Around the IT Industry 7/30-8/03

by Modis on August 3, 2012

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R.I.P. for Digg

The formerly popular online link-sharing collective Digg has been on the decline for several years now, but in the wake of the domain’s acquisition by Betaworks and the ensuing redesign, it is now safe to say that Digg, at least the Digg Internet users may remember from years past, is no longer.  The site has been redesigned in a manner resembling Pinterest, and Betaworks took the initiative to completely purge Digg’s substantial archives, leaving nothing of the old site behind.

Google Fiber Finds Trouble in Kansas

Google, in an attempt to bring new broadband options to the Internet Service Provider marketplace, has pioneered a program known as Google Fiber which, as it implies, intends to provide fiber optic cable connectivity to marketplaces around the U.S.  One such market, however, is proving to be particularly difficult to infiltrate.  In Kansas City, local ISP Time Warner Cable essentially owns a monopoly on cable services in the area, and this fact has driven Google’s profitability for the program perilously low.  While Google must recover the extremely high costs of installing and implementing the new network, the incumbent Time Warner can drive its service prices down considerably so that consumers are dissuaded from purchasing the competing service from Google.

FCC Tells Verizon It Must Allow Tethering

The FCC has vetoed Verizon’s recent choice to charge an additional premium to customers who use their cell phone data packages to tether other devices to the Internet via the cellular network. Previously, Verizon had specifically blocked applications (commonly available free of cost in the Android App Store) from operating on their network unless a special tethering premium was paid in addition to the cost of regular service.  The FCC ruling prevents the company from continuing this trend; however, it does still allow Verizon to add the fee onto customers who make use of grandfathered unlimited data plans.

Facebook Ad Traffic Fueled by Bots?

Limited Run, a music platform service that takes advantage of Facebook’s advertising services, noticed that the actual traffic coming to their site didn’t seem to be as effective as they had hoped.  Upon investigation of the traffic coming from their Facebook page, they discovered that perhaps 80 percent of the traffic they did receive was a result of web bots: programs that run a script of clicking through various links to generate false traffic numbers.  While it is uncertain if the bots are owned or operated by Facebook, the fact that they are responsible for Facebook’s high advertising traffic count (and thus the high cost of advertising through the service) could mean trouble for Facebook’s future ad customers.

Valve’s New Service Agreement Prevents Class-Action Suits

Valve, video game producer and operator of the Steam digital marketplace, announced a surprising change to its Steam Subscriber Agreement that would prevent users of the service from ever participating in class-action lawsuits against the company and instead must seek individual arbitration for any such matters. However, the company also stated that, should a user seek such arbitration for a matter which is not “frivolous or unreasonable,” and the claim is under $10,000, the user can expect to have 100% of their arbitration costs covered by the company.

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