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Friday, June 11, 2010

The Latest from TechCrunch

The Latest from TechCrunch

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Rdio Silence: Apple Delays iPhone App Update For Reasons Unknown

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 12:06 PM PDT

Last week at the D8 conference, and again at Apple’s WWDC event, chief exec Steve Jobs said there was nothing inherently wrong with Apple’s review procedures for new and updated iPhone applications.

Specifically, Jobs stated several times on both occasions that 95% of all incoming apps get approved for the App Store in seven days. Those that don’t, he added, tend to violate some ground rules: crashing often, using unpublished APIs, defaming real people, or by advertising an app differently than what it actually does.

That may well be, but it makes the isolated cases where all those exceptions don’t apply stick out like a sore thumb. We hear Apple’s review process is actually getting slower again for some developers.

Cases in point: Appsfire, which we wrote about yesterday, Reeder (which has a great iPad version of its iPhone app waiting to get approved) and now, freshly launched music subscription service Rdio.

Rdio, with backing from well known European entrepreneurs Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom of Skype, Kazaa and Joost fame, was soft-launched in the United States last week to much fanfare. But as we noted in December 2009, their iPhone app has been in the App Store for much longer than that (though unusable for most anyone).

I’ve been trying out the service and the iPhone app since last week’s launch, and expect to do a full review real soon. In short, I think it’s phenomenal.  It stacks up against Spotify any day, and I think we’ll be hearing a lot about this startup in the coming years.

Only problem so far is, their iPhone app doesn’t really function all that well, and the company has acknowledged this on their Twitter feed in the past.

I’ve spoken to a number of people close to the company about this, and from what I can gather they submitted an updated app with a couple of bug fixes weeks ago, but Apple is making the review process a long-winded road for them with little or no communication.

No one from Rdio will officially confirm this to me (yet), but from what I understand there’s a sneaking suspicion that what is holding Apple back isn’t actually the app, but the music service that it channels.

Of course, we haven’t yet seen what Apple is going to do with its iTunes-in-the-cloud service (rest assured that it’s coming, though) so this is all speculation. But what if they don’t really like what Rdio is doing because they see it as direct competition? Does that mean Rdio for iPhone, and by extension other jukebox-in-the-cloud services like Spotify and Rhapsody stand a chance of being “Google Voice’d” out of the App Store because the functionality is similar to a service Apple will provide in-house?  That would certainly explain the delay.

2011 Ford Mustang: A Driver’s Perspective

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 11:56 AM PDT

Let's not call this article a review. I'm not going to drone on about interior creature comforts or available options. I'll just state up front that they are on par for a $22k+ car and besides, other outlets have covered those items extensively. No, what follows is a description of what the 2011 V6 Mustang feels like to drive. This car is something special. It's a rare amalgam of real power, affordable price and driving excitement that hits you hard and makes you beg for more.

YC-Funded FanPulse Launches Web App In Time For The World Cup, Scores Deal With The NHL

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 11:09 AM PDT

Back in February we wrote about a new startup called FanPulse that takes the check-in gaming mechanic popularized by Foursquare and applies it exclusively to sporting events. The premise is simple — checking in at a game lets you quickly connect with other sports fans, and also makes it easy to get real-time stat updates and even sports-related discounts (you can check it from your living room or the stadium itself). Today, just in time for the World Cup, FanPulse has some news to share: it’s forged deals with major professional sports organizations including the NHL and Golden State Warrors, it’s launched a new website to compliment its iPhone application, and it’s disclosing that it is part of the latest batch of companies to come out of the the Y Combinator program.

When FanPulse, which is headquartered at San Francisco’s Dogpatch Labs, launched in February, it was available only as a free iPhone application. Now it has a web presence that includes the same functionality available on the iPhone; co-founder Vishwas Prabhakara says that both a mobile webapp and support for Android are on the way this summer. The FanPulse homepage features a stream of current sports events that lets you quickly catch up on scores from whatever league you’re interested in (in light of the World Cup you’ll notice that soccer matches are currently most prominently displayed, but the site also features today’s MLB games).

Clicking on a current game gives you an option to ‘Check-in’ there, which immediately lets you start interacting with other fans that are watching or attending the same event. As with Foursquare, you can earn badges and points by checking into these games, and there’s a leaderboard that is reset once a week. You can engage with other fans using the ‘shout’ feature (which is effectively a forum created for each game) and by making predictions. So far, the site has been drawing strong engagement numbers, with each registered user spending 18 minutes on an average visit.

