NYC-based non-incubator Betaworks has acquired a majority stake in the article-bookmarking service Instapaper. Creator Marco Arment wrote on his blog that he will slide into an advising role “indefinitely” as Betaworks oversees operations and expands Instapaper’s staff. [PC Mag]
CISPA, the controversial Internet bill, is (probably?) dead. An anonymous source said that “there is no possible plan” to bring it up in the Democratic-controlled Senate because it faces little support from the party. [Daily Dot]
Some big names, like Sean Parker, Steve Ballmer, and Bill Gates, are joining Mark Zuckerberg’s political action committee, FWD.us. We would love to be on those brunch-planning emails. [AllThingsD]
Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer has joined the board of Jawbone, the hardware maker behind those groovy wireless headsets and speakers. [AllThingsD]
A study of Bitcoin exchanges revealed that 45 percent of them fail, often taking peoples’ money with them. And the exchanges that don’t shutter are more likely to be the target of cyber attacks. [Wired]
As part of its quest to build the perfect Google Reader replacement, Digg is surveying 17,000 people about how they used the service. With 8,000 responses already in, Digg has released some insight into what they’ve found.
Fretful newshounds and anxious bloggers can stop sitting shiva. Digg, or rather Betaworks’ reboot of old Digg, wants to resurrect yet another ailing online mainstay. On its blog this afternoon, the startup announced it would be building a reader to replace the “much-loved, if under-appreciated” Google Reader.
In the post, Andrew McLaughlin, the former vice president of Tumblr who joined Betaworks as an entrepreneur-in-residence last summer, said Reader’s “early social features were forward-thinking and hugely useful.” However, as with the revamped Digg, the new iteration won’t look exactly like its predecessor: Read More
The best kind of marketing messages are the ones that don’t seem like marketing messages. Because it means that the viewers’ defenses are down.
That may be why the front page of Reddit has become an irresistible target for feel-good messages about brands and businesses. Despite the community’s penchant for skepticism, Costco, Taco Bell (in fact, most of the Yum! Brands) and a handful of startups have all made very conspicuous appearances on Reddit in the last year–not via paid ads, but through what at first glance appear to be organic and genuine discussions by Reddit users.
But are they? Could they really be? As someone responsible for my own fair share of marketing stunts, I am suspicious and cynical—I’ll disclose that right up front. I very well may be seeing signs of undue influence where there is only rule-bending behavior, but then again, I’ve also begun getting requests from clients about the possibility of orchestrating Reddit machinations. So because of this, and because of what I’ve observed behind the scenes, I’ll come out and say it: what’s going on Reddit these days has media manipulation written all over it. Read More
#RealTalk Dave McClure, our favorite giver of zero fucks, went on a bit of a Twitter tear the other day. It started with the admission that he’d “just had really hard tough love talk w/ startup founder. fucking sucks, but better harsh truth than bullshit ‘you’ll make it work’ lies.” He didn’t stop there, adding that ”what really sucks is none of other investors (incl big lead VC) have the balls 2 tell them its not going 2 fucking work & shut it down.”
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt urged North Korean leaders to open Internet access to its citizens, or doom them to a state of virtual isolation. Which, if we understand Mr. Schmidt correctly, he thinks will be far more insidious than the actual isolation North Koreans are currently experiencing. [AP]
North Korea’s official Twitter account only follows three, and only three, other accounts. One belongs to Jimmy Dushku, a 25-year-old investor who’s been to almost 60 Coldplay concerts and counts The Fast and the Furious as his favorite movie. What? [Mother Jones]
They’re not saying how they know, exactly, but U.S. officials are convinced that the cyberattacks on the consumer-facing websites of American banks are the work of the Iranian government. [NYT]
Soon you will buy prepaid iPhones at Walmart. Sounds like another season of The Wire is in order. [PRNewswire]
Not to put a timetable on anything, but Digg figures its content discovery app is about one percent done. Which is as fine a time as any to talk about monetization. [Digg]
Quora is the site where headsdown homebodies ask other sheltered types questions like, “What are some things I’d be shocked to learn about the outside world?” But now that Quora is over three years old, it seems as if they’re finally going into the real heavy stuff.
A question posed under the topic “Murder,” asked, “What does it feel like to murder someone?” Some inmates from San Quentin State Prison opened themselves up, providing deeply personal answers that offered up something rare on Quora: a glimpse of life far, far away from the tech bubble. Read More
Among the Natives David Karp put on his salesman hat this week and preached the Tumblr gospel in front of execs at an Advertising Week event. Karp pushed his company’s new approach to “native” non-intrusive marketing. He went as far as to call Tumblr the “brave new world.” The site now nets 27 million visitors a month and is expected to release some sort of earnings report this week, six months after ads started running on the site.
Pass The Popcorn MoviePass, a subscription service for unlimited movie-going, launched today, but is still invite-only. The app lets you check into a movie theatre, which then unlocks your MoviePass card. You pay at the credit card ticket kiosk using your MoviePass card, like you would with an ordinary card. The service is starting out at $29.99, which makes it a steal for New Yorkers because that’s a little under the price of two movies with popcorn in Manhattan. Read More
It’s a gloomy, rainy Friday in New York, but we’re about to serve you a piping hot bowl of gossip. Bon appetit!
Map-maker, Map-maker, Build Me a Map! If Tim Cook‘s mea culpa wasn’t enough to demonstrate how hard Apple is scrambling to fix its iOS 6 mapocalypse, then how about its last ditch recruiting techniques to find Ruby developers? Mojo Talantikite, a cluster engineer at Engine Yard in New York City, said he (and a number of his technically talented friends) have been hit up by Apple recruiters recently.“I don’t think it’s too out of the ordinary for a company to scramble to soak up talent once they figure out their product is deficient,” he told Betabeat by email. “But considering that the beta of Apple Maps was terrible three months ago, you’d think they would have started the aggressive recruitment phase then,” he said, adding, “It’s pretty easy to realize they are in put out the fire mode.” Read More