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News

iLounge adopts subscription model, establishes hourly Q&A fee

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Bowing to industry pressures and hoping to boost income from its widely-read iPod and iTunes web site, iLounge.com has announced substantial changes to its free content offerings, refocusing heavily on revenue-generating measures. Effective 9:00PM PST today, April 1, thousands of previously free pages on iLounge.com will be locked, and made available only on a pay-per-page or monthly subscription basis. “Having watched the experts at Napster and RealNetworks practically mint their own money with similar plans,” explained Jeremy Horwitz, Editor-in-Chief of iLounge, “we decided to bet the company on a similarly great idea. Soon, users will be able to unlock the site with individual ‘iLounge Keys,’ sold for 99 cents per page, or monthly ‘iLounge Gold’ site-wide access for only $12.95. Everyone else is trying to sell something to Apple fans, so why not us?”

“Too many times, we’ve passed up opportunities to make an easy buck,” said Dennis Lloyd, Publisher of iLounge, “so starting now, we’re going to change that.” In addition to starting an all-nude version of its popular iPods Around the World photo galleries, the site will begin to publish reviews written by accessory and service providers, and open its Discussion Forums to endless quantities of viral advertising and astroturfing. Lloyd also disclosed that Ask iLounge, the site’s weekly Q&A column, would be cancelled in favor of ‘iPod Buddies,’ a $65/hour consulting service where iLounge editors or high school students (as available) will offer in-person or telephone iTunes assistance and music recommendations to needy readers. “We think that these changes will ultimately benefit both us and our readers,” said Lloyd and Horwitz, “and if they don’t, at least we’ll be able to enjoy the nude photo galleries.”

Update: Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone! Expect a real announcement soon!

Win free v-moda earphones in iLounge chat contest

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To kick off a series of live iLounge chats in our recently opened live chat room, fashion headphone maker v-moda will be holding a live trivia contest and giving away 20 pairs of Remix M-Class earphones (iLounge rating: A-) to iLoungers. Ten questions will be asked, and two people per question will win headphones for correct answers - one pair maximum per person. Winners will be announced on the spot. Answers to the questions can be found either on v-moda’s website or in iLounge.com news coverage of the company and its products. The live chat will be held on April 3 at 5:00 p.m. PT/8:00 p.m. ET.

Our new News Views, explained

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Over the past several weeks, we’ve made a number of subtle but important changes to parts of the iLounge web site. You may have noticed one of them right here - our new News Views bar. Though it looks like the old bar, it now gives you three different ways to customize news on the iLounge home page to your liking, and saves your choice for later visits.

iLounge EIC Horwitz on WNYC radio today, 2:45PM ET

iLounge’s Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz will appear today on New York City’s WNYC (93.9FM) radio program Soundcheck to discuss iLounge and the iPod accessories market. The audio segment - our first since pausing production of the iLounge Week-in-Review Podcast - will air at approximately 2:45PM Eastern/11:45AM Pacific.

Sumo Tough Love Valentine contest ends tomorrow

The iLounge/Sumo Tough Love Valentine contest ends tomorrow night at 11:59 p.m. But there’s still time to win your sweetheart a unique trip that they won’t soon forget. Just tells us your tough love story—gaining or losing an important love—and you could win a trip for two to the US Sumo Open in Los Angeles. You’ll get airfare, tickets, two Sumo nano flip cases, and a one night stay at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. 100 runner-up winners will receive their own Sumo nano flip case.

iLounge launches Mobile Edition

We’re proud to announce the launch of iLounge Mobile Edition, a fast-loading, condensed version of the iLounge.com main page created especially for users of portable devices. This page, available at ilounge.com/mobile, provides one-page access to our top 12 News stories, top 10 Reviews, top 6 Articles, top 3 current and past Contests, and top 5 Backstage entries. Each link is simplified for speedy reading without excessive scrolling, including reader comments, and additional Mobile content can be accessed through “More” links at the bottom of each section.

iLounge Mobile Edition will continue to evolve in the days to come. Your suggestions are, of course, welcomed.

MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon now on iTunes

Following iLounge’s report yesterday, MTV Networks and Apple today announced that television programming from MTV, MTV2, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and The N is now available on the iTunes Music Store.

