YouTube co-founders working on a magazine service called Zeen [UPDATED]


It looks like you’ll soon be able to discover and create “beautiful” magazines online.  In the last 24 hours, YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, who now run AVOS, posted a “Coming Soon” page on the website Zeen (a take on the word zine, which commonly refers to a narrowly focused self-published magazine).

While very few details are available, you can apply for a vanity URL such as

After you’ve signed up, a message appears that says, “We’re really excited to show you what we’ve been working on, and we’ll send you an email when it’s ready to go. In the meantime, we sent you an email to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email so we know you’re you! Bye till then!”

I happened to discover the website after noticing the domain name (Whois) was “privately” acquired by the brand protection company MarkMonitor.  Curious to see where the name was going to land, I checked back occasionally.  The domain didn’t resolve to a web page until today.  AVOS looks to have also purchased other zeen domain names like (Whois), (Whois), and even (Whois).

If you snoop around the website’s Privacy Policy page and view the home page source code, you can learn a bit more about the service.

For example, you can already find Zeen on Twitter (@zeen_com) and on Facebook, although both pages are relatively new and have little to no information.  You can also secure your username using your Facebook or Twitter account.

The “Information Sharing and Disclosure” section on the Privacy page offers more clues about the site’s yet-to-be revealed features.

  • Registered Users. When you register through the Site and create a profile webpage, you will be prompted to enter certain Personal Information and to create a username. Your name, if you’ve provided it or if it has been provided because you connected using a third-party SNS (see Third Party Social Networking Services below) and username will be listed publicly on our Service as will any other information you provide as part of your profile. Note that your email address will not be publicly visible unless you choose to add it as part of your profile information (see Sharing Member Content With Others below for more information on when your email address may be shared).
  • Adding Content to the Service. If you choose to add content to the Service, including without limitation links, images, videos, text, sound, comments, notes or tags (any and all of the foregoing “Member Content”), such content will be publicly viewable via the Service. Your username will also be publicly associated with any Member Content you add.
  • Sharing Member Content With Others. In certain instances you may be able to elect to share Member Content with others. In such instances, the person with whom you choose to share Member Content will receive an email notification that you wish to share Member Content with them and that email will originate from the email address associated with your account and therefore that email address will be viewable by the recipient and associated with your username.
  • Aggregate Information and Non-Identifying Information. We may share aggregated information that does not include Personal Information and we may otherwise disclose Non-Identifying Information and Log Data with third parties for industry analysis, demographic profiling and other purposes.  Any aggregated information shared in these contexts will not contain your Personal Information.
  • Searching Using Email Addresses. We may allow users to search by email address for others who use the Service and that could enable someone to find your Zeen account if they know your email address.
  • Third Party Social Networking Services. Registered users may link their accounts with certain third party social networking services (“SNSs”) and doing so may associate Personal Information from that SNS with your account on the Service, for instance, your name.  If you choose to link your account with an SNS then, with your permission and on your behalf, we will share your Personal Information, including, but not limited to, information contained in your profile and any Member Content with the applicable SNS.  Through use of such SNS’s APIs we also receive certain information (which may include your Personal Information) in accordance with the privacy settings you have set in your SNS account, if any.  Other than what we may share with the SNS in connection with your linking of accounts, the personal information an SNS has about you is obtained by the SNS independent of our Service.  Other services follow different rules regarding the use or disclosure of the personal information you submit to them.  We encourage you to read the privacy policies or statements of the other services you use. If you link an SNS account to your Zeen account on the Service then, depending on the settings you have selected on the SNS, users of that SNS may be able to search for and find your linked account on the Service and/or use that SNS to view your activity on the Service. We will not post any information to an SNS on your behalf without first obtaining your consent.

There are plenty of websites that allow you to create your own zine, so it should be interesting to see how the YouTube co-founders, who also own the social bookmarking service Delicious, plan to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

Chad Hurley was recently interviewed by The Next Web but made no mention of “Zeen”.

[Update 2 June 20, 2012 at 3:12PM EST:. The Next Web is reporting that Zeen will launch next week.]

[Update 1 April 7 at 8:00AM EST:. Minutes ago, Zeen posted their first messages to Facebook and Twitter, saying, “Hello world! You’ll soon be able to discover and create beautiful magazines with us. Secure your username now at”]

Discussion: VentureBeat, PC Magazine, Techmeme, The Verge, The Next Web, CNET, Digital Trends, Betabeat, Electronista, WebProNews, Hacker News, Venture Beat, Business Insider, PC Magazine,,, DonanimHaber, Webrazzi, Bitelia, Macity, MediaPost,, The Guardian, Digital Trends and Blogosfere

News Trademarks

Microsoft files trademark for “People Powered Stories”, more Google bashing?

