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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

In its first big movie during the reign of new boss Carol Bartz, Yahoo unveiled a trio of new advertising targeting products that incorporate some of the innovations Google has brought to the online ad marketplace. Given the slow, painful decline of Yahoo’s revenues in general and the display ad industry as a whole, a lot is riding on the advances – which seek to merge the arenas of search and display as a single solution. The new products include Search Retargeting, giving advertisers the ability to place display ads based on a users’ search activities; Enhanced Retargeting, delivering dynamically generated display ads across the Yahoo network based on user activity on an advertiser’s site; and Enhanced Targeting capabilities for search advertising, including ad scheduling and demographic targeting within search. (Cynopsis 2/25)

yahoo

’80s electro new wave band Depeche Mode broke new ground with an increasingly flexible Apple, convincing iTunes to offer a TV-style “Season Pass” option for the band’s upcoming “Sounds of the Universe Album.” Fans can pay $19 to receive additional content over the next few weeks including remixes, exclusive videos and the pre-released single “Wrong,” leading up to the release of the full album on April 21. The model could help companies like EMI Music, Depeche Mode‘s label, earn extra revenue from the platform while quenching the thirst of die hard fans for extra content. (Cynopsis 2/25)

depeche-mode

Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson, the co-founders of MySpace, could soon be following Peter Chernin out of News Corp. Their contracts expire in October and both men have privately said there is a chance they will leave. The two are among the best-paid employees at News Corp. (Iwantmedia 2/25, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e3d55488-02b9-11de-b58b-000077b07658.html 2/24)

(Below) Where does this leave Hulu, the company which is trying to build new online video ground internationally as well?

Hollywood is finally beginning to turn its attention toward international online video audiences, but don’t expect the full-length floodgates to open just yet. Fox International Channels launched its first TV portal abroad in Italy, dubbed FlopTV, featuring a mixture of HD short-form Italian sitcoms and UGC, per Variety. Meanwhile CBS Interactive announced the availability of clips internationally on TV.com from CBS from shows such as Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Star Trek, MacGyver and Love Boat, in addition to clips from 60 Minutes and 48 Hours. The clips will also appear to international users on CBS.com and CBSNews.com. (Cynopsis 2/25)

News Corp.’s Slingshot Labs is unveiling its first startup, DailyFill, a site offering nuggets of celebrity gossip. Stories are typically a few paragraphs and offer links to longer versions. Readers don’t want “really long articles,” says co-creator Josh Berman. “They want a quick summary.” (Iwantmedia 2/25, http://tech.yahoo.com/news/afp/20090224/tc_afp/itinternetfilmmediadailyfill 2/24)

dailyfill1

Is Twitter — the microblogging service that famously has no revenue — a threat to Google? The notion is generating heated chatter across the Web. Very quietly, one of Twitter’s most powerful applications has become its ability to allow people to conduct real-time searches. (Iwantmedia 2/25, http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_11776452?nclick_check=1 2/24)

What happens when you make paid search ads both relevant and visual? Searchme, the search engine startup which presents results as a stack of full-page previews that you can flip through, is hoping to find out with the beta launch of AdView. Its first foray into advertising, AdView is SearchMe’s version of AdWords, except that instead of selling of paid text links it will be interspersing into its results clickable previews of entire Webpages, videos, or other visual advertising. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/02/24/paid-search-just-got-visual-searchme-launches-adview-beta-free-ads-for-first-500-signups 2/24)

searchme

MSNBC.com introduced an innovative new video portal to offer additional content complimentary to President Obama’s address to Congress last night. The interface allows users to search the transcript of the speech and pull corresponding video segments from the address for posting to third-party sites. The tool can be used to peruse more than 20 indexed Obama speeches and press conferences. (Cynopsis 2/25)

America may lag behind Asia and Europe in affordable broadband and connection speeds but the U.S. is #1 in a new measure dubbed the Connectivity Scorecard, as determined by a new methodology created by Leonard Waverman, Prof. of Economics at the London Business School with funding from Nokia Siemens Networks. Dividing a nation into the three “pillars” of consumers, businesses and government, the study ranks countries on a total of 30 indicators that affect productivity including broadband, mobile and fixed line infrastructure that contribute to a nation’s social and economic development. The U.S. scored the highest rank because connectivity in business use is very advanced, according to Prof. Waverman. (Cynopsis 2/25)

