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John Sargent, CEO of book publisher Macmillan, has written a blog post defending his company’s new “agency model” approach to e-book sales through retailers such as Amazon and Apple, but all the post really shows is how desperate Macmillan is to protect its existing business model. Read more »

Books now outnumber games in the iTunes app store for the first time since the iPhone was launched, according to a recent survey by mobile advertising firm Mobclix. The popularity of the iPhone as an e-book reader could help pave the way for the Apple iPad. Read more »

In another sign of how Twitter and other social media tools are becoming intertwined with the world of traditional marketing and CRM, email marketer ExactTarget has acquired Twitter account management service CoTweet for an undisclosed sum. The two plan to create a “social media lab.” Read more »

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As Twitter prepares to launch its own advertising platform for the social network, other companies are also rushing to take advantage of that opportunity. 140proof just launched a targeted advertising service that is built around the iPhone and Android apps of Twitter management tool HootSuite. Read more »

As in so many other cities that aren’t located in or near Silicon Valley, the startup scene in Toronto is a fairly small and close-knit community. Now, a VC-backed school/competition called Extreme University will look for startups to “audition,” American Idol-style. Read more »

Citibank has admitted that a staffer blocked the bank account of gay-networking startup Fabulis and threatened to terminate the company’s account because of what it termed “objectionable content” on the Fabulis blog, but says it has now clarified its internal policies for Internet business accounts. Read more »

The U.S. Army is launching an “Apps For The Army” competition aimed at developing mobile and web-based applications. A joint venture with iStrategyLabs, the contest involves 100 teams competing over a two-week period for a total of $30,000 in cash awards, overseen by the Army’s CIO. Read more »

News consumption has become a fundamentally social experience, and consumers are no longer loyal to a specific site or a specific new outlet, according to a joint research report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and the Project for Excellence in Journalism. Read more »

Google has launched a new feature in Street View that allows users to navigate through a virtual 3D panorama of a location using photos that have been uploaded through Panoramio and Flickr. The feature is similar to Microsoft’s Photosynth, but is available to anyone with Flash. Read more »

An Italian court found three Google executives guilty of privacy violations for a video uploaded to the company’s site, focusing attention on a key question: Is Google a service provider or a media company? And if it’s the latter, what responsibility does it have for content? Read more »

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As they did during the earthquake in Haiti and other natural disasters, social-media tools such as Twitter and various other web resources have become a key source of information on what is happening to the country. Here is a partial list of some of those resources. Read more »

With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, non-profit satellite network LinkTV is building a site called, which will use open-source, semantic technology to create an information hub for global development resources. LinkTV says that ViewChange will be launched in summer 2010. Read more »

eBay CEO John Donahoe says the company wants to make its PayPal unit the de facto payment system for Facebook games, Twitter money-sharing and every other kind of social game or service. But PayPal has some work to do before it deserves that position. Read more »

Jason Goldberg, co-founder of and Jobster, says that Citibank blocked the bank account of his new startup Fabulis due to what the bank called “objectionable content” on the company’s blog. Could it have something to do with Fabulis being a social network for gay men? Read more »

Despite a flurry of reports about an EU antitrust investigation into Google, the European Union denies that any such investigation has begun. However, complaints of anti-competitive behavior are only likely to increase, as Google’s market dominance in search-related advertising and search marketing increases. Read more »

A Twitter executive who suggested during an advertising industry panel that the company was within a month or so of launching its advertising platform has denied this interpretation of his comments, and says while the company is working on a platform, its launch is not imminent. Read more »

Scribd, which calls itself the world’s largest social publishing company, has launched a series of mobile services and features for sending books and other documents to any portable device, including a set of open APIs, and will soon launch mobile apps for the iPhone and Android. Read more »

DocStoc, the document-hosting service, has launched an online store and related services that allow members to sell professional documents both through the DocStoc marketplace and through the service’s embeddable document viewer. CEO Jason Nazar says he sees it as different from Scribd’s similar online document store. Read more »

Sellaband — a crowdfunding service that helped musicians raise money from members to record CDs — is bankrupt, according to a co-founder and minority investor in the company, who says it ran out of money. The service has reportedly filed for court protection in the Netherlands. Read more »

