Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

StatTweets Lets You Follow Your Favorite Team on Twitter

A big part of being a sports fan is keeping score. And now there is a great way to keep up with scores and stats for every basketball and football team in the U.S. (NBA, NFL, and college teams). It’s called StatTweets, and it just launched today. You can follow any team you like from @KnicksStats to @UNCStats, and you’ll get spreads, final points, standings, ranks, and more. Here is the full list of teams. The data for StatTweets comes from StatSheet. So when you click on StatTWeet from the Knicks, it takes you to the Knicks page on StatSheet. Both were developed by Robbie Allen ad are part of his newly announced StatSheet Network, which also includes StatFix (an embeddable stat of the day widget for any college basketball team). Hardcore sports fans are going to want to check out StatSheet. For a one-man startup with no funding, this is really impressive. The site is all about sports stats. They are front and center in a big, readable font. You can slice and dice them anyway you want. There are stats on how each player impacts his team, and even on referees.

On The Record Sports offers ‘fresh take on fantasy’, and $5M Prize for Guessing the Correct Super Bowl Score

A San Diego-based fantasy sports startup is seeking to shake up the industry with a potential $5 million top prize and a game model veering sharply from standard, commissioner-style games. On The Record Sports, founded by former Upper Deck executive Jamie Kiskis and backed by a mid-seven-figure sum of venture capital, this week will release a beta version of a predictive-style game in which participants project the statistical performance of players on their favorite team instead of building a personal roster of players from various real-world clubs. The effort is backed by an operational and content partnership with Stats LLC. It also will include a significant social-networking component, an element that continues to entrench itself across fantasy sports. “We felt like the time was right for a fresh take on fantasy,” said Mark De Philippi, On The Record Sports chief executive. “The big boys have pretty much cornered the market on commissioner-style games.”

Online Blog Turns into Anti-Cincinnati Bengals Guerrilla Marketing Campaign

Simon, 26, directs WhoDey Revolution, a group that began as an online blog nine months ago and has since grown into a guerrilla marketing organization targeting frustrated Bengals fans. Through campaign tactics that have appeared on local billboards, hand-held signs and even in the men’s restrooms at Paul Brown Stadium, the group has relentlessly challenged Bengals owner Mike Brown to hire a general manager. So far, Simon says WhoDey Revolution has raised and spent almost $6,000 lobbying Brown to change the way he runs the team. Last Sunday, WhoDey Revolution recruited about 100 of its web site readers to smuggle nearly 1,000 urinal cakes into Paul Brown Stadium, which were deposited into the men’s restrooms. The cakes, which cost about $2,000, contained a personalized message, “98-186-1,” which was the team’s record under Brown going into Sunday’s game.

Duke basketball getting stand-alone Web site

Duke University plans to formally launch a Web site this week dedicated to men’s basketball that represents yet another unique way schools are creating and controlling their own content. will be independent of the Blue Devils’ official athletic site,, and feature player video blogs, game highlights, behind-the-scenes video, and insider information on current and former players. Uncommon Thinking, a Chicago-based agency, designed and developed David Bradley, Duke’s men’s basketball recruiting coordinator, will manage the content of the site day-to-day. The launch expands on blogging efforts by Bradley as well as other content already online specific to the basketball program. JumpTV, which has the rights to, will have access to the content being produced by Blue Planet, but the sites typically will not link to one another and there will not be a formal relationship between the two, which raises questions about the boundaries of Web site rights. “Men’s basketball has been very aggressive and entrepreneurial to try something different

Music Label EMI Launches Personalized Music Discovery Site For Direct-To-Fan Retail

Nevermind iTunes, EMI Music is going direct to fans with the surprise launch of a new site featuring playlists, recommendations and, soon, the ability to purchase tracks from the label’s artists. The new - currently in “beta”, just like EMI itself nowadays - is first and foremost a music discovery platform, full of artist bios, galleries, music and videos. But this new site goes further than regular label repertoire sites, borrowing from social platforms like by offering user-led charts, by allowing users to search for artists that sound like other artists (even those not on EMI’s books) and by asking visitors to create a profile that will let them add playable tracks to manageable playlists. Coming soon, - built by Shamsa Rana with Perform - will offer embeddable widgets and a retail option that, we understand, may be powered by DRM-free specialist 7digital. There will also be interviews, concerts and back-stage footage. Digital special projects VP Alex Haar, in the release, calls a “learning lab” and “the beginning of a longer term experiment”. EMI told us it’s not designed to compete with services like iTunes Store, YouTube or - indeed, most music fans consume tunes from multiple labels. But EMI just volunteered to become another fully-fledged music destination site among many, in one of its first significant digital initiatives since the Terra Firma buy-out.

