TECH CRUNCH - Apr 21 - New Kiva Green Loans allow the Kiva community to make loans towards green businesses and individuals who are helping make the transition to cleaner and more efficient sources of energy. Examples of Green Loans include loans to create or purchase organic fertilizer; renewable energy-generating devices, such as solar panels; loans for transportation, including hybrid cars or bicycles and loans for “green” home improvements.
TECH CRUNCH - Apr 21 - Mobile gaming startup OpenFeint, has been acquired by Japanese mobile gaming company GREE for $104M in cash plus additional capital for growth of the OpenFeint platform. OpenFeint provides a mobile social gaming platform for the iPhone and Android platforms. Combined, the GREE and OpenFeint gaming ecosystem will reach 100 M users worldwide and GREE will uses its own resources to accelerate OpenFeint’s growth. The joint company will soon opening offices in Beijing, Singapore and London and plans to double OpenFeint in size in 2011.
TECH CRUNCH - Apr 21 - Social and mobile gaming startup Playmatics attained a $1M investment from several Swiss-based angel investors to develop a “real world game” franchise called Shadow Government. Initially a Facebook platform game, Shadow Government will use economic and sustainability data, and government-modeling software from the Millennium Institute to give players a chance to build and run, or destroy their own virtual countries.
PC MAG - Apr 21 - If Facebook is to gain entry into China and other countries, a representative of Facebook thinks his company could wind up blocking certain content because it allows "too much, maybe, free speech" for some governments to handle. Facebook is currently banned in China. The Chinese government is increasingly concerned about Facebook and Twitter given their effectiveness as organizing tools used by protesters in the wave of popular uprisings that have swept across parts of the Middle East in recent months.
by Damon Poeter
See full article at PC Mag
REUTERS - Apr 21 - Top China Internet company Tencent expects an increase in microblog subscribers to 200-300M by the end of the year from 160M now. China, which has 400M Internet users -- more than the population of the United States -- has seen a boom in online games, social networks and instant messaging. Tencent, which runs China's largest IM platform, QQ, and social network QZone, has been adding 800K - 1M users daily.
by Huang Yuntao and Lee Chyen Yee
See full article at Reuters
TECH CRUNCH - Apr 19 - Tagged, the San Francisco-based social network that is most notable because of its ability to grow profitably during the Facebook era, has closed its first acquisition. dotSyntax, the corporation that created the popular Digsby instant messaging and social client, is now part of Tagged. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but all seven dotSyntax employees will join Tagged.
PEREZ HILTON - Apr 20 - A new survey from OkCupid has found that Twitter can be bad for relationships. Based on a pole of over 830,000 users that contrasted the length of relationships for those who use Twitter every day vs. "everyone else", the frequent tweeter's relationships last less time on average.
This post also appears on OnlinePersonalsWatch.
TECH CRUNCH - Apr 20 - Qwitter, the service that sends you an email whenever someone unfollows you on Twitter, was just purchased in a public auction by Amsterdam-based TwitterCounter for $11,111. Qwitter has ~180,000 active users and still signs up ~ 2K new users every week.
TECH CRUNCH - Apr 20 - JamLegend aimed to compete against biggies Rock Band and Guitar Hero and was shut down today after three years so the team could “move on to new ventures.” We’ve just confirmed that the team will be moving to gaming giant Zynga in a talent acquisition.
TRAIN2GAME - Apr 19 - Social gaming titan Zynga has pulled its popular Mafia Wars game from troubled MySpace. Instead it points players towards the game’s official site, mafiawars.com, where the game continues, with the developer promising an improved experience with new locations. Zynga last month discontinued another MySpace game, RPG Street Racing. However it also cancelled the game on Facebook, where Zynga is the runaway market leader, with 266M monthly active users across all its games, 200M ahead of its nearest competitor. Several other major social studios have also pulled games from MySpace in recent weeks. Playdom shut down text-based RPGs Overdrive and Bloodlines, and RockYou abandoned the site entirely, pulling Truth Box, RockYou Pets, Superhug! and Speed Racing from the service.
HOLLYWOOD REPORTER - Apr 19 - The Winklevoss twins are looking to continue their legal battle against Facebook. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have asked a federal appeals court to reconsider an order that they accept a $65M settlement in a dispute over the Facebook's creation. A three-judge panel last week ruled against the twins who argued they should have gotten more money, because Facebook had not disclosed an accurate valuation. Now, their lawyers have asked the court for a special 11-judge panel to mull their appeal. In their petition to reconsider, their lawyers said the settlement was based on a "garden-variety securities fraud" by Facebook.
TECH CRUNCH - Apr 19 - MindJolt, the game distribution company that was acquired by MySpace founder and former CEO Chris DeWolfe last year, has made two significant acquisitions in the gaming space today— game developer Social Gaming Network (SGN) and game network Hallpass Media. Financial terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed.
TECH CRUNCH - Apr 19 - Daily deals site Groupon has acquired Whrrl parent company Pelago. The iFund-backed Pelago is most famous for its Whrrl product, which is a Foursquare-like LBS services app that allows people to check into places. Pelago had $22.4M in funding. Groupon of course is funded to the gills with $1.14B from NEA, DST and others.
MASHABLE - Apr 19 - Twitter is in talks to purchase TweetDeck for $50M. TweetDeck is one of the most popular third-party Twitter clients, available in desktop, iPad, iPhone and Android versions. It displays your Twitter news feed, @mentions and direct messages, along with your Facebook feeds — all on the same screen, all updating in real time. TweetDeck can also support updates from MySpace, LinkedIn and Foursquare.
SNW - Apr 19 - According to Hitwise, by 2013 100-500M users will be engaging in online video. WooMedia, the creators of WooMe, WooMe.TV and ShufflePeople, is launching MonsterChat.com – a new Web platform for live video chat. Requiring no downloads, Monster Chat allows up to 16 people to chat at once in realtime, across Facebook, Yahoo!, AIM, and Twitter.
See the press release here.
PAID CONTENT - Apr 18 - Facebook has filed a few different trademark lawsuits against sites it doesn’t approve of, like Teachbook and humor site Lamebook. But now a much bigger company is messing with Facebook’s name: adult social networking company FriendFinder Networks, which has launched FacebookOfSex.com. It’s hard to believe that FriendFinder thinks they’re going to get away with operating a website by this name. Facebook is asking to have a bunch of domain names canceled or transfered to its control, including international variants and misspellings, such as: facebookofsex.co.uk, facebooksex.de, facebokofsex.us, fbookofsex.com, facebookfosex.com, facebookofsexysingles.com, facebook-of-sex.com, and many others. It’s also asking for $100,000 in damages for each of those domains, and additional unspecified punitive damages.
This post also appears on OnlinePersonalsWatch.
BLOOMBERG - Apr 16 - Renren, China’s largest social network, filed to raise as much as $584M in an IPO to fund expansion. Renren -- a name that means “everyone” in Chinese -- has similar features as Facebook, which is blocked in China. Renren has ~160M registered users.