Posted tagged ‘Michael Arrington’

Google To Acquire Twitter?

April 3, 2009

It’s just a rumor but…wow!

According to a report by TechCrunch, Google is in late stage negotiations to acquire Twitter.

From TechCrunch:

We don’t know the price but can assume its well, well north of the $250 million valuation that they saw in their recent funding.

Twitter turned down an offer to be bought by Facebook just a few months ago for half a billion dollars, although that was based partially on overvalued Facebook stock. Google would be paying in cash and/or publicly valued stock, which is equivalent to cash. So whatever the final acquisition value might be, it can’t be compared apples-to-apples with the Facebook deal.

Why would Google want Twitter? We’ve been arguing for some time that Twitter’s real value is in search. It holds the keys to the best real time database and search engine on the Internet, and Google doesn’t even have a horse in the game.

From Silicon Alley Insider:

One of Arrington’s sources says the deal is in “late stage” negotiations, while another says the deal is in “fairly early stages” and that the companies are also just talking about working together on a “Google real time search engine.”

There is a price for everything. But unless Google is offering a fortune — in cash — it’s too early for Twitter to sell itself.

Twitter is flush with cash, having just raised another $35 million at a $250 million valuation. Its growth shows no signs of slowing, it has little competition beyond Facebook — which has struggled to elegantly replicate Twitter’s real-time chatter — and has only just started trying to make money, with several revenue opportunities ahead.

If the price is right — $750 million to $1 billion in cash — Twitter and its investors are smart to take the money and run. Twitter doesn’t want to become the next Digg, which wasn’t able to sell itself at the peak of the Web 2.0 bubble, and now will have to do a lot of work to get a big deal. But we still think Twitter is in a very good position to become the “rails” that the real-time Web rides on… and that could be worth a LOT of money someday.

Meanwhile, why would Google want Twitter? It’s not making any meaningful money. And while that doesn’t usually stop Google — see YouTube, etc. — sales and profitability are more important today than in 2006.

The difference between Twitter and YouTube: Twitter actually has significant relevance to Google’s main search business. As Twitter’s popularity increases — which it is, rapidly — the idea of “real-time search” will be increasingly important to Google.

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Is Too Many Friends/Followers a Bad Thing?

January 29, 2009

In the world of social media, it’s all about the metrics: the number of people who are following you on Twitter, the number of friends you have on Facebook, etc.

But, if too many users and entrepreneurs focus on this, those measures may become meaningless.

From BusinessWeek:

If I’ve learned anything in 10 years of covering entrepreneurs, it’s that they love to cheat. If you ever play a game with one of them, be very clear about the rules. Here’s why: To an entrepreneur, it’s not just winning that’s important—it’s also outfoxing the game. Don’t forget that many of the most famous startup guys—from Apple (AAPL) co-founder Steve Wozniak to Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates to Slide founder Max Levchin—began as hackers, breaking the rules mainly for sport.

This tendency isn’t always a bad thing, at least not from a business point of view. Starting companies is a risky mix of luck and skill. The more an entrepreneur can take something normally left to luck and make it a test of skill, the more likely he is to win or otherwise overcome a challenge.

But lately Silicon Valley’s system-gaming penchant has shown up in a frenzy to add social media friends and followers faster than everybody else. This is no mere popularity contest among bloggers with fragile egos. By using tricks to inflate the number of new people who click on a person’s blog, profile page, or Web site, friend-adding and link-baiting schemes threaten to undermine the credibility of one of the few reliable yardsticks left for measuring a Web site’s traffic: the unique user.

Taken in by Twply

Evidence of the troubling fad can be seen seemingly everywhere with increasing frequency, as sites, bloggers, and individuals struggle to monetize their popularity. Remember the early Facebook apps that sent unauthorized “Zombie” invites to all your friends? The tactics became so heavy-handed that Facebook announced last May it would start penalizing spammy applications.

Now we’re seeing it on the microblogging sensation Twitter. In December an application called Twply launched asking users for their Twitter user names and passwords. It used those logins to send out a Tweet pretending to be from each user that read: “Just started using http://twply.com/ to get my @replies via e-mail. Neat stuff!” The trend spread rapidly as A-list bloggers and techies, including Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, not only tried it but appeared to give it their blessing. Soon, people saw that either all their friends suddenly began saying “neat stuff!” or they’d been had. A backlash started, but it hardly mattered. Twply sold itself—and all the user login data—on SitePoint.com for $1,200 just hours after it launched.

