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Whether they’re being groomed for acquisition or poised for long-term profit as standalone entities, Web 2.0 startups continue gorging on investors’ millions, according to a new report today from Internet Evolution. Despite the confusion of the current economic climate, “Web 2.0’s Biggest $inkholes” highlights key areas where VCs and angel investors think big Web 2.0 payoffs await:

  • Targeted advertising: JellyCloud couldn’t hack it and $11.5 million later went belly up; Lotame is staying afloat with its $28 million purse.
  • Social networking: All-purpose inbox company Xoopit is working on a $6 million round, while Orgoo is on indefinite hiatus; AOL’s $850 million for Bebo ended up being largely a write-off for the company.
  • Video: Lots of money’s chasing the desire to be the next YouTube – too bad most of the hosted content is porn; Trooker and others are betting there’s a market for video search.
  • Search: Cuil ($33 million) and SearchMe ($43.6 million) might imagine themselves Google killers, or at least viable alternatives. For investors, imagination makes for a crummy investment strategy.
  • Self-publishing/social-publishing: Uber.com and Bricabox litter this landscape, having shuttered themselves as things got rocky. It’s unclear whether ShareNow.com can thrive here.

“These startups are gambling that they’ll be acquired by the dominant players in each of these Web 2.0 sectors – Google, Facebook, YouTube, MSN, and Yahoo,” says Terry Sweeney, Editor in Chief of Internet Evolution. “As if today’s market wasn’t enough of a hindrance, many of these startups also suffer from fuzzy business plans, poor execution, and even crummy company names. Incredibly, that’s not stopping the flow of investment in some below-average companies.”

About Internet Evolution: Internet Evolution hosts more than 100 world-famous Internet experts – such as Kevin Mitnick, once the most-wanted computer hacker in the world; Dr. Lawrence Roberts, inventor of packet switching, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on telecom network architectures; Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google; Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist.com; Paul Mockapetris, inventor of the Domain Name System (DNS); Howard Schmidt, former White House cybersecurity adviser; and Andrew Keen, author of Cult of the Amateur: How the Internet is killing our culture — all of whom are addressing today’s critical socio-economic issues within its ThinkerNet blogosphere. Internet Evolution also offers broadcast-quality broadband video documentaries and interviews; investigative reports; and user-generated content facilitated via the latest Web 2.0 technology.

About TechWeb: TechWeb, the global leader in business technology media, is an innovative business focused on serving the needs of technology decision-makers and marketers worldwide. TechWeb produces the most respected and consumed media brands in the business technology market. Today, more than 13.3 million* business technology professionals actively engage in our communities created around our global face-to-face events, Interop, Web 2.0, Black Hat, and VoiceCon; online resources such as the TechWeb Network, Light Reading, Intelligent Enterprise, InformationWeek.com, bMighty.com, and The Financial Technology Network; and the market leading, award-winning InformationWeek, TechNet Magazine, MSDN Magazine, and Wall Street & Technology magazines. TechWeb also provides end-to-end services including next-generation performance marketing, integrated media, research, and analyst services. TechWeb is a division of United Business Media, a global provider of news distribution and specialist information services with a market capitalization of more than $2.5 billion.

About United Business Media Limited: United Business Media Limited (UBM) is a global media and marketing services company that informs markets and brings the world’s buyers and sellers together at events, online, in print, and with the information they need to do business successfully. UBM serves professional and commercial communities, from IT professionals to doctors, from journalists to jewelry dealers, from farmers to pharmacists around the world. UBM employs more than 6,500 people in more than 30 countries. UBM’s businesses operating in the US include CMPMedica, Commonwealth Business Media, Everything Channel, PR Newswire, RISI, TechInsights, TechWeb and Think Services. UBM is listed on the London Stock Exchange (UBM.L) and has a market capitalization of $2.5 billion.

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Cyberbullying, using the Internet, cell phones, or another type of communication technology to hurt or embarrass others, is an increasingly common problem among today’s youth. In a recent study conducted by the National Crime Prevention Council and Harris Interactive Inc., more than 43% of teens ages 13-17 have experienced cyberbullying within the past year.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, about 93% of teens use social media Web sites, and 55% of online teens have created a profile through social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. These sites allow teens to express their feelings online for the cyber world to view. Often motivated by anger, frustration or boredom, cyberbullies harass individuals by posting negative comments and pictures.

Victims of cyberbullying usually feel a wide range of emotions, including indifference, anger and embarrassment. According to a study conducted by Fight Crime, only 35% of teens have told a parent about being cyberbullied; 16% have told no one.

Parents need to be aware of cyberbullying by monitoring their teen’s online activity. If a cyberbully harasses your teen, the California Association Marriage and Family Therapists offers the following tips for parents:

  • Encourage your teen not to respond to the bullying.
  • Save pictures and messages as evidence.
  • Contact your teen’s school to report the cyberbullying.
  • Closely monitor your teen’s computer use.
  • Try to identify the individual doing the bullying.
  • If possible, block the cyberbully from future contact.
  • Try to contact the cyberbully’s parents, if possible.
  • Contact the police or an attorney if cyberbullying becomes violent.

Cyberbullying should not be taken lightly. If your child is seriously troubled by a cyberbully and it affects his or her emotional or mental behavior, consider seeking professional help.

