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theEweekly wrap: M-Commerce, data gathering and the $13million domain

Data and defence The Home Office confirmed this week that the latest strategic defence and security review would include legislation on data gathering. This will allow “security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to obtain communication data and to intercept communications”, meaning internet providers and phone networks must keep records of every call, email and page visit.

Police and security forces will have access to these records if they can demonstrate the data will be useful in a counterterrorism or “serious organised crime” investigation. The plan, or Interception Modernisation Programme, was first proposed under Labour, and criticised by the Liberal Democrats in the run-up to the election.

Upwardly Mobile The Internet Advertising Bureau has released research revealing the true extent – and the failings – of m-commerce in the UK. 51 per cent of mobile owners, or 23 million people, use their mobile to “make payments, redeem coupons or research products and services”. The research concluded that the average customer is spontaneous and likes trying new things, while the average spend was £12.20.

Unfortunately, the survey pointed to a large section of the market that is being left behind. Of those who did not engage in m-commerce, 35 per cent could not use the mobile internet on their handset. Smartphone users were 63 per cent more likely to buy, and those who find the process ‘easy’ were 16 per cent more likely.

Trouble.com The most expensive domain name in history was sold this week for $13 million (£8.2 million). Sex.com was purchased by Escom LLC in 2006 for between $12 and $14 million, who subsequently went bankrupt. However, the site has a history of causing bad luck: original owner Gary Kremen was involved in a 12-year court battle with conman Stephen Cohen who hijacked it in 1994. New owner Clover Holdings Ltd is based in the Caribbean, but otherwise remains a mystery.

Earlier this year, the new adult domain .xxx was given the go-ahead, with M&C Saatchi beating four other ad agencies to win the marketing contract. The second most expensive domain, Porn.com, was sold for $9 million (£5.7 million) in 2007.

Writers blocked The Washington Post has barred its journalists from posting on Twitter after they attempted to engage with an enraged gay activist group. GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) members were horrified to read a guest blog on the Washington Post website that suggested homosexuality was a form of mental illness. The group made their outrage known via Twitter, and the message was retweeted dozens of times.

Journalists from the Post attempted to placate GLAAD, and defended their website’s right to free speech. However, within a few days the Post had issued a memo to all staff banning them from interacting with critics via the Post’s official Twitter account. Tweeting from personal accounts is still permissible, but the memo called the debacle “equivalent to allowing a reader to write a letter to the editor – and then publishing a rebuttal by the reporter”.

Written by Rachel Hand

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