That’s not so different from link-baiting, the cozy tendency among bloggers to agree to link to one another to drive up the number of unique visitors.

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington Taking Leave of Absence

January 28, 2009

Michael Arrington, founder of the influential technology blog TechCrunch, announced today that he is taking a leave of absence after suffering from several instances of physical and verbal abuse, including a death threat last summer.

From TechCrunch:

Yesterday as I was leaving the DLD Conference in Munich, Germany someone walked up to me and quite deliberately spat in my face. Before I even understood what was happening, he veered off into the crowd, just another dark head in a dark suit. People around me stared, then looked away and continued their conversation.

Generally at events people come up to me to talk about their startups. My reaction varies depending on how much sleep I’ve gotten and how many times I’ve been pitched in the previous hour. Sometimes I sit down and watch a demo. Sometimes I give them my card and ask them to contact me. Yesterday I was battling the flu, jetlag and little sleep, and had been battered for three days straight with product pitches from entrepreneurs desperate for press. The event was over and I was on my way back to my hotel. The last thing I wanted was another product pitch as I hurried to the car that would drive me to Davos for the next event. So when I saw this person approach me out of the corner of my eye, I turned away slightly and avoided eye contact. Sometimes that works. But in this case all it did was make me vulnerable to the last thing I expected.

In the past I’ve been grabbed, pulled, shoved and otherwise abused at events, but never spat on. I think this is where I’m going to draw a line.

TechCrunch is a successful startup in its own right, and I’m proud of what we’ve built over the years. We are aggressive proponents of the startup community, and do what we can to give exposure to new ventures that previously had little chance at public exposure. I generally enjoy attending and speaking at events, talking to entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and debating whatever the topic of the day is with others.

But I can’t say my job is much fun any more. Startups that don’t get the coverage they want and competing journalists and bloggers tend to accuse us of the most ridiculous things. It hasn’t been worth our time to respond to these accusations; I always assumed that our work and integrity would speak for itself. But as we’ve grown and become more successful the attacks have also grown. On any given day, when I care to look, dozens of highly negative comments are made about me, TechCrunch or one of our employees in our comments, on Twitter, or on blogs or other sites. Some of these are appropriately critical comments on things we can be doing better. But the majority of comments are among the more horrible things I can imagine a human being say.

Luckily my tolerance level for verbal abuse has risen proportionately to our growth, so I can handle most of the verbal abuse thrown our way. I can even handle it when my so called friends decide it’s in their best interest to spread negative rumors about us privately. I believe that it has changed me as a person to the point where I generally don’t trust people until they’ve earned it. Before TechCrunch I assumed most people were essentially good, and assumed that an individual was trustworthy until proven otherwise. Today, its exactly the opposite.

But like I said, I draw the line at being spat on. It’s one step away from something far more violent.

Something very few people know: last year over the summer an off balance individual threatened to kill me and my family. He wasn’t very stealthy about it – he called our office number, sent me emails and even posted threats on his blog, so it wasn’t hard to determine who he was. The threats were, in the opinion of security experts we consulted, serious. The individual has a felony record and owns a gun. Police in three states became involved and we hired a personal security team to protect me, my family and TechCrunch employees.

At over $2,000 a day we couldn’t keep paying for security indefinitely. And the police were helpful but couldn’t do much based on the threats until he acted. We had the option of getting a restraining order but that just tells the person exactly where you are (the places they can’t go). So for a week I was literally in hiding with my parents at their home. The TechCrunch office was empty, and the police made regular checks to see if things were ok. One evening they almost arrested one of our employees who stopped by the office to pick up something.

Seeing my parents fear for their lives and not understand how or why their son was in this position changed me, made me a much less forgiving person in general.

I write about technology startups and news. In any sane world that shouldn’t make me someone who has to deal with death threats and being spat on. It shouldn’t require me to absorb more verbal abuse than a human being can realistically deal with.

