollywood-friendly Democrats are killing Network Neutrality legislation in committees.

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Americans Turn To Google And Then Google For Swine Flu Info

When sufficiently scared from TV swine flu hype*, people turned to the Internet for information, specifically Google, according to Pew Internet and American Life.

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Bezos’ Funding Of Speech Studies Kindle Related?

Billionaires donate to lots of causes for lots of reasons. Sometimes the donations are business related and sometimes they’re not.

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A Walk in the BigPark: Microsoft’s Latest Acquisition

Microsoft executives are busy laying off thousands, hiring thousands, releasing Windows 7, and checking the blogs for the latest rumors from Apple. They are also busy acquiring companies—well, one company at least. On Thursday, Microsoft announced its acquisition of a small company named Big Park.

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Digg Obscenity Filter Makes For Homonymic Good Time

Nice grab by Vallegwag illustrating how our sensitivity training—and our automatic sensitivity filters—can make for some amusing untended bleeping. In this case,’s automatic naughty word filter thought homo erectus sounded as dirty as it, well, really sounds. If you didn’t pay much attention in science class, homo is the same unfortunately humorous prefix as the one in homo sapien, …

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Irish College Student Dupes Media With Wikipedia Hoax

When fans across the globe read of composer Maurice Jarre’s death at the end of March, they were treated to a charming quote: “One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head, that only I can hear.”

It’s cute, but the thing is, Jarre never said it. Irish college student Shane Fitzgerald did, on Wikipedia.

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The Craigslist Challenge Continues

Craig Newmark never killed anyone. In fact, all Craig wanted to do was help people. Unfortunately, Philip Markoff possibly did kill someone, and he found his lead on Craig’s website,

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Will Facebook Supplant Google As a Referral Source?

If Google had managed to acquire Facebook back when Yahoo failed to do so, Google would truly dominate the online referral business. But it appears that Google and Yahoo really missed the boat on the social end of the spectrum.

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Senate Rules Committee OKs Vote Publishing Via XML

The Senate Rules Committee decided today to make US Senator roll-call votes available in XML format. The change is part of a growing effort to make government more transparent.

After much petition and long after the House of Representatives had done so, a feed showing all votes from individual Senators is now available. Previously, only how the Senate voted as a group was easily accessible, and only through unanimous agreement could one easily decipher how his or her representative voted.

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Man Delivers Baby With YouTube’s Help

You should probably file this under Don’t Try This At Home, but sometimes one has no choice. Pressed for time, a British man delivered his wife’s baby with the help of instructions uploaded to YouTube.

This is why we love the Internet.

Marc Stephens deserves equal credit for foresight and grace under fire (for the unflappable latter he credits the Royal Navy). The BBC reports Stephens googled “how to deliver a baby” as a precaution the moment his wife went into labor.

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Newspaper Trade Journal To Print Its Last

In April, the cover of the Newspaper Association of America’s trade magazine Presstime pleaded “Don’t Stop the Presses!,” the don’t and the exclamation point in bright red, confident and defiant serif font.

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Google Blocking Torrent Searches

Google is blocking searches originating from torrent sites using Google Custom Search to find .torrent files, according to, a move the founder of the site calls “censorship.”

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The AP’s Battle For Relevance In A Decentralized Universe

What’s the biggest threat to a centralized organization? Decentralization, of course. Like antimatter to the AP’s matter, the populous Web built a new publishing reality Old Media would rather not face: they’ve lost control of the news.
Computers Taking Over

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The Slow Checkmate Of Internet Control

The specious arguments made and overly harsh penalties sought by the copyright (Big Media) industry would be comically absurd if systemic corruption didn’t immediately transform them into tragedies.
Pirate Bay

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Pirate Bay Defenders Launch The Pirate Google

One thing’s for sure, Google doesn’t want to be associated with pirates; the company has enough copyright troubles as it is in its battles with Viacom and the AP. But defenders of The Pirate Bay argue there is precious little difference between two engines both capable of retrieving existing .torrent files on the Internet.
The Pirate Google

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Time to Put the Brakes On the Cybersecurity Act of 2009

What is essentially a federal government power grab combined with a giant money grab for industry is a real and perhaps unnecessary threat to your privacy and personal security. On top of that hole in your privacy, the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 plants a big, potentially exploitable hole on the network.