FanPulse also recently launched a new ‘Pro Account’ option that will appeal to quite a few sports fans. The biggest draw is an alerts system that will send you an iPhone push notification whenever there’s a in an-game event that you’ve deemed to be especially interesting (for example, a baseball game in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded, or a soccer game that’s gone to a shootout). ‘Pro’ users also have access to special badges and animated emoticons that they can use in their ‘Shouts’ (the messages users post in a game’s chat room).

Finally, the company has been busy at work signing partnerships with various professional sports teams and leagues. It signed a deal with the National Hockey League last season that would reward fans checking into a hockey game with a special badge that would give them discounts at NHL shops. It also did a deal with the Golden State Warriors that would offer any fan to check into a game a discount code for tickets to a Warriors homegame. This turned out to be very effective, drawing a 8.3% conversion rate. Prabhakara says that the company is currently in talks with several organizations and is hoping to further expand their partnerships next season.

There are quite a few other companies looking to combine social networking with sports. In fact, Y Combinator has invested in at least two of them: FanChatter, which helps sports teams boost engagement during and after games, and 140bets, which is a platform used for interacting with sports and other events in real-time.


Just When He Thought He Was Out, Facebook Pulls Calacanis Back In

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 10:28 AM PDT

This morning, we got a tip that despite all the hubbub about Jason Calacanis deleting his Facebook profile, it was still active. Sure enough, it was. So what gives?

We emailed Calacanis to find out what the deal was — was he just bluffing about deleting his account? It’s hard to believe that was the case considering just how vocal he’s been against Facebook, and he even has video proof of him deleting the account. But as the video shows, there’s actually a 14-day wait period before you can actually delete your account. In those 14-days, your profile is simply “deactivated.” But as of this morning (way more than 14 days after that video was shot), Calacanis’ account wasn’t deleted, nor was it even inactive, it was there in full glory (complete with a cute “Facebook Ghost” picture).

It turns out that a few third party sites may have been keeping his profile alive without him realizing it. For example, his YouTube favorites were getting imported into his stream automatically, and he had to sever that connection to make sure his account remained inactive over the 14 days so Facebook could delete it. We’ve come out in support of Facebook during some of this press backlash, but this is pretty ridiculous if true.

Flat out: it should not be this hard and complicated to delete your account if you want to. If you hit the “delete” button (after making sure you really want to do that, of course), it should automatically sever any ties third-party sites have into your profile and delete the account.

Update: Calacanis writes to us to clarify one bit: “the third party sites didn’t turn it back on… i needed to login to a 3rd party site that i used FB connect on (i think last week)… might have been an iphone app, i can’t remember. so then my account goes back on and all the connected services start flooding it.” He then continues, “but who knows… the stuff is so confusing!

We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment on this and will update when we hear back. Meanwhile, below find an email Calacanis sent to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg (his wink & smile partner), and TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington (who emailed him about why his account was still active). He’s given us permission to print this email in full. Obviously, he’s pissed off. And Facebook just a few minutes ago did actually remove his account.

Subject: Re: did you ever actually delete your fb page?

(cc zuck/sandberg)

Seems my personal Facebook got turned back on by a 3rd party service
that logged into it… which shows the lock in Facebook has. you
signup for a 3rd party service with Facebook connect, then delete your
facebook page and then can’t get into that service! Then when it goes
back on, Youtube starts posting your youtube favorites again… so i
have to go to youtube and turn that feature off.

There is no way to delete your page from the Facebook global
navigation–you have to do a google search to find Facebook’s hidden
delete page! insane.

Then if you want to delete your page it takes a half-dozen steps AND
they still don’t delete it… they leave it on for ANOTHER TWO weeks
in case you change your mind.

Zuck/Sheryl: you should have one click delete from the Account
settings page. This is the kind of little details that makes Facebook
look heavy handed.

Zuck2/Sheryl2: Would it kill you to put an “export all” feature on
Facebook? Just doing that would make Facebook look so magnanemous and
it would get the Government to stop looking at you guys as their big
target. You could then say “you can delete everything with one click
and you can export everything with one click.”

The lock in on Facebook is absurd….

If you guys made these two simple changes the folks upset at Facebook
could say “wow… facebook is changing their ways and listening to

Would it kill you guys to have an export feature like every other
major service on the planet?!?! :-)

best j

And here’s the follow-up email he sent to us:

You have my permission to print entire email….

my only goal is to see Facebook treat users better. to use your metaphor, they are pissing in our flowerbed. the flowerbed being internet users.

i don’t have anything personal against mark… in fact, after the D conference i feel sympathy for him. he obviously doesn’t feel good about the reaction to his service.

paradoxically, they are the most talented product team in the internet space and yet they don’t add export features or data portability or open standards for things like Like. they could build them in a day or two–certainly a week or two–and the world would love them EVEN MORE.

