September 28, 2010

Rumor: AOL To Acquire Another Blog Empire? (TechCrunch)

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After acquiring Weblogs, Inc. in 2005, AOL is rumored to be seeking to purchase the TechCrunch empire founded by Michael Arrington.

AOL, the New York-based online media company, is on the verge of acquiring TechCrunch, the online blogging network started by former attorney, Michael Arrington. The deal is at a sensitive stage and might fall apart yet, but I don’t think so. Sources familiar with both entities says that the announcement is likely to come onstage at Disrupt, TechCrunch’s flagship conference currently underway in San Francisco. (via GigaOm)

According to Om Malik, Tim Armstrong (AOL’s CEO) is suppose to make an announcement at the end of TechCrunch Disrupt, which unveils innovative startups that (as the name implies) can disrupt the industry as a whole.

There is still no word on what price AOL is offering Arrington for ownership of the TechCrunch empire, but we will update this post as soon if we hear of anything new.

If Om’s sources are correct and TechCrunch is assimilated by the AOL giant, we will probably see TechCrunch powered by BlogSmith instead of WordPress (the former which AOL thus far delcined to release to the public).

With AOL snapping up some of the largest blog networks around, the only question that remains is, “Who’s next?”

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September 27, 2010

Buy Online While Earning Facebook Credits, The Newest E-Tailer Incentive

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Facebook Credits

Online retailers looking to grab more customers as the holiday shopping season arrives have chosen a new type of incentive, Facebook Credits.

According to Mashable, the program has begun with Ifeelgoods an e-commerce promotions firm that allows their current and new clients to integrate the program as an incentive for customers to buy products from their site or perform other actions that can help attract and retain customers.

The program offers a great way for e-tailers to turn potential customers into paying customers. For example, a customer saves an item in the sites online shopping cart, after doing so a message pops up stating “Receive 25 Facebook credits with your purchase.” A site may even choose to up the number of credits for each item added to a cart or based on the overall purchase price.

E-Commerce company’s may also offer incentives for signing up to their e-mail newsletter, for voting with Facebook on products found on their site and for performing other actions that help sell products and get the site noticed. read more

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WordPress Assimilates Windows Live Spaces

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Automattic (the company behind WordPress) has just announced that they have been anointed by Microsoft (yes, that Microsoft!) to become their default blogging platform, replacing Microsoft’s home grown creation (Windows Live Spaces).

We’re excited to announce that WordPress.com is now the default blogging platform for Windows Live Spaces users. We’ve worked with our partners at Microsoft to create a simple migration service for Spaces bloggers to easily bring all their posts, comments, and photos to WordPress.com.

Over a six month period, beginning today, Windows Live Spaces users will have the option to move their blogs to WordPress.com. To make this possible, we’ve created a brand new importer for Windows Live Spaces to WordPress.com. New Windows Live users will also be offered a WordPress.com blog when they choose to create a new blog. (Official WordPress Blog)

This is a smart move by Microsoft, who was unable to convert Windows Live Spaces into a viable competitor against Google’s Blogger, let alone other platforms like Posterous and Squarespace.

Windows Live Spaces currently has 30 million users (note: how many are still active is uncertain. UPDATE: 30 million active users according to Jeff Kunins from Microsoft), which should help Automattic compete against Blogger who currently reigns as king of the blogging platforms (at least according to Compete and Quantcast).

By partnering with WordPress, Microsoft can focus on areas of strength (like Bing!) while at the same time forging alliances against an old foe.

It will be interesting to see if Automattic forges a deeper relationship with Microsoft (note: think WordPress for Windows 7 Phone), although for now WordPress’s status as a corporate CMS just went up a few notches.

Update: Post updated (see second paragraph after block quote above).

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Ryder Cup Players Banned From Twitter

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Ryder Cup 2010Twitter can be a very distracting waste of time and both U.S. and European Ryder Cup coaches have apparently realized that the distraction created by the micro-blogging service may be too distracting to players during their biggest international event of the year, banning the service for all three days of Ryder Cup play.

U.S. Captain Corey Pavin and European Captain Colin Montgomerie announced to their teams that no Twitter messages will be allowed during all three-days of play which begins this Friday at Celtic Manor.

