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Showing posts from April, 2011

Zynga’s Mark Pincus: the ethical founder?

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This post was also published in VentureBeat. The social era of computing has produced three multi-billion dollar companies: Facebook, Twitter and Zynga. As light is increasingly shed on the formation myths of Facebook and Twitter, a lot of new information casts doubt on the ethics and motivations of their respective founders. It is ironic that Zynga has had no such drama, since the company’s founder Mark Pincus has been lambasted for being unethical due to what TechCrunch dubbed “ScamVille” . Was ScamVille really a scam? There is no question that the offer ad networks like OfferPal that Zynga was using were shlocking uninstallable toolbars and illicitly signing people up for mobile subscriptions. However, numerous major Fortune 500 companies were also using scammy offers at the time, which TechCrunch itself later noted . As I have written before, TechCrunch has a repeated inclination to quash people’s reputations with tabloid-style posts . For the technology audience, “Marc Pincus

The next new YouTube: Google’s opportunity to own media

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This post was also published in VentureBeat. There’s a reason Lady Gaga recently visited Google and snubbed Facebook . The music industry is on the precipice of another huge transition from downloads to streaming, and Google has the opportunity to own this transition. It can circumvent both Facebook’s growth as a media channel and Apple’s forthcoming streaming service . There was a time when Myspace was people’s first stop after hearing about a new band. They would immediately go to the band’s Myspace page, where they could listen to tracks, see what people were commenting, and read what the artists were posting themselves. Now people are going to YouTube first. As the Rebecca Black “Friday” video showed , YouTube is the hands down best platform for media to go viral. YouTube is definitely right up the artists’ alley; artists can add a fun background image on the channel, see how many video views they have, post a message to their fans, and also check out what all the comment t

Why TechCrunch is over

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Disclosure: I write a lot for VentureBeat, a TechCrunch competitor, and over the years I have also written for BusinessWeek, AdWeek, ReadWriteWeb, CNET and InfoWorld. I write for fun, and don’t get paid, and can submit articles anywhere I like. So I have no personal gain from diminishing TechCrunch. I am simply pointing out why I don’t ever send them my content. I am in a place in my life where I can speak truth to (supposed) power, and yesterday’s shenanigans at TechCrunch prompted me to write this post. On a bimonthly cadence over the past six months, Michael Arrington has made increasingly inflammatory posts on TechCrunch. It is one thing to take on made guys like Jason Calacanis and Dave McClure, no matter how irrational the basis. Yesterday, however, Arrington - in a vain effort to save his eroding site - seriously crossed the line and attempted to destroy the reputation of Mike Brown , a decent, hardworking guy. The facts: Fact #1 - TechCrunch has lost over half of its read