Round 2 Begins!

We had an incredibly exciting first round, with several upsets and amazing comebacks. There were lots of examples of competitors using various social media tools to drive large amounts of votes, and in many cases that made the difference.

Shoeboxed Internet March Mayhem e-Tournament
Shoeboxed Internet March Mayhem e-Tournament

Some match-ups show the entire number of votes logged for a particular contest, but we are only counting the votes cast before the 5:00 p.m. EST deadline that passed on March 27. We’ll make sure to get the true vote counts on there soon, but just in case there is any discrepancy, that is why.

Make sure to vote your favorites into the Sweet Sixteen. And, if you’re just joining the fun, here is a summary of what’s happened so far. You may learn a bit about how to keep your favorites in and get some explanations for some of the amazing upsets that have happened so far!

So here’s a recap, with a look to Round 2:

Web Celebs Bracket

At the top of the Web Celeb bracket, 16 seed Frank Warren, the founder of PostSecret pulled off a big upset over Robert Scoble, the first seed. We saw people really rallying around Warren in the last day of voting and he overcame a big deficit. People love PostSecret it seems!

We also saw Jason Calacanis, the founder of Mahalo, barely beat Peter Shankman in the first round. Despite some Twittering for Shankman’s cause, the HARO founder was not able to overcome Calacanis’ name recognition and fan base. Calacanis will face Warren in the next round.

One of the most intense matchups of the first round was Guy Kawasaki versus Chris Pirillo. The matchup was neck and neck for a long time, but Pirillo fans prevailed, and put their man into Round 2 with a late surge.

Despite how many people posted tweets about their votes in Round 1, Twitter founder Evan Williams was unable to advance, losing at the hands of LonelyGirl15, the YouTube star. She’ll face Chris Pirillo in the next round in a battle of the video stars.

Michael Arrington called March Mayhem an “absurd contest” and probably hasn’t changed his mind, since he lost to Chris Brogan in the first round. Brogran will face Squidoo founder Seth Godin, who beat Grant Robertson in his first-round matchup.

Kevin Rose, a Web Celeb with a huge following, beat Pete Cashmore of Mashable and will face Lifehacker’s Gina Trapani in the next round. Trapani upset major Web Celeb Perez Hilton in her matchup. If Kevin Rose starts tweeting to his 300,000+ followers about this tournament, he’ll be hard to beat in this bracket.

Social Media Bracket

It’s probably not too incredible that the Social Media Bracket produced some upsets, because social media sites often have lots of power to drive traffic online.

Kwippy was able to rally it’s loyal fans to eek out a victory against the mighty Facebook. No effort from Facebook itself led to its demise.

Tumblr had a late surge in votes to overcome Twitter. This traffic really could have come from anywhere, but Twitter was one of the favorites to win it all, considering so much Twitter marketing was used to promote voting on this very contest. Tumblr will face Kwippy in Round 2.

If you’ve ever wondered whether anyone uses Freindster anymore, you can rest assured that there are. Friendster beat Flickr and earned a spot to face Del.icio.us in the next round. Del.icio.us beat out Wikipedia.

Identi.ca has really been the Cinderella of this whole tournament. By posting a link to the voting ON THEIR HOMEPAGE (!), they were able to drive enough traffic to beat out LinkedIn, a far larger social network. They’ll face social news powerhouse Digg in the second round. Digg easily beat 3rd seeded MySpace.

In the rest of the bracket, Jaiku beat out Ning and Brighkite pulled a major upset over YouTube due to lots of loyal fans showing up to vote!

Start-Ups Bracket

In the first match-up, FreshBooks overcame a late surge in MFBP votes to win narrowly. MFBP sent out an email to all of their users at the last minute to get more votes, but came up just short.

BatchBlue also drummed up some last minute support via Twitter to narrowly beat out Mahalo. BatchBlue will face off against FreshBooks in the second round.

Shoeboxed, the host, won over Storenvy, and will face off against PlaceVine, who surged in the end to beat out everybody’s favorite music player, Grooveshark.

Outright will face off against MailChimp in the second round after beating out SimpleFeed. JigSaw could never muster up enough votes to beat out MailChimp, who used Twitter and other techniques to move into the next round.

FourSquare had an impressive showing against BrightCove and emerged victories. They will face Foodzie in the next round, who organized an amazing comeback over Evernote on the last day of voting. Evernote is still awesome, though!

Blogs Bracket

The match-up between the Huffington Post and Consumerist was neck and neck for the whole first round, until Consumerist pulled ahead at the end. They will face Seth’s Blog in the next round after Dosh Dosh wasn’t able to pull enough votes together to advance.

Lifehacker easily beat Engadget, and will face off against another gadget blog, Gizmodo in the next round. Gizmodo beat out TechCrunch in a shocker.

Gawker beat out Mashable and Problogger beat out TMZ.com. It would have been awesome to see Gawker vs. TMZ, but Problogger may be too strong.

