As widely predicted, Sportal (www.sportal.com) in the UK has been sold to UK Betting. But what is amazing is for how much – £1 for the brand and £190,000 for the technology. At one point, in the summer of last year, it was set to be sold to Vivendi for around £300m, but a year on and it goes for a fraction of what it was once valued. UK Betting is no stranger to buying websites. It bought the PA/Trinity Mirror joint venture Sporting Life site and is fast becoming a leading sport content and e-commerce operator. While Sportal itself may not operate a site in the UK, it says it will look at providing content to third parties and will continue with a number of ventures outside the UK. As with most takeovers of this kind, very few Sportal staff are moving over to UK Betting.
UK internet search engine Mirago (www.mirago.co.uk), backed by Johnston Press, has enhanced its service with regional searching. The site operates as something between Ask Jeeves and Google, where the more you explain what you want, the better the results. While some of the bigger US search services, such as Google and Inktomi, often grab users’ attention, it is good to see at least one UK internet service enhancing its offering. Many others have scaled back or just stopped operating, such as UKMax from Hollinger (www.ukmax.com and www.ukmax.co.uk). Today, it jumps to a page for a singer/songwriter called Shaunna Bolton.
For professional camera operators, TVcameramen (www.tvcameramen.com) is worth bookmarking. It has recently had a makeover and is a useful resource for exchanging and commenting on the state of filming. Recent articles include a feature by Julie Ritson about filming for the BBC in Afghanistan and on what it was like to film at the World Trade Center on 11 September. Overall, a site hard to fault and a great place for all professionals and would-be camera operators to get together.
There’s still time to enter our C-Pen competition to win the clever gadget – no bigger than a pen – that allows you to scan text from newspapers, magazines or any print source and then transfer it direct to PC. A top-of-the-range C-Pen 800C worth £199 (inc VAT) is up for grabs. For a chance to win it, answer this question with your name, postal address and phone number: the pen is mightier than theÃ‰ (A) computer; (B) sword; (C) printer. Send your answer by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org – please note only one entry per e-mail address and postal address.