App for That
Fresh off the Christmas Day SEO snafu that had Google leaving their site for dead (to Google’s own detriment), the guys of Rap Genius have launched an app.
The app, called Genius, connects to users’ iPhone music players, allowing them to read and annotate lyrics while listening to songs. A button allows users to get the lyrics for what they’re listening to, or the songs in their iTunes Library.
David vs. Googliath
It might not happen immediately, but it’s all but certain Netflix is going to jack up its prices. “It’s not clear that one price fits all,” said CEO Reed Hastings. [Bloomberg]
Nerd fight! Facebook is debunking that Princeton University study that it’s going to lose 80 percent of its users in the next few years. A researcher wrote it’s “utter nonsense.” [TechCrunch]
Rap Genius has come to a licensing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group to keep annotating their songs. [The 405]
Twitter has expanded analytics to its “Cards” feature. [Recode]
Here’s how Imgur became Reddit’s go-to image sharing service for pictures of dogs in fedoras. [Businessweek]
The Year Observed
By now, you’ve heard about Google penalizing Rap Genius. The lyrical annotation site — whose bread-and-butter is its simple, reliable lyrics pages — is under fire for trying to juice their Google page rank with Justin Bieber links right before Christmas.
Google banned Rap Genius for the infraction — but a simple lyrics search proves this punishment is affecting Google’s product just as much as it’s hurting Rap Genius.
RG’s attempts at growth hacking came to light when a blogger leaked an email from Rap Genius cofounder Mahbod Moghadam wherein he asked the writer to append a series of links to Justin Bieber lyrics on rock.rapgenius.com, even though the post in question would likely have had nothing to do with the Bieb.
Love in the Time of Algorithms
Funding rounds and IPOs come and go, but one thing we can always count on is the quirkiness of the tech sector’s execs. Herewith, a smattering of the weirdest things our favorite CEOs did (at least publicly) this year.
What the New York Times’ wedding announcements sometimes lack in joy and passion, they make up for in good breeding. And judging by a collection of wordclouds culled from the Vows sections over the past few decades, it seems the basic ingredients of an upper-crust wedding don’t change all that much year to year.
The bros from Rap Genius opened up the final day of TechCrunch Disrupt NY with a very special announcement. They’re launching soon a new vertical called News Genius, which follows the paradigm of Rap Genius. However, instead of analyzing 2 Chainz lyrics, the site will explain news-related clippings and documents. That sort of sounds like journalism!
“I want Barack Obama to explain the news, the constitution and Jay-Z’s ‘99 Problems,’” semi-joked cofounder Mahbog Moghadam, adding that “there has to be a legal explanation behind that.” The site, which was the idea of investor/”godfather” Ben Horowitz, has already softly launched judging by its Twitter account.
Teach Me How to Startup
Your Name Here A Silicon Valley source had the pleasure of dining near Path cofounder Dave Morin and his wife, Brit.co founder Brit Morin recently. Mr. Morin spoke about the future of Path while Ms. Morin, a DIY enthusiast, used crayons provide by the restaurant to doodle on the paper table cloth, said the source. There were rainbows, flowers and balloons, but our favorite was a drawing of the Brit.co logo, with “Morin” written underneath and an arrow pointed towards Ms. Morin (just in case the restaurant staff didn’t recognize her). That’s one way to disrupt advertising, we suppose. Our tipster was kind enough to snap a pic on their way out.
Happy Internet, Mr. President Twice this week in conversation with tech types, Betabeat was asked when Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian was running for office already. The 29-year-old credited with helping to defeat SOPA/PIPA already toured the country (in a bus once leased for John McCain’s “Straight Talk Express”) running for president of the Internet. But with Sheryl Sandberg hot on his heels, isn’t it time to start campaigning for the real thing?
Mark Zuckerberg is hardly the first billionaire turned off by the antics of Rap Genius cofounder Mahbod Moghadam. As Betabeat learned while reporting a feature on the startup’s $15 million investment round from Andreessen Horowitz, Mr. Moghadam’s career in tech began only after he yapped his way out of an internship with Warren Buffet.
In the midst of the recession, Mr. Moghadam was given a year off–with reduced pay–from the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf. Only Berkshire Hathaway found his personal blog, Beneficent Allah, where he wrote a satirical billable memo referencing the “Ballstate Insurance Company.” Allstate was a client of Dewey’s, the offer was rescinded and long story short, Mr. Moghadam now gets to dine with Nas.
Real Genius Andreessen Horowitz invested $15 million in Rap Genius to help its Ivy League cofounders to annotate the Internet. But how much will they have to pay to rein in the braggadocious Mahbod Moghadam?
In a recent issue of Wakefield, a newsletter covering “tech and startup insight not captured elsewhere,” Maboo was up to his old shenanigans, volunteering information about a “feud” with Mark Zuckerberg, who also happens to be backed by Andreessen Horowitz.
Apparently, Mr. Moghadam was at Ben Horowitz’s home, “chilling” with Zuck and Nas as is the new mode of Silicon Valley socializing. (Mr. Horowitz happens to be close friends with Steve Stoute, Nas’ former manager.) Despite Zuck’s heightened privacy concerns (it’s complicated?) Rap Genius cofounder couldn’t resist Instagramming his good fortune.
It’s hard out there for a startup, what with the tech talent crunch and all. A different kind of hardship than the one faced by America’s millions of underemployed, of course. But how are you going to recruit a programmer when Facebook can throw more money at almost any candidate worth having? At the seed-stage level, you’ll need more than the promise of equity and the ability to work from home.
Well, two well-funded companies have figured out one way to stand out from the pack: cutesy job postings!