People Powered Stories

Since Google announced changes to its privacy policies, it has come under an onslaught of criticism from all directions including rivals. 

Microsoft has already taken aim at Google with its “Putting People First” advertising campaign and a YouTube video called “Gmail Man”.

Now it looks like Microsoft may have something more in store for Google in the coming days, something that is powered by everyday people.

On January 31, 2012, Microsoft Corporation filed a trademark application (Serial Number: 85530034) for “People Powered Stories”.  And as the phrase and trademark description suggest, Microsoft may launch an advertising campaign that is supplied by user-generated content.

The goods and services covered by the trademark filing cover two categories:

Advertising and marketing services; Advertising consultation; Providing information in the field of advertising

Providing online, non-downloadable software and tools for creating advertisements that include user-generated feedback and content

As of today, Microsoft has made no announcement as to its plans for “People Powered Stories” and no website exists.

One thing also to note with the filing is there no first-use date reported, indicating that Microsoft has not started using the mark.

[Update 2 on Feb. 14, 2012:.  Microsoft officially announced People Powered Stories, a new social advertising solution.]

[Update 1 on Feb. 5, 2012:.  A resident of China registered the domain name (Whois) shortly after this story ran.]

Discussion:  The Next Web, Simply Zesty, Marketing Land and

Disputes National Arbitration Forum News

Google wins dispute over YouTube typo domains, names ordered transferred

YouTube Scam Survey site

In a no-brainer, a single-member Panel with the National Arbitration Forum has ordered several YouTube typo domain names be transferred to Google.

The domain names disputed in the case were:,,,, and

The respondent, who filed no response in the proceeding, had been using the names to send unsuspecting users to a survey scam that asked a series of questions and attempted to gather personal information by promising free gifts like Best Buy gift cards.

Google filed the complaint (Case No. 1416796) at the end of November.

Judge Harold Kalina (Ret.), Panelist, found that all three elements required under the ICANN Policy to transfer the domains were satisfied.

1)  the domain name registered by Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(2)  Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(3)  the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith

Full details of the ruling, which was issued on January 5, have been posted online.

Discussion: The Next Web, Marketing Land, Index, The Verge, and mediabistro

Disputes National Arbitration Forum News

Google going after YouTube typo domains that lead to survey scams

YouTube Scam Survey site

Google is going after several popular typos of the web address, all owned by the same person. 

Each typo domain leads unsuspecting users to a site that looks confusingly similar to the official YouTube site (as shown in the picture above of – minus the ‘e’).  Instead of landing on Google’s YouTube, users are taken to a survey scam that asks a series of questions and attempts to gather personal information by promising free gifts like Best Buy gift cards.

Google filed the complaint (Case No. 1416796) with the National Arbitration Forum this past week over the domain names:,,,, and 

The names are all registered to the same person as seen in WHOIS records, allowing Google to file one complaint that relates to more than one domain name, under UDRP rules.

According to rough traffic estimates provided by, visitors number in the thousands to each site every month.  In October for example, reported over 6,000 unique visitors.

As with all domain disputes, each panel examines three elements before reaching a decision:

(1) is the domain name identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which the complainant has rights
(2) the owner has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name and;
(3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. 

If all three elements are satisfied, then the domain names will be ordered transferred to Google.

This will likely be an open-and-shut case for Google.  Earlier this month, Twitter Inc. won a similar dispute over the highly trafficked domain after filing a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

I’ve reached out to the owner of the disputed domain names for comment, and will update this story if I hear back.

Google had its own share of problems with the YouTube web address early on, but it found itself on the other side of a dispute.

Just weeks after acquiring the video site, Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment filed a lawsuit in 2006 after its site ( continuously crashed because of millions of people looking for YouTube.  Universal Tube ended up using for its business web address, and kept ownership of – a site that today averages a million visitors per month according to Compete.

Discussion:TechCrunchSilicon Republic, The Verge, Softpedia, Techmeme, iG Tecnologia and Punto Informatico

Movies News

Sean Parker’s biggest contribution to domain names: Drop the “The”

Sean Parker

TechCrunch has posted an article about the parody video on YouTube titled Drop The The (The Social Network Song) that was produced by Benji Samit and Dan Hernandez of Single Serving Films

Dressed up like Justin Timberlake and surrounded by bling, the fake Sean Parker raps about dropping the word “The” from Facebook and other companies like “The Gap”.

If you haven’t watched the movie “The Social Network”, in one scene, Sean Parker who co-founded Napster and was played by Justin Timberlake in the film, advises Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin during their first dinner meeting to drop the word “the” in the company’s name and web address:   

It’s been reported that Facebook then bought the domain name in August 2005 for a reported $200,000.

It looks like the video may go viral with the help of TechCrunch, but at the time of this story it has just over 1,000 views on YouTube.