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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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Businesses today face a greater than ever need to differentiate themselves, often on a global scale. So how can they harness the acceleration of technology innovation instead of focusing solely on productivity tools for their employee’s desktops? One of the most common approaches is to seek out tailored business solutions capable of addressing complex business challenges. Today, Microsoft is focusing on those customer needs by addressing the way it serves its largest customers and delivers the value they need and expect.

Austen Mulinder, Microsoft Worldwide Enterprise Sales Vice President.As former head of Fujitsu Transaction Solutions, Austen Mulinder is bringing CEO leadership experience to his role as Microsoft’s vice president of Worldwide Enterprise Sales. His goal: Increase the velocity of the transition from the traditional product sales approach to one delivering increased business value built on deep customer relationships.

The foundation of this strategy includes three sales programs designed to counsel and support Microsoft’s largest customers as they solve real-world business challenges through IT. Microsoft’s PP recently met with Mulinder to learn how the Worldwide Enterprise Sales team is building its programs and talent to enable new opportunities for customers, partners and Microsoft.

  • You have the unique distinction of having been a CEO, as well as a customer and partner of Microsoft. How are those experiences influencing your strategy?

From my previous experience outside the company, I’ve been able to observe the journey Microsoft has taken over the past several years. Microsoft has gone from being primarily a desktop company to being a serious player in the enterprise. I’ve seen the company move away from a product focus and become more solution centric. I’ve watched the good advancements and the stumbles along the way. Microsoft has come a long way, and we now have the opportunity to provide deep strategic counsel to the world’s biggest global companies.

We aspire to be the industry benchmark for sales excellence and to attain “trusted advisor” status with all of our customers, but we recognize this is a journey. We have some of the smartest sales people I’ve ever come across, and a lot of strong tools supporting them. Now our focus is increasingly around building relationships that encourage deeper customer dialogues and greater transparency and sharing of information. This enables us to partner with our customers to jointly explore how to leverage technology for differentiated business value.

Our best (customer) account leaders, and we are fortunate to have many role models, have achieved trusted advisor status with their customers. We’re working hard to achieve that status with all of our customers.

  • Who sets the sales priorities, and how do those priorities translate to the sales resources you deploy?

A huge element of our effectiveness is being close enough to our major customers at the right levels to really understand their priorities and respond effectively. If we’re getting it right, customers will set the priorities.

Having said that, we have the Sales, Marketing and Services Group (SMSG) led by Kevin Turner, and he is ultimately responsible for driving the organization to be effective for customers, while at the same time delivering business results for our shareholders. In the enterprise space, part of Kevin’s team is Simon Witts, who runs the Worldwide Enterprise and Partner Group. We also have two verticals, Public Sector led by Gerri Elliott and the Communications Sector led by Martha Bejar. They all have a tremendous influence on our sales priorities.

To carry out the broad strategies set by the leadership team, we want as many of our sales assets to be as close to the customer as possible, and so the vast majority of our customer-facing people report to the field, not to headquarters. We also have some major sales groups that make sense to lead from Redmond on behalf of Microsoft globally-the Incubation, Category and Specialist Sales team, the Global and Multinational Account Sales team, and the Sales Escalation team, with the vast majority of their team members based in the field.

  • Let’s talk about global accounts and multi-national companies. How does Microsoft engage with these customers?

The Global and Multinational Accounts program is currently focused on 50 of the largest corporations in the world, and we plan to double that over the next couple of years. The 50 global accounts are headquartered in 12 countries, and they have subsidiaries in another 90. We manage them globally, and each has a dedicated global business manager. The 50 accounts actually include support for some 850 companies, including downstream subsidiaries.

We give these accounts a heightened level of support because we see them as the ultimate proving ground for solutions that deliver real business value on a global scale. Within these accounts we are working to build a stronger strategic business relationship. We also increase their access to our product teams and senior executives at Microsoft.

Since I joined Microsoft in June of last year, I have talked extensively with many of the leaders of these global customers. What they want from Microsoft is to partner successfully to deliver solutions that drive real business value, whether that’s helping them innovate to differentiate themselves in the market, or reducing the total cost of ownership for IT

  • How do you incorporate newly acquired technologies, or those that haven’t reached the critical mass of flagship Microsoft solutions?

That is the job of our Incubation, Category and Specialist sales teams. The incubation program exists because our business groups are making huge investments in both new and acquired products. In the early lifecycle of these products, we typically don’t have enough resources for the field to deploy them on day one.

