More Money More Problems

Bespoke App for Your Night iPhone Path Reportedly Gearing Up to Raise Big Bucks

Path founder and CEO, David Morin

Rumor has it that Path is about to score some fresh cash.

David Morin’s exclusive social networking app—the secret club that you may or may not want to be a part of—is reportedly preparing for a new round of fundraising that would put its total valuation at around $1 billion, says TechCrunch. The custom-designed, one-of-a-kind app for your night iPhone is reportedly looking to raise between $75 and $100 million from investors. Read More

SOPA Opera

Techies Waiting to See How Big of a Pain Regulators Will Be in 2013

(via foursquare)

It’s cold as a witch’s tit, the Port Authority was evacuated this morning thanks to a rank gas smell, and one Betabeat reporter just burnt her arm on the heating pipe in her bathroom. Clearly 2013 is already off to a great start.

Oh, and throw one more thing on the pile: After a banner year for startup types getting their way in Washington, the New York Times reports that regulators are expected to tighten the reigns on tech companies in 2013. That means Alley and Valley types alike are looking uneasily in the direction of D.C., trying to figure out what the swamp things in the capitol district will be cooking up this year. Read More


Booting Up: Have a ff-ing Happy Holidays

ff venture capital

The Federal Trade Commission broadened restrictions on the types of data companies can gather on Internet users under the age of 13, and closed a loophole that allowed third-parties to gather kids’ information without parental approval. [FTC]

So much for Facebook’s anticipated external ad network, at least for now. The social media giant is halting testing on a program that would use social data to place ads on third-party sites. [AllThingsD]

The New York Stock Exchange touted its role in the startup community, noting that 52 percent of 2012’s tech IPOs listed on the Big Board, and and even showing enough tact to refrain from mentioning that Facebook’s high-profile IPO debacle wasn’t one of them. [NYSE]

Elepath is set to launch Moonbase, a plug and play service that lets users create web animations—without learning how to code. [The Verge]

Alas, the terrible things that didn’t happen to Flavorpill digital media developer James Reston as he skated his longboard to work. [The Onion]

Here’s wishing you an ff-ing happy holidays. [David Teten/ff Venture Capital]


Booting Up: The FTC Isn’t Telling Us Its Decision on Google and Antitrust Just Yet


The FTC reportedly won’t announce its decision regarding its antitrust investigation until 2013, rather than this week as was originally planned. Hey, might as well not ruin anyone’s holiday over this. [Bloomberg]

If you read this, you’ll never rent a computer for anything ever again. [Ars Technica]

Prominent techies like Fred Wilson are backing Bloomberg’s demand for a gun safety plan. [A VC]

The U.K. now has a special crime unit focused wholly on copyright violators, which means this classic IT Crowd episode is actually coming true. [The Verge]

IBM is pretty sure computers will have “touch, taste, sight, sound and smell” within five years. In related news, IBM is about to learn you can’t teach good taste. [Washington Post]


Booting Up: Is Your News Feed About to Get More Crowded?

Zuck listening to the Black-Eyed Peas' "I Got a Feeling." (Photo: In the Capital)

The FTC is said to be wondering whether it can actually pull off an antitrust case against Google, as consumers don’t seem too bothered by the company’s putting its own services before those of competitors. [Bloomberg]

Facebook is testing adding upcoming events and recently released albums–not sponsored posts, but not shared by friends, either–to the News Feed. [The Next Web]

A government advisory committee has filed objections to many of ICANN’s new top-level domains, from .islam to .wtf to .navy. [ZDNet]

HP says it’s lost almost $9 billion on the purchase of Autonomy because of shady accounting. But there are doubts about whether that really adds up. [Bloomberg]

Now whirring away in the computing museum at England’s Bletchley Park: the world’s oldest working computer, dating from 1951. [Extreme Tech]


Booting Up: Vote Via Email (It’s a Jersey Thing)

Mr. Chen. Twitter)

The ratings on Foursquare Explore are now powered not simply by randos assigning stars, but rather a number of factors like checkins and tips. [Foursquare Blog]

At GigaOm’s RoadMap conference, Kickstarter cofounder Perry Chen dropped a little knowledge on the crowd: Last year, $3 million went to gaming projects. This year, the sum is 20 times as high. [Twitter]

Washington wants to strengthen privacy protections for the kiddos, but Silicon Valley swears up and down the new rules are so bothersome it might make it impossible to even bother developing for children. That would be terrible, because then they might have to spend some time outside, God forbid. [New York Times]

Everyone’s just a touch nervous about the prospect of New Jersey’s vote-by-email scheme. [Computer World]

Tumblr now clocks in at 20 billion monthly pageviews. Whew. It’s also basically a ceaseless river of content, with 77 million posts every day on 79 million blogs. (Though presumably many of those are reblogging the same five pinup pics again and again.) [Daily Dot]

Planet Google

FTC More Serious Than Ever About Federal Action Against Google


The FTC has been examining Google’s business practices for a while and tonight the New York Times reports that the commission has prepared a memo recommending the United States file suit against the company for allegedly massaging search results to favor Google products, among other things.

It’s not a done deal that the government and Google will end up arguing the case in court, but a memo currently being prepared by the FTC is a big step in that direction: Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez Fan Sites Fined $1 M. for Child Privacy Violations

(Photo: Instagram)

Artist Arena, the division of Warner Music Group behind fan sites for pop music stars like Justin Bieber, Selena GomezRihanna and Demi Lovato, has agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The New York Times reports that the company has agreed to pay a $1 million civil penalty for illegally collecting personal information from children.

The pop stars themselves haven’t been accused of any misconduct. But because Artist Arena asked for details like birth dates in order to let fans create online profiles, the FTC argued that the company knew very well that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa) by collecting the addresses and cellphone numbers of roughly 101,000 users aged 12 or younger without parental consent or notification. Read More


Booting Up: Everyone Now Hates Twitter Edition


Here’s an interesting take on why Twitter is suddenly giving the finger to API devs: “I suspect the reason that Twitter is cutting off apps from using its ‘friend finder’ feature is because most people do not create content in Twitter and therefore have no incentive to use Twitter outside of the value of its graph.” [Dustin Curtis]

Fred Wilson thinks venture capital funds have grown too big and has some ideas on how to fix them. [Technology Review]

There are fewer and fewer women in Google’s inner circle, so the GOOG engineers dealt with it the only way they know how: by building a predictive algorithm to help them recruit and retain more female employees. [New York Times]

Turns out the freemium model is not exactly free for businesses. [Wall Street Journal]

Here’s why the FTC let Facebook buy Instagram. (Hint: ’cuz Facebook Camera sucks.) [TechCrunch]

Think of the Children

McDonald’s Accused of Shadily Marketing to Kids via Online Games

Just hanging out, maybe collecting some emails. (Photo:

Ronald McDonald probably isn’t the first person who comes to mind when parents think “internet dangers,” but you probably don’t want your kids getting unsolicited emails about the glories of french fries, either.

Well, bad news: The New York Times reports that several advocacy organizations have filed a complaint with the FTC, alleging that Micky D’s and four other companies–Viacom, General Mills, Subway and Turner–are exploiting a legal loophole in their online marketing to kids.

In true corporate fashion, however, these companies aren’t doing anything so straightforward as simply asking for 9-year-olds’ email addresses. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act in fact requires sites to get parents’ “verifiable consent”  before they can collect the personal info of kids younger than 13. Read More