The End Of An Era: Hotmail Ditches The Taglines

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 09:55 AM PDT

“Hotmail: Free, trusted and rich email service. Get it now.”

When Hotmail launched in 1996 it grew fast. Very fast. It was one of the first free webmail providers, and they had a killer marketing idea – add a tagline at the end of every single email sent from hotmail to promote the service. Every time you sent an email you were spreading a marketing message virally.

That led to a $400 million acquisition by Microsoft and the beginning of the “viral” age on the Internet. There wasn’t a business plan put in front of a venture capitalist for years that didn’t have a slide or two on how their product would spread virally via its users.

Today Hotmail will finally kill off the tagline. “We want to start respecting the inbox” Brian Hall, Microsoft’s general manager of the Windows Live Business Group, told me yesterday. He says it’s still a great way to get new users. “But some people don’t think it’s professional,” he says.

Hall also says that Microsoft will cut back on the number of marketing messages they send to Hotmail users. In fact, if users aren’t opening those emails, Hall says they’ll stop sending them entirely. Users can also choose to have all emails stopped as well. When asked why they send them at all, he said that some users actually seem to like them and use them to discover new products and services at Microsoft

SCO/Novell Lawsuit Is Over, SCO Loses

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 09:06 AM PDT

It is over. The SCO’s long-running lawsuit against Novell over a number of patents involved around Unix copyright. In short, SCO claimed to own Unix even after Novell bought it back near the turn of the century. SCO’s patent-trolling has been shameless. The once great company reduced itself to a lawsuit machine and essentially attacked IBM and Novell for years. You can read all about the mess here, but trust me, this has been one of the nastiest patent wars in recent history.

The judge’s final decision was based on a number of false claims by SCO as well as “financial interest in the litigation.”

Read more…

Exit To Nowhere: The Conundrum Of Being An Independent Mobile Ad Network Under Apple’s Rules

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 09:04 AM PDT

A look at Apple's new developer licensing agreement a few days ago revealed that the Cupertino-based company may have just completely blocked Google’s AdMob from serving ads on the iPhone and iPad. According to the new terms of the agreement, only "independent" ad-serving companies will be able to serve ads. AdMob, because it’s “an advertising service provider owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments other than Apple” (i.e. Google), would be restricted from serving ads on apps for the iPhone. AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui confirmed this on Wednesday in an official response from AdMob. Apple has yet to issue a public statement on this issue, but the true winners in terms of ad networks appear to be independent ad networks such as Millennial Media, Greystripe, Medialets and others who can all continue to serve ads on the immensely popular mobile platform.

Some independent networks have been quick to commend Apple. Yesterday, Greystripe issued a statement on its blog expressing its pleasure at the turn of events. “We are pleased that Apple's new terms and conditions explicitly allow independent ad networks, like Greystripe, to operate on the iPhone and iPad platforms,” writes marketing director Dane Holewinski. “It confirms the value of 3rd party ad networks that enable developers to earn great revenue with their applications.” Greystripe CEO Michael Chang commented to us, “the new terms and conditions provide an advantage for independent mobile ad networks to secure their share of the rapidly expanding market.”

In the long run, however, the picture may not be all rosy for these independent ad networks. Following Google’s whopping $750 million acquisition of competitor AdMob and Apple’s $275 million pickup of Quattro Wireless, Greystripe, Millennial, Jumptap and others must have been salivating at the thought of similarly huge exits.

But the new terms put these networks in an awkward position. If they are acquired by a company, the acquirer can’t be a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments other than Apple. So that rules out Microsoft, any telecommunications company (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon), Nokia, HP (because of the Palm acquisition), and RIM. So what does this leave? Yahoo, AOL and media companies, including News Corp, Comcast and others. The clause essentially limits the pool of giants who can actually buy one of the remaining mobile ad networks and still serve ads on iPhones, iPods, and iPads.

This is all assuming that Apple enforces the rules uniformly and makes no exceptions. Ultimately Apple can decide to let whoever they want serve ads on their devices. But if they do make an exception, the likelihood that Apple would allow a Microsoft-owned company to serve ads is small if Google isn’t allowed to do the same.