The problem is that I love what I do when I’m not hiding from some crazy fucker who wants to kill me or being spat on by some unhappy European entrepreneur we didn’t write about.

I’ve decided the right thing to do is take some time off and get a better perspective on what I’m spending my life doing. I’ll be taking most of February off from writing, and decide what the best future for me is while sitting on a beach somewhere far away from my iPhone and laptop. I’ll be continuing to write this week and cover news from the World Economic Forum in Davos, then I’ll take time off starting next week.

I hope that some of my peers will realize that competitive pressures do not give them carte blanche to accuse us and others of literally anything that pops into their head and repeat it publicly or privately. I want them to compete hard with us, but fight clean. I want them to realize that their words influence others who may be inclined to “take matters into their own hands” under the mistaken impression that threatening to kill someone, or physically attacking them, is somehow righteous. And I hope that my peers who tend to sit on the sideline while others attack will start to take a stand against it.

We write about technology and entrepreneurship. These things are important, but not so important that we should fear for our safety or the safety of our families.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Arrington, well-known in Silicon Valley for breaking tech news as well as reviewing start-up companies, said he is leaving the blog at least through February because the abuse has intensified. The final straw came Tuesday at a conference in Germany when “someone walked up to me and quite deliberately spat in my face,” he said.

“I draw the line at being spat on,” Arrington wrote in a blog post. “It’s one step away from something far more violent.”

Arrington, 38, also revealed on his blog Wednesday that someone threatened to kill him and his family last summer. Arrington said the individual called the TechCrunch office, sent him emails and posted threats on the blog. Arrington hired personal security, which cost more than $2,000 a day, and police in three states were involved in the situation.

“For a week I was literally in hiding with my parents at their home,” Arrington wrote. “I write about technology startups and news. In any sane world that shouldn’t make me someone who has to deal with death threats and being spat on.”

Arrington, a former corporate attorney and Internet executive, launched TechCrunch in 2005 and has become a highly trafficked blogger for many Silicon Valley venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. Many tech start-ups hope to get featured on his blog because of its wide-ranging exposure.

He’s also spent significant time writing about corporate news, as he’s had several scoops about discussions between Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) about potential deals. Yahoo rejected Microsoft’s $47.5 billion takeover bid last year, but rumors continue to swirl that Microsoft may still have interest in Yahoo’s search business. Arrington’s reporting on the subject has proven to move markets several times.

But his style is often criticized because he’s previously advised companies that he’s written about or accepted paid ads from them. His journalistic integrity has also been put to question, as he recently wrote a blistering post bashing PR firms and saying TechCrunch will break every embargo it agrees to. An embargo is an agreement between a source and news provider that information doesn’t get published until a certain date or conditions have been met.

FriendFeed: More Twitter or Facebook?

January 27, 2009

With its ability to process information coming from more than 60 social Web applications, FriendFeed seems to be less of a competitor to Twitter and more of a threat to Facebook’s News Feed.

With a 3,170 percent increase in traffic over the past year, FriendFeed could be THE social application to watch in 2009.

From PR 2.0:

Defining FriendFeed is easier said than done. In fact, it’s less of a competitor to Twitter and more of a vertical threat to Facebook’s prized news feed. The News Feed featured in Facebook is considered the central nervous system to the social graph. It powers conversations, connections and collaboration. As Facebook Connect “connects” you and your social graph across the Web, it will increase in value as it aggregates all outside activity into one centralized stream for your friends, and friends of friends, to review, interpret, and respond. Also, don’t rule out an acquisition of Twitter either.

FriendFeed is one of the most prominent examples of a dedicated lifestream (brandstream). It channels your social activity and also that of your social graph into one simplified river of relevance. As new items appear in the stream, it invites bookmarking and threaded conversations that promote dialog. For example, you can import activity from flickr, youtube, twitter, backtype, blogs, Last.fm, Seesmic, Upcoming, LinkedIn, Yelp, Amazon, Picasa, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, Disqus, and 12 seconds. The growing list of services currently sits at 60, but technically you can integrate any service that generates an RSS feed. Most important is FriendFeed’s ability to port your Facebook status into your stream. Technically, you can now host, contribute to and participate in a more comprehensive “news feed” with the potential of reaching a far greater, or perhaps focused and dedicated audience of people who either aren’t on Facebook or prefer something different.

