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Categories: Social Media

What’s on the Web Tonight? Clicker Debuts Video Guide

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 12

How do you find what to watch online? Sites for finding and watching video abound, from search engines such as Blinkx and Truveo to hosted video sites such as YouTube…

LinkedIn Boards the Twitter Train

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 09

These days, it seems that everyone wants to be pals with Twitter, the microblogging phenom. On the morning of Oct. 21, Microsoft announced a deal for its Bing search engine…

myYearbook: Would You Pay for Social Networking Extras?

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on August 17

In many ways, myYearbook is the polar opposite of Facebook. While the average age of Facebook users gets older and older, myYearbook grows its core demographic of 13-17 year-olds, which…

Facebook Takes Aim at Twitter, Buys FriendFeed

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 10

Anybody who was still wondering if Facebook had noticed the rapid rise of Twitter need wonder no more. Today, Facebook announced it’s buying FriendFeed, the news- and information-sharing service founded…

Making Social Media Pay Off

Posted by: Spencer Ante on June 01

Last week, my colleague Steven Baker wrote a cover story with the provocative question: What’s a Friend Worth? The dream was that social networks, with all of their tons of…

LIVE: Mark Zuckerberg Lays Out Facebook’s Next Moves

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 04

I’m heading to Facebook this morning for a briefing with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others on the company’s latest product developments. One of them will be the next step for…

Twitter Gets Shorty (What’s Next? Best Status Updater Awards?)

Posted by: Spencer Ante on February 12

Last night I was getting ready to leave the office and go home when my colleagues Doug MacMillan and Arik Hesseldahl asked me if I wanted to go with them…

Live-Blogging the Social Media Inauguration

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on January 20

The 2008 Presidential Elections marked the first time that the various social media sites on the Web played a major role in shaping U.S. politics. Up through election day, average…

Founder Reid Hoffman Replaces Dan Nye as LinkedIn CEO

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 17

Less than two years after Dan Nye joined LinkedIn as CEO, he’s leaving in mid-January. He will be replaced by Reid Hoffman (pictured), angel investor extraordinaire and cofounder, chairman, and…

Mahalo Debuts Answers Service

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 15

If there’s one overarching reason people love the Internet, it’s to find answers to questions. That’s why Google has been so successful. But for years, various companies have tried to… One Ring to Rule All Social Networks?

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 01

With what looks to be a fair amount of fanfare, a company virtually unknown in the U.S. is aiming to disrupt the fast-growing social networking business. Tonight, Rio de Janeiro-based…

Facebook in a Suit: LinkedIn Launches Applications Platform

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 28

More than a year after Facebook electrified the Web community with a platform for running applications on top of the social network, LinkedIn is announcing its own platform. And…

Jimmy Wales’ Wikia Search Project Launches Apps

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 08

In the latest of many attempts by a wide variety of players to improve search results beyond Google’s iconic 10 blue links, the community information service Wikia Inc. on Oct….

Widget Mania Lives: Gigya Raises $11 Million

Posted by: Spencer Ante on September 30

Even though the IPO market is kaput and mergers and acquisitions activity is drying up, startups with a good idea and some momentum continue to raise money. Case in point:…

Socialtext 3.0: Will Wikis Finally Find Their Place in Business?

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 30

For years, Socialtext has helped pioneer the use of wikis, or group-editable Web pages a la Wikipedia, inside companies. Today, it’s launching Socialtext 3.0, a collection of three applications built…

Will Digg Use New Funding to Get People Like Me Interested Again?

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 24

After months and months of rumors that it would get acquired, the collaborative news site Digg has apparently dug in for the long haul and raised a third round of…

New June ComScore Numbers Show Facebook Still Has the Mojo

Posted by: Spencer Ante on July 15

I just got a first look at the ComScore numbers for the top social networking Web sites in the U.S. The big story is that Facebook saw a nice jump…

Health Social Networking

Posted by: Catherine Holahan on June 16

Most social networking sites aren’t exactly serious places. The most popular ones allow friends to post flip messages on each others’ walls or send festive clip art for special occasions….