Microsoft could very well buy an independent network, and sacrifice the ability to advertise on the iPhone. Similar to Google, Microsoft has their own OS, and can work to build up that product and serve ads. But Ad networks also have to consider the financial risk of being excluded from the ad ecosystem for iPhone apps. In terms of usage, Apple has about 28 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, according to recent stats from Nielsen. While Android ad impressions are on the rise, the Apple OS is the dominant platform. According to Millennial's April stats, the Apple OS took a 62% share of Smartphone impressions. And the mobile advertising market is a billion dollar market and is only expected to grow by leaps and bounds over the next few years.

The other twist to this is the FTC’s rumored interest in the debacle. Apple’s policy seems to block specifically Google-AdMob, but of course the excluded list could grow longer if Microsoft or another tech company bought an independent ad network.

In the end, it looks like Apple’s policy could hurt both Google and the independent ad networks at the same time.

Photo credit/Flickr/Brian Hillegras

Media General To Sell Yahoo Display Advertising At TV Stations

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 07:12 AM PDT

Media General this morning announced that it plans to extend part of its Yahoo advertising sales partnership to all of its network-affiliated television stations by the end of 2010, thus self-reportedly becoming the first member of the Yahoo Newspaper Consortium to do so.

The move comes after completion of a pilot program in four of Media General’s television markets.

Media General said it will expand the program to eight additional television stations later this month and will continue in the four pilot markets: Birmingham, Ala., Columbus, Ohio, Mobile, Ala. and Greenville/Spartanburg and S.C./Ashville, N.C.

Media General has been selling Yahoo Display advertising in five markets, including newspapers and TV stations, since 2007. The company says it generated $7 million in Yahoo revenues at its newspapers in 2009, and that it estimates that amount will grow to approximately $10 million this year.

The sale of Yahoo! Display advertising by the company’s television stations is expected to increase Media General’s total Yahoo! Display revenues by approximately 50 percent on an annualized basis.

(Via press release)

Motorola And RIM Make Peace, End All Outstanding Litigation Worldwide

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 05:07 AM PDT

Is it Christmas?

Motorola and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion have just jointly announced that they have entered into a settlement and licensing agreement that ends all outstanding worldwide litigation between the two companies.

The financial terms of the agreement include an up-front payment and ongoing royalties to Motorola. Further terms and conditions of the agreement will remain confidential.

According to the press release, Motorola and RIM will “benefit from a long-term, intellectual property cross-licensing arrangement” going forward. The agreement involves all parties receiving cross-licenses of various patent rights, including patent rights relating to certain industry standards and certain technologies, such as 2G, 3G, 4G, 802.11 and wireless email.

In addition, the parties will transfer certain patents to each other.

Motorola sued RIM in the beginning of this year, accusing the company of illegally using Motorola's patented technology since 2007, after expiry of the agreed licence period.

The issues related to a proprietary wireless technology owned by Motorola pertaining to Wi-Fi access, user interface and power management.

Motorola had gone to the US International Trade Commission to try to get imports of RIM devices banned, in addition to a lawsuit filed in a federal court in Texas. Motorola was seeking an injunction banning RIM products in the United States.

Just 3 weeks ago, RIM also settled a patent dispute with Prism Technologies over authentication software used in BlackBerry devices for an undisclosed amount of money.

Next up, Kodak? (which has also charged RIM with patent infringement)

Shoply Lets Anyone Create An Online Store

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 04:15 AM PDT

UK-based startup Shoply wants to allow anyone to sell anything online. The company offers free SaaS that allows people to sell their goods in an online marketplace, with their own storefront and website.

The idea behind the site is fairly simple. Shoply aims to compete with eBay and other marketplaces by not charging setup or listing fees. Shoply makes money by charging a small transaction fee, which is 6 percent of a total transaction, on all purchases made through its platform as well as through monthly subscription plans for premium packages. Payments are made via PayPal.

Shoply also lets sellers integrate their virtual shops with social networks like Twitter and Facebook, allowing people to Tweet products out and use Facebook Connect to push updates. The ambition is to create a virtual shopping mall of sorts, where users can come to Shoply and try to find an item by doing a keyword search in the marketplace. And Shoply handles the SEO for the shop owners. The idea sounds great in theory, but it may be a challenge for Shoply to attract seller who already have an established base on Amazon, eBay and even Etsy. At the moment, Shoply has under 30 shops on the site. I think for the startup to start standing apart from these established competitors, it may have push a more disruptive model, such as such as that of marketplace on Facebook. Shoply’s founder Liad Shababo says that the site currently offers this functionality, which will compete with fellow Facebook marketplace Payvment.