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The HHS Office of HIV/AIDS Policy announced today that the Web site AIDS.gov, a gateway to all federal domestic HIV /AIDS information and resources, now has an innovative look and feel that incorporates a blog, podcasts, and other new media tools.

AIDS.gov Home Page MessageThe blog, one of AIDS.gov’s latest features, focuses on using new media – interactive forms of communication based on the Internet – in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The blog addresses topics such as podcasts, social networks (e.g. MySpace and Facebook), mobile phone text messaging, and Web site usability and accessibility.

HHS, which hosts AIDS.gov, developed the site with input from public health experts, representatives of HIV/AIDS service organizations, federal employees, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the general public. AIDS.gov was first launched on Dec. 1, 2006, which is World AIDS Day.

“As we approach the 27th year of this epidemic, new media tools are an effective and interactive way to deliver information to and engage with AIDS service providers, health departments, federal partners, community partners, and the general public,” said Miguel Gomez, director of AIDS.gov.

Visitors to AIDS.gov can listen to and view a monthly podcast series, Conversations on AIDS.gov, directly on the site, as well as download episodes. Each episode features a brief interview with a government official about topics impacting the lives of people living with, or at risk for, HIV/AIDS. The address is http://www.aids.gov/podcast/aids_podcast.html.

One of AIDS.gov’s other added features is that visitors can subscribe to an RSS feed to receive updates when new information is added to thesite. This enables subscribers to have information delivered to them, instead of having to constantly check the site for it.

AIDS.gov’s new design helps visitors navigate through a wealth of HIV/AIDS resources. The site includes the latest HIV/AIDS news, basic HIV/AIDS information, information on prevention, education, treatment, and care resources.

Many HHS agencies collaborate to make AIDS.gov a user-friendly, accessible, and helpful source of information. Non-HHS partners include the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, and the State Department’s Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.”

AIDS.gov is a key source for federal domestic HIV/AIDS information. The site’s new look and feel, and improved navigation, enhances our ability to reach the country with critical HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and research messages and resources,” said Christopher H. Bates, acting director of HHS’ Office of HIV/AIDS Policy. To learn more, visit: http://www.AIDS.gov.

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SocialMedia Advertising Network announced today that CEO Seth Goldstein will speak on the panel “What’s the Future of Social Media Startups?” on Wednesday April 30, 2008, at The Dealmaker Forum – Social Media.

As the numbers of social media companies continue to increase and fight to maintain the top spot as the leader of all things web 2.0, Goldstein and other expert speakers will provide insight into navigating this ever changing landscape.

While the opportunities are endless for social media, there are still many unanswered questions for the future of advertisers, brands and consumers using social networking sites. Social media companies must learn to leverage the space more effectively in order to rise above these obstacles while others simply tread water.

In this session, attendees will learn the struggles, challenges and successes of the leaders in social media startups. They will learn best practices for today that can impact exit options and the future of a company. While IPOs are not yet a viable option, CEOs must learn how to decide whether to flip or grow their companies. Deals such as the potential Microsoft/Yahoo merger will affect the acquisitions landscape, and company leaders must know how to protect their investments. Moderated by Sam Angus, partner of Fenwick & West, Mr. Goldstein is joined by a panel of experts who aim to shed insight into how to build and maintain a successful startup. Attendees will hear from Jeff Clavier, managing partner of Softech VC, Storm Duncan, managing director and co-head technology M&A of Credit Suisse, and Jason Shellen, founder of The Secret Agency. The panel will be held at 3:50 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

For more information about this event, please visit: http://www.dealmakermedia.com/dealmaker_forum.html

About the Speaker

Seth is the cofounder and CEO of SocialMedia.com. He is also an angel advisor to a number of Web services companies such as Aggregate Knowledge, Lijit and Downfly. He was the first investor in Web 2.0 pioneer del.icio.us (now part of Yahoo!). In 1995, he created SiteSpecific, one of the first Internet advertising companies. He was Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Flatiron Partners from 1998-2000.

In 2002 Seth co-founded Majestic Research, a next generation Wall Street Research firm that provides leading hedge funds with proprietary data insights. In 2005 he created Root Markets, the first financial exchange for Internet mortgage leads.

In addition to Seth’s entrepreneurial efforts, he is also an active member on the speaking circuit, considered the de facto expert on social media. Providing insight for both advertisers and developers, Seth is often asked for his thoughts on best practices, emerging trends and the future of the social media landscape.

About SocialMedia Advertising Network

SocialMedia Networks enables developers of social media applications to monetize their traffic by providing marketers with the ability to advertise within applications. The company had created the SocialMedia Advertising Platform, which currently delivers over 3B ads per month on applications running within Facebook, bebo and Myspace. SocialMedia Networks has learned what developers and advertisers need first-hand, having internally produced hit Facebook applications such as FoodFight (throw virtual food at your online friends) and Happy Hour (send that friend a virtual cocktail), which have been installed by over 10 million consumers. SocialMedia Networks is based in Palo Alto and San Francisco, CA, with a seasoned leadership team that has been building businesses in the online advertising space for the past 10 years. Interested in joining the conversation? Please visit: http://www.socialmedia.com/

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