Looks Like The Yahoo ID Still Has Clout


Amid the rise of Facebook and Twitter, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) seems in some ways like yesterday’s news. But does the portal have more sway than people think? New data from the commenting platform Echo suggests that when given a choice more people log in to comment with their Yahoo accounts than with Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Facebook or Twitter.

The data, which covers about three months’ worth of login information, includes only the top 10 publishers that use Echo, like CNET, Slate and Technorati. And, Echo, of course, is eager to circulate it because its commenting system—unlike those of some of its rivals—lets users log-in with their Yahoo IDs. Nevertheless, it may serve as a reminder that despite all the buzz around newer communication tools, mainstream audiences tend to be slower to migrate over.


Sarah Palin’s Magical Gun-Toting Metaphor Tour

I guess this means Sarah Palin has a sense of humor. Also, a grasp of the English language that perhaps some had not previously attributed to her.

Last week a lot of people took Palin to (overblown) task for what they saw as a subtle attempt on her part to add to the extreme, post health care, language that some are speculating has encourage the recent spat of violence. Frank Rich also listed Palin in his Sunday column as an aggravator after a number of the districts she had “targeted” (she used a rifle crosshairs symbol to mark particular districts, four of which have now been vandalized).

Not one to be deterred, Palin followed up a weekend of well-covered speeches with this Facebook note, ostensibly about March Madness (the basketball kind).

To the teams that desire making it this far next year: Gear up! In the battle, set your sights on next season’s targets! From the shot across the bow – the first second’s tip-off – your leaders will be in the enemy’s crosshairs, so you must execute strong defensive tactics. You won’t win only playing defense, so get on offense! The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons – your Big Guns – to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win.

Focus on the goal and fight for it. If the gate is closed, go over the fence. If the fence is too high, pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, parachute in. If the other side tries to push back, your attitude should be “go for it.” Get in their faces and argue with them. (Sound familiar?!) Every possession is a battle; you’ll only win the war if you’ve picked your battles wisely. No matter how tough it gets, never retreat, instead RELOAD!

Emphasis hers. So kudos to Palin for having a sense of humor, I guess, and for continually understanding how to utilize her Facebook page better than anyone else out there. Of course, it’s a bit of a risky game, since should, God forbid, anything actually happen, it will, you know, not be funny at all.

Facebook Tweaks Privacy Policy (Again) To Allow ‘Place’ Sharing


Facebook is paving the way for its forthcoming location-sharing feature with yet another update to its privacy policy. In a blog post, Facebook says—opaquely—it has “added the concept of a ‘place’ that could refer to a Page, such as one for a local restaurant” to the document. The new privacy policy refers to individuals providing information about “places” and also notes the possibility of friends tagging individuals in a “place”—but doesn’t offer any other clues.

Last time Facebook updated its privacy policy— in October—the company added language that would have let users include location info in their status updates. Facebook now says “we’ve got some new ideas that we think are even more exciting,” although it doesn’t describe them. A location-sharing feature of some sort, which will allow the social network to battle upstarts Gowalla and Foursquare, is widely expected to launch in late April.


Following Sabbatical, Google’s Fischer Defects To Facebook

David Fischer

David Fischer, who returned to Google (NSDQ: GOOG) after a three-month sabbatical in January to handle some of the search giant’s ancillary business, is now going to Facebook, AllThingsD reports, citing unidentified sources. Fischer, who served as Google’s VP for Global Online Sales & Operations before his break last fall, will be taking on the job of VP of Advertising and Global Operations at the social net. he joins former Google colleague Sheryl Sandberg, who became Facebook’s COO in May ‘08.

Fischer is the latest in a long line of Google defections that began around the time of Sandberg’s departure. The two worked closely even before Google, where Fischer was Sandberg’s second in command. As AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher notes, they also worked together at the Treasury Department during the Clinton years.

After he returned to Google following his sabbatical, Fischer was set to work on developing the search giant’s other businesses, including Geo, Local and Check-Out.


Can NewsLabs Give Laid-Off Journalists Another Chance?

So you used to write stories for a newspaper and now you’re out of work? Odds are, you are going to have to find something else to do.

But some of you may be able to transform yourselves into one-person news factories, says Paul Biggar, who wants to make money while helping you do that.

Biggar is a co-founder of NewsLabs, a start-up that promises to create a business around the work of individual journalists. The idea is that the writer writes and NewsLabs does everything else: Ad sales, “community management,” promoting the work on Google, Facebook, Twitter et al, and so forth. In exchange, the company wants a 20 percent cut of all revenue.

In other words, Biggar and co-founder Nathan Chong want to become publishers with an all-freelance workforce.

NewsLabs just graduated from Y Combinator’s three-month bootcamp and has been working with a starter group of journalists for a couple months. So it’s still mostly theoretical at this point. My concern is that the help NewsLabs says it can offer doesn’t solve the real problem: The economics of Web publishing are brutal, and in most cases they only work on a Google- (GOOG) or Yahoo (YHOO)-size scale.

Biggar tells me that NewsLabs won’t solely be dependent on ad revenue, so that’s good. But all of the ancillary businesses that can support a Web-based journalist–conferences, job boards, and the like–also require either great scale or a very, very specialized niche. So Biggar and co-founder Nathan Chong have their work cut out for them.

Here’s Biggar’s extended pitch, via an interview I taped with him this week at Y Combinator’s Demo Day presentations:

[ See post to watch video ]

Um, Sarah Palin And Her Facebook Page Now To Blame For Death Threats?

Pretty soon the question is going to be who isn’t to blame for the threats against members of Congress following Sunday’s health care bill vote. There is a lot of finger-pointing going on (needless to say). So perhaps it was inevitable that at some point the fingers turned to the original death paneler, herself, Sarah Palin. This is the Tweet that apparently got people riled up:

“Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” Pls see my Facebook page.”

And this from the ever powerful Palin Facebook page:

We’re going to reclaim the power of the people from those who disregarded the will of the people. We’re going to fire them and send them back to the private sector, which has been shrinking thanks to their destructive government-growing policies. Maybe when they join the millions of unemployed, they’ll understand why Americans wanted them to focus on job creation and an invigorated private sector. Come November, we’re going to print pink slips for members of Congress as fast as they’ve been printing money.

We’re paying particular attention to those House members who voted in favor of Obamacare and represent districts that Senator John McCain and I carried during the 2008 election.

And then she names names. Oooh.

It’s apparently the graphic that “targets” the districts those names represent that caused the fuss? I think you have to look pretty hard to find it (John McCain didn’t see it, either). Kind of like finding death panels in the health care bill.