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa: The Ultimate Guide To Digital Delight

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 04:05 AM PDT

Today’s the big day. TechCrunch turns five years old. And oh, there’s a huge football – no, not ‘soccer’ – event kicking off in South Africa too.

Many of you will be missing the opening match(es) while you’re out celebrating our birthday and 5 years of change on the Web all over the world, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to catch up from your mobile phone, or look up what went down on the Internet when – or if – you make it back home.

Here’s our ultimate guide to how you can keep track of all things World Cup 2010 on the Web and/or through mobile applications. Sure, Mike Butcher over at TechCrunch Europe already posted a few pointers, and Nicholas Deleon from CrunchGear tried to compile an exhaustive list of websites, apps and podcasts as well.

But frankly, those guys are amateurs. I know you deserve better. So here goes.

(deep breath)



Microsoft has detailed its plans for the World Cup two days ago.

Bing Instant Answers aims to bring you all the latest details, the schedule, upcoming games, live scores group standings, and more. The results will show in the U.S. and 30 other countries (why not everywhere, we have no idea).

Redmond also lets you visualize the World Cup teams on Bing.

There is also a Bing Map App that will be displaying FIFA live data on Bing Maps, including team fixtures, results, news, photos, venues, a Photosynth hub for World Cup images, and a Twitter map that will display all of the World Cup related tweets.

Finally, Bing has released a South Africa Bing Map imagery update, so you can see the stadiums where all the games will take place.


Google is making it easy to keep track of the schedule and groups – just run a search for ‘world cup’ and the basic info will be displayed right on top. Also, there’s a cute easter egg to be found at the bottom, just in case you weren’t aware yet.

YouTube sports a custom logo for the occasion (as does Google Search), and is shining a big spotlight on the World Cup on its homepage, too.

Google also announced earlier that there's new Street View imagery around seven new football stadiums in South Africa (see them in 3D here).

Update: more from Google: a Chrome extension and an iGoogle Gadget. The company has also look at some internal resources to see what they could “uncover about the upcoming tournament and its global audience”.


The logo on the Yahoo homepage today is animated for the World Cup kick-off, and leads to the company’s sports vertical, where Yahoo will be keeping track of news, photos, videos, results etc. Yahoo is also featuring shortcuts to relevant links when you enter certain search terms (e.g. world cup schedule).

Yahoo has also launched a skinnable, themed toolbar (see Flickr) and has signed a deal with David Beckham to function as its brand ambassador and whatnot.


Facebook today posted its ‘guide to the world cup’. The company is running a global competition to see which country has the most passionate football fans – you can check out the leaderboard here (Chile is winning right now).

Facebook also has some official broadcast partners that enable users to share status updates and comments while you watch the events live on TV by using Facebook’s Live Stream social plugin. Partners, by country, are listed in the blog post and here.

Also: polls, a heads up for charity 1GOAL, and a promotion of the EA SPORTS FIFA Superstars app, where you can build your own dream team and challenge your friends.

Other than that, Facebook is touting its Connect, Like, Share and Recommend features.


The folks over at Twitter have added a custom World Cup theme to the gallery stable, and have put together a dedicated section where you can see a list of upcoming matches and more.

Evidently, you can go to the site to see Top Tweets, which are algorithmically selected tweets and retweets about the World Cup that Twitter deems most interesting.

You can show your allegiance to one team using a special hashtag. Find out what it is for the country you’re cheering for, use it, and you’ll see the corresponding flag in your tweet. Click it, and you’ll be redirected to the special Twitter World Cup pages built for said country.

Finally, the suggested user list now boasts a special section for World Cup-related staff picks.

Fun third-party stuff: Tweetmeme’s World-Cup-News.net, Cuptweets and Kosmix’ Tweetbeat (see our earlier post).


The location-based service has a number of special things going on to commemorate the World Cub. First, if you check-in anywhere and include “World Cup” in your comment, you’ll get a special “Beautiful Game” pin. Second, if you happen to be in South Africa for the game, the opening match (and closing match) venue has a special stamp. There are also special stamps for some of the big matches like South Africa vs. Mexico and USA vs. England.

Gowalla also has a featured trip around South Africa. There are also plenty of soccer ball items hidden in various places around the world (think: soccer fields).

And finally, a U.S.-based soccer team, the Seattle Sounders, has partnered with Gowalla to make a World Cup Pub Crawl (11 bars), as well as some special venues to watch key games.


