Tag Archives: Start ups

Native ads and content marketing are here to stay

At PandoDaily Shane Snow discusses the rise of native advertisement and the explosion in content marketing.

Over the past two years, we’ve seen a similar trend happening in a well-known and well-tested marketing channel, now dressed up in new clothes and offering new opportunities. Folks call it native advertising or content marketing. The advertising trade press can’t get enough of it. All the old-school SEO companies are desperately trying to cash in on the wave, and virtually every media company with a digital presence is exploring (or actively running) sponsored content programs. Shoot, Marissa Mayer just paid a billion dollars for a company in which native ads are the main revenue opportunity.

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How Yahoo Can Make Money From Tumblr

This week Yahoo acquired the popular blogging service Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Writing for the business and investment site Minyanville, Carol Kopp discusses the likely business model for Yahoo’s newest content creator.

“Here’s a little dose of financial reality for Tumblr users who are upset that their free-to-use, nearly ad-free little corner of the Internet has been bought by big, bad corporate Yahoo: One way or another, probably sooner rather than later, you’re going to pay for your free blog,” she remarks. And that dose of financial reality will come in the form of ads.

“Advertisers are willing to pay a premium to advertise to a small but self-selected group of people with an expressed interest in golf or puppies or movies.”

It’s important to mention that in March Yahoo gobbled the start-up Summly for $30 million. That company offered readers computer generated summaries of news articles, another kind of content that helps Yahoo boost its traffic.

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LinkedIn Continues To Evolve

Mathew Ingram writes at paidContent

The site now offers “channels” or categories of news, much like a magazine would, and users can follow or subscribe to those channels, as well as to individual authors who are part of LinkedIn’s Influencer program, another relatively new addition.

When a user clicks on the News heading in their LinkedIn toolbar, they now get a splash screen that outlines the different categories or channels of news they can subscribe to. There are some fairly obvious examples such as Economy, Entrepreneurship and Leadership, as well as broader categories such as Healthcare, Technology and Social Media — and a few somewhat more unusual channels too, like “Things I Carry” and “My Best Career Mistake.”

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Memoto, The Lifelogging Camera

Memoto SXSW

Jenna Wortham/ The New York Times

Reporting from SXSW in Austin, Jenna Wortham sketches the new product from Memoto, a tiny, wearable camera that captures moments every 30 seconds.

Memoto’s camera hints at some of the issues that will emerge about privacy, ownership of data and social etiquette as automatic lifelogging devices like theirs, or Google Glass, become more prevalent in the wild. There are also larger questions about how secure the sensitive information captured on these devices will turn out to be, or what happens should these companies go out of business, potentially taking reservoirs of personal information captured over the years with them.


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Sparks Fly Between The New York Times And Tesla Motors: A Critical Car Review Becomes A Flame War

Last week John Broder of The New York Times wrote a critical review of Tesla Motor’s Model S electric car and the charging stations the company installed on the East Coast. Due to unusually cold weather and software issues, Broder’s planned trip from DC up I-95 ended on the back of a flatbed truck. (Actually, the truck drove Broder to a charging station, where he then finished the journey.)

In response to this review Elon Musk, the head of Tesla, wrote a harsh rejoinder to the Times where he accused Broder of purposefully sabotaging the ride. Musk uses charts and graphs to display the car’s locations, speeds and battery life and alleges that Broder failed to charge the car properly, drove at high speeds to deplete the battery, and at one point, spun around in a parking lot—all to kill the car. (Musk is a popular entrepreneur and a technology icon. His other business endeavor, SpaceX, manufactures rocket ships.)

The flame war continues.

Broder responded twice today. His second, more fully developed comeback is evenhanded and earnest. After sketching out his background at the Times and how this car review came to be, Broder goes point-by-point addressing each of Musk’s accusations. Where Musk says Broder drove around in circles, Broder says he was driving around trying to find the electric charging dock. (Much of the car’s lack of range is explained by the cold weather sapping life from the battery.)

And where Musk makes Broder out to be a petrol-Hummer-loving saboteur, Broder merely says, you’re supercharger network kinda sucks.