Incubation is a dedicated set of sales resources that we manage centrally in partnership with the field. Their focus is to develop the sales strategy and drive the adoption of these products so that we can achieve real critical mass and develop our expertise in servicing these customers.

When we’ve grown an incubation product to a large enough volume and level of capability, it moves under the Category sales team for strategic and operational leadership. We then move those resources directly into the field, where they are managed locally. We continue to work closely with the business groups and the field to take those products into the mainstream.

A great example of this process would be our acquisition of Softricity and their SoftGrid product – which we now call MDOP, the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack. Before the acquisition, Softricity, in several years of existence, had sold about 250,000 seats of Softgrid. Within 13 months using the Microsoft incubation sales capability model we sold more than five million seats.

  • How are you working with customers to sell, integrate and deploy specific solutions or products?

Historically the sales approach has been about selling and licensing products to customers, and enabling them to work out the deployment via the partner ecosystem. Now we are aligning our sales priorities with solutions, and bringing real expertise to bear against that goal. We have Specialist Team Units in the Incubation, Category and Specialist Sales team, who are sales resources with deep technical knowledge. We also have a Sales Escalation team, which is a group of highly technical consultants who can dive deeply into specific customer scenarios. We also partner closely with Microsoft’s product groups and business units to drive solutions that create real business value.

Ford Sync is an example where that broad partnership paid off for the customer. The account team who orchestrated the dialogue, together with the business groups, partnered with Ford to look at how they could differentiate themselves in the market for cars. Ford Sync took advantage of Microsoft’s mobile technology and voice recognition technology to create a unique offering. Today cars that are Sync-enabled far outsell those without that capability. So that’s a tremendous example of a solution we built with a customer, to help them serve their customers’ needs, and that delivered true business value.

  • How does your team address competing technologies?

To be effective advisors, considering the breadth of products that Microsoft sells and the number of markets we’re in, we need people with deep expertise in myriad technologies. This is where the Sales Escalation team comes in.

The Sales Escalation team contains many of the strongest technical resources in the company. Typically they’ve been hired from outside as experts in technologies that we interoperate with and compete with.

We manage over 3,000 escalations for our field each year, supporting them in competitive situations. Our subject matter experts help customers make the right buying decision based on factual comparisons of technical capability, total cost, and risk. These experts play a strong role in helping customers understand the full value of existing and new solutions. As part of these field engagements we also gather important customer feedback which we use to report back to Business Groups and product engineering teams to ensure that our products and partners constantly improve and become more compelling in the market.

This group is also highly sought after in our Executive Briefing Centers (EBCs), which are facilities we manage around the world to host enterprise customer meetings. Executive Briefings help Microsoft to go more deeply into a customer’s business needs and examine how technology can solve the challenges they face.

  • How does the enterprise sales group work with industry partners to enhance the overall value delivered to customers?

One of Microsoft’s biggest strengths in the marketplace over the past 25 years has been its broad and vibrant partner ecosystem. We have one of the largest partner channels in the industry, with thousands of partners worldwide deploying millions of IT, marketing, and sales professionals that carry Microsoft’s products to market.

The only way we can realize the full potential of the R&D we spend across industries is to ensure we have a healthy partner ecosystem that understands our product set and is skilled in deploying it. This has always been a cornerstone of our business.

Our account teams orchestrate the combination of service delivery by Microsoft and partners from the ecosystem. Many times the partner will take the lead, and we’ll support that. It’s key to understand that we drive a high percentage of our sales through and with our partner community, and that is not going to change.

As we move forward to evolve the software plus services model, Microsoft is defining new opportunities for the partner community to deliver value to customers. There will still be opportunities to resell, refer, add value through professional services, package with customized capabilities, and realize business growth through annuities and subscriptions, but there will also be abundant new opportunities for innovative, value-added services and customization as these hosted products roll out.

  • How does Redmond’s involvement in enterprise sales impact the enterprise customer experience?

In an ideal world, the field has major competency in all of our products and solutions, and doesn’t require support from Redmond. But in the real world , we’re forever evolving the overall value proposition and the product elements that make up that value proposition. Having key technical resources and key leadership from Redmond engaged in important customer opportunities brings benefits all around. The customers appreciate the access, the insight they gain from it, and the opportunity to influence our direction. The Redmond resources benefit from the connection to the real world of our customers and their experience with, and leverage of our products.

One of the ways we embed this connection into our way of doing business is through the Executive Sponsorship program that connects our most strategic customers and their Microsoft Account teams with Microsoft Executives. I am fortunate to be Executive Sponsor to a number of our Accounts and it is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my role. I know many of my peers feel the same way.

