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B&N Grows Studio: Barnes & Noble has expanded the Studio section of its Web site which features original content about books, readers and writers, and showcases Web video series and other multimedia content. New series will include “Moving Paragraphs,” which pairs celebrated writers narrating passages from their favorite books with original animation and “Why I Read,” which asks readers in Los Angeles to share stories about their favorite books.

Fox International Debuts Wiki: Fox International Channels has launches Biensimple.com, a wiki-based community devoted to providing simple solutions for everyday problems in areas like health, cars, beauty and money. It is slated to be is the first of a series of web-based destinations catering to the Spanish speaking audience.

Mars Launches Halloween Sweeps Site: (Promo) Mars Snackfood U.S. is hoping to drive sales of its candy with a Halloween-themed sweepstakes and instant-win game offering the chance to win $1 million. At the accompanying site, HalloweenMillion.com, buyers of specially marked bags and individual sizes of M&M’s, Snickers, 3Musteteers, Twix, Milky Way, Skittles, or Starburst products can enter UPC codes through Oct. 31. Players then will be directed to that brand’s “room” in the Million Dollar Mansion. Each room will contain clickable items, which could reveal an instant-win message. Prizes include coupons for free candy, $1,000 M&M’s branded Visa cards. People who play will be entered in the sweepstakes for the $1 million grand prize. In all, 20,000 instant-win prizes will be awarded, the company said. The site also features online games in each brand’s room to extend the experience.

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Good On the Go. The Red Cross Society of China has created a mobile site to help get out information on relief efforts for the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake. China currently has more than 600 mobile users, compared to only 100 million PC-based Internet users. Mobile commerce capabilities are planned for the site, which was created in collaboration with dotMobi.

Animated Acquisition. Men’s lifestyle destination CraveOnline.com has acquired MyAnimeList, an anime and manga social networking site. Founded in 2006, MyAnimeList gives users a way to catalog their anime or manga collection. The site has over 4.4 million anime and 775,000 manga user based entries.

New Style. Women’s Wear Daily has relaunched its subscription-only Web site WWD.com. The site—which now features runway videos, a new blog section and digital tear sheets of articles and images— is offering free access to nonsubscribers this week.

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VoteGopher relaunches. VoteGopher.com, a site targeting young voters, has launched several new features, including a series of 25 video breakdowns offering comparisons of candidates’ positions on the issues. A new tool called MyBallot coordinates with the issue summaries to help users create a personalized scorecard and see which candidate’s views is more like their own. The site was founded last year by Will Ruben, a member of Harvard’s class of 2010.

The rise of the blogosphere. A new study by Cision of the top 20 national magazines and newspapers shows that over the last five years, the number of times blogs and bloggers are mentioned in articles has increased more than 16-fold. According to the research, the publications mentioned blogs and bloggers 13,066 times in the one-year period ending June 30, 2008. That compares to only 795 times in 2004 and 2,179 times in 2005. “This stunning growth in blogger influence magnifies the importance of employing common sense when contacting bloggers,” said Peter Granat, executive vice president. “Knowing the blogger and his/her focus is the critical element in a successful blog relations campaign. While many blogs are highly visible in their own right, the growing influence with the mainstream media elevates their importance.”

Sports fans are watching. Serious sports fans comprise 19% of overall online users and represent one of the most lucrative audiences online, according to a new JupiterResearch report. Twenty-one percent of serious sports fans, who tend to be younger males between the ages of 25-34, view streaming video monthly, according to Jupiter. “To fully tap into this lucrative audience, local sites must make a commitment to search engine optimization and search engine marketing,” said Bobby Tulsiani, analyst and lead author of the reporting a statement. “During the 2008 NBA Finals, none of the local TV or radio stations ranked among Hitwise’s top 10 sites for traffic from the search term ‘Lakers’ or ‘Celtics’.”

DestinationRx prescribes blog. DestinationRx has debuted a new blog, www.drugtrendstoday.com, to share data and trends related to the prescription drug industry. The blog will feature recurring data “snapshots” illustrating drug and pricing trends in graph or chart format. Weekly features include the top 10 searched drugs with the DestinationRx price comparison tool; Drug Class of the Month, which will compare pricing among multiple brand and generic drugs in a single class; the DRx Challenge, which takes one drug and illustrates multiple avenues for cost savings; and an ongoing Drug Price Tracking feature that will compare pricing, and changes in pricing, for the most popular hypertension medications over the long term.

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Look at this. So you say you want to try social networking, but can’t find a place where people are enough like you? Try iLookLikeYou.com, where users upload a photo of themselves to be matched against other photos in the community. A column of top 10 look-alikes is displayed along with a match percentage. Members can then choose which look-alikes they like best, and display them on their profile page. Alternate photos can also be uploaded into a personal photo gallery to help members decide how much of a look-alike you really are. After members have found look-alikes, they can blog about the experience, participate in forums, contact friends or interact with other members.

They do, in the U.K. and Canada too. Team Wedding has revamped its Canadian and United Kingdom/Ireland in time for an official launch this month. The company also operates a U.S. bridal site at http://ww.topweddingsites.com. The sites offer directories of wedding resources, as well as an etiquette advice forum and a guide to planning second weddings and vow renewals.

A new tune. RealNetworks’ digital music service Rhapsody has launched “Music Without Limits,” a new initiative where consumers will be allowed to purchase MP3s free of the digital rights management (DRM) software that restricts how and where people can play their music. Any song or album purchased at www.rhapsody.com/mp3 can be played on any MP3 player, including the Apple iPod. Full-length songs will be available for preview. The Rhapsody MP3 catalog will include more than 5 million songs from all four major music labels — Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI – as well as several independent labels.

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New engine on the block. Local.com Corp. has launched a ratings and reviews engine where users can create an account and enter comments, ratings and reviews for any business listing on the site. Over two million user ratings and reviews currently appear on Local.com, including those from partner sites.

Online newsletters on rise. Online newsletters continue to increase in number, with 1,486 online newsletters compared to 1,310 online newsletters last year; and 3,046 email newsletters in 2008, compared to 2,296 email newsletters last year, according to the Oxbridge Director of Newsletters (http://www.mediafinder.com).

Coupons Inc. goes mobile. Coupons Inc. and Yahoo have expanded their partnership to enable mobile coupon distribution. Brands set to use the new platform include Papa John’s Pizza.

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Woof Wide Web. BOY the Dog (http://www.boythedog.com/) has debuted as a virtual destination for pet owners. The site will feature a blog; a link to the Rainbow Bridge site for pet owners grieving over the loss of a loved companion; pet apparel and custom designed toys for sale; and music-downloads.

