Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
The Google-Groupon deal gets richer. About $3.5 billion richer. Today's New York Times is reporting that Google is "near a deal" to buy Groupon for $6 billion as early as this week, making yesterday's rumors of a $2.5 billion acquisition look like chump change. A $6 billion deal would be Google's largest by a long shot -- the current title goes to DoubleClick's $3.1 billion acquisition back in 2007. Google has remained quiet, so far, and Groupon CEO Andrew Mason told the Times he'd talk "only if you want to talk about my other passion, building miniature dollhouses."
And in other Google news...The Wall Street Journal reports that the European Commission is launching a probe to investigate whether or not the search giant is "shutting competitors out of the online-search market," essentially raising questions about whether or not Google is a monopoly. Fifteen years ago, the search market barely existed, but the quest for online information is now a multi-billion dollar industry, and Google does control a big chunk of the pie. The investigation isn't proof of any malfeasance, but the article does note that Internet search providers complained "that Google abused its dominant market position by allegedly placing their services lower in results rankings, while Google's own services were given preferential placing."
Tips for staying balanced during the recession. Maintaining a healthy work/life balance as an entrepreneur is never easy. Trying to do so under the pressures of the ongoing recession can seem almost impossible. Thankfully, the American Express OPEN Forum has some helpful tips from Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, to help return some balance to your life. Among some of the tips Ferriss suggests is making a not-to-do list which can help eliminate those distractions, which take up big chunks of time. Ferriss also recommends not checking e-mail during family time. "If there is truly an emergency at work, something you need to be aware of immediately, the information will be delivered by phone, not e-mail," he says.
"Move over Kim and Britney." That's Business Insider's take on the latest crop of tech entrepreneurs, who "smoke weed and do lines of coke in bathrooms like they're guests at Lindsey Lohan's birthday party, not launching a start-up." Take Foursquare's Dennis Crowley, for instance, who regularly appears in People magazine and models for hunky Gap ads. Or serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban's very long and involved cameo as himself on the HBO series Entourage. The bottom line, according to Insider, is that "the public's attention is shifting away from the Kim Kardashians and Heidi Montags to an unseemly group of brilliant nerds and college dropouts, who make millions on websites they create."
WikiLeaks's next target: corporate America. The leaked documents that sent shivers down the spines of diplomats throughout the world this weekend are only the tip of the iceberg, according to Forbes. This month, it features a cover story and interview with WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who says that half of the unreleased documents are related to the private sector and could "take down a bank or two." Meanwhile, companies have very little protection against WikiLeaks, because of its multinational publishing status, the article notes. So a company's best, and maybe only, defense against the coming era of cyber transparency is to clean up its act. "Open your own kimono. You're going to be naked," says Don Tapscott, co-author of The Naked Corporation. "So you have to dig deep, look at your whole operation, make sure that integrity is part of your bones."
Yelp! for charities. At 27-years-old, Chris Hughes has already helped found Facebook, worked as chief digital campaign organizer for President Obama, and now, he's on to a new project called Jumo. Hughes tellsThe New York Times that he wants the site to "do what Yelp did for restaurants," by effectively reviewing charities to help users choose which ones to affiliate themselves with. The site, which launched today, will aggregate relevant Twitter posts and YouTube videos about the causes and allow users to post comments as well. But Hughes insists Jumo's main purpose is not just to encourage users to donate. Instead, he says, it's about connectivity. 'The more connected that individual is to an issue they care about," Hughes says, "the higher probability there is they will stay involved over a longer period of time.
Holiday parties make a comeback. As you recover from the long Thanksgiving weekend, you might be relieved to know that a new survey by Challenger, Gray & Christmas has found that companies who ditched holiday parties during the recession are ready to bring them back. The survey of 100 human resource professionals found that 68 percent are planning parties this year, a 6 percent increase from last year. But this finding comes with a warning - go easy on the eggnog. "For workers whose companies are holding parties this year, it is important to remember that there is a fine line between having fun and having too much fun," Challenger advises in a press release. "The economic recovery is still very fragile, so it is not the time to draw attention to oneself with embarrassing conduct at the holiday party."