MySpace and Facebook Connect

MySpace signed an agreement with rival site Facebook to allow users to sign in to MySpace using their Facebook account.

Does this mean MySpace has admitted defeat? The website, once the dominant force in online social networking, is struggling to attract new users and hold on to existing members.

The feature, creatively called Myspace Mashup with Facebook, basically gives you a way to pull your likes and interests from Facebook into Myspace.

The benefit to Myspace is they can then use that data to offer you personalized “recommendations” for entertainment content.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Myspace’s parent company described the site as a “problem” and said its current financial losses were “not acceptable or sustainable.”

Facebook has more than 500 million members worldwide, and membership is continuing to grow rapidly.

National Unfriend Day for Facebook

National Unfriend Day is getting a lot of attention since country singers Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker rang in the celebration on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last night with “The National Unfriend Day Soundtrack.”

Kimmel says Facebook is devaluing the meaning of friendship because anyone can be a Facebook friend without being a friend in real life. His website read that National Unfriend Day is the international day when all the Facebook users will try to protect the “sacred nature of friendship” by deleting persons from their profile who are not their true friends in real life.

Kimmel wrote the anthem of National Unfriend Day, which is sung by Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker to the tune of “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before.” Here are the lyrics to “To All the Friends I’ve Un’ed Before”:

To all the friends I’ve un’ed before
Who sent me quizzes about Jersey Shore
You made my life a hell
With your stupid LOL
To all the friends I’ve un’ed before

To all the guys from grammar school
Posting shirtless pictures by their pool
Your fat and sweaty back
Really makes me want to yak
To all the friends I’ve un’ed before

Our time on earth goes by so quickly
We have to make each moment great
So I cannot waste one more minute
Reading your dumb status update

Amazon is OK with Pedophilia

On October 28, 2010, a new book appeared on Amazon called, “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lovers Code of Conduct” written and self-published by Phillip R. Greaves.

Amazon defended the book’s listing as the author’s right to free speech, saying that to pull the book simply because they deemed its message to be objectionable would be censorship. However, Amazon already participates in censorship by not allowing pornography to be sold on their website.

Inciting a crime is not protected under the First Amendment. Greaves is not only telling pedophiles how to continue molesting children, but how to do it and get away with it.

In its product description on Amazon.com, Greaves describes the book as his “attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian [sic] rules for these adults to follow.”

Many users have shown their resentment on Amazon.com and have formed a group on Facebook to boycott the web giant.

Hope for Online Holiday Sales

It seems there may be hope for online retailers this year. Despite concerns, October sales beat analysts’ expectations offering hope that consumer spending might remain steady heading into the 2010 holiday season.

According to Forrester Research Inc., online retail sales this holiday season will increase nearly 16% year over year in the United States, thanks in part to spending by affluent consumers.

The study shows consumers will spend $51.7 billion for online purchases in November and December, up 15.7% from $44.7 billion for the same period last year.

An interesting note is U.S. consumers who make at least $100,000 a year plan to spend more or the same amount of money online as they did last year. Consumers earning less are less likely to spend as much online this year as last year.

The report also adds, U.S. consumers shopping online will spend an average of $338 in November and December, up 11.6% from $303 in 2009. Out of 64 U.S. retailers surveyed, 40 plan to spend more on holiday marketing messages this year compared with a year ago. Additionally, 34 retailers will offer buy one, get one free or similar deep discounts.

“Do Not Track” me on the Internet

Privacy advocates would like to require a “do not track” option on websites that would let users tell websites to stop tracking their online habits and clues about their age, salary, health, location, leisure activities, etc. This is similar to the “do not call” list that has become so popular to thwart those annoying telemarketer calls.

This has set up a confrontation among Internet companies, federal regulators, Congress, and the Obama administration.

Top Commerce officials have indicated that the department favors letting the industry regulate itself, building on the common practice of user agreements where companies post their privacy policies online or consumers check a box agreeing to abide by them.

Top FTC officials, however, have indicated they are exploring a stricter standard, one that requires a “do not track” option on a website or browser similar to the “do not call” lists.

Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, said “Targeted ads are helpful and ad competition is helpful”. Google also owns the advertising exchange DoubleClick. He added about privacy battle, “it’s going to get a lot worse.”

