For the past few months, Twitter has been routing links within Direct Messages through its own link service and wrapping them with a twt.tl URL. By doing so, Twitter has been able to blacklist malicious links, and now the microblogging service wants to extend this functionality to all tweets.
Not just for security reasons, Twitter also recognizes that there isn't yet a way to automatically shorten URLs, leaving it up to users to manage long links on their own with third party services like TinyURL and Bit.ly.
"To meet both of these goals, we're taking small steps to expand the link service currently available in Direct Messages to links shared through all tweets," Twitter stated in a blog post. "We're testing this link service now with a few Twitter employee accounts."
Twitter said it will roll out the service to non-employees later this summer. When it does, long links will be shortened and wrapped with http://t.co/____.
How would you feel about a 3 percent tax on monthly cell phone bills to help newspapers and traditional journalism? If that doesn't sound appealing, you're not alone - some 84 percent of Americans oppose such a tax, according to a new Rasmussen Report.
In fact, Americans don't like any of the tax ideas the FTC has proposed. The above cell phone levy is just one of many proposed taxes designed to help keep privately owned newspapers from shutting up shop. The FTC has also suggested a tax on the purchase of electronic goods, like computers, ebook readers, and tablets. Not surprisingly, some 76 percent of those polled in a national telephone survey are against the idea.
Yet another idea being tossed about is to tax certain websites, like the Drudge Report, in order to help the newspapers that they draw their headlines from. This too is being met with public opposition, this time to the tune of 74 percent.
The concern on the part of the FTC is that offline newspapers are having a tough time staying afloat, yet most Americans view local newspapers as more reliable than online news sources. Nevertheless, about 58 percent of Americans said they were confident that other news sources would fill in the gap should traditional papers go out of business.
Give Facebook credit, the site has built somewhat of an empire in the social networking space, and it continues to conquer new territories. The latest to welcome Facebook into its kingdom is Yahoo, which today announced plans to integrate the social networking service globally across more than 15 of its sites.
"More and more, people rely on social sites to share and discover information that matters to them, making Yahoo! uniquely positioned to provide people with all of the mainstream methods of content discovery - social, search, communications, and editorial," said Cody Simms, senior director of Social Platforms and Yahoo! Developer Network (YDN) at Yahoo!. "Starting with Facebook, we are bringing all of these elements together to give people one simple, trusted place to share information and connect. We think this offers great benefit to people across the web, and it's key to helping Yahoo! extend our reach and increase engagement."
Users of both Yahoo and Facebook are now able to link their accounts and view/share updates with friends across both networks. And if you choose to connect your accounts, you can view your Facebook News Feed on the Yahoo homepage, Yahoo Mail, and several other Yahoo portals.
The majority of web using adults have browsed and watched videos online, and according to a new survey released this week, most of those users would rather get their laugh on than watch news clips.
Half of all adults in the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project said they have viewed comedy videos online, a significant jump from 31 percent in 2007. Meanwhile, 43 percent said they have viewed news clip on the Internet, up from 37 percent. That means comedy clips have eclipsed news clips as the most popular videos online.
Interestingly, only about one in 10 video watchers, or 7 percent of all Internet users, said they've paid to watch or download a video, although that number's up from 4 percent in 2007.
"We are seeing a surge in online video watching," said Kristen Purcell, a Pew associate director for research. "Untold numbers of websites now showcase online video as part of their content."
The irony here is so thick we could cut it with a chainsaw. What are we talking about? Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the duo responsible for the former P2P app Kazaa that, let's face it, was never really used to download Linux distros and instead was the tool of choice for illicit downloaders, are stepping back on the digital music stage and launching a new startup called "Rdio."
Taking a page from Napster, Rdio is a legit service and will charge $5 to $10 a month for "unlimited access to music from your computer and mobile phone, even when you're offline." There will be apps for different smartphones, including iPhones, BlackBerry phones, and Android-based phones, and if you shell out the full $10, you'll be able to store and stream songs on these and perhaps other mobile devices.
According to The New York Times, Rdio will open this week as an invitation-only preview, and then become more widely available later this year, joining a sea of other subscription music services. Where Rdio will attempt to set itself apart is in its social element, giving users the ability to follow friends on the site, see what songs they're listening to, and view a list of the most popular music on your friends list.
Did you know that 12 percent of all websites are pornographic? Were you aware that every second of every day there are 28,258 Internet users viewing porn? In the U.S. alone, Internet porn is a $2.84 billion per year business, and $4.9 billion worldwide. It's all true, says Online MBA, a self-described "business education blog, made up of a few business-minded friends."
