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A summary of today's major stories doing the rounds throughout the blogosphere...

Earlier this month, we reported the unsurprising demise of a social networking experiment by Wal-Mart, only to hear that the retail giant has run into some more Web 2.0-type problems.

WebProNews reports that a blog chronicling a duo's travels across America while camping in Wal-Mart car parks has been exposed as a ‘front’, backed by the retailer’s PR firm Edelman.

Not long after its launch, it was revealed that the travelling duo were Washington Post photographer Jim Thresher and his partner Laura St. Claire, whose brother is an Edelman employee.

The idea for the blog actually seems quite good, but as Laura admits, she “should have done a better job beginning at the beginning” - especially considering how many people are out there waiting for Wal-Mart to slip up.

GigaOM , meanwhile, has carried out a short but interesting interview with Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, in which the Kazaa and Skype co-founders talk about the sector they plan to terrorise next – TV.

Their new start-up, The Venice Project, will use P2P streaming to deliver video content to users, while earning money from ads and revenue sharing deals.

Friis says: “What people don’t like is television that is locked in linear time. We want to try and preserve the best bits of television, and discard bits people don’t care for.

Never bet against Zennstrom, folks.

Speaking of online video, one person who would have been more than a bit sick at YouTube's $1.65bn takeover by Google last week would have been Friendster’s founder Jonathan Abrams.

A savage tell-all story in The New York Times published over the weekend highlights how things went downhill at the site after Abrams turned down a $30m offer from Google and opted instead for VC funding.

Friendster has been credited with creating the social networking sector but is now ranked only 14th in the space, according to comScore.

A tale of hubris and ego. Now, where have we heard that before?

Another story that stood out over the weekend was one in The Sunday Telegraph, which reveals National Lottery operator Camelot is calling for the UK Gambling Commission to ‘crack down’ on lottery-style games on the web.

Camelot, not averse to throwing its weight around, claims many players of lottery-style draws believe they are taking part in the main thing, and wants them banned.

As if the sector didn’t have enough to worry about...

M:Metrics, meanwhile, has released some research  which shows that UK consumers are comparatively good when it comes to responding to ads via their mobiles.

It surveyed users in five countries, and Spain topped the list with 29.1% of users responding to shortcodes promoted in advertisements over the course of a month. It was followed by the UK (18.5%), France (10%) and the US (7%). Germany had 3.4%, although the company didn’t say why.

And finally, Robin Nobles has written a nice piece about the top ten grammar mistakes people make online.

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Published 16 October, 2006 by Richard Maven

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