Aw, Mom. DECA (http://www.deca.tv/) has launched CoolMom (http://www.coolmom.com/), a new professionally produced video site. The site is hosted by Daphne Brogdon, who currently appears on the TV Guide Channel weekly series “The Fashion Team” and the CNN Headline News show “Showbiz Tonight.” Daphne offers candid opinion about aspects of her personal life and those greater issues all moms deal with, but don’t discuss. Segments will include, ‘I Hate This Book,’ ‘Food Fanatic Moms,’ ‘Water Cooler,’ ‘Mother’s in law Day’ and ‘Dining with Kid in Tow.’

Get it together.On-demand corporate social network Socialcast (http://www.socialcast.com) provider has upgraded its software to allow users to integrate with third party services such as Twitter and YouTube. Socialcast—built on a software as a service (SaaS) platform—has created customized social networking sites for companies including alternative music-inspired apparel retailer Hot Topic.

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Here’s the scoop.Cold Stone Creamery at 2 Astor Place in Manhattan has teamed up with New York-based mobile marketing company 8coupons to give away 8-cent ice cream scoops all day on Sunday, June 8. Customers can send the 8-cent text message coupon from 8coupons.com to their cell phone and redeem it by showing their phone to the cashier. The offer is also being promoted via Facebook’s “me coupons” application.

You make me wanna download.Singer and actor Usher and Wizzard Media have launched a new podcast, Usher’s uCast. The initial 10-episode series coincides with the release of his new album “Here I Stand” and will feature behind the scenes access to the album launch, the production of a music video, preparations for a tour and a look at Usher’s philanthropic efforts.

Buy the book.Tastebook.com and FoodNetwork.com have formed a partnership to allow TasteBook users access to the cable network’s recipes and use them to create custom hardcover cookbooks. Users will also be able to select from pre-made TasteBooks created by Food Network editors.

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What does Cookie Puss think about this? Carvel’s “spokeswhale” Fudgie is swimming into mobile marketing this summer in a campaign to promote the chain’s new line of frozen drinks. Consumers who text “FUDGIE” to 78247 will receive a coupon for one of the new blended coffees or Arctic Blenders and a chance to win one of five 42″ TVs. Additionally, consumers can visit www.carvel.com and play a virtual matching game for a chance to win a technology package including a flat screen TV, an HD DVD player and a laptop computer. Fudgie is no stranger to social media; the ice cream whale also has MySpace and Facebook pages.

You’ve got chocolate in your Blackberry.Just in time for Mother’s Day, Godiva Chocolatier launched a mobile commerce application for the RIM BlackBerry that lets users buy candy from a subset of its product line and ship them to any address in their Blackberry contact list. Promo reported that users can see full-color photos of the Godiva mobile offerings and read product descriptions, then click to order and complete their transaction in less than 30 seconds. That speed is partly the result of using a downloadable app instead of the mobile Web. The m-commerce application must be downloaded to the BlackBerry from http://www.godiva.com/mobile. It runs on a platform from Digby, a mobile commerce service provider that also enables BlackBerry users to buy books from Barnes & Noble and flowers from FTD.com. If customers prefer to get their chocolate fix in person, Godiva Mobile will offer a store locater that pinpoints retail outlets closest to the phone user’s current location and point-to-point navigation maps showing how to reach them.

Deconstructing John McCain. Political direct mail maven Richard A. Viguerie has launched UltimateJohnMcCain.com, a site he says will serve as a forum to let conservatives express their opinions on the Republican candidate. “The most important factor that will determine the outcome of the 2008 presidential election is the level of support that conservatives give the Republican candidate,” said Viguerie. Using polls, petitions, comments from visitors, and other feedback, the website will track conservatives’ level of support for McCain. “This website is neither pro-McCain nor anti-McCain,” added Viguerie. “It will take conservatives’ temperature regarding John McCain, present both sides, and allow grassroots conservatives the chance to make their opinions known.”

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Widget world. Widgetbox has debuted a new gallery of widgets customized for the iPhone (http://iphone.widgetbox.com/). The range available includes widgets for today’s top 10 most interesting flickr images, the Fake Steve Jobs blog, the Yahoo! News RSS image feeds and the popular Magic 8-Ball widget for on-the-fly advice. Widgetbox has a community of more than 32,000 developers and widget makers.

Race to donate. The American Red Cross has launched Red Cross Racing (http://www.redcrossracing.com), a new site to help recruit NASCAR fans as blood donors and raise awareness of the need to give blood. On the site, visitors can schedule blood donation appointments and find out how frequent donors can earn points good toward Red Cross Racing gear such as caps, t-shirts and die-cast cars. A Red Cross trailer will be on the midway at nine upcoming NASCAR races.

Channel change. PodShow has changed its name to Mevio and rolled out a new broadband entertainment network for social media. The company plans to host more than 15,000 shows in its new platform, and produce 50 original shows by the end of the year.

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Blogging best. APCO Worldwide and the Council of Public Relations Firms have launched a new Web site http://www.bloggersandpr.com to promote best practices. The site will feature a wiki where users can comment on communication best practices, a white paper (“State of Blog Relations”) and an open call for questions for a survey on the working relationship between bloggers and PR professionals.

Social gathering.Yahoo!, MySpace, and Google have formed the OpenSocial Foundation to ensure OpenSocial remains “an open, community-governed specification for building social applications across the Web.” The OpenSocial Foundation will be an independent non-profit entity. “Yahoo! believes in supporting community-driven industry specifications and expects that OpenSocial will fuel innovation and make the Web more relevant and more enjoyable to millions of users,” said Wade Chambers, vice president of platforms for Yahoo!, in a statement.

Pay up. PaySimple has launched a blog (http://www.paysimple.com/blog) to offer small business owners information about electronic payment industry trends and other news. Bloggers will CEO and co-founder Eric Remer; executive vice president, CFO and co-founder Allen Wolff; Jeff Gardner, president; Lisa Hephner, vice president of technology; David Sharp, vice president of business development; Elissa Beckman, empowerment director; and Sarah Jordan, marketing director.

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3BILL acquires Faces.com. 3BILL, the mobile division of Symbios Group, has acquired the social network platform Faces.com. Financial terms were not disclosed. Faces.com was launched in 2004. 3BILL also recently acquired Profileheaven.co.uk.

