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Friday, October 22, 2010

$250 million Venture Capital Fund Established For Investment In Social Web

Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers along with Facebook, Amazon, and Zynga, are establishing a $250 million fund (the sFund) to aid the development of a new generation of social web offerings. 

"There's going to be an opportunity over the next five years or so to pick any industry and rethink it in a social way," said Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. "We think that every industry is going to be fundamentally re-thought and designed around people."
With KPCB putting up most of the money, the others are offering assistance in various ways. Amazon will provide it's web services platform for one year to selected companies and Facebook providing access to it's platform team and beta APIs.
The big focus of the fund will be social start-ups from all industries but no money will be provided to direct competitors of Facebook, Amazon, or Zynga (so there's the hook!).
"Think of it as a quarter-billion-dollar party. The third great wave of the internet is mobile and social together. It's going to be tectonic," said KPCB partner John Doerr.
Source: BBC 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Starbucks Hopes More Digital Freebees Will Attract And Retain Customers

For a rather lengthy time this summer I was mayor of my local Starbucks, the baristas know me their and often have my favorite latte underway when I walk in the door... guess I'm a bit predictable. At a corporate level, taking a page out of McDonald's playbook, Starbucks is attempting to do the little things better in a hope to grow business and retain customers in a slow economy. The efforts are extending beyond the get it right attitude at the store level. In addition to it's free wifi offering earlier this year and free music downloads, one track per week, the company is now promising it's U.S. customers e-books, movies and other exclusive offers such as no fee access to some paid websites. It's also testing beer and wine sales in a few locations attempting to ramp up the slow late afternoon and evening sales period. 

“This chain needs to refocus on not becoming bigger but becoming better in its existing units,” said Jack Russo, a retail analyst at EdwardJones in St. Louis.

Keep getting my coffee right and give me free digital downloads... what's not to love about that? Well, I guess as long as you are a coffee freak and don't mind paying a premium to get your fix on, the above holds true. If it's strictly the fast food experience and fast food price you are looking for there's a Tim Horton's (or Dunkin Donuts) to be found on just about every other block.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yet Another Facebook Privacy Issue - Oops, We Did It Again!

Another high profile security issue at Facebook has Canada's privacy commissioner again raising the possibility of a probe into the company's treatment of confidential user information. 

"If applications covered by [privacy law] are disclosing personal information without consent, that's a significant concern to our office," the office of Jennifer Stoddart said in a statement Monday to CBC News.
"We are looking at the situation and evaluating the possibility of launching an investigation."
The breach discovered by a Wall Street Journal investigation, indicates that at least 10 of the most popular Facebook apps, including FarmVille, Mafia Wars, FrontierVille, and Texas HoldEm Poker, all by game developer Zynga, were found to be sending user ID numbers to at least 25 advertising, marketing and internet tracking companies.

hmmm, the highest traffic games sending data to advertisers and nobody at Facebook knew about it? Just saying!


Monday, October 18, 2010