Burger King’s “Whopper Sacrifice” Has Officially Been Sacrificed

January 15, 2009

Facebook has shut down Burger King’s Facebook “Whopper Sacrifice” application after 82,771 people removed 233,906 of their friends from their accounts.

As Michael Arrington of TechCrunch reports, Facebook decided to shut down the application when it discovered it violated Facebook’s terms of service.

It was a great idea but I think they should have thought about it a little more before going through with it!

From TechCrunch:

Burger King, through their insanely creative advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky (see their recent Burger King perfume launch), launches a Facebook application that encourages users to remove Facebook friends. Sacrifice ten of them and you got a free Whopper. 233,906 friends were removed by 82,771 people in less than a week.

Facebook is overjoyed, right? What a great example to show the Madison Avenue agencies on how a big brand can get real engagement from users. This is the future of advertising. Or it could have been, if Facebook hadn’t shut it down, citing privacy issues:

“We encourage creativity from developers and brands using Facebook Platform, but we also must ensure that applications follow users’ expectations of privacy. This application facilitated activity that ran counter to user privacy by notifying people when a user removes a friend. We have reached out to the developer with suggested solutions. In the meantime, we are taking the necessary steps to assure the trust users have established on Facebook is maintained.”

Did anyone talk to the sales department before pulling the trigger on this? All that happened is the user being dissed got a message telling them, which helps the application spread virally. Without that feature the app is far less powerful. There is no real privacy issue here, just a policy decision by Facebook that people shouldn’t be notified when you remove them as a friend.

2008: Caylee Anthony, Barack Obama and More…

January 2, 2009

First before I go any further in recapping 2008, I want to say thank you to the more than 275,000 people who have taken the time to stop by, read and leave a comment on my site. When I started this blog back in August, I never thought that I would reach 1,000 readers, much less nearly 300,000! It absolutely blows my mind!!!

As most of you already know, I only blog for fun during the spare time I have before work, after work and after the kids have gone to bed at night. I’m not a professional. I don’t break the news, I just pass along stories that I find of interest and hope to spark discussion amongst those who stop by the site. I did get interviewed by MSNBC for an article that came out this week. That was pretty cool, possibly the highlight of my year!

Judging by the number of people who have visited the site, it seems that a lot of you have many of the same interests that I have, and I appreciate you taking the time to read! 🙂 I have enjoyed reading each and every comment that has been left and every email that has been sent to me @ roaddawg33@aol.com. (I read them all and try to respond to all as well) Feel free to drop a line anytime via email or visit me on Twitter, Facebook or MySpace.

I would  have to say that the  most read stories I have posted this year have been about Casey and Caylee Anthony. This has been a truly sad story from the beginning. The loss of a little girl who none of us knew until July who it seems was taken by her own mother. (Yes, I believe that she did it and more than likely her family knew about it at some point in time).

I have said this before, and I’ll say it again: I wish that I never had to cover this story. I wish that Caylee Anthony was still alive, with a loving family, celebrating the holidays. I wish that she had the opportunity to grow up, go to school, get married and start a family of her own. Having a 3 and 1 year old is the greatest experience I’ve had in my life. I can’t understand how anyone would ever harm their own child. It makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE TO ME!

Unfortunately, not all people live with the same morals and values in this life. This has been a tragedy and I hope that closure will come with the trial in 2009 and those who were a part of the death of a sweet, innocent young child, will face the consequences that they deserve.

When I started the blog in August, I thought that I would only be covering politics, music and sports. I went to my fair share of concerts including: Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn, Gary Allan, LeeAnn Rhimes, Phil Vassar, Lonestar and Luke Bryan. All were great shows and I can’t wait for another lineup of great acts to come through the Bay Area in 2009. Thanks to KRTY for all the great shows at the Rodeo Club! Bring back Phil Vassar!!!! Best show of ’08.

The Olympics took up quite a bit of my time this summer, watching Michael Phelps run for 8 gold medals in Beijing. Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh also dominated Women’s Volleyball again this year (and Misty got her butt slapped by the President) and who can forget the US Dream Team taking home the gold!

