URL of Australian MySpace

Saturday, May 27th, 2006

I’ve had a couple of questions from readers asking what the URL is of the Australian version of MySpace.

If you’re in Australia, you’re automatically taken to the Australian version of MySpace when you visit http://www.myspace.com

If you’re not in Australia, you can visit the Australian site by going here http://au.myspace.com/

Hackers hold MySpace to ransom

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

A couple of New York teenagers have been taken into custody after attempting to extort $US150,000 from MySpace.com.

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald the teenagers were thrown off MySpace for hacking into other users’ accounts. The pair then threatened to distribute information about how to hack into MySpace if they were not paid the money by MySpace.com.

The pair were taken into custody by undercover police officers posing as MySpace employees. They were each charged with sending a threatening letter, attempted extortion, and illegal computer access. Bail was set at $US35,000.

The pair are face up to four years in prison if convicted.


“Hacking MySpace” debuts on the Blogosphere

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

As my book “Hacking MySpace” gets closer to release I’ve been monitoring web and blog references to it using Google and Technorati.

Despite its August 2006 release, the book appeared on Amazon and other online book shops in February, where it can be preordered.

Now it has made a proper debut into the Blogosphere (not counting here Cogent Insights) at Hollywood 2020.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of Blogosphere “chatter” the book will generate, and what impact this will have on its popularity (or otherwise).

If the Blogosphere is a means to bring the creators of products (like me with “Hacking MySpace”) closer to consumers (readers, in this case), perhaps the next few months will provide an opportunity for me and readers of this blog to learn more about how this dynamic works in practice.

Google adds video to AdSense

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Google has added video capabilities to its AdSense advertising network, according to a report in the Advertising Age. Video ads can now be placed on web sites that currently display Google graphical ads. The videos ads are static when first shown, and the user needs to press a play button to actually activate the videos.

Google is rapidly becoming the Microsoft of the Internet (irony intended); what pie doesn’t it have its finger in? Mind you, it’s a bit hard to be too critical, since Google does such a good job with most of the things it does.

Hacking MySpace : Mods and Customizations to make MySpace Your Space (ExtremeTech)

Saturday, May 20th, 2006

Well it almost killed me, but last week I finished the manuscript for my fourth book Hacking MySpace : Mods and Customizations to make MySpace Your Space and got it to my editor, Rosanne, at Wiley Publishing, more or less on time.

I signed the contract to write the book in late December 2005, and until last week, I felt like I spent of all my waking life behind a computer (whether it was writing the book, or keeping my other ventures on track).

It’s been a really interesting experience. I’ve immersed myself in the world of social networking, and met some very interesting and talented people on MySpace. I also updated my HTML and CSS skills, which I didn’t think I would ever have cause to use again.

When you’re working on a 350 page book you sometimes wonder whether you’ll ever get it finished. But now that the edited chapters are starting to come back to from Rosanne, I’m starting to get the sense that, hey, this is actually happening. Also the fact that you can preorder the book from Amazon has dispelled any doubts I might have had.
It seems quite bizzare, but this experience seems to demonstrate that it’s easier for Australian writers to get published in the US than it is in Australia. My first three books were published by CHOICE Books (part of the Australian Consumers’ Association), where I was a journalist and editor (though that feels like a long time ago now). At the beginning of 2005 I started to get a hankering to do another book, and I got in touch with my old publisher Richard, who at the time had already left CHOICE Books.

Richard was quite pessemistic about my chances of finding a publisher. CHOICE Books had been downsized to almost nothing and was not taking on any new projects. He said that the publishing industry had really tightened up and unless I was famous or had an simply amazing idea I didn’t have a chance of getting published again – despite the fact that I had a proven track record. He did mention a couple of publishers he thought I should call. I pitched a couple of ideas to these contacts, but they didn’t go anywhere.

A few months later I was talking to Andrew Parsons about his GameParents web site. He had written a computer book for a US publisher, and he kindly put me in touch with his agent, Laura, in the US. I got in touch with her, told her about my ideas, and she asked me to put together some proposals. While there was some interest in the concepts – a book on vintage computers and another on using MBA business models and tools in small business – they didn’t get off the ground.

At that point it seemed to me that my career as an author was over, and I decided to put the whole book writing idea on hold. Then, in October last year, out of nowhere, Laura dropped me an email, inviting me to put together a proposal about Hacking MySpace for a major publisher. I put together what i thought was a pretty decent proposal, and before I knew it, I was signing a contract.
Sometimes opportunities come when you least expect them.

Australian version of MySpace to be launched

Friday, May 5th, 2006

Ahead of the launch of the local Australian version of the MySpace home page in the next two weeks, News Limited executives have been presenting advertising opportunities to key clients and media buyers.

According to AdNews, the new localised home page will feature Australian content and advertisers and will designed to engage the 800,000 or so Australian MySpace users. In Australia, 6000 new users sign up for the service every day.

It’s no surprise that News Limited is leveraging its sales capacity in Australia to expand the revenue opportunities for the MySpace franchise. What will be interesting is to see whether MySpace can embed itself in the popular culture in the same way as it has in the US My guess, given the compelling value proposition for existing and upcoming bands and artists, is that it will.