With the 2007 Webby Awards announced, the 2008 format is already being worked on. With so many genres of sites being created and popularized, it has been revealed that there will be 142 new categories added to next year's roster (this year there were less than 70). 5 of those new categories have already been confirmed:
- Fansites - Every television show, movie, and musician seems to have at least a dozen or so popular fansites - often in the form of a blog. These sites will have their own category next year, each broken into their own genre (music, television, movie, actor/actress, etc.).
- MySpace - As much as we may fight it, MySpace is a Web phenomenon that's not going away anytime soon. There will be at least 3 separate categories for MySpace alone (profile, blog, friends).
- Web comic - Web comics are continually gaining fans, so next year those same fans will be able to vote for their favorites.
- Flash games - The surge of flash game sites has created the need for a Webby category to honor the best of the best. The award will be awarded to the best flash game site as a whole, not to an individual flash game.
- Porn - Probably the most controversial new category, but also likely to be the most popular. Webby reps are quick to point out not only the popularity of porn sites, but their overall impact on the Web as a whole.
News of Congress pushing internet tax leglislation has many Web surfers scared - and with good reason. Not only are "standard" taxes being proposed, such as sales tax on Web shopping, more extreme taxes are also being considered. Below is a list of confirmed internet taxing ideas Congress will be considering over the next few months.
- Sales tax on internet shopping.
- Monthly taxes on DSL and other connections.
- Streaming audio and video tax (per minute).
- Download tax on all files with higher fees based on file size and type.
- Search engine tax (per result).
- Image display tax.
- Form submission tax.
- Email tax.
- Instant messaging tax.
- Page view tax.
Not surprisingly, many frequent Web surfers are up in arms. Many Web-based businesses such as Google, Amazon, and Yahoo! have voiced their concerns that the new legislation would severly harm their dealings on the Web. Most brick and mortar shops are backing the new legislation claiming it will level the playing field and will only put restrictions on Web-based businesses that are already on non Web-based businesses.
[tags]Internet taxes, email tax, Net sales tax[/tags]
Eager to expand it's online rental dominance to other markets, Netflix has announced a new service called NetChix that will bring their rental expertise to the escort and prostitution world.
With the project currently slated for an end of 2007 release, Netflix hopes to capitalize on all the lonely souls out there for the holiday season. Netflix expects to gain many new customers who will be looking for family gathering dates, holiday party arm candy, or merely some companionship during what would otherwise be a lonely holiday season.
Hoping to avoid legal troubles, NetChix will not offer it's prostitution services for states and cities where laws prohibit such activities. They will still offer platonic escorting services to those areas even though many fear the "planotic services" will end up being full on prostitution.
Many groups have come out in protest to the newly announced NetChix. Legal action is currently not an option as courts have already dismissed two cases against the service and have released a statement confirming the legality of the current plan for NetChix. Fearing loss of business, local pimps and hoes have started a lobby group they hope will stir up new legislation banning web-based escort and prostitution.
[tags]Netflix, escorts, prostitution[/tags]
In an extremely controversial move, Google has announced that the first beta of their new mapping program, Illegal Immigrant Maps (IIM), will be released invitation only sometime next month. With immigration being a hot topic in politics and the press, Google hopes to create a tool that could potentially be used by law enforcement and politicians to better gauge how severe the illegal immigration problem truly is.
As with their searching technology, Google refuses to release any details on how the new mapping program will work, saying they don't want to give their competitors any advantages. They did say that it will be integrated into the current Google Maps application so that users can choose to display markers where illegal immigrants can be found.
Google reps do stress that the new technology will only show where illegal immigrants are located, not legal immigrants. This seems little comfort to much of the population, however, as just about every civil rights group is clamoring to come up with legal action to stop Google's new technology. Home Depot is leading the charge, fearing that the maps could reveal a bit too much about the workers that set up shop outside their stores.
[tags]Google maps, illegal immigration[/tags]
With AOL releasing the private data of its users, there has been much pressure placed on the popular social networking site MySpace to do the same. Apparently it didn't take long for the web giant to cave in as detailed statistics of the MySpace user base was released earlier this morning.
While most companies keep such information as closely guarded secrets, MySpace has decided to open it all up to the public to help battle the negative press it has received lately. Below are some of the more interesting stats.
Traffic and Costs
- 98.7% of all traffic is by automated bots.
- They are using one server for every 50 accounts due to poorly designed software and a badly configured network.
- The site loses nearly $500,000 a day.
- While there are around 50,000,000 MySpace accounts, only 376 are actual users.
- 313 are men, with 293 posing as women.
- 32,303,035 accounts have been traced back to a single person who makes nearly $150,000 a month advertising.
- Only one person is using their real age.
Some of you may not know it, but online gambling in the United States is illegal... well sort of. Most, if not all, online gambling websites are based outside the United States, which makes them legal to run, but not necessarily legal for United States players to play. That hasn't seemed to stop many US citizens, so the House of Representatives recently took measures to make it even more difficult for U.S. citizens to gamble online.
With it looking like the death of online gambling coming to the United States, Indian casinos have decided to step in. Using existing protections against gambling regulations, many Indian casinos have launched their own online gambling websites. Lawyers representing the new online casinos say U.S. citizens will legally be able to log on and gamble with the Indian run websites, citing previously established laws and court cases that back the American Indians' right to run casinos.
Lawmakers are furious over these new websites but many admit that there's nothing they can do. "Legally these websites fall under the same protections granted to the brick and mortar casinos. Any new laws passed against the online casinos will likely be dismissed by the courts."
[tags]Indian casinos, online gambling[/tags]
MySpace, the online friend network system, and AdultFriendFinder, the online adult matching service, have announced a partnership that will bring about a new website named "MyAdultFriendSpace". The new site will be an online community similar to MySpace but for adults only, emphasizing adult oriented features.
