Booting Up: At The New York Times, A New Tech Columnist

Gone. (Photo: Yahoo)

It’s officially a shakeup for Yahoo: Jai Singh is leaving his position as editor-in-chief and will be replaced by CMO Kathy Savitt. [Recode]

Digg produced its first piece of original content yesterday. “We look at Digg as having the potential to be like any other editorial outlet that features freelancer content,” said editorial director David Weiner. [TechCrunch]

After just four months at the Wall Street Journal, Farhad Manjoo is moving to the Times as a Styles tech columnist. [New York Times]

Facebook is testing a trending topics feature because that doesn’t sound familiar at all. [Daily Dot]

Kyle Chandler is coming to Netflix in a series from the creators of Damages. [THR]


Booting Up: Microsoft Is Exploring an Equity Stake in Foursquare

His cake picture makes sense. (Photo: File)

Foursquare, which was rumored to be in talks with large tech companies for strategic investments, reportedly found its suitors in Microsoft and American Express. [Bloomberg]

The British Consulate is launching an awards program aimed at New York-based tech startups with no U.K. connections to help build them a presence across the pond. [New York Daily News]

Here’s one reason why women in tech are so scant: “Stories about being marginalized or passed over by their male peers started in Computer Science class and continued through the hiring and promotion process, layering on ageism if they managed to get that far.” [Valleywag]

Digg finally rolled out an Android version of its app that includes mobile access to Digg Reader. [Verge]

In what seems like something out of a terrible episode of Law and Order, Facebook is considering adding most of its 1 billion members’ faces to a facial recognition database to improve its tagging feature. [Reuters]


Booting Up: Meet the CEBros Behind Bang With Friends

Colin Hodge. (Photo: Valleywag)

Meet Colin Hodge, the 28-year-old CEBro behind Bang with Friends, the “sex positive brogrammer in search of a viral loop.”  [Valleywag]

Digg’s CEO described its upcoming Google Reader replacement as “very clean, very simple, and very fast.” It’s expected to be released at the end of June. [Fast Company]

Nobody knows what’s going on with the acquisition of Waze. It’s now rumored that Google is interested in purchasing the Israeli company. Betabeat might buy it too, who knows. [TechCrunch]

Lyft, the on-demand ridesharing app for normals, raised $60 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. [Business Insider]

A “bookless library” is set to open in Texas offering 100 e-readers for loan if you needed another reason not to move to San Antonio. [Salon]


Booting Up: Digg Owner Betaworks Acquires Instapaper

Mr. Parker. (Photo: Flickr/Le Web)

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, 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]


Internet Resurrection: Digg Will Launch a New and Improved Version of Google Reader

Sad. (Screenshot: Google Reader)

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

Off the Media

Hail Corporate: The Increasingly Insufferable Fakery of Brands on Reddit


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