Posts tagged Million

What Yo’s $1.5 Million Buys: Legal Huffing Against Yo Parodies

Yo is a parody of a chat app in its own right. But the one-click messaging app isn’t amused by parodies of Yo.

Yo founder Or Arbel has sent complaints to Apple petitioning to have Yo clones YOLO, Yo, Hodor!, Oi, and others removed from the App Store. The letter, from Yo’s sorta-fake corporation, Life Before Us LLC, reads in part: “This is a direct clone of our app Yo and based on the terms of agreement in the iTunes app store, it should be removed.”

It’s true that most Yo parodies are near-exact clones of the original. But if Yo is so easy to build that anyone can duplicate the concept in 20 minutes, is it really worth $1.5 million?

See also: Friday Fun: Create Your Own Obnoxiously Simple Messaging App Just Like Yo

Along the same lines, you might reasonably wonder if it’s really Apple’s responsibility to protect the integrity of an app so simple that dozens of people have effortlessly made their own copies?

Despite receiving a notice from Apple, YOLO is still active in the Apple Store, and the team told TechCrunch they don’t plan on removing it. Betty Xi, a member on the YOLO team, said the app only took three days to make and was designed to be a parody of Yo.

“With a product as fragile as Yo and the app being so easily duplicated, how can people claim this product is worth $10 million?” Xi asked TechCrunch.

Fortunately, if you’ve followed ReadWrite’s tutorial for making your own app, you’re not in trouble at all. Arbel said in a statement that he wants to encourage Yo parodies so long as they don’t look and act exactly like Yo does:

We value creativity and we are in a free market. Improving upon our concept is welcomed, copying us bit-by-bit isn’t.

Lead image by Helen A.S. Popkin for ReadWrite

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LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform Now Open To 15 Million People

LinkedIn’s publishing platform, which started as a small experiment available to just the “influencers” the professional network deemed worthy, is now available to millions of its members.

See also: LinkedIn Has Quietly Rolled Out A “Follow” Button To Millions Of Users

Roughly 15 million people now have access to LinkedIn’s publishing tools, the company stated in its second-quarter earnings press release on Thursday.

With LinkedIn’s publishing platform, anyone can share their professional expertise in a long-form post, and anyone can follow you and read it. The publishing platform generates over 30,000 weekly long-form posts, according to LinkedIn. Basically, it opens up a wider audience for LinkedIn members—mutual following is not required. (As ReadWrite reported earlier today, LinkedIn has quietly but dramatically expanded the option to follow other members.)

When LinkedIn opened up the publishing platform to just 25,000 members in February, it stressed the importance of building a professional brand, and that publishing is one way to do it.

When a member publishes a post on LinkedIn, their original content becomes part of their professional profile, is shared with their trusted network and has the ability to reach the largest group of professionals ever assembled.

To publish a post on LinkedIn, simply click the status bar the way you would if you were writing an update. In the right corner—if you’ve been granted publishing privileges—there’s a pencil icon to create a post. When you click on it, it will push you into a composer, and you can start writing.

If you don’t have access to the publishing platform yet, you will soon. LinkedIn is slowly rolling it out to more members. 

Lead image via Marisa Vasquez on Flickr

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Top Luxury Brands Spent $22 Million On Google Text Ads In The U.S. Last Year [Study]

Paid search research firm, AdGooroo, has analyzed the paid search activity by luxury brands and retailers in the U.S. across five categories: apparel, beauty & cosmetics, shoes, handbags and watches. According to the study, five of the top personal luxury companies spent nearly $22 million on…

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Google Penalty Hits eBay’s Bottom Line, May Cost Up To $200 Million In Revenue

Earlier this year, eBay was hit with a search penalty by Google. The loss of traffic resulting from that has been noticeable enough that eBay acknowledged it in a financial call this week, suggesting it may have cost up to $200 million in revenue. eBay also said it plans to improve its efforts in…

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WordStream Raises $12 Million In VC Funding, What’s Next For Them by @mattsouthern

PPC software company, WordStream, announced today that they have raised $12 million in led by Baird Capital of Chicago. “This is the biggest fundraising round WordStream has ever done!” said WordStream CEO Ralph Folz, “As exciting as things have been in the past few years, our team is pumped about what the future holds.” WordStream detailed what they intend to do with the $12M funding. Innovation: WordStream is using customer feedback to drive the new ideas they will be bringing to their product offerings. Examples of those ideas include their Landing Pages and Leads offerings, released at the end of last […]

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How 1.5 Million Volunteer Mappers Aim To Beat Google

Guest author Alex Salkever is head of product marketing and business development at An earlier version of this piece first appeared on his Tumblr.

I love Google Maps. I probably use it as much if not more than any other application on my iPhone, and I’m not alone. According to numerous sources, maps and directions are one of the most important search parameters on mobile devices (and Google tops the heap).