A vote for branding. The 2008 presidential campaign can help businesses understand how social networking can be adapted for building, marketing and in some cases, defending a brand, according to a new paper from Deloitte Consulting LLP. “Businesses are well advised to keep a keen eye on effective and ineffective uses of new media by the campaigns, in particular as a response tool to attacks,” said David Smith, a co-author of the paper, “New Media and the 2008 Campaign Season – Valuable Lessons for Business about being First, Fast and Nimble.” Co-author Rob Underwood agrees, noting that in the past, campaigns could create a candidate with a set of position papers and carefully wrought advertisements. “That model has changed,” he said. “Candidates and companies now appear to have entered a more radical phase where brand — their most guarded and valuable asset — has become part of the public domain. Average citizens with access to a blog or Facebook now view themselves as stakeholders in brands — whether that brand is Barak Obama or Apple. Resistance to this change may be futile.”

Coupon community. Retailmenot.com has launched a social network for coupon-conscious shoppers. The majority of the coupons and discount codes listed on the site are contributed by users, according to the Melbourne, Australia-based site. According to market research firm Hitwise, visits to social shopping sites grew eightfold in 2007 and increased 244% in Feb. 2008 over Feb. 2007.

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A fountain of video.FountainHeadNetworks.TV (http://www.fountainheadnetworks.tv) has launched an online video network that will be available on YouTube, Blip.tv and iTunes. FountainHead’s new shows are Stock Rockets (www.StockRockets.TV), Cosmic Sky (www.CosmicSky.TV), Encanto en Las Estrellas (www.EncantoEnLasEstrellas.TV), 2 Minute Chef (www.2MinuteChef.TV), and Must Love Wine (www.MustLoveWine.TV).

Call to vote. go2 Media has introduced go2 Elections 08 (http://race08.go2.com), a mobile Web site covering the 2008 presidential election. The site features a variety of information on the political arena, including College Campus Political Buzz, profiles of the candidates from each party, and content from the politics blog Horserace.

AOL acquires Goowy. AOL has acquired Goowy Media, Inc., a widget development and analytics tools company based in San Diego. Goowy will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL as part of the company’s Products division. Founded in 2004, Goowy offers a technology platform and related analytics tools that facilitate widget creation, syndication and reporting.

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Adventures in the Far East. Chinese travel search engine Qunar.com and Chinese social networking site Tianya.cn will jointly hold “The Qunar Cup — My Ultimate Travel Experience.” Chinese bloggers have been asked to write about their ultimate travel experiences and post them on Tianya.cn. All blog submissions will be automatically judged by a panel of 10 travel-industry journalists and editors on uniqueness, creativity and humor. The best bloggers will receive awards at the annual “The Qunar Cup” awards ceremony. To date, the contest has generated over 35 million page views.

Working class blog.Employment services firm Manpower has launched a new blog, Contemporary Working, by vice president of world of work solutions, Melanie Holmes (http://www.manpowerblogs.com/holmes). “We know there are concerns about the big issues like the 43% of the population that could pack up their bags for retirement in the next decade,” Holmes said. “But, people are also looking for quick answers to personal questions, such as how to dress for a second interview or politely decline a business dinner invitation.” Frequent topics include the aging workforce, the looming talent crunch, working women, work-life balance, workplace diversity, professional etiquette and more.

Thinking small. FreedomVOICE Systems, a telecommunications carrier specializing in virtual office solutions, has started three offering tips small and home-based businesses. The topics (www.fvscorporate.com/Blogs/index.php.) are 800 Toll-Free Voice Mail Systems, Home Based Office Tips and Small Business Virtual Office Tips.

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Newsweek makes a ruckus. Newsweek and the Media Bloggers Association (MBA) have launched ” The Ruckus,” a new group blog about politics for Newsweek.com. The blog will feature posts from nine MBA-member bloggers about the presidential campaign.

Virtual faith. GodTube.com has launched what it says is the first Virtual Video Bible and the world’s first Virtual Video Prayer Wall. The Virtual Video Bible offers the entire text of the Bible — from Genesis to Revelation — brought to life by accompanying videos for every chapter.

Blue Sky acquires Blogarithm. E-mail marketing service provider Blue Sky Factory has acquried Blogarithm, an online service that connects consumers with the blog and RSS syndicated content they seek via email notification on a permission basis. In May, the company acquired RSSFWD, a provider of RSS to email technology solutions. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Commencing countdown. A prelaunch webcast, live blogs, podcasts, pictures and videos will highlight NASA’s Web coverage of space shuttle Atlantis’ STS-122 mission to the International Space Station at http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle. A live webcast featuring NASA astronaut Robert Satcher will start the in-depth coverage of the mission today, Dec. 5, at 11:30 a.m. EST.

Music when you want it. Yahoo! has signed an agreement with Sony BMG to extend its video-on-demand license, expanding the existing relationship into additional territories and adding more Sony BMG videos to the Yahoo! Music catalog. As part of the agreement, Sony BMG music videos will be available for distribution across Yahoo! and off-network through a Yahoo-branded video player.

To a T. The New York Times Style Magazine has launched NYTimes.com/TMagazine (www.nytimes.com/tmagazine), a daily online version of the publication. The site will feature “The Moment,” a blog posting fashion and style news. The debut coincides with the December launch of T Magazine in the International Herald Tribune.

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Come on and join your fellow manThe U.S. Navy began its first-ever podcast advertising campaign on Nov. 1. The campaign, which will run through January, encompasses 20 different music, gaming and sports & recreation shows in the Wizzard Media network. The Navy’s 20-podcast campaign includes more than 3,000 ad placements across 1,200-plus individual audio and video podcast episodes encompassing over 17 million, multiple ad insertions in each show to help the Navy reach highly fragmented target audiences. The total downloads for this campaign are expected to exceed 6.5 million.

Can you win the whole kit too? Online shopping community Kaboodle has begun a Wish-a-Day Giveaway, offering anyone who creates a wish list on the site a chance to win their chosen items. The site plans to give away over $25,000 in prizes from Kaboodle and designated partners – including Marie Claire, CoutureCandy, Overstock.com and Shoebop — between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Class is in session Yorktown University in Denver has launched 31 courses and seminars on Apple iTunes. The first 10 courses open to the public for free will include “History of Art,” “Virtue and Business,” “Communication Media Law for PR Professionals” and “Writing as a Small Business.”

Healthy connection In honor of World Diabetes Day, The HealthCentral Network Inc. (www.HealthCentral.com) launched DiabeTeens.com, a site dedicated to helping teens with diabetes connect to one another. The site – which will include blogs by teens with diabetes, tools to help managed the disease and a lifestyle column — will also provide insight and information on type 1 diabetes.

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Click with care.The Kenneth B. Schwartz Center and CarePages.com recently launched Compassionate Connections in Healthcare, an interactive Web site offering resources for clinical caregivers and patients, to encourage better relationships between the two. The site features Stories of Inspiration, real-life narratives about extraordinary patient-caregiver relationships; Bedside Manner, a blog about “emotionally-intelligent” caregiving; and many other resources to help caregivers and patients build compassionate, mutually beneficial relationships.