Twitter will roll out an official advertising platform likely within the next month or so, Anamitra Banerji, head of product management and monetization at Twitter, said while on a panel at a conference on Monday. Will advertising change your experience or make you use Twitter less? Read more »

Hooked Media has launched a social-gaming platform called Yoo-Mee that is designed to allow casual games played on Facebook and elsewhere to be embedded in any website and also played via mobile devices. The platform is a “social wrapper” for games, says CEO Prita Uppal. Read more »

Every once in a while, a new service or feature comes along that crystallizes everything that is both wonderful and shocking about the Internet and the social web. ChatRoulette is one of those services, drawing both revulsion over its X-rated content and investment interest from VCs. Read more »

What do people ask their social networks? A recent study by Microsoft and MIT found that the most popular questions ask people for recommendations and opinions on things like which cellphone to buy, but also more rhetorical questions such as “Why are men so stupid?” Read more »

Legendary Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot joins the growing list of celebrities that Twitter has reported were dead when they were in fact very much alive. But all the social network really did was spread the news, and it spread the correction just as quickly. Read more »

AOL is reportedly planning to expand its hyper-local journalism project,, to hundreds of towns and cities over the next year. But can the Web giant fulfill CEO Tim Armstrong’s new-media vision when so many others have failed so completely in the past? Read more »

Google’s new Buzz service has generated a flurry of privacy concerns, but what has been Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s response? To suggest that users are overreacting, that “no one was harmed,” and to effectively blame users for misunderstanding the terms of the new service. Read more »

There have been plenty of complaints about privacy and other concerns with Google Buzz, but the biggest problem with it is that it’s just so darn hard to use, and so convoluted in its design. Even quitting Buzz is way harder than it needs to be. Read more »

Google’s donation of $2 million to Wikipedia cements a long-standing symbiotic relationship between the search engine and the user-generated encyclopedia. But is that relationship a good thing or a bad thing? Some critics believe that Google gives Wikipedia preferential treatment in its search results. Read more »

The typical picture of an online gamer may be a teen lacking in social skills, but players of “social games” on sites like Facebook are different. According to a recent survey of players in the U.S. and UK, the average social gamer is a 43-year-old woman. Read more »

Backupify has landed a round of financing for its cloud-based backup service from First Round Capital, Betaworks and some high-profile angel investors including Jason Calacanis. But the new company will have to clear the same hurdles as any other cloud-based service — and then some. Read more »

Google says that it is “very, very sorry” for the way it launched Google Buzz and the features that some felt intruded on their privacy and revealed personal data. The company has made several substantial changes in response to complaints, and says more are coming soon. Read more »

Analysis from Compete shows that Facebook is driving more traffic to major portal sites than Google, and has become a top source for other web sites as well, another sign of how important the social web is becoming in terms of Internet traffic flows. Read more »

A new site called ChatRoulette has been getting a lot of attention lately because it features live video chatting with random strangers, with predictable results. But among those interested in the site is venture investor Fred Wilson, who has invited the founder to New York. Read more »

Just four days after launching Buzz, and two days after making some substantial changes to the service as a result of privacy concerns from users, Google has made another series of changes, including making the choice to follow someone opt-in rather than opt-out. Read more »

Google has been struggling to make sense of the social web and integrate it into some of its products, but the reaction to Google Buzz is another indication of how the company continues to focus on features rather than real human experience. Read more »

The Icelandic government is expected to put forward legislation that could turn the northern nation into an international freedom-of-information haven, thanks in part to the efforts of Wikileaks and the country’s recent experiences with corporate and government inaction and secrecy during its banking crisis. Read more »

Google Maps now has a series of “labs” features, allowing users to enable or disable enhancements such as aerial imagery (in certain locations only), as well as drag-and-zoom, smart zoom, location-based features, a satellite-imagery guessing game and other new options. Read more »

After a number of Google Buzz users complained that the service was exposing their email and GTalk contacts to the outside world without making it clear it would do that, the company has made changes to make privacy and other settings more obvious. Read more »

Why do so many Apple products succeed when their competitors do not, even though they have more features? Because the company focuses its design thinking on several features that really matter, and ignores everything else, says Gmail creator and FriendFeed co-founder Paul Buchheit. Read more »

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