from Commentaries:

Twitter backlash foretold

Technology market research firm Gartner Inc has published the 2009 "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies," its effort to chart out what's hot or not at the cutting edge of hi-tech jargon. It's just one of an annual phalanx of reports that handicap some 1,650 technologies or trends in 79 different categories for how likely the terms are to make it into mainstream corporate parlance.

Jackie Fenn, the report's lead analyst and author of the 2008 book "Mastering the Hype Cycle," delivers the main verdict:

Technologies at the Peak of Inflated Expectations during 2009 include cloud computing, e-books (such as from Amazon and Sony) and internet TV (for example, Hulu), while social software and microblogging sites (such as Twitter) have tipped over the peak and will soon experience disillusionment among corporate users.

Click to enlargeGartner Hype Cycle 2009

What's most interesting in the report, now in its 14th year, is what the corporate research firm says is a long way off from the mainstream.

It will take up to five years for many of today's trendy technologies to become mainstream, including Web 2.0, cloud computing, Internet TV, virtual worlds, and a true corporate mouthful, service-oriented architecture (SOA).

Social gaming startup eyes big opportunity

Social gaming startups, which offer free-to-play games on sites like Facebook and MySpace, have been all the rage, scooping up funding from the venture capital community and nabbing executives from traditional gaming outfits. The hoopla seems warranted given the meteoric growth many expect to see in the space over the next few years.

Playdom, which was launched last year but only emerged from stealth mode in March, recently made a big splash when it lured John Pleasants from his perch as COO of Electronic Arts to become its CEO. Playdom battles rivals Zynga — which predicts revenue of $100 million or more this year — and Playfish in an increasingly competitive space.

In an interview, Pleasants called his return to the startup space “refreshing” and used a whiteboard to make a convincing case about the industry’s potential. He pegs the overall social gaming market at around $500 million, but expects that to increase ten-fold in the next several years.

Twitter + Georgian blogger + South Ossetia = Hack Attack

If you were miffed at not being able to tweet your innermost thoughts and random musings to your followers yesterday, or post that smartypants comment on a friend’s Facebook status update, blame politics. Turns out the reason why Twitter was knocked down for hours, while Facebook users had trouble logging in and posting to their profiles on Thursday was a Georgian blogger who uses both services.

According to CNET, which cites Facebook’s chief security officer Max Kelly, the blogger also has accounts in LiveJournal and Google’s Blogger and YouTube platforms, and goes by the name of Cyxymu, which is the name of a town in Georgia. Kelly told CNET:

“It was a simultaneous attack across a number of properties targeting him to keep his voice from being heard.”

Hack attack spares MySpace injury, but not insult dodged a bullet on Thursday, but in the process the social networking site may have gotten a stinging slap in the face instead.

Hackers trained their fire on social media highflyers Twitter and Facebook Thursday morning, knocking the former entirely offline for a few hours and slowing things down on the latter site.

LiveJournal, a blogging site, was also a victim of the so-called denial of service attacks.

Cracked Macs rankle Apple customers

Apple isn’t going out of its way to publicize the problem, but the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that cracked Macbooks are troubling users. Underscoring that, a Flickr site carries pictures of more than 200 cracked Macs, posted by the owners, along with their commentary.

Apple spokesman Bill Evans invited users with problems to bring them to Apple.

“Any user who has an issue with their Macbook should contact AppleCare for support, even if it is out of warranty,” he said of the problem, which dates back to at least 2006 and is still angering consumers.

Apple won’t say if they have upgraded the plastic that cracks, how many Macs they have fixed or if they expect more troubles as the aging plastic splinters.  Although the problem is notorious in old machines, users say it has also appeared in machines that are less than a year old. A British website, The Inquirer, reported earlier this year that Apple will repair the problem for out-of-warranty Macs at no charge.  Users like this one on the Flickr site also said the machines were repaired at no charge.

Tweeting hits high note with Fortune 100

(Reporting and Writing by Laura Isensee)

    Still not sure about Twitter?
   More than half of Fortune 100 companies are using the wildly popular micro-blogging site, according to a new study, adding to growing buzz in the business world that Twitter hopes to convert into revenue this year.

Twitter trumped other social media as the online tool of choice for the Fortune 100 firms, according to the study by public relations firm Burson-Marsteller and its digital media unit Proof.

Some 54 percent of them regularly send out “tweets” or messages of 140 characters or less. The companies primarily use Twitter to blast news; for customer service; to announce promotions; or for employee recruitment. 

Ex-Facebookers could lose out on stock sale

Facebook shareholders got the long-awaited gift of liquidity last week when Russia’s Digital Sky Technologies began buying up to $100 million of Facebook common stock from current and former employees.

The latter group however, may end up with bupkus, as it turns out that the program puts ex-employees at the back of the line.

Only after all of Facebook’s current employees have had a chance to sell their stock to DST for $14.77 a share can former employees step forward to cash out their shares, according to person familiar with the matter.

from Shop Talk:

Starbucks now most popular brand on Facebook

MARKETS-STOCKS/The popular social networking website has a new champion among its brands: Starbucks.

With a combination of recent social networking promotions and front-page ads, the Seattle-based mega coffee company has attracted more than 3.6 million fans to reportedly passed Coca-Cola to become the most popular brand on Facebook.

While that huge fan base makes Starbucks the No. 1 brand, statistics compiled by the website Inside Facebook showed Starbucks as the 8th most popular "page," behind Hollywood star Will Smith, President Barack Obama, and the current leader, Michael Jackson.

Tuesday media highlights

Here are some of the day’s top stories in the media industry:

Verizon Planning Its Own App Store (Business Insider)
Preethi Dumpala writes: “The main idea: Verizon wants to be the company connecting its customers with apps — not necessarily its handset partners. And it wants to avoid becoming an even dumber pipe. Depending on how it’s set up, this could clash with gadget makers’ plans.”

McGraw-Hill might ‘give away’ Business Week for nominal $1 (FT)
“McGraw-Hill might reap only a nominal $1 by selling Business Week, according to people familiar with the 80-year-old financial magazine’s record of losses. The publisher has appointed Evercore, a boutique investment bank, to sell the title after deciding it was non-core to a group that owns the Standard & Poor’s rating agency and an educational publisher, two people familiar with the decision said,” writes Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson.

Sinclair says it might consider bankruptcy (Baltimore Sun)
“The Hunt Valley-based owner of television stations, which depends heavily on automotive advertisers for revenue, said it might be obligated to pay $488.5 million of its total outstanding debt within the next 18 months. The company said it had $1.3 billion in total debt outstanding as of March 31,” writes Lorraine Mirabella.

Shock! Offices lose productivity to Facebook -study

We think you saw this one coming: Employers are losing a whopping 1.5 workers per 100 in employee productivity to the social networking phenomenon that is Facebook.

This number was uncovered by the clever folk at Nucleus Research, who surveyed 237 randomly  selected office workers. They discovered that some of you spend more time than you probably should poking, adding and making inane comments on friends’ pages.

In fact some of you may be horrified to learn that Nucleus is advising corporations to consider restricting Facebook access at work to reclaim that productivity — all the more important in a global recession and rising unemployment they say.