MySpace accepts the fish Facebook rejects. Former Facebook COO Owen Van Natta is poised to become the new CEO of rival MySpace, as News Corp moves to dump cofounder and current CEO Chris DeWolfe. Van Natta worked at Amazon before joining Facebook in its relative infancy, and is credited as being one of the key drivers behind the social networking giantʼs phenomenal success. For ever the bridesmaid, Van Natta left Facebook in early 2008, saying that he felt he had done what he could there, and that what he really wanted to be is the CEO of a consumer web company.

MySpace, for those over 18 or those without teenage children, was once the most popular social networking site online, Facebook if you like before there was Facebook. News Corp acquired Myspace for US$580 million in July 2005.

Shake the baby, profit. Apple has a history of running a strict approvals process for iPhone and iPod Touch applications. S-x is out, so is heavy violence, but baby shaking? Well that was ok. At US 99c, the Baby Shaker application allowed users to quiet a crying baby with a vigorous shake. If you were successful at shaking the baby enough, two red crosses appeared over the babies eyes.

Apple has now removed the application from sale, but only after widespread coverage and condemnation from every child abuse and baby shaking organization world wide.

Shoot your customers. A Norwegian study has found that those who download music  illegally are 10 times more likely to pay for songs than those who donʼt. The study found  that music pirates are the industryʼs largest audience for paid legal downloads, which begs the question: why would you try to fine or jail your best customers?

I know I said I wouldnʼt mention Twitter, but… David Earley has put together a list of Australiaʼs top journalists and new media people on Twitter here. Itʼs comprehensive, and includes all major media outlets, and new media people alike (and there is a somewhat incomplete section dedicated just to Crikey). The one big takeaway is how many hacks at Fairfax and News Ltd are now on Twitter; itʼs easy to criticise the Australian heritage media on a number of fronts, but embracing Twitter isnʼt one of them.

Hypocrisy on the high seas. In Sweden last week, the “Pirate Bay Four” we found guilty of copyright infringement for running the worldʼs largest BitTorrent tracker, and were each slapped with a year in jail and large fines. The decision was surprising, even among those championing the anti-piracy cause, but it turns out the deck was stacked before the trial began.

It has been discovered that the judge that handed down the sentence is involved in numerous anti-piracy groups, including the Nordic Intellectual Property Law Review (where heʼs a member) and the Swedish Association for the Protection of Industrial Copyright (where heʼs a board member). Both groups share the same traits: both lobby for stronger copyright laws, and both count among their active members representatives of the same groups that lobbied against The Pirate Bay.

A new trial isnʼt confirmed, but is looking likely.

Holes in my Mumbrella. Former B&T Magazine Editor and occasional Crikey contributor Tim Burrowes runs Mumbrella perhaps one of the most popular Australian blogs covering the marketing and media industry. Itʼs a great read, although itʼs not universally loved by all, as Burrowes loves to snark where he believes people and firms should be called out. The problem though with setting such high standards of others, is that itʼs often difficult to live up to them yourself.

Burrowes has been pushing the SBS series Mad Men over a number of blog posts, while at the same time running a direct ad placement from SBS for the very same series. Thatʼs not necessarily a bad thing by itself, except that Burrowes failed to disclose the relationship in his coverage. Comments from readers include “Nice advertorial value add Tim” and “Mumbrella? more like MumSELLER.”

Mad Men delivered 410,000 viewers for SBS last week, a respectable number for SBS, but low compared to other channels. The real reason itʼs not getting more viewers is that many in the PR and marketing industry (the shows natural audience) have already watched it online; the series debuted in the United States in July 2007. (I did ask Burrowes for his take, but unfortunately hadn’t received a reply before Crikey‘s publication deadline.)

Lifestyles of the rich and the famous. Actress Salma Hayek has suffered the misfortune of having her email account exposed to the world. The “hack” that delivered access involved resetting her password for the account by entering her date of birth, and a “secret” password that turned out to be the name of one of her movies.

Once Were Radicals. Crikey contributor and reformed Liberal Irfan Yusuf has a new book coming out, that naturally is being promoted on Facebook.

Tories heart Google Adwords. The Conservative Party in the UK has impressed now for some time with its online efforts. Leader David Cameron started video blogging back in 2006, before video blogging became really popular, and the party has embraced new media and blogging like none in the UK before it. Their efforts to spread the word have had some interesting results, including the Labor Party “Tory Smear Plot.”

While the Tories canʼt take all the credit, Gordon Brownʼs former press spokesman Damian McBride (who is at the centre of the scandal) was driven, according to some press reports, to undertake his online smear efforts in an attempt to counter the Tories successful online presence. The latest online move from the Tories is a Google Adwords campaign to counter this weeks UK budget.

The Tories purchased ads against budget related keywords (with a UK target), so that anyone in the UK looking on Google for details on the budget couldnʼt miss their ads. Each link in the ads leads back to a page on the Conservatives website that details the Tories response to the budget.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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