The 2008 Presidential race was one for the ages! In the end, Barack Obama defeated his Republican counterpart John McCain in what could be considered a convincing fashion. Saturday Night Live made Tina Fey famous once again for her impressions of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

There’s been a lot more this year that I just don’t have time to mention: TechCrunch Vs. PR, The Economy and much, much more. You can take a look back through the archives and see what has been discussed. I know there has been a lot! Thanks again to everyone who has taken time out of their day to stop by Kreuzer’s Korner. I’ll try to keep you updated, as always, with the news that I find interesting next year!

Happy New Year Everyone! Here’s to a GREAT 2009!

John Kreuzer

Caylee Anthony and More…A Look Back at 2008

January 1, 2009

First before I go any further in recapping 2008, I want to say thank you to the more than 270,000 people who have taken the time to stop by, read and leave a comment on my site. When I started this blog back in August, I never thought that I would reach 1,000 readers, much less nearly 300,000! It absolutely blows my mind!!!

As most of you already know, I only blog for fun during the spare time I have before work, after work and after the kids have gone to bed at night. I’m not a professional. I don’t break the news, I just pass along stories that I find of interest and hope to spark discussion amongst those who stop by the site. I did get interviewed by MSNBC for an article that came out this week. That was pretty cool, possibly the highlight of my year!

Judging by the number of people who have visited the site, it seems that a lot of you have many of the same interests that I have, and I appreciate you taking the time to read! 🙂 I have enjoyed reading each and every comment that has been left and every email that has been sent to me @ roaddawg33@aol.com. (I read them all and try to respond to all as well) Feel free to drop a line anytime via email or visit me on Twitter, Facebook or MySpace.

I would  have to say that the  most read stories I have posted this year have been about Casey and Caylee Anthony. This has been a truly sad story from the beginning. The loss of a little girl who none of us knew until July who it seems was taken by her own mother. (Yes, I believe that she did it and more than likely her family knew about it at some point in time).

I have said this before, and I’ll say it again: I wish that I never had to cover this story. I wish that Caylee Anthony was still alive, with a loving family, celebrating the holidays. I wish that she had the opportunity to grow up, go to school, get married and start a family of her own. Having a 3 and 1 year old is the greatest experience I’ve had in my life. I can’t understand how anyone would ever harm their own child. It makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE TO ME!

Unfortunately, not all people live with the same morals and values in this life. This has been a tragedy and I hope that closure will come with the trial in 2009 and those who were a part of the death of a sweet, innocent young child, will face the consequences that they deserve.

When I started the blog in August, I thought that I would only be covering politics, music and sports. I went to my fair share of concerts including: Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn, Gary Allan, LeeAnn Rhimes, Phil Vassar, Lonestar and Luke Bryan. All were great shows and I can’t wait for another lineup of great acts to come through the Bay Area in 2009. Thanks to KRTY for all the great shows at the Rodeo Club! Bring back Phil Vassar!!!! Best show of ’08.

The Olympics took up quite a bit of my time this summer, watching Michael Phelps run for 8 gold medals in Beijing. Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh also dominated Women’s Volleyball again this year (and Misty got her butt slapped by the President) and who can forget the US Dream Team taking home the gold!

The 2008 Presidential race was one for the ages! In the end, Barack Obama defeated his Republican counterpart John McCain in what could be considered a convincing fashion. Saturday Night Live made Tina Fey famous once again for her impressions of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (who’s daughter gave birth to a baby boy this week).

There’s been a lot more this year that I just don’t have time to mention: TechCrunch Vs. PR, The Economy and much, much more. You can take a look back through the archives and see what has been discussed. I know there has been a lot! Thanks again to everyone who has taken time out of their day to stop by Kreuzer’s Korner. I’ll try to keep you updated, as always, with the news that I find interesting next year!

I’ll be heading off to the Seattle/Tacoma Airport tomorrow afternoon (if you can find me, stop by and say hi…Southwest Airlines) to fly back to San Jose after a week in the snowy Pacific Northwest, but not before making a quick trip South to visit client Burgerville for a Pepper Bacon Cheeseburger, French Fries and my favorite: a Vanilla Shake! Centralia…here I come!

Happy New Year Everyone! Here’s to a GREAT 2009!

John Kreuzer