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The Internet

ICANN Asks FTC To Rule On .sucks gTLD Rollout 108

DW100 writes: "ICANN, the body in charge of overseeing the management and rollout of new top level domains, has asked the FTC to investigate whether the registry running .sucks is acting illegally . ICANN's in-house legal team raised concerns that the registry was selling the domains to brand owners in a 'predatory' manner. "The issues relate to concerns brands wishing to buy the .sucks domain, which went on sale on 30 March for a three-month ‘clearing house' period, will have to pay $2,500 to register it for their brand. This is far in excess of the price that will be offered to the general public and the price of other top-level domains."

Federal Court OKs Amazon's System of Suggesting Alternative Products 102

concealment writes "Many of us have had the experience of going to Amazon to buy one thing but checking out with a huge shopping cart of items that we didn't initially seek—or even know were available. Amazon's merchandising often benefits Amazon's customers, but trademark owners who lose sales to their competition due to it aren't as thrilled. Fortunately for Amazon, a California federal court recently upheld Amazon's merchandising practices in its internal search results."

Think Tank's Website Rejects Browser Do-Not-Track Requests 362

alphadogg writes "The website for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) now tells visitors it will not honor their browsers' do-not-track requests as a form of protest against the technology pushed by privacy groups and parts of the U.S. government. The tech-focused think tank on Friday implemented a new website feature that detects whether visitors have do-not-track features enabled in their browsers and tells them their request has been denied. 'Do Not Track is a detrimental policy that undermines the economic foundation of the Internet,' Daniel Castro, senior analyst at the ITIF wrote in a blog post. 'Advertising revenue supports most of the free content, services, and apps available on the Internet.'"

Retailers Dread Phone-Wielding Shoppers 725

Ponca City writes "The WSJ reports that until recently, retailers could reasonably assume that if they just lured shoppers into stores with enticing specials, the customers could be coaxed into buying more profitable stuff too. But now, marketers must contend with shoppers who can use their smartphones inside stores to check whether the specials are really so special. 'The retailer's advantage has been eroded,' says analyst Greg Girard, adding that roughly 45% of customers with smartphones had used them to perform due diligence on a store's prices. 'The four walls of the store have become porous.' Although store executives publicly welcome a price-transparent world, retail experts don't expect all chains to measure up to the harsh judgment of mobile price comparisons, and some will need to find new ways to survive. 'Only a couple of retailers can play the lowest-price game,' says Noam Paransky. 'This is going to accelerate the demise of retailers who do not have either competitive pricing or a standout store experience.'"

Satellites Spy On Black Friday Shoppers 171

MojoKid writes "Those satellites in space don't just take spy pictures. On this Black Friday 2010, they actually took pictures of you, and your rush to Black Friday shopping deals. The research is being done to see what consumer demand this year means for retail stocks. The trend, so far, has been favorable. The companies involved in this are Remote Sensing Metrics and Digital Globe. Remote Sensing Metrics is a Chicago-based consulting firm that analyzes the satellite imagery. In turn, it purchases those images from Colorado-based company Digital Globe, which operates its own satellites."
The Media

Newspapers Cut Wikileaks Out of Shield Law 602

An anonymous reader writes "The US press has been pushing for a (much needed) federal shield law, that would allow reporters to protect their sources. It's been something of a political struggle for a few years now, and things were getting close when Wikileaks suddenly got a bunch of attention for leaking all those Afghan war documents. Suddenly, the politicians involved started working on an amendment that would specifically carve out an exception for Wikileaks so that it would not be covered by such a shield law. And, now, The First Amendment Center is condemning the newspaper industry for throwing Wikileaks under the bus, as many in the industry are supporting this new amendment, and saying that Wikileaks doesn't deserve source protection because 'it's not journalism.'"

Swedish Pirate Party Launches ISP 356

WillDraven writes "Torrentfreak is reporting that the Swedish Pirate Party has launched an ISP. Starting with 100 residents in a housing organization in the city of Lund, Pirate ISP hopes to gain 5% of the market in Lund before spreading to other markets. Headed by longtime Pirate Party member Gustav Nipe (video interview in English), the company aims to provide Internet service with the sort of guarantees one would expect from the Pirate Party. Most notable are the promises to keep no logs of subscriber activity and thus to provide no data to law enforcement or private corporations."
Social Networks

MySpace To Sell User Data 199

OnlyJedi writes "Hot on the news of Netflix canceling its latest contest over privacy concerns, news has spread that MySpace is going in the opposite direction. Apparently, the one-time leading social network is now selling user data to third party collection firms. From the article, the data that InfoChimps has listed includes 'user playlists, mood updates, mobile updates, photos, vents, reviews, blog posts, names and zipcodes.' InfoChimps is a reseller that deals with individuals and groups, from academic researchers to marketers and industry analysts. So if you're worried about your data on MySpace being sold off to anybody with a few hundred dollars, now's the time to delete that little-used account."
The Almighty Buck