It’s Even More Official: Social Networking is Hard to Monetize

Posted by: Spencer Ante on May 13

Looks like monetizing social networks is going to be harder than people thought, as we recently warned our readers. Today, on May 13, research firm eMarketer lowered its forecast for…

Post Secret Founder Trying to Save Lives

Posted by: Catherine Holahan on April 02

For four years, Frank Warren has collected strangers’ deepest secrets for display on his community art blog About 1,000 secrets are mailed to Warren each week, ranging from humorous…

Facebook to Let Us Be Choosier About Friends

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 30

In the works at Facebook, according to an official posting, is a way to “sort out your friends”—something many people have been asking about for awhile as older folks join…

What Happens to a Story on Digg

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 19

The franticindustries blog has a detailed explanation of what happens to a story once it gets posted on Digg. What an interesting path it can take. I can still see…

News Rating Service NewsTrust Launches Beta

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 29

When I first wrote about NewsTrust, an online news rating service, I wasn’t sure about how well a rating system for stories would work given the subjectivity about what’s good…

Second Life’s First Millionaire

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 26

Anshe Chung, the virtual land baroness that I highlighted in my cover story earlier this year, My Virtual Life, has apparently become the first millionaire in Second Life. That’s…

Shoveling on Digg

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 25

As much as I like the idea of Digg—a site where a community chooses the most interesting or relevant news—I must confess that I just don’t use it that much….

1 Million Virtual Residents

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 18

The online virtual world Second Life just hit 1 million residents. That’s up from just 170,000 in late April, when my story about Second Life ran in BusinessWeek. As…

This Old Space

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 05

It looks like MySpace is not just for teens after all. For better (broader audience) or worse (yuck, who are all these sketchy old guys here?), some 68% of people…


Posted by: Rob Hof on August 08

Suddenly, MySpace has a $900 million deal with Google that dwarfs the $580 million News Corp. paid for it. Is there now any doubt that social networks can make money?…

YouTube: 100 Million Videos a Day

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 14

Back in March at PC Forum, when someone from YouTube stepped up at a session and mentioned that the video service was streaming 30 million videos a day, I thought…

A Billion for Bebo? Bubble, Bubble, Double Trouble

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 11

Mike Arrington at TechCrunch says the social-networking service Bebo has turned down a $550 million buyout offer—not far off from what News Corp. paid for MySpace. Bebo’s asking price: north…

Digg It Monday

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 23

As we first noted a couple of weeks ago, the collaborative tech news site Digg would soon be branching out into more general news. TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington has the skinny…

The Death of Ads?

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 22

Two of the biggest marketers in the world showed up at the Supernova conference in San Francisco today and sounded more like Web 2.0 zealots than brand giants. Michael Wiley,…

Digg This: Soon, Not Just for Geeks Anymore

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 11

Digg, the collaborative tech news site, will soon branch out beyond geekdom. At a Web 2.0 panel at the eBay Developers Conference today, President Kevin Rose said that in the…

“Reality Television of the Internet”

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 15

That’s what Jon Gibs of Nielsen//NetRatings calls social-networking sites, which the market research firm today says attracted almost half of all Web users—led by MySpace, of course. There are certainly…

Deleting Online Predators Act: Quit the Fear-Mongering

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 12

From the Don’t They Have Better Things to Do? Dept.: The appropriately acronymed DOPA is supposed to protect children from online predators, but the poorly written law seems to be…

Virtual World, Real ATMs

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 02

The one thing about my recent story, “Virtual World, Real Money,” that still mystifies a lot of people is the idea that virtual money inside an online game can be…

My Ol’ Virtual ‘53 Chevy

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 24

At the end of my cover story, Virtual World, Real Money, my avatar “Rob Cranes” had run into a “residents association” in this part of the online virtual world Second…

The Next Social Networks Won’t Look Like MySpace

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 24

So says Marc Pincus, who knows something about social networks from his time at Tribe Networks. Marc wonders if the current online social networks will survive their members, well, growing…

My Second Life

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 20

I ran across the online virtual world Second Life at least a year and a half ago, when I heard that Omidyar Network, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife…