"Our blog is dedicated to help guide soon-to-be college graduates and business professionals navigate through the pitfalls of the business world by providing valuable resources and tips from our own background, as well as advice from some of the leaders in various industries," Online MBA writes. "In this modern age where information is abundantly available and knowledge has become a commodity, we wanted to provide a casual atmosphere for people to come and be informed, and at times, entertained while reading and learning about business."
Part of that apparently entails researching online pornography and breaking it down into a numbers game. For example, the average porn site visit lasts 6 minutes and 29 seconds, while the least popular day for romping around the sultry side of the web is on Thanksgiving. And the most popular day of the week? Sunday.
Need to know more? Print out this handy cheat sheet and wow your friends with these facts at your next dinner party.
In a new reported titled "A Landscape View of Online Software Purchasing 2010," the NPD group says that nearly two-thirds of all online software purchases in 2010 where digital downloads, up slightly from 2009. Digital downloads accounted for 23 percent of online purchases, compared to 22 percent one year ago. Online subscription renewals accounted for 34 percent, while trial-to-paid conversions accounted for 8 percent, NPD said.
"Consumers are willing to put their trust in an online purchase, but they still have some reservations about where that purchase comes from and how much they pay," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. "Security software, one of the largest online categories, has a lot of direct sales but third party sales are growing faster. Consumers feel that they are getting better deals and a better selection from third party retailers than from manufacturers directly."
Most of the online subscriptions were for security products, though NPD notes that there has been "considerable resistance to auto-renewals." Just 5 percent of consumers were comfortable letting merchants automatically renew subscriptions, with unsolicited marketing ranking as the No. 1 reason why.
Lordy. It's hard to spend but a week surfing the Internet without seeing a group of people getting caught up in a situation that they've volunteered themselves into. And it would be remiss of me to go a single sentence further without mentioning the latest elephant in the room--Facebook.
I can't log into Facebook without seeing a growing number of my friends joining those silly little, "Facebook is opening up my entire life and I wish it was like it was back in 2005" groups/fan pages/whatever we're calling them now. But Dave's Comrades aren't the only ones joining in on the fun--tech pundits Jason Calacanis and Peter Rojas, amongst others, are nuking their accounts in protest as well! It's a Facebook meltdown!
Unlike the open-source world, where the concept of "something for nothing" is pretty widely understood and accepted--even by those that just download away and never contribute a single iota of code or absent thought to an application's development--the general Internet populace seems pretty peeved at an otherwise free service's attempts to branch out its offerings. This, in turn, leads to a stronger advertising platform and/or additional service expansions, but mainly the former. Facebook ain't charity, after all--the company has human overhead and server costs, to name a few, and it's not as if every status update magically conjures up a shiny nickel for Mark Zuckerberg.
It looks like the New York Times is serious about charging for online content. The paper's editor in chief Bill Keller has discussed his plans to adopt a metered model for online content. The plan would only charge so-called heavy users of the website. Most people would be allowed to go on through to the content without paying. However, subscribers to the print edition will get access to the website at no additional charge. The changes will go into effect in January.
Keller prefers this system as it is less restrictive than a traditional "pay wall" model. "Under our metered model, basically people who use Nytimes.com as their newspaper, who read a lot and depend on it, will be asked to pay a small subscription price,” said Keller. The plan will also make some of the most popular content available freely to everyone in order to drive traffic and encourage subscriptions.
Do you think it can work? We imagine they will be tracking users via IP addresses and that could be easy to spoof. The Wall Street Journal makes quite a bit selling an online subscription, but their content is mainly aimed at business people with expense accounts. Do you read more than a few articles per month on the Times' website?
It's no secret that game publishers and developers typically aren't very fond of GameStop and the used game business in general, but rather than sit around and complain about it, it looks like Electronic Arts has finally found a way to cash in on second-hand titles. Starting in June, EA will block players who buy used copies of sports titles out of online multiplayer.
"It's quite simple -- every game will come with a game-specific, one-time use registration code with each unit sold new at retail," EA explains. "With your Online Pass, you'll have access to multiplayer online play, group features like only dynasty and leagues, user created content, and bonus downloadable content for your game including, for example, a new driver in Tiger."
If you pick up or rent a game where the code has already been registered, you'll be given a 7-day trial, after which time you can choose to purchase a $10 pass. The Online Pass will give online access to multiple users logged into the console where the it was first activated, so on the plus side, you won't need to fork over $10 for every gamer in your household.
"This is an important inflection point in our business because it allows us to accelerate our commitment to enhance premium online services to the entire robust EA SPORTS online community," EA said.