Social Media

Mad Genius Creates Ello, the Elegant Anti-Facebook

Paul Budnitz — exhibiting photographer and filmmaker, artist, designer toy maker, bicycle enthusiast. Add: social media magnate?

Update #1: Be sure to check out our latest reporting of Ello’s sudden explosion in popularity here.

Update #2: For anyone concerned about the future of Ello, they’ve assured us that the site will remain ad-free and porn friendly!

Update #3: Overwhelmed by the deluge of new users, Ello almost choked off all access for new members, but have gone all-hands-on-deck to keep Ello alive and soldier on through the hype.

For tech entrepreneurs and investors, a social network is the great white whale of startups. Successful ones scale hard and fast, generating mountains of precious user data for advertising clients.

Paul Budnitz, an artist and designer toy maker, thinks that kind of marketer exploitation is downright evil, and has organized a supergroup of artists, programmers, and designers to build a safe haven. It’s called Ello, and it’s a social network with a manifesto. Read More

Baby I Can Drive Your Car

Black Car App Courts Customers By Offering On-Board Tarot Card Readings

Shuffling the tarot cards.

What do you do when you’re a black car service in NYC, and you want to get popular enough to seriously compete with Uber? You tell your riders they can literally have anything they want inside their hired cars.

That was the strategy, at least, for Gett, the upscale rideshare app that debuted in NYC last August. To get their name out there, the company yesterday launched the day-long #GettAnything campaign, which allowed riders to request any and all forms of en-route entertainment — as long as it’s not illegal — and have Gett attempt to fulfill their wildest wishes. Read More

Off the Media

Virgin Territory: Why Some Advertisers Are Finally Embracing Online Porn

Smart marketers look for opportunities that other marketers have missed. They try to take advantage of taboos or assumptions that may have hamstrung their competitors. When done right, this impulse can create something powerful or unexpected and usually yield a massive ROI.

We’ve seen it a bunch of times. Someone will use social media in some new way (Old Spice). Someone will take advantage of late night television ads in some new way (Snuggie). Someone will take advantage of celebrities or quirky news stories. (Remember GoldenPalace.com?) Read More