TWiST #221 News Websites
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TWiST #221 News

News stories we're covering for This Week in Startups Episode #221, airing on Friday, January 6th, will be posted here. This is an open list, so in addition to voting for the stories you want to hear about, now you can go to the bottom of the page and suggest your own! The big startup and tech industry stories from the week that get the most votes will be featured on the show, and if you suggested them, we may even give you a shoutout on the air! And don't forget to click through to Page 2 to see all the stories we're working on!

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    The Incubator Debate

    *Andrew Clay Shafer recently wrote in a blog post that he thinks the recent "explosion of incubators" isn’t necessarily a good thing *Shafer argued that, unless an incubator can make hand-offs to investors personally, or get the right audience in the room for demo day, then the value of the program is severely limited *In an article about the post, Om Malik said that he believes most incubators will end up flaming out *QUESTION: Do you agree with Om? Is there a glut of incubators and are they helping or harming the startup ecosystem? *Shafer's article:

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    Yahoo! Hires Scott Thompson as CEO

    *Thompson leaves a job running eBay’s large PayPal online payments unit *In an interview with AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher, Thompson says he was approached in November about the Yahoo job, although sources said it was just offered this week and took eBay by surprise *Of the position, Thompson said: "Its potential is still enormous, but the dialogue has not been about what the company is. I want to get this wonderful brand to where it could be again … so, as a starting point, this is a great starting point." *Thompson admitted that his lack of advertising experience could be problematic, as it’s Yahoo’s biggest business *QUESTION: Was Thompson the right hire and will he be able to make any substantial changes? Or would someone with more ad experience have been a better choice? *SOURCE: AllThingsD

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    Google+ Sees Massive Membership Growth

    *Google+ recently had its strongest-month ever and, at least according to one analyst, is on track to reach 400 million users by the end of the year *Experian Hitwise reported Monday that Google’s social networking site experienced a huge traffic jump in December and more than doubled its traffic in just one month *Google+ has declined to comment on its membership numbers, but founder and analyst Paul Allen told the Daily Mail that the site recently surpassed the 62 million members mark *That would mean that, of those 62M members, 25% of them signed up in December alone *This growth rate is significant since Facebook (now at 800M users) didn’t pass 60 million members until nearly four years after its debut * At this rate, Allen predicts Google+ will reach 400 million users by the end of 2012 *QUESTION: Do you think Google+ membership will pass Facebook in the f*ture? Will the increase in Android phone sales be a big contributing factor to G+’s success? *SOURCE: Mashable

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    Walmart Labs Makes Tech Acquisition

    *Wal-Mart’s technology division, Walmart Labs, has acquired Small Society, a mobile agency in Portland, Ore, for an undisclosed sum *In a blog post, Wal-Mart said the company will join another acquisition it made in the Northwest, and both will work closely with its Silicon Valley offices *Small Society has developed apps for large organizations, including the Democratic National Committee, Zipcar and Starbucks *Walmart Labs was born in April 2011with the $300 million purchase of Kosmix, whose founders now run the division *QUESTION: Why would Walmart chose to build its own e-comm platforms and social media tools rather than rely on existing options? *SOURCE: AllThingsD

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    Chrome Extension Warns You When You Browse A SOPA-Supporter's Website

    *The Chrome browser extenstion ‘No SOPA’ gives users a warning message reading "SOPA Supporter! This company is a known supporter of the dangerous 'Stop Online Piracy Act'," every time they visit a SOPA-supporting Web site *SOPA would block access to sites accused of violating U.S. copyright laws and could be up for a vote in the Senate as early as Jan. 24 *The measure has been called Draconian by opponents who say it would fundamentally change the free-flow of information across the Internet *Proponents, however, say the measure is needed to block sites which flagrantly flaunt copyright laws and make content available for free without paying copyright owners *Hackers have already been working on other fixes to use if the law passes, including a satellite network and a Firefox add-on that directs the browser directly to a blocked site's IP address *Such extensions are being created in part to show the regulations, if passed, will be ineffective in stopping traffic to blacklisted sites. *QUESTION: Anyone want to step up to defend SOPA? *SOURCE: ReadWriteWeb

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    Amazon Further Squeezes Retail Chains

    *Major retail chains released their December sales figures, which were largely disappointing, while Amazon’s outlook remained bright *Wall Street forecasts a 40% year-over-year sales growth for Amazon in the last quarter *Barnes & Noble—whose biggest competitor is Amazon—expects retail same-store-sales to grow a meager 1% this year *Target’s December sales were below expectations in Electronics & Music, and Movies & Books *Best Buy also reported lousy sales growth and predicted declining margins, with comparable store sales growing only 0.3% during Q4 *While e-commerce makes up less than 5% of U.S. retail sales, that number continues to grow while brick-and-mortar figures decline *QUESTIONS: Amazon has had success with the Kindle Fire, so should they still be focusing most of their energy on e-commerce or hardware--or both? *SOURCE: SplatF

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