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Catching up:

YouTube is making $7.5 million a month –Everyone has been guessing whether YouTube is profitable, given the high costs it faces hosting all its videos. This guy says YouTube is doing $7.5 million a month in ads, and is profitable.

FON, the company that wants to encourage people to share their WiFi routers, having problems? — The general manager of US division has left. We’re beginning to think this Fon idea my be too clunky to fly. You buy a router to let other people use it, and it lets you tap into other peoples’ FON routers when you travel. It is a chicken and egg problem; Why buy it, unless you know lots of others have bought it too? Problem is, there are so many ways to get online these days. For starters, FON’s own backer, Google, is building out free networks. Google is using a WiFi router built by Mountain View’s Meraki.

Filmloop to launch online versionFilmloop, which let people create slideshows on their desktops and then have friends see updated versions automatically on their own computers, has created an online (browser) version too. It’s facing plenty of competition, but says more than 1 million users have uploaded 42 million photos.

Time for these podcasting services to make money — Evan Williams, of podcasting start-up Odeo, is making some public confessions about having trouble, and he is shutting Audioblogger, which allowed you to post on your blog via a telephone call. (Details here.) So eyes have turned to how these companies can make money. PodZinger, an audio and video search engine of Cambridge, Mass., has just launched a way for podcasters to insert advertising in both audio and video files. It says it has “content classification” technology which allows it to match ads to the podcaster’s content. It also says it has algorithms for analyzing a user’s “intent” and provides ad matches that way. The content creators, or podcasters, can decide whether or not they want the service, which can bring them extra revenue — which they share with PodZinger.

Ning’s video & photo move — The Silicon Valley start-up Ning, backed in part by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, gives you multiple tools you build your own web site, as we’ve mentioned. Now it has released more stuff, including letting you customize your own niche, YouTube-like video site, or Flickr-like photo site. The company took us through a demo last week, and it’s easy to use. The video site gives your own embedded player that you can brand as your own, which you can place in your blog or at MySpace — but which runs on Ning’s servers, and so you aren’t paying hosting costs. Ning bets it can cover the costs by taking a share of the advertising revenue. It says its advertising is lucrative compared to some other sites, because its users are creating content-focused sites, and so can be targeted by advertisers appropriately. The ads are generating $2 or more per 1,000 page views, the company said.

Rebtel raises $20 million for (complicated) online calls — Like Jajah, this Stokholm company (co-founder Greg Spector is here in Redwood City office, though) Rebtel lets you make calls cheaply by accessing its own system of low-cost Internet lines. But it gets complicated. It works when you dial a local number it has assigned for the person you are calling (yep, a different number than the one you already have for him or her). Once you call the other person, they have to hang up, and call you back. There’s logic to it: The system is trying to find the cheapest combination of Internet and local lines. It has raised $20 million in venture capital, including from Benchmark and Index. They charge $1 a week, and calls are otherwise free. We’re seeing a lot of these cheaply built phone services emerging; they’ll appeal to the frugal phone user, but not to those of us who want simplicity. (More here).


Speaking of ads, there’s not enough place online to host them allHere’s news that 100 million people watched online videos in July, and evidence that advertisers can’t find enough online inventory to put their ads.

New VC podcast — Levensohn Venture Partners, a venture firm in SF has started a podcast series called VC — Inside Out.

Bono’s direct connection with Apple, gone — Apple said Fred Anderson, who served as the company’s chief financial officer from 1996 until 2004, resigned from the board, because of the option scandal. Anderson remains a partner at the Silicon Valley buyout firm Elevation Partners, which as you’ll remember is where U2’s Bono hangs out, and who promoted the U2 iPod.

Google executive, Marissa Mayer, shows how to hold meetings efficiently — Meetings can be a waste of time. What if your company had the same discipline as Marrisa? You’d get a lot more done. This shows the Google trait of schizophrenia — creativity and discipline in one.

Google has a bunch of new products — No wonder Google co-founder Sergey Brin recently burst out, criticizing his developers for releasing too many products, and not focusing on making them work well. Here’s a recap of last week’s bombardment alone. One lets you restrict the sites you are searching (details here). Next, here’s the latest on the Google gadgets you can put on your Web site (choose from 1,200 of them). Google has also launched an experimental site, called Searchmash, tracking behavior of users off its main site. There’s a new initiative to allow you to build Web apps on top of Google search, whereby Google has opened its APIs to allow an AJAX search box for videos (click on one of the videos to see), for example. codesearch_logo.gifFinally, Google launched Code Search, a way to search for source code from around the Web.

Yahoo’s flip-flop— Yahoo has donated $1 million to Stanford University’s John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists, seven months after handing over information about a professional journalist to Chinese authorities. You may view it cynically, but this is a good move, nevertheless — it is earmarked to support journalists from countries where there are restrictions on freedom of the press.


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