The URL shortening service Bit.ly just secured $2 million in financing from investors including O'Reilly's AlphaTech Ventures. Though URL shorteners have been around for years, Bit.ly believes there's money in offering Twitter-friendly short links along with web analytics to track how the links are used. The company reports that its links were clicked 20 million times last month. So far, the news coverage I've read about Bit.ly has neglected an unusual aspect of the startup: It's one of the only prominent online ... read more

The 11-day-old web site ScottsMoneyBlog.Com is selling an amazing money-making work-at-home business opportunity for only $1.98. "Would you like to make $5,000 a month posting a link on Google?" asks Scott Hunter in an ad I spotted today on the Drudge Report. "Get paid $5 to $30 for every website link that you post on Google. No one needs to buy anything from you or Google in order to get paid." I'm not clear on what Scott means by posting links "on Google," but he's wearing a tuxedo, so he must be rolling in ... read more

Debra J. Saunders has an impassioned rant in today's San Francisco Chronicle about how we'll all be sorry when newspapers are dead: News stories do not sprout up like Jack's bean stalk on the Internet. To produce news, you need professionals who understand the standards needed to research, report and write on what happened. If newspapers die, reliable information dries up. ... I wonder who will be around in five years to cover stories. Or what talk radio will talk about when hosts can't just siphon from ... read more

Late Friday, TechCrunch ran a single-sourced allegation that the CBS-owned music-recommendation service Last.fm had handed over user data to the RIAA for use in illegal file-sharing lawsuits: ... word is going around that the RIAA asked social music service Last.fm for data about its user's listening habits to find people with unreleased tracks on their computers. And Last.fm, which is owned by CBS, actually handed the data over to the RIAA. According to a tip we received: I heard from an irate friend who works at ... read more

There's a User-Generated Content Expo being held in San Jose, Calif., next month. Keynote speakers include Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and CafePress founder Fred Durham. While browsing the list of speakers to see if they invited any actual content-generating users, I found one of the greatest speaker bios I've ever read. Meet Dawn Clark, founder of DawnClark.Net: A pioneer in the field of Cyberenergetics, Dawn Clark is a sensitive who stands at the nexus of science and spirituality. Fields influenced by ... read more

I love the thick coat of BS that Wizards of the Coast President Greg Leeds laid down to justify the layoffs this week of around 20 employees, including longtime Dungeons & Dragons game designers Jonathan Tweet and Dave Noonan: Consolidating internal resources coupled with improved outsourcing allows us to gain efficiencies in executing against our major digital initiatives Magic Online and D&D Insider. Wizards of the Coast is well positioned to maximize future opportunities, including further brand development on ... read more

While looking through some records in a bankruptcy database, I found an item that hasn't hit the news yet: The web hosting provider Alpha Red Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday in the Southern District of Texas, claiming more than $10 million in liabilities. ... read more