When Spotify landed in the competitive U.S. digital music marketplace last summer, it was boosted by a cresting wave of good publicity, strong track record in Europe and a $100 million investment funding round that valued the company at $1 billion.
That wasn’t all: Given the strong demand for Pandora and LinkedIn IPOs (and even stronger anticipation for the eventual Facebook offering), Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s timing for a U.S. launch seemed spot on.
Well, things have changed: Share prices for high profile tech IPOs such as Facebook, Zynga and Groupon have tanked, and as Spotify readies to close its latest round of fund-raising, the company looks likely to fall short of its goal. Instead of the $4 billion valuation that Spotify initially sought, the company will likely settle for something “slightly more than $3 billion,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
Tumblr's Very Own
Groupon has launched its own iPad payment system in hopes of rivaling Square. Good luck with that. [The Next Web]
Kids these days don’t want a stupid computer, ’cuz they’re for old people. [Wired]
A court has ruled that book scanning counts as fair use, much to the chagrin of the Author’s Guild. [Ars Technica]
Google has launched a large online museum called the Cultural Institute, boasting 42 different exhibits. [The Daily Dot]
A 25-year-old female Redditor has made it her mission to publicly out those she calls “Predditors” who post sexualized photos of women to r/creepshots without their consent. [Jezebel]
For the last time, please stop giving your startup meaningless, baffling names. [Wired]
Operation: Get Money seems to be proceeding apace at Tumblr, as the company builds out its advertising offerings and its team to manage them. The latest development: the hiring of a new head of global sales. Lee Brown, who starts work on September 17, will report directly to motorcyclist-in-chief David Karp.
Mr. Brown’s background in digital ad sales is nothing to sneeze at. Previously Groupon’s SVP of national sales, he was one of a number of recent, high-profile departures from the beleaguered daily deals site, which just seems snakebit lately. Before that, he spent a decade at Yahoo, serving in a number of positions.
It costs $35 million to send an HD video via text while roaming on AT&T. Not a bad deal. [Ryan Kearny]
New Yorkers are surprisingly polite on Twitter. [NBC]
“Have you heard that early Groupon investors are bailing on the company? Well, some of them. Maybe less than half. But one of them is a big name, so it must mean the entire Internet sector is screwed.” [Fortune]
Is Google actually considering ditching its current patent system? [CNET]
Going up! Meet the dude who wants to eschew rockets in favor of elevators to space. [BBC]
With daily deals shrinking and Groupon stock tanking, CEO Andrew Mason spent yesterday’s earnings call trying to hype Groupon Goods to sell discounted merchandise to customers. The company’s long-awaited moment of reckoning practically moved Farhad Manjoo to song. [Slate]
Twitter cofounder Evan Williams unveiled Obvious Corp’s new project: a publishing tool called Medium. Read More
We haven’t heard too much from Groupon CEO Andrew Mason lately. (One gets the impression he felt the need to lie low for a little while.) But it seems he’s decided to reemerge into the public eye with a Businessweek profile wherein he puts on his absolute most serious, most adult, most professional game face.
Well, considering the company’s plunging stock price, it’s probably about time for a charm offensive.
For one thing, the man dressed up:
Daily deals were on the rise last year, and for a few heady months everyone got really excited about them. Groupon’s copy was still cute and quirky and hadn’t yet begun to tip over into cloying; 2-for-1 skydiving lessons were still a happy novelty; this reporter even interviewed for a Google Offers copywriting gig (and no, she didn’t get it).
But then came that faint gloom cloud, and suddenly the daily deal business model was being called into question. And frankly, it got really, really tiring to delete emails from Groupon, Living Social and Google Offers on a regular basis for coupons we would occasionally buy and then never use.
That’s why we’re thankful for Unsubscribe Deals, a new web application from a “recovering lawyer” named Edwin Hermawan and a West Village waitress named Lea Pische. In one easy step, the app connects to your Gmail account and automatically unsubscribes you from the deals emails you signed up for, including Groupon, Amazon Local and Daily Candy.
Well, well, will you look at that: Long-suffering Groupon finally had a good day. Q1 results are in, and the AP reports that revenues are up and losses slimming. Of course, after that mortifying Q4 earnings revision, the company badly needed things to go well. Maybe they’re getting better at being a public company, after all.
Revenues were up 89 percent year-over-year, from $295.5 million to $559.3 million. That number also beat expectations: Groupon had forecast somewhere between $510 million and $550 million, whereas analysts averaged out at $530.5 million. The company was also losing less money: Just $11.7 million this quarter, as opposed to $146.5 million in Q1 of 2011. There’s something to be said for moving in the right direction, at least.
No severance for departing Yahoo CEO — but he does get around $7 million in “Make-Whole” money. [All Things D]
The CEO of Time Warner Cable isn’t entirely sure he knows what AirPlay is [New York Times]
Report: Amazon prepping a front-lit Kindle to launch in July [Reuters]
After Q4’s embarrassing earnings amendment, Groupon beat the estimates this quarter [All Things Digital]
Facebook’s redesigned mobile app looks a little Instagramish [TechCrunch]
LightSquared has filed for bankruptcy but insists it’s just a matter of “breathing room” [Bloomberg]
It’s been a long tumble from the height of the hype cycle for Groupon. Stock performance has been lackluster, and there’s an ever-louder chorus of doubts about the business model. So yesterday probably wasn’t the best time for CEO Andrew Mason to get caught by The Wall Street Journal admitting to a roomful of employees that he’d maybe had a little too much to drink. Whoops!
The Journal does not sound amused: