As it's turning out, the fight against spam might not be so futile after all. Edward Davidson, who became known as the 'spam king' by sending out millions of falsely labeled emails, found himself behind bars in April, and then more recently, the FTC shut down one of the largest organized spam rings in the world in HerbalKing. And less than two weeks ago, the FTC scored another major win by shutting down a web host thought to be responsible for 75 percent of the world's spam. Now it's Facebook who's getting in on the fight.
Ruling on a case filed by Facebook against Adam Guerbuez and Atlantis Blue Capital on August 14, 2008, Federal Judge Jeremy Fogel has awarded Facebook over $873 million in damages. Atlantis Blue Capital found itself under legal fire for allegedly accessing Facebook's servers, setting up phishing websites to acquire Facebook logins and email addresses, and sending out millions of emails to the social networking site's members.
"It's unlikely that Geurbez and Atlantis Blue Capital could ever honor the judgment rendered against them (though we will certainly collect everything we can)," Max Kely, Facebook's director of security, wrote in a blog post. "But we are confident that this award represents a powerful deterrent to anyone and everyone who would seek to abuse Facebook and its users."
The sentence, which is likely to knock Atlantis Blue Capital out of business, also forbids Geurbuez to access, retain, or use Facebook data in any way, nor is he allowed to create or maintain a Facebook profile.
While websites continue to look for ways to increase online ad revenue, analysts are cautioning that advertisers are starting to cut back their budgets. According to a research note by analyst Jeff Lindsay of Sandford C. Bernstein & Co., the advertising industry is only expected to grow 11 percent in the U.S. in 2009 and 9 percent worldwide, down from a previous estimate of 13 percent. But even 11 percent seems overly optimistic to Jim Friedland of Cowen & Co., who downgraded his previous forecast of 13 percent to only 3 percent.
While Friedland's outlook is particularly bleak, he notes a decline in online display advertising, a trend which he sees continuing as ad budgets are tightened. Yahoo has already witnessed the decline first hand and last month reported a 64 percent drop in net income for the third quarter, which Jerry Yang mostly attributed to a weakening online ad market.
One entity that looks poised to weather the storm is Google, a major player in paid-search ads, which Friedland predicts will grow in the low double digits.
Opera Software has released the final version of Opera Mini 4.2 for mobile phones, giving G1 handset users looking for change from Android's built-in WebKit browser a third party alternative to play with. Opera Mini, which is the first web browser alternative on Android, sports a number of enhancements, including what Opera claims is up to a 30 percent performance boost.
"With Opera Mini 4.2, we are showing the world that Opera never gets complacent. We will always be improving our product, adding speed, new functionality and features, and ensuring that it is accessible by all,” says Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. “Our support of the Android platform helps fulfill our mission to be available on more platforms, for more devices and reach more users, anywhere in the world."
Opera Mini also boasts greater multilingual support with more than 90 language versions, personalization through skins, Opera Link support for notes, and support for mobile video on a wider range of phones.
After Relic-owner THQ purchased the Homeworld license from Vivendi, speculation about the next entry in the spacefaring RTS series naturally ran rampant. Now, however, even though the hypothetical game's presumed developers are finally using the words "home" and "world" without at least three sentences of dividing text, Relic's magic eight ball still says "Please ask again later."
"We're really happy the IP has made its way home, and yeah, we're definitely looking at it. We'll see what happens in the future," current Dawn of War II lead designer Jonny Ebbert told Eurogamer.
But beyond that, Relic's stalwart team of stoics only swatted away further questions.
"As it always has - behind closed doors. Blacked off. Homeworld 3, obviously, I'm not at liberty to tell you anything about. So, good try!" replied Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor designer Chris Degnan after a quick "How's Homeworld 3 looking?" -- likely even more enraged than he was after the fifth time Eurogamer tried that little trick.
General manager Tarrnie Williams also noted that Relic has "three or four" titles sizzling on the grill. Or at least, we think he did.
"It depends how you count; whether you use the old math or the new math," he said. He refused to explain the difference.
So, Homeworld 3 might fit in with Dawn of War II, Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, and Company of Heroes Online (an Asian market-focused title), but Williams just insulted our math and we're pissed we can't really know.
Numerical nonsense aside, what's your take? Are you chomping at the bit for another Homeworld? What improvements would you like to see to the Homeworld formula?
Sounds like gaming is one quarter-donated-to-a-street-Santa away from snorkeling through your dumpster, right? Unsurprisingly, no.