In fact, I think its safe to say that most hyper-local advertising will end up being tied to maps (when its not tied to location beacons). Independent brick-and-mortar stores may well live or die by the traffic coming to them through mapping applications.

Maps go well beyond finding places. I use Google Maps for turn-by-turn directions. I create maps of places I would like to visit when I travel to other cities and use that to drive my vacations. I ride a bike a lot in the city and Google has the best bike-specific directions of any app.

I also use Google Maps to locate nearby stores in specific categories. If I need to find a good place for a coffee and I am at the corner of 2nd and Howard, then Google Maps is my first stop. (Yelp is a close second).

Google achieved this level of granular detail through expensive and time-consuming coverage executed by its fleet of data-gathering cars. And that detail effectively converted Google Maps into a marketplace. It is a marketplace with enormous potential, possibly the next multi-billion dollar online marketplace for Google. Anyone searching for things through a map will provide critical information that will help Google’s engines learn how to better match services, stores and restaurants to individual requests.

Open Competition Breaks Out

That said, marketplaces do best when there is competition. This is why I was so excited to hear that Telenav would be using OpenStreetMap to power its popular Scout GPS app, which provides maps, traffic and directions. OSM replaces data from TomTom.

Even more important, Telenav launched a Scout for Developers program. This allows developers to build applications that use OpenStreetMap-based GPS navigation into their own products on mobile, as well as for desktop. The most important thing here is that this creates a credible and powerful alternative to Google Maps.

For those who don’t know, OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a free map of the world created by a crowd of local chapters. Think of it as Wikipedia for maps. Unlike Google’s Map Maker tool, OSM is based on open principles and is community driven on a global scale. A number of services use OSM to power their maps.

And OSM has a whopping 1.5 million registered editors globally. The active ones regularly contribute updates via their phones and computers. (Telenav underwrites OSM, not surprisingly.)

Scout doesn’t enjoy the widespread popularity of Google Maps, but many people do use and like it. OpenStreetMap, on the other hand, has explosive potential. Google charges app companies and others that use its maps inside applications. The charges add up, sometimes to painful levels, as application usage rises.

No one blames Google for the charges. But the new Scout alternative, powered by OpenStreetMap, has the potential to disrupt the maps market. It undercuts Google’s rates significantly and allows developers to white-label mapping, something that Google doesn’t really do.

As more and more app developers adopt OSM, then the network effects become more pronounced. OSM can start to build in data collection systems that will allow its growing user base to collect more data from handsets (anonymously) to improve data quality. OSM, too, could become a competing marketplace for dollars made out from search.

That would loosen Google Maps’ hammerlock, although it would retain tremendous advantages. Integration of Google Now and Gmail with Google Maps makes Google’s mapping product much stickier.

OpenStreetMap doesn’t yet have the same rich ecosystem of tools and user communities that have grown up around the Google Maps. But maps are a form of information and information does want to be free.

Unlike the constantly changing Internet, which requires Google to maintain a massive infrastructure to effectively catalog and scan it, location data is comparatively finite and static, so it’s possible for an open-source effort to get its arms around it. Google has added crowd-sourced data from users of its Waze app, but these users aren’t actively participating in the mapping project, since they’re mainly reporting road conditions.

So collecting and collating all the location data in the world will become easier and easier geo-information rides the Moore’s Law Curve down and benefits from new data capture mechanisms such as drones, cheap sensors, and constellations of micro satellites. And having 1.5 million human powered sensors just might be enough to give OSM and Telenav the push to catch up and surpass Google Maps on data quality, at a fraction of the cost.

The race is on.

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What Makes A Million Dollar E-Commerce Business?

As e-commerce business brokers, we get to see and value a wide range of e-commerce businesses, both good and others not so good. Owners come to us in every situation possible. Growing, declining, and anywhere in between, so we get to see a lot of different businesses. Typically e-commerce entrepreneurs approach us wondering what their business is worth and what it may sell for. Based off that experience and data, we believe the following eight  factors make a  million dollar e-commerce business: 1. Profit The number one driving factor of a million dollar e-commerce business is profit. The accepted valuation approach for e-commerce businesses is a multiple of […]

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Pinterest Raises A $200 Million Warchest To Do Battle With Google

Pinterest has raised $200 million from investors in a deal that values the company at $5 billion, a source close to the company told ReadWrite. (Update: The company is now confirming its financing.)

This is becoming a pattern for Pinterest, a visual search engine where people share and search for objects of interest: It raised a $225 million round last October with the same group of investors, after raising $200 million in February 2013, with the value of the company increasing in each deal. The company has raised a total of $764 million to date.

