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Chillers and fuel cells: the greening of the hosting industry continues
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009
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This week in hosting

Like any niche, the hosting sector generates more and more interesting news during some weeks than others and this has been one of those weeks. Here is a recap of the most attention-grabbing stories, from a legal battle over an internet meme to the most unique use of Twitter yet seen in the industry.

First up is radio and television talk show host Glen Beck, a satirical personality who was the recent target of rumor-mongers on Fark.com, the popular online community. Beck, held in an infamous light on the web for his accusing U.S. President Barack Obama of being racist, became a victim of a nasty rumor that insinuated that he had sexually assaulted and murdered a young lady in 1990. While completely unsubstantiated, the claim spread quickly online and eventually resulted in the launching of a web site with an unfortunate domain, a self-titled parody site that questions Beck’s innocence. Legal action has been launched by representatives of Beck and the site has since been removed; what action can be taken against the site owner and whether the domain’s registrar, Enom, can be held legally responsible remains in question.

Our second story revolves around the unveiling of the latest green data center, this one a 50,000 square-foot structure built by Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, the home of the company’s headquarters. This latest in a growing trend of data centers with ecologically-friendly designs will power Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform. The facility aims for a low carbon footprint by utilizing outside air to cool both the building and servers, saving an estimated 12,000 tons of carbon emissions per year.

And finally, following up on a story we did last month on the growing use of social networks in advertising and support services within the industry, a story about a unique use of popular micro-blogging platform Twitter. Domain registrar and hosting provider Netfirms announced that users can now register a domain by simply sending a message to the company’s Twitter account in the format “reg mynewdomain.com”. The service is available only to existing users who have registered their Twitter account with Netfirms and taking advantage as a new user necessarily involves first purchasing a new domain or transferring an existing domain to the registrar. Given the hassle involved, Netfirms launched not only a YouTube tutorial video but also a highly promoted contest that will see four 8GB iPod Touch devices along with a Macbook given away over the next four weeks; registering for the giveaway requires a so-called “retweet” of the promotion to a friend, enabling Netfirms to grow a loyal following in the very community that their service is targeting.

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