Revenue Coming for Twitter: Why They Said “No” to Facebook

By Taylor Pratt

Why did Twitter turn down Facebook? For the last month, talks between the two social giants had been going on. Facebook ultimately made an offer of $500 million (in mostly stock options) to purchase Twitter. Seems like a fair offer considering Twitter has failed to monetize its microblogging platform. According to Twitter CEO Evan Williams, however, the deal didn’t make sense.

We explored it, as we should. We took it seriously. It definitely made sense—the strategy we talked about with them—but it wasn’t the right time.

According to the New York Times, he still believes Twitter has too much left to do. Figuring out how to make money is the first priority.

Ex-AOL CEO Interested in Yahoo?

By Taylor Pratt

Let the rumors begin! Jon Miller, the former CEO of AOL and current venture capitalist, is rumored to be raising funds to try and buy Yahoo! It’s hard to say whether or not this story has any merit, because Miller could just be raising funds for his new venture capitalist firm, Velocity.

According to paidContent.org, Miller and gang have been presenting to investors all across the globe to raise funds. What isn’t clear is if the funds are intended for making a Yahoo bid. Yahoo’s stock closed today at 11.50/share, up 7% thanks to this news.

If Miller and co. are interested in making a bid, it is rumored that they would offer somewhere between $20-$22 a share (roughly $28-$30 billion). Microsoft had offered $31 a share back in January (doh!).

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.).

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.

Baidu’s Business Model Faces Legal Challenges

By Taylor Pratt

China’s largest search engine, Baidu, is facing serious legal challenges over its business model. The first complaint against Baidu was filed by Li Changqing under the new anti-monopoly laws in China. Li claims to have more than 50 companies in line to sue Baidu, but would not file the mass complaint until 100 businesses were willing to do so. Other legal counts include alleged brand infringement, alleged fraud and alleged unfair competition.

The Chinese government has long favored Baidu over foreign rivals, and as a result, Baidu’s search engine market share is up to 70%. Baidu holds a commanding lead in the Chinese search industry over Google, which currently only holds 26% of the market share there (excuse me while I grab my violin…).