This frequent fundraising will likely raise eyebrows, given concerns over sky-high valuations for private Internet companies. But the San Francisco-based startup plays a unique role in a trend we call the Visual Web—the shift of Web consumption, creation, and commerce from text to images. And it faces a very well-funded competitor in Google.

Here are some of the areas where Pinterest might spend its warchest. 

Pinterest's Guided Search offers a challenge to Google.

Pinterest's Guided Search offers a challenge to Google.

Tossing The Gauntlet To Google

Pinterest’s last few technological developments have had the site shifting from social sharing to a more explicit focus on search and discovery. It’s clear that the company no longer sees itself as an image-driven social network. Instead, it’s a database of billions of images, selected and categorized by consumers and brands, ripe for discovery. 

Many of those images are of objects one can buy—home decor, clothing, food, and the like—making Pinterest a powerful driver of traffic to e-commerce sites and a way for new brands to get discovered by consumers. Today, those businesses might spend money on Google search ads. Tomorrow, they might turn to Pinterest.

Rather than attempting to copy traditional Web search engines like Google, Pinterest could leapfrog search as we know it, and become the search engine of tomorrow. At a recent event, Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann introduced a tool called Guided Search, which works by predicting the information users want before they fully type it in, based on its understanding of the images users pin to boards. A question-and-answer service in the works could have similar predictive features.

“In the future search will be a discovery tool,” said Silbermann at the event where he launched Guided Search. “Pinterest at its heart is about discovering things you didn’t even know were there.”

The challenge is that Silbermann may well be right in his insights, and Pinterest may have a head start. But Google still has the advantage in sheer numbers of engineers it can throw at problems, as well as salespeople who can market its money-making advertising products. Pinterest may be raising money to build a comparable workforce. It has dozens of open jobs in engineering and sales right now. 

International Expansion

It’s long been a goal of Pinterest’s to become available all over the world. When the company raised $100 million in October 2012, it said  international expansion was a major reason. Why the rush? Because Pinterest clones were already popping up all over the globe. 

The company began by translating its site and apps to some of the world’s more common languages in mid-2012, but has now gone far beyond. In the past few months, Pinterest has expanded to dozens of new languages, including Vietnamese, Malaysian, Tagalog, Thai, Greek, and Hindi. Yet the site’s traffic remains primarily American, with only 30 percent coming from the rest of the world.

Pinterest already has international offices located in the UK, France, and Japan. It has short-term plans to add more: A quick glance at Pinterest’s Careers page shows that the company is hoping to hire community managers in Brazil as well as the UK and Japan.

Buy, Buy, Buy

Pinterest executives have always insisted that the Visual Web site doesn’t have any short-term goals to make money.

“We’re extremely fortunate to be well funded right now,” Jon Jenkins, Pinterest’s former head of engineering, told us in August 2013. “We don’t feel the pressure to monetize unnaturally.”

Selling ads must feel a bit more natural now that Pinterest has opened up its first major advertising product, Promoted Pins, beyond a small-scale, private test.

Where Pinterest could outshine Facebook and Twitter, which have gone through similar phases of building out their products before ramping up revenues, is its topical focus on concrete things. Earlier this week, we pointed out how Pinterest could be the missing link between TV product placements and consumer purchases—which could open up large budgets currently spent on television advertising.

Pinterest’s Promoted Pins strategy, launched tentatively last fall, has entered its next phase with major advertisers like Kraft and Gap. Those select brands are paying Pinterest to highlight their pins.

If this experimental phase works out, Pinterest will want to expand its already fast-growing sales team. And sure enough, Pinterest’s Careers page is full of marketing, sales, and partnership-related openings

It’s clear that Pinterest is on the cusp of something big, and investors are ready to bet on it. It’s an indication that the Visual Web is going places, propelled by Pinterest. 

 Update: A Pinterest spokesperson confirmed the company’s new financing round. In a statement provided by the company, Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann said:

Pinterest has a vision of solving discovery and helping everyone find things they’ll love. This new investment gives us additional resources to realize our vision.

Photo by Owen Thomas

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Heated Competition Among Online Flower & Gift Sellers: AdWords Spend Topped $15 Million In Q1

As Mother’s Day approaches, Adgooroo is putting the cutthroat reality of paid search in the Flowers and Gifts category on display. The advertising insights firm reports that flowers and gifts advertisers spent more than $15.4 million on Google AdWords ads in the first quarter of 2014 on…

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9 Exposed Traits of a Million Dollar Website by @markdaoust

Want to become a millionaire? It’s easy. Start as a billionaire, then launch an airline. – Richard Branson Not everyone has the luxury of starting out as a billionaire in order to become a millionaire, or being Richard Branson and being able to say such things. But hitting that millionaire mark may not be as far away as you think it is. Businesses have been changing hands for more than a century, but even just 15 years ago it was difficult to imagine anyone paying a few million dollars for something as intangible as a website. As a website broker, […]

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