iFive: Facebook Slimes Google And Doubts China Expansion, New York Times Traffic Slip, Asian Software Piracy, Yelp In Spain

Slow getting into the swing of the day? Here’s iFive, our early news summary, to help:

1. Facebook and Google haven’t exactly seen eye to eye, and now the battle seems to have turned nasty: Facebook hired a PR firm to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers, with an angle that Google was invading user privacy. Facebook has now, seemingly, confirmed it hired Burson-Marsteller, on the grounds it thinks Google’s really invading privacy, and is unfairly using Facebook’s data to fuel its own social ambitions.


2. China has long been a rumored expansion target for Facebook, but a new report suggests there’s a fundamental rift between CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg on the move. Zuckerberg is keen, and sees that Facebook may be an agent for change in the closeted nation, whereas Sandberg is very wary about the compromises the social network would have to make to appease the authorities–which could include censorship and snooping on users.

3. The New York Times is engaged in a grand experiment in monetizing its online edition, shutting it away behind a paywall. New statistics hint that this isn’t working as planned, and the paper’s share of page views for all newspaper sites has fallen from 13% in March to 10.6% in April. That’s the lowest share in 12 months, and it’s a 24% slip that’s worse than the industry average slide of 7.5% according to ComScore.

4. Software piracy is exploding in the Asia-Pacific region, and has hit a record level of $18.7 billion in 2010–60% of the software installed on computers in this part of the world is illicit. The piracy is driven by the cost-benefit curve of using illegal software in an emerging economy–and risking potential fines or ill-performing code. China and India lead the pack, with a 78% piracy rate and a 64% one.

5. Proof that crowd-sourced local review sites work, Yelp is expanding its operations to a whole new country–Spain, which is its fifth non-U.S. regional site. The expansion is motivated by a doubling of Yelp’s international traffic over the last year, and will see its desktop app as well as iOS and Android apps getting a Spanish makeover, making the most of a boom in mobile use of Yelp, also doubling in April versus the 2010 figure.

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