Pavin announced:

“We have decided as a whole to not tweet this week,” adding, “It can be a little bit distracting sometimes. I think it’s important to focus on the Ryder Cup and playing the matches and just enjoying camaraderie with the team itself.”

Montgomerie took the distraction one step further, asking his teammates to avoid all social networking and other “distracting” websites so they can focus on tournament play. read more

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Textpattern Announces 4.3 RC, Still Silent On The iPhone Front

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Textpattern (considered by some to be WordPress’s true rival) is launching their release candidate (aka RC) in order to purge the CMS of any bugs before the official launch.

The first release candidate of Textpattern CMS 4.3.0 is ready for boarding. Please make your way to the departure lounge and download a copy. Report any unexpected baggage on the Issue tracker or forum to help us build a high-quality final release. (Official Textpattern Blog) read more

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September 25, 2010

Blogrolling To Announce Shut Down Date

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Acquired in 2004 by Tucows, Blogrolling provided bloggers with an elegant way to list and manage their favorite site without having to dive into the HTML of your site.

Fast forward towards today and Blogrolling is on its death bed, and is preparing to announce when the site will no longer be no longer active online.

@Darnell We’ll likely make a decision next week and give people as much time as we can. A few weeks for sure. (via @Blogrolling)

Although Blogrolling has already hinted that they would be shutting down their services, they (for the most part) did not give a specific time frame upon their blog of when the service would be shut down.

While Blogrolling is no longer needed in the new age of blogging that we live in, the company did help persuade blog platforms to develop a better way to list blog rolls (with Google creating the most innovative way to list them upon ones site).

Unless you are of the viewpoint that blog rolls are worthless, users currently utilizing the service would be wise to find a way to export their links elsewhere or (better yet) hard link the sites within their respective sidebars.

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Squarespace Quietly Launches New Price Plans

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After increasing their war chest, Squarespace (a premium blogging service) has simplified their pricing plans by reducing the number from 5 plans (which included Basic, Pro, Advance, Business and Community) to 3 (Standard, Advance and Business).

Surprisingly there is no official announcement upon their blog, despite the increase in cost and features (the latter which might appeal to bloggers seeking “VIP like” hosting for their sites). read more

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September 24, 2010

Facebook Places Makes Its Way To Canada

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Facebook Places Location MapWith Facebook Places already available in the United States, UK and Japan it’s about time that it finally arrived at the homes of our neighbors to the north.

Facebook Places is now slowly rolling out to Canadian Facebook users, showing up some user streams.  Canada is the fourth country to receive the new option.

The move is a big step forward for Facebook/Canada relations which were strained last year when the Canadian government told the social network that they were violating their countries citizen privacy laws. This time around Facebook Places is “friends only” defaulted with the option to turn off the program completely which should keep officials at bay over increasing privacy concerns. read more

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Can Melody Save Movable Type?

Right now Say Media (who now officially owns Movable Type and Typepad) is in the middle of a firestorm after the President (Troy Young) insulted every small blogger utilizing their services with this statement.

Say Media expects to lose some subscribers to the Six Apart blogging platform. Its main focus, Young said, is in those that hope to build media businesses, rather than regular people who write a blog for fun.

“The kinds of people we want to work with are emerging media personalities,” he said. (AdWeek)

While the company attempts to pacify the rage and prevent many users from defecting to rival platforms, Say Media may find their ultimate hope in an emerging platform that shares Movable Type’s DNA (if not a passion for the platform as well). read more

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September 23, 2010

Facebook Goes Down Again [WTF]

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Facebook Login Page Screenshot

Facebook is not having a good week, yesterday the site went down for many visitors as the world’s largest social network saw service problems with one of their third party providers and today they are having new network issues that are not associated with Wednesday’s issue.

According to Indyposted the problem is widespread with thousand of tweets coming from disgruntled visitors who don’t want to get their work done at the office.

Many users are seeing the message:

Internal server Error – The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.”

Facebook “Like” buttons and the company’s plugins have also been down across the web, causing weird page loads for sites that use the company’s technology as part of their user integration strategy. read more

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