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Amazon to offer music downloads?

Amazon looks to be taking on Apple's iTunes by opening its own music download store, with rumours suggesting the service will be DRM-free.

According to The Independent, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been in discussions with the four major labels to persuade them to allow their music to be sold without DRM protection.


Five reasons why you should embrace Usability

An investment in usability - optimising the user experience on your website - is a smart move to make, as outlined in our new Usability Business Case report.

Whether you hire a usability agency to look at your website's usability, or choose to undertake usability studies in-house, enhancing your site can deliver a massive return on investment.


Malware threat doubles over last year

Figures from web security firm Sophos show that the number of new pieces of malicious software have more than doubled in Q1 2007 compared to the same period in 2006.

In Q1 2007, Sophos identified 23,864 new malware threats, compared to 9,450 in Q1 2006. On a more positive note, the percentage of infected email has dropped from 1.3% in Q1 2006, to just 0.4 this year.

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36% of Americans regularly consult Wikipedia

A study from the Pew Center for the American Life Project has revealed that, despite questions over the accuracy of some of its entries, the online encyclopedia remains a popular source of information.

36% of US internet users consult Wikipedia regularly, which equates to 8% of the total US population. The survey also found that the site is most popular among the well educated, and college students.


WPP eyes 24/7 Real Media but faces stiff competition

WPP is reportedly discussing a takeover of 24/7 Real Media – although it is only one of a number of suitors we understand to be encircling the online ad company.

The New York Post reports that 24/7 is 'on the auction block' and could end up fetching more than $600m, with WPP already in talks.


VC tech startup firm YEurope launches

YEurope, a venture capital firm which specialises in working with early stage European tech startups, officially launched this week.

Despite the similarity of the name and homepage slide show, YEurope is not to be confused with YCombinator, a company which provides the same service in the US. According to the home page, the site is 'inspired by, but not affiliated with YCombinator.'


Calacanis in spat with Wired's Vogelstein

Jason 'mad dog' Calacanis has had an amusing little disagreement with a journalist from Wired after refusing to conduct an interview over the phone.

Fred Vogelstein of Wired had contacted Calacanis to request an interview about A-list bloggers such as Michael Arrington, but Calacanis said he would prefer an email interview instead, citing the fear of being misquoted.


E-consultancy seeks Account Director - Training & Development

We’re once again starting to ramp up headcount at E-consultancy and are on the lookout for super-bright folks, preferably with a passion for all things internet.

E-consultancy's internet training courses (dog now proficient in SEO)

In the first instance, we need to find an account director for our increasingly-popular training department, to help further grow the business, manage clients and generally satisfy demand.


Amazon posts 32% rise in Q1 sales

Online retail giant Amazon has posted a 32% rise in sales for the first quarter to just over $3bn (£1.5bn).

The company said pre-tax profits had risen from $96m (£48m) to $144m (£72m) year on year, but expects sales and profit growth to slow in the second quarter.


Using search to measure offline success

One of the reasons why search is so great is its accountability. The same cannot be said for some forms of offline advertising. The good news is that you can use search to help gauge offline success.


Old media attacks blogs, internet, leftists, people

A renewed savaging of the blogosphere seems to be in full swing judging by some recent posts in the mainstream press. One, by a writer I have a lot of time for, specifically caught my eye.

In a post originally titled ‘Is Web 2.0 a threat to civilisation?’ (since changed to ‘The web is dead; long live the web’, or, via Australian IT, ‘Anarchy of distance’), Brian Appleyard of the Sunday Times explores the idea that great damage is being done to the people of the world by, erm, rounded corners?


80% of blogs contain offensive content - report

According to a new threat analysis report by web security firm ScanSafe, a high number of blogs contain potentially offensive content, while 6% of blogs hosting malware.

To fit into ScanSafe's definition of offensive content, a blog merely has to include a single post containing profanity. Under this definition, this blog would be considered offensive, as would the average Sunday newspaper.