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June 15, 2006

Things That Make You Go Hmm…

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Jason Calacanis thinks copying is a “risk-taking bold step” for AOL — The self-proclaimed renegade announced AOL will re-brand Netscape.com into “a collection of links to news articles, submitted by users and expanded upon by a staff of bloggers”. You know, like Digg.

Actually, it’s more than just a Digg clone. It also borrows features from del.icio.us (tags), Yahoo News (ranks stories), Google News (RSS feeds) and Slashdot (human editors). Wow. They sure get around.

The copycat site has thirty different categories ranging from religion, technology, politics, music, and an oddly named Do No Evil category. While I thought it odd AOL had created a Google category, the Do No Evil section is actually for articles dealing with “heroes and villains”. I admit this confused me even further until I realized they meant articles about real heroes (activists, military, law enforcement etc.) and villains, and not Superman and the like.

Similar to Slashdot, Netscape has brought together a staff of eight full-time bloggers to do fact checking and provide additional reporting to stories tagged by users. Each category also has a paid anchor (editor) who controls their category’s top spot and hosts 24/7 chat sessions.

Calacanis hopes the new community-driven news portal will revitalize the Netscape site, which has seen a 25 percent drop in traffic in the past year. Let’s hope copying is in this season.


Yahoo! suffers common sense breakdown — Yahoo! is being sued by the Colorado-based dating service lovecity.com for trademark infringement after allegedly bidding on the terms ‘lovecity’, ‘www.lovecity’ and ‘lovecity.com’ in Google AdWords to help promote Yahoo! Personals.

Seriously? That sounds completely absurd to me. Is Yahoo! that… well, never mind. Unfortunately, I was unable to replicate the search, but I did find some interesting results when searching for ‘Yahoo! lovecity’. Weird stuff.


Google tries to distract the DOJ — Google has combined its Government search with its personalized homepage feature to create a U.S. Government Search that makes it easier to find government information and “keep up to date on government news”.

The advanced search is targeted towards U.S. government employees and contractor organizations, but may also be of interest to regular users. Searchers will be able to easily access government and commercial news sources, including the White House, Department of Defense, The Washington Post, and Google News. Ooo, daily Department of Defense briefings!

While, I don’t see myself using this on a day-to-day (or weekly) basis, it did help me to answer the one pending tax question I had. Of course, now that it’s answered I have no use for this.


eBay doesn’t like you -Starting Monday, sellers in selected categories will be able to add a free “Skype Me” button to their listings so potential buyers can contact them with endless relevant questions. The feature will be available in fourteen high-dollar and complex categories, such as real estate, cars and trucks, silver coins and beds.

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I don’t want to talk to buyers. That’s why I’m selling my 1969 el Camino on eBay in the first place. Well, that and because I’m bad at lying in person. I think frequent buyers will like this feature a lot more than sellers. Unfortunately, it’s the sellers who control whether it appears or not.

The new Skype Me button represents eBay invoking “the power of three”, consisting of eBay (No. 1 in ecommerce), PayPal (No. 1 in online payments) and Skype (No. 1 in voice communications). Hmm, I wonder if there are Captain Planet-esque rings involved.

One last thing: Bill Gates has just announced he will be making the “transition out” of his role as Microsoft’s Chief Software architect and will hand over the position to CTO Ray Ozzie in two years time. Gates will stay with Microsoft through the next two years. First Scoble, and now Gates?

Say it with me. Hmm…

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