Citymapper crosses the Atlantic Yesterday AT&T and the MTA announced London-based Citymapper as the winners of this year’s App Quest competition, awarding them the grand prize of $20,000 and an extra $2000 for being the “Wish List App.” Citymapper integrates real-time tracking data across all of New York City’s various transportation methods, including subways, busses, and Citibikes. It also tells users how many calories they’ll burn on their trip, so they can decide whether or not to grab a slice on the way.
JackThreads Gets an iPads App Purveyor of men’s clothes and accessories JackThreads is attempting to seal up its lucrative mobile market. The company, described as ‘urbo-hipster’ by TechCrunch, is currently generating about 40 percent of revenue via its iPhone app. CEO Ben Lerer revealed how he was excited to “Roll out this beast to our guys.” Not sure if “beast” correctly describes a collection of blazers and jackets, but we wish them luck.
ECommerce Rules Everything Around Me
Last week, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo reportedly quit as director of the company’s U.K. arm. The news comes just days after government regulators forced TweetDeck to dissolve following accounting issues. [Sky News]
Bloomberg is apologizing to its clients after allegations that reporters snooped on client terminals to see their Seamless orders or whatever. [CNN Money]
JackThreads’ recent push into international waters, like Australia and the U.K., is doing well for the company’s bottom line as sales overseas now make up 10 percent of its business. [AllThingsD]
Facebook Home is missing features that Android users love (widgets, docks, oh my!) because all of the developers use iPhones. The lack of “droidfooding” is causing them to scramble to add those features to turn around Home’s slow downloads. [TechCrunch]
Here’s a groovy map that shows you where in the world Wikipedia is being edited right now. [Ars Technica]
Elon Musk and David Sacks have left Mark Zuckerberg’s political action group over growing concerns over the support of certain politicians. [AllThingsD]
Off the Media
If there were a word cloud for recent ecommerce reports, it would be shaped like a mushroom cloud with “over-hyped” “implosion,” “froth,” “down rounds,” and “suck it, America, Europe does it better,” all in extra large font.
So we weren’t expecting to hear that JackThreads, the men’s ecommerce site acquired by Thrillist in 2010, had its best revenue month ever in February, even bigger than typically high-selling holiday months. Growth in new members was up 366 percent year-over-year and double the growth in number of new users joining in November and December of 2012.
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.
While browsing our Google Reader this morning, we came across this list of wacky interview questions compiled by Glassdoor.com. You know the drill: “How many cows are in Canada?” (Correct answer: Who cares?) However, we were reminded of our favorite party game, which we haven’t played in quite some time, wherein we investigate God-only-knows-how-reliable Glassdoor reviews of our favorite startups.
Let’s just say there are some very unhappy underlings running around Silicon Alley.
After the Storm
SoundCloud Busts Out Of Beta At this point, SoundCloud is basically the audio version of YouTube. A private-beta version of the site launched earlier this year called Next and the newest version integrates a bunch of those social features that the company hopes will help its users discover new music. “From today, ‘Next’ is now simply SoundCloud,” said Alexander Ljung, founder and CEO of SoundCloud in a press release sent to Betabeat. “It’s a platform for people to discover new, original music and audio, for creators to build audiences, and for everyone to share what they hear whether online or on mobile.”
The company claims that users now post over 10 hours of music and audio every minute while reaching over 180 million people. That’s a staggering 8% of the entire internet population, every month. On December 6th, mobile users will be able to enjoy reposts, updated mobile search, and UX updates on both iOS and Android SoundCloud apps.
Many startups are able to work remotely with just a laptop and a working Internet connection–though good luck finding one right now. But for ecommerce companies focused on pushing products out into the real world, “just ship it” is taking on a whole new meaning. Between extensive power outages and three days without a functional subway, the disruption is likely to last through the week.
“Eccommerce companies are lucky since we don’t have physical stores–we can handle a break pretty easily,” said Gilt Groupe CEO Kevin Ryan. “We are a little bit like an airplane,” he added: “you can turn off the engine for a little bit and there is no problem–if you turn off the engine for a while it is a disaster, but a few days is not a big problem.”
That doesn’t mean recovering from Sandy has been painless, though.
For the Thrill of It
Healthy Hills? Everyday Health, the SoHo-based and more successful version of WebMd, has acquired EQAL, the creators of Lonelygirl15 and the owners of LaurenConrad.com. Everyday Health’s ad revenue grew 40 percent in the first quarter, compared to WebMD’s decline of 20 percent. This coincides with Everyday Health’s announcement that they’re moving beyond YouTube and launching a version of it’s web show “Recipe Rehab” for ABC stations around the country.
Diller Brings Back Dog Ben Silverman’s multimedia entertainment studio Electus, part of Barry Diller’s IAC, just sold ten episodes of a new show starring Dog the Bounty Hunter and his wife Beth to CMT. “Dog and Beth are not only great television characters,” said Electus CEO Chris Grant, ”They are the best bounty hunters in the world, and this show is a natural evolution of their life story.”
Fresh off the heels of the news that Thrillist had raised a $13 million Series A, its men’s clothing retailer, JackThreads, announced exclusively to Betabeat today that it has hit one million orders.
“Our growth has been insane,” said Devon Giddon, Thrillist’s director of communications. “In 2010, we were processing approximately 8,000 orders a month and now we’re doing around 13,000 orders a week! And 60 percent of those orders are from repeat buyers.”