... worth noting 11 June 2003



:: Following research into the digital music habits of 10,000 consumers, Entertainment UK has launched an online preview service, that will enable music fans to listen to albums weeks in advance of their official release. The digital tracks will expire on the day that the album is released, when consumers will receive a hard copy of the CD. Entertainment UK joined forces with digital service provider DX3 to provide the service to music fans and is working with retail partners that include Woolworths, StreetsOnline and MVC.

:: 'Interactivity' specialist Neo One has started to roll-out a new SMS product that enables clubbers to chat with one another via a giant screen. The company has developed a product called 'Impulse', a text-to-screen entertainment system that has been created to generate more interaction in nightclubs and bars between clubbers, DJs and management staff. Clubbers are invited to interact with each other by sending text messages to the Impulse system, which displays the messages on the venue screen. As well as supporting a chatroom, Impulse also allows venue managers and DJs to conduct live polls, competitions, picture messaging and games.

:: The PlayStation 2 games console is going online in the UK, with Sony launching its broadband gaming service. In order to player users will need to buy a network adapter kit, which has just gone on sale along with two multi-player titles.

:: Visa has confirmed that over 4,000 European retailers have joined the Verified by Visa initiative. Companies including Lloyds TSB and Opodo have signed up for the Verified by Visa scheme, aimed at improving consumer confidence in online shopping.

:: Amazon has launched a new business unit called Amazon Services in a bid to help other would-be e-tailers. Apparently the new subsidiary will provide retailers with an outsourced e-commerce service, which will give them access to Amazon's Web site technology, fulfilment and customer services assets.

:: The US House of Representatives has voted to ban credit-card payments to Internet casinos, in the hope of clamping down on the hundreds of offshore operations that have mushroomed in recent years. The bill has proved highly controversial, since it doesn't encompass gambling on lotteries or horse racing, which are increasingly valuable sources of tax revenue in many states.

:: Yahoo! has launched an online dating service in Europe, in a bid to convert the lovelorn and luckless into paying customers. Jupiter Research estimates the market for online personal services hit Euro 20m (£14.9m) last year, and sees it growing to Euro 117m (£82m) by 2007. Launching in the UK, France and Germany to start, Yahoo! will compete against rivals including uDate.com and Love@Lycos, the subscription dating service from Web portal Lycos Europe.