Keep me movin’. Mobio Networks has launched the GetMobio lifestyle portal for Windows Mobile smart phone users across major U.S. carriers. The portal is a collection of over 50 Web service mash-ups including nightclubs, restaurants and local events. With Mobio’s latest widget, Cheap Gas, Windows Mobile users can also find the lowest cost gas stations near any location and filter search results by brand right on the handset. For more information, visit http://www.getmobio.com.



Babblin’ about birds. By now, everyone who has to cook a bird on the fourth Thursday in November knows about the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. But a newer poultry innovation is the TurkeyTalk podcast (http://www.butterball.com/podcast). The second edition of the four episode series, which gives holiday cooks tips and advice, began Nov. 1. Regional recipes, how-to videos and turkey calculators are also available on Butterball.com.

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Hello. Are you there?Phonecasting.com (http://www.phonecasting.com) plans a roll out a new podcast search engine in early November. The Houston-based service allows podcasters to assign a phone number to the RSS XML code of a specific podcast. The phone number will then show up along with that podcast link in many search engines. A user can then dial up the number from either a landline or mobile phone and listen to the podcast.

A little bounce.The editors of the blog Boing Boing and Federated Media Publishing Inc. have launched Boing Boing TV (http://tv.boingboing.net). The site will feature daily three-to-five minute daily video reports on topics like “Internet culture, DIY technology and geeky curiosities,” according to a release. Boing Boing began in 1989 as a paper ‘zine and later expanded into a blog and podcast. BoingBoing.net now has more than 7.5 million page views a month, and over three million RSS subscribers,” says co-founder Mark Frauenfelder.

Fan dance.Friendster Inc. (http://www.friendster.com/) has launched Fan Profiles, a new feature enabling musicians, artists, models, non-profits, athletes and the like to connect with existing fans and build a fan base within the site’s global community. Fan Profiles features include mass e-mail capabilities, contact list management, fan base aggregation and more. Friendster has over 50 million registered members.

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Federal chat. The U.S. General Services Administration has launched GovGab.gov, a new blog designed to improve access to government information and services. Daily posts will cover a wide range of topics from, “What to do when an airline loses your luggage,” to, “How to submit a recipe to the Library of Congress cookbook.”

Blogging for a cause. Bloggers big and small challenged their readers on Oct. 1 to fund classroom projects in high-need public schools. Google, Yahoo!, Six Apart, and Federated Media will give awards to the bloggers who inspired the most generosity between now and the end of the month. DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit site where teachers post projects to fulfill student needs, and donors from all walks of life can choose the projects they want to support, was behind the campaign. At DonorsChoose, bloggers created challenge pages listing their favorite classroom projects and urging their blog readers to donate to those projects. The blogs Engadget and TechCrunch have set up challenge pages featuring technology requests such as “Teaching Literacy Through Podcasts” ($390) and “Laptop For Learning” ($925).

Shopping buddy.Online shopping service Mpire today introduced WidgetBucks, a new e-commerce advertising network. Using a technology dubbed MerchSense, WidgetBucks (http://widgetbucks.com) displays contextual shopping widgets in publishers’ advertising space. According to the Seattle-based company, over 2,000 publishers and partners, including InfoSpace, RockYou, SixApart, Whateverlife, BuddyTV, WidgetBox and ePage, as well as content partners eBay and Shopping.com, have beta tested the network.

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TV guide. NYTimes.com has introduced “TV Decoder” (http://tvdecoder.blogs.nytimes.com), a new blog covering the television industry. Brian Stelter, a media reporter with the Times, will be the lead contributor to the blog, which will cover on-screen and behind-the-scenes TV business developments. Another television site, TVbytheNumbers.com, also recently launched with a “virtual” panel on Internet video metrics, offering commentary from representatives of the companies that play a critical role in the measurement of television and video audiences. Topics will include metrics on time-shifting, website traffic, video streaming, advertising and business.

The good life. PeopleJam had debuted the beta launch of a new video and social networking site designed for individuals “in pursuit of a great life.” The site (http://www.peoplejam.com) offers customized blogging tools and an area where members can create life goals and solicit feedback from the community. Dozens of professional life coaches reportedly serve as moderators within the site, and are available to help members make progress towards their goals. Members also have access to inspirational video and audio.

Ready for your close-up. MotionDSP now offers FixMyMovie, a service offering digital enhancement online of video from any source. According to the company, enhancements can include improving overall resolution and correcting for poor lighting conditions. For more information, visit http:/www.fixmymovie.com.

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The Portable Post. WashingtonPost.com has released the “Issue Coverage Tracker,” an application comparing the volume of press coverage between candidates and the major issues of the 2008 presidential race. The application, available for free on the Post’s site (http://www.washingtonpost.com), was developed by Daylife and is part of a new initiative to offer innovative, portable applications allowing people to take washingtonpost.com journalism and databases off the site itself.

What do you think? Fellowforce.com has introduced Suggestion Box 2.0, a widget to help enable Web sites to allow consumers to give brands ideas and suggestions. The “Innovate Us” button is like a “Digg-this” type application, according to the Amsterdam-based company. For information, visit http://www.fellowforce.com.

And now, yet more news. Add Greentech Media Inc. to the list of players in the online news and research game. The company was founded by Scott Clavenna and Rick Thompsom, formerly of telecom-media firm Light Reading. In advance of the launch, Greentech Media has partnered with the Prometheus Institute, a source of analysis of the photovoltaic- (PV) and alternative-energy markets, to jointly produce market studies, webinars and live events. In addition, Greentech Media (http://www.greentechmedia.com) has partnered with Rob Day of @Ventures to become the host of the “Cleantech Investing” blog.

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Creative outlet. ON Networks Inc. has introduced For Art’s Sake http://www.forartssake.tv, a new online TV show offering a look at modern art and the people behind it. The program was created by digital media producer Lori Apthorp, who won show pilot contest sponsored by ON. “I want to help people gain new respect for modern art and understand the emotion and skill involved to create these amazing pieces,” Apthorp says in a statement. “The show provides a glimpse into artists’ minds, giving them the opportunity to explain what they are thinking, feeling and trying to express through their work.”

Go share your tale.GoDaddy has introduced Quick Blogcast, a new tool combining two of its products – Quick Blog and Quick Podcast – into one tool. For information, visit http://www.godaddy.com.

