France cracking down on online gambling?

The Guardian is reporting today that online gambling group PartyGaming has closed its French website, without notifying investors.  One shareholder has offloaded around £50m of stock in the firm.

Meanwhile, John Anderson, the former chief executive of 888 Holdings, has been summoned for interview by the French authorities, prompting speculation that French authorities are about to crackdown on online gambling.

This in itself is prompting speculation that the French and American governments actually agree on something.


Topshop traffic from MySpace grows

MySpace is giving a big boost to British fashion retailers, with the proportion of their traffic driven from the social networking site growing fast in the last year.

Referrals from MySpace accounted for 5% of visits to - far less than searches from either MSN or Yahoo!, according to Hitwise data.


eBay makes friends with Bebo

eBay is partnering with Bebo to allow users of the social networking site to list auction items on their profiles.

The agreement will allow Bebo's 30m members to detail items they want to buy or sell. Clicking the link will take visitors directly to eBay's own pages, the Wall Street Journal said.


Nectar relaunches website, but why?

Nectar is the UK's largest customer loyalty programme, and since its launch in 2002, more than ten million UK households regularly collect Nectar points.

The Nectar website, which allows users to spend the points they have earned on everything from CDs and DVDs to discounts on holidays, has recently relaunched with a view to improving usability.

We caught up with Roger Sniezek of Loyalty Management Group (which owns and operates the Nectar brand) to find out more about the site's relaunch.


Google to provide tools to combat click fraud

From next month, Google is to provide more data, as well as tools to help its pay per click advertisers detect and combat click fraud. 

The online ad giant will allow PPC advertisers to specify which IP addresses will be prevented from receiving their ads, in order to stop unscrupulous rivals wasting ad budgets with repeated clicks.

This is a smart move towards the greater transparency many advertisers have been demanding.


Fizzback bags $5m from Advent Venture Partners

Advent Venture Partners has announced that it has invested $5m (£2.5m) in online customer feedback provider Fizzback Group.

Formerly known as 'Instant Market Intelligence', Fizzback works with a number of companies, National Express included, to help them capture and analyse feedback from their customers.


DoubleClick buys Tangozebra for £15m

DoubleClick has purchased rich media ad firm Tangozebra for £15m, and plans to merge both firms’ European activities.


Interview: Saul Klein, venture partner at Index Ventures

Serial web investor Saul Klein was recently appointed as a venture partner by London-based VC firm Index Ventures. Saul is planning to help Index spend its new technology fund and he will also work with its existing portfolio.

He spoke to us about why European start-ups need better access to experienced entrepreneurs, why he thinks social shopping is over-hyped, and what's driving the renewed interest in internet companies from investors.


BitTorrent to sell movie and TV downloads

BitTorrent, makers of P2P software often used to trade pirated movies, has launched a site which will sell legal downloads of movies and TV shows.

The BitTorrent Entertainment Network is set to launch today with films from Warner Bros, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, as well as episodes of TV shows such as '24'.


Another report claims that blogging has peaked

A post by Pranam Kolari on ebiquity's blog claims that the English-speaking blogosphere has reached its peak.

This echoes predictions made by Gartner in December that the blogosphere will top out this year at 100m blogs, and start to decline thereafter.

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TrustedPlaces scores investment from startup fund

British venue reviews site TrustedPlaces has won a £500,000 investment from the entrepreneurs behind, the companies announced this morning.

The London-based guide, which launched early last year, allows users to rate and recommend to fellow browsers places to eat, drink and socialise.


Who needs or wants usability?

I have just given my annual lectures to some postgraduate students about what it’s like doing usability in the real world (i.e. the world where you can’t spend three months redesigning the perfect interface to a toaster). 

And one of the issues I cover is why it seems to be so difficult to design usable products. It must be difficult - there are lots of clever designers and few really usable products.

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