Daily Kos surged ahead of Ars Technica at the end of the voting period, and will face VFTW in Round 2. In perhaps the warmest embrace of this tournament, VFTW rallied its readers to vote for it in a dedicated blog post. With no American Idol episode during this round, can they keep the momentum alive?

First $2,400 of Unemployment Benefits Tax Free for 2009

All or part of unemployment benefits received in 2009 will be tax free for many unemployed workers, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

“This morning we learned that a record 5.6 million people were receiving unemployment benefits in the middle of March. This underscores the need for the relief provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which includes making the first $2,400 of unemployment insurance exempt from tax,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “I urge all unemployed workers to take this special tax break into account as they plan their tax withholding and quarterly estimated tax payments for the year. This change offers a helping hand to millions of Americans who are out of work and struggling to make ends meet.”

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, enacted last month, every person who receives unemployment benefits during 2009 is eligible to exclude the first $2,400 of these benefits when they file their tax return next year. For a married couple, the exclusion applies to each spouse, separately. Thus, if both spouses receive unemployment benefits during 2009, each may exclude from income the first $2,400 of benefits they receive.

The new law doesn’t affect the return taxpayers are filling out now. Unemployment benefits received in 2008 and prior years remain fully taxable.

Unemployed workers can choose to have income tax withheld from their unemployment benefit payments. Withholding on these payments is voluntary. However, choosing this option may help avoid a surprise year-end tax bill or a possible penalty for having paid too little tax during the year. Those who choose this option will have a flat 10 percent tax withheld from their benefits.

Unemployed workers who expect to receive more than $2,400 in benefits this year should consider having tax withheld from their benefit payments in excess of that amount. Those unemployed workers who have already chosen to have tax taken out of their benefits, should consider the $2,400 exclusion in determining whether to continue to have tax withheld.

Use Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request, or the equivalent form provided by the payer to request withholding to begin or end. Form W-4V is also available on IRS.gov or by calling the IRS toll-free at 1-800-TAX-FORM (829-3676).

Internet March Mayhem e-Tournament: First Round Begins!

Every March, college basketball has one of the most exciting tournaments in all of sports. For years, the non-athletes and geeks among us have yearned to experience the drama, the excitement and the posturing that is the college basketball tournament – but alas, we don’t know anything about basketball. Enter the Shoeboxed Internet March Mayhem e-Tournament.

Shoeboxed Internet March Mayhem e-Tournament
Shoeboxed Internet March Mayhem e-Tournament

We’ve taken 64 of the best blogs, web celebs, start-ups and social media services and pitted them against each other to determine who will claim the championship. The first round began yesterday and will continue through Friday. Vote for your favorites. You can vote once for each match up. Make sure you favorites get through by telling your friends and coworkers to vote!

More about the e-Tournament

Shoeboxed presents the first annual Internet March Mayhem e-Tournament where your votes decide who moves up in the bracket.Competitors face off in four categories: web celebs, blogs, social media sites, and internet startups.Users’ votes will determine who the winners of each round are.Round 1 voting begins now and will conclude on March 27th.Those who will be moving to Round 2 will be announced on the Shoeboxed blog early on March 28th.Time is of the essence, so be sure that your team gets the most votes so that you can make it to the championship.

The road to the final four is sure to be paved with upsets and overtimes, so get your votes in now and watch the tallies grow. Check out the bracket and vote for your winners.

Here are the competitors in this year’s tournament:

Web Celebs:

  1. Robert Scoble
  2. Perez Hilton
  3. Seth Godin
  4. LonelyGirl15
  5. Guy Kawasaki
  6. Michael Arrington
  7. Kevin Rose
  8. Peter Shankman
  9. Jason Calacanis
  10. Peter Cashmore
  11. Chris Brogan
  12. Chris Pirillo
  13. Evan Williams
  14. Grant Robertson
  15. Gina Trapani
  16. Frank Warren

Social Media

  1. Facebook
  2. YouTube
  3. Myspace
  4. Wikipedia
  5. Flickr
  6. LinkedIn
  7. Ning
  8. Twitter
  9. Tumblr
  10. Jaiku
  11. Identi.ca
  12. Friendster
  13. Del.icio.us
  14. Digg
  15. Brightkite
  16. Kwippy

Startups

  1. FreshBooks
  2. Evernote
  3. Jigsaw
  4. Grooveshark
  5. Shoeboxed
  6. SimpleFeed
  7. Brightcove
  8. Mahalo
  9. BatchBlue
  10. FourSquare
  11. Outright.com
  12. Storenvy
  13. PlaceVine
  14. MailChimp
  15. Foodzie
  16. Music for Busy People

Blogs

  1. Huffington Post
  2. Boing Boing
  3. Problogger
  4. TechCrunch
  5. Engadget
  6. Mashable
  7. Ars Technica
  8. Dosh Dosh
  9. Seth’s Blog
  10. Daily Kos
  11. Gawker
  12. Lifehacker
  13. Gizmodo
  14. TMZ.com
  15. Vote for the Worst
  16. Consumerist