Our team works to provide that bridge. If we’re getting the sales model right, we will get a good mix of field leadership and Redmond involvement for the biggest accounts, so they feel they’re getting the best of all worlds from Microsoft. To that end there are a number of strategies, like those outlined here, that are being driven to create a more customer and sales centric environment in Redmond, and thus create a better platform to enable success in the field.

  • How else does Microsoft connect with customers at the enterprise level?

One of the things that impressed me the most as a partner and customer of Microsoft is the investment the company makes in connecting with customer executive teams. I knew that if I came to Microsoft seeking insight and information, the facilities would be first class, the content would be excellent, the quality of the people would be very high, and my team would leave with a better view of our overall technology and business strategy. Microsoft does an amazing job of that.

We had 20,000 visitors come to our eight EBCs globally last year, nearly half of them to the EBC in Redmond. Recently we expanded our Redmond capability with a 50 percent increase in capacity. This year we expect to host some 15,000 visitors in Redmond, representing about 2,000 discrete customers. That is a tremendous advantage in that it gives us the opportunity to deploy our A-team across many more customers than we could if they had to visit customer sites. If you look at the utilization and the feedback we get for our EBCs, we really leverage them to the hilt. The EBCs are one of our most strategic sales tools.

Additionally, we have 16 Microsoft Technology Centers around the world – which provide facilities, technology experts and a virtual deployment site for customer solutions – and we manage nearly 3,500 engagements annually in those centers. The success rate of when we prove out a customer solution in one of the MTCs is extremely high.

Microsoft is also known for running tremendous executive events. Every year we run the CEO Summit, the Global CIO Summit and the Global Account Summit, to name a few. These exclusive events bring together top business leaders with Microsoft executives and external thought leaders for unique business and technology discussions.

Through all of these venues, we create value for the customer, both now and in the future, with how we evolve our relationship and our understanding – by listening and engaging in deep discussions with them on a range of topics.

There are a huge number of assets that Microsoft Account teams can leverage to add value to our customers and build deeper relationships in the process. I have been very impressed with how fully utilized these capabilities are. It is a good indicator of the ever increasing level of customer centricity in how we do business, and as someone who enjoys customer connection more than any other aspect of my role; it is great to be part of this team.

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has selected Jeff Raikes as the next CEO of the foundation. Raikes, formerly president of the Microsoft Business Division, will assume the role presently held by Patty Stonesifer on September 2, 2008.

Jeff Raikes, CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.“Bill and I considered many extraordinary candidates from around the world during the search for our foundation’s new CEO,” said Melinda Gates, foundation co-chair. “Jeff brings more than 25 years of experience in the private sector and has earned a reputation as a trusted and respected leader. Equally important, he shares our passion for these issues and for continuing Patty’s work to build a great culture at the foundation. Jeff is the right CEO to lead the strategies we have in place to help reduce inequities in the United States and around the world.”

As president of the Microsoft Business Division, Raikes built a strong team of leaders and transformed the Information Worker business, delivering dramatic growth in the company’s business productivity line and nearly doubling revenues to more than $16 billion annually. In January 2008, he announced his retirement from Microsoft and currently serves on the company’s leadership team.

“Joining the Gates Foundation is an honor and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to focus on improving the lives of others,” said Raikes. “Patty Stonesifer is a remarkable leader who has cultivated equally remarkable leadership at the foundation. I am thrilled to join Bill and Melinda and this team because I’m convinced that through strong partnerships, ambitious goals, and a commitment to impact, we can transform people’s lives.”

“I’ve known and admired Jeff for more than 25 years,” said foundation co-chair Bill Gates. “He’s a smart, independent thinker who’s passionate about using innovation to help people change their lives. I’m excited to be working with him again.”

The Seattle-based foundation has a $37.3 billion endowment and more than 500 employees. It is organized into three program groups, Global Health, Global Development, and the U.S. Program, each led by a president. Since its inception, the foundation has committed more than $16 billion in grants intended to ensure that all people have the opportunity to live healthy, productive lives.

Raikes has been deeply involved in philanthropy in the Pacific Northwest, focusing particularly on education and children’s issues. He co-founded the Raikes Foundation and is an active member of the United Way of King County, where he served as co-chair of the 2006-2007 fundraising campaign–its most successful campaign ever. A native Nebraskan, Raikes is also a trustee of the University of Nebraska Foundation.

