• California Law Will Tax eCommerce

    Until now, Amazon and other mostly digital businesses have had clear tax advantages over brick-and-mortar rivals. But with vast implications for the future of ecommerce, cash-strapped states are trying to level the playing field. 

    On Friday, Los Angeles Times reports, "a new state law will require large out-of-state retailers like Amazon to collect sales taxes on purchases that their California customers make online." In response, Amazon and rival etailer Overstock.com plans to cease paying commissions to California Internet marketing affiliates for referrals of so-called click-through customers.

    "That's because the new requirement applies only to online sellers based ...

  • Social Browser RockMelt Secures "Serious" $30M

    Boldly trying to reshape the browser, RockMelt just secured $30 million in funding from Accel Partners, Khosla Ventures, and Andreessen Horowitz. Officially launched this past November, RockMelt incorporates popular social networking services like Facebook and Twitter so users can take their friends with them around the Web.

    "Facebook is the people-centric Internet, and we are the people-centric browser," Eric Vishria, RockMelt's co-founder and CEO, explained to The Los Angeles Times.

    Meanwhile, a recent Facebook partnership will serve as a model for others, according to Vishria. "Our goal is to build services right into the browser," Vishria said. Those ...

  • Google Launches wdl.com

    What do you love? Google wants to know, so it just soft-launched wdyl.com with the hope of creating a "unified [user interface] to search in multiple channels." "While it seems to be more of a cute gimmick at this time, the idea is to return users a single page of relevant results across many of Google's products for whatever query is typed into the wdyl search box," TechCrunch explains. "The ‘search' button is even a heart. Cute."

    "Over the years, Google has continued to add new products, services, portals, and features to their portfolio,"

  • GSV Takes Stake In Facebook

    Investment fund GSV Capital Corp has reportedly taken a small stake in Facebook at a valuation of about $70 billion. "The investment fund said on Monday that it had bought 225,000 shares in Facebook at an average price of $29.28 each," Reuters reports. Perhaps more notable, however, are the circumstances under which the investment was made.

    Ahead of what executives are calling an inevitable IPO, "Concerns about Facebook's white-hot growth have surfaced in recent months," writes Reuters. For one, a group of Facebook shareholders is trying to sell $1 billion of stock on the secondary market in ...

  • Feds Investigate Google's Possible Search Abuses

    Google's about to get its Microsoft moment -- and that's not a good thing. According to reports, federal regulators about poised to launch a broad, formal investigation into whether the company has abused its dominance in search advertising.

    "The civil probe, which has the potential to reshape how companies compete on the Internet, is the most serious legal threat yet to the 12-year-old company, though it wouldn't necessarily lead to any federal allegations of wrongdoing against Google," reports The Wall Street Journal, citing sources. To date, Google has already faced several antitrust probes, but the government has so ...

  • PopCap Games Courted For $1 Billion

    What's a casual online game worth? How about $1 billion? Actually, PopCap Games -- the company behind "casual" hits like Plants vs Zombies and Bejeweled -- is reportedly be courted for over $1 billion.

    "We've heard from multiple sources that the buyer is Electronic Arts," reports TechCrunch. Prior to that revelation, TechCrunch suggested the suitor might be Zynga, which, it noted, "has made a string of game-related acquisitions over the last year." "If true, that would sidetrack [PopCap's] plans for an initial public offering later this year," writes The Seattle Times.

    TechCrunch suggests EA is ...

  • Hulu Debates Possible Sale

    According to multiple reports, Yahoo -- or some other big company -- has approached Hulu about a possible takeover. "Hulu is weighing whether to sell itself ... its latest strategic crossroads as the fight over distributing TV content online intensifies," reports The Wall Street Journal, citing sources.

    "On Tuesday afternoon, word of the unsolicited offer spread and was subsequently confirmed by people close to the company," Los Angeles Times writes. "It is not known whether the offer came from Yahoo or another entity."

    "The unsolicited offer has prompted Hulu's board to consider its options, and ...

  • Foursquare "Checks-In" 10M Members

    Foursquare continues to scale its brand-friendly location-based social network. According to the LBS leader, it surpassed the 10 million-member mark this month. "One of the most amazing things about building Foursquare has been seeing a tool we designed for our friends turn into something now used by over 10,000,000 people," stated the New York start-up. "And as our community grows larger, we get to build things that start to fulfil our larger vision for the future."

    The Los Angeles Times notes, however, "The maker of the ‘check-in' app wouldn't say just what those things were." When asked ...

  • Internet Names Take New Turn

    How's .awesome for a domain name suffix? By the end of next year, that and countless other options will become available to companies and organizations with legitimate claims to specific domain names, thanks to a new decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

    "The Internet body that oversees domain names voted on Monday to end restricting them to suffixes like .com or .gov and will receive applications for new names from January 12 next year with the first approvals likely by the end of 2012," Reuters reports.

    "Today's decision will usher in a new ...

  • Facebook To Debut iPad App

    Ready to reshape the tablet-scape in its own image, Facebook reportedly plans to finally debut its iPad app in a matter of weeks. "The app has been in production at Facebook for almost a year, going through several design iterations, and is now in the final stages of testing," writes The New York Times, citing sources. Along with a slick design and overhauled Facebook Chat and Groups features, the app is expected to go beyond the features available on the Facebook Web site by allowing users to shoot and upload photos and videos directly from the iPad's built-in ...

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