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Google News Comes To Twitter

Google began feeding news headlines to Twitter this week, but fewer Twitters seem to care about that than say, Oprah or Martha Stewart.

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Facebook Users Targeted In New Phishing Attacks

This afternoon, Facebook users began receiving emails appearing to be from Facebook carrying an invitation from a friend. Following the link though, takes the recipient to a phishing site.

Reports say the scam has been spreading quickly primarily because it all looks very legitimate. The email itself spoofs Facebook and features the name of the recipient’s actual friend, who appears to have sent them a message.

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Users’ Gamble Is Web’s Jackpot

People forgive advertising if an ad addresses their needs directly and keeps what they enjoy free of charge. They’re even willing to sacrifice a little benign personal information, if information is the currency granting them access to reward. It’s very simple conditioning—action yields reward—and that simple conditioning is the primary reason Facebook will succeed eventually.

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Online Purchases Increase, But Not For Web-Only Sellers

Overall, online shopping has not been adversely affected by the slow economy reports. But that good news isn’t extended to Web-only retailers, the majority of whom are experiencing flat or declining sales.

According to a survey by Forrester Research and, online retail sales rose by an average of 11 percent in the first quarter of 2009 with the bulk of the increase benefiting consumer brand manufactures and multichannel retailers.

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GameFly Files Complaint Against USPS

Rent-by-mail video game company Gamefly has filed a complaint against the United States Postal Service alleging improper handling of mail and preferential treatment of larger competitors Netflix and Blockbuster.

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Wikipedia Art Pushes The Elastic Boundaries Of Fair Use

UDPATE, 5/1/09: Wales got back with us with his comments about the matter. They are as follows:

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AVG Releases Free Real-Time Search Scanner

AVG has pretty good timing considering the recent success cybercrooks have had with manipulating search results to direct searchers to malicious websites. The security company released a free tool today that scans links before users click on them.
AVG Logo

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Even Getting Shot Can’t Save A Journalist’s Job

You know times are rough for newspapers when taking a bullet for the company isn’t enough to save your job. One St. Louis reporter knows that all to well—at least, he knows now.
Riverfront Times Logo

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Racy Facebook Pics Force Candidate Out Of Running

You could call it a learning experience, a far cheaper lesson for the rest of the world than for Ray Lam, a Vancouver political candidate who withdrew his nomination after racy pictures of him surfaced on Facebook.
Ray Lam's Facebook Photo

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Shocker: Facebookers Not Happy With Redesign

Here’s your scenario: You’re the CEO of an immensely popular social network with 175 million registered users, or just shy of the population of Brazil. Your users are passionate and tend to protest over the slightest changes. Just recently they got really mad about a terms of service change—so mad it was on the evening news and you had to change them back.

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Applying Traditional Media Metrics To New Media

There used to be, just a few years ago, quite a chasm between traditional advertising and online advertising. That chasm is becoming more like a gap, especially as the Web grows to engulf all media and audiences fragment. The new question then isn’t how advertising on the Web and via traditional media differ, but what traditional media tools and knowledge can be applied online.

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New York Times Hemorrhaging Money

The New York Times Company released its earnings for the Q1 2009, and the situation doesn’t look good. If things keep going the way they’ve been going for the nation’s largest print news organizations, the news landscape in 2010 could look much, much different.

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Is Google Playing Rope-A-Dope With Social Media?

Regarding social media, the best you can say about Google is that the company has merely dabbled in it. Google’s absence in this space becomes as glaring as Godot’s when chief rival Microsoft is busy funneling money toward the hottest new products, products created even by former Googlers.

That leaves us with two options: Google’s either planning something or avoiding it altogether. Recent events—or maybe better, non-events—suggest the latter.

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Hosting Company Defends Hiring Twitter Hacker

The seventeen-year-old hacker who gave Twitter a busy weekend earlier in the month was subsequently hired by hosting company exqSoft Solutions, a reward that may have inspired further bad behavior.
Travis Rowland, Twitter

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