Connectivity Scorecard 2009 – Top 10 Nations
Rank  Country       Final Score
1     United States     7.71
2     Sweden             7.47
3     Denmark           7.18
4     Netherlands       6.75
5     Norway             6.51
6     United Kingdom 6.44
7     Canada             6.15
8     Australia           6.14
9     Singapore         5.99
10    Japan               5.87
Source: London Business School, Nokia Siemens Networks

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

I’m not sure if this was moved up in response to leaked copiess of U2’s newest album, No Line On The Horizon spreading across the Internet, but the entire the album will be streamed for free at MySpace Music. The player in U2’s MySpace Music page features a single, but if you click on the top album in the sidebar, you can hear the entire thing. MySpace says that the entire album will be streamed from February 20 to March 3, with links to pre-order it. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/02/20/forget-about-those-leaked-downloads-listen-to-u2s-new-album-on-myspace-music-for-free 1/20)

u2

A day after news broke that Hulu had pulled its video content from CBS‘s TV.com because of “contractual” issues, CBS is fighting back with a statement: “CBS Interactive is well within its rights to stream Hulu video content on TV.com under its agreement with Hulu.” (Iwantmedia 2/20, http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/02/19/cbs-strikes-back-at-hulu 2/19)

npuck

After more than a decade of hype about the Internet being the next great stage for mass entertainment, it remains largely dominated by amateurs. Many actors and producers continue to balk at Internet projects, saying they have meager revenue potential with uncertain financial models. (Iwantmedia 2/20, http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSTRE51I01520090219 2/19)

DVD sales are declining, largely because audiences now enjoy a range of other options, such as watching movies and TV shows online. Hollywood studio bosses are scrambling to rethink their entire business model and prepare for distribution of films on the Web. (Iwantmedia 2/20, http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_09/b4121056770437.htm 2/19)

CBSNews.com launched another weekly webcast, this one about medical issues and health news. Doc Dot Com, premiering every Thursdays at 2 pm ET, is hosted by CBS News Medical Correspondent Jonathan LaPook, M.D. with help from CBS News Correspondent Richard Schlesinger and a variety of health specialists. (Cynopsis 2/20)

Meanwhile CBS Interactive’s TheInsider.com, operated jointly with CBS’s syndicated show The Insider, is launching Inside Dish with Ross Matthews, a daily web talk show combining breaking news with community features allowing fans to join in on the conversation about Hollywood and celebrities. The show officially launches today at 4 pm PT. (Cynopsis 2/20)

YouTube is beginning to attract some big marketers to its in-stream video ad program, according to a new report from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster sourced in paidcontent.org. A recent look at the top 100 weekly clips on YouTube found a bounce back from the holiday rush identifying 29% with an ad versus 25% in January and 30% in December. Some 72% of the ads were in-video ads versus 52% in January and 63% in December. Sponsors included Adidas, Chevy, Disney, Kraft, Verizon, and Xbox. (Cynopsis 2/20)

Celebrating its fifth anniversary in the search business, Yahoo added several new features to its integrated search engine including photos and video entries with its text search. Some paid search ads also include localized elements. Similar to Google’s Universal Search product, Yahoo hopes Rich Ads in Search will help drive higher click-through revenues as the banner ad market continues to decline. (Cynopsis 2/20)

Large cable providers such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable are in talks with prominent content companies such as Viacom and NBC Universal about the possibility of putting a big chunk of cable programming online and making it accessible only to cable subscribers. If all goes according to plan, the new services will debut this year with a large amount of content that was previously unavailable on the Web. The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) (2/20)

Disney is buying Kerpoof Studio, a creator of online tools that lets kids make artwork, write stories and even create short movies. Kerpoof’s technology is being integrated into Disney.com, allowing users to create artwork around Mickey Mouse and other studio characters. (Iwantmedia 2/20, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/finance/news/e3i120e70a153d46e4b931b5f2da0d967d2 2/19)

Canoe Ventures — the interactive and addressable-advertising cooperative created by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Cox Communications, Charter and Bright House Networks — is on track to release its first product despite the economic recession, according to Comcast Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke. “We’re bringing out our first product, Creative Versioning, this spring, and we have two or three other things that are getting very close to being in the marketplace and launched,” Burke said. Mediaweek (2/19)