“Jeff will step into this role at a good time,” said Warren Buffett, foundation trustee. “Patty Stonesifer has spent the past 10 years building a broad, highly experienced leadership team and has designed the right approach to accomplishing the foundation’s mission. I’ve known Jeff for years, and we have chosen a leader who embodies the characteristics essential to continuing this work: an extraordinary mind and an uncompromising commitment to getting the job done.”

In February 2008, Stonesifer announced her plan to transition from her current position as CEO. She was the foundation’s first CEO, joining after a long career in technology that included eight years as a Microsoft executive. The work of the foundation and its partners to date has led to millions of lives saved globally through immunizations and other health advances and more young people in the U.S. graduating high school ready for college and life. Beginning in September, Stonesifer will transition into a new role, still to be defined, at the foundation. For more information visit http://www.gatesfoundation.org.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people-especially those with the fewest resources-have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

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Frank Sinatra was instrumental in turning Las Vegas into one of the most popular entertainment destinations in the world. Throughout his career, and as the leader of the Rat Pack, he performed and played at numerous resorts and hot-spots along the world-famous Strip.

On May 14, Las Vegas will pay tribute to one of its most beloved entertainers, officially declaring the day, the 10th anniversary of his passing, as “Frank Sinatra Day.” The proclamation is amongst a series of events planned to honor the entertainment legend, which begin with the dedication of the USPS Frank Sinatra Stamp:

TUESDAY, MAY 13

  • 12:00 p.m. (PDT) – Tina Sinatra (Frank’s daughter) joins Postal Service Governor James Bilbray and stamp artist Kazuhiko Sano at the Bellagio fountains main alcove to officially dedicate the Frank Sinatra stamp. Remote post offices at the Bellagio and Wynn will sell the first-day issue stamp and other merchandise.
  • 12:00 p.m. (PDT) – Rossi Ralenkotter, President and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, will read an official proclamation from Mayor Oscar Goodman declaring May 14 as Frank Sinatra Day.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 14

  • Frank Sinatra Day in Las Vegas
  • 12:00 a.m. (PDT) – Across the Las Vegas Strip, marquees at Bally’s, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Circus Circus, Excalibur, Fremont Street Experience, Golden Nugget, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, New York – New York, Palms, Sahara, The Mirage, Treasure Island and Wynn Las Vegas will post a special tribute to the man who helped define Las Vegas.
  • 12:00 a.m. (PDT) – Steve Wynn to lead members of the Sinatra family and other guests in a special toast at a private VIP reception in Wynn Las Vegas.

Frank Sinatra’s children will join U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Alan Kessler May 13 to celebrate the return of the “Chairman of the Board” – Frank Sinatra – as he is immortalized on 120 million 42-cent First-Class stamps. Dedication ceremonies will also take place in New York City and Hoboken, NJ. The events take place on the eve of Sinatra’s death and are free and open to the public.

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USATODAY.com announced the launch of an expansive new online flight community called Today in the Sky, piloted by veteran USA TODAY aviation blogger Ben Mutzabaugh. The site can be found at flights.usatoday.com.

Today in the Sky by Ben Mutzabaugh.

Today in the Sky offers a mix of enterprise reporting from USA TODAY’s travel staff; the best air travel surveillance, news and information from the Web; “Flightdex,” a feature which tracks the latest buzz about the top airlines; and includes Ben Mutzabaugh’s popular blog about air travel, also called Today in the Sky, which launched in 2002.

Today in the Sky is also an online travel resource providing users with the ability to search for the best airfares online, frequent-flier promotions, a mileage calculator and flight tracking tools. The Today in the Sky community will feature forums for readers and Mutzabaugh to swap advice, experiences and opinions. It also includes a place where travelers can meet up with other frequent fliers online to discuss upcoming trips, aviation news and more.

Today in the Sky community will launch with a “Pick a Trip” sweepstakes in conjunction with Kayak.com and Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts. Readers can enter by answering a summer travel survey at pickatrip.usatoday.com. Winners will be chosen in a random drawing for a vacation package for two to New York, San Francisco or Miami. The contest goes live online at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 2.

USA TODAY is the nation’s top-selling newspaper. It is published via satellite at 34 locations in the USA and at four sites abroad. With a total average daily circulation of 2.3 million, USA TODAY is available worldwide. USA TODAY is published by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI). The USA TODAY brand also includes: USATODAY.com, an award-winning news and information Web site that is updated 24 hours per day; USA TODAY Sports Weekly, a magazine for enthusiasts of college and professional football and baseball; USA TODAY Mobile, offering up-to-the minute news and information on a variety of mobile platforms and devices; and USA TODAY LIVE, the television arm of the USA TODAY brand that brings the spirit and quality of the newspaper to television.

