Off the Media

Rage Profiteers: How Bloggers Harness Our Anger For Their Own Gain

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Last year, a couple of young guys in the pickup community created a deliberately offensive article for Medium.com about the female writers at XOjane. Not because they wanted to offend people for some personal benefit (it was published under pseudonyms) but to trace and observe the process.

As you can imagine, it caused a stir.

You could call it trolling. Or you could call it a social experiment. Read More

Ello

Why Brands Making Ello Profiles Doesn’t Ruin Everything, Destroy Ello

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Social network newcomer Ello has been going nuclear among people looking for a social network that helps them escape advertising and its evils. And because brands will do everything in their power to sell shit, Ello already has profiles for Netflix, Sonos and news orgs like the Wall Street Journal, the Independent, Engadget, and the Guardian.

This bring a certain confusion for people who aren’t thinking very deeply. That train of thought goes like this: Ello doesn’t sell out to brands, but brands are allowed to be on Ello? Doesn’t that go against their manifesto? Wait, Ello founder Paul Budnitz has one to promote his bicycle company? Hypocrite!

Yes, having marketers aboard ruins everything. Hell, the reason people have flocked to Ello in the first place is escape the social network titans who are alienating every user they can for the sake of advertisers. But there’s a clear divide between Ello simply letting brands make a profile, and re-engineering their site and business model to cater to advertisers, a la Facebook. Read More

Ello

Mad Genius Creates Ello, the Elegant Anti-Facebook

Paul Budnitz — exhibiting photographer and filmmaker, artist, designer toy maker, bicycle enthusiast. Add: social media magnate?

Update #1: Be sure to check out our latest reporting of Ello’s sudden explosion in popularity here.

Update #2: For anyone concerned about the future of Ello, they’ve assured us that the site will remain ad-free and porn friendly!

Update #3: Overwhelmed by the deluge of new users, Ello almost choked off all access for new members, but have gone all-hands-on-deck to keep Ello alive and soldier on through the hype.

For tech entrepreneurs and investors, a social network is the great white whale of startups. Successful ones scale hard and fast, generating mountains of precious user data for advertising clients.

Paul Budnitz, an artist and designer toy maker, thinks that kind of marketer exploitation is downright evil, and has organized a supergroup of artists, programmers, and designers to build a safe haven. It’s called Ello, and it’s a social network with a manifesto. Read More

Big Data/Small Minds

A Broken Valentine to the Hiring Process: Data Scientist Flips Over HowAboutWe.com Interview

How about we...don't? (HowAboutWe.com)

Imagine that you are having a Big Thought. You know, the kind of Thought that could Start a Conversation on the Internet, which is clearly the point of having Big Thoughts in the first place (as well as small thoughts/all thoughts, but let’s leave that aside for now). Let’s say your Big Thought was “I don’t like how tech companies determine new hires based on antiquated models of evaluation.” (In this hypothetical, you also didn’t read this month’s Atlantic cover story.)

How to express your Big Thought best? If you’re mad data scientist “Will,” you’d apply to HowAboutWe.com, get rejected, and then send a massive missive to the company akin to a sophomore year, 2 am drunk-email you’d send to the person who broke up with you on Valentine’s Day. AND THEN YOU WOULD CC A BUNCH OF MEDIA REPORTERS. Read More

Off the Media

The Real Story Behind ‘These Links From Our Partners’

A few years ago, I got an unusual request from Google. The search giant was working on an experimental program that encouraged retailers to feature links to products from other retailers on their websites. I forget the exact economics of the deal, whether Google treated it as an advertising unit or more an affiliate program — all I remember was my reaction.

It seemed insane to send customers away from your website and toward the websites of competitors. After spending countless dollars and energies pulling users onto your page, why would you open up an exit door? Even if the ad unit was lucrative, it still seemed like advertising suicide–or at least, like stupidly shooting yourself in the foot.

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Off the Media

Exposing the Racket: A Simple Stunt Reveals How Blogs Will Print Anything for Pageviews

It doesn’t take Noam Chomsky to see that the state of media is bad.

But in 2011, I had the sense that most people didn’t fully grasp the absurd lows the system was spiraling toward. So I set out to illustrate it.

And in the process surprised even myself.

When I sold my first book of media criticism to Portfolio/Penguin, I decided to use the launch itself as an experiment. I even wrote some of the experiment into my book proposal and subsequent deal.

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No Longer an App for That

News Corp. To Shutter Its iPad Magazine, The Daily, on December 15th

(Photo: Digital Trends)

Rupert Murdoch’s less than two-year-old foray into digital-only publishing has officially come to an end with the news that The Daily, News Corp.’s iPad-only magazine, will cease publication on December 15th. Some of The Daily’s assets and 120 employees will transition over to other News Corp. entities; Jesse Angelo, its editor-in-chief, will serve as the new publisher of the New York Post. Read More