New Tool Lets Marketers Directly Insert Video Ads Into Emails

A Silicon Valley company will soon give television networks and movie studios a compelling new marketing tool: the opportunity to insert video directly into emails. The platform from Goodmail Systems will allow email recipients to view a "Grey's Anatomy" promo or movie trailer just as they open a message. Networks such as NBC and TBS are among those that send out electronic newsletters and could capitalize on the new Goodmail system. Programmers might also be able to sell advertising such as pre-rolls before videos or stand-alone spots. Currently, due to safety issues involving Internet Service Providers (ISPs), marketers can't embed video in the promotional newsletters and other emails they send out. The best they can do is offer a link for users to click through to watch video on another page. Goodmail will begin distributing the system, known as Certified Video, early next year in partnership with AOL, Yahoo, Cox, Comcast and others. While it may be tailor-made for media companies, the platform can help marketers in all fields place ads or informational clips in emails.

Taxi Magic: Hail A Cab From Your iPhone At The Push Of A Button

Taxi applications on the App Store are a dime a dozen, but for the most part they’re just glorified phone directories that don’t really make it any easier to call a cab. Taxi Magic, a new app that recently went live on the App Store, is doing what the others can’t: on-demand cab service from your iPhone at the push of a button. The application connects directly into Taxi routing systems, allowing users to book cabs without ever needing to speak to an operator. The service is available in over 25 cities across the US, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington DC (oddly enough New York seems to be excluded for now). Ordering a cab is fairly simple: after launching Taxi Magic, your iPhone will use GPS or triangulation to determine your general location, and will present a list of nearby cab services (some listings are only phone numbers, while others fully support Taxi Magic’s ordering system).

Highly Influential Macworld Conference May Be Shutting Down

With its decision to end its relationship with the Macworld Expo, Apple is cutting one of its last ties to an era in which it wasn't a technology powerhouse. The shocking news that January's Macworld would be the last with Apple's participation--and that CEO Steve Jobs will not appear--reveals an Apple that has decided it no longer needs to make an appearance at the event that has come to define the company in recent years. In doing so, it's also preparing for a future when its iconic founder no longer dominates the stage the way he currently does while confirming a shift in its strategic thinking when it comes to reaching customers. Apple relies on two types of marketing: one, the slick commercials with the cool music that showcase what its products can do, such as the Mac versus PC ads and the famous silhouetted dancing iPod listeners. The second method is the Stevenote: Jobs is a master at the art of presenting new products and rolling out strategies to both the public (Macworld) and the press (WWDC, iPod events).

Whoopi Goldberg Gets Online Series

Whoopi Goldberg is set to star and exec produce the sci-fi miniseries “Stream” for Set to debut online and on video-on-demand beginning Jan. 15, “Stream” will air in six five-minute weekly segments. Goldberg will play the lead character, Jodi, trying to come to terms with her lifelong fears. Goldberg, who appears on daytime talker “The View,” has a history in sci-fi. She co-starred in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in the late 1980s. This will be the sixth original series Fearnet, which is a joint venture between Comcast, Sony Pictures Television and Lionsgate. VOD is available on Comcast, Time Warner and Cox cable operators.

Ridiculous Item of the Day: If Hockey Was Wrestling

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Redesigned ESPN Site Now in Open Beta

ESPN.COM is counting on less clutter and more advertising options to bolster revenue at a time when its sister cable channels are battling rare weakness. ESPN, the Walt Disney Company’s sports media behemoth, is unveiling Tuesday a substantial redesign of its primary Web portal in a test form, with a formal introduction planned for Jan. 5. About a year in the making, the overhaul represents at least one significant shift in strategy. Instead of inundating visitors with its intense coverage of every major sport from the get-go — something that the company now believes can drive away certain fans — is moving in a less-is-more direction, at least on the home page.

NFL Launches "Game Rewind", Every Game On-Demand In HD With No Commercials

Today, the NFL launched a new video on-demand service called Game Rewind that lets you watch every NFL game in HD quality, with no commercials. The service, which costs $19.99 for the season or $4.99 for a week pass, also provides DVR functionality and lets you watch up to four games at once. While it is not known exactly how quickly games are made available after they end, for now the NFL is saying within 24 hours, but it is expected times will be much shorter. The NFL is using Move Networks for the service, which is the same technology partner used for the NFL's live video service called GamePass HD, available to those outside the U.S. As expected, the quality of video for Game Rewind is amazing and the NFL kept the interface clean and simple.

Michael Phelps Set to Dive Into Video Game World

Following in the footsteps of John Madden and Tiger Woods, Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps wants to start his own video game empire. But curiously enough, swimming might not be the main event. "Swimming will be a part of it, but it won't be set in an Olympic pool going back and forth," said Adam Kline, president of 505 Games, the company releasing the series. "This is a pure action game," he added. Does that mean our local aquatic hero could be roughing up bad guys and saving the world? Or will he be running amok a la Grand Theft Auto? The folks at 505 are still toying with a few different ideas and can't comment just yet. More details will emerge closer to the first installment's planned release in spring 2010. The game should be available on consoles and the iPhone. But the lack of specifics hasn't stopped video game experts from speculating.,0,2496302.story