A total of 14 new shows have been added, including MTV’s “Laguna Beach,” “The Gauntlet 2,” “Beavis & Butt-Head,” “Jackass,” “Punk’d” and “My Super Sweet 16”; MTV2’s “Wonder Showzen”; Nickelodeon’s “Dora the Explorer,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” and “Zoey 101”; Comedy Central’s “South Park” and “Stand-Up”; and The N’s “South of Nowhere.” iTunes now offers over 40 TV shows.

Happy New Year from iLounge!

As iLounge’s editors close out 2005, we look back fondly at a year that was as amazing for the Lounge as it was for the iPod. We were blessed by a massive surge in readership, which saw our traffic double from roughly 2 million loungers per month to around 4 million, while our Forums grew from under 40,000 registered members to over 83,000. Repeated server upgrades, the last one just a few weeks ago, have been necessary to handle all of the new traffic. On top of all the new people, there have been too many new iPod and major accessory launches to count, and hundreds of new news stories, tutorials, reviews, and photographs as a result. It has been an incredibly busy but exciting year.

Now, with our holiday vacations coming to an end (Jeremy has returned from shopping in Asia, while Dennis is soon to finish his tropical lounging in Hawaii), 2006 is here, and it’s going to start off with two bangs. iLounge will provide live coverage from the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show starting this week, where a huge array of new iPod accessories will be launched, and then the team will be in San Francisco for the annual Macworld show the following week. We expect Macworld to be big on Mac-related announcements and iPod accessories, but not on new iPod hardware. (For more on that subject, we’ll soon have a new Backstage entry to share some of what we’ve heard.)

Thank you to all of our readers for your continued support and participation in the growth of iLounge. Even if we can’t respond individually to the thousands of messages that appear here and in our e-mail boxes every day, we appreciate every bit of your involvement, and strongly anticipate that 2006 will be an even bigger Year of the iPod - a major step forward for the entire iPod community, with some huge surprises in store for iLounge, too. Happy New Year, and stay tuned for what’s next!

Welcome, new iPod owners!

If Santa brought you an iPod this year, then you’re at the right place. Whether you got a video iPod, an iPod nano, iPod shuffle, or even a previous generation iPod or iPod mini, iLounge will help you get the most out your new favorite gadget. If you’re looking to accessorize your iPod, check out our extensive list of iPod accessory reviews or the latest iPod accessory news. You can find answers to common iPod questions in our Ask iLounge and iPod 101 & 201 sections. If you want to ask a specific question or just chat with other iPod owners, hop on over to the iLounge Forums. And be sure to download our free Holiday Buyers’ Guide, which is loaded with tons of cool iPod gear and info.

Poll results: 2005’s most important iPod/iTunes event

The most recent Lounge Poll, “What was the most important iPod & iTunes event of 2005?”, is now closed.

Over 6,400 votes were cast in the poll, which covered 7 key events and included a “something else” category. By far, iLounge readers chose the October release of iPod (with video) and the addition of paid video content to iTunes. A 51% majority picked this option over all others, which was 27% higher than the number two option, the September release of iPod nano (24%).

Complete results are available at the Lounge Poll archives. Our new poll, “What iPod accessory are you most hoping to receive for the holidays?”, is now open. You can find it on the left column below Ask iLounge - please cast your vote!

A happy holiday wish from iLounge

Everyone at iLounge would like to wish you and your family a very happy holiday season. As a special thanks to all of our wonderful readers, advertisers and those in the iPod industry, we’ve created this holiday card for you to enjoy. We’ll continue updating the site throughout the week.

iLounge Dashboard Widget updated

imageWe’ve updated the iLounge Mac OS X Dashboard Widget, which provides quick access to our news and reviews, plus a panel for recent FAQs and help, and an easy full-site search feature. Version 1.5 of the widget displays a rotating gallery of photos from the iPods Around the World Photo Galleries and checks our server for the latest version for download. Stay tuned for an update for the iLounge Konfabulator Widgets.

Two new iLounge T-shirts available

imageWe’ve added two new iLounge T-shirts to our online Lounge Store. The first design features the iLounge name written with the cable of a set of orange “old school” headphones. The second shirt is a variation of the original shirt we offered last year featuring a silhouette hand holding an iPod. Both new shirts are silkscreened on a soft, 100% cotton grey American Apparel tee. Like our white logo tee, both new shirts are priced at $15 and come in small, medium, large, extra-large and double extra-large sizes. International orders are welcomed.