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The world’s populous nations are also among the fastest growing mobile markets, producing some 320 million new mobile phone subscribers in 2007 alone, an increase of more than 25 percent, according to a new report from TechWeb’s Light Reading called “Top 10 Emerging Mobile Markets 2007.”

China’s mobile operators added about 2 million more new subscribers than India’s wireless carriers, making China the fastest growing mobile market in 2007 by subscriber volume, and helping the country maintain its position as the world’s largest mobile market.

This new report, available free of charge, can be viewed by visiting: http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=151913

“So-called emerging markets have become the drivers of mobile growth, and the top 10 countries in our list alone account for about a third of the 3 billion subscribers worldwide,” says Light Reading reporter Nicole Willing, who compiled the report. “These are the hottest markets to watch in the mobile world, and they have plenty more room to grow.”

The major service providers mentioned in this report include: Etisalat, MTN Irancell, HT Mobile, Vimpel-Communications, China Mobile, and China Unicom.

About Light Reading

Founded in 2000, Light Reading is the ultimate source for technology and financial analysis of the communications industry, leading the media sector in terms of traffic, content, and reputation. It reaches an extensive audience of executives and technologists within the telecom and enterprise networking communities, as well as the financial/industry analysts and investors who track these sectors. Light Reading was acquired by United Business Media in August 2005 and operates as a unit of TechWeb.

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, Wall Street & Technology magazines. TechWeb also provides end-to-end services ranging from 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.

*13.3 million business decision-makers: based on # of monthly connections.

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In commemoration of its 55th anniversary, Playboy today announced that it will leverage its new Channel on YouTube to host an online search for the best video submissions from hopeful Playboy models. This unprecedented nationwide online search will enable girls 18 and over to submit videos on YouTube, the world’s most popular online video community allowing millions of people to discover, watch, and share originally created videos. By submitting their videos at http://www.YouTube.com/PlayboyCasting, these ladies will compete for a private audition with Playboy’s assistant photo editor Holly Madison, the star of E!’s top-rated show “The Girls Next Door.”

Playboy Talent Search at YouTube; Casting Call for hopeful 18+ Models with Assets, Figure, Face

The best submissions will be honored with a trip to Los Angeles for an exciting two days with the Playboy team that will include: a Playboy pictorial that will appear on Playboy.com, a tour of the world-renowned Playboy Mansion, participation in a catalog fashion shoot featuring Playboy’s latest apparel collections, and a private Playmate test-shoot with Holly Madison that could result in one of the winners being selected as the prized 55th Anniversary Playmate for Playboy magazine’s January 2009 issue.

“If you think you have what it takes to become part of the Playboy family – and possibly the 55th Anniversary Playmate – then the YouTube talent-search is the perfect opportunity to get discovered, especially if you can’t make it to one of our casting calls,” said Madison. “Just post a short video on YouTube that highlights your best assets – your figure, your face, your sense of humor, and especially your fantastic personality. The women with the most impressive videos will get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the Playboy Mansion and participate in a Playmate test-shoot with me!”

Interested women can visit Playboy’s YouTube Channel (http://www.YouTube.com/PlayboyCasting) to post a two-minute, non-nude video response to Holly’s digital invitation by answering a question or telling a story. The best videos on YouTube will be selected as finalists and will appear on Playboy.com where they will be ranked by Playboy fans before the winners are selected by Holly and Playboy’s editorial team.

Full details, an FAQ, and rules for video submission can be found at http://www.playboy.com/pm55. In addition, all submissions must comply with the YouTube “Terms of Use” policy (http://www.youtube.com/t/terms). Submissions via YouTube will be accepted through June 1, 2008.

Playmate editor and co-star of E!’s The Girls Next Door Holly Madison invites you to upload your audition video through YouTube.

Sultry Playboy Cyber Girl Dana Dicillo shows you how an audition video is done.

Sexy Playboy Cyber Girl Destiny White’s home-made YouTube video audition.

About Playboy Enterprises, Inc.

Playboy Enterprises is a brand-driven, international multimedia entertainment company that publishes editions of Playboy magazine around the world; operates television networks and distributes programming globally; owns Playboy.com, a leading men’s lifestyle and entertainment website; and licenses the Playboy trademark internationally for a range of consumer products and services. For more information please visit http://www.playboyenterprises.com.

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