Twitter Partners With Google (Not Facebook) for Universal Log-ins

Twitter cofounder Biz Stone announced this morning that the micro-blogging service would integrate Google's Friend Connect service. That means means Twitter account holders can use their login ID on any other site also integrated with Google Friend Connect. It also means Google account holders can use their Google account ID to sign up for Twitter. Facebook just launched a similar service -- called "Facebook Connect" -- that lets Facebook members use their Facebook account across the Internet. Facebook and Google (GOOG) want their users to to sign up for the "connect" services so the companies can better keep tabs on how their users behave across the Web. That knowledge may lead to better, more profitable ads and ad networks in the future. Virtual World for Muslims

Called Muxlim Pal, it allows Muslims to look after a cartoon avatar that inhabits the virtual world. Based loosely on other virtual worlds such as The Sims, Muxlim Pal lets members customise the look of their avatar and its private room. Aimed at Muslims in Western nations, Muxlim Pal's creators hope it will also foster understanding among non-Muslims. The way the player “lives” impacts factors like happiness, fitness, knowledge and spirituality.

Hasbro dropping suit against makers of Facebook game Scrabulous

Hasbro has dropped its lawsuit against the makers of a popular online version of board game Scrabble. According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in New York, Hasbro dropped the lawsuit Friday. Hasbro, which owns the North American rights to the word game, sued Jayant and Rajat Agarwalla, brothers from Calcutta, India, this summer. The brothers developed the unauthorized version, called Scrabulous, after they couldn't find an online version they liked. The court documents did not specify a reason for the withdrawal of the case. RJ Softwares, the Agarwalla brothers' company, said in a statement that it has agreed not to use the term "Scrabulous" and made changes to different versions of the game it created after the lawsuit was filed. The changes to the Wordscrapper application found on online networking site Facebook and games at help distinguish them from Scrabble, RJ Softwares said.

Twitter has made Dell $1 million in revenue

Less altruistically, some businesses have discovered that Twitter is an effective way of communicating with consumers. Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) says Twitter has produced $1 million in revenue over the past year and a half through sale alerts. People who sign up to follow Dell on Twitter receive messages when discounted products are available the company's Home Outlet Store. They can click over to purchase the product or forward the information to others. Dell started experimenting with Twitter in March of 2007 after the South by Southwest conference, an annual tech/music festival in Austin, Texas. Conference attendees could keep tabs on each other via a stream of Twitter messages on 60-inch plasma screens set up in the conference hallways. There are now 65 Twitter groups on, with 2,475 followers for the Dell Home Outlet Store.

CBS Relaunching With Goals of Becoming Major Video Player

CBS Interactive is relaunching, hoping to transform the well-named site known for its TV-related community and user-generated content into a serious video destination, paidContent has learned. The full-scale relaunch with new content partners is slated for January but the cosmetic changes will start this week with a new look and logo, according to sources familiar with the plans. is among the assets CBS (NYSE: CBS) picked up with its $1.8 billion acquisition of CNET last summer. (The other notable non-brand domains:, MP3. com and Despite having the ultimate url and folding in some video through agreements first with CBS and then with Hulu, CNET missed multiple opportunities to grab early advantage. Now it’s playing catchup with a number of competitors, including Hulu and newest challenger

Wikipedia Officially Launches Mobile Version

Popular user-edited online encyclopedia Wikipedia has finally released a mobile-friendly version of the web site at The site offers a trimmed down version of Wikipedia proper, supports 14 languages, and even has a mysterious Spoken Wikipedia setting that—though currently not enabled, may presumably one day read Wikipedia articles to you.

Internet or Sex?.......Majority Would Choose Internet

Nearly half of the women questioned by Harris Interactive said they'd be willing to forgo sex for two weeks, rather than give up their Internet access, according to a study released Monday by Intel, which commissioned the survey. While 46 percent of the women surveyed were willing to engage in abstinence versus losing their Internet, only 30 percent of the men surveyed were willing to do likewise. The U.S. survey, which queried 2,119 adults last month, found that the gap grew even wider for both men and woman who were 18 to 34 years old. For woman, the percentage of those willing to skip the sheets in favor of the Web rose to 49 percent, while it climbed to 39 percent for men. And for women 35 to 44 years old, the figure jumped to 52 percent.

Ridiculous Item of the Day: Marathon Running Is Stupid

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fantasy Sports Ventures (FSV) Building Bob Knight/ Billy Parker Sports Hub

Just because Clark Kellogg's predecessor, Billy Packer, won't be calling games for CBS this year doesn't mean he won't remain connected to the NCAA Tournament. Fantasy Sports Ventures (FSV) will feature Packer and legendary coach Bob Knight on a new website that will launch in mid-February. The site, which will be accessible through FSV's portal site,, will offer a bracket game, plus analysis, blogs, interviews, video and other features from Packer and Knight. to Stream SEC Basketball Games Live

For years, the number of less-than-marquee sports events appearing in webcasts has been huge. But 2008 has been a turning point for simulcasts of big-time events, including the Olympics and NFL games, appearing online as broadcasters are getting over worries of cannibalizing their TV audiences. The latest: will Thursday announce free online simulcasts of CBS' TV coverage of 11 Southeastern Conference basketball games, starting with Indiana-Kentucky on Saturday. The website carried simulcasts of CBS' SEC football games. And while's general manager, Jason Kint, won't reveal viewer numbers, he said "tens of thousands" logged on for some games. He notes online numbers are smaller, compared to TV, even more so than with NCAA basketball simulcasts. That's understandable given that, with football games on Saturdays, you don't get people watching just because they're stuck at work. But the upside to that: Because people don't have to log off because some pesky boss is prowling around, they stayed longer for football webcasts, averaging, Kint says, about 70 minutes.

