header image

Categories

YouTube founders’

Delicious new venture

April 28, 2011 – 11:39AM

Yahoo! has sold Delicious to YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, who promised to continue and grow the popular social bookmarking site.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Hurley and Chen, who sold YouTube to Google for $US1.65 billion in 2006, said they planned to integrate Delicious with their new San Mateo, California-based internet company AVOS.

“We’re excited to work with this fantastic community and take Delicious to the next level,” AVOS chief executive Hurley said in a statement.

“We see a tremendous opportunity to simplify the way users save and share content they discover anywhere on the web,” Hurley said.

The YouTube co-founders said they would seek to use Delicious to “develop innovative features to help solve the problem of information overload.”

“We see this problem not just in the world of video, but also cutting across every information-intensive media type,” Chen said.

Yahoo! said it will continue to operate Delicious until July, when users will transitioned over to AVOS.

Yahoo! said the sale of Delicious was part of a product strategy that “involves shifting our investment with off-strategy products to put better focus on our core strengths and fund new innovation.”

“We believe this is the right move for the service, our users and our shareholders and look forward to watching the Delicious technology develop,” Yahoo! said.

Delicious, which has millions of users around the world, was launched in 2003 and bought by Yahoo! in 2005.

AFP   Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Facebook investors heading

for the exits as value hits $70bn

April 28, 2011 – 10:19AM

A group of Facebook shareholders is seeking to offload $US1 billion worth of shares on the secondary market, a sale that would value the company at more than $US70 billion, according to five sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

It would represent one of the largest transactions of Facebook shares to date and points to a growing wariness among early-stage investors and employees who fear Facebook’s growth cannot keep pace with its market valuation.

The sellers have lowered their price after previously trying to offload shares at a price that valued the company at $US90 billion, which would make Facebook more valuable than Time Warner and News Corp combined. But buyers balked.

“At the current valuation where it is, it is really hard to justify the investment,” said Sumeet Jain, partner at venture capital firm CMEA Capital, who has examined Facebook deals recently and has taken a pass. “It’s hard to imagine it will turn into a $US270 billion company in the next few years.”

The current deal, which includes stock held by Facebook employees, is awaiting approval from top Facebook executives including Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman, according to two sources.

Facebook declined to comment.

Investors, ranging from venture capital firms to rich individuals to investment banks, have scrambled to get a piece of the privately held company before its expected IPO next year.

Facebook raised $US500 million from Goldman Sachs Group, and Russia’s Digital Sky Technologies, for instance, giving it a market value of $US50 billion. Weeks later, private equity firm General Atlantic piled into the company, valuing it at $US65 billion, according to CNBC.

Tim Draper, the well known venture capital partner who founded Draper Fisher Jurvetson, told Reuters this month he recently looked at buying shares of Facebook deals, but passed because of an unattractive valuation.

One wealthy person, who has fielded calls for the past month involving Facebook pitches in the range of $US200 million to $US1 billion, is also sitting on the sidelines.

“It’s priced to perfection in the private marketplace,” said the person, who did not want to be named. The person said the pitches implied a valuation of $US90 billion. “I don’t like to own anything I can’t sell right now.”

Created in a Harvard University dorm room in 2004, Facebook rocketed from an online directory created for college students to the world’s No. 1 social network with more than 500 million members worldwide.

The company’s astounding growth and popularity have put some of the internet’s biggest guns on notice – including Google – and have made it the darling of investors seeking to stake out claims in private companies before they go public.

Facebook, the world’s No. 1 internet social network, earned $US355 million in net income in the first nine months of 2010 on revenue of $US1.2 billion.

It is one of a handful of internet companies including Twitter, Groupon and Zynga whose soaring valuations recall the heady days of the late 1990s.

It is questionable whether new investors would realize the exponential growth that early-stage investors got in Facebook, said Oppenheimer & Co managing director Stephen Todd Walker.

That’s particularly true, he said, as the company faces more competition abroad from social networking sites like China’s Renren Inc, which is expected to go public next week.

“For Facebook, the larger you get, the harder it is to have that explosive growth,” said Walker.

