Google Secretly Working with the CIA?

Nothing like some conspiracy to start off your working day. Nate Anderson has a juicy rumor that Google is secretly working the US government, including the CIA. While, there’s no official confirmation or denial from either the government or Google, former intelligence officer Robert David Steele has made the claim…

“Google has made a very important strategic mistake in dealing with the secret elements of the U.S. government—that is a huge mistake and I’m hoping they’ll work their way out of it and basically cut that relationship off.” In his view, Google’s attempt earlier this year to avoid turning over information to the Department of Justice was little more than a hypocritical charade.

Spot Runner Gets Another $40m to Provide Low-Cost TV Ads

ClickZ has details of some new funding for low-cost television commercial provider, Spot Runner. Spot Runner is an interesting concept, allowing companies to create and place TV ads for as little as $500, using an online interface.

The $40 million raised, is impressive in its own right, but companies financing the round are even more intriguing…

The addition of CBS, Interpublic and WPP as investors is also significant. The three companies are major players in the online/television ad market, controlling billions of dollars in advertising budgets for some of the biggest buyers. On the ad buying side, WPP says it manages about $50 billion of clients’ budgets worldwide and Interpublic Group agencies serve more than 4,000 multinational, regional and local clients around the world.

Anyone actually used Spot Runner?

Channel Sponsors

Get Paid to Search with zotspot

I’m not sure how I feel about new search engine  plan to share revenue with those that use the search engine.

“To give you a sense of the earning potential, we estimate that each referral who uses Zotspot as their primary search engine will generate between 10 cents and 50 cents for you per year. (We can’t guarantee those estimates, but we hope to continue to increase member earnings and even pass those numbers in the future!)” the Web site says. “If you refer 10 people, they each refer 10 people and so on, you could earn over $250 per year.”

It will be interesting to figure out where they are getting their natural and sponsored listings from, and what that company feels about the model.

SideStep Acquires Hotel Review Site TravelPost.com

 I’ve been doing a lot of research in the hotel space just recently – and I’m not just talking about planning my next vacation either! So, I’ve learned a lot about TripAdvisor wannabe, TravelPost, and their efforts to grow their user numbers to more than 700,000 monthly visitors.

Not surprisingly, travel search site SideStep has decided they’d like to take advantage of that great community, acquire TravelPost and add it to their 5 million monthly users.

The deal, for undisclosed financial terms, is aimed at offering an independent alternative to travel industry-backed sites. SideStep plans to combine TravelPost’s reviews with its own site in the coming months, matching travelers with hotels based on advice from people with similar interests.

YouTube Asked to Remove Comedy Central Videos

The soon to be acquired, YouTube, has received a request from Viacom to remove videos of some Comedy Central shows.

The source said Viacom, owner of the Comedy Central cable network, had sent a letter last Friday requesting that some of its shows — including the popular “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Colbert Report” and those from MTV Networks and BET — be purged from the site.

While some might start questioning the viability of YouTube – if they’ll continue to receive such requests – I tend to look at this as a positive for the company.

A positive, I hear you ask? If you think about it, each time YouTube receives one of these requests, it learns two things:

Performancing Helping this Blogger Succeed..Maybe Not

Update: Ok, so all of a sudden it stops working and keeps asking me for a password. It appears to be a bug for those using the FF master password. Next stop, Qumana.

Update 2:
And the winner is, brace yourself, Microsoft! Yep, their Windows Live Writer is an awesome tool with lots of functionality and a nifty Firefox plugin. I know it’s hard to think of Microsoft as being cutting-edge in the world of blogging, but hat’s off to them! If I break it, I’ll update here. :-)

Ok, so switching to WordPress is both exciting and a huge learning experience. Going from Blogger to WordPress is not that different from switching from a PC to a Mac. The experience has been made much more enjoyable with the help of Perfomancing’s great Firefox extension.

Tracking 404 Pages with Google Analytics

Switching blogging platforms has introduced me to some unique problems and some cool tools. One of the problems I had to find a solution for was tracking 404 errors using Google Analytics. As GA is a script based analytics tool, I figured I would need to find a new solution that used the site logs instead.

A quick “google” later and I discover Google Analytics has already thought of this problem and created a solution.

So, for all of GA users, here’s your solution for tracking 404 errors, whether you’re switching blog interfaces, or not. :-)