IMG's Digital Media Unit Ceases Operation

IMG's Digital Media Unit next week will cease operation as a separate entity and will be realigned into other IMG business units, a move that will result in the layoff of approximately 80 Digital Media staffers. “This is in no way a retreat from the digital business,” says IMG spokesman Jim Gallagher. “It is a plan to enlarge and improve our digital offerings.” Under the transition plan, Oliver Gers, IMG’s head of Digital Media, will stay on board through January and assist with the transition. Donna North, IMG SVP and head of EMEA Digital, will leave IMG. “After studying the company structure, the conclusion was that the business could be more effective if the pieces resided within IMG’s core business group,” says Gallagher. IMG’s digital production business will be integrated into the Sports Media Production business. IMG’s digital-content-creation business will be tied to the respective content rightsholder within IMG, and the IMG Website services will still support clients, although a third-party technology partner will take over delivery of those sites. David Shield, IMG Media, SVP, director of engineering and technology, will assist in finding that partner and managing the relationship. “For our customers, this will be a seamless transition and will not have an impact, although we expect to improve our services,” says Gallagher.

Could the stars be aligning for a Google-N.Y. Times merger?

As the New York Times Co. is negotiating with lenders over its debt, speculation has been floating around the blogosphere, pushing the premise that Google Inc. should acquire the beleaguered Gray Lady. The thesis (or, rumor, as some would put it) has been around since the beginning of the year, with SpliceToday on Thursday reintroducing the idea of the unorthodox union of the stalwart of old media with the scion of new media. For one, John Ellis at RealClear Markets said earlier this year the Sulzbergers would run into the arms of Google to avoid any takeover from Rupert Murdoch, who reportedly covets the Times. Meanwhile, cash-flush Google reportedly would be able to scoop up the Times, which includes prime New York real estate, for $4 billion or possibly less in this declining market. Ellis argues the addition would make sense for Google because it would be able to "make money repurposing the cultural and culinary coverage, to pick just two categories, of the New York Times, across both its Internet and mobile platforms."

National Lampoon Buys T-Shirt Seller

The recession isn’t slowing down National Lampoon’s acquisition binge: the humor site is getting into e-commerce with the purchase of Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The apparel maker aims its t-shirts and merchandise at college students, and explains its ethos on its site: “We enjoy the finer things in life… corner taverns, fist fights, Cinemax, Slim Jims...” It will now be the official maker of National Lampoon’s branded merch.

Is the New Black-Person Specific Web Browser Racist, or Niche Marketing ?

The release of Blackbird, an African American focused web browser sparked quite a bit of controversy this past week. The TechCrunch post about it elicited reactions from both sides of the aisle (it has 275 comments and counting). Some argued for the value of niche audiences while others debated that the idea of a Black browser is in and of itself separatism, racist even.

Google Chrome Out of Beta

Google vice president Marissa Mayer announced Google Chrome is coming out of beta in an interview with Michael Arrington at Le Web 08. The Google’s open source browser has a number of eager customers, including OEMs who can’t offer the browser until it is in full release. Chrome’s Windows client has been in beta since its roll out 3 months ago, and with the new move will likely spur bundling with Google Toolbar and Google Apps. Chrome’s official release comes at a time when Google is accelerating efforts to redefine the browser around open Web standards while adding rich media and secure code extensions. Google’s open source Native Client project is just one possible future for the Chrome platform, where applications can run in a browser but incorporate native code modules. For example, this would allow developers to perform image processing on the local client without requiring round trips to the server.

NY Times Launches Customized Widgets

First, launched an "alternative" home page, Times Extra. Then it introduced a new celebrity-driven ad campaign. Continuing a busy week, the site has launched Times Widgets in beta. The new online platform that gives users the ability to create customized widgets using the Gray Lady's more than 10,000 RSS feeds. Users can now create customized widgets to embed on their own Web sites, blogs, customizable home pages and social networking pages. Times Widgets can be created from section-specific RSS feeds such as Business, Health and Sports, and from Times Topic pages RSS feeds, such as Barack Obama, India and the Treasury Department.

;-) Trademarked in Russia

A series of punctuation marks used to convey a wink in text messages - known as an emoticon - has been trademarked in Russia, says a local businessman. Entrepreneur Oleg Teterin said the trademark for the ;-) emoticon was granted to him by Russia's federal patent agency. But critics doubt the trademark's legal basis as the emoticon has been in the public domain for years. Mr Teterin said he would chase firms using the symbol without permission. "I want to highlight that this is only directed at corporations, companies that are trying to make a profit without the permission of the trademark holder," Mr Teterin said in comments on the Russian TV channel, NTV.

