The child-focused, virtual world Webkinz.com, which made its reputation as a commercial-free zone, has removed an ad for the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" movie apparently in response to complaints from parents and the advocacy group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. Ganz, the toy company that runs the site, did not comment for this article.
A pair of consumer groups have filed a petition with the Federal Trade Commission, asking Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras to recuse herself from the agency's antitrust review of the proposed Google-DoubleClick merger. The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy cite Majoras' relationship with Jones Day, the law firm representing DoubleClick, as a conflict of interest. Majoras previously was a partner at Jones Day, where her husband, who specializes in antitrust law, currently serves as a partner.
Cisco Systems' new Entertainment Operating System for content and social-networking sites will be offered to media companies when the service goes live next year, Cisco says. The cost of the software service has not yet been made public.
For its next expansion phase, News Corp's MySpace plans to roll out customized versions of the social-networking site in countries that pose technical and cultural challenges, including Russia, South Korea and Turkey. "We are placing strategic bets," said MySpace's managing director of international, Travis Katz. "We are looking at places where there is not a ton of money to be made in the next five or 10 years, but we want to be well-positioned when things get there."
MTV Networks has teamed with AOL to stream clips of shows from the Viacom unit's cable and online channels, including Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1, through an ad-driven broadband player on the Web portal's video site. Under the deal, MTVN will handle video ad sales, and AOL will take care of display ads.