Yahoo, Microsoft, and AOL each grabbed a small slice of Google’s U.S. search market share in January but the latter company still enjoys a dominant share with 63% of all searches, according to the latest ComScore figures. Yahoo sites accounted for 21% of the market (up half a percent vs. Dec.) while Microsoft and AOL increased their shared by only 0.1%. (Cynopsis 2/20)

comScore Core Search Report January 2009 vs. December 2008
Core Search Entity   Share of Searches (%)
Dec-08     Jan-09    Point Change
Jan-09 vs. Dec-08
Total Core Search      100.0      100.0     N/A
Google Sites              63.5       63.0      -0.5
Yahoo! Sites              20.5       21.0       0.5
Microsoft Sites             8.3        8.5       0.2
AOL LLC                      3.8        3.9       0.1
Ask Network                3.9        3.7      -0.2
Source: comScore qSearch 2.0

The only thing more certain than unemployment these days is taxes. The top-gaining category for unique visits was tax in January, according to comScore as users began to prepare for tax season. The category witnessed a 176% gain to 24.7 million visitors. Job Search, Government and travel-related sites also experienced strong gains. (Cynopsis 2/20)

comScore Top 10 Gaining Site Categories by % Change in Unique Visitors (U.S.)
January 2009 vs. December 2008
Total Unique Visitors (000)
Dec-08       Jan-09       % Change
Total Internet: Total Audience     190,650      191,863          1
Business/Finance – Taxes               8,935       24,703       176
Travel – Ground/Cruise                   8,942       13,028         46
Career Svs: Job Search                 18,826       26,702        42
Career Svs: Career Resources         38,911       48,900        26
Retail – Computer Software            30,186       37,545        24
News/Information – Politics            11,992       13,710        14
Travel – Hotels/Resorts                  26,671       29,976        12
Government                                 80,564       89,662        11
Travel – Online Travel Agents         35,565       38,973        10
Business/Finance – Online Trading   10,758       11,743         9
Source: comScore Media Metrix

A measure of the top 10 gaining properties year-over-year in Jan. pulled up two entertainment properties: Oprah.com, which recently launched its content on iTunes, and ABC.com, which has received quite a boost from the return of new episodes of Lost.  (Cynopsis 2/20)

comScore Top 10 Gaining Properties by % Change in Unique Visitors (U.S.)
January 2009 vs. December 2008
Total Unique Visitors (000)
Dec-08     Jan-09    % Change    Rank
by Uniques
Total Internet: Total Aud.    190,650    191,863      1        N/A
TaxACT                                  549        5,883   972       205
H&R Block                             1,611        6,073   277       196
IRS.GOV                               4,313      14,663   240      69
Intuit                                   6,139     16,172    163       60
Oprah.com                            2,539      5,077    100      232
Gamevance.com                    6,644     12,170     83        91
Usmagazine.com                    3,117      5,057     62        234
ABC.com                              5,496      8,760     59        126
ED.gov                                 4,469      7,080     58        163
Indeed                                 5,167      7,541     46        157
Source: comScore Media Metrix
Ranking based on the top 250 properties in January 2009.

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

In August Techcrunch speculated that music may be the single biggest factor helping MySpace keep its commanding lead over Facebook in the U.S. market.  About a week or so ago, Facebook began an earnest effort to build a Facebook Music application. They didn’t announce this publicly. Instead, Vice President of Business Development Dan Rose and his team reached out to 8 or 9 Internet music services to discuss what the service might look like. Facebook execs also met with major music labels in New York this week to discusss the project, says one source. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/23/facebook-dreams-of-easy-music-while-religious-battle-rages-internally 10/23)

MySpace Music continues to sign key music deals – today they announced the addition of the no. 2 independent music aggregator, IODA, to the platform. Orchard, the no. 1 indie aggregator, has been on board since the launch. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/22/myspace-music-signs-ioda-gains-6000-indie-labels-and-50000-artists 10/22)

The biggest social network in the United states is still News Corp.’s MySpace, according to new figures from Nielsen. However, MySpace’s traffic has only grown by 1% since September 2007. Twitter, fueled by loads of press coverage, is seeing 343% growth since a year earlier. (Iwantmedia 10/23, http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10073531-2.html 10/22)

Yahoo director Carl Icahn is doubling his stake in film studio Lions Gate. “If Yahoo buys a traditional media company like Lions Gate, all of a sudden that takes it to a whole new level,” says one media investment advisor. Yahoo could develop “a profitable online distribution system.” (Iwantmedia 10/23, http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/the-hollywood-deal/2008/10/22/icahn-double-feature-a-yahoo-lions-gate-deal 10/22)

