Aol and Yahoo: Please Merge Today!

Let me preface this post by saying that I have not done any (as in zero) research as to what the financial implications of a merger between Aol and Yahoo would be. I don’t own any stock in either company and really have no interest in the financial aspects of such a merger. Companies appear free to make financials look however they need to anyway as long as they have a lobbyist and a politician (or two or three) on their unofficial payroll. So the idea of Aol and Yahoo merging from a financial perspective means nothing to me.

4 Twitter Product Managers Have Left the Building

Twitter is in the news for two different, but possibly related stories. First, sources are reporting that the network is close to “completing an $800 million funding deal that will include a second part in which around $400 million of the total will be used to cash out current investors and also employees.”

Second, TechCrunch is reporting that four of the companies key product managers have been let go. TechCrunch sees it as the final stage of cleaning out those loyal to the old regime, but it does seem like an odd time to give that many top people the boot.

In recent months, Twitter has been on an upswing with new advertising programs and a new design. Kicking out the key people who made it so, just before a round of new funding feels weird. Is Twitter planning some radical change in the near future, like upping the character count to an even 200!

Will Facebook Need to Start Its Network from Scratch?

It appears Facebook is built on a house of cards.

Cards that rely on more than 4,000 MySQL “shards” or should that be sharts?

According to GigaOm:

…Facebook has split its MySQL database into 4,000 shards in order to handle the site’s massive data volume, and is running 9,000 instances of memcached in order to keep up with the number of transactions the database must serve.

And, citing database guru Michael Stonebraker…

…Facebook is operating a huge, complex MySQL implementation equivalent to “a fate worse than death,” and the only way out is “bite the bullet and rewrite everything.”

That may sound like an exaggeration, but having lived through this nightmare myself, he may have a point.

Facebook Caught Running a Covert Smear Campaign Against Google

Grab some popcorn and pull up a chair because there’s nothing quite like a conspiracy story that involves Facebook hiring a high-profile PR firm to spread a smear campaign about Google to the mainstream media.

For the past few days, a mystery has been unfolding in Silicon Valley. Somebody, it seems, hired Burson-Marsteller, a top public-relations firm, to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers, urging them to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy. Burson even offered to help an influential blogger write a Google-bashing op-ed, which it promised it could place in outlets like The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post.

We could stop right there and this would be a juicy enough story, but it gets better. Not only is the company behind this anti-Google media campaign none other than Facebook–pot calling the kettle black, anyone?–but apparently Facebook has admitted it hired Burson-Marsteller to run the negative campaign.

Why Google’s Music Cloud Service Will Be Dead on Arrival

Depending on how you look at this, I’m either stating the obvious or going out on a limb, when I say that Google’s rumored new Google Music cloud service will be a dead man walking.

Why?

Here’s the reason:

Google is preparing to show off a new music service at tomorrow’s I/O conference. And like Amazon’s launch earlier this year, the company is doing it without the approval of the major music labels and publishers.

So, you have the weight of Google thrown behind this, but you have two things working against this being a success.

First, history teaches us that when Google launches a media platform without the approval of the actual content providers, it dies pretty quickly. What happened when Google TV launched and didn’t play nicely with the other kids in the TV playground?

As Twitter Slips, Potential Competitors Close In

It’s no secret that Twitter has more registered users than actual users. There are stats that say that almost half of the accounts are no longer active. Stats that show how 90% of the Tweets come from 25% of the people and that Twitter’s growth has begun to level off. Add to that, all the internal squabbling and a recent move to block third-party developers and Twitter’s star isn’t shining quite as bright as it used to.

Why? And what now? Fortune has the “why” covered. They’ve just published an extensive article that looks at the history of the company and the roadblocks they’ve faced. If you want all the gory details, it’s a good read.

Here’s what caught my eye;

YouTube Adds Channels as Part of Major Overhaul

NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CW and YouTube? The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a major YouTube overhaul that will have the site acting more like a TV network than a repository for random, user-generated videos.

The article says that YouTube is prepared to spend up to 100 million dollars on content created exclusively for the site. Content that goes beyond Rebecca Black’s “Friday, Friday” and endless hours of animals and babies doing funny things. What YouTube is after, is content that will have people tuning in week after week, just like they do for their favorite shows on TV.