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On the Web

By TIMES WIRES
Published December 6, 2006


Biz tidbits from the Internet, blogs and podcasts

Not everyone is going ga-ga over Google

Could Web 2.0 be fast becoming Bubble 2.0? It's hard to say, mainly because of the lack of a yardstick to measure the value of most Internet companies. Compared with the late-'90s technology boom, there are few initial public offerings and thus it is harder to determine when a downturn has begun. But Dave Winer, the protoblogger and technology maven, thinks he has discovered a yardstick. "Google stock will crash," he wrote last week. "That's how we'll know" (scripting.com). Shares of Google recently crossed $500. Web 2.0, according to Winer, "is nothing more than an aftermarket for Google." So many startups rely on Google - as a basis for creating Web sites and as a channel for selling Google ads - that the entirety of Web 2.0 will stand or fall with Google, Winer says.

Is going legit the path to download profit?

BitTorrent said last week it had made deals with several big studios to offer their videos for downloading. BitTorrent became popular as a vehicle for peer-to-peer sharing of pirated movie content, and is hoping to succeed legitimately. Matt Marshall of VentureBeat, a blog that tracks technology and the venture capital business, noted that BitTorrent "has never gained mass appeal among regular consumers" and that it works best as a "back-end distribution protocol" (venturebeat.com). With so many big players offering video downloads, BitTorrent should be "more focused on becoming the distribution partner for some of these players, rather than try to become the consumer destination," Marshall wrote.

Take my word for it: I really did pay for it

Retailers often don't seem to know whether to treat their customers as friends or enemies. Witness the practice of checking store receipts. Your merchandise is bought and paid for, and you just want to be on your way. But you must show your receipt to a security guard, sometimes having to line up to do so. David Pelfrey, who writes the customer confidential column for Black and White, a newspaper in Birmingham, Ala., has had enough. Last week, he tried to escape from stores without showing his receipt, only to be confronted with security personnel (bwcitypaper.com). A sign at his local Costco explains the policy as being in part to "assure that you paid for and are not overcharged or undercharged for any item." Pelfrey saw through that statement and bolted. "The employee 'reviewing' receipts left the line and cheerfully said, 'I'm going to have to see your receipt first,' " he wrote. Adopting her happy demeanor, I replied, "And you are going to have to chase me in order to do so." And so she did.