Backfence Buys Bayosphere

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 17

Dan Gillmor’s Bayosphere citizen media project, the San Francisco Bay Area citizen media site that my colleague Heather Green wrote about a couple months ago, is being acquired by—which…

“Tom Is Not My Friend”

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 30

Poor Tom Anderson, the cofounder of MySpace. (Well, not really poor, having sold to News Corp. last year for $580 million, but anyway.) It seems the most popular T-shirt…

Another Perspective on Facebook

Posted by: Peter Burrows on March 29

In Student Monitor’s monthly report on what’s hot with the collegiate set, Josh Weil highlighted what the market researcher says is some remarkable momentum for Facebook. He writes: College students…

Bayosphere and Beyond

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 14

My colleague Heather Green’s story on why Dan Gillmor’s citizen journalism project Bayosphere never caught fire has escaped our subscription firewall. Dan himself had listed plenty of his own reasons,…

Why Spot Runner May Be Revolutionary

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 24

I like Umair Haque’s take on the real reason why Spot Runner is revolutionary—or could be. This is the new outfit, still in beta, that lets local businesses buy generic…

Dan Gillmor: The Rough Road to Citizen Journalism

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 24

Dan Gillmor finally offers an explanation of what’s happening (or, more lamentably, not happening) at his citizen journalism venture, Bayosphere. He’s got a raft of reasons why the site hasn’t…

The Future of Media: Microchunks or Brands?

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 12

VC Fred Wilson and serial entrepreneur Mark Pincus are debating what the next era of media will be. Fred think it’s RSS-style microchunks of content that carry ads and are…

News Rating Service Readying Pilot Launch

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 19

I just got a sample survey from NewsTrust that indicates the news rating service will launch a pilot site in January. The group, headed by Fabrice Florin, claims test results…

New Ideas in Online Advertising: Who Needs Google?

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 06

Heard a couple of new buzzwords—or are they incipient markets?—at the When 2.0 workshop presented at Stanford today by Esther Dyson’s ReLease 1.0 and Stanford’s Media X program. * “user-generated…

Mash Up The News

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 25

Jeff Jarvis notes a very interesting experiment at the Washington Post: Post Remix. If you’ve got a little technical flair, you can use the Post’s RSS feeds to create…

Web 2.0: What’s in a Number?

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 08

Tim Bray, Sun Microsystems’ director of Web technologies, hates the term Web 2.0, saying it’s vacuous marketing hype. It’s true that the term is pretty amorphous, and it has become…

More Mash-ups with Google Maps

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 27

The mash-ups keep on comin’, and Google Maps is leading the way. O’Reilly Radar has a roundup, including one tracks the space shuttle. just let me know that…

Citizen Journalism, or “Ghoulish Voyeurism”?

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 17

From Smart Mobs, a link to a provocative view by the Guardian’s John Naughton on citizen journalism. Technology, he writes, offered “those enthusiastic cameraphone ghouls” a “way of not attending…

Remix Your Web with Mash-ups

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 14

I had a lot of fun with my story on Web mash-ups, which runs in new issue of BusinessWeek. Mash-ups, named after hip-hop mixes of two or more songs, combine…

Wikipedia’s Word on Folksonomy

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 14

Steve Rubel notes that there’s a debate at the online encyclopedia Wikipedia about a new listing for the word folksonomy, which it defines as “a neologism for a practice…

Spag: It’s Here

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 07

A few months ago, we heard predictions that spammers would hit tags, the keywords that people are appending to links, photos, songs, and other stuff on the Web. In fact,…

London Bombings: Bloggers Keep the News Coming

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 07

Check out the unbelievably swift response from bloggers and others to the tragic bombings this morning in London. First there’s the interesting and useful map from London blogger Kosso of…

The World’s in Color—So Is Innovation

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 20

I’m attending a workshop at the Supernova 2005 conference in San Francisco, and apparently I’m not the only one getting a little annoyed at Janice Fraser’s presentation. It’s not that…

The Power of Us, Indeed: A Goldmine from Readers

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 19

Like few other stories I’ve written, The Power of Us has unleashed a torrent of ideas and Web sites from a surprisingly diverse set of readers. And unlike most previous…

The Power of You

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 16

We’ve gotten lots of comments from readers, nearly all insightful, about our recent cover story, The Power of Us. As you might expect, the comments are now an integral part…

Everything Old Is New Again in Tech

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 13

Sure wish I had been able to make this event last week in Silicon Valley, an introduction of John Markoff’s new book on the PC industry, that apparently turned into…

When Is a Podcast Not a Podcast?

