quattrone032008.pngFrank Quattrone is back as a banker — Quattrone and associates are starting a new boutique investment banking firm, called Qatalyst Group. During the (last) bubble in the ’90s, Quattrone was a top deal-maker, helping many promising (and unpromising) startups of the era go public. Some of his more illustrious clients included Amazon, Cisco Systems, and Netscape. After that bubble burst, he spent years fighting legal charges that he had somehow misled consumers about his clients’ viability in public markets. The charges ultimately didn’t stick. Now, Qatalyst is hoping to help modern-day startups to take advantage of their explosive success over the past few years. Rivals like Allen & Co., Montgomery & Co. as well as larger banks, have already been doing that — and now there’s a downturn in the economy, which will make both late-staging funding and liquidity events less likely. Then again, Quattrone has impressive connections and experience. Here’s what Google chief executive Eric Schmidt told Dow Jones about the news: “The launch of Qatalyst is an important development for the technology industry. Frank and his team bring unparalleled industry knowledge, a unique 25-year market perspective and candid, insightful judgment that CEOs greatly value on important strategic initiatives.” The New York Times has more (and was the source of Quattrone’s photo, to the left).

LiveJournal community upset, but the issue isn’t censorship by its new Russian owners — When SUP bought LiveJournal, the social network/blog site with a large Russian audience, last year, we were concerned that censorship might ensue. LiveJournal has become a main forum for dissent against the Russian government, and the new Russian owner, SUP, has tight connections to the country’s not-so-press-friendly government.

There don’t seem to have been any censorship issues so far, but there’s another issue that’s possibly just as shocking to freetards everywhere: SUP has tried to charge for new accounts that aren’t otherwise ad-supported, a change it announced last week. Yes, SUP wants to make money from its new purchase. It is still learning about dealing with its vocal user base, apparently, as it has since apologized for not clearly discussing the changes beforehand (even the web-celebrity American advisory board wasn’t wellnotified). Here’s to LiveJournal democracy.

“By 2050 solar power could end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and slash greenhouse gas emissions” — Science-tech publication Scientific American has offered up a “grand plan” for how it could all happen. Take a look for yourself.

Yahoo VP joins Internet ad start-up — Greg Coleman has been named chief executive of search advertising start-up Netseer, after leaving his spot as Yahoo’s chief of global ad sales at the end of February. Netseer seems to be a small player in a very crowded field, but in a conversation with VentureBeat, Coleman said he was impressed by the Los Angeles-based start-up’s technology, as well as its founders’ vision. The company isn’t revealing too many details about that technology yet, but Coleman said Netseer has “mapped the Internet differently” and uses that data to make advertising more effective. For example, Netseer discovered that “cognac” and “Cuban cigars” often show up on web pages together, and could use that information to deliver targeted ads. Hopefully, it will become more clear in the next few months how Netseer stands out. Coleman’s move definitely got our attention.

AdMob’s latest stats on its mobile traffic, worldwide — The mobile advertising company has recently started publishing its own traffic numbers. It has seen a slowdown in the US market, compared to its recent numbers, but its still seeing solid growth in the UK. You can get the full report here.

Blog and media search engine BlogDigger bought by Sonic Mountain — Blogdigger began life five years ago as a tool for searching blogs using their RSS feeds, but it has since diversified to searching a broader set of media content. It will now be part of the digital media offerings of Sonic Mountain — the company that bought Odeo last year and plans to relaunch it in April. Odeo, as some may recall, is the podcasting company started by Blogger founder Evan Williams through his incubator company Obvious (which has also created the more successful Twitter). ReadWriteWeb has the scoop here.

How Meebo could make money? — We’ve wondered how IM service Meebo, which is in the process of raising a very large round of funding, could make money. PaidContent has answers: The company is looking at advertising (it has previously told us it sees a higher-than-average response to its ads featured within its chat windows) as well as virtual goods.