Plumbing the Web. Kohler Co. has debuted a new video player offering information on the company’s kitchen and bath plumbing designs. The Kohler site (http://www.kohler.com) has also been redesigned to streamline information for visitors. Over 150 Kohler Plumbing videos and more than 275 corporate-wide videos are available, ranging from looks at designer rooms to samples of television ads.

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He shoots, he splogs! The National Lampoon Splog! (www.nationallampoonsplog.com) has debuted, promising “take-no prisoners” sports commentary. The site is aimed at sports enthusiasts of all types, according to the publisher, offering forums, sports news and the “National Lampoon’s Sports Minute or So,” a weekly audio/text program poking fun at sports.

Oval office oratory. The Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration is launching a podcast series, “Presidential Archives Uncovered.” Based on the Presidential Timeline Web site (www.presidentialtimeline.org), the series broadcasts audio clips from the Libraries’ collection, ranging from serious policy discussions between the President and his advisors to conversations among Presidential family members. In one of the audio clips, for example, President and Mrs. Nixon discuss the pandas’ arrival at the National Zoo in 1972, following the President’s historic trip to the People’s Republic of China earlier that year. A new clip will be added each month. Audio is freely available on the Presidential Libraries’ podcast Web site and at iTunes. To subscribe, go to http://128.83.78.2/nl/plpodcast.xml

This just in.-MySpace and The Onion have partnered to create a branded “Onion” community offering exclusive content at http://myspace.com/onionnews. “The news business is like the tobacco business: you want to reach new readers at as young and impressionable an age as possible,” Onion president Sean Mills said in a tongue-in-cheek statement. “MySpace was, of course, a natural partner in that regard.” In addition to providing online video and audio content, the partnership launches The Onion’s first-ever staff blog. “The Wall Street Journal is all well and good, but The Onion News Network represents the best in hard-hitting investigative journalism (at least on MySpace),” added Jeff Berman, general manager of MySpace TV. “Also, we lost a bet.”

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Read all about it. One hundred and three marketing professionals/bloggers have joined together to write “The Age of Conversation,” a collection of essays about conversation. The book is available in a downloadable e-version and in hardcover and softcover. All proceeds will be donated to Variety, the international children’s charity. For information, visit http://stores.lulu.com/ageofconversation.

Meet and Green-t Considering all the wasted paper and materials generated by many conferences, it was inspiring to hear about last month’s BlogPhiladelphia event, an “unconference” that went out of its way to be as “green” as possible. The gathering of over 200 bloggers, consumer-generated media gurus and novices did the obvious, like provide recycling bins around the main ballroom. But it also went to extra steps, like collecting food waste to compost, offering participants tap water and glasses instead of bottles, using reusable china and cloth napkins, using materials left over from other events for giveaway bags made of recycled paper, and loading press materials on reusable USB jump drives, instead of giving out paper press kits. The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp., which co-sponsored the event, is no stranger to social media. The GPTMC offers free podcast tours of the city (SoundAboutPhilly.com), a citizen journalist blog with social bookmarking links (uwishunu.com), a Web-TV series (Cheap Dates), a social networking Web page (myspace.com/uwishunu), interactive Google maps with text technology (gophila.com/byobmap) and other tools such as RSS feeds and customizable itineraries on gophila.com.

Heavy metal. PreciousMetalsWarants.com has launched The Warrant Report, an e-newsletter designed to help educate investors in all areas of natural resources, including gold, silver, uranium, cobalt, platinum, zinc, nickel, oil & gas, coal, molybdenum and others. The Web site debuted in March 2005.

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Speed, stealth—and search.Ask.com is partnering with “Ask A Ninja” in a campaign to promote the search engine’s capabilities. The Ninja character, which stars in a popular online video series, will invite viewers to go to Ask.com and search for secret Ninja words. Each episode of “Ask A Ninja” is viewed, on average, around 400,000 times by visitors to http://www.askaninja.com, and on video syndication portals Revver and YouTube. The Ask.com sponsorship will run for about three months, with each episode featuring a new Ninja keyword.

Widget wingding.Freewebs is hosting WidgetCon 2007, a by-invitation only conference designed specifically for engagement marketers on July 11 at the Tribeca Cinemas in New York. For information, visit http://www.widgetcon.com. “WidgetCon 2007 is an effort to promote collaboration between all businesses affected by engagement marketing, through sincere dialogue and meaningful networking, whose collaboration is essential to nurture widgets and engagement marketing, and develop expertise,” said Shervin Pishevar, president of Freewebs.

Why are we at this party?Less than a third of professional communicators feel confident about using social media as part of an integrated communication strategy, according to a new report from Melcrum. Still, many are going ahead with setting up tools inside their organizations — some 60% of organizations will have some form of social media in place by the end of 2007.

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A spirited site. The Wine & Spirits Industry Forum (http://www.wineandspiritsindustryforum.com) has launched what it calls the first social network for the wine and spirits Industry. Membership is free, and open to anyone working in or providing services to the Industry. Features include the ability to complete a business profile and read the profiles of others; to send messages to other members and invite them to become contacts; to post commentary, pictures and videos; to list free classifieds and job openings; and to create a group for members with common interests to blog.

A quick picture.Snap Technologies, Inc. has introduced two new features to its Snap Shots service; Profiles Shot, which allows for live previews of linked social networking profiles and RSS Shot which renders sites with enabled RSS feeds for quick and easy viewing. For more information, visit http://www.snap.com.

Tech talk. CNET has debuted CNET Blog Network (http://blogs.cnet.com) a collection of blogs written by industry experts about technology’s influence on a variety of topics, such as sports, politics, green technology, parenting and more. The site expands upon the site’s existing blog franchises, including Crave (http://crave.cnet.com), a gadget blog; Wetware (http://webware.cnet.com), a blog about Web 2.0 sites, services, and applications; and the CNET News Blogs (http://blogs.news.com), a collection of blogs covering tech news and trends.

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Ahoy, ye podlovers! Earlier this week, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen began talking to sailors directly via a new podcast. An iPod owner and user himself, Mullen wants to use the medium to communicate with sailors about what’s on his mind, what the Navy is doing and the direction he sees the service moving in, Mullen’s spokesman, Cmdr. John Kirby told the Navy Times.

The initial podcast is an interview with Mullen conducted by a sailor, and discusses Mullen’s recent travels to Hawaii and Pensacola, Fla., to talk with sailors; and international trips to Greece, India, Pakistan and Turkey to strengthen foreign partnerships. Mullen plans to record a new podcast every week, if his schedule permits, the Navy Times reports.

Color me social. A bilingual site for the new movie “Yellow” has recently launched as part of the new Latino AIM Pages (http://latino.aimpages.com), a social networking service created by AOL Latino (http://www.aollatino.com). The “Yellow” site (http://yellowthemovie.com) will feature exclusive trailers, behind the scenes footage and a blog, updated weekly by filmmaker and actress Roselyn Sanchez.

