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Broadcasters confirm joint video plans

The BBC, Channel 4 and ITV have confirmed that their long rumoured joint video on demand (VOD) service will go live next year.

The venture, dubbed 'Project Kangaroo', will operate independently of the three broadcasters and offer video content from a range of providers.

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Microsoft 'does a Facebook' with new-look Xbox Live

Xbox Live logo Microsoft plans to add a new social networking option to its Xbox Live platform, by allowing users of the service to connect with friends of friends.

The Dashboard Update will be introduced on December 4, to allow gamers to find friends, send messages and invites, and to compare games.

All of which prompts the question: Is Microsoft trying to become 'the new Facebook'?

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Is the blog sidebar dead?

Thord Daniel Hedengren has written a series of posts that argue blog sidebars are being rendered useless by widget clutter.

He takes a look at things bloggers should and should not be doing with this valuable but often "wasted" inventory.

Here are Thord's tips...

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Online spending to pass £15bn in Q4, says IMRG

Online retail spending is set to pass £15bn in the last quarter of the year, according to stats from the IMRG.

The group says that higher interest rates and the credit crunch have slowed e-commerce growth slightly, but online shopping is still growing twenty times faster than offline.

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Brands blamed but not blamed for phishing attacks

Brands that are adopted by phishers to hoodwink web users can have their reputation seriously damaged, according to a new study by YouGov.

Yet web users don’t point the finger at companies when it comes to protecting consumers against such attacks.

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UK shoppers first in the Xmas queue

The Christmas shopping season would seem to be already well underway for online retailers in the UK, according to stats from comScore.

The measurement group says UK-based etailers generated 23% more visits to their secure web pages in the third week of November, compared to October as a whole.

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Online groceries have a shorter shelf life – Which?

Online supermarkets stand accused of delivering groceries with a short shelf life, according to a new survey by Which?

The supermarkets have reacted angrily to the research, claiming that their staff are  told to pick the freshest items available for internet customers.

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WooMe – online dating’s new darling

Stephen Stokols WooMe is the latest upstart to take on the web dating establishment, launching out of beta last week. 

Backed by European VCs Niklas Zennström, Janus Friis and Klaus Hommels, it enables speed daters to interact via in-browser Flash video technology, then charges them to contact each other if they are ‘woo’d’.

It has competition in the form of SpeedDate.com, among others, but says it is also being used for a range of non romance-related tasks. It has also been approached by firms that want to use its technology in HR, internal comms and elsewhere.

We had a quick chat with founder and CEO Stephen Stokols about its plans for the future.

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Web 2.0 still dumbfounds senior execs

Web 2.0 tools and their business benefits are still an alien concept to many firms' senior management, according to a survey by IT services firm Parity.

The study (via IT Week and PC Pro) found that a third of IT managers had little understanding of Web 2.0 technology, while almost half (47%) of senior managers had yet to 'buy-in' to the advantages it could have for their businesses.

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Is HMRC's online PR fit for purpose?

The last few months have seen a string of firms brutally punished after failing to react to PR disasters quickly.

Both Northern Rock and Mattel have been hit by huge waves of consumer panic and could have lessened the impact had they communicated more effectively, including via the web.

So is HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) doing all it can online to help people hit by its Child Benefit data disaster - the scale of which is up there with both those businesses?

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Is Kindle Fever pulp fiction?

The mighty Economist has produced an editorial forecasting the death of the book following Amazon’s launch of its ebook reader, labelled Kindle.

It seems that Kindle Fever is in full swing, yet the mass consumer adoption of ebook readers seems thoroughly unfeasible in the short term, and I’m not convinced it is a likely scenario in the long term either.

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Web fails to cheer US newspapers

Ad revenues for US newspaper websites grew 21.1% in Q2, according to new stats that will give Rupert Murdoch some more ammunition in his bid to make the Wall Street Journal offer its online content for free.

The data, from the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), shows ad spending on newspaper publishers’ online properties jumped 21.1% year-on-year in Q3 to $773m.

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