Nonetheless, an array of investors has piled into Facebook. Mutual fund giant T. Rowe Price recently disclosed that several of its funds owned stakes in Facebook, valuing the company at $US25 per share, which implies a valuation of $US50 billion.

Yet one hedge fund manager who passed on smaller Facebook deals recently said that, for him, the opportunity to get in on the action had passed.

“By the time T. Rowe Price is investing,” he said, “you know it’s too late.”

Reuters

Sourced & [published by Henry Sapiecha

DFAT advice to daughter

of dying man:

Use Facebook to source funds

BY HENRIETTA COOK
28 Apr, 2011 06:57 AM

Foreign Affairs officials told the daughter of a dying Australian man stranded in China to use Facebook to raise money for her father’s medical expenses.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade bureaucrat included the suggestion in an email advising Canberra woman Tracy Woolley that the Federal Government would not help with her stricken father’s plight.

Ms Woolley’s father Thomas Barry Moore, a former air force serviceman, has been in a coma in a Chinese hospital for 118 days after suffering a stroke on December 31 in Zhengzhou in north-central China.

Ms Woolley contacted DFAT on January 4 asking for help because she could not afford to visit her father or cover the estimated $160,000 for his repatriation to Australia.

When it became apparent MrMoore was likely to remain in a vegetative state, she asked doctors to turn off his life support but was told ethical concerns prevented them.

Ms Woolley is currently sending the hospital $770 a week to keep her father alive but said she could not afford to meet these payments beyond next month.

On March 4, an official from the consular operations branch of DFAT sent Ms Woolley an email suggesting she collect money to cover medical expenses from online ”friends” who had joined a Facebook ”causes” page she created for her father.

”Perhaps [use] your friends on the social networking site you are using to alert people to your father’s plight may also be able to provide funds to further extend your father’s care,” the email said.

Earlier in the email he wrote, ”despite our best intentions and our embassy speaking with the hospital and Mr Zhang on many occasions, there is no further action we can take to improve your father’s situation.”

DFAT has not shifted its stance on Mr Moore since The Canberra Times broke the story of the man’s plight on Tuesday. The department now says Ms Woolley never made a request for financial assistance, despite emails revealing otherwise. A DFAT spokeswoman said financial assistance for medical evacuations was only provided in special situations. She said these were limited to, ”medical evacuations where medical facilities are inadequate to treat their condition satisfactorily or their condition is so severe there is no time to consider other funding sources”.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs said while she couldn’t comment on Mr Moore’s case for ”privacy reasons”, veterans who travelled overseas should take out insurance.

Ms Woolley said her father had funeral insurance and was covered for six weeks of medical care, excluding repatriation, by the Henan University of Technology, the place where he had worked for two years as an English teacher. Ms Woolley said her father was unable to take out travel insurance because he had lived overseas for more than a year.

RSL NSW offered to pay for airfares to help Ms Woolley travel to China but she asked that the money be allocated to his medical expenses instead. ”I said that was very nice but I need more than that. My father would never have wanted what is happening to him.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Preteen girls charged

over Facebook sex prank

April 28, 2011 – 6:42AM

Two preteen US girls accused of hacking into a classmate’s Facebook page and posting sexually explicit photos and messages have been charged with cyberstalking and first-degree computer trespassing.

The girls, ages 11 and 12, have been under investigation since the alleged victim’s family contacted Issaquah police in Washington state on March 18, according to the charges filed in King County Juvenile Court. According to the charges, the two defendants used the victim’s password information to post sexually explicit content on her Facebook page.

They also posted messages that indicated the victim was willing to perform sex acts on people.

The defendants instant-messaged some boys to arrange dates where sex acts were to be performed by the victim, according to the charges.

Jon Knight, the stepfather of the 12-year-old alleged victim, said his family is relieved that the case has resulted in criminal charges. He said that he wasn’t taken seriously when he reported the incident to Issaquah police and to staff at Issaquah Middle School.

Knight said his stepdaughter, Leslie Cote, has asked the media to use her name in hopes of bringing attention to the issue of cyberstalking.