Phoning it in. Podango has launched The Apple Phone Show Podcast (http://applephoneshow.podango.com), a weekly audio podcast with rumors and news about the iPhone. The show will be posted by Podango co-founder and president Scott Bourne, and feature Andy Inhatko, technology columnist for the Chicago Sun Times.

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Ready, set, go. Carl Edwards giving racing fans a peek into the life of a NASCAR driver in a weekly podcast at http://www.officedepotracing.com. In the episodes, Edwards — driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup series – will talk about everything from his hectic travel schedule to his record label, Back 40 Records, to what it was like to film a new television commercial.

Social media goes to the dogs. Pet Club International launches a new online community for pet owners during National Pet Week, May 6-12. The site (http://www.petclubintl.com) aims to be a one stop resource for pet information. For an annual membership fee of $39.95, members will get a package of welcome gifts, as well as access to discounts, a monthly newsletter and a MyPetSpace homepage with blogs and forums.

Yes, they have no bananas. E-mail marketing service MailChimp is now integrated with Return Path’s Sender Score Monitoring system. The partnership will give MailChimp’s small business users access to a higher level of deliverability testing. According to the company, the “Inbox Inspector” gives users the ability to preview campaigns with the click of a button, displaying a screenshot of how each e-mail campaign will appear across 17 e-mail clients, such as AOL, Outlook 2007, Lotus Notes, Yahoo!, Gmail, Hotmail and others. For more information, visit http://www.mailchimp.com.

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Blogs, exciting and new… The first-ever “Bloggers Cruise” will set sail Jan. 19-26 on the Carnival Freedom. The trip was dreamed up after the success of the ship’s cruise director John Heald’s blog, which has attracted nearly 200,000 visitors since debuting last month. The blog was created for the launch of the Carnival Freedom. Cruise participants will get a goodie bag of giveaways and logo items, and yes, Heald will blog about the trip at http://johnheald.wordpress.com.

Sounds tasty.Whole Foods Market has launched Secret Ingredient, a new weekly online cooking podcast (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/secretingredient). The program will feature foods exclusive to the natural and organic grocer. The first episode serves up Thai-inspired fish tacos made with farm-raised catfish, which the company says is “a mild and versatile fish raised without antibiotics in a pristine, controlled environment.”

Will you be my friend? A new social networking site called LayoffSpace.com is hoping to be an essential stop for the unemployed looking to get their lives back on track. Users can create a profile on the site, blog about the job search process, and access career resources to researching new employment opportunities and connect with fellow job seekers. There is no charge to register and participate, and it’s free for employers to list jobs.

Web 2.0 report card. Nearly half of the college faculty members recently surveyed by Thompson Learning say they feel social networking sites will change the way students learn. The survey by the academic publisher also found that 90% of respondents knew of sites that allow students to rate professors, and 67% had checked to see if they’ve been graded. Thirty-five percent viewed podcasting as a valuable communications tool to reach students, and 10% said they have their own blogs.

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Pay Per Pod. EPOIA Interactive Studios, LLC has launched PodshowCreator’s ContentPay, a new service in conjunction with Amazon.com’s Associates program. The service enables podcasters to earn revenue with a customizable storefront showcasing Amazon.com products relevant to the content of the podcast. The podcaster earns a portion of the revenue generated by purchases from the storefront. For more information, visit http://www.podshowcreator.com.

Rhythm and rhyme. In celebration of April’s National Poetry Month, podcastGO (http://www.podcastGO.com) has launched a new poetry podcast series with The Student Publishing Program (SPP). The program debuted with 12 episodes on April 16; five new episodes will be added every Monday for the next 10 weeks. Shows will include “Ask America’s Poet Laureate,” which gave teens and educators the opportunity to submit writing questions to U.S. Poet Laureate Donald Hall. Poetry readings and writing advice from acclaimed poets including Taylor Mali and Patricia Smith (National Poetry Slam Champions and stars of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam), Billy Collins (former U.S. Poet Laureate), Tony Hoagland (Hardison Winner), Linton Kwesi Johnson (first black poet to have his work published in Penguin’s Modern Classics series) and Bruce Weigl (two-time Pushcart Winner), will also be offered.

Moms go green.This week, the blog MommiesWithStyle.com went green, focusing solely on eco-friendly and organic products. The online community, founded in 2004, features useful and stylish products for moms and their children.

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Publishing for Pods. Naples, FL-based MediaClick Inc. has launched a new zero-cost self publishing option for authors that includes a free listing on e-Bay. The “PocketBooks” — a combination podcast, e-learning course and multimedia presentation –are made using software developed by MediaClick. Authors using the system can mix video and/or audio as well as text in the new format. The system also includes the ability to include a multiple choice quiz that provides immediate feedback and a score. For information, visit http://stores.ebay.com/PocketBooks-for-iPods.

Talking on the run. Phedippidations listeners will be able to track the progress of host Steve Runner from start to finish during the Boston Marathon on April 16 in real time. The weekly running podcast can be downloaded for free at http://phedippidations.podshow.com.

News that’s on the money. Financial news service TheStreet.com has debuted 58 new free RSS feeds and 20 new paid content feeds managed by FeedBurner Inc. TheStreet is also joining FeedBurner’s advertising network. Free content will include “Stop Trading” and “Mad Money Recap” columns, and a daily video show “Wall Street Confidential,” where Jim Cramer discusses stocks and the markets. Additional feeds covering investment news and commentary, personal finance, and lifestyles will supplement TheStreet.com’s existing feed offerings. The enhanced feeds are available at http://www.thestreet.com/rss.

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Tagalong television. Video sharing Blip.tv has introduced “cross-post advertising,” which allows ads to travel with videos wherever they are viewed. The technology, says the New York-based company, allows ads to be embedded directly into videos. PNN.com is sponsoring three top blip.tv shows: HotRoast, a gossip show; Winning Hearts and Minds, which tells the story of American soldiers in Afghanistan and is produced pro bono by the New York media company Q2; and Blip on Blip, which reviews the top shows on blip.tv.

Automatic audio. Sonic Foundry Inc. has debuted new podcasting and automated scheduling capabilities for its Mediasite family of Web communication solutions. The latest release includes Mediasite Podcast, which automatically transforms any Mediasite presentation into portable audio content for MP3 players. Automated scheduling of recordings by customers who create large libraries of recurring presentations is also offered. For more information, visit http://www.sonicfoundry.com.

