Exit This Way
The Undercover Ad Man
Of all the “if you build it, they will come,” social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Tumblr seemed the most advertising-averse. Floppy-haired founder David Karp memorably betrayed a visceral distaste for the stuff. It “really turns our stomachs,” he said in 2010, following that up with a vow not to become “wildly profitable” by slapping an AdSense ad on the otherwise elegant dashboard of all 80 million Tumblr blogs. But it seems as though the microblogging site’s methodical approach toward making money has paid off—thanks in part to guidance from Rick Webb, a 20-year veteran of the ad industry and co-founder of digital consultancy Barbarian Group, who was attracted to Tumblr for its aversion to the “crap” ads that permeate the web.
It’s billed as an iPad magazine, but Punch–which we first reported on last week–is less a magazine than it is a clever collection of culturally relevant apps and games. Revolving around pop culture topics that range from the highbrow (“Hedge Fund or Organic Farm?”) to the low (“Closet Case,” where you can dress up a paper doll version of Rick Santorum), Punch is a re-imagining of the iPad format, delivered to us by a cabal of Manhattan media folks, including Daily Candy founder Dany Levy and former Radar editor Maer Roshan.
Now, Punch has announced that it has tapped Jim Windolf to serve as the mag’s first Editor in Chief. Mr. Windolf has a long-established media career–he’ll be leaving his position as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, where he’s served for over a decade, to join the Punch team. (Spoiler: he also worked at the Observer for nine years before joining Vanity Fair.)
The newest version of Apple’s mobile operating system rolled out today, and foursquare is leveraging the new technology to launch Radar, the first passive feature the company has ever released.
“Up till now, you had to open the app to learn what was going on around you. A lot of times you had to check in before you saw what friends were in your area,” said Alex Rainert, foursquare’s head of product. “Now we can deliver users information that is contextual and relevant without them having to do anything at all.”
So for example if a foursquare user is in a new part of their city and walks close to a restaurant on their “To Do” list, the phone can ping them with an alert. During a night on the town, the Radar feature can sense when a group of friends has checked in close to a user and give them a heads up.