Some key new features include:
Minimum Age Requirement: One of the biggest issues with MySpace right now is the public's outcry of older people contacting teens and how it could potentially lead to online or even offline sexual conduct. MyAdultFriendSpace will avoid this problem by setting a minimum age requirement of 21 years and will actually do a credit card check to verify age.
Detailed User Profiles: Each person's profile will include more detailed information such as sexual orientation, preferred positions, length, girth, etc. Users will likewise be able to search on any of those criteria to add new AdultFriends.
Hot Posts: Like MySpace, each user will have the ability to make personal posts, similar to a blog. The posts can be rated by users for how hot the post is. Similarly, the hottest posts will be posted on the main website for all to see. The posts will be tied to different categories such as Personal Experiences, Sexual Frustrations, and What I Like in Bed.
Sex Links: Each profile will be linked to other profiles that the person has had sex with. Included with the link will be detailed tags such as the STDs transferred, how each side rated the sex, and if either party became pregnant (with a % change that the male in the link could be the father).
Top Lists: MyAdultFriendSpace will have a number of "top lists" that will display the top users, posts, etc. for certain categories. Lists that have been confirmed so far are:
- Most Sexually Active - This list will show the users that have the most sex links for a certain time period. Included next to each user is the likelihood of STDs and babies.
- Horniest - This list is a complicated algorithm that takes into account previous sex the person has had and compares it to any "drought" that are currently experiencing. The idea is that a person that used to have a lot of sex, but is currently hitting a dry spell sexually will probably be very horny.
- Freakiest - People that make the top of the freaky list will have sex links with a variety of different people. The freaky people will have sex links with all genders, races, heights, and weights and will have experienced many different positions and locations.
The deal between the two websites is likely to benefit both parties in the long run, though the initial response seems to be quite negative. The MySpace community is in an uproar over the announcment as they fear that their profiles have basically been sold to an adult service. However, MySpace representatives assure everybody that the user profiles will be only be sent to the new community if the user opts in. The reps also stress that by adding a separate MySpace related community that is adult oriented, they hope to clean up the MySpace community and make it a safer place for teens.
Global warming has become an increasingly heated (pun intended) topic of controversy. It's arguably the most important concern for environmentalists and is becoming an increasingly important political issue as some citizens begin to panic.
Many believe global warming is caused by the increase of greenhouse gases. The increase is usually attributed to the industrial advances mankind has made through the years, namely transportation, manufacturing, and other fuel burning processes. Some believe global warming doesn't even exist, that the increase in temperatures and enironmental shifts are all naturally occuring.
Apparently, current theories have all been wrong as the ATNERF (Almost True News Environmental Research Facility) has just release a new report that pin points the real cause of global warming, and it isn't greenhouse gases. The ATNERF researchers have discovered that the true cause is in fact, the internet.
They have shown many figures and graphs showing how the increase in abnormal environmental shifts, namely global warming, match the increase in internet usage around the world. Big spikes in global warming happen at nearly the exact same time as large spikes in internet usage, such as the release of eBay, Google's release of GMail, and the surge caused by the relatively new MySpace. Google has actually been attributed with four of the top 10 spikes in recent years.
A Microsoft representative responded yesterday saying "We find these findings to be quite accurate as we've been studying the same phenomenon. We've always known Google was more evil than us. 'Do no evil' indeed."
Researchers have not yet mentioned any "cures" for this except for people to surf less and watch television more. They also urge gamers to play offline as much as possible.
Last week Microsoft announced the beta of Windows Live Shopping. Right now, when Firefox users attempt to load the page they are greeted with a message saying:
"We're sorry. Windows Live Shopping Beta does not yet support Firefox.
We?re working to correct this as soon as possible."
This was not the original message however. Almost True News was able to take a screenshot of the original message which can be seen below (click to enlarge). It is not clear if this was an official Microsoft message or if it was some employees idea of a joke.
There is a rumor floating around that it was actually what the page said during development and that it was supposed to be changed upon public release (which was done, just a few hours late).
No matter what the real reason for the original message is, it's yet another nail in the coffin for Microsoft's PR.
[tags]Windows Live Shopping, Microsoft, Firefox[/tags]
Google's AdWords and AdSense internet programs have made huge waves in the online advertising arena. Online advertisers can quickly and effectively target specific keywords and/or sites to place their ads. With that, the context sensing system allows (almost) all kinds of web publishers to easily place ad blocks on their sites that will automatically determine the type of ads to display based on the content on the page. The system's ease of use and effective convertion ratios have been a huge draw for both advertisers and publishers.
However, arguably the most lucrative online businesses, adult entertainment sites, have been left out of the Google advertising money train. Google's current terms of service don't allow adult oriented content, as they have been trying to maintain a family friendly image... until now that is.
Earlier this week Google announced that they have decided to start an adult related advertising service that will work almost identical to the AdWords and AdSense programs. The only real difference is that all the ads will be adult entertainment oriented. Google is calling the programs PornWords (for advertisers) and PornSense (for web publishers). The pay per click is expected to be nearly ten times the amount of the more family friendly versions.
The program is currently in beta and is by invitation only, though Google expects the number of participants to grow greatly over the next few months. Google hasn't released many details about the program yet, though they have confirmed PornSense ads cannot be displayed on pages running Adsense ads so webmasters will need to choose one or the other. Google has also said that, for now, banner images will not contain any nudity, though they haven't decided whether or not it will remain that way.
Google has not released any dates for when the next phases of the program will take place. As such, invitations to the beta PornSense program are selling on eBay for as much as $100.
[tags]Google Adsense, Google AdWords, porn ads, adult entertainment[/tags]