Newborn Babies Messaging on Twitter

Who would've thought that the Twitter scourge would actually make its way to the unborn in the form of Kickbee? This strapped-on set of piezo sensors are able to monitor the baby, sending wireless updates to Twitter so that expectant parents are able to show off to the rest of the world how their little unborn child is doing. Apparently, the Kickbee feature an Arduino that supposedly interprets the input while transmitting them using Bluetooth to a nearby computer that will eventually send out Twitter updates. The sensors are currently very sensitive at this point in time, although it is being worked on. Guess there is no privacy these days, not even when you're in the womb, eh?

Ridiculous Item of the Day: Michael Wilbon Marriage Advice for Candace Parker and Sheldon Williams

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dallas Mavericks Launch Tune-in Text Message Promotion

Watching the myriad skills of Dirk Nowitski aside, fans now have an incentive to follow the Dallas Mavericks on Fox Sports Southwest. The regional sports network and Mark Cuban’s NBA franchise are teaming with mobile marketing proponent Vibes on a fan loyalty program rewarding viewers for checking out the games on the small screen. Called "Mavericks Fox Watch," the text-to-win program is based on a points system that allows fans watching games on FS Southwest to accumulate credits that can be redeemed for such nightly and monthly prizes as player autographed memorabilia, an invitation to a private meet-and-greet reception with a Mavericks player and an opportunity to win courtside tickets and watch a game in a luxury suite with a friend. Mavs’ mavens can sign up for the program online at powered by Vibes. Upon registration, they can start accumulating points by watching Mavericks games on the RSN, where a different keyword will be revealed during each telecast that fans can text to 46287 (4MAVS) or can enter at to receive Mavericks Fox Watch points. Mavericks fans attending home games at the American Airlines Center also will be given that night’s keyword on the Jumbotron and will be allowed to participate.

Chinese Football Site World Sports Network Gets Funding

World Sports Network, a network of football sites out of China, has received an undisclosed amount of funding from Valhalla Investments. The company, based in Shangai, has two sites: English language one at and Chinese at These sites are focused towards the Asian markets, though the coverage is global, and WSN will use the funding to further develop its content and initiate coverage of additional sports leagues such as the NBA.

AOL Sports FanHouse Builds E-Commerce Site

AOL Sports has partnered with sports memorabilia retailer Dreams Inc. to launch FanHouse Fan Shop, an e-commerce hub centered around sports merchandise and collectibles. The new e-commerce store is housed within FanHouse, AOL’s two-year-old sports blog. At, visitors can purchase jerseys, sweatshirts, hats and the like from the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball League and NASCAR, among other leagues. Down the road, the two companies plan to co-host autograph sessions on FanHouse, featuring sports greats peddling signed memorabilia. FanHouse plans to stream live footage of these sessions. Launches New Mobile NBA Game, a long-established value-added telecom service provider in China, lately launched the Dreaming NBA, a mobile phone-oriented Web game, with big fanfare. The company hoped the new hit would help it chart a new path to sales in the mobile phone game market. At the moment, Web games and mobile phone games have been gaining popularity in China. Unlike traditional games, Dreaming NBA is dependent on instant sport games. Players can get initial operation capital after they register as team managers. And the game is tied up with the real NBA games. will grand prizes to winners after each round of games. On top of that, players can establish their own teams and join competition among players. Experts and game players are bullish on the new game for its innovative playing mode and they believe that the new game will make a hit.

Turner Sells PlayOn Sports

Turner which has surprisingly been scaling back some of its original online efforts, has now sold off its online sports site services provider PlayOn Sports to a new Atlanta-based company called 2080 Media. The company is focused on production and distribution of broadband content, and former Turner Broadcasting System exec David Rudolph, who launched Turner South, is the CEO. PlayOn Sports will continue operating under its current name. PlayOn Sports will now focus on collegiate and high-school sports markets, providing tech for live and on-demand webcasts. It will compete against the likes of XOS Technologies (now part of JumpTV) and many others in this space. As part of this transaction, Turner now owns an equity stake in the new company. Also, 2080 has raised its first round of funding led by Imlay Investments and included Buckhead Investment Partners and Noro-Moseley Partners.

Facebook Closing The Gap With MySpace In The U.S.

Facebook is quickly closing the gap in U.S. usage v. MySpace. Facebook became the largest worldwide social network last April, when they overtook MySpace. MySpace continues to dominate in the U.S., with 75 million monthly visitors (Comscore). A year ago Facebook had just 35 million monthly U.S. visitors, compared to MySpace’s 69 million, meaning MySpace was about twice the size of Facebook in the U.S. Two months ago Facebook had risen to just 40 million users, and MySpace had grown to 75 million, so the ratio was still hovering around 50% (53% to be exact). But in the last two months Facebook has added nearly 10 million monthly U.S. users, surging to 50 million U.S. visitors in November. MySpace has stayed steady, but the Facebook is now 2/3 the size of MySpace in the U.S. If Facebook’s growth rate v. MySpace in the U.S. continues, they’ll overtake them sometime next year.

New Music Site Lets Users Resell MP3s: The music industry's new battleground?

