Free WiFi May Be Coming to a City Near You

By Taylor Pratt

The FCC will vote on a plan this month that would bring free WiFi nationwide, according to a Reuters. Although strongly opposed by the cell phone industry, the plan calls to auction public airwaves with a mandate that the winning bidder set aside some for free Internet nationwide.

You might think this is a no-brainer, but it isn’t all cupcakes and puppies.

Free WiFi Pros

  • Free nationwide Internet access (obviously).
  • With the lack of competition, Internet prices are continuing to rise. This would force Internet providers to lower prices to stay competitive.
  • Internet speed would most likely be mid-level DSL speed (with the ability to upgrade for a fee). Don’t forget, people are still paying for dial-up out there (how do they survive?!).

Google, Yahoo Dodge Gambling Lawsuit

By Taylor Pratt

According to a report from MediaPost, a California court has dismissed a lawsuit against Google and Yahoo for displaying gambling ads in their search results. The California Superior Court Judge, Richard Kramer, has granted immunity from liability based on the federal Communications Decency Act (CDA) to search engines.

Section 230 of the CDA says that operators of Internet services (in this case, search engines) are not to be held liable for words of third parties who use their services (i.e. AdWords). What isn’t immediately clear (to me, anyway) is whether or not the sites that advertise on Google and Yahoo can face legal action (assuming they were based in the U.S.).

Social Media Monitoring Tools–8 Free Options

Need something more advanced? Trackur now offers a free social media monitoring plan. No strings. No gotchas. Just powerful, free social media monitoring tools.

It’s been a little more than a year since I put together my list of 26 free social media monitoring tools you should be using to monitor your brand’s reputation.

In that time, new social networks have gained increased importance, and new tools have come onto the scene. The original list still remains important, but consider these additional 8 social media tools to be your 2008 update.

If you know of any free tools that should be added to the list, please share them in the comments section for others to see.


1. Twitter

Hulu’s Users Want Longer Ads

By Joe Hall

If you are a frequent user of Hulu, like I am, then you are aware of the 30 second ads that are placed intermittently through our favorite programs. However, Hulu has been experimenting with ad placement for quite some time now and has recently released their findings that 88% of those polled would rather watch a two minute ad before the program begins with no other ads following, then the typical 30 second bits through out the program.

It appears that Hulu’s creative ad placements and options are paying off. According to a report last month that states that Hulu will soon surpass YouTube in ad revenue.

Hulu also states that the high opt-in rate for longer ads is a sign of possible increase in ad engagement. Giving the user more choices only increases their wiliness to engage, right?

IP Address Protection Provides Ammunition in RIAA Cases

By Taylor Pratt

Boston Federal Judge Nancy Gertner has ruled to protect IP addresses in an RIAA anti-piracy lawsuit. Judge Gertner’s ruling could cause additional problems in future cases involving the RIAA. The RIAA had subpoenaed Boston University to disclose the identities behind specific IP addresses at their university.

Since 2003, the RIAA has prosecuted nearly 30,000 individuals for violating anti-piracy laws (basically, downloading music illegally). In any case in which an IP address was identified to that of a school, the RIAA would subpoena that school for the identities of the users of that particular IP address (as they did with Boston University).

Baidu Set to Launch New Search Product

By Taylor Pratt

After being accused of multiple legal allegations, Baidu (Google’s Chinese search rival) will launch a new search product called “Phoenix Nest.” As Marketing Pilgrim reported earlier today, over 50 small businesses were willing to press charges against Baidu for delisting sites that refused to enter in a bidding war over keywords.¬†Phoenix Nest aims to resolve those issues, and also provide more relevant search results.

How will this affect Baidu’s market share? They are currently the dominating force in the search industry in China, commanding 70% of all searches. While Google only holds 26% of the market share in China, will Baidu’s recent legal troubles help Google to close the gap? If there is one thing Google is very good at, it is capitalizing on opportunities.

Live Search’s Cashback Blackout

By Carrie Hill

UPDATE: Microsoft Live Search has addressed the outage, stating that the problems were due to a heavy level of usage, and the downtime was partially caused by investigating and then repairing the problem; it won’t happen again. reported Live Search Cashback being broken for most of the day on Black Friday—of particular note the HP site was offering 40% cash back—but the program wasn’t working for those looking for it on one of the heaviest shopping days of the year.

Later Microsoft sent a statement asking anyone who didn’t receive their Cashback confirmation to contact Live’s support desk for more assistance.¬† If you’re one of those shoppers head over to and bring your HP order number with you.