Linkages

Booting Up: Apple Is Releasing a Free OS Because It’s Going to Make Them A Lot of Money

Tap tap tap. (Photo: Enter.co)

Apple isn’t full of dummies. There’s a few reasons why its new OS is being released for free, like customer goodwill and accelerating adoption. [AllThingsD]

Ahead of its IPO,Twitter has obtained a $1 billion credit line. Let’s go shopping, Jacky boy! [Reuters]

Amazon has upped its free shipping minimum to $35 because they are rude. [CNNMoney]

Outbrain, the creator of those ubiquitous ad links placed at the bottom of websites, has picked up $35 million in fresh funding. [AdWeek]

An Aereo app for Android has finally dropped. [Engadget]

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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startup rundown

Startup News: Disrupting Burner Phones and Brunch With Jake Lodwick and Bre Pettis

626px-TigerWoodsOct2011

Here’s A Tip. Are you travelling outside the U.S. soon? Are you afraid of getting publicly humiliated by an Austrian waiter because you rounded his tip up to the nearest 5 percent, not 10? Well How Much Should I Fucking Tip has a goddam solution! Just type the country or city of your choice into the search bar and get the proper percent to tip at restaurants, at hotels, and in taxis. There are also convenient notes on countries with sneaky service charges, or specific parking rules. But don’t exit your browser until you’ve typed in “North Korea.” Read More

Startup Showdown

David and Goliath: nRelate and Outbrain, A Tale of Two Content Recommendation Engines

Click through this!

After a post about Outbrain’s recent $35 million fund raise, Betabeat got an email from nRelate, a competing content recommendation engine also based in New York.

“Did you know nRelate.com has more publishers than Outbrain and nRelate is accomplishing more with less than 1 percent of Outbrain’s funding. Both companies also report the same CTR (click through rate) of 5.7 percent,” Marc Macias, nRelate’s communications guy, said in an email.

Them’s fighting words! And there was more. “Here is the best part. nRelate’s plug-in is free and allows all publishers— regardless of size—to syndicate their material over the web.” Read More

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OutBrain’s Yaron Galai: The World is Brainwashed by Relevancy

Yaron Galai - Image via Israeli Business Forum of NY

Israeli born ad-tech veteran Yaron Galai is currently at work on his fourth company, Outbrain, which serves up more than 3.5 billion pageviews a month to publishers like CNN, Fox and The Atlantic. “My two previous companies worked by interruption, which I hated. We were trying to get you to click away from a story on the kind of ad that personally, I ignore.”

Outbrain works to send “engaged” readers to publishers, meaning visitors they believe will actually enjoy the story they land on, then be likely to click through to other articles and visit the site again in the future. “The world is brainwashed by relevancy,” Mr. Galai said, chatting with Betabeat at our Midtown offices. “If you’re reading an article about Steve Jobs, and we send you to another article about Steve Jobs, or about the iPhone, yes that is “relevant”, but it’s probably not that interesting.” Read More

Coming to America

Israeli Start-Ups Skip the Valley, Go Direct to New York

Print

Taykey co-founder Amit Avner had just moved into his new offices off Madison Square Park a couple weeks ago. His desk was bare save for a Mac laptop and a Samsung Galaxy S2 phone, which started playing the first few chords of Darth Vader’s Imperial March theme song.

Hmm-hmm-hmm, hmm-hmm-hmm, hmm-hmm-hmm.

“Oh, that’s our chairman of the board. Let me just tell him I’ll call him back,” Mr. Avner said. After a few words in Hebrew, he hung up. “It’s like 11 p.m.” in Tel Aviv, Mr. Avner noted. “He must be really bored.”

Mr. Avner, who moved to New York from Israel 10 months ago, has curly, blond hair, full lips, and blue eyes the exact color of the inside of a Hpnotiq bottle. “I’m 25 now. On Friday, I’m 26. I’m still like … ignoring it,” he said, laughing at himself. “When I was 14, I built a search engine.”

After getting a B.A. in computer science (age 15) and selling his search engine (age 17), in 2008 Mr. Avner launched Taykey, an advertising platform that helps clients like Pepsi use real-time algorithms to determine consumer interest. Both of his co-founders were fellow engineers he met while serving as a software architect developing cryptography and network security for the R.&D. unit of Israel’s Ministry of Defense.

Asked what sorts of projects he worked on, Mr. Avner sputtered something about “encrypting stuff” and “making things work together.”

For decades, the elite programming units of the Israeli Defense Forces, which include 8200 and Mamram, have functioned like the ultimate feeder school for Silicon Wadi, as the software hub clustered around Tel Aviv was dubbed in the ’90s (wadi is Arabic for “valley”). But these days, the start-ups coming out of Israel have put aside mature sectors like security, microchips and network communications for something more Americanized. Read More