A new digital music service is getting lots of attention for proposing to help consumers sell their used MP3s in much the same way people once unloaded second-hand albums. opaboo has generated splashy headlines recently for coming up with what on the surface seems like a good idea. Music fans have always exercised their first-sale rights, which under copyright law, allows them to sell their unwanted CDs, tapes, and albums without permission from the copyright owner. Why can't they do the same with digital music? But there are dramatic differences between physical and digital medias. For this reason, Washington, D.C.-based Bopaboo appears to be careening toward a head-on collision with the recording industry. According to Bopaboo CEO Alex Meshkin, he will soon meet with executives from the major labels and execs there will no doubt ask why they shouldn't set their attorneys loose on the service. They may also inquire about controversy that dogged a then 23-year-old Meshkin when he was owner of Toyota's NASCAR team. As for the legal questions involved with MP3 resales, Meshkin, 28, argues that the law allows consumers to sell digital media files in the same way they do physical media.

Beck's Beer Tries Blogging

Belly flopping, Val Klimer and the world's largest potato are just a few items posted at today. This is all part of "The Daily Different," a new blog created by the imported beer maker. The brand interviewed more than 1,000 people to find the right personality. It picked British standup comedian Darius Davies from London to serve as the voice of the brand. The effort ties into Beck's overall brand positioning of "Different by Choice" created by Euro RSCG 4D, Amsterdam. Jorge Inda Meza, global marketing manager for Beck's, said the goal of the blog is to create "relevant and entertaining content that's not about beer in online places that are frequented by the target audience. We fully realize that, in order to make 'The Daily Different' truly engaging, we need to avoid corporate stories and let Darius' control the content on 'Different by Choice' by providing posts that are relevant and of interest to our target audience directly on our main site," To promote the site, Davies also will create a "Daily Different Facebook" page as well as a channel on YouTube.

Gmail Enables SMS Messaging

Gmail has introduced a new feature allowing users to send free SMS messages through its integrated Chat. To activate the feature, visit the Gmail Labs page and scroll down until you see the appropriate listing. To send a message, just type a phone number into the search box at the top of the chat window on the left side of the Gmail interface, and hit ‘Send SMS’. Numbers can be associated with contact names so you don’t have to keep manually entering them. Recipients of these messages can respond by simply hitting ‘reply’ on their cell phones to send their own SMS message (Gmail ties a unique phone number with each of your contacts).

Kindling Offers +/- Digg Like System for Company Ideas

Kindling, the first web product from New York-based design and tech firm Arc90, is looking to help business share ideas more effectively. The site offers a Digg-like system for voting on ideas, allowing team members to hit a ‘+’ or ‘-’ next to each project or idea, with the most popular ones floating to the top. Users can also indicate if they’re going to complete a project, which makes Kindling double as an effective task manager. To help give each vote some significance, Kindling caps the total number of votes that can be submitted by each user (the default is 10, but the administrator can allot more). As projects are completed or ‘fade’ out of the system for not getting enough votes, these points return to the user and can be redistributed. The service is $5 per user, per month, with a flat rate of $99 for non-profit and educational organizations.

Ridiculous Item of the Day: Minnesota Vikings Visanthe Shiancoe Offered Movie Role in "Black Ice"

You realize of course that this was inevitable: A Canoga Park, Calif., adult studio has made an "exclusive performance offer" to Minnesota Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, and already has a specific film project in mind. No word on the offer yet by Shiancoe, the Viking was seen towel-less during post-game Fox TV coverage of their game with the Lions on Sunday. The ensuing media storm soon drew attention from Black Ice, an adult entertainment studio. "From what we’ve seen, there is definitely a career for Visanthe in the adult industry, if he’d like one,” said Black Ice general manager Tony Santoro. “We would welcome an opportunity to align ourselves with a world-class athlete of Viante’s stature." Black Ice publicist Scott Stein said the company is unaware of any morals clause in Shiancoe's contract that would prevent him from accepting a contract with the makers of Bubble Butt Barbecue 2.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ron Artest's New Web Reality Show

Jordan Towers, one of the enterprising gents at World Star Hip-Hop, has hooked up with Rockets forward Ron Artest to create some sort of Internet reality show. The results, albeit long, are something awesome. Highlights include: Artest making fun of his Toyota Sequoia (5:15), popping out his fake front tooth while driving (7:30), struggling to assemble a tent for his daughter — indoors (13:55), recording a new rap song while his nanny cleans around him (17:20), and a hilarious exchange with his son about getting his own shoe deal (20:00).,126836

ESPN Deportes Using Online Fan Voting For Programming Decisions

ESPN Deportes has launched ESPN Deportes Replay, a multimedia campaign that allow fans to make programming choices at the net. Online voting began on the ESPN Deportes Web site on December 3 and will continue through Sunday. The events with the most votes will be aired beginning December 22 through January 7, the date of the net's fifth anniversary (ESPN Deportes). Goes With EveryZing for Video Search Optimization

A Boston area developer of search engine technology is now making millions of sports video clips available daily through a partnership with now uses video search engine optimization software provided by EveryZing, a Cambridge, Mass.-based subsidiary of BBN Technologies, according to a company news release. BBN Technologies is best known for creating the e-mail @ symbol. In the release Andrew Hossom, vice president of marketing for Fox Sports Interactive, said, “EveryZing’s product was easy to integrate and powerful enough to handle our scale in terms of volume of content and users.”

