NowThis News, the recently launched video news site created by ex-HuffPo founders Eric Hippeau and Ken Lerer, opted for an old-fashioned approach to deliver election results on a new-fangled platform. As the tweets poured by at an impossible-to-follow rate, NowThis News stuck out with a very web 1.0 approach: ASCII art.
The NowThis site (formerly called Planet Daily) currently pulls in newsy video clips from sites like Twitter, Facebook and–most typically–Buzzfeed, another Lerer Ventures portfolio company. The company’s Twitter handle, @NowThisNews, is run by its social editor, Drake Martinet, who’s also an adjunct professor at Stanford. Mr. Martinet said that 90 percent of the video content on the site is produced by the NowThis team.
Zappos’ Tony Hsieh is using his empire to help revitalize downtown Las Vegas. “I first thought I would buy a piece of land and build our own Disneyland.” [New York Times]
Sources say the SEC’s probe into Facebook’s IPO has found no evidence that the company withheld information from investors. Good news for those seeking relief for the stock dive in civil court: Whether retail investors were led astray by misleading info from brokers still remains to be seen. [Bloomberg]
BuzzFeed is opening a Los Angeles bureau; prepare for a lot more celebrity photo lists. [BuzzFeed]
Internet service providers like Verizon and Time Warner have launched the Copyright Alert System, a new warning feature that will send notes to customers they’ve found are pirating content. Users who ignore these messages could even have their connections throttled, because ISPs will pretend to care about piracy if it gives them an excuse not to pay for bandwidth. [CNN]
Shopping for glitzy gowns just got a lot easier. On Friday, Rent the Runway introduced a new feature that replaces models with everyday women, “allowing visitors to search for women of a certain age, height, weight and even bust size, to see how that dress looks on someone similar.” [New York Times]
For the last few hours, the controversial subreddit Creepshots–which is at the center of an “inter-website war” over photos users published of non-consenting women–has been inaccessible.
The message “This subreddit has been banned” is affixed front and center. The banned page notes that the subreddit may have been caught in the site’s spam filter, but Reddit general manager Erik Martin confirmed to Betabeat that a moderator from Creepshots asked an admin to ban the subreddit.
If your week was as
hellish hectic as ours, you must be in need of a stiff drink. Pour yourself a cocktail and get comfy: here comes this week’s rumor roundup.
Step Away from the Crackberry! In case you missed all the Instagrams, Mayor Bloomberg performed some titillating acts of Startup Theatre on the stage at Gracie Mansion Tuesday night. The crème of tech society, including MakerBot’s Bre Pettis, General Assembly’s Adam Brimer, Yipit founder Vinny Vacanti, Google trends & insights editor Caroline McCarthy, Sailthru’s Aubrey Sabala, chief digital officer Rachel Sterne Haot and her husband, LiveStream founder Max Haot, gathered on the lawn for canapés and cocktails to celebrate NYC Connects 2012.
To enhance his usual Silicon Alley cheerleading, Mr. Bloomberg opted for props on the podium, like an array of Warby Parker sunglasses and a Seamless delivery guy, who shlepped takeout up on stage. The spotlight was enough to lure Seamless CEO Jonathan Zabusky out of Twitter hiding. Besides one of the guests complaining about a scripted “Hello world” joke that fell short, everyone seemed to eat up the promotional opportunities.
The elevators to the BuzzFeed office are magnificently slow. Each fits about six people comfortably, and they trundle and groan up to the 11th floor, where the company’s ops, tech and marketing people sit. “Considering how fast the company moves, it’s amazing how slow its elevators are,” quipped one dapperly dressed man as we all awkwardly waited for the doors to open.
Betabeat was visiting the BuzzFeed office for the first time to attend a real-life roundtable. Hosted by Branch cofounder Josh Miller, the event included beers and mingling among some of New York’s prolific tech reporters and entrepreneurs, as well as a discussion with Twitter cofounder Ev Williams and BuzzFeed’s own cofounder Jonah Peretti.
High Forms of Flattery
Time has just released a list of its 50 favorite websites. The metrics? All the selections are something the editors find “useful, entertaining, innovative or just plain addictive.” The result is a list that happens to be something of New York tech who’s who. Among the honorees:
BuzzFeed has purchased Kingfish Labs, a company specializing in Facebook data. This is probably the strategic equivalent of that point in the pandemic movie where the virus mutates, goes airborne, and gets really serious. [Business Insider]
“While it used to be that Apple was the brand which uncomplicated computing, for me, anyway, that’s simply no longer true.” [John Battelle]
Bad news, Android users: More than 50 percent of devices contain “unpatched vulnerabilities.” [BGR]
Maine is home to the first electricity-generating tidal turbine in America. [Portland Press Herald]
This Mennonite community is just about the last bunch of people left in the world who don’t look at a camera and start automatically posing for a Facebook cover photo. [Wired]
Stuff White People Like
BuzzFeed’s FWD tech blog has stepped forward to answer one of the most burning questions of our time: where do you find white guys on the Internet? As a service to the caucasian XY-deprived populace, FWD focuses its survey on three somewhat similar bloggy or social networking-related start-ups: Svbtle, Medium and App.net:
Don't Be Evil Jokes
Today’s “Tech Confessional” in BuzzFeed’s FWD tech blog is the stuff of nightmares. Reyhan Harmanci talked with a one-time Google contract worker who told of what sounds like a truly horrifying year dealing with the very worst of the Internet. The unnamed techie basically had to wade through the more hellish aspects of human nature every day, viewing “bestiality, necrophilia, body mutilations (gore, shock, beheadings, suicides), explicit fetishes (like diaper porn) and child pornography.”
As he told BuzzFeed, the anonymous tech guy suffered for his work:
HBO still refuses to cooperate with Netflix, much less offer up Game of Thrones for streaming. [Reuters]
Apple misses quarterly earnings; world continues spinning, somehow. [Washington Post]
AT&T, however, is raking in the dough as a majority of its wireless customers are now smartphone users. [Wall Street Journal]
There are an awful lot of rules for volunteers considering blogging about the Olympics. [Wired.co.uk]
And then there’s the possibility of hackers disrupting the games. [Reuters]
This strategy memo from Buzzfeed is curiously lacking in the use of memes and/or cat pics. [Chris Dixon]
Twitter is cooking up a way of calling up old tweets. If only we actually composed tweets for the ages… [New York Times]