1) CondéNet grows, strikes distribution deals with MSNBC, Yahoo and Google
2) Disney to buy twenty startups?
3) Is YouTube censoring an Egyptian journalist or just enforcing a reasonable terms of service?
4) Google’s internal tools: A collection
5) Educating students about open source software
CondéNet grows, strikes distribution deal with YouTube — CondéNet, the digital division of Condé Nast Publications is best known in the tech world for Wired Magazine and Reddit, the social news site with a sizable geek following. That’s all part of the company’s plan: It has been building and buying web sites that aim at particular audiences, and is building an ad network for them. The division now includes eight different sites, including larger sites like fashion site Style.com and food site Epicurious.com. See this in-depth piece in the Wall Street Journal for more.
The company is trying out new media distribution tactics. It has a deal with Google’s video-sharing site, YouTube, where CondéNet gives Google ad inventory that it doesn’t sell for its videos.
Traffic to its Web sites increased 16 percent in October to 9.4 million unique U.S. visitors from the same period last year, according to comScore Media Metrix. Year to date, revenue at CondéNet is up 49 percent year to date versus the same period last year, counting its core properties, 81 percent counting Wired and Flip.com.
Disney to buy twenty startups? — The media conglomerate bought Club Penguin this summer for $350 million (twice that, if the company meets certain goals) and now it’s hungry for more. Today, Techcrunch reports the company wants to buy early-stage consumer internet startups and has created a special acquisition arm that’s already talking to a couple of companies. The acquisition group is led by Gifts.com cofounder Leigh Zarelli in New York and former Catalytic Capital managing partner Matt Pillar in Los Angeles. Disney, which already has an investing arm in the form of Steamboat Ventures, is reportedly talking to other VCs about purchase-bait. We wonder how many other media conglomerates have similar plans. We also wonder how successful these acquisitions will end up being — many early stage consumer internet startups fail, and even sites with booming traffic, like Facebook, are still figuring out long-term business models.
Is YouTube censoring an Egyptian journalist or just enforcing a reasonable terms of service? — Wael Abbas is a well-known journalist and anti-torture activist, who has brought to light issues such as extreme abuses in the Egyptian police force and prison system, voting fraud and anti-government demonstrations. Abbas has submitted graphic torture videos to YouTube, that have helped to raise the profile of the issue. YouTube has suspended Abbas’ account, making nearly 100 images and videos unavailable — he tells Reuters that YouTube sent him a letter saying they’d received many complaints, especially about the torture videos.
YouTube’s terms of service prohibits users from posting graphic violence, and may terminate repeat violators’ accounts. We can understand YouTube wanting to shield its more sensitive viewers from shocking content, but it should find a way to allow this form of political dissent to be presented on its site.
Google’s internal tools: A collection — The blog Google Blogoscoped has a long and fascinating story about the software systems Google has built to help its own employees work more efficiently. It includes mentions of Moma, Google’s intranet as well as Google’s internal search tool, and how Google tests software like Google Docs & Spreadsheets on its own employees.
Educating students about open source software — More Google news: the company is introducing the Google Highly Open Participation Contest. It intends to help introduce the world of open source software development to secondary school and high school students. Students can learn more here.