Hear the Noise. Social network YouthNoise used Brickfish’s platform to run it’s “Become a CitiJo” citizen journalist contest. The campaign focused on bringing visibility to issues young people care about while demonstrating the power of citizen journalism. In less than a month, the campaign drove exposure and engagement for YouthNoise, with 96% participants being new to the site. Two-hundred and fifty blog entries, photographs, or video entries were submitted and tens of thousands of Gen Y users reviewed and voted. The winners received paid virtual internships.

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You should see the other guy. A new study by researchers at Yale School of Management suggests that companies can increase their bottom line by recommending a rival on their blogs. In their study, “Link to Success: How Blogs Build an Audience by Promoting Rivals” Dina Mayzlin and Hema Yoganarasimhan offer the theory that posting a link to a competitor can help build a blog’s audience, because it signals that the blog strives to provide useful information for the reader. Such links can also help a blogger generate content when he or she doesn’t have any news to report. “Impressing readers is a big issue for bloggers. If a blogger is not able at this time to ‘get the scoop,’ it is in her best interest to direct readers to a rival that has new information,” said Mayzlin. For more information visit http://www.cci.som.yale.edu/.

And so on, and so on… Podcasters around the globe are banding together March 21 to try and rocket an independent musician to the top of the iTunes sales chart – and raise money for a scholarship fund. This campaign, called Bumrush the Charts, represents a viral social media experiment in which podcasters, in conjunction with bloggers, indie labels and artists, will ask their listeners to buy one song, by one band, on one day. The song is “Mine Again” by the band Black Lab, from their new album Passion Leaves a Trace (http://www.blacklabworld.com/). Black Lab fought for ownership of their music after being pushed out of two major label record deals and has subsequently become an early adopter of podcasting. Bumrush the Charts plans to use an iTunes affiliate link to earn a commission on each sale of the song, which it will use to build a scholarship fund. The Student Loan Network, an education finance company in Boston, has made a pledge to match the first $1,000 raised.

Let’s be friends. Forty-eight percent of brand marketers plan to use social marketing tactics in the next year, compared to 38% last year, according to a new report from JupiterResearch. “Users between 18 and 34 are much more likely than older audiences to visit social networks daily,” said Emily Riley, JupiterResearch analyst and lead author of the report. “Thirty percent of frequent social networkers trust their peers’ opinions when making a major purchase decision, but only 10% trust advertisements. Consequently, brand marketers must harness brand advocates and influentials by providing additional motivation for frequent networkers to engage in social marketing.”

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Plan your pods. Podtrac has debuted the Podtrac Media Planner, which allows users to cross reference podcasts with a database of podcast listeners developed by Podtrac and indexed to Mediamark’s Survey of the American Consumer (MRI). To use the tool, , advertisers log into Podtrac where they can search podcasts based on keyword, content or demographics; sort podcasts by reach or demographic fit; and build lists of podcasts which deliver desired audiences. For more information, visit http://www.podtrac.com.

Books on the air. National Public Radio’s Dr. Moira Gunn will host a series of podcasts sponsored by self-publishing service Blurb. Condensed versions of the podcasts will front-end the weekly Tech Nation radio program on NPR, available at http://www.technation.com. As underwriters of Tech Nation, Blurb will host full-length versions of the podcasts along with an RSS feed at http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/podcasts#tech_nation. The podcasts will help Blurb authors market their books. “A book really comes alive when people hear the story behind the story,” said Eileen Gittins, Blurb’s founder and CEO. “People are natural storytellers; there’s something powerful about hearing the voice of the author tell their story, unscripted.” The first podcast will feature Allie Davis, a 12-year-old poet from Santa Rosa, CA.

A good policy. -A.M. Best Co. has launched the Insurance Law Podcast, a new series that examines timely insurance issues from an attorney’s point of view. The first podcast features a discussion with attorneys Kelly Simpkins of Wells, Marble & Hurst of Jackson, MI, and David Rossmiller of Dunn, Carney, Allen, Higgins & Tongue of Portland, OR, assessing the impact of the recent decision in Broussard v. State Farm. To listen, go to http://podcast.insuranceattorneysearch.com.

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Radio, radio. Webmaster Radio has partnered with OTOlabs to offer the Webmaster Radio Podcast Communicator. The application extends the WebmasterRadio.FM Web site features directly to the desktop for continuous streaming audio and user interaction through an IRC chat channel. To hear more, click on http://www.WebmasterRadio.FM.

Online video channels debut. Miami-based Connected Media Technologies Inc. has launched several video channels that will be accessible to online publishers. The channels will contain news and consumer interest stories produced under the NewsProNet brand, and will offer integrated advertising opportunities as well as community tools that allow users to share videos and add them to their websites and blogs. For information, visit http://www.brightcove.com or http://www.newspronet.com/ds.

Hello! You’re a broadcaster. Dutch firm TNO has announced the debut of Farcast TV, a service allowing users to create their own television channel using their mobile phone. Farcast TV is built on the Farcast platform, a next generation content repurposing platform and can be embedded into any Web site. Movies can be sent from the consumer’s phone to the TV channel either via MMS or a dedicated application. To learn more, go to http://www.tno.nl/farcast.

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On the air. Yodio Inc. has debuted an audio publishing service and online marketplace it hopes will become a Web community for anyone looking to create, publish, and buy or sell personal audio recordings. The company is enabling consumers to easily record short-tracks by phone using Yodio’s toll-free service or manually upload prerecorded MP3 files. The service, which utilizes speech recognition, features three tools for personalizing and packaging Yodio files. For more information, visit http://www.yodio.com.

The Write Voice SpinVox (http://www.spinvox.com) has begun North American previews of its Spin-my-Vmail service, which converts voicemails to text messages that can be read on mobile handsets and within e-mail. The company is providing a limited number of one-year “gamma” accounts of Spin-my-Vmail to introduce the service before it is rolled out by carriers later this year. The service was launched in the U.K. in 2005. Earlier this month, the company made Spin-my-Vmail accounts available to readers of Michael Arrington’s “TechCrunch” blog (http://www.techcrunch.com) and Guy Kawasaki’s “How to Change the World” blog (http://blog.guykawasaki.com).

Who’s listening? PodGarden, a division of Oneupweb, has launched PodTractor, an enterprise-level tracking service capable of verifying audiences for large podcasting organizations similar to magazine circulation audits. According to the company, the tool will allow podcasters to describe their audience to potential advertisers and sponsors or present an accurate accounting of returns to investors and management. The technology reportedly also helps advertisers determine where to buy ads with an apples-to-apples comparison of podcast audience value.

 The service’s reporting includes a summary of the series or an episode overview by month, week, or day; which domains users visited and what they downloaded
; and loyalty tracking organized by series and episode. To learn more, go to http://podgarden.oneupweb.com.

