Roundup: Digg, MyBlogLog, Sling, Trumba, Kongregate & more

Silicon Valley never sleeps. Here’s the latest tech stuff:Digg subverted — The news site that ranks stories based on how many users submit them, is being subverted by a group called Spike the Vote. It lets its members conspire to submit certain URLs of stories — thereby lifting the odds those stories will get front-page coverage.

MyBlogLog goes live — This is a site we’ve mentioned before, while it was in testing mode. It hasn’t changed its basic model, so we’ll refer to that earlier story for the full background. MyBlogLog has provided a way for bloggers and other sites to get more information about its visitors. One of its offerings is a “recent readers widget,” which shows the photos/avatars of the recent readers on a site. So for example, every time we show up at blog of venture capitalist Fred Wilson, who has implemented the widget (see lower left hand side), we are surprised to we see our own face. It is opt-in, so if you haven’t signed up to MyBlogLog, your photo won’t be there).

Three of the four major music companies make money off of YouTube deal — This is a bizarre. Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, Sony and Bertelsmann’s jointly owned Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and the Warner Music Group — each quietly negotiated small ownership stakes in YouTube as part of video- and music-licensing deals they struck shortly before the sale to Google, the New York Times is reporting. The music companies collectively stand to receive as much as $50 million from these arrangements, sources told the Times.

Moreover, the music companies rushed to complete the deal ahead of the YouTube deal, in part so that they could benefit in the jump in YouTube’s value, the Times said.

Sounds a bit like extortion, in other words: Wink, nudge, you let us make $50 million, and we’ll let you acquire YouTube and leave you alone legally — for the time being.”

Sneak preview of the Sling Media for MacHere.

The $1,200/year online calendarTrumba has some guts. The Seattle start-up (which we mentioned here), backed by profit-focused firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, August Capital and Oak Investment Partners, is lifting its price to $99 a month from $39.95 — even though a host of free competing calendar offerings exist on the market. We don’t get this one. (Via Jeff Nolan).

Paul Graham always makes you think — The essayist has written “The 18 Mistakes that Kill Start-ups” and it’s great reading.

Friendster says it has a new patent — Liz Gannes at Gigaom says social networking company Friendster called her up to chat about the new patent it has , which Friendster says covers uploading a photo and associating it with someone you are connected to on an online social network. Friendster says it should extend to “videos, audio, comments,” and any other content type, supported in public or private forums, within a social network. But we don’t see any reference to video or audio in the patent text, so we’re not sure what they’re talking about. We’ve contacted Friendster to check.

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SF’s WiFi project derailed, or seriously delayed, by crazy nut jobs — Or so says David Freeberg. Sounds like Google’s Chris Sacca was right when he blew up in frustration about this earlier.

Google Optimizer — If you are an advertiser on Google, this new tool lets you experiment with different headlines, copy, and images that people see when they click on an ad link and come to your site. This experimentation, Google says, will let you find out which combination results in the most conversions.

Washington is in sad state of ignorance — On Tuesday, we referred to comments made by the AeA’s Bill Archey, a lobbyist for high-tech, bemoaning the ignorance most members of Congress show on technology issues. Eric Schmidt, chief exec of Google, made a similar point Tuesday: Those in the know about technology must spend more time reaching out to governments and helping them understand the Internet’s role in society, he said: “The average person in government is not of the age of people who are using all this stuff,” ZDNet quoted Schmidt saying. “There is a generational gap, and it’s very, very real.”

Kongregate lets game developers make money directly — This is a San Francisco start-up that lets game developers upload their Flash-based games, and gives them a cut in any revenue made from users. It is in a closed testing phase, but is eager for feedback. Founder Jim Greer told us yesterday the company is raising a seed round of capital.