Rick Marini Throws His Hat Into Social Network Ring (Again) With SuperFan

superfan Rick Marini, who co-founded Tickle.com, the quiz site that Monster.com (s msnt) acquired for $100 million in 2004 and later abandoned, is back with SuperFan. The site, which went live this week, is a social network where people can join the fan pages of various celebrities, bands, sports teams and other pop culture icons and compete to win control of their favorites.

SuperFan has two notable things going for it: the integration of game mechanics directly into the site, and a solid team behind the scenes. The company’s board includes proven names such as Rapture’s Sean Fanning, WonderHill’s James Currier and social gaming application guru Blake Commagere. Plus, all of SuperFan’s employees came from Tickle. As for the site itself, it incorporates game mechanics and quizzes –- Tickle’s stickiest feature -– to both monetize it and augment the amount of time people spend on it, something fan pages on Facebook and MySpace (s nws) don’t do. Read More about Rick Marini Throws His Hat Into Social Network Ring (Again) With SuperFan

Casual Game Startup WonderHill Gets $7 Million in Funding

[qi:115] WonderHill, a casual gaming startup that was spun out of Ooga Labs, has raised $7 million in Series A financing from Charles River Ventures and Shasta Ventures. The company views itself as a competitor to casual game leaders Zynga, Playfish and Pogo. WonderHill is led by James Currier (CEO) and Stan Chudnovsky (CTO), who in the past built and sold Tickle.com. To better understand why VCs love the casual gaming business, check out these two posts from our archives: The Truth About the Biz of Casual Games and Game Business and its Crisis of Attention.

App Review: Daniel X — Clichéd Alien Hunters Don’t Come Cheap

[appreview]
title=Daniel X
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/03/picture-118.png
price=$9.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=305402305&mt=8
rating=avoid
[/appreview]
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

F|R: 5 Reasons to Go All Angel à la Lookery

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

Social Networking Gets a Sanity Check

The social networking space is finally getting a long overdue does of reality. A weakening economy and the resulting strain on advertising revenue means the social networking space is finally getting a long overdue does of reality, combined with a slowdown in growth, means things are going to get a lot tougher going forward.