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Business news briefs — Dec. 29

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INVESTING

Cracker Barrel proposal

Cracker Barrel’s largest shareholder has urged its board to consider selling the company — to him.

In a letter to the board, Sardar Biglari, an activist investor who owns nearly 20 percent of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. through his investment firm, the Biglari Capital Corp., said it would take an “entrepreneurial mind” to improve the company’s earnings, which he called “far too low in your hands.”

Biglari urged the company to consider “all potential extraordinary transactions,” including selling to the highest bidder. If the board did not “promptly” announce a sale process, Biglari said in a separate Securities and Exchange Commission filing he would call a special shareholders’ meeting.

— New York Times

MEDIA

Faulty Google searches

Google has removed Rap Genius from the top of its search results after it was discovered that the popular music lyrics website was trying to trick the tech giant into giving it better search rankings.

Now, when users search for “Rap Genius” on Google they won’t find any direct links to the music website, which lets users and artists annotate song lyrics. Instead, the results point to news articles, social media accounts and Rap Genius’ Wikipedia page.

Google took down Rap Genius after it was revealed that the website, which received $15 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz last year, was offering bloggers exposure through its social media accounts in exchange for links to its website on music blogs.

One of the important factors in the algorithm used to determine Google’s search rankings is how many pages link to each website, so by asking bloggers to link to Rap Genius in exchange for the exposure, the lyrics website was taking the linking into its own hands.

Rap Genius’ tactics came to light after the website posted a status on Facebook asking bloggers to join its affiliate program.

— Bloomberg News


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