shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: Media Snapchat Sexting Ring Gets TechCrunch Hot and Bothered

(Photo: Tumblr)

Oh you fancy, huh? Turns out doing PR for Tumblr, despite the site’s numerous recent outages, has its advantages. Katherine Barna, who works in communications for the blogging platform, got the chance to meet President Obama and the first lady at the White House, and she has the Christmas-themed snap to prove it. Wonder how many jealous reblogs this pic will spawn? Read More

This Happened

The New New Tech Writing: Straight Up Penning Poems About Stuff

How much do we love thee, Drew Houston? Let us count the ways. (Photo: wiki.smu.edu)

There’s the gadget liveblog, the multimedia-heavy feature and the bloggy, snarky take. But as we near the end of 2012, we may have reached the last possible evolutionary stage of tech writing: just fucking penning some poems about stuff.

Dealbook nailed the approach with shining limericks about business news; Googler Andrey Petrov, whose riling ode to Twitter aptly deemed the company “the Benjamin Button of Startups,” set the bar high for poetic programmers everywhere. Now, prolific TechCrunch scribe Josh Constine has taken the baton. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: Leaking to TechCrunch Will Cost You, Frankenstorm.gov, and the Great Kanye Hunt Continues

(Photo: Jessi Hempel, Twitter)

Facebook Fiasco Claims Another Scalp Remember that time Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein kept the name of their Watergate informant a secret for decades, thereby providing generations of teenagers an excuse to say “deep throat” in high school classrooms? Good thing no one had email at the time!

According to Business Insider, Citigroup tech analyst Mark Mahaney was recently given the boot. Turns out that one of Mr. Mahaney’s underlings was getting a little too comfy with the press. Looking into the Facebook IPO, Massachusetts investigators stumbled across an email from a junior analyst to two TechCrunch reporters that read, in part, “I am ramping up coverage on FB and thought you guys might like to see how the street is thinking about it (and our estimates).” Read More

Politicking

TechCrunch Eyes the Intersection of Tech and Politics With CrunchGov

Screengrab

Saying it seeks to help politicians “become better listeners” and make techies effective citizens, TechCrunch today announced the launch of CrunchGov.

In an introductory post, CrunchGov creator Greg Ferenstein explained that the new site will include a political leaderboard grading politicians on how they vote on tech and a “legislative database of technology policy.” That database will contain bills under congressional review and names of both the politicians who clearly understand the intersection of technology and policy and those who don’t have a clue.

CrunchGov’s tech-related report cards for politicos will rank legislators with “transparent criteria” that merge the political and the technical. Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: ‘Difficult’ Jack Dorsey Edition

Oh goodie, it's Monday. (Photo: Cat Food Breath)

Microsoft “accidentally” sent a DMCA takedown notice to Google, asking them to remove pages from TechCrunch, the BBC, Wikipedia and the U.S. Government. Psst… no one cares that much about Windows 8. [TorrentFreak]

Companies are using patents to stifle innovation and the Times is ON IT. [New York Times]

Is EBay staging a pivot? [TechCrunch]

Whoa, you can raise money for a company without Kickstarter? Mind blown. [TechCrunch]

Jack Dorsey apparently got pushed to a backseat role at Twitter because he’s “difficult” to work with. [SiliconBeat]

Speaking of Twitter, who knew CEO Dick Costolo used to be a standup comedian? [New York Times]

Smooth Criminals

Records Point to Credit Card Fraud by Silicon Swindler Shirley Hornstein

Ms. Hornstein (Photo: Facebook)

This week, the world was introduced to Shirley Hornstein: an ersatz entrepreneur who Photoshopped and name-dropped her way through Silicon Valley. For at least a year and a half, Ms. Hornstein has been trading on flimsily fabricated connections to powerful tech investors, startups, and celebrities–always depending, as TechCrunch first reported, on the optimism of strangers.

“She told people she had the authority to approve up to a $1 million investment from Founders Fund. That was her line,” an investor from Los Angeles who recently moved to San Francisco told Betabeat, recounting the time Ms. Hornstein cajoled a pair of young entrepreneurs into pitching her on a Saturday, convincing them on Sunday that she had already heard back from the board with good news.

The fact that Ms. Hornstein’s roommate was TechCrunch community manager Elin Blesener also helped “legitimize her,” the same investor added. Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: Reddit’s Biggest Day Ever Edition

(Photo: Know Your Meme)

Reddit had its biggest day ever thanks to President Obama’s AMA. No surprise there, considering the site was inaccessible for most of it. [The Verge]

RIP Microsoft Zune, can’t say anyone will really miss you. [Engadget]

Shopbop is trying to make itself into a high-end competitor to sites like Net a Porter. [New York Times]

Facebook has been cleared to officially purchase Instagram. [Wall Street Journal]

Is TechCrunch a bully? [Lane Wood]

In the Arms of an Angel

Are Party Rounds Turning the Tech Business Into a Lamer Studio 54?

Swap Ryan Philippe for @aplusk, of course. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Let’s face it: There’s a reason clubs will pay reality stars just to come hang out. People are more intrigued by a famous face. Silicon Valley might think itself above crass fame-whoring, but that doesn’t mean tech folk are immune to the siren song of social proof. Witness, for example, the rise of the so-called “party round.”

Today TechCrunch takes on the topic of these early-stage “family-style” rounds, where angel investors and VC firms pony up a bit of cash (often as a kind of option for later investments), but no one quite leads the pack. The process is compared to–what else?–high school: Read More

Attack of the Clones

Fed Up With Lack of TechCrunch Coverage, Italian Startup Just Plain Clones the Site

(Photo: TechCrunchCover.me)

Whatever your opinions on its ethics policy, it’s hard to argue against the fact that getting a write-up in TechCrunch is basically the holy grail for startups. So when an Italian weather startup called Metwit found it impossible to usher their company into the TC fold, they decided to take matters into their own hands.

Metwit created Techcrunchcover.me, a website that ganked TC’s logo, font and layout to make it look like your startup has actually been covered by TechCrunch. And you, too, can create your own fake TechCrunch coverage! The company also offers a git codebase of the TC layout. Enterprising startups hungry for press can make a branch in git that adds a TechCrunch-like story, then send up a pull request to have them merge it into the main codebase. Voila! You–ostensibly–have a TechCrunch writeup. Read More