Amazon $100k Quest To Find Hidden Gem

Amazon Web Services - Start-Up Challenge Amazon Web Services (AWS) – programmatic access to Amazon’s data and infrastructure via open APIs – have announced a contest to find the next hot web start-up.

Contenders must leverage the pay-as-you-use AWS solutions and submit their idea or existing application by October 28. Five budding entrepreneurs will then be selected as finalists based on…

originality and creativity of the idea, likelihood of long-term success, how well it addresses a need in the marketplace…

and, oh yes, one other criteria… US residency. Doh! I just booked my ticket to Seattle.

[The finalists] will pitch their business to VCs, mingle with industry leaders and Amazon executives, and be featured at the AWS Awards Ceremony

Yahoo! Back in the Game

beboYahoo! have finally secured a deal with a major social networking property for display and video advertising. Bebo, the UK and Ireland’s most popular social networking site, has entered into a multi-year, exclusive partnership.

Yahoo! Europe will help advertisers reach a young British audience of over 11 million users, generally ranging from 13 to 24 years – a sought-after but traditionally difficult group to target.

Although no financials have been disclosed, the deal is rumored to involve a revenue guarantee – an approach reportedly made by Google in a deal that snatched MySpace advertising, and possibly part of Microsoft’s recent Facebook agreement.

Joanna Shields, President of Bebo International, told Reuters that choosing a market leader like Yahoo! was the important part of the decision.

Hulu Already Living Up To Its Name

Lulu not HuluOnly one week has passed since NBC / News Corp announced the name of their online video project – Hulu.
And it was TechCrunch that made us all laugh when they ironically translated Hulu into Swahili – meaning, among other things, “cease” and “desist”.

Observations like that usually fizzle away – at least Jason Kilar, Hulu CEO, wishes it would. Yesterday, Lulu Enterprises confirmed that they have filed a law suit against N-F Newsite LLC (the operating company) for “trademark infringement, unfair and deceptive trade practices and for federal cyberpiracy” in a US District Court on August 22.

Lulu alleges that Hulu, as a result of their recent name and Internet domain announcements, have intentionally attempted to create confusion in the marketplace.
Hulu, in name, as a mark and in their business as a digital content distribution platform, represents a definitive encroachment.

Will Facebook Adhere to OSW Bill of Rights?

A predictable clash of interests is brewing.

Mark Zuckerberg – programmer and founder of the social networking site Facebook – has taken yet another controversial decision, this time to integrate profile searching, in an effort to drive more traffic from name-based searches across the major search engines.

Although users will be able to exclude their profiles and the facility will be restricted to over 18’s, initially many participants will be concerned for their privacy.

The Public Search Listing of a profile shows the profile picture thumbnail and links to interact with a user on Facebook. People will always have to log in or register to poke, message or add someone as a friend. A user can also restrict what information shows in their public listing by going to the search privacy page.

NBC Waste No Time With Amazon Deal

NBCLast Friday (Aug 31) Jordan blogged about the alleged bust-up between NBC Universal and Apple over pricing – also covering the speculation over alternative partners and forecasting a speedy counter-decision from NBC executives.

Well, our First Lady (no offence to Mrs Beal) wasn’t wrong; NBC wasted no time in securing a new download outlet for their premium television shows – swiftly signing a partnership deal to host their digital TV content with Amazon’s Unbox – an online store already selling NBC Universal’s movies.

This represents another blow to Apple – Universal Music Group had already decided not to renew their contract for music downloads over a decision to offer DRM-free content across other networks.

Gpay Adds Insult To Injury

Gpay Just as users report a second major eBay property outage in the last 30 days, PayPal wake up to the stark reality of Google’s expansion plans with the publication of a new Patent application.

PayPal’s subscription service stopped working the same day, August 30. Service providers affected by the outage have been advised that the issue could take until September 5 or 6 to fix – possibly delaying tens of millions of dollars in monthly subscription payments.

In the meantime, the US Patent Office released details of Google’s text message-based payment system filed under the guise of Gpay on February 28, 2006. Although dubbed as a mobile web solution – possibly Google Checkout for mobile, Gpay does have the blueprint of being web independent. Images clearly indicate the offline payment of goods – including vending machines, point of delivery, and over-the-counter from retailers – where the transaction is facilitated using a mobile device.

Email Marketers Need To Know SPF

According to a study conducted by email marketing experts Lyris, there is “an increasing reliance on the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) authentication method” to determine the legitimacy of inbound mail.

SPF is an open standard method to prevent sender address forgery. The solution to combat fake email works via a delivery policy specified in the domain’s DNS zone records. The receiving server can check whether a message has complied with the domain’s stated policy before conducting further checks.

The study, which monitored almost half a million messages, shows that permission-based email is delivered roughly 75 percent of the time to major ISP inboxes. Further examination showed a decrease in image spam and an increase in spam using PDF, PowerPoint or Excel files.