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A WikiLeaks Wake-Up Call

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Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:

What every business can learn from WikiLeaks. With the financial world on edge today with the rumored Wikileaks release of potentially embarrassing documents relating to a major U.S. Bank, possibly Bank of America, the Boston Globe reminds businesses of all sizes that now might be a good time to review their IT security procedures. As the article explains, "With the right access, a cheap thumb drive and a vendetta are the only ingredients an insider needs to obtain and leak secrets." To help make sure your company's information remains secure, check out our guide to network security.

A new option for funding. We recently told you about some ways you can get financing when banks won't lend, and today The Wall Street Journal offers another option: royalty financing. Most commonly used in film production, royalty financing involves paying back a loan with a revenue percentage. A company will promise the lender something like two percent to six percent of revenue over a certain time frame or until a certain dollar amount is reached. Though the Journal reports this type of funding is getting more popular, the recommendation comes with a warning: "The cost of capital may be more expensive than bank debt," the Journal writes, "especially if a company's revenue rises well above expectations and there is no negotiated ceiling."

With a flick of its wrist. Google has single-handedly changed the way online retailers rank in searches. The move comes about a week after a somewhat embarrassing article from the New York Times exposing Google's incapacity to stop unethical retailers from climbing to the top of its searches. Now the Times reports that Google has revised its algorithm so that it could detect "merchants that, in our opinion, provide extremely poor user experience," the company stated on its blog. Previously, such merchants, like the one profiled in the article, used consumer complaint sites and other links to ascend to the top of the rankings. Though Google and others claim this wasn't the reason for the success, it still has taken the necessary measures to prevent distasteful e-tailers from being featured in future searches.

Putting indie retailers to the test. That's what the Wall Street Journal's small-business reporting team set out to do inside Manhattan's Limelight Marketplace, a trove of shops and stands by merchants hawking everything from artisan jewelry to organic doggie treats. The reporters involved in the shopping endeavor state their bias toward entrepreneurs, but concluded that "artists, designers and creative folks that run independent boutiques are masters at delivering one-of-a-kind gifts. And the prices--while in some cases significantly higher than mass-produced items--were still manageable, especially for once-a-year splurges." Check out Inc.com's story on Limelight's flashy opening earlier this year, and our gallery of images of the curious retail space's checkered past.

A blog bigger than the Journal? "In five years, will the Huffington Post be worth more than the Journal?" The question was asked by Henry Blodget, moderating a discussion between Huffington Post and Wall Street Journal executives, reported by Anthony Ha for VentureBeat. At first, HuffPo CEO Eric Hippeau demurred, noting the deep pockets of Rupert Murdoch, but when pressed, Hippeau conceded that the online-only site would would "probably" eventually be worth more than the Journal. No surprise here, but Dow Jones president Todd Larsen disagreed, calling it "highly unlikely."

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Last updated: Dec 2, 2010




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