According to a leaked photo from an all-hands meeting at the web giant, Yahoo is planning to shut down several of its services, including the Delicious bookmarking site, as well as a Digg clone called Yahoo Buzz, and an early blog-based social network called MyBlogLog.
Increasingly, geeky pasttimes are seeping into the mainstream. Like creatures in a Neil Gaiman story, the boundary between the dimension of the fantastical and the land of the normal is blurring. And with that blur, faithful adaptations of heroes and villains have made the leap to the world of movies.
That means that in addition to Spider-Man, regular folk are suddenly familiar with the likes of Dr. Manhattan, Coraline and Hellboy. What’s more, graphic novels are showing up on our iPhone screens. Scrollmotion’s latest app, Daniel X, brings to us the adventures of a teenage alien hunter with a vivid imagination. Read More about App Review: Daniel X — Clichéd Alien Hunters Don’t Come Cheap
BlogTV is the closest thing to broadcast television on the web. Each day, the site has prime-time viewing hours — evenings, East Coast time — when its traffic balloons from 2,000 concurrent users to tens of thousands. And its live shows are produced by a network of stars who have established audiences that follow them where we go.
But here’s where it gets webby. BlogTV’s content creators are YouTube stars (read: not actually that big), which helps to keep costs associated with bandwidth spikes and international streaming — common assets of other live streamers that emphasize event streaming (e.g. Ustream) and sports (e.g. Justin.tv) — down. The site has a network of vigilant moderators it uses to keep the content advertiser-friendly and clean of copyright and other concerns. And of course, BlogTV is unlike any traditional broadcaster in that it doesn’t have anything to do with producing its content; everything is made by users.
BlogTV is based in Israel, though it’s focused on the U.S. market and fully 80 percent of its viewers are North American. The site originally went live in July 2007 and for a time was yet another video + social network + live broadcasting + mobile + kitchen sink provider. But since May, BlogTV has defined itself as the live-streaming provider of choice for YouTube stars; it has nearly every YouTube top 100 most-subscribed user who’s not a company. How? By paying them.
While hanging out at the TechCrunch50 conference, I ran into Eric Marcoullier, who recently launched his second startup, Gnip. We were supposed to talk about Gnip almost a month ago, but for some odd reason it didn’t happen. I was curious, because Eric and I got to know each other when he was visiting San Francisco and had just launched MyBlogLog. I didn’t really end up using the service, but Yahoo loved it so much that they bought it.
Eric’s second company seems to be a tad less visible than MyBlogLog. It has raised $1 million in seed funding from First Round Capital, Foundry Group and SoftTech VC. Eric calls it an infrastructure play and an information router. Marshall Kirkpatrick called it the Grand Central Station for the social web. Here is a video of my conversation with Eric. (You can check out the Gnip blog for a better description of the service.)
This week, Lookery, the ad network launched last July to serve über-cheap ads into Facebook applications, has announced a new $2.25 million round of funding. It’s a nice sum for the 14-month-old startup, which now sends Facebook some 3 billion ads a month, according to Lookery’s CEO, Scott Rafer.
But here’s what’s really interesting: Rafer and his cofounder, David Cancel, elected to raise the money almost entirely from angels, forgoing the traditional venture capital most companies would pursue at this stage. This is Lookery’s second funding event. In January, it raised a $1 million note, which converts to equity given in this deal.
The participant list is heady, including Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff; Reed Hundt; Tickle founders James Currier and Stan Chudnovsky; and About.com’s Scott Kurnit. There are some notable VCs in the deal, too, but they’re participating individually, not with their firms: Ted Dintersmith, late of Charles River Ventures; Ravi Mhatre of Lightspeed; and Allen Morgan, of the Mayfield Fund, who is also a Lookery director.
Serial founders with good track records, Rafer (MyBlogLog) and Cancel (Compete.com) could have gone after marquee venture firms if they’d want to, but the pair has specific reasons for favoring angels. After the jump, Rafer explains why other founders ought to consider doing the same. Read More about F|R: 5 Reasons to Go All Angel à la Lookery
Pessimistic, even for the opinionated Rafer, but then he knows a thing or two about successes (MyBlogLog), struggles (Feedster), and recessions. Rafer then generously loaded our plate with great tips for less experienced founders who might need help preparing for the market’s “hard knocks.”
