Off the Media

Who Can You Trust? A Guide To Your Online Media Diet

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You’re probably pretty aware that you’re being manipulated at this point.

Clickbait. Outrage porn. Shoddy sourcing. Stories being traded up the chain. Fake traffic. Sanctimony. The playbook of online publishers has started to resemble something a 20th century con man might use. It’s suite of ruses, misdirection and outright deception designed to steal clicks here and traffic there. It’s a way of relieving unsuspecting readers of their attention and pawning it off to trusting advertisers.

So if you’re not one of those people, that is if you are finally suspecting and suspicious, what are you to do? Who should you read? Who can you trust?

It’s a question I’ve been asked a lot since I wrote my book. It’s also a question I’ve asked a lot myself — because I’d like to know the answer. Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: Used to Bombing, Michael Bay Fled Mid-Presentation at CES

Mr. Bay, fleeing the stage. (Photo: Twitter)

San Francisco is  going to tax Google’s employee shuttles based on the number of stops they make. But the search giant can likely afford it since they’ll only be charged $1 per stop. [WSJ]

Michael Bay did something he’s used to at CES yesterday: he bombed. The director got flustered during a presentation for Samsung and embarrassingly fled the stage. [AdWeek]

Pinterest has reportedly acquired VisualGraph, an image recognition search engine that’s staffed by just two people. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. [BuzzFeed]

For the first time in its ten year history, Mashable is taking on outside investors to the tune of $13.3 million from Updata Partners. [CNN]

Snapchat has hired its first lobbyist. [Recode]

shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: Alexis Ohanian Took a Trip to the Jersey Shore and Lo Bosworth Popped by Mashable, Of All Places

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Cooling Last month, Tumblr CEO David Karp sallied forth to the Cannes Lions festival/advertising love-in, as part of a charm offensive meant to convince potential clients they should flog their brands on the social network.

He also took the time to sit down beachside with an NBC anchor, singing the praises of fancy-pants advertising: “If you took all the ads out of Vogue, one it would be a much smaller magazine, but two it would be much less the magazine. those ads are great content, they’re a big part of the experiences,” he said. “What we’re here this week to do is to push more of those most creative advertisers to make ads that make Tumblr better, that make for more great, fun stuff on Tumblr to enjoy.”

He looked like the frontman for an early 2000s indie rock band making an appearance on an MTV Spring Break special, which is a great little symbol for how users are going to flip if they decide Tumblr’s selling out. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: SpaceX Engineers Got Jokes and an Impassioned Cover Letter for a Job at Valleywag

(Photo: Instagram)

Journalism 101 It looks like somebody is gunning for a spot at Nick Denton’s soon-to-relaunch Silicon Valley gossip site Valleywag. TechCrunch co-editor Alexia Tsotsis wrote an impassioned post about why tech journalism needs another Valleywag, “a watchdog with enough independence and daring to call it as it is.” Writers at blogs like her own, Ms. Tsotsis argues, are simply too embedded in the ecosystem to properly perform their jobs, unwilling to report on certain unseemly aspects of Valley business and culture for fear of having to, get this, sit next to those she’s written about at a demo day. Read More

Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!

Best Tech Events This Week (Mashable Media Summit, BI Ignition, Dwolla Derby Jackpot Party, Sanitation Hackathon, TechDrinkup)

sponsor_garys_red_tie

This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.

A couple of months ago, while attending the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to chat with a ton of upcoming startups, and I noticed a surprisingly higher-than-usual number of enterprise-focused companies. Yesterday Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson wrote an interesting post highlighting how the consumer web might be entering a stage of maturation as the action shifts from the desktop to mobile, where it’s becoming increasingly harder to reach scale. 500 Startups’ Dave McClure has an excellent rebuttal post on the topic. Read More

Adventures in Venture Capital

Your Celebrity VC Firm Is a Horrible Idea, Here Let Everyone Count the Ways

(Photo: Flickr.com/LeWeb3)

Yesterday, word leaked that former Mashable editor Ben Parr is launching a seed stage VC fund targeted at celebrity investors. The cofounders of Tracks.by, a platform for music artists, are also partners in Mr. Parr’s fund. The tech world, as it’s wont to do, erupted into a collective scoff: A star-studded investment firm helmed by a “disgraced” journalist, who was fired for blabbing about his salary, doesn’t sound like the stuff of Sand Hill Road.

Unwilling to let an opportunity for backseat quarterbacking pass them by, tech bloggers immediately swooped in to offer their analysis of Mr. Parr’s newest venture. Read More

Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!

Best Tech Events This Week (NYU Entrepreneurs Festival, Fintech Startup Weekend, Mashable Media Summit, Foursquare Hackathon, NYC Uncubed)

sponsor_garys_red_tie

This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.

Hola folks,

Batten down the hatches. Stock up on the liquor (and food). Bring out the candles and flashlights. Because Hurricane Sandy (a.k.a. #frankenstorm) is almost upon us. And now, at almost a thousand miles wide, it definitely has our attention. Hopefully by this time y’all are safely at home (and not still slumming in Zone A) with eyes glued to the twenty-four-hour news coverage, watching weathermen expound on “cones” and “surges.”

As you know, the MTA has shut down all subway and buses, and pretty much every event on Monday has been cancelled or postponed including AllThingsD’s Dive Into Mobile conference, Google’s Android event, Facebook’s engineering open house and our own Big Apple Smackdown Silicon Alley ping-pong tournament (which will be re-scheduled).

At this time, the Tuesday events (and the rest of the week) seem uncertain too. They’re still listed below, but I’d highly recommend you confirm first with the event organizers. In the mean time, stay safe, keep your fingers crossed that the storm turns out to be a mild one and don’t forget to check Miguel Bloombito’s Twitter feed for the latest updates! Read More