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Marketing New Year’s Eve Parties

As I write this there are 11 hours and 57 minutes until 2008. Entrepreneur Jann Yogman is banking that you are going to celebrate New Year’s Eve this year. He started New Year’s Nation, which is a ticket broker and organizer of New Year’s parties in big cities across the U.S.

Last year he launched with a virtual event that drew 5,000 people in five cities. They were connected by streaming video. Tonight there will be eight cities. If you want to book tickets in say, Los Angeles, it will be $150. Then you can watch partiers in New York, Boston, Seattle, or one of the other cities.

Higher Ed 2.0

The web already makes it easier to educate yourself. Now colleges and universities are putting their best classes online and charging nothing for them. Entire lectures are being posted on YouTube (like UC Berekely), iTunes, or on the school’s own web sites.

iTunes U has almost 30 universities participating. The top downloads aren’t lightweights either – #1 is a lecture from MIT physics professor Walter Lewin. He has 37 lectures posted and has become famous for his quirky style.

Not only are the world’s most brilliant thinkers writing blogs, they are on video and podcasts too. This is a renaissance of knowledge that is being viewed by not just students, but ordinary people all over the world. Think of how useful this is for college prep or to study before taking the GMAT or other courses.

Updates on Your Contacts Coming to Your Gmail

A couple weeks ago, Google Reader started sending you shared items from your contacts. But it’s about to get worse. Google Operating System takes a look at the some of the Gmail code for a peek into the future—and if you didn’t like the Google Reader changes, you’re really not going to like this.

One of the reasons why the chat box can no longer be disabled in the new version of Gmail is that it will include some new features: updates from your contacts. Yes, they are the same contacts you barely know, but these updates will help you learn more about them.

Gmail’s code suggests that you’ll be able to delete the updates you don’t like, reply by email or post a comment. It’s not very clear what kind of updates you will receive, but they’re probably the latest important actions of your contacts from different Google services.

Pringles to Air User Generated Ad on Christmas Day

Sometimes you get more than you ask for. That’s the case when Procter & Gamble asked their fans in the UK to come up with a new jingle for their ads. But a man from Scotland named Nils Elders made an entire commercial. Procter & Gamble liked it so much they will air it on prime time on Christmas Day in the UK.

The 40-second ad 25-year-old Elders $600 and three days to make. It features a bunch of dancing, singing Pringles chips dressed in Santa hats. He named the commercial “Jinglin’ Pringlin.”

Elders is a musician and won $4,000 as the winner of the contest. He said the commercial was inspired by South Park.

Apple Forces Popular Blog to Shut Down

iStock_000000582779XSmallIt’s not my intention to host a series of articles pointing out Apple’s missteps in social media, but the company continues to put its foot in it.

This time, Apple bullied Think Secret–a popular Apple rumor blog–to cease existence. The shut down comes as part of a settlement that at least protects Think Secret’s sources.

Here’s the statement posted on the Think Secret site…

Apple and Think Secret have settled their lawsuit, reaching an agreement that results in a positive solution for both sides. As part of the confidential settlement, no sources were revealed and Think Secret will no longer be published. Nick Ciarelli, Think Secret’s publisher, said “I’m pleased to have reached this amicable settlement, and will now be able to move forward with my college studies and broader journalistic pursuits.”

The Latest in Facebook Lawsuits and Features

There’s another rash of Facebook headlines today, and for once it looks like they’re all different. Keep reading—I’m saving the best for last!

Lawsuits of late
Facebook is always in and out of court. Sometimes they’re the plaintiff, such as in a case they’ve filed in federal court against some hackers, naming Brian Fabian, Josh Raskin, Ming Wu and Slickcash.com.

Things didn’t pan out so well for Facebook in a kind of strange-sounding case where a woman got a new phone number which happened to have belonged to a Facebook member. She was receiving that member’s Facebook updates as text messages. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a text plan, and the messages were costing her 10 cents apiece. Facebook was accused of receiving some portion of that money. (So that’s where their revenue comes from!) SFGate reports:

Digg Selling for $300 Million?

Rumors have surfaced again that Digg is looking to find a buyer. This time credibility to the reports is added in the form of news that Digg has retained the services of a private investment bank.

As VentureBeat reports

A reliable source just confirmed the company8217s plans, noting the company has hired Allen & Company, a tiny but influential private investment firm, to help broker a deal. The asking price is still $300 million, the source said.

This will come as no surprise. Rumors of a sale have been rampant for months, although until now we hear co-founder Jay Adelson has been trying to muster up interest in a sale. This is the first time Digg has hired a bank to shop the deal, we8217re told.