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 26

When you can’t actually download it, as Stowe Boyd points out in a critique of our first podcast. However, in this case, you can do just that. We just didn’t…

So Long, Scott Sassa: Friendster’s CEO Is Out

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 24

Jeremy Zawodny at Yahoo! had the rumors first, but I just confirmed them: Scott Sassa is out as CEO of the social networking company as of June 13, after less…

Our first podcast!

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 23

And appropriately enough, it’s on podcasting, the subject of today’s BW Online special report. In a 10-minute talk, our own Ira Sager and Steve Baker introduce the concept and some…

Viral Ads, or So the Marketers Hope

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 22

USA Today writes about how Wendy’s and Anheuser-Busch are hoping to tap into word-of-mouth marketing with “viral” ads that young people will send to each other online. Busch even hired…

Update on News You Can Trust

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 20

About a month ago, I flagged a survey from that asked questions about a possible online news service filtered by journalists and “citizen reviewers.” It looks like the…

More Tech-Driven Threats to Mainstream Media

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 18

First blogs, now even more challenges to traditional media are on the way. And if panelists at last night’s Churchill Club panel are right, those challenges will be here sooner…

Birthing Pains at KYOU

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 16

Wow, for a radio station surprisingly clued into the Net zeitgeist, KYOU sure doesn’t look too welcoming on its first day. The San Francisco station just started broadcasting podcasts today,…

Speaking of Local Content…

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 03

Ross Mayfield notes that has just launched. It’s a collection of Web sites for local cities—so far, just McLean and Reston, Va.—with what cofounders Mark Potts and Susan DeFife…

REALLY Local Content

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 29

While doing my morning runs at my local park, I find all kinds of stuff people have left behind—soccer balls, toy trucks, even car keys. And I got to thinking:…

Spag, or Tagvertising?

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 27

Missed this earlier, but Steve Rubel has an interesting post from a couple weeks back on how tagging might spawn a new advertising market. At the least, he offers some…

Overcoming Blog Overload

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 22

Now that I’m fully plugged into an embarrassing number of blogs, I’ve hit blog overload. I fear I soon will have to give up little extras like eating and sleeping…

Meetup’s Challenge

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 14

Following BusinessWeek’s story on the meeting site Meetup’s plans to start charging group organizers to use the site, clearly a lot of members are unhappy. I’ve seen this happen with…

Friendster, Say It Ain’t So

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 08

If this is the future of blogs, count me out. Fortunately, it’s not. But when are marketing types going to figure out that fake blogs are no blogs at all?…

All the News You Can Trust

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 07

Got an interesting survey recently from The online activist group is considering whether to set up an online news service that’s filtered by both journalists and “citizen reviewers” for…

Why Jerry Yang Likes Flickr

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 21

Yahoo! cofounder and Chief Yahoo Jerry Yang filled me in a bit this morning on why his company just bought the photo sharing site Flickr. ……

Yahoo! snaps up Flickr

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 20

After weeks of rumors, it’s now official: Yahoo! has bought Flickr, the red-hot photo-sharing site. Yahoo! cofounder Jerry Yang, appearing at PC Forum in Scottsdale today, took pains to assure…

Get Ready for Spag

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 16

Heard at the Emerging Technology conference, the possible birth of a new word: Spag. That would be what folks at a meeting on tagging think will happen before long: Spammers…

One more thing on 43 Things

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 14

A Tech Beat reader, Frank Ruscica, passes along an email he got from last December from Josh Peterson, CEO of Robot Co-op, the parent company of 43 Things. It offers…

Tagging Amazon’s secret investment

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 09’s Katharine Mieszkowski just outed as the sole investor in an intriguing startup, 43 Things, that uses tagging to help people get important goals accomplished. Given that Amazon tried…


BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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