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If Twitter and Yahoo Answers Mated You’d Get Attendi

SEM is so powerful, so successful, that there’s a relentless quest to find the “next search.” Attendi, a startup that launched today at the Demo conference, applies search to instant messaging conversations.

To join Attendi, you create a profile that can include blogs, keywords, favorite web sites and your social networks; the idea is to position yourself as an expert on whatever you want — cooking, motorcycles, SEM. Automatically generated tag clouds attached to profiles show what else you’re up to speed on.

Other people can come to the site and search for experts who are logged in, then request a chat. Your profile is rated as more relevant to a topic, the more people chat with you. In addition, Attendi indexes all the chats and makes them searchable. So, even if someone isn’t online, you can read what they said to someone else.

Rumor Mill: Microsoft Buying a Stake in Facebook

Is Microsoft shopping for a social network? The Wall Street Journal reports today that Microsoft may be purchasing as much as a 5% stake in Facebook, a share valued at $300-$500 million. The WSJ speculates that a deal like this could push the value of Facebook into the $10 billion range—exactly the price tag investor Tim Thiel named in July. Further rumors state that Google may also be looking to purchase a stake in the social network.

An investment in Facebook could give Microsoft or Google greater opportunities to tie their services in with Facebook at a time when they’ve both recognized that social networking is changing how consumers tap into their core activities, such as Web search and email.

Rumor Mill: Google Planning Second Life Rival?

This is one of two Google rumors that surfaced over the weekend–the other one is here.

Apparently Arizona State University sent out invitations to students that mention a super-secret, sign-an-NDA-or-else, social networking project.

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A few teasers have led most to conclude this must be a Google project:

  1. “a  major internet company” – yep, that sounds like Google.
  2. A questions asking if you have a Gmail account – hmm, I doubt MSFT or Yahoo would be asking that.
  3. Google already has Google earth and 3D modeling software.

In case you need further convincing that Google is behind this super-secret project, Google Operating System offers this compelling but circumstantial evidence.

TV Networks Networking Online

NBC isn’t the only one making moves online. ABC, CBS and MTV are also in the news today for their online strategies.

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CBS, as reported by the LA Times, has turned its attention to creating communities for its shows on the site. Designed to allow fans of its shows to congregate and discuss the shows.

Adding a social aspect to its site seems like a good idea. It will help to increase visitors’ time on site, as well as show consumer loyalty for shows. However, I have seen community message boards like these become mostly a platform for people who hate the show in question, and expect the network to see and respond to their complaints. As long as it’s abundantly clear that the message boards are for discussing the shows with one another, it should work out at least moderately well for CBS.

Google Shared Stuff is Delicious

It seems Google’s decided to dive into the arena of social bookmarking with their soft launch of Shared Stuff.

Simply add a bookmark button to your browser:

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You can then use that to share your favorite web page. Or by clicking on any page that displays the share button:

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From there you decide on a label for the page you are sharing, email to a friend, or push to other social bookmarking sites.

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A pretty cool feature is that Google will auto-pick an image from the site, to use as a thumbnail. Users can scroll through the different images on the page and select an image that will best represent the site being shared.

Digg Gets Social-er

Business Week reports today that Digg will be rolling out a brand new, even more social site any minute now. Designed to bring more of a social networking aspect to the site, the new design will feature the ability to create a “real” profile page, better connect with your Digg friends, monitor their activities and send them stories. Just what die-hard Diggers needed: another excuse to while away the hours on their favorite website.

Business Week writes:

Instead of submitting stories for review by the larger Digg community, users will be able to send—”shout” in Digg terms—story links along with messages to particular Digg friends. Friends, or small groups of friends, also will be able to chat or discuss stories on their personal pages with posts to a message board, a feature akin to the “wall” on Facebook.

MySpace Starts Contextual, Targeted Advertising

paidContent reports that MySpace will launch contextual, targeted advertising on its members’ profiles starting soon. After six months of testing with a 100-member team in MySpace’s parent corporation, their system will analyze the content of members’ profile pages and display relevant ads alongside the content.

paidContent reports:

The program is currently in a pilot phase with 10 “enthusiast” segments with some select advertisers, and will be available broadly this fall other segments. Also, in November, MySpace will launch a self-serve online ad system to allow smaller companies to aim at MySpace users with their ads.

They expect the advertising to jump 80% in click-through rate, while doubling their monthly revenues (to $80m).

They did not explain why they did not choose an extant contextual advertising platform, but it’s likely that they’d profit more from a home-grown solution.