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The Internet

uSocial Sells Twitter Followers By the Thousand 118

bfire writes to tell us that marketing firm uSocial has decided to apply a new monetization scheme to the Twitter service by providing packages of followers for purchase. "According to the firm, a single Twitter follower could be worth $0.10 a month. It is selling followers in various packages, starting at 1,000 for $87, which is delivered in seven days, and going all the way up to 100,000 followers at a cost of $3,479, delivered over a year." This is just the latest in a number of different exploits and problems of the Twitter universe as individuals try to subvert a popular tool into a self-serving device.
The Internet

Malcolm Gladwell Challenges the Idea of "Free" 206

An anonymous reader brings us another bump on the bumpy road of Chris Anderson's new book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price, which we discussed a week ago. Now the Times (UK) is reporting on a dustup between Anderson and Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. Recently Gladwell reviewed, or rather deconstructed, Anderson's book in the New Yorker. Anderson has responded with a blog post that addresses some, but by no means all, of Gladwell's criticisms, and The Times is inclined to award the match to Gladwell on points. Although their reviewer didn't notice that Gladwell, in setting up the idea of "Free" as a straw man, omitted a critical half of Stewart Brand's seminal quote.
The Internet

Domain-Name Wars, Rise of the Cybersquatters 183

CWmike writes "When began publishing pornographic images created with Lego toys, Lego acted quickly. "The content available on the site consisted of animated mini-figures doing very explicit things. We were not amused," says Peter Kjaer, an attorney for Denmark-based Lego. Lego didn't go to court. Instead it filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization, which ruled in its favor. The domain registrar for,, eventually shut down the site and transferred the domain name to Lego under ICANN rules. But it's not just Lego and Verizon that are suffering. Green energy is a hot topic, so cybersquatters have been targeting wind and solar energy start-ups. And malicious sites can create havoc with a brand's reputation. Cybersquatting activity rose by 18% last year, with a documented 440,584 cybersquatting sites in the fourth quarter of last year alone, according to MarkMonitor's annual Brandjacking Index report. And WIPO cited an 8% jump in dispute filings in 2008, to 2,329 complaints — a new record. Now, ICANN is preparing to open a potentially unlimited number of new top-level domains as early as the first quarter of 2010."
Social Networks

Where Does a Geek Find a Social Life? 1354

JustShootMe writes "I have a question for my fellow Slashdotters, and yes, I realize I am entering the lion's den covered in tasty meat-flavored sauce. I have never been a very social person, preferring to throw myself into technology; therefore, I've been spectacularly unsuccessful in developing any meaningful interpersonal relationships. Lately I have begun to feel that this situation is not tenable, and I would like to fix it. But I really don't know how and haven't the faintest idea where to start. I know that I am in the minority and that there are many different kinds of Slashdot readers, most of whom have more experience in this realm than I do. So please tell me: how, and more importantly, where do you meet fellow geeks — preferably including some of the opposite gender — in meatspace?"
The Internet

Ray Bradbury Loves Libraries, Hates the Internet 600

Hugh Pickens was one of several readers to let us know that, according to a NY Times story, the 89-year-old Ray Bradbury hates the Internet. But he loves libraries, and is helping raise $280,000 to keep libraries in Ventura County open. "Among Mr. Bradbury's passions, none burn quite as hot as his lifelong enthusiasm for halls of books. ... 'Libraries raised me,' Mr. Bradbury said. 'I don't believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don't have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn't go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.' ... The Internet? Don't get him started. 'The Internet is a big distraction,' Mr. Bradbury barked... 'Yahoo called me eight weeks ago,' he said, voice rising. 'They wanted to put a book of mine on Yahoo! You know what I told them? "To hell with you. To hell with you and to hell with the Internet." It's distracting. It's meaningless; it's not real. It's in the air somewhere.'"

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken