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.
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]
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.
In the Arms of an Angel
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]
Secrets Secrets Are No Fun
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:
Attack of the Clones
This is just silly.
Amazon would never invent a time machine because rogue book publishers would just use it to kill Amazon.
Blog the Public
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.
The blogosphere is a brave new news world, but it’s generally assumed that blogs that report the news adhere to basic journalistic standards—like not deliberately inserting bits of misinformation into their virtual pages. Right?
Former TechCrunch blogger MG Siegler took a dig at bloggers who rewrite others’ reporting. “I used to love to plant one really weird bit of random information (sometimes even false) into stories to catch the rewrites,” he tweeted earlier today. There’s that TechCrunch swagger.
A Startup Is Born
How does one properly convey just how miffed you are by a newspaper’s attempt to make money? By starting a blog post thusly, “Fuckers I am so sick of reporting on incremental tech news for fucking two years now.”
So began TechCrunch blogger Alexia Tsotsis’ invective-laced late-night rant about the New York Times decision to bring its paywall over to Flipboard, written, if Ms. Tsotsis is to be believed, “in between the downing of tonight’s two bottles of wine.”
Did your Groupons for Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes in Murray Hill, Brazilian food in Bay Ridge, and a Brazilian wax in Soho expire unused again? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could be rewarded for patronizing restaurants and businesses you actually go to?
This is the premise of Mirth, a self-described “principled objection to the frenzy of deals.” The new customer loyalty app was presented and launched at TechCrunch’s Disrupt NYC last week by co-founders Jeremy Philip Galen and Phil Reichenberger.