Your Facebook profile photo is one of the first things that people notice when they browse your profile. Whether it’s a meme or a picture of a cat or an actual photo of yourself, what you put in that little square space supposedly says volumes about who you are online.
Jeff Greenspan, an ex-Facebook employee who now works as BuzzFeed’s chief creative officer, wanted to find a way that people could connect with each other through the visual information they offer on their profiles in a clever and creative way. Along with his co-creator Ivan Cash and Rally Interactive, the two devised a plan to “let users celebrate each other” with a site called Selfless Portraits.
Spam accounts are nothing new on Twitter, as anyone who has ever tweeted the words “iPad” or “sex” can attest. But another spam ring has recently cropped up on the platform, and it uses the name cache of prominent journalists, techies and celebrities in an attempt to attract followers.
Yesterday, Betabeat asked Compete for traffic data on BuzzFeed—the richly-funded purveyor of image-heavy listicles, breeding ground for future New Yorker scribes and everything in between—and when the spreadsheet arrived, it came wrapped in a little gift: Along with the monthly unique visits and demographic breakdowns we requested, Compete gave us a long list of BuzzFeed search referrals for the last three months, ranked by total share.
While browsing our Google Reader this morning, we came across this list of wacky interview questions compiled by Glassdoor.com. You know the drill: “How many cows are in Canada?” (Correct answer: Who cares?) However, we were reminded of our favorite party game, which we haven’t played in quite some time, wherein we investigate God-only-knows-how-reliable Glassdoor reviews of our favorite startups.
Let’s just say there are some very unhappy underlings running around Silicon Alley.
When we last spoke with Eric Hippeau, the Huffington Post mafioso was discussing Lerer Ventures’ new $36 million fund. Today, the early-stage investment firm is announcing two new hires to help it manage and grow its considerable portfolio.
Max Stoller, a recent NYU graduate whose hackathon apps we’ve covered in the past, will be joining Lerer Ventures as an analyst. Mr. Stoller, a HackNY veteran, worked as an engineer at Hyperpublic–a company founded by LV managing director Jordan Cooper and sold to Groupon–as well as on the platform team at Foursquare, both while in school. And, yes, if that makes you wonder, you probably did college wrong.
You get an iPad! And you get an iPad! BuzzFeed cofounder Jonah Peretti has certainly been in the celebrating mood this week (and for good reason). Emily Fleischaker, editor of BuzzFeed’s Food vertical, tweeted that Mr. Peretti handed out iPad Minis to the whole staff for meeting their traffic goal. (Paging the Betabeat boss!)
BuzzFeed also Instagrammed a photo of Mr. Peretti donning said shirt and drinking what appears to be a beer. YOLO, we suppose.
BuzzFeed, the Internet’s biggest time suck, announced in a press release today that it has raised $20 million in a series D round led by NEA Ventures, bringing its total raised to $46.3. In addition to churning out more image-heavy listicles and starting spats with fellow popular Internet properties like Gawker and The Oatmeal, BuzzFeed intends to use the money to “build the next great media company.”
It seems just yesterday that Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman was one of the most beloved men on the Internet, having converted a generation of readers into fans of the turn-of-the-century scientist Nikola Tesla and spearheaded an Indiegogo campaign to get the man an American museum.
Nowadays, between the rape joke and the angry screeds, he’s starting to look like a guy who just can’t quite learn when to keep his mouth shut.
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]