Articles of the Day


Microsoft Beats Quadrangle To Buy Research Firm Greenfield For $486 Million; Selling Off Most Of It — In a complex and slightly confusing transaction, Greenfield Online, the online market research and surveys company, which earlier this week rejected a bid by media PE firm Quadrangle, is now being bought by an unlikely buyer: Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), for about $486 million, $60 million more than the previous bid. MSFT is paying through a cash tender offer for $17.50 per share for the Wilton, Conn-based firm, as opposed to Quadrangle’s $15.50 a share bid.  BUT, as part of this buyout, Microsoft will sell off what Greenfield is best known: its online surveys division, and will only retain its European comparison shopping services part. Greenfield, through its Greenfield Online and its European Ciao comparison shopping websites and affiliate networks, collects, organizes and sells consumer opinions in the form of survey responses to marketing research firms and end users. It was founded in 1994, among the first such online survey firms, and current CEO Albert Angrisan is the former COO and president of survey biggie Harris Interactive.

MySpace Passes Yahoo In Display Impressions — MySpace owner Fox Interactive Media has overtaken Yahoo as the top display advertising property in the U.S., according to new data from comScore. In June, 56.8 billion display ads were viewed on the News Corp. company’s sites, giving it a 15.2% share of the total U.S. display market. Yahoo, meanwhile, served 53.1 billion display ads in the same time period, accumulating a 14.2% share. The data represents a rather big change from May, when Yahoo was still top of the display pile with a 15.9% share, compared to FIM’s 13.5%. Dow Jones points out that the June data will raise fresh concerns about Yahoo’s ability to grow its online advertising business. “It’s a continuation of this trend that eyeballs are going to other places on the Internet, and advertisers are recognizing that,” Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said. “It’s a step in the wrong direction for where Yahoo wants things to go.”

Veoh Decision A Boon for YouTube — Analysts and legal eagles watched with a keen eye as Judge Howard Lloyd of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled on Wednesday that Veoh did its part to protect copyright holders, thus qualifying for “safe harbor” protections under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Adult entertainment company Io Group alleged that the online video provider had not done enough to stop users from uploading unauthorized clips of its adult sex films. “The DMCA was intended to facilitate the growth of electronic commerce, not squelch it,” Judge Lloyd said. The DMCA protects publishers from being held accountable for the content uploaded by their users, as long as they make it clear that uploading copyrighted material is prohibited, and swiftly comply with official takedown notices. TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington noted that it’s also helpful to have fingerprinting technology in place to detect copyrighted material, in addition to lots of non-infringing content (Veoh only received takedown notices on 7% of its content).

U.S. News’ College Report Online Revenues in Seven Figures — So says U.S. News & World Report president Bill Holiber, talking about the relaunch of its America’s Best Colleges online portal, in an interview with Folio. Its flagship franchise list saw about 15 million page views in the last one week, and online revenue around the story is up 500 percent. “We’re well into seven figures just online for this story,” he said. The publisher has sold major online ad packages on the site to Dell and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Office Student. Meanwhile, the print edition of the mag is still bleeding: ad pages fell 30.2 percent and estimated ad revenue drop 26.1 percent, according to Publishers Information Bureau figures. It is dropping its weekly frequency to a bi-weekly by next year, and recently formed a new U.S. News Media Group, in an effort to develop more franchises beyond the weekly under it.

WPP Digital Leverages Global Production System — WPP’s digital investment and operating arm WPP Digital has established a global digital production hub to distribute work among its stable of digital agencies. The objective of the new outfit, Deliver, is to better leverage WPP’s existing production capabilities in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and South Africa in a “distributed model,” according to Neal Prescott, CEO of Deliver.

Wikileaks To The Highest Bidder — The initial idea behind Wikileaks was to publish secretive documents from “oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East,” but the reality has been exposing Swiss banks, Mormons and Scientologists. However, now that the site has started selling secrets at auction, the bigger fish are swimming closer to the harbor. Apparently, a senior official inside Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s administration has some dirt for sale. But the documents aren’t really for sale, per se. Whoever wins the right to the information will only have a set period of time to make use of it before it becomes public. In this case, the leak in question is a series of emails from a senior aide to Chavez, which may or may not contain incriminating information.

Google Android App Store: Like iTunes, With One Big Difference — Google has unveiled its long-awaited answer to the iTunes app store for the iPhone: The Android Market, which will sell programs for the upcoming “Gphone” from T-Mobile, and every other handset that runs on Google’s mobile OS. The big difference: Apple runs it own store with a pretty firm hand. If you want in, you’ve got play by their rules. But Google has an open door policy: Developers who want to put their program on the market just register, upload, and they’re in business.

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