Social gaming company Zynga has endured a rough couple of months. After its acquisition of the NYC-based company OMGPOP–producers of the fad-friendly game Draw Something–Zynga has experienced a downward spiral. Earlier this month, it reported an estimated net loss of $90 million to $105 million for its third quarter, sending its already-low stock price into a tailspin. Now, The Next Web reports that the company has laid off 100 staffers from its Austin headquarters, and may even be shuttering its Boston office altogether.
This is the Summer of Zynga’s discontent. There are Zynga’s stock woes, which have prompted Forbes to question whether the gaming company is really worth any money at all. Forbes‘s Eric Savitz writes that “the market is basically saying it simply does not see any long-term value in the company’s ongoing business.”
Then there’s also this class action suit filed against Zynga in a California Superior Court on July 16, which alleges Zynga failed to pay overtime and has unfair business practices.
When Lawyers Send Letters
Remember the good old days, when Craigslist was a granola-crunchy, free-wheeling sort of place, filled with back alley studio sublets and questionable masseuses and sweaty old men with foot fetishes? Ah, those were the times.
But now the little Craigslist that we all love and rely on so much has grown into a corporate overlord, moving to squash a tiny startup focused on continuing to innovate on the local listings concept. Oh Craig Newmark, why hath thou forsaken us?
GigaOm reports that, following Padmapper’s “dickish” decision to continue to include Craigslist apartment listings on its visual mapping tool (despite a cease-and-desist letter), Craigslist is sue Padmapper and its API provider 3Taps. Not exactly an “embrace the free Internet” move there, Craigslist.
Over The Aereo
Aereo won an important legal victory earlier this week, when a judge declined to issue a preliminary injunction that would’ve essentially shut the TV-streaming service down until a broadcasters’ lawsuit against the company is decided. Not only might the move have smothered the company in its cradle, but the ruling also bodes well for Aereo’s ultimate fate in the lawsuit.
Well, now that one existisitential threat has receded, it looks like the swagger is back in the company’s step.
Yesterday media mastermind and spry septuagenarian Barry Diller informed Bloomberg TV, “Within a year and a half, certainly by ’13, we’ll be in most major” markets. We like to imagine the line was accompanied by an enormous, satisfied grin.
Nor will Aereo continue hiding its light under a bushel. Mr. Diller also told Bloomberg that, “We’re going to really start marketing.” And while it may seem like Aereo is all you ever hear about, despite the occasional splashy party and a demo at New York Tech Meetup, the company hasn’t exactly been making the full-court press to consumers.
Come on, Barry, now you’re just trolling the poor broadcasters.
When Lawyers Send Letters
Earlier this week, Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal webcomic, responded to a lawsuit threat by FunnyJunk with an Indiegogo campaign to raise $20,000 for the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society. The campaign hit its $20,000 goal in an hour, and has accrued over $144,000 to date, with 14 days still left to go.
But–not content to settle for just one asshole move–FunnyJunk lawyer Charles Carreon has responded to Mr. Inman’s campaign by trying to get it pulled from Indiegogo. Because egos are more important than cancer research, obviously.
Sex and the Valley
Ellen Pao has broken her silence to issue a short statement regarding her position at Kleiner Perkins, the firm she is suing for gender discrimination–on Quora, of all places. (Quora: a publicist’s nightmare?)
On a question asking if she had left the firm following her lawsuit, Ms. Pao wrote the following simple yet powerful statement: “No, and I don’t plan to quit.” The answer received over 250 upvotes, primarily from bloggers and techies, as well as 13 comments. Of note is one comment from 500 Startups cofounder and prominent VC Dave McClure, who responded with a strong gesture of support. “Hang in there ellen ,” he wrote, and 24 people upvoted it.
Sex and the Valley
Longtime Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner John Doerr took to the KPCB blog this evening to defend the firm against the allegations lobbed at him by partner Ellen Pao, who in her suit claims that KPCB incubates a systemic culture of sexual discrimination.
If “fun” means alleged LEGO hoarders and targets of gender discrimination lawsuits, European enterprise software giant SAP must be a fun place to work! Betabeat has been covering the arrest of SAP exec Thomas Langenbach, who built something “like a mini Legoland” in his San Carlos, CA home. We’ve learned that in addition to Mr. Langenbach, SAP once employed Ajit Nazre–who is a key figure in a major lawsuit filed against Silicon Valley VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers (KPCB). Former Kleiner Perkins investment partner Ellen Pao filed the suit, which in part covers interactions with Mr. Nazre after he moved from SAP to KPCB. Ms. Pao makes some tough allegations against Mr. Nazre, alleging they had a personal relationship and claiming that after it ended, he “[...] started a consistent pattern of retaliation against her” which lasted more than 5 years. In the same suit Ms. Pao also accuses Mr. Nazre of harassing several other women. She also states Mr. Nazre left KPCB in 2011 after an independent investigation into harassment claims.
The “sexism in tech” debate is about to get new legs with the news that Ellen Pao, a partner at VC firm Kleiner Perkins, is suing the company for sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
Ms. Pao has been an investment partner at Kleiner Perkins since 2005 and is in charge of a host of digital ventures in the company’s portfolio, including magazine reading iPad app Flipboard.
Ms. Pao is represented by San Francisco attorney Alan B. Exelrod, who has extensive experience in successfully prosecuting sexual harassment suits, including the seminal 1994 case Weeks vs. Baker & McKenzie.
Looks like thunderstorms could ruin the honeymoon for Pair, the “perfect sexting app” that struck us as less sexy than monogamy-inducing. The Y Combinator-backed social network for couples just raised $4.2 million last week from a slew of high-profile investors, but today TechCrunch reports that the company is getting sued for employing the very name that defines it; a Pittsburgh-based hosting company named “pair Networks” filed a suit against the app Pair for trademark infringement.