There’s a bubble in talk about bubbles

– Joanna Glasner is a contributor to pe HUB, a Thomson Reuters publication. This post originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

There may or may not be a bubble in Internet startup valuations. But one thing in which there is definitely a bubble is in talk by journalists, investors and anyone else looking to raise their online profile through constant punditry about bubbles.

A recent Google News keyword search for instances of “Internet” and “bubble” unearthed 960 links. Facebook, Twitter and Zynga are bubbles, said one. Is Yelp: the dot com bubble part deux? asked another. One more asked: Is Twitter the harbinger of the second bubble?

Pe HUB likes to talk about bubbles too. Connie Loizos drew a lot of commentary after publishing an interview in which Mark Cuban, who made his billions on Broadcast.com during the last bubble, compared the current cycle to something more like pyramid scheme. Greylock’s planned $1 billion new fund is the latest sign of an Internet bubble, wrote Mark Boslet.

It’s easy to dismiss some of the pontificating as merely symptomatic of a repetitive business news cycle in which journalists routinely hype a company early in its existence, then, when it gains traction and Wall Street favor, decry it as overvalued. But upon perusing some of the bubble-related pontifications, it became clear that much of the analysis goes beyond that formulaic approach.

Mix it up: Trends and fads in email marketing

– Melanie Attia is the product marketing manager for Campaigner email marketing. The views expressed are her own. –

In business, there are fads and there are trends. While fads help pay the bills in the short-term, a good small business understands the longer-term viability of its products and services that will be for sale in the seasons to come.

The same holds true for marketing. It’s essential for growth and these days marketing trends continue to shift from offline to online programs.

Realtime search engine Topsy raises $15 million

– Alastair Goldfisher is the Editor-in-Chief of the Venture Capital Journal and contributor for PE Hub, both Thomson Reuters publications. This article originally appeared on PE Hub. –

BlueRun Ventures, Ignition Partners, Founders Fund and angel investor Scott Banister (co-founder of Zivity) joined a $15 million Series C round for Topsy, the San Francisco, California-based company announced today.

Western Technology Investments joined the round, which brings to $30 million the amount of equity and debt that Topsy, a provider of real-time search engine services, has raised since 2008.

Small business seen emerging from “foxhole”

An improved economic outlook has many small business owners looking to grow now to gain a leg up on their competition.

Nearly half (47 percent) of the owners polled in a recent survey by office equipment maker Brother International Corp said they were willing to spend rather than stockpile cash reserves – an increase of 11 percent over 2010, when they were still facing recessionary pressures.

“They know they can’t stand pat, they can’t stay in the foxhole,” said John Wandishin, vice president of marketing for Brother. “When the clouds start moving and the sun starts coming out, how are they going to be positioned?”

What entrepreneurs can learn from Justin Bieber

– Mark Suster is a former serial entrepreneur and a partner at Los Angeles-based venture capital firm GRP Partners. This article originally appeared on TechCrunch and on Suster’s blog “Both Sides of the Table”. The views expressed are his own. –

I know what you’re thinking – link bait title, right? Wrong. I stand 100 percent behind my assertions in this post: Justin Bieber is unbelievably entrepreneurial and most of you will never know it, because he serves a target demographic that doesn’t include you.

I promise you can learn from him. I’m also betting that in 10 years he’ll be a mainstream talent rather than a pre-teen girl wonder.

5 small business tax writeoffs for 2010

Jason Beahm is a contributor to FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared on FindLaw’s Free Enterprise blog. –

Small businesses can always use a few good tax writeoffs. So we recently came up with 5 tax writeoffs for 2010. Let’s jump right in:

Create jobs, get a deduction

If you hired new workers between Feb. 3, and Dec. 31, 2010, that didn’t merely replace people who left and who had been unemployed for more than 60 days, you can save 6.2 percent of your payroll tax. You can also get another $1,000 business tax credit in 2011 if you keep the new employees for 52 weeks or longer.

You’re getting audited – now what?

– Charley Moore is the founder and chairman of Rocket Lawyer Incorporated. He advises both early stage companies, large enterprises and their investors on strategic partnering and corporate development strategy. The views expressed are his own. –

Getting a letter from the IRS is enough to instill fear and trepidation in the minds of many small business owners. Opening the envelope to reveal a tax audit notice can be the thing of nightmares. After the panic attack subsides, there are things you can and should do to prepare for a tax audit. It doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds, as long as you take it step by step.

1. Find out specifically why your return is being audited.

While the IRS is supposed to tell you why your return was selected, if they don’t, it’s up to you to ask. Your taxes can be audited for a variety of reasons:

How not to be the Charlie Sheen of your office

Michelle V. Rafter covers business and workplace issues for a variety of national publications. She is based in Portland, Oregon. This article originally appeared on SecondAct.com. The views expressed are her own. –

After Charlie Sheen publicly lambasted the executive producer and others involved in his top-rated TV comedy Two and a Half Men last week, CBS shut down production for the rest of the season. The announcement came days before the show’s cast was scheduled to go back to work following the 46-year-old star’s stint in rehab.

Now Sheen is threatening to sue and demanding a raise to a reported $3 million per episode, and it’s hard to say how or when the melodrama will end.

NVCA’s Heesen says report on death of VCs erroneous

A report claiming the number of U.S. venture capital firms has contracted by more than half in the past three years is incorrect, the president of the National Venture Capital Association said.

The report, which recently ran in the San Jose Mercury News, said the number of VC firms has dwindled to roughly 400 today from about 1,000 in 2007. It cited the National Venture Capital Association as its source.

“Have there been firms shut down? Absolutely,” NVCA President Mark Heesen told Reuters this week. “But has the number been cut in half? No.”

PixSpree lets you dress like a Kardashian

When Joshua Lopour’s girlfriend spent an hour online searching for a dress she saw worn by a celebrity, he thought there had to be an easier way.

“That was our ‘a-ha’ moment; that’s when we said people need this,” said Lopour, who created Orange County, California-based PixSpree, a software tool that allows users to scroll over a photo of a star and instantly find out what they’re wearing, how much it costs and where to buy it. “It’s basically a roadmap of saying you can go find this here, you can go buy this here. You don’t have to sit there and spend an hour of your valuable time trying to find something; why don’t we just tell you where to get it.”

Lopour is not a programmer, but spent 10 years working in entertainment news, predominantly as a television producer for CBS where he worked closely with a number of celebrity bloggers and photographers. After enlisting friends to design the code, something Lopour said took a couple months to complete, PixSpree struck deals with a handfull of popular Hollywood bloggers, including Perez Hilton, and photo agencies such as Fame Pictures and Pacific Coast News, among others.