Issaquah police were called to the Cote-Knight home on March 18 after Leslie’s mother, Tara Cote, called to report vulgar postings on her daughter’s Facebook page, charges said. A woman who mentored Leslie told the family that she had noticed photos on the page had been changed to show Leslie with “devil’s horns” and with the words “I’m a slut” scrawled across one image, prosecutors said.

The alterations and postings apparently became more vulgar as the night progressed.

Prosecutors said that Leslie had been over at a defendant’s house in early March when she logged into Facebook. Leslie’s password information was somehow stored on the other girl’s computer.

After the girls had a falling out, the defendants hacked into the page “with the intent of embarrassing and tormenting the victim,” Issaquah police Detective Ryan Raulerson wrote in the affidavit of probable cause filed to support the charges.

Sara Niegowski, spokeswoman for the Issaquah School District, said Tuesday the district was not conducting its own investigation into the incident because it did not occur on school property. She said the defendants are still enrolled at Issaquah Middle School.

“This incident happened off-campus, off school time and not related to our school environments. There is no disciplinary action at all. It’s not a school district incident,” Niegowski said.

Niegowski said that the incident has not been a disruption at the school.

“You know what’s a disruption is the media coverage,” she said. “We always look out for the welfare of our students.”

Knight said that his stepdaughter has been granted a restraining order forbidding the defendants from contacting her and barring them from riding her school bus. The three girls are in some of the same classes, Knight said.

On Tuesday, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said, “This case reveals the dark side of social media sites used by young people.”

In a news release, Satterberg wrote: “Many kids think that on a social media site that their actions will be anonymous and that they are free to use it as weapon to bully, harass, and intimidate another person. This case demonstrates that assuming the identity of another person on the Internet with the intent to torment them and expose them to the harassment of others is a crime.”

MCT  


PepsiCo to launch social

vending machine

(Reuters) – PepsiCo Inc is introducing a “social vending” machine that lets users buy each other drinks remotely, further proof that its decades-old rivalry with Coca-Cola Co is going ever-more high tech.

A prototype of the new technology will debut at a trade show this week in Chicago. Coke started testing its Freestyle vending machine, which has a digital touchscreen and can dispense more than 100 flavor combinations, in 2009.

Pepsi’s new system lets users give their friends a beverage gift by entering the recipient’s name, mobile phone number and a personalized text message or video. The gift is delivered with a system code and instructions to redeem it at any similar machine.

“Social Vending extends our consumers’ social networks beyond the confines of their own devices and transforms a static, transaction-oriented experience into something fun and exciting,” said Mikel Durham, an innovation officer at PepsiCo Foodservice.

The system also allows “random acts of refreshment,” or the ability to buy a drink for a stranger, in situations such as sending “a symbol of encouragement to a city that’s experienced some challenging weather or a congratulatory beverage to a university that just won a championship,” PepsiCo said.

Another technological front in the companies’ ongoing battle is recyclable packaging. Pepsi was second to say it could make a recyclable plastic bottle from plant matter, but its bottle will be made from waste products — such as orange peels and oat husks — whereas Coke’s bottle is derived from sugar cane.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller, editing by Maureen Bavdek)

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Visa backs Twitter

co-founder’s mobile venture

LOS ANGELES | Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:57pm EDT

(Reuters) – Visa Inc has thrown its weight behind a mobile payments venture created by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.

The credit-card company has made an unspecified investment in Square, a two-year-old service that helps businesses and consumers pay with credit cards on a mobile phone or Apple Inc iPhone, both companies said in a statement.

In return, a Visa executive gets to sit on the advisory board at Square, which is also backed by Sequoia Capital and Khosla Ventures.

Square’s service employs a miniature magnetic card-reader that plugs into a device, such as an iPhone or Google Android phone. CEO Dorsey in March returned to the microblogging sensation he helped create, taking up the post of executive chairman — in addition to his responsibilities at Square — to oversee product development.

(Reporting by Edwin Chan. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Spy on your kids’ Facebook

without being their friend

April 27, 2011 – 2:03PM

Internet security firm Check Point has launched software that lets parents watch over offspring on Facebook without being “friends” at the online social network.

