Vol 2, #1, Jan. 5, 2010
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January 5 , 2010


Google loses domain dispute to Canadian start-up
Blast purchases, launches Tweexchange.com
Library expands free wi-fi service, enhances web presence
Switch runs innovative viral campaign
RIM's Balsillie named business newsmaker of the year
Endangered species to get daily web spot in 2010
Virtual goods give web firms new revenue in ad slump
Criteria Systems website re-launched
Yaffle connects you with an armful of knowledge

Google loses domain dispute to Canadian start-up

Last week Google lost a domain dispute to Oakville, Ont.-based Groovle, a website that allows users to upload photos and create a customized online portal.

A three-person panel composed of two retired American judges and one law professor rejected Google's claim that the smaller website's name was "confusingly similar," effectively giving it clearance to continue operating. The panel was working under the auspices of the National Arbitration Forum, which is empowered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the international body that governs the internet.

The case is only the second time Google has lost a domain name dispute in 65 actions, with the other being Froogles in 2004.

Groovle's founders, who started their site in 2007, were pleased with the decision, but regretted that the dispute had to go to arbitration.

"Google never had anything to fear from our website," said founder Jacob Fuller in a statement. "The arbitrators' decision that the two domain names are sufficiently different should put Google at ease and we look forward to a renewed positive relationship with Google." Top of Page

Blast purchases, launches Tweexchange.com

Blast Applications, Inc. announced that it has officially launched newly acquired and fully developed website, www.tweexchange.com. Tweexchange.com is the fastest and easiest way to search Twitter Usernames and Internet Domain Names at the same time.

Tweexchange.com also unveiled a new integration with GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain name registrar. Through the domain name search, users can backorder and register Domains using GoDaddy. If a name is taken and is currently listed for sale on Sedo.com, members can also try to purchase names through the site using the Sedo API.

This is one of the first sites to launch with the functionality to ease and reduce time securing the right name for branding purposes. With domain name investment an established industry, consumers can conveniently secure a Twitter ID to match. Cross-referencing Twitter and GoDaddy with Tweexchange.com also enables their members for a fee, to be notified when Twitter Usernames and internet domain names become available from being in a suspended state. Tweexchange.com provides Blast Applications with several different revenue streams contained within one site.

Dino Luzzi, CEO of BlastApplications.com said, “When you think about Blast, our newest web portal, Tweexchange.com truly fits the bill. This one stop shop for users to acquire and reserve user names and domain names through two of the largest providers of branding elements on the web today, Twitter and GoDaddy is truly a blast.” Top of Page

Library expands free wi-fi service, enhances web presence

Toronto Public Library is pleased to announce that all branches are now equipped with free wireless internet access to meet demand from customers coming to the library with personal wireless devices. Customers may connect in any library branch with their laptop, smartphone or any other electronic device that supports the technology.

"Wireless internet connectivity benefits everyone, from students who meet and collaborate on assignments, to newcomers and job seekers who can connect to valuable information, to emerging entrepreneurs looking for small business solutions," said City Librarian Jane Pyper. "Offering free wireless service at our branches brings us one step closer to achieving our goal of expanding access to technology for all."

Other ways Toronto Public Library is broadening access to technology and online services include:

  • New and improved website coming in 2010 (more user-friendly and searchable)
  • Rapidly growing collection of downloadable e-content such as eBooks, eAudiobooks, eVideos and music titles
  • Continued focus on online databases that connect users to current and archived content from a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, as well as research databases such as the complete Shakespeare collection and Oxford English Dictionary
  • Reaching out to more people through online communities and popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Offering more computer and internet training programs that are hands on and free

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Switch runs innovative viral campaign

Experiential marketing agency Switch took the old adage, "It's better to give than to receive," to heart. This holiday season, Switch gave away $10,000 worth of gifts, stolen right out of the boss’ office, and charitable contributions through its “Office Giftaway” holiday promotion.

"It's been a tough year for everyone, and we really wanted to give something back. With the Giftaway promotion, people had some fun and could be both naughty and nice this year," said Switch Vice President John Burns.

Visitors to a designated website, www.officegiftaway.com, were greeted with a 360-degree image of Switch CEO Mike O’Neill’s office. A total of 74 office items, from O’Neill’s leather massage chair to the can of soup on his desk, and two mystery drawers were available for the taking. Visitors had the opportunity to “window-shop” O’Neill’s office starting Dec. 9 and could learn more about each item by clicking on it.

Visitors had to wait until the boss left for vacation on Dec. 16 before being able to “steal” an office gift. A countdown clock on the site kept track of the days, hours and minutes until O’Neill left. At that time, visitors were able to select the item they wanted on a first-come-first-served basis. In addition to receiving their selected item, Switch also made a donation in the recipient’s name to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Since the gift grabbing was open to anyone, a considerable amount of buzz was generated on Twitter, Facebook and various blogs within hours of the site’s launch. Within one week, the Giftaway web site received 3,000 visitors representing 69 countries including Turkey, South Africa, India and Malaysia. All of the office items were given away within 20 minutes.

O’Neill, who apparently had no idea about the program until the Giftaway web site went live, said he was looking to re-decorate his office anyway; this just gave him an excuse to do it sooner.

