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  • Steven Woda

Daily Roundup for 2008-04-16

It’s a question marketers are still grappling with years after the first waves of corporate blogging flooded the web. But for better or worse, it seems corporate blogging — and the title of chief blogger — is beginning to hit its stride. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Marriott and Kodak all have recently recruited chief bloggers, with or without the actual title, to tell their stories and engage consumers.

These days, online consumers and companies are collaborating on a range of activities, including R&D, marketing and after-sales support. Here are a few examples of how brands and consumers are working together online.

eBay is launching a "Trusted Selling with Identity Confirmation" initiative in its efforts to fight the problem of account hijacking in which fraudsters take over users’ accounts to list scam auctions. eBay said it has started recording which computers members typically use to conduct their buying and selling activity. Beginning in June, it will begin verifying sellers are using the same computers they have used previously. If sellers list items using a different computer, eBay will make an automated call to the seller for confirmation, and may also prompt them to verify their identity in other, as yet unspecified, ways.

As sellers are coping with eBay’s new algorithm-based search engine that sorts listings by relevancy and seller performance instead of by price or time, eBay has yanked a tool that some were using to optimize their listings.

Panos Anastassiadis didn’t click on the fake subpoena that popped into his in-box on Monday morning, but he runs a computer security company. Others were not so lucky. In fact, security researchers said that thousands have fallen victim to an e-mail scam in which senior managers such as Anastassiadis are told that they have been sued in federal court and must click on a Web link to download court documents. Victims of the crime are taken to a phony Web site where they are told they need to install browser plug-in software to view the documents. That software gives the criminals access to the victim’s computer.

When Tina Brown launched a publishing venture a decade ago, she used glossy paper bound between celebrity-splashed covers filled with long articles written by big-name, big-dollar contributors who spent weeks or even months reporting and crafting their stories. Here’s how she’ll probably do it in 2008: Hire a few editors to handpick stuff already kicking around the internet that will be ranked or graded, perhaps in some slickly designed graph.

The e-mail message addressed to a Booz Allen Hamilton executive was mundane—a shopping list sent over by the Pentagon of weaponry India wanted to buy. But the missive turned out to be a brilliant fake. Lurking beneath the description of aircraft, engine

Yahoo! investor Larry Haverty has newfound respect for the man who runs the company whose shares he owns. Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Jerry Yang earned those props after Apr. 9 reports showed his company has been hard at work crafting alternatives to the Microsoft (MSFT) takeover attempt that it has rebuffed.

Attention, attention: The latest tech darling has arrived, and it goes by the name of FriendFeed. Silicon Valley is buzzing about the seven-month-old startup, which offers a promising if somewhat messy new Internet service. Part of the interest comes from the blue-ribbon pedigrees of its founders, including Google (GOOG) alums Paul Buchheit and Bret Taylor, who honchoed Gmail and Google Maps.

I had the opportunity to sit in on someone else’s pitch to a VC recently, and for the first time got a chance to see a pitch meeting from the investor’s point of view. It was illuminating. I turned back to the various pitches I had made in the past, and saw them in a new light. When you’re embedded in, and heavily personally devoted to an idea for a long time, it’s hard to have any perspective. When you’re hearing an idea for the first time, you’ll probably see some gaping holes immediately. The entrepreneurs who are trying at the idea are willfully blind to these holes, having spent months (or years) justifying their hopes. There is one hole that I perceive is routinely there, and you’d better be ready to answer this question: Why you?

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