Vaja and iLounge giving away $5000 in Vaja gift cards

imageGet your creative juices flowing because you could easily win one of several Vaja gift cards just for coming up with a clever slogan. We’ve just kicked off our “Vaja Slogan Contest” in which we’re giving away 45 $100 Vaja gift cards and a grand prize of one $500 gift card to iLoungers who come up with the best new slogans for the iPod case maker.

Simply check out Vaja’s ads on page 29 of the iLounge Holiday Buyers’ Guide, page 12 of the Free iPod Book, and Vaja’s web site to get familiar with their products. Then, think of a new slogan that matches the company’s products and philosophy, and submit it here. Vaja will choose the best entries and award the gift cards. The contest ends December 23, 2005 11:59 p.m. PT.

Happy Thanksgiving from iLounge

We’d like to wish everyone a very happy and safe Thanksgiving! We have many things to be thankful for this year, but we’re especially lucky to have such wonderful readers, forum members, contributors and advertisers. We’ll return just as soon as we’ve recovered from the turkey and cranberry overdose.

New iLounge T-shirt now available

imageWe’re happy to announce that the new iLounge T-shirt is now available for order. The white shirt sports the iLounge logo with our “iLounge.com | All things iPod” slogan. It’s priced at $15 and comes in small, medium, large, extra-large and double extra-large sizes. The iLounge shirt is silkscreened on a soft, 100% cotton American Apparel tee. By purchasing the shirt and showing the world you’re an iLounger, you not only help promote the site, you also help support it. International orders are welcomed.

Poll results: Have you purchased videos from iTMS?

The most recent Lounge Poll, “Have you purchased video content from the iTunes Music Store?”, is now closed.

Over 7,000 votes were cast in the poll, which was split between 5 “yes” answers and 3 “no” answers. Collectively, “no” won by a wide margin, with 72% of readers saying that they had not purchased any iTMS videos. More than half of those who had not purchased videos (37% total) said that they did not think they would purchase any. The remaining 35% were open to the possibility of paying for video downloads in the future.

Of the 28% of total “yes” votes, the most popular response (12%) had purchased only one of the three categories of video currently available - music videos, TV shows, or movie shorts - but not the other two. Only 6% of readers said that they’d purchased all three categories of content.

Complete results are available in Read More below, and at the Lounge Poll archives. Our new poll, “What was the most important iPod & iTunes event of 2005?”, is now open. You can find it on the left column below Ask iLounge - please cast your vote!

iLounge opens Library for free iPod Books and Guides

imageiLounge has today opened the Library, a section of the site dedicated to our free Buyers’ Guides and Books. The Library provides one-click downloading access to each of our previous editions, starting with our 2004 Buyers’ Guide, continuing to our Spring/Summer 2005 Guide, The Free iPod Book, and our most recent Holiday 2005-2006 Buyers’ Guide.

The Free iPod Book contains comprehensive iPod and iTunes tutorials, as well as information on the wealth of iPod-related repair, customization, and CD ripping service providers currently out there. Past editions of our Buyers’ Guides focus heavily on accessories for discontinued iPods and iPod minis. All of these publications are in PDF format, and available free of charge.

iLounge at Podcast and Portable Media Expo

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imageThe iLounge team will be on hand at next week’s Portable Media Expo & Podcasting Conference in Ontario, California. Our booth will feature a hands-on lounge area with a number of iPod accessories from companies such as Altec Lansing, Belkin, Griffin, DLO, iHome, JBL, Macally, Oregon Scientific, iSkin, and Speck.

The booth will also feature a “History of iPod” display showcasing every generation of iPod with music and featured podcasts to listen to. The iLounge booth will sport two 20” iMacs for checking out the Holiday Buyers’ Guide and the iLounge website, as well as a 50” Plasma display showing visuals to music. We’ll also have giveaways of iLounge T-shirts and iPod accessories. In addition, iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz will moderate a panel featuring leading members of the iPod economy at the event. You can check out renderings of the iLounge booth by clicking below.

Download Now: iLounge Holiday Buyers’ Guide 2005-2006

imageIt’s here: just in time for your wish list, iLounge released the free Holiday Buyers’ Guide 2005-2006, packed with all sorts of amazing iPod goodies, ratings of over 650 products, tables of used iPod prices, and much more. Click on read more for details and download links. Enjoy!

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