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The Old Gray Blogger NYTimes.com has launched Bits, a new blog (http://nytimes.com/bits) covering technology trade shows. Coverage began with the Times’s Damon Darlin, Brad Stone and Eric Taub blogging from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and David Pogue providing live coverage from Macworld in San Francisco.

We’ll drink to that. Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog is hosting the American Wine Blog Awards to honor the best of the Web’s over 400 vino themed blogs. “Today the array of wine blogs offer something for everybody, whether they are hard core wine geeks, casual wine drinkers looking for recommendations, members of the wine business or just those who like to read a little Wine Haiku,” notes Tom Wark, publisher of Fermentation. For more info about the awards, visit http://www.fermentation.typepad.com. The nomination process ends Jan. 18.

Download, download a song… Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current is launching a new podcast, “The Current’s Song of the Day” (http://thecurrent.org). Songs from emerging Minnesota artists will be featured every Friday, and each weekday at 10 a.m. CST, Current host Barb Abney will feature the song of the day during her live DJ shift.

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Ring! And now, the news. Fonpods Inc. and The Americast Network have announced a partnership to deliver local newspaper content via podcast on mobile phones. The Fonpods service allows users to access their audio content from a landline, mobile or VoIP phone. “Our publishing partners are faced each day with declining circulations and changing technology in their quest to remain the media hubs for their local communities,” said Americast founder and CEO Patrick Scanlon. Exclusive and local audio content will be featured from Americast’s network of over 40 independently owned newspapers in 21 states.

For a change, they want you to listen. The Suffolk County Psychological Association on Long Island is producing a series of podcasts with local members to educate the public on the field of mental health. “People are becoming more aware of the important roles that behavior, attitudes and emotions play in not only overcoming illness and solving problems, but also in maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Peter S. Kanaris, coordinator of public education for the Smithtown, NY-based association. “When it comes to your well being, the mind really matters.” The public will be invited to submit suggestions for shows and topics. The first episode, addressing the psychological and emotional issues associated with the holidays, was released last week. The podcasts are available at http://www.suffolkpsych.org.

We can hardly stand the wait! Children looking to track the progress of Santa’s sleigh around the globe on Christmas Eve can visit http://www.santaspeaking.com. Beginning at 12 p.m. EST on Dec. 24, the site will feature videos sent directly from the big man’s sleigh, including his “live departure” from the North Pole, and his arrivals in New York City and San Francisco. In addition to the “live” (well, okay, CGI animated) Santa Cam, parents can also schedule to have Santa call and leave pre-recorded messages from the jolly old elf, who will tell kids all about the new high-tech tracking equipment on the sleigh that Santa himself is still getting used to. Kids really looking for more Santa scoop can read St. Nick’s blog at the site, watch reindeer and check out the North Pole weather report. The site was created by “Founding Elf” Anne Gaskell, mom to three Santa Believers,

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Extra, extra, content for sale. Yepic.com recently debuted the public beta launch of Web 2.0, a content marketplace. “Millions of bloggers worldwide create content that meets or exceeds the standards of print and video publications we happily pay for every day,” says Corey Davis, co-founder of Yepic. “Only a few of them generate enough traffic to earn significant money from advertising revenues. Many writers have loyal but small audiences that would be happy to pay for deeper treatments of the blog’s primary subject. We’ve created Yepic to give writers a new way to monetize their user bases.” Users can upload their digital assets to Yepic and categorize, tag, price and publish them in Yepic’s marketplace. Once published, users can create links from their blogs to their Yepic article summaries and start making as much as 75% of the article price.

Does this ring a bell? Visitors to Philadelphia can now download customizable “sound-seeing” tours of the city at http://www.soundaboutphilly.com. The customizable tours are an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC). The first four tours are: ” History Unplugged,” 300 years of non-textbook American history; ” Flavorhoods,” a look at dining in different ethnic neighborhoods; ” My Philly,” recommendations straight from the mouths of local Philadelphians; and ” Once Upon A Nation,” the undertold stories of Colonial Philadelphians. Three more tours are expected to be added. The SoundAboutPhilly Web site integrates the audio with Google Maps to help people customize a map to match their selected tour, print it out and take it with them as they explore the city.

A good call. Elluminate Inc. and Franklin University have teamed up to offer ” Home for the Holidays,” a program which provides free, unlimited access to Web conferencing software for soldiers deployed overseas and their families from Dec 4 to Jan. 2. Military service men and women and their families and friends will be able to log in to Elluminate Live! virtual meeting rooms at any time to have private, face-to-face conversations. Many soldiers are already using the software to attend real-time college classes through Franklin University and GoArmyEd program.

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How they like to watch. By a wide margin, dedicated media devices are preferred for mobile TV viewing over multi-purpose handhelds such as cell phones, PDAs and smart phones, according to a study of blogosphere conversations. The study, by Boulder, CO-based market intelligence firm Umbria Inc., also found that men posted two-thirds of the comments about mobile TV usage. Bloggers were more likely to download mobile TV content versus view it in real time, as well. Highlights of the study and information on ordering the complete report is available at http://www.umbrialistens.com/.

Read all about it. ZapTXT has launched “RSS Search To Go,” a new service to provide Web users with a way to insure they are notified when information of interest is posted online. Users can sign up for a free account at http://zaptxt.com/home, which will allow then to create custom searches to track RSS-enabled sites for specific keywords. ZapTXT then continually monitors the Web sites and RSS feeds specified by the user and sends an alert (via e-mail, IM, SMS text message, or special RSS feed) when that keyword is published in a headline. The Mountain View, CA-based company also offers a free widget enabling online publishers and bloggers to alert readers whenever their Web site is updated, or whenever a new headline or comment that includes certain keywords is added.

Meeting on the left coast… The BlogWorld & New Media Expo is set for Nov. 8-9, 2007 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. According to show producer Libby Durfee, the event will provide a platform for businesses to connect with established corporate and mainstream bloggers, vloggers (video bloggers), podcasters, Internet radio broadcasters, and other new media outlets. Seminars appealing to blogging needs like increasing readership, monetizing a blog and the influence of blogs in politics will also be featured. For information, visit http://www.blogworldexpo.com.

…And meeting on the right. Business Capital Edge will hold Social Media 2007 on Jan. 30-31 at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta. The event will offer presentations and case studies from corporations and organizations involved in blogging and podcasting. The event is geared towards communications, PR and advertising professionals. Speakers include representatives from organizations including IBM, Southwest Airlines, Scotiabank and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Details can be found at http://www.socialmedia2007.com.

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