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Facebook Sued for Stifling Competition, Click Fraud

facebook2It’s a saga we’re all familiar with by now: create a pretty awesome web service, start a trend, become a media sweetheart, make lots of money (VC or acquisition), get slapped with a lawsuit. Or two. Or fifty billion. Facebook added two more lawsuits to its heap recently: a countersuit from Power.com and a click fraud proceeding.

Facebook filed suit against Power.com in December. Facebook claimed the one-stop social-media aggregator was infringing upon their copyright, violating their TOS and scraping proprietary data. At the time, we weren’t sure whether “proprietary data” included user information.

Power.com finally decided not to take this sitting down. TechCrunch reports that Power.com has now filed a countersuit, claiming Facebook is “unlawfully withholding the data that users own (as stated in Facebook’s own ToS), and is stifling competition by refusing to allow third party services like Power.com to access the data, among other things.”

The Future for Media Moguls: Twitter?

sunset valleyWhat do you get when you put Liberty Media Chairman John Malone, IAC Chairman Barry Diller, and Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger on a panel together? The three were on a panel at the annual navel-gazing Sun Valley press-free media and technology conference talking about the digital future. As you can imagine, they weren’t exactly bullish.

Malone said he didn’t think that an advertising model made sense on Twitter, but there was some hope for a subscription model. “Sooner or later people will be willing to pay for these services,” he said. Warren Buffett privately told him that he would pay $5 a month for YouTube, he added.

Murdoch, on the other hand, was pretty firm in his beliefs on the latest social media hit: “Be careful of investing here,” he said of Twitter.

New Twitter “Ads” Appear? My Conspiracy Theory

Remember when Twitter first launched its sidebar ads? Only, Twitter told us all that they weren’t actually ads? Then, guess what, they magically started turning into real ads.

OK, so explain this mysterious “public service tweet” that’s started showing up on Twitter:

skitched-20090708-212731

Actually, Biz Stone has explained it and he says it’s not an ad, just a way to help users upgrade to a browser that supposedly will ensure a “better Web experience on Twitter.”

<Crosses arms, tilts head>

Really? OK, I’ll buy that these are nothing more than a PSA, but I’ll also give it 6 months before ads start showing up in the exact same place–maybe even linked to the #hashtags you’ve clicked on. Oh wait, you didn’t realize that Twitter made #hashtags clickable, so it could track your interests? ;-)

Technorati: Desperate to be a Twit Relevant Again

twratiHow long has it been since we’ve heard about Technorati? When did you last visit the erstwhile-preeminent blog tracking site? And even then, didn’t you get the sense they were going downhill? While that may just be what happens to every media (or blog) sweetheart, Technorati has seen a decline. Many have attributed this to a lack of features, innovation, relevancy of results, etc.

But Technorati is fighting back. With Twitter. Launching today, Twittorati is Technorati’s latest effort to make us think they’re still relevant. The site aggregates the tweets of bloggers in the Technorati Top 100. (They don’t, however, explain why you’d want to do this. Too lazy to read their blogs?)

Twittorati integrates with both Twitter and Technorati, but there’s not a lot of crossover. For example, this pane of the right-most column of the site:

What Happens When an Aardvark & Twitter Bird Mate?

While we’re tapping our feet–waiting for Twitter to come to our search results page–Aardvark has been busy bringing its answer engine to Twitter.

As you may (or may not), know, Aardvark allows you to ask questions and receive answers back from real people in your network. Well, TechCrunch is reporting that  ‘vark now lets you ask questions from within Twitter:

For now, the integration only includes asking questions – if you add @vark to the end, Aardvark picks it up and adds it to your account. In future versions, they may try to integrate responses from Twitter directly into Aardvark as well.

As of yet, Aardvark isn’t tapping into Twitter to source the actual answers, but will get back to you via direct message with your answer. It looks something like this:

Google Getting in on Real Estate

Real estate sites like Zillow and Trulia have been hard at work for the last few years, offering social features to house hunters and homeowners. And now real estate sites are getting more competition from a rather prominent Internet company: Google.

Yep, Google’s making a land grab with Google Maps, as SEL cleverly puts it. You can find real estate listings by entering the term “real estate” or bringing up the search options (the link to the right of the search button on Google Maps) and selecting Real Estate from the pull down menu. Type in a location and you get a map with results, the options to narrow your search in the left panel, and the first ten listings below that. (Also note the text ad at the bottom of the map.)
goog real estate

The Young Bail on Facebook, but Over 55s Soar 500% and Bring Their Checkbooks!

The demographic has shifted dramatically over at Facebook and that change could lead to billions in revenue, according to one prominent board member.

iStrategyLabs spent the last six months collecting user demographic data and discovered the number of users over the age of 55 soared from 1 million to nearly 6 million. During the same 6 month period, high school and college users dropped by as much as 22%!

Here’s the breakdown:

At the same time Facebook continues to gray, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Mark Andreessen–a Facebook board member–suggests the social network could realize revenue of $1 billion if it would only push harder with its advertising.