Entrepreneurial

Is Bit.ly’s Twitter advantage unfair?

The rise of Twitter as a social-media powerhouse and its micro-blogging platform has created a renewed urgency for URL-shortening services.

There are now endless numbers of websites vying to shorten your too-long tweets to conform to the 140-character limit, but as in every competitive industry not everyone can survive and thrive. This week one of the players, Canadian-based Tr.im (owned by Nambu Network), announced it was throwing in the towel.

Now a small business closing up shop is not normally newsworthy, except when they cry foul as the ship is sinking. While on the one hand Nambu president Eric Woodward told Computerworld’s Gregg Keiser that Tr.im was “accepting the realities and moving on,” he also seized the opportunity to take a shot at Twitter for making Bit.ly its default URL shortening service.

“They’re the default, and even if we’re better, it won’t matter, so what’s the point?” said Woodward. “As soon as Bit.ly was made the default, the game was over.”

Tr.im initially announced its demise through a blog post last Sunday, but 48 hours later did an about face to say it had been resurrected and will keep on trimming those URLs “indefinitely, while we continue to consider our options in regards to Tr.im’s future.” (see Tr.im blog post)

What the Tesla founders’ feud can teach entrepreneurs

Tesla Motors Inc. CEO Elon Musk

High-powered electric-car startup Tesla Motors has hit a speed bump with the filing of a lawsuit by former CEO and founder Martin Eberhard.

The libel suit, filed on May 26 in San Mateo County, Calif. Superior Court, alleges current CEO Elon Musk falsely portrayed himself as the founder of the company and orchestrated Eberhard’s ouster as original CEO in 2007. In the lengthy 22-page document, Eberhard accuses Musk and Tesla of, among other things, libel, slander, breach of contract, negligence and failure to pay wages. The suit doesn’t even refer to Musk as a co-founder, but simply as one of “various investors,” who joined the Tesla board in April 2004.

Eberhard’s suit claims that from the moment he came on board, Musk “began a campaign to appropriate control of Tesla Motors and Eberhard’s legacy as the company’s founder and visionary.” The suit further alleges that Musk “began a pattern and practice of defaming and disparaging Eberhard in various widely distributed media outlets,” a few of which included The New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today and NPR.

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