As it turns out, initial reports concerning the EEDAR findings in question got their words in a jumble. See, the 96% statistic came from this little number:
"Only 4% of games that make it to market actually make a profit, he says. About 60% of a game's budget is spent reworking or redesigning a game. Armed with all this data, companies can make those tough calls early in the development process."
According to a press release from EEDAR, that statistic should've read: "Only 4% of games that enter production will return a significant profit." However, 80% of games that enter production never make it to market, which kind of throws off the curve for the rest of the class.
Of the games that actually make it to market, then, a far less pukey 20% turn a profit. And while that doesn't exactly conjure up images of mansions and double-decker Ferraris, it's enough to keep the industry alive and (mostly) thriving.
There’s been some loose talk of Microsoft looking to release Service Pack 2 for Vista just as soon as they can. They’ve been reportedly rushing it so that there will be more incentive for people to buy Vista, instead of just waiting for Windows 7.
According to some inside sources, a release candidate for SP2 will be available in February 2009, with the final version scheduled for release to manufacturing in April 2009. When a version is labeled as RTM it’s not always available for download, but it has been put out in disc form, including OEMs.
Following suit with pervious service packs, it’s expected that Microsoft will release Vista’s SP2 in language waves. The previous service packs give us reason to believe that the English, German, Japanese, French and Spanish versions will be the first available, with Chinese, Korean and Brazilian Portuguese available not long after.
Ask three people what "Windows Live" is - and you might get more than three answers: "It's a social network" (Windows Live Spaces); "a photo organizing service" (Windows Live Photo Gallery); "an email client" (Windows Live Hotmail)...but no matter how many answers you get, you probably won't hear "a major search provider". Yes, despite Microsoft's lavishing of money, time, attention, and even offering cash back for searches, Windows Live Search is not a major contender in the search space currently dominated by Google and Yahoo.
Would a name change help? TechCrunch claims that a rebranding of Live Search as Kumo (Japanese for "cloud" or "spider") may be on tap for early 2009.
Will breaking Live Search away from the rest of the diverse Windows Live family with a new name help it prosper, or are you looking for better features? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
If you’re a Gmail user and you’ve got a domain that’s registered through GoDaddy, you’ve been put in danger – from yourself.
A new security flaw in Gmail has caused a new exploit to run wild. The exploit essentially makes you to create a filter all on your own, allowing unwanted eyes to get access of your Gmail account.
In a nutshell, the exploit steals a cookie from you. Once this cookie has been swiped some malicious code creates a hidden iframe with a url that contains the variables required for Gmail to create a filter for your account. Once this is done, the hacker has free reign over your personal emails and whatever else you might associate with your Gmail account.
While this is clearly the shorthand version, be sure to check out the full rundown. If you’re one of the many that uses both Gmail and GoDaddy, we’d suggest that you take some time to check it out.
While fears of a recession are the on the minds of those looking to make an honest living, unscrupulous hackers are thriving in an underground economy worth billions of dollars. The revelation comes as part of new report released today by Symantec titled "Report on the Underground Economy."
The eye-opening report reflects activity on underground economy servers observed by Symantec between July 1st, 2007 and June 30th, 2008. During that time, Symantec claims to have witnessed 44,752 unique samples of sensitive information publicly posted on various servers. These samples, which represent 10 percent of the total distinct messages, serve as proof that the seller in question has the information they claim to have, as well as to show potential buyers the quality of goods they can expect to receive.
According to Symantec, credit card information reigns supreme and accounts for nearly a third of the total. Credit cards were seen selling for as little as $.10 to $25 per card, despite an average advertised limit of $4,000. When added up, Symantec calculated the total potential worth to be in the neighborhood of $5.3 billion.
But that number doesn't take into account stolen financial accounts, which makes up 20 percent of the total. Stolen bank accounts were seen seling for between $10 and $1,000 with the average balance hovering at nearly $40,000. By Symantec's math, that puts the total worth at $1.7 billion, or around $7 billion for credit cards and bank accounts combined.
A few weeks back Twitter and Facebook ended some big talks, where Facebook was looking to snatch up twitter for $500 million of its stock.
Sometime in mid-October Facebook had instigated talks with the San Francisco- based Twitter about possibly bringing them both together. And while the idea seemed great on paper (the world’s fastest growing microblogging site along with the obscenely popular social networking site), concerns of integration and cost were a large part of why the deal didn’t come to fruition.
Still, Twitter executives and board members felt that they should work on building their own revenues before they look at the possibility of a merger. Currently, they’ve got none.
What the future holds for Twitter, we don’t know. But in the meantime, we’ll continue to keep all of you updated on how we feel by using it.