New Facebook Privacy Method

Got privacy concerns about your Facebook account? There is a new trend happening where users are “deactivating” their account each time they want to log off.

Why go to all this trouble? Well, first of all it’s easy. It takes only a single click. You don’t lose your friends, or wall posts, or pictures or anything. The upside is that when a “deactivated” user isn’t on Facebook, no one else can see their profile, post on their wall or tag them in photos. This keeps their privacy assured when they are not actually logged on.

People are getting more concerned with privacy when it comes to social networking. It’s very easy to get into trouble for something that is written on your Facebook profile, even if it’s written by someone else. There are many instances where people might look and misinterpret.

While Facebook has upgraded their privacy settings, this particular method actually accomplishes different things. People cannot view your profile or post messages or tag you in photos when you are deactivated. This way, you get to see everything that is happening on your profile when you are logged in and know that nothing will happen when you are not.

Yahoo! Adding New Blogs

Yahoo! is not down for the count yet. They are planning on adding three new blogs to its growing family today.

This expansion will be part of the venture called The Upshot which is a blog that covers breaking news and analysis. The new blogs will live under The Upshot brand but each will have their own names; The Ticket for politics, The Lookout for national affairs, and The Cutline for media industry coverage.

Andrew Golis is at the helm of this project. “On one hand, it is a very crowded space,” Golis said of the news industry. “On the other hand, I think we’re actually fairly early in the shift to digital.”

The Upshot accounts for more than a third of the Yahoo News audience, drawing 30 million visitors a month, according to Yahoo’s own traffic reports.

A team of nine Yahoo News reporters and editors, who contribute to The Upshot, will staff the new blogs.

Yahoo! seems to be making a clear statement. They are not going away and are actually growing once again.

Man Broadcasts his Suicide Live on the Internet

A 24 year old Japanese man committed suicide live on the internet, according to Japanese police on Friday. The name of the man has not been released yet. He was found dead at 8am in his Sendai apartment after police were contacted by viewers of the Ustream web page.

According to the Yomiuri newspaper, the man had announced his intention to kill himself in online chat rooms last week after complaining for some weeks about problems he had been experiencing at work.

Initially he tried to hang himself on the balcony of his flat but after a failed attempt he tried to hang himself in his room.

Apparently, the man was encouraged by some users to stream his suicide online. While some desperately tried to stop him, others believed they were watching a hoax and suggested he do it quickly. He finally succeeded in hanging himself at about 5:30 a.m. local time.

New U.S. Internet Czar

A new internet privacy strategy will be outlined in a report by the Commerce Department to be released in the next few weeks. This includes the establishment of a czar to oversee privacy. The White House has created a special task force to help with making the Commerce Department suggestions into policy. The group is headed by Cameron Kerry, Commerce Department general counsel and brother of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Christopher Schroeder, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department.

The U.S. has traditionally taken a hands-off approach to Internet privacy for fear of stifling innovation, but officials are now wondering whether a self-policing online industry is such a good idea. A spokesman for the Commerce Department said that privacy and innovation are “complementary goals, because consumer trust in the Internet is essential for businesses to succeed online.”

The online-ad industry disagrees, naturally. Some privacy activists involved in negotiations have criticized the Commerce report as paying “lip service to legislation” while relying primarily on industry self-regulation. Whatever compromise is struck, Obama will run into difficulty with his internet privacy agenda: Many Republicans support privacy in principle but object to expanding federal enforcement powers, without which any new law would be largely toothless.

Facebook Advertising is Up

A new report by comScore shows Facebook’s market share for display advertising is up 13.9% from a year ago. They now control almost 25% of the sector over the last quarter. The report found that Facebook was the top publisher of display ads with a 23.1% share which is more than double the 11% accounted for by the 2nd place Yahoo!.

Another statistic claims the total number of impressions increased by 22% when compared to the 3rd quarter of 2009. And, the average internet user in the U.S. saw more than 6,000 ads from July thru September. Jeff Hackett, vice president of comScore, said the “market exhibited considerable strength”.

This announcement comes on the heals of Yahoo! chief executive officer Carol Bartz comments about advertisers “aren’t really doing enough” to engage with display advertising.

Most larger companies are now advertising on Facebook because it’s easy for online marketers to target specific audiences. The Facebook display advertising interface is very easy to use and has many reporting metrics that allows even the novice online marketer to get instant results.