In the two weeks since a sinkhole killed a man in Florida, two new sinkholes have received a significant amount of press. One was reported in Washington D.C., but who cares; it was relatively small and no one was injured. The other one occurred Friday, when Mark Mihal fell into an 18-foot sinkhole during a round of golf with his friends in southern Illinois.
Bad timing: Just as Mark Zuckerberg's (admittedly cute) dog Beast joined Facebook, well-known Chinese activist Michael Anti (ne Zhao Jing) was booted off—his profile and hundreds of contacts vanished. The reason: Anti's use of an Westernized pen name to register his account violated Facebook's dumb, strict real name policy. "Facebook has always been based on a real name culture," is the company line.
Here we go again! VH1 (who else?) has just greenlit Scream Queens, a reality show in which 10 unknown actresses desperate to be the next Jamie Lee Curtis or Janet Leigh will compete for a starring role in an upcoming “major” Lionsgate film. And boy are they excited — one Lionsgate rep tells THR that “discovering new talent is always exciting,” while another chimes in by teaching us that “VH1 has had a tremendous track record in launching alternative programming that captures viewers' imaginations.” Yes, yes it does! Our brains have been expanded by Viacom's ongoing carnival featuring women degrading themselves in hot tubs and music execs attempting to Make A Band, Any Band Will Do quarter after quarter. But with a reputable horror studio behind Scream Queens and the fact that scary movies have launched more than a few major careers, this one may put its You’re The One That I Want and It Factor predecessors to shame. We look back at five recent Next Big Thing reality shows in an effort to place our bets:
She's back! Marcy Simon, Eric Schmidt's ex-girlfriend, has always aimed to be with the hot tech company of the moment. In the '90s, she was all over Microsoft (and, we hear, Bill Gates). Then it was Schmidt and Google. Now that Facebook is looking to hire a VP of PR, could she be angling for the job? We hear she was rebuffed when she tried to land Facebook's outside PR account — San Francisco-based Outcast got the gig instead. But Simon is still relentlessly trying to work her way into Facebook. She's signed up Peter Thiel's Founders Fund as a client, hoping to use Thiel's influence as a board member to get tighter with Mark Zuckerberg & Co. I don't know about this, Marcy. Isn't Zuckerberg a little young for you?
Bebo, the San Francisco-based social network that's more popular overseas, launched a platform called Open Media today. It allows content owners to publish videos on the site using their own formats and ads. Launch partners include CBS, MTV, ESPN and BBC. Content owner keep all the ad revenue. Users can become "fans" of these content owners, just like they can "fan" brands, bands and celebrities on Facebook. Impressive, but Bebo hasn't fully caught up to Zuckerberg & Co. until it's also illegally forcing users to endorse products.
NICK DOUGLAS — Good deals are obvious. Great deals are not. News Corp's $580-million purchase of MySpace was "Murdoch's Folly" no more when Google paid $900 million to power MySpace search. In that spirit, here are the top nine business moves from 2006 that don't make sense — at first. Below, the video that started Deal #1.