July 2007 Quick Links, Part II

By Eric Goldman

Virtual Worlds

* After a remarkable run as media darlings, Second Life is now experiencing some of the inevitable backlash. Case in point: Wired’s “How Madison Avenue Is Wasting Millions on a Deserted Second Life.” In this respect, Second Life reminds me a little of Keen.com–both provide fantastic platforms for monetizing user-generated content, but that powerful economic platform is likely to take root primarily in the sin businesses (porn, gambling, etc.). (FWIW, Keen.com appears to have cleaned up the dial-a-porn and is now focused exclusively on dial-a-horoscopes). As a result, it will be interesting to see what happens to Second Life’s numbers in response to their anti-gambling crackdown. Meanwhile, lawyers–the classic late adopters–are gushing about Second Life’s potential as a business generator–an interesting counter-perspective to the Wired article.

* World Copyright Law Report: “Some residents have been using a rogue version of a program called CopyBot to make a copy of anything in the Second Life world, thus threatening to undermine the whole basis of the Second Life economy.”


* More marketers wake up to the value of inserting links into Wikipedia despite Wikipedia’s nofollow tag. See my earlier explanation of this. Meanwhile, a Wikipedia administrator talks about what Wikipedians consider white hat practices for marketers.

* Willing to cite to Wikipedia in your legal briefs? Need some custom-tailored authority to support your argument? Edit Wikipedia to say what you want!

* Mike Godwin has become Wikimedia’s GC. You may recall that Mike and I bet about Wikipedia’s future; it appears he has raised the stakes on that bet substantially!

User Generated Content

* “GC’s Client from Hell“: Whole Food’s CEO John Mackey pseudonymously posted about his company’s stock and his competitor’s stock on Yahoo Finance. The WSJ article has some of the juiciest postings. The NYT on CEO “sock puppetry.”

* A restaurant owner used consumer reviews from Yelp as part of deciding to fire employees.

* Interesting interview with the pseudonymous founder of a pay-for-Diggs business.


* The ABA Journal has entered the crowded field of blawg directories with one of their own.

* Blawgworld 2007: 77 blawgers chose their favorite posts, which were compiled into an e-book. The compilation turns out to be a great way to get noisy blawgers to promote their brilliant contributions to the e-book, which generates traffic and link love for the publisher, which in turn creates a nice delivery vehicle for sponsored content/advertising.


* Asch Webhosting, Inc. v. Adelphia Business Solutions Investment, LLC, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52932 (D. N.J. July 23, 2007). IAP terminates customer based on complaints that customer was a spammer. Court holds that the consequential damages waiver applies, effectively negating customer’s alleged damages. Rejecting the customer’s argument that the termination was in bad faith, the court says: “Plaintiff’s arguments about the accuracy of the spamming complaints do not change the Court’s determination because regardless of the ultimate accuracy or veracity of the spamming complaints, defendant was entitled to rely on those complaints so long as it did so in good faith, and plaintiff has not demonstrated any bad faith by defendant.” HT: Technology Law Update.

* Consumer Law & Policy Blog: “companies in two recently filed federal cases explicitly invoke [the recent Supreme Court decision in] Leegin as a justification for terminating the eBay auctions of competitors that charge lower prices online.”

* Declan on whether anti-spyware vendors are screening for “fedware” (government keystroke loggers designed to capture data before it’s encrypted).


* More proof that technology can save lives: During a power outage at a hospital, doctors were able to complete a surgery using the light of open cellphones.

* I’m a new fan of Oddee. Some recent posts (it helps to think about sexual connotations when interpreting the photos):

– “15 Unfortunately Placed Ads.”

– “Most Unfortunate Logos Ever

– “Unfortunate Business Names.”