Friday, February 22, 2008

Facebook Users In Decline

Figures from Nielsen Online in the United Kingdom show a 5% drop in the number of Facebook users between December and January, with a similar fall for social networking websites MySpace and Bebo.

It's the first time in 17 months that Facebook has recorded a drop, and figures in Australia show a similar pattern.

Users fell 5% to 8.5 million in January from 8.9 million in December, according to data from Nielsen Online.

This was the first drop in user numbers since July 2006 when Nielsen began compiling data on the site.

Nic Howell, deputy editor of industry magazine New Media Age, said the site was no longer as popular among its core audience of young people.

". . . when major corporations start profiles on Facebook, its brand is devalued, driving its core user base into the arms of newer and more credible alternatives," he said.

"Facebook was never going to be able to carry on growing the way it has, and a lot of people - especially those who've been using it heavily - are now starting to get Facebook fatigue," said Nielsen Online analyst Alex Burmaster.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Britney's Father Snatches Her Notorious Pink Wig.

Britney Spears' father has confiscated her notorious pink wig in an apparent bid to straighten up her act.

Jamie Spears was seen confiscating the singer's hairpiece, which is synonymous with the singer's wild image and partying, at the weekend in LA.

This seems to be an attempt to get Britney to straighten up her act.

The bobbed wig has come to signal the onset of a depressive episode, with her ousted manager Sam Lutfi revealing last month: "When the pink wig comes on, it's getting bad."

Despite her family's best efforts, it seems her time in hospital has done little to change her chaotic lifestyle - or her dress sense.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

6 Worst Travel Agents Of 2007

According to the Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Report the top 6 most complained about travel agents for 2007 are:

5. (tie) &

Most of Orbitz's complaints dealt with problems ticketing and boarding... and of course, refunds.

The complaints listed here represent only those formally lodged with the Dept. of Transportation.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

What Housing Crisis? Realtors' Ads Defy Reality

Despite a Nationwide Meltdown, Industry Says Now Is the Time to Buy

SAN FRANCISCO ( -- The housing bubble has burst. Almost three-quarters of a million Americans are in foreclosure. The median price of a single-family home recently fell for the first time in at least 40 years, and many are predicting it'll drop further in 2008.

But none of that stopped the National Association of Realtors promulgating a $40 million ad campaign urging Americans to think of buying a house as a get-rich opportunity.

"We believe there's a psychological block" to buying a home due to negative media coverage of the subprime crisis, said Frank Sibley, senior VP-communications and conventions for the National Association of Realtors.

Ads include claims that, on average, the value of a home nearly doubles every 10 years, and 60% of the average homeowner's wealth comes from home equity.

Mory Brenner, a veteran consumer-debtor attorney who now writes
on debt issues from a consumer point of view, put it this way: "Were the ads trying to lead you down a road with blinders on? I thought so. I found it objectionable and a little offensive," he said. While without patently false statements or data, Mr. Brenner said the ads "are misleading and not especially forthright and, in a way, the way we got into this situation [the subprime-mortgage crisis] in the first place." He chided the association for not producing a campaign more befitting its station. "They're not some [real-estate agent] on the corner," he said.

Others were concerned about the premise the Realtors put forth in the ads that housing values are going up. Patrick Newport, an economist with Global Insight, an economic-forecasting firm, said: "In a lot of markets, housing prices are dropping, and in some markets -- such as Florida and California -- they are dropping a lot. If you buy a home, you take on a big risk," especially if national housing prices drop 10%, as some predict, or if you lose your job and are unable to make mortgage payments, he said. He added that in many cases, "renting may be a much better deal than buying a house."

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