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.
By now you've probably noticed that Google has given its search results page a brand new look (our own Ryan Whitwam covered the changes in blog post last week found here), but not everyone is keen on the new design. If you're one of those people, there's a relatively simple fix. All you have to do is change your default search page to this:
It's anyone's guess as to how long this will work, but at least for now, the above URL reverts Google's search results page to the old style, giving you control over when and when not to show advanced options in the left-hand column. In the words of Nick Burns, "You're Welcome!"
You can't get through a discussion about next-generation TV sets without bringing up the topic of 3D, but maybe we have it all wrong. Perhaps we should be talking about Internet-connected TVs instead. Quite frankly, we're a little surprised this hasn't been given more attention already. Nevertheless, ABI Research predicts that by 2013, some 46 percent of flat panel TVs will come with an Ethernet port, up from only 19 percent today.
"New features will include media guides/browsing, Web browsing, and more tightly integrated social and information-based datasets," said industry analyst Michael Inouye.
Internet-connected TVs will also open the door for new ways to advertise and cross-market products.
"TV makers no longer want to build 'dumb screens,'" says Inouye. "Rather than simply selling boxes, TV makers themselves could try to secure part of the revenue generated by ads their devices present."
If you like to shop online, you really have no reason to not save additional money when purchasing, well, anything. That's a pretty generic statement, so let me break things down for you: A number of online retailers (or brick-and-mortar stores with online presences) have tons of deals, coupons, and promotional codes floating around the Web at any given time. These might be geared toward specific audiences; they might be sent out to locations you don't frequent or email addresses that aren't yours.
So how, then, can you save money and access these coupons or promotions when shopping your Firefox Web browser? Well, I'm glad you asked...
To figure out what time it is in a location-that-isn't-yours, you usually have to click through a series of menus in Microsoft Windows' Date and Time screen. And once you're there, you aren't given a very elegant way to select your time zone of choice--heck, Windows 7 doesn't even give you the pretty flat map of the world anymore. You have to pick your time zone, rather boringly, from a small drop-down menu of locations and hour offsets.