Seven months on, times are tougher, but plenty of companies are still getting funded. So this week we checked in with Rafer again. First words out of his mouth: “There has only been a flight to quality. Frankly I’m struggling to understand it.”
Read More about Recession Prep: Scott Rafer’s Survival Tips from 2000, or the ‘Summer of Angst’
A lot of what I do every day involves marketing and promotions – always on the Internet and not just for my clients. I’m getting better at marketing my numerous Web projects and blogs only because the tools to do so keep getting easier and more integrated. Finally, I’m not the marketer who always has to apologize by saying “Do as I say, not as I do, because I haven’t been marketing myself lately.”
The Web-based marketing tools I’ve been using lately really blow me away with their simplicity and even more impressive – their integration capabilities, that is, the way they pull in a number of my pages on numerous social networking sites and produce a widget bringing them all together in one place. Magic!
It’s become abundantly clear to me just how much power Mike Cane has. I’ve definitely underestimated him, in fact. First, he finds a way to make UPS hold my Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium an extra day and now he’s enlisted the folks at YouTube in his schemes as well. Last night I unboxed the new UMPC while doing a video chat with James. As you can see, the video was uploaded last night at 7:36pm. Here we are now, nearly 15 hours later and the video is still processing.I’ve always felt that the YouTube folks have hired Oompa-Loompas from the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory to do the video encoding behind the scenes. Obviously, they’ve been lured back to their old employer via some offer of unlimited candy or something. And so we wait. However, I will share this with you: I used the device from around 7:30pm to 12:40am this morning and when I shut down, Windows was indicating I had 55 minutes of battery left. The battery was not even fully charged from the box; it was roughly around 85% charged. This rocks. I believe that with the included extended battery (a six-cell) and a second extended battery, the Q1UP will easily be an all-day computing device. So far, I’m very impressed with the device although I’ve found one major annoyance: when rotating the 1024 x 600 screen, the joystick and directional buttons are not rotating. I’ll be looking into that of course. My intention is to share my thoughts with the device out of the box for a good week. That means using 1 GB of RAM and holding off on my 2 GB upgrade, running Windows XP Tablet Edition before going to Vista, and not doing major “optimizations” to make the device run more efficiently. How you’d buy it is how I’ll review it. Later, I’ll personalize it to my tastes and add more thoughts. Oh and Mike: get some Oompa-Loompas back on the job, would ya? Thanks!
Download the premieres of new NBC dramas Chuck, Life, and Journeyman on Amazon.com (AMZN) or iTunes. Stream K-Ville on Fox.com or some 200 other sites. Watch the premiere of a yet-to-be-named CBS series on TiVo. Get Gossip Girl widgets from cwtv.com.
This year’s fall season is being sent all over the Web, in varyingly liberal and sparing doses, as today’s Hollywood Reporter describes it. That’s not to say traditional, irrationally expensive and erratically effective marketing is being dropped; NBC is still spending $8 million on Chuck popcorn bags, Rolling Stone adverts, New York subway wrappers, and DVD giveaways, reports Broadcasting & Cable.
If you haven’t checked the new Microsoft webpage for Surface, you’re missing out. Yeah, it looks seriously cool – and curiously like some haptics-style interfaces we’ve seen bits and pieces of before…
But riddle me this: Did Microsoft rush to release this incredible new way of interfacing with computer systems now, in order to trump some news we may be hearing from Apple at WWDC in a couple weeks? With the reveal of Leopard looming, it’s certainly a real possibility that we’ll see something similar from our boys in Cupertino.
On the other hand, maybe Apple will limit the touch interfaces to their iPhone and future iPods rather than rolling it out mainstream via Leopard. It’s been said before that using haptics as the main interface to a traditional computer system wouldn’t necessarily be as simple as the mouse and keyboard we’re used to. In that way of thinking, I believe Microsoft may have it right with the target implementations of Surface – that being POS-based systems, concierge, etc. Who knows, perhaps introducing touch interfaces to the masses in that style will foster stronger consumer adoption in the long run.
If you haven’t checked out Surface, watch the 3 explanatory video clips here. I don’t care who you are, this stuff looks super neat!
Via the Longboard