Asian MySpace Clones

Business Week writes:

How big is the social networking craze on the Net in Asia? Global investors will get a far better sense on Sept. 14 in Tokyo. That’s when Japan’s fastest-growing social networking site, mixi, will launch a much anticipated initial public offering. While mixi is no MySpacethere are currently 5 million users at mixiits membership has quintupled in the past year. At 7 billion page views a month, mixi trails only Yahoo! (YHOO) and Google (GOOG) in Japan in online traffic and is the No. 37 site globally, according to Alexa.com.

These days, mixi is facing tough competition. Gree and Any (other SNS’s) are growing in popularity, and MySpace, Microsoft (MSFT), and Softbank are slated to join the crowd soon in Japan. Net portal Yahoo! Japan and online retailer Rakuten have set up their own social networking service, and South Korea’s Cyworld has recently entered the Japanese market, too.

Baidu’s Success

The New York Times writes about China’s leading search engine:

While Baidu continues to gain market share in China and does so with a Web site that the Chinese government heavily censors and that gives priority to advertising rather than relevant search results some analysts question whether Baidu can withstand competition from Google and Yahoo, which possess superior technology and global work forces.

But Baidus evolution, and Mr. Lis journey as an entrepreneur, offer textbook examples of the payoffs and perils of doing business in China and suggest that Baidu may prove to be far more resilient than some analysts believe. China has a population of 1.3 billion, about 130 million of whom are Internet users, an online market second in size only to the American market. Because China is the worlds fastest-growing major economy, analysts consider it the next great Internet battleground, with Baidu uniquely positioned to prosper from that competition.

Media Search and Ads

WSJ writes:

One of the charms of Internet video and audio is that Web sites featuring such offerings are largely free of the advertising cluttering television and radio.

That may be about to change.

Several small companies are starting to pitch advertising links using their software that will search every word spoken in Web-borne video soundtracks or Internet audio programs known as podcasts. The new technology, from companies including Podzinger Inc., TVEyes Inc. and Blinkx Inc., uses voice-recognition software to translate spoken words into text or audio-wave forms that can then be searched.