Rescued Banks Sought Foreign Help During Meltdown 749

theodp writes "An AP review of visa applications has found that major US banks sought permission to bring thousands of foreign workers into the country under the H-1B visa program, even as the banking system was melting down and Americans were being laid off. The dozen banks now receiving the biggest rescue packages, totaling more than $150 billion, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years. (It's not known how many of these were granted; the article notes 'The actual number is likely a fraction of the... workers the banks sought to hire because the government only grants 85,000 such visas each year among all US employers.') The American Bankers Association blamed the US talent pool for forcing the move, saying they couldn't find enough Americans capable of handling sales, lending, and bank administration. The AP has filed FOIA requests to force the US Customs and Immigration Service to disclose further details on the bailed-out banks' foreign hires."

"Cyber Monday" Expected To Draw Virtual Crowds 133

Anti-Globalism writes with this excerpt from PCWorld: "Last year, consumers spent $733 million on Cyber Monday, and it's expected to be even bigger this year. According to a survey by online shopping site Shopzilla for the National Retail Federation's, nearly 84 percent of online retailers plan to have a Cyber Monday promotion on December 1. That's up from just 72 percent last year and zero percent in 2005, says executive director Scott Silverman."

Google Moving Strongly Into Radio Advertising 54

AvgGatsby writes to let us know about Google's move into radio. The company is hiring "scores" of radio sales people in major markets and is offering them 50% above prevailing salaries. From the article: "Google spokesman Michael Mayzel said this week that the company will begin a public test of Google Audio Ads by the end of the year. Advertisers will be able to go online and sign up for targeted radio ads using the same AdWords system they use to buy Web search ads. It made a clear move into radio in January when it agreed to pay more than $1 billion, depending on performance, for dMarc Broadcasting Inc., which connects advertisers to radio stations through an automated advertising system. It's all part of what Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt has said is an investment in radio advertising that could grow over time to include up to 1,000 Google employees — not just in ad sales, but also in engineering and operations."

Apple in Talks with Wal-Mart over Movies 176

Alex, writes "If you can't beat 'em ... Apple and Wal-Mart are in discussions over an alliance that could allow the giant retailer to profit from iTunes video downloads. Apple would then gain access to titles from every major studio." From the article: "A deal could take the form of a digital download 'coupon' that would allow consumers to buy movies, TV shows or music on iTunes with Apple paying the retail giant a percentage of the proceeds, one industry insider said ... Hollywood has been closely watching Disney's relationship with Wal-Mart in the wake of the deal. When Wal-Mart caught wind of talks between the studios and Apple, it threatened to cut its order of 'High School Musical' over the summer. Disney CEO Bob Iger did the deal with Jobs anyway, and the rest of Hollywood has been watching to see if and when the other shoe drops."

Apple Sets Tune for Pricing of Song Downloads 396

PygmySurfer writes "Apple Computer on Monday revealed it had renewed contracts with the four largest record companies to sell songs through its iTunes digital store at 99 cents each. The agreements came after months of bargaining, and were a defeat for music companies that had been pushing for a variable pricing model."

Amazon Dumping Google for Microsoft? 126

theodp writes "How do you reward Google for letting your CEO buy stock for six cents a share? If you're Amazon, you dump Google for Windows Live Search to power subsidiary Alexa, who has not yet commented on the switch. Other Windows Live Search sightings are being observed at Amazon subsidiary" From the Search Engine Lowdown article: "The Alexa toolbar's gotten Alexa a bad rap from privacy advocates, though in function it's effect on search results is similar to click stream data that Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask may or may not be using in their determinations of relevance. Wall points out that 'A9 is still powered by Google...' A9 is Amazon's primary search project. Wall wonders, however, if the change in Alexa indicates a larger coming change in Amazon's relationship to Google. I agree. In fact, I see the move as the first Google Dump in the post eBay's-seeking-partners-against-Google era."

Wal-mart's Wikipedia War 778

An anonymous reader writes "Whitedust is running an article which claims that lobbyists for Wal-mart have successfully waged a war against a fair viewpoint on Wikipedia's Wal-mart page. From the article: "Although Wikipedia maintains a 'Neutral Point of View' (NPOV) policy, the Wal-mart page is highly biased. Additionally, all criticism has, contrary to policy, practice, and the general opinion of those concerned, been moved to a Debates Over Wal-mart section. Even that page has noticeable resistance to negative points of view about Wal-mart."

One picture is worth 128K words.