Thursday, August 10, 2006

Duran Duran Set to Invade SecondLife

Eighties icons Duran Duran are primed to become the first major pop act to have a presence inside of Second Life.

According to their official Web site, John Taylor, Simon Le Bon, Roger Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Andy Taylor have commissioned a set of custom avatars that they plan to use to perform concerts and schedule media appearances that mirror their real world activities.

DD keyboardist Nick Rhodes sees endless possibilities in Second Life: "our community will be able to help develop the island into a fully functional, futuristic utopia, where you can never be quite sure what to expect."

The quintet is expected to make their virtual debut later this month.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Another One Microsoft Blogger Bites the Dust

Four months into his gig at Microsoft, fellow RSS-addict Niall Kennedy has decided to part ways with the company, citing a desire to venture out on his own.

Whether or not the big M decides to move forward with development on the feed platform he was hired to lead is anyone's guess, but Niall certainly hopes so.

So do I.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Primp Your Avatar

Sponsored by Wal-Mart, The Yahoo! Avatar Fashion Show invites consumers to dress their virtual selves in the retailer's gear and submit their creations for a chance to win one of five $100 gift cards.

Launched this morning, the competition is already heating up. Best in show will be determined by an open vote.

Primp Your Avatar

Monday, August 07, 2006

Add Your .02 to the New Rules of Marketing and PR

One of my favorite PR bloggers, David Meerman Scott, is planning a new book on blogging, podcasting, viral marketing and online media.

David intends to blog his way through his journey and has invited us to follow along, contribute to the process, offer suggestions and keep him on track.

He expects the final product - tenatively titled The New Rules of Marketing and PR - to be completed by the end of the year.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Google to Add Viacom Programming to Video Store

With the ink barely dry on their deal with AP, Google has just announced an alliance with Viacom Inc., parent company to MTV Networks, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Spike TV, TV Land, DreamWorks, that will bring more than 100 hours of ad-supported content to their growing video store.

While additional details related to their partnership remain confidential, an unnamed Viacom exec close to the negotiations told The New York Times that his company would retain at least two-thirds of the ad revenue generated by the union, an arrangement that marks the first of its kind for the search engine giant.

Akin to their agreement with iTunes, the clips - from programs like Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, SpongeBob SquarePants and MTV's Video Music Awards and seventeen others - will be made available for download at $1.99 a pop.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Dignity Outshines Freedom of Speech in Chinese Blog Defamation Case

Journalism professor Chen Tangfa was awarded a whopping 1,000 yuan (that's $126 to you and me) after a Chinese court ruled that critical comments made by a student on his personal "bo-ke" (or blog) amounted to defamation.

After initially arguing that his company had no right to edit content posted on the blogs they host, Fang Huaifeng - a spokesman for - said the network would now "review every complaint received and delete material deemed offensive," according to China's Xinhua News Agency. Close to 5 million users make up the community.

Meanwhile, back in Nanjing, Tangfa - whose case may very well represent the first of its kind in his country - said "winning shows personal dignity outweighs freedom of speech."

Hat-tip: AP.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

New and Improved Windows Spaces Unveiled

On Tuesday, Microsoft began rolling out an enhanced version of Windows Spaces, the popular blogging platform used by over 120 million unique visitors each month.

According to a company statement, the new product - dubbed Windows Live Spaces - includes social networking features "designed to help users discover and connect with friends through their trusted contacts and allows customers to personalise their Windows Live Spaces with gadgets."

Unfortunately, the relaunch has suffered from a series flaws, as Mary Jo Foley of Microsoft Watch reports.

In lighter news, the big M has also introduced Live QnA, a service (currently in beta) that's been described as an online forum that allows consumers to ask and get answers to questions on a variety topics.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Online News Audience Broad, Not Deep

A biennial survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has found that 48% of all Americans spend at least 30 minutes getting their news from broadcast television. By comparison, 10% were found to pass that same amount of time getting their fix from popular portals like MSNBC, Yahoo!, CNN, Google, AOL and FoxNews.

Among those polled, sites maintained by newspapers were almost as popular as network news sites; The New York Times and USA Today led the pack in terms of those most frequented.

Pew's News Consumption and Believability Study has also identified blogs as a popular source for a "significant number," of consumers aged 18-24. Nearly 10% of the test group that fell within this demo admitted to reading at least one news blogs regularly.