iFive: Facebook’s Ad Income and U.S. Share Problems, Cheezburger’s Venture Cash, Plastic Logic Reborn, Italian Google Antitrust

Back to work after the long weekend? This should help–the early news neatly diced up and served just right:

1. Facebook is big. Really big…in advertising. You may think Google is big, but new estimates of Facebook’s ad revenues for 2010 push close to $1.7 billion, up 86% on the previous year. This approximately doubled its share of the U.S. online advertising market to 4.7% from 2.8% in 2009. So Google’s still in the lead, by a factor of 10, but Facebook is very swiftly making up the ground–and has definite growth trajectories.


2. Cheezburger is a company you may not think of as being a definitive tech name for the 21st Century, but it’s behind LolCats and, and it’s just raised $30 million in capital funding led by the Foundry Group. The core of the investment is Cheez’s 16.5 million person user base, its 50 websites and hundreds of millions of page views per month: It’s all about monetizing adverts, folks. With kittens.

3. Facebook’s also in the news for less savory reasons: Goldman Sachs has barred U.S. citizens from investing in Facebook’s private shares, to avoid dabbling in very gray areas in American free market laws. The controversy around this is only just emerging, simultaneously with news there’s a huge personal phone number and address leak in Facebook’s system–meaning the firm’s had to suspend the sharing option, revealing exactly how risky it can be to hold personal data for one tenth of the human race.

4. Remember Plastic Logic’s fabulous business-orientated e-reader/tablet? The one that was canceled? Well, the firm’s just landed $700 million in venture funding, largely coming from Russia. The idea is to grasp the company’s clever electronics and display business, and make it a Russian affair–the backers seem to be banking on the tech’s potential future use rather than its failed utility at the moment.

5. Italy’s antitrust authorities have closed their investigation into Google, after Google promised to be clearer about its Italian business dealings–the antitrust probe had centered on accusations that Google was distorting the Italian market by paying news publishers to let it share their content. In doing so, Google’s avoided serious fines.

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