Law and Order
It’s another banner day for the tech industry vis-a-vis gender relations.
Tinder’s former VP of marketing, Whitney Wolfe, is suing the startup after having been subjected to fratty behavior (that’s putting it mildly) during her time with the dating app. She filed a lawsuit yesterday with Los Angeles Superior Court alleging sexual harassment and discrimination.
Ms. Wolfe claims she was a cofounder of the app, but was stripped of the title because the company’s chief marketing officer, Justin Mateen, told her that having a “24-year-old girl” as a cofounder made the company “seem like a joke,” USA Today reports.
Over The Aereo
We know that Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, and other services leverage our data to benefit from marketers and advertisers. But a new startup called OwnOut wants to help you get in on the action by leveraging your own data to pit brands against each other in a fight for your loyalty.
“We help brands steal customers,” OwnOut Founder Mike Grassotti said yesterday — nine times actually — at a presentation for ERA Demo Day.
It works like this: customers give over their email account so OwnOut can go in and examine their purchasing habits. If that seems scary, consider: you’ve likely already given that data away to other online services — OwnOut just wants you to benefit directly.
If you were thinking about signing up for Aereo before the Super Bowl, well, you’re SOL. The Internet TV startup said it’s no longer signing up New York customers to the service because it doesn’t have anymore mini antennas to rent out.
Aereo’s website now directs people to a request an invite if they want the $8 a month service, reports Variety. The Barry Diller-backed company won’t disclose how many members it has, but apparently it’s enough to run out of antennas.
Members of Congress know as little about what the NSA’s up to as American citizens do. [The Guardian]
Here, have some unsolicited advice about how to solve the tech talent shortage from airplane aficionado Henry Blodget. [Business Insider]
Barry Diller has finally unloaded Newsweek onto IBT Media, but is keeping the Daily Beast in the IAC fold. [L.A. Times]
The Obama administration has vetoed a product ban on Apple that would mean the company couldn’t sell certain types of iPads and iPhones in the U.S. [New York Times]
“A part of a burgeoning Twitter subculture known as Weird Twitter, he is speaking in a purposefully nonsensical code that is meant to satirize the growing presence of corporate brands and marketers on the popular social network.” This is going to be a long week. [Wall Street Journal]
Apple and Google execs probably won’t be going on a long-weekend together anytime soon, but Eric Schmidt acknowledged that the two companies are in ”constant business discussions on a long list of issues.” No word if that involves any trust falls. [Apple Insider]
Paul Greenberg, the CEO of CollegeHumor, is leaving the comedy website. Cofounder Ricky Van Veen announced that two execs from fellow IAC company Electus will assume the position. [AllThingsD]
Here’s a how-to guide on the ways developers rip off Apple’s App Store. [Daily Dot]
Kickstarter-backed smartwatch project Pebble has announced 275,000 preorders and has shipped nearly 100,000 devices to backers. [TNW]
Netflix is in talks with the producers of Arrested Development for another season. [Vulture]
Over The Aereo
Apple’s iWatch is coming: The company has applied to trademark the device in Japan. [Reuters]
IAC’s beleaguered CityGrid Media unit, which contains Urbanspoon and CitySearch, is laying off 130 people–or about two-thirds of its staff. It previously went under another round of staffing reductions last October when 15 percent of its workforce was axed. [TechCrunch]
Instagram suffered a widespread spam attack over the weekend. Users reported seeing pictures of a “miracle fruit” in their feed with a link to a phony BBC article about it. Facebook reports that it’s now all under control. [GigaOM]
Groupon wants you to really like them again so they’re introducing a new feature called Reserve, a new daily deal redeemable at high-end restaurants in 10 cities, including New York. [USA Today]
Led by Mark Zuckerberg, around 700 Facebook employees marched in San Francisco’s gay pride parade Sunday. [Wall Street Journal]
Love in the Time of Algorithms
Aereo, the online service that lets users livestream local channels, announced today that it will be rolling out service to Boston, its second major metropolitan area. Starting May 15, customers in the Massachusetts area who have pre-registered for the free service will start receiving their invites to try it out. On May 30, membership will available to all 4.5 million people in the Boston area.
Nearly 30 channels will be available for streaming, including the city’s network affiliates, specialty channels (i.e. PBS Kids, The Country Network) and some Spanish-language networks. The Boston market extends beyond Massachusetts and includes parts of New Hampshire and Vermont. Aereo has been staffing up in Boston and has several engineering job openings listed on its Career page.
Good news, singletons: you can now spend your Bitcoins to help you get laid. OKCupid has begun accepting the popular decentralized digital currency as a form of payment. Payments will be accepted via Bitcoin wallet website Coinbase, according to an announcement on its blog.
Betabeat first reported two weeks ago that the IAC-backed site was considering accepting Bitcoins after a Reddit user posted a screenshot from an alleged OKCupid representative claiming that the company was looking to expand its payment options.
Love in the Time of Algorithms
The Chat-rooming Classes Today, seemingly every tech reporter in the business tuned into Jason Calacanis‘s “This Week in Startups,” presumably in the hopes that Mr. Calacanis would tell all re: the allegations of abuse against Michael Arrington. But as familiar names chattered away in the chat room, Mr. Calacanis had little to say beyond comparing himself to Obi Wan. That would make Mr. Arrington Anakin Skywalker, of course; Mr. Calacanis said he taught him how to be powerful in media, and “I regret that.”
As for the allegations themselves, Mr. Calacanis was quick to say he wouldn’t be commenting on whether they were true, citing his lack of direct knowledge. (He did, however, openly discuss the time that Mr. Arrington called a PR honcho “the c-word,”
thereby outing someone who’d never mentioned the incident publicly!) [Correction: Mr. Calacanis first mentioned the incident and the PR exec (Brooke Hammerling) by name in the comments of his Facebook post, prompting Ms. Hammerling to confirm the story, also in a Facebook comment.] All in all, it sounds like he (kinda sorta) regrets getting involved. He apparently thought writing a Facebook note wouldn’t go very far. “I thought that that would be a place where it just lived there,” he said. (Paging Randi Zuckerberg!) “I got a little P.T. Barnum in me and I feel like me commenting on all this stuff actually detracts from it,” he added.
Bitcoin, the popular decentralized digital currency, is having a moment. Its worth topped $106 this morning, Bloomberg Businessweek called it the “global economy’s last safe haven,” and a smattering of online retailers are beginning to the accept the unregulated crypotcurrency.