CBS Interactive debuted a new original scripted web series from creator Jonathan Prince (A&E’s The Cleaner), who has a first look deal with CBS Paramount Network Television. The 8-webisode Novel Adventures revolves around a woman’s book club in LA, who use the books they read to inspire them to tackle real adventures. The series was shot in HD and stars a seasoned cast. It will be distributed for an exclusive 48-hour window on CBS.com, TheInsider.com and TV.com before becoming available on iTunes and the CBS Audience Network. Saturn is sponsoring. (Cynopsis 10/23)

I don’t know about the series because currently, all that exists on the site is a trailer, which doesn’t quite speak to me.  I do, however, commend CBS on making the subscribe-for-updates box central on the screen as the loss of repeat viewers seems to be a web series’ greatest barrier.  I don’t know that I am sold on shooting in HD either.  Seems a bit like an unnecessary cost at this point.Novel Adventures

Amazon.com revised its forecast for the rest of the year, taking a more pessimistic view three months after having raised its revenue projections, even as the company reported Wednesday a 48% rise in profit on a 31% gain in revenue for the third quarter. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the company had seen a recent slump in demand for items priced more than $1,000, adding that the online retailer was taking a cautious view because “all companies have limited visibility right now.” ClipSyndicate/Bloomberg (10/22) , The Wall Street Journal (10/23) , Financial Times (10/23) , The New York Times (10/22)http://www.cardworldonline.com/frontnews.htm

TiVo is expected to announce deals today with two distributors that will allow the DVR manufacturer to offer hundreds of movies to broadband subscribers. The pacts with CinemaNow and Jaman plug a major hole in TiVo’s on-demand offerings because they include Disney releases. The Hollywood Reporter (10/23)

Earlier this month News Corp. celebrated the three year anniversary of the acquisition of MySpace. Today, AOL does the same for the Weblogs, Inc. blog network they acquired in October 2005.  Since the acquisition, AOL says, the Weblogs, Inc. blogs (which include Engadget, TMZ, Download Squad, TUAW, Joystiq, Autoblog and others) have seen worldwide unique visitors climb nearly 1000% (122% annually, on average) and page views rise over 1,500% (154% annually, on average), according to August 2008 comScore Media Metrix. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/22/weblogs-inc-three-years-later-impressive-page-view-and-revenue-growth 10/22)

Influential online social music portal imeem has put itself up for sale hiring investment bank Montgomery & Co. to manage the proceedings, per paidcontent.org. Imeem has struck on demand streaming deals with all 4 major labels and has pushed out its service to several third party outlets but has since seen the launch of music themed services by larger rivals such as MySpace Music. (Cynopsis 10/23)http://www.tecnomagazine.it/tech/2007-12-12/imeem-e-universal-alleate-on-line/

Google is depending on hedging against fluctuations in exchange rates to prevent international profits from Web search ads and YouTube videos from evaporating. The Internet giant used hedging to net a $34 million gain that helped offset potential negative effects to third-quarter revenue. (Iwantmedia 10/23, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601204&sid=av9oPJ.sI87Y 10/22)

Digital distribution company Myvideorights.com has signed an exclusive deal with The Onion News Network to distribute its satirical video content across the UK, Europe and Asia during the lead up to the US Presidential election and beyond. The deal is meant to capitalize on unprecedented interest foreign audiences have shown in coverage of U.S. politics, particularly that which “takes the piss” out of its subjects. (Cynopsis 10/23)

Business networking startup LinkedIn is announcing today that it has raised another $22.7 million, on top of the $53 million D round it closed last June at a $1 billion valuation. The new round is a follow-on to the series D at the same valuation, bringing on strategic investors SAP, Goldman Sachs, and McGraw Hill. Existing investor Bessemer Venture Partners also participated. This brings the total capital LinkedIn has raised to just over $100 million. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/22/linkedin-announces-227-million-follow-on-round-from-sap-goldman-sachs-and-mcgraw-hill 10/22)

United Talent Agency’s new media studio 60Frames introduced a separate production label dubbed Red Band Industries to develop and produce edgier fare that may scare off mainstream advertisers, reports Mediaweek. (Cynopsis 10/23)

Comcast has announced a new plan to offer two tiers of wideband Internet service to more than 10 million homes and businesses. The tiers — Extreme 50, which boasts download speeds of up to 50 Mbps, and Ultra, with up to 22 Mbps — will be available in 10 major markets, or about 20% of the company’s service area, in the “next several months,” Comcast said. The Wall Street Journal (10/23) , Light Reading (10/22)

Hulu continued its climb up Nielsen Online’s VideoCensus rankings in Sept. reaching the #6 spot in the U.S. delivering over 142 million streams for the month. YouTube remains the mac daddy in online video with over 5.3 billion streams served. (Cynopsis 10/23)

Top 10 Online Web Brands Ranked by Total Streams for Sept. 2008
Brand                       Total Streams(000)  Unique Viewers (000)
YouTube                         5,354,392               81,881
Yahoo!                              264,266               29,908
Fox Interactive Media         242,444               19,258
MSN/Windows Live            164,776                10,980
Nickelodeon Kids & Family  162,971                 6,152
Hulu                                 142,261                 6,324
ESPN                                127,794                 8,434
CNN Digital Network          117,708                 9,451
MTV Networks Music            97,207                 4,762
Disney Online                      87,193                 9,146
Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus, includes progressive downloads, excludes video advertising

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Amazon, watch out. Earlier today, Google launched an affiliate ad network. Or, rather, it rebranded Performics, the affiliate ad network that came along with its purchase of DoubleClick, as the “Google Affiliate Network.” As with other affiliate networks such as Amazon’s, participating Website publishers get paid a fee for each referral that results in a sale. Existing advertisers include Bank of America, Barnes & Noble, Citi, Target, and Verizon. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/06/30/google-launches-affiliate-advertising-network-courtesy-of-doubleclick 6/30)

CBS announced the closing of its acquisition of CNET today. The deal, first announced last month, will bring CNET under the control of Quincy Smith’s CBS Interactive division, “the premier online content network for information and entertainment.” (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/06/30/cbs-finishes-acquisition-of-cnet-quincy-smith-addresses-the-troops 6/30)

Slide and Vh1 excel at making products geared towards America’s lowest common denominator. The first makes SuperPoke, a popular social network app that lets you send text messages saying you’ve done “stuff” to your friends. The latter produces reality show classics like “Flavor of Love”, “Rock of Love”, and “I Love New York”. And next week, their powers will combine to bring you VH1’s SuperPoke!Fest: a four day reality show marathon to promote a new show called “I Love Money” that will give users a chance to see their very own SuperPokes live, onscreen! (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/06/30/slide-and-vh1-team-up-to-annoy-the-hell-out-of-you 6/30)

Yahoo launched a suite of new Olympics-themed content including a new website from Yahoo Sports, a new mobile web site (m.yahoo.com/2008games) and a special search feature providing shortcuts to help users find Olympics schedules, news, metal tallies and scoring. (Cynopsis 7/2)

The luxury giant LVMH for the second time successfully challenged eBay in a French court, arguing that 90 percent of the Louis Vuitton bags and Dior perfumes sold on eBay are fakes. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/01/technology/01ebay.html?_r=1&ref=technology&oref=slogin 7/1)

Antoine Antoniol/Bloomberg News

Pierre Gode, an LVMH adviser, outside of court.

For most people on the Web, if Google or Yahoo cannot find something, it doesn’t exist. That has been one of the biggest drawbacks to creating a Website or application that displays itself as a Flash (SWF) file. Search engines could see the file, but they could not see what was in it. Until now. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/06/30/once-nearly-invisible-to-search-engines-flash-files-can-now-be-found-and-indexed 6/30)

Television viewers are turning to the internet for a variety of reasons – catching up on episodes they missed, reading up on their favorite personalities, even viewing a show’s bloopers or deleted scenes – according to a survey jointly conducted by Nielsen and CTAM. But both groups wanted the industry to know online viewing is no way replacing linear TV viewing; 94% of cable or satellite subscribers surveyed said they still prefer watching shows the old fashioned way. Here some likes and dislikes that came up in the study, along with some general trends:

  • About 35% of adult broadband users surveyed have watched a full episode online
  • Of those who went online looking for TV content, 87% turned to a network website
  • The most popular forms were movie trailers (53%), UGV (45%), music videos & news (37%), comedy (31%) and sports clips (31%)
  • A small but growing percentage of users are watching shows on their desktop PCs (14%), laptops (9%), video-enabled mobile phones (6%) and other portable devices (5%)


Online ad spending will continue to grow at double-digit rates through 2013 despite economic conditions, according to a new report from JupiterResearch cited in CNET. Online ad spending is expected to increase 19% this year in the U.S. to $23.8 billion with search continuing to be the dominant category. Video advertising is projected to quadruple to $5.1 billion by 2013. (Cynopsis 7/2)