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My Post on BuzzFeed: The 10 Outstanding Essays of 2012



A collection of this year’s best culture writing.

LeBron James’ Hairline, Manufacturing Rick Ross and Lana, Twitter subpoenas, Obama’s paradoxical blackness, an Asian hoops star, doxxing twitter trolls, a future beyond Facebook, our infatuation with busyness, breaking down Breaking Bad, and the revolutionary women of the Arab Spring.

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Beyond The Check In: Foursquare And Social Cartography

On your foursquare social map your preferences are the topography, your friends’ tastes, the contours.

Drew Olanoff writes on TechCrunch

Partnering with the reservation service, OpenTable, foursquare’s “explore” feature allows users to quickly find a restaurant nearby, check what their friends have said about it, and then snag a reservation without leaving the app.

As I’ve said before, I’m using foursquare way more than I use a service like Yelp to find new places as I explore new cities. Explore is even handy in San Francisco, where there are hundreds of restaurants that I haven’t even discovered yet. Bringing all of this functionality into one place is a brilliant move by foursquare, and makes other services obsolete. Throw in tips, photos and past check-in information from your friends and this whole thing is really shaping up to be huge.

As I’ve written, these new features represent a trend away from the Facebooky check-in, and towards something like a personalized search engine.  Foursquare wants to be the interactive guide to your your social scene.

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Uber Clashes With DC Council…Again

Brendan Sasso Reports in The Hill

During a speech today in Washington, Julius Genachowski, The Chairman of the FCC, gave his support to the taxi start up, Uber.

There’s a debate right now in Washington about rules that could discourage the innovative on-demand car service company Uber. Not hard to guess which side I’m on — I’m on the side of innovation.

This is a bit of political placating, as Genachowski has been trashed by conservatives who disagree with the FCC’s regulation of ISPs and net neutrality.  Still, the Chairman’s trite shout-out helps frame the discussion of Uber’s entrance into the DC cab market.

As the DCist explains the DC Council held a “daylong” and bizarre” hearing today formally debating the future of Uber and “public vehicles-for-hire.”  Travis Kalanick, the CEO of the San Francisco based company, was one of 42 witness called to speak on the issue.

Where many in Washington view local taxis as unresponsive, filthy, expensive and all around shitty (you can tell I’m neutral, right?), Uber represents a luxury of convenience: a cab service you summon through a mobile app and pay for with the credit card stored on your profile. The service is known for its reliability, efficiency and fresh take on the outmoded taxi-cab.

The issue for City Council is that Uber falls outside of the traditional taxi-cab regulatory regime.  Where cabbies in DC are bound by certain rules (providing handicapped accessible vehicles, metered fares, credit card machines) Uber is not yet bound by its own special class of regulations. Before December the Council needs to figure out how it will treat Uber.

The DC Taxicab Commission predictably sees Uber as an industry disrupting enemy. And because of that, the DCTC advocates onerous regulations including: stipulating that Uber drivers must have at least 20 cars in their fleet, charging customers a minimum service fee, and prohibiting pick ups and drop offs outside of the city proper (Arlington people, sorry, you’re screwed).

While Uber is exempt from these DCTC rules until December, some form of regulation will need to be implemented before then.  Two key issues discussed at the hearing: establishing a minimum price floor and seeking clarification on Uber’s practice of “surge pricing.”

The minimum price floor, set at $15, seems to be a purely anti-competitive policy to protect traditional yellow cars.  Uber’s Kalanick sees it that way, and he wants it lowered to $10. “Surge” or dynamic pricing is the practice of upping rates during high demand.

One of the DCTC’s proposed regulations would also outlaw an increase in sedan fares during periods of peak demand. For Uber, Kalanick said that’s a situation that happens many weekends and on holidays like New Year’s…

Once a minimum price floor is negotiated and a transparency is established for surge pricing, it seems that the DC Council will be more accommodating to Uber’s presence, rejecting the more stringent restrictions proposed by the Taxicab Commission.

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