Apps Are the Newest Brand Graveyard, Highlighted by Nike's Ballers Network

Standing before an overflow crowd of the crème de la crème of the advertising world in Cannes this summer, Nike global director of digital media Stefan Olander explained how the brand saw its mission as building community through applications. He highlighted a new initiative: the Ballers Network, a robust Facebook application built by digital shop R/GA for basketball players to find games and manage leagues. On its Web site, Nike promises it will "revolutionize the way players around the world connect online and compete on the court." Six months later, Nike is confronting a dilemma familiar to many brands that charged headlong onto Facebook: very few people use Ballers Network. Despite its global ambitions and support in three languages, the application has a mere 3,400 users per month. According to Nike, it's still testing the application. Brands, in general, have found Facebook unforgiving terrain for marketing. It's well known, for instance, that banner ads perform poorly on the site. (A recent IDC report called advertising on social networks "stillborn.") But the Facebook Platform, launched 18 months ago -- which lets developers create social applications for users -- was thought to offer the perfect opportunity to move beyond banners to provide "branded utility." So far, however, Facebook apps from brands like Coca-Cola, Champion, Ford and Microsoft are as popular as desolate Second Life islands. Is the Kayak of Music Concert Ticketing

The new company LiveKick can be best described as the Kayak of music concert ticketing. The service helps users discover live concerts in their geographic vicinity and purchase the cheapest available tickets. Setting-up LiveKick is a two step process, the first being indicating your location (US only), the second being adding your favorite artists. There are three ways to do this: Manually (artist-by-artist), linking to one of the five supported online music services (Rhapsody,, Pandora, MySpace Music, iLike), or uploading an iTunes Music Library File. This is where LiveKick’s under the hood technologies start kicking-in, beginning with its live concerts search engine that continuously queries ticketing sites such as Ticketmaster, LiveNation, StubHub, and eBay, as well as user-generated content sites such as MySpace Music. The Livekick search engine performs daily updates of ticket pricing info for the 69,000+ concerts that it tracks in the US.

AOL Relaunching Bebo With More Cross-Utilization

So what do Bebo users get for the $850 million AOL (NYSE: TWX) shelled out for the social site? Easier Yahoo Mail access, for one. Bebo is today launching Social Inbox, a social feed and email aggregator that brings access to services including Twitter, Flickr,, AIM, YouTube, Gmail, Yahoo! (NSDQ: YHOO) Mail and AOL Mail, all from within the Bebo site. It’s basically the injection in to Bebo of SocialThing, the little FriendFeed-type aggregator AOL bought in August and which has come under former Bebo president Joanna Shields’ newly widened remit as AOL People Networks president; and it certainly helps unify communication options at a time when our social memberships are fragmenting. But the main beneficiaries are users of Bebo, rather than AOL, and its true to say that, technologically speaking, this could have been accomplished pretty easily without Bebo being absorbed by AOL. Other additions today… Nine months after the acquisition, Bebo is also letting users log in with just their AOL/AIM screen names. And it’s starting to make video recommendations from its Open Media platform, which has over 500 broadcast partners; users will get recommendations based on their profile preferences, friends’ viewing habits and what unknown but similar people are liking.

TiVo Adds "Pause Menu", Advertisements While Users Pause Recordings

Digital video recorder (DVR) supplier TiVo is offering advertisers a new way to reach TiVo subscribers, who are prone to fast-forwarding through standard 30-second spots as they consume time-shifted programming. TiVo’s newest interactive advertising product, called “Pause Menu,” allows clickable, promotional graphics to be placed on the TV screen when a TiVo user pauses a live or timeshifted program. The first advertisers to use Pause Menu to deliver targeted product messages are Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, which is using it to promote its release today of the “Dr Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who” DVD and Blu-ray disc, and automaker Mercedes-Benz USA, which plans to use the feature early next year to help promote its new GLK SUV to football viewers.

Google Book Search Expands To Magazines

Having finally settled with book publishers about scanning and indexing hundreds of thousands of books, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has set its sights on another print medium—magazines. Announced today via a blog post, Google is partnering with publishers like Hearst, Johnson Publishing, Emmis Publishing and New York Media to bring a bunch of magazine archives and current issues online. It’s the formal start of an initiative that has been in the works for a while, as there are currently more than a million articles available from titles like Men’s Health, Atlanta Magazine, Ebony and New York Magazine, with new ones being added continuously. Users search through the articles—complete with vintage ad spreads—via Google Book Search, though magazine results will eventually show up in general searches on Google is running sponsored links against the articles, and a spokesperson said that publishers get a cut of the revenue. With magazines folding, downsizing and taking financial and editorial hits left and right, any new revenue source seems like a good thing.