ZoneAlarm SocialGuard alerts parents to signs of trouble in a child’s Facebook account without them being privy to all posts, comments, pictures, videos or other digital content shared between friends at the website.

The program scans Facebook profiles, communications and “friend” requests and uses algorithms to identify potential bullying, sexual overtures, or talk of drugs, violence or suicide. 

SocialGuard software runs unseen in the background, flagging suspicious activity and sending alerts to parents, according to its Redwood City, California-based creators.

“It’s about protecting your kids from the social threats out there, while still respecting their privacy and fostering open communication,” said Check Point vice president of consumer sales Bari Abdul.

“We are offering Facebook users a simple way to embrace social networking safely,” he continued.

SocialGuard is crafted to detect hacked accounts, malicious links, online predators, and cyber-bullies, according to Check Point.

The software also checks to determine whether people contacting children online are being deceptive about their ages or if a stranger is trying to become a Facebook “friend.”

“Parents are increasingly concerned, and rightfully so, about the dramatically increasing trend of criminals, predators and bullies targeting children over social networks,” said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley.

“SocialGuard provides a strong suite of tools that can effectively protect children from these types of social threats that are keeping parents awake at night.”

Check Point cited a survey indicating that 38 per cent of teenagers have ignored requests from parents to be friends on Facebook, and that 16 per cent of children have only done so as a condition of using the social network.

SocialGuard is available to order online in Australia for $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year. It can be bought from zonealarm.com.

AFP

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Facebook fury: Kate Middletons

locked out of network

April 22, 2011
Prince William and Kate MiddletonPrince William and Kate Middleton 

It’s not easy being Kate Middleton.

The woman who will marry Prince William on April 29 at Westminster Abbey has a face and name known around the world – which is creating some hilarity and a host of problems for the hundreds, if not thousands, of women who share her name.

It’s a global goof: Some colleagues bow when they pass Catherine Middleton in the hallway of the school where she works in Sydney. When people in Pepper Pike, Ohio say they’ve heard she is about to marry a prince, Catherine Argentieri Middleton replies “I already did.”

Royal weddings

From Queen Victoria to Princess Mary, we step through time to study royal bridal fashions past and present.

One Kate Middleton in Birmingham, England, says she does not want to talk about her royal name since she’s “had enough of hearing of it.”

To comprehend the struggles faced by the many women who suddenly found themselves answering to a famous name, take the case of Kate Elizabeth Middleton, a mother of two from Kent, England.

Everywhere she goes, people ask if she’s the real thing – the bride to be, of course, not a teacher living in the English countryside.

Her passport shows her name is Kate Middleton, but thanks to a security glitch, the technology wizards who run Facebook did not believe her. She and her fellow namesakes have had to prove it.

She was born Kate Elizabeth Walker and hadn’t heard of the prince’s romance when she married Mark Middleton on April 17, 2004.

When the royal engagement was announced, Middleton the teacher, 34, changed her Facebook status to “thinking of reverting to her maiden name for a year” because of all the buzz.

“It is just crazy, particularly at the moment,” she said.

Not all the attention has been an inconvenience. Her well-known moniker has led to “fun” television and radio appearances – but the novelty has faded, especially since she was booted off Facebook.

When Middleton tried to log on to Facebook recently from her home, she saw that her account had been disabled by a security system in place to weed out imposters and fraudulent accounts.

She thinks Facebook should have recognised that there are plenty of real Kate Middletons – it is, after all, a fairly common name.

“My status updates aren’t about a lady set to marry a future king,” she said. “Just things that someone with children would do.”

After a certain amount of rigmarole, she convinced Facebook that she was legitimate and had her account reinstated with an apology.

Several other Kate Middletons reported similar experiences.

Facebook executives said some mistakes were inevitable as they tried to keep the social network secure.

Middleton has high hopes that this season of silliness will end once her famous namesake is actually married on April 29.

“Soon she’ll be Princess Catherine or Princess Kate and I can just be plain old Kate Middleton again,” she said.

“Fingers crossed. Otherwise I might cry.”

AP   Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha