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What Bill Gates should have said during his CES keynote

Microsoft’s Xbox Live may have surpassed the 10m user milestone but this is no time for ebullient press releases from the Redmond-based giant. Since Christmas, playing Xbox Live online has been nothing short of a nightmare.

Microsoft has totally failed to manage user expectations, to accommodate new Xbox users, and to cater for the spikes that were bound to appear over the holiday period. It’s a pity, since the Xbox Live experience, when it works, is nothing short of sensational, and should get better and better.

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Five bad web advertising techniques

Despite a number of surveys that have shown exactly what web users think of pop-ups and other intrusive advertising techniques, advertisers and publishers persist in using these ads.

For instance, The Times, Guardian, and Telegraph all allow either pop-ups or overlays on their websites, which can have a negative impact on the user experience. It's amazing that we still see so much of this sort of thing, in 2008.

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Sending speeds: are they important?

The send speeds of ESPs are increasingly being looked at as a key selling point. Being able to pump out over a million emails per month is regarded as a benefit by many clients.

Most major UK-based ESPs are able to provide these speeds, often through a partnership with companies such as Strongmail or Port25 Solutions.

But is this important?

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New Ad Serving Buyer's Guide published

E-consultancy has just published a 2008 version of our Buyer’s Guide for ad serving solutions - an area of the industry that has rarely been out of the headlines recently and seems likely to stay at the centre of things this year.

The guide features detailed profiles of 10 ad serving vendors, as well as a rundown of the trends that have reshaped the market in recent months.

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25 top resources for internet startup founders

Internet startup fever looks all set to turn into something of an epidemic in 2008, judging by the number of experienced people we know who are looking to get in on the action.

At the foot of this article I’ve compiled a UK-focused list of resources, to help you find startups, wannabe entrepreneurs and investors. But before we get there you need to figure out what kind of startup you want to get involved with.

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BBC iPlayer traffic increases

Visits to the BBC's iPlayer have increased 15-fold over the past month, thanks mainly to a major advertising campaign for the catch-up TV service.

The figures from Hitwise's Robin Goad show that the iPlayer, having launched a streaming version of the service and opened up to the public, has begun to take off.

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Nestoria launches OpenStreetMap-backed search engine

Property search engine Nestoria has launched a new version of its site that only displays maps from community geodata project OpenStreetMap (OSM).

The move – a sign of the growing potential of the open source mapping tool - means Nestoria users can view charts from OSM or existing provider Google when searching for properties in the UK and Spain.

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Ten digital trends to watch out for in 2008

A new year wouldn’t be a new year without a vast number of websites making predictions about the future of the web, and 2008 proves to be no different. From a number of different sources, we have rounded up 10 key trends that we think are the ones to watch out for in 2008. 

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Google drops Adsense referral scheme

Google has ditched its Adsense referral scheme outside the Americas and Japan in a move that has not gone down well with some of its publishing partners.

The programme, which rewards sites that introduce new users to Adsense, will be “retired” in the last week of January, according to a post on the service’s blog. 

So what does this tell us...?

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Xmas etail stats round-up

Once again, online retailers have had a more successful Christmas than their high street counterparts, with early reports suggesting that internet sales continued to rise rapidly.

According to the British Retail Consortium, UK retailers suffered their worst December for three years.

Here's a round-up of Xmas-related sales figures in the UK and across the Atlantic...

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Apple finally cuts iTunes prices in the UK

Apple has said it will reduce the cost of iTunes song downloads in the UK following an EU antitrust investigation.

The long overdue move will see track prices fall from 79p to 67p within the next six months. UK consumers had previously been paying around 10% more than the rest of the EU.

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Second Life bans virtual banks

Second Life has announced a ban on virtual banking in the 3D online world in a bid to prevent the “destabilisation” of its economy.

Linden Lab, the virtual world’s creator, said it had been forced to intervene after receiving complaints about a string of dodgy in-world financial offerings that promised unfeasibly high interest rates for investors.

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