Sony to Launch Home Virtual World for PlayStation 3 on Dec. 11

Sony will launch its much-anticipated virtual world, Home, for the PlayStation 3 on Dec. 11. The service will still be in beta testing but it will now be freely available to all 16 million-plus PS 3 users. The Home experience, which resembles Linden Lab’s Second Life, is meant to draw all sorts of new users together into the world of the PS 3 and to unite users in a social network where they can talk about, buy and play games together.

HP to Offer 3-Year Laptop Battery

A fast-charging laptop battery that promises to last at least three years without any degradation in performance is coming to the market as an option with Hewlett-Packard laptops. The Sonata battery is the product of three years of development work by Boston-Power and will be rebranded by HP as the "Enviro" battery and offered from early 2009 with select machines. A fast-charging laptop battery that promises to last at least three years without any degradation in performance is coming to the market as an option with Hewlett-Packard laptops. The Sonata battery is the product of three years of development work by Boston-Power and will be rebranded by HP as the "Enviro" battery and offered from early 2009 with select machines.

Forget Birthday Gifts, Give Friends and Family Bar Tab Credits

Virtual gifts are fun, but for the most part they’re a novelty - not something I’d ever actually give to a good friend in honor of a birthday or accomplishment. Give Real, a new startup launching today in public beta, is looking to help friends send each other something a little more enjoyable. The site allows friends to send each other what amounts to a drink tab up to $99 from any restaurant or bar, using credits that can be tied to their credit cards (it also offers a Facebook app with similar functionality).

Ridiculous Item of the Day: If Steve Young Was Still a Quarterback, and the Cup Was a Defensive Linemen

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Reebok Holding Online/Txt Message "Lost" Contest for Winter Classic

Reebok is mounting a watch-and-win promotion during NBC’s telecast of the NHL’s Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, when the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings play the Chicago Blackhawks outdoors at Wrigley Field. The “Lost Logo Challenge” asks TV viewers and the 40,000 expected at the game to find the lone NHL player without a Reebok logo on his jersey. TV viewers can enter the challenge online, while attendees will be given Reebok and Winter Classic branded binoculars and be able to text in their entries. All entrants naming the correct player will be entered into a random drawing, with two winners receiving trips to the Stanley Cup Finals for four. Non-winning entrants get discounts on Reebok merchandise. It’s no coincidence that Reebok wants to draw attention to the jerseys, as both teams will debut retro uniforms from Reebok at the game. The Blackhawks will wear jerseys first seen in 1935, while the Red Wings will don sweaters from 1926. The size of the Winter Classic merchandise selection, much of it from Reebok, has doubled this year, and includes outerwear, fleece, caps, gloves and scarves. It will be largely available online and in the Detroit and Chicago markets. Free Online Poker with Real Money Prizes started in response to a recent law Unlawful Internet Gambling
Enforcement Act which made it illegal to use any online betting or gambling site that you could deposit money into, effectively shutting down all such sites which existed at that time. is just one of many places on the internet where you can play online Poker with other people. What makes this site unique is that it’s actually legal. The way the site works is simple you get 100 chips to start out with for free (the money value of that is dependent on the community pot). The community pot is equal to the total revenue the site has made. You play poker like you would at any other online casino. When your balance gets high enough ($10), you have the option of cashing out for real money. All ad money from this site goes into a community bank account. Your chip percentage determines how much of this money you have access to. Your percentage is your chip amount divided by the total chips in circulation. Any time your percentage translates into you being entitled to more than $10, you are able to cash out.

MySpace to Launch MySpace Toolbar

The company will be announcing the launch of MySpace Toolbar for Internet Explorer and Firefox. For now only Windows users will be able to run MySpace Toolbar - a Mac version is promised soon. The toolbar will effectivey let MySpace users stay logged in constantly, whether they are on the site or not. Authentication and data transfers are accomplished entirely through publicly available APIs and products, collectively known as the MySpace Open Platform. Toolbar users will automatically log in to MySpace when they open the browser. They will also see a stream of MySpace data, including notifications, friend activity, and mood and status for themelves and their friends. The toolbar will also include a Google-powered bar to search the web and MySpace.

Pulitzer Prize To Add Online To its Awards

Finally, online exists for the Pulitzer Prizes: the venerated journalism award, has added online-only outlets as “accepted” organizations that can submit their entries for consideration. This also means newspapers can submit their online-only work as well. But for now, this is only restricted to “text-based” submissions, meaning no online video documentary will be considered. From the award committee: these online outlets should publish at least weekly, “are primarily dedicated to original news reporting, are dedicated to coverage of ongoing stories and that adhere to the highest journalistic principles.” Does that mean someone like HuffingtonPost will qualify? Also, likely Politico will win something this year… In addition, news orgs will now be able to submit online content in all 14 journalism categories, as opposed to before.

Obama: “It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption”

The 21st Century Tech President said Saturday morning that the U.S. will launch new investments in its infrastructure - including a boost of broadband accessibility - as part of a larger strategy to revitalize the economy and create jobs. Specifically, President-elect Barack Obama said broadband connections need to be made widely available to school children and hospitals. Hospitals should be able to connect to each other via the Internet.