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31. 12. 2008

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Top Stories for the Week of December 8-12, 2008

clip_image002It's time to take stock of 2008—which should be a nice change of pace after losing stock all year. Google's just-released annual zeitgeist report says the fastest-rising search term of 2008 globally was, yup, Sarah Palin. Says Gizmodo: "now she'll have to fight Yahoo-winner Britney Spears for the unified world title." As VentureBeat runs down the zeitgoog: the Alaska gov edged out "beijing 2008," and the "rather specific 'facebook login'" for the top medals. Obama placed 6th, after Heath Ledger. "A small part of me cried when I saw the Jonas Brothers had cracked the top 10," says Marketing Pilgrim, which also observes that four of the top ten terms were for specific social networking sites. Besides Facebook they were #5 tuenti (a Spanish social network), #7 nasza klasa (Polish) and #8 wer kennt wen (German). Profy is "surprised not to see any terms related to the financial crisis on the global top 10." TechCrunch digs into the details and says the term "layaway" surged with the steep decline in the stock market (we knew we should have bought layaway futures).

image Over at Yahoo, they seem to be giving up the geist. CEO (for now) Jerry Yang announced layoffs and the axing has begun. Silicon Alley Insider is gathering comments from the departed including word that "managers are just being kept around long enough to fire their people—then blappo." (Prediction: "blappo" becomes top search term of 2009). Social Median says the staff bloodbath was handled so poorly that someone leaked Yahoo's Powerpoint presentation that explained how to gently get rid of employees. And there likely will be more Yahoo layoffs in 2009, laments Bits.

imageAnother trend: Print publishing is disintegrating. "How bad is the outlook for newspapers in 2009? How about epically, historically, never-seen-before bad? Is that bad enough?," asks Gawker, reporting from the "36th annual big fancy UBS media conference." The Tribune Co., publisher of the Chicago Triubune and L.A. Times, filed for bankruptcy, and The Mike Abundo Effect says debt-laden owner Sam Zell is an idiot for not wanting the newspaper's content to be searchable by Google. Hard to explain that thinking, as Google is making old magazine pages searchable now, in deals with periodical publishers. As Marketing Vox notes, Google called the effort "one more important step toward our long-standing goal of providing access to all the world's information." PaidContent says "with magazines folding, downsizing and taking financial and editorial hits left and right, any new revenue source seems like a good thing."

imageApparently the world's money hasn't disintegrated completely. Tumblr, microblogging service/hipster nerve center, raised $4.5 million led by Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital—which means the company is worth $15 million, on paper, even though it doesn't make any money at all. Tumblr is exactly the kind of startup that's supposed to be gasping for air in today's dismal economy, says AllThingsD, but founder David Karp says it will make money in 2009 selling premium services. meanwhile, venture capital firm Accel Partners has just raised $1 billion, and TechCrunch says: If you want some of that new money, start here.

clip_image008Or just take a breather and ponder this historically nutso year with some dumb Top 10 lists. The AP is seeking cool-kid credibility with its Top 10 viral videos list, half of which (like SNL's Palin sketches) aren't really viral videos, says Videogum. Wired Science's top 10 animal videos is more fun ("hedgehog eating a carrot" may give Keanu Reeves serious Oscar competiton). Top online video sites? ComScore says YouTube still rules but Hulu is gaining, as Marketing Charts reports. Movie Moron rounds up history's top "feel good Christmas movies." (Die Hard?!) Best real movies of 2008? The Playlist spills news that Milk is favored by the NY Critics Circle. CultureBully gives devoted music snobs four takes on top album for the year. ReadWriteWeb gives the number one spot on its list of the year's top consumer Web apps to Twitter, which "proved its mettle" during the US elections. Gizmodo (UK), which tallies up the Top 10 gadgets on eBay in 2008, says gamers ruled online auctionland 2008—the Wii, Xbox 360, and Sony PSP led eBay sales. In "one of the finest years for games in a long time...Far Cry 2's lush African countryside" helped make it the best game, says Fidgit. Videogamesblogger reports that Super Monkey Ball was NOT the top paid iPhone game in 2008.

clip_image010Autoblog steps up with its Top 10 most stolen vehicles of 2008 (spoiler alert: Cadillac Escalade ESV) and a Top 10 Least Stolen (somehow headed by a swanky Mercedes). ImpactLab comments on Time's Top 10 scientific breakthroughs of 2008 ("Good news! The Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator didn't destroy the world!") and CJR's The Kicker links to ten more of Time's Top 10s. Bill Hartzer tackles the Top 10 PR Blunders of 2008, led by AIG's post-bailout party and the automaker CEOs' private jets. Isn't this fun? The Daily Kos gleefully shows how many forecasts for 2008 Business Week got wrong last December in its Ten Likely Events for 2008. And Foreign Policy makes a web-exclusive of the 10 Worst Predictions for 2008. (Gore is the only threat to Hillary for the Democratic nomination?) It gives you some hope that the gloom and doom forecasts for 2009 are off base too.

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