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Google, long dominant in the Internet search market, is surpassing rival Yahoo for the first time as the most popular Web destination in the United States, according to research firm comScore. Google’s U.S. audience is up to 141.1 million; Yahoo’s comes in at 140.6 million. (Iwantmedia 5/15, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080514/ap_on_hi_te/google_comscore 5/14)

CBS has struck a partnership with viral web drama studio EQAL to create a slate of multiplatform programming for existing and future CBS television productions. The creators of lonelygirl15 and KateModern – Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried – will consult with CBS to help create social experiences around traditional shows, working with CBS writers at the script level to tie online narratives in directly with TV plot lines. (Cynopsis 5/15, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3ibb27093a4c288ae2ac6928ec8c1f3ae5 5/14)

CBS is signing an agreement to acquire CNET Networks in a deal valued at $1.8 billion. The acquisition will make CBS one of the 10 most popular Internet companies in the United States, with a combined 54 million unique users per month and about 200 million users worldwide. (http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9944882-7.html 5/15)

Amazon has taken a special interest in one of its web service customers: Animoto, the machine-driven music video creator that launched last August and now has over 160,000 users. The online retail giant has decided to fund the startup with an undisclosed amount of money. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/05/15/amazon-funds-animoto-music-video-creator 5/15)

Love Animoto.  First got acquainted with them at SXSW earlier this year and have made several stunning videos since.  Great service and one that I continue to pay $3 per video for.  That amount of monetization is pretty interesting.

For an undisclosed sum, Comcast will buy Mountain View, Calif.-based Plaxo, a social-networking Web site that allows users to share contact information and photos. The country’s largest cable company is expected to integrate Plaxo services into its Comcast.net, Fancast.com and Fandango.com sites. (The Wall Street Journal 5/15, Google/Associated Press 5/14)

Twitter, the fledgling microblogging service, is evolving into a social media powerhouse to rival giants like Facebook. The San Francisco-based Twitter, which appears to be aiming for a new round of funding, is starting an “experimental” advertising program on its site in Japan. (Iwantmedia 5/15, http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/may2008/tc20080514_269697.htm 5/15)

Carl Icahn is said to be moving ahead with plans to run a dissident board slate at Yahoo in a bid to force the Internet company to be sold to Microsoft. The billionaire investor is reportedly lining up at least 12 potential board candidates, including former Viacom head Frank Biondi. (Iwantmedia 5/15, http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN1429522020080514 5/14)

Investor Carl Icahn speaks at the Wall Street Journal Deals & Deal Makers conference, held at the New York Stock Exchange, June 27, 2007.  REUTERS/Chip East

Jaman, the San Mateo-based P2P Web movie service, is about to announce that it will be streaming selected movies for free. The movies play immediately in the browser and are supported by pre/post-roll ads. (The usual download-to-rent option remains available). (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/05/14/jaman-launches-free-streamed-movies-in-browser 5/14)

Ask.com, owned by Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, is acquiring Lexico, the owner of Dictionary.com, as well as Thesaurus.com and Reference.com. Ask.com, the No. 4 search engine, and Dictionary.com will attempt to cycle traffic between each other. (Iwantmedia 5/15, http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/15/askcom-tries-again-and-not-just-with-women 5/15)

President Bush is the first U.S. president to conduct a video interview for an online audience. In the interview with Politico.com political correspondent Mike Allen, Bush warns that a fast withdrawal of troops from Iraq could “eventually lead to another attack on the United States.” (Iwantmedia 5/15, http://www.prweekus.com/First-online-on-camera-interview-of-US-president/article/110087 5/14)

Advertising on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace is getting better, but is still not perfect, says Google co-founder Sergey Brin. “People are expecting overnight to wake up to a miracle. But these things take time. It’s hard to predict where social networking will come out.” (Iwantmedia 5/15, http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSL1572456720080515 5/15)

Evidence is piling up that Facebook has lost some of its luster among developers. Competition from dominant players such as Slide and Rock You and the influence of Google’s open API program OpenSocial has dampened some of the enthusiasm to create applications for the platform. Data culled from Facebook developer/blogger Jesse Farmer, who developed the Adonomics Facebook analytics and developer services system, breaks down some compelling tracking numbers. (Cynopsis 5/15)

Monthly Statistics for the Facebook Developer Forum
Month                          Jan. 2008       April 2008     % change
Posts per day                 461                 225               -51%
Signups per day               38                   27               -29%
Threads per day               80                   44               -44%
Active users                 1,606              1,168               -27%
Highly active users          461                 225              -47%
Source: 20bits.com, from data provided by Adonomics




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