“I was really impressed with the amount of buzz that we were able to generate about the promotion through the use of social media and other techniques,” said O’Neill. “I looked at the promotion as a unique opportunity to create publicity for Switch, all while spreading some good holiday cheer. Finding unique ways to promote a brand is what Switch is all about, and I think we succeeded with that goal.” Top of Page

RIM's Balsillie named business newsmaker of the year

Jim Balsillie failed to land the Phoenix Coyotes last year but the billionaire gained the admiration of many Canadians with his bid to bring an NHL franchise to Hamilton.

The co-CEO of BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion has been voted The Canadian Press Business Newsmaker of the Year.

While headlines in 2009 were gloomy with job losses and a crumbling economy, the executive became a poster boy for resilience as he faced off against his opponents in the highest ranks of the NHL, and stuck to his guns even as his dream to bring the Coyotes to Hamilton, Ont., drifted away.

Off the ice, Balsillie proved that he could recover from repeated stumbles, both in his pursuit of a hockey team and at the highly successful BlackBerry maker, RIM.

The company had its own ups and downs during the year, adding 15 million new subscribers as it grew into the consumer smartphone market and expanded into China.

But at the same time, it suffered two network crashes and came under intensifying competition from rivals such as Apple, Google and Palm.

Through it all, Balsillie brushed himself off and trudged ahead. While he hasn't said whether he'll take another run at an NHL bid, those who know him best say he's likely not ready to give up on his dream of owning a hockey team. Top of Page

Endangered species to get daily web spot in 2010

Endangered species from polar bears to giant salamanders, great white sharks to beluga whales and Namibian quiver trees to Cuban crocodiles will have their day on the Internet throughout 2010.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said on Thursday it would issue throughout the coming year an extensive daily portrait of each of the 365 animals, birds and plants most under threat of disappearance.

"It is time for governments to get serious about saving species and making sure it is high on their agenda for next year, as we're really running out of time," said Jane Smart, a biodiversity expert at the Swiss-based IUCN. The scientific evidence of a serious extinction crisis is mounting.”

A third of the some 1.8 million identified species were under growing threat. Experts believe there could be as many as 6 to 12 million more species as yet unknown to science.

From January 1, 2010, declared the U.N. Year of Biodiversity, IUCN will draw on latest research for its annual Red List of endangered wildlife to portray in detail the possibly doomed species of the day.

The material will be posted on the IUCN website (www.iucn.org).

"We will start with some better known species before moving to cover plants, fungi, invertebrates, and more, including less charismatic ones," the inter-governmental body said.

The polar bear, whose fate as the arctic ice-shelf melts has been widely recognized, will have star billing on January 1. Top of Page

Virtual goods give web firms new revenue in ad slump

Virtual goods, which exist as digital bits on computers and cellphones, have grown more popular in the past year as important accoutrements for increasingly Web-oriented lives.

Often available for a $1 or less, virtual goods range from video game accessories like extra weapons for shooting games, to electronic birthday cards and flowers for friends on Facebook or dating sites like Zoosk and flirtomatic.com.

According to a report from Reuters, for many Web start-ups, digital merchandise is an important source of revenue to replace scarce advertising dollars. And a series of big-ticket deals suggests that virtual goods are emerging as more than just a quirky fad.

In November, video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc paid $275 million for Playfish, which makes games for social networks such as Facebook, which sell virtual goods.

A month later, a group of investors poured $180 million into Zynga, another social networking game company. Virtual goods account for 90 percent of Zynga's revenue, which a person familiar with the company said has annualized revenue of $300 million.

For many Web entrepreneurs, virtual goods are a better fit than advertising.

"People don't want to click on an ad while playing a game. They don't want to be thrown out of the application (to view the ad)," said Netanel Jacobsson, a former Facebook executive who now advises the online social gaming firm Crowdstar. Top of Page

Criteria Systems website re-launched

Calgary-based Criteria Systems has re-launched its website. The new site features more content and better navigation while placing its corporate identity into a new light.

Since its inception in 2007, Criteria Systems has worked to develop and improve their website delivery. Now they have completely overhauled the site to bring a new exciting and clear corporate vision to their customers. They are also taking this opportunity to showcase new product and service offerings, including their status as an authorized value-added reseller of AutoCAD 2010 software.
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Yaffle connects you with an armful of knowledge

A new search engine designed by Memorial University is aiming to make it easier for Joe Public to access the university’s research expertise

Called Yaffle , after the Newfoundland term for an armload of fish or sticks, it offers an armload of knowledge. Think of it as an online dating service for the academic set, matching research needs with expertise. So what does Yaffle contain?

Projects - Curious about the research, teaching and outreach work going on at Memorial? Find it here!

Opportunities - Tap into the resources provided by Memorial faculty, students or staff. Pitch your idea, and Yaffle will help find someone that can take your project to the next level!

Research Interests & Expertise - Wondering what Memorial faculty, students and staff are interested in? Are you a member of the media looking for a Memorial expert? Check here!

Curious about research? Yaffle it!

Are you a Memorial researcher? Use Yaffle to highlight your diverse work, unique interests and valued expertise around the province and the world! Top of Page