They aren’t doing anything special as far as we can tell, but at least they have a special site section for the World Cup (powered by Fanhouse).


If you use Opera Mini, the company’s mobile browser, on your phone, head to sports.opera.com to find a special section on the World Cup.


Also worth noting: Experian Hitwise has shared some of its data related to World Cup search activity. Brazil soccer star Ronaldinho received the second-highest percentage of searches, with 5.63 percent, followed by U.S. soccer star Landon Donovan, with 4.24 percent. Spanish-language players dominated the top 10 results, comprising eight of the top 10 spots.

Yahoo's World Cup 2010 site received the second-most traffic from World Cup search last week in the U.S. FIFA.com was first at 50%, with Yahoo second at 11% and Wikipedia third at 8%.

Hitwise also says U.S. searches for the term "world cup" have increased 216% in the last two weeks, and the number of terms with "world cup" increased 226% over the same period.


Ok, not an Internet giant, but gigantically funny: personalized your own little JibJab football match video.


Yes, plenty of news and sports sites will feature World Cup coverage in articles, photos and videos. But these are some of the sites we think will be most interesting to visit during the next few weeks of football craziness:


The International Federation of Association Football, commonly known as FIFA, should be prepared for the wave. Its main website evidently is all about the World Cup today and in the coming weeks, and it’ll be the main source of information for many, many people scouring for information on the Web. It also helps that most of the major search engines are including links to the site in their custom search results.

Tip: register and log in to personalize the experience.

Nice touch: a Twitter-like live stream of information and links.

Yahoo Sports

We mentioned it before, but Yahoo’s Sports vertical has a dedicated section on the World Cup where you’ll find news, photos, videos of the event and more. Also, a fantasy football game.


Quote: “Almost three years on since the first match of qualification. 204 teams. 848 matches. 2337 goals. And it’s finally come down to this.”

Yes it has, and Goal.com is ready for the flood of news and information hungry visitors. Here’s a direct link to World Cup coverage.

SB Nation

SB Nation, a fast-growing network of fan-centric online sports communities also features a special World Cup 2010 section.

You might also want to check out Fantator, which keeps sports fans everywhere updated on what is happening in all the matches.



ESPN has a special World Cup 2010 website. Everything you need to know is and will be on there, and you can play the World Fantasy game to enhance the experience.


Evidently, most if not all media organizations all across the globe are reserving special sections on TV, in print and online for the World Cup 2010. We’re sure you know best which local publisher will be providing the best coverage in your country, so we’re going to let you decide that on your own damn self, but here are some of the more familiar names:

BBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Times, CNN, The Sun, NBC Sports, ITV.


IMHO, the Goal.com application is top of the bill. Apps are available for Nokia (S60 5th edition), iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile smartphones – get them by visiting http://m.goal.com/app directly from a mobile browser. Or just use your mobile browser to head to m.goal.com.

Here are some others, per platform, all of them free of charge.

iPod Touch / iPhone

- ESPN 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP (iTunes link)
- AP 2010 World Cup Coverage (iTunes link)
- World Football Live! (iTunes link)
- SOUTH AFRICA 2010 TRACKER (iTunes link)
- many more, just search for ‘south africa’ or ‘world cup’ from the App Store


- WORLD CUP NEWS (AndroLib link)
- World Cup Essentials (AndroLib link)
- The Sun FOOTBALL – WORLD CUP (AndroLib link)
- AP 2010 WORLD CUP COVERAGE (AndroLib link)
- again, many more, just run a search for ‘world cup’ from Android Market on your handset


South Africa on BlackBerry (link to BlackBerry App World webstore)


- AP 2010 World Cup Coverage (Ovi Store link)
- Football.co.uk World Cup 2010 News (Ovi Store link)
- The World Cup App (Ovi Store link)

Windows Mobile

World Cup Application (via WMExperts)


Ready for it?

FootyTube.com, Videosoccer.net, Mysoccerplace.net, Oleole.com, Givemefootball.com, Soccerclips.net, video.football.co.uk, Goalsarena.com, Footy-boots.com, Goalvideoz.com, Mightyfootball.com, Footballclips.net, 101greatgoals.com, Football-spot.com, Footballtube.com, Timesoccer.com, Footballwired.com, Goaljunky.com, Thefootballtube.com and Footballvids.org.

We hear some of those, as well as Roja Directa and Iraq Goals, will be live-broadcasting some of the games, but we didn’t tell you that.


Sirius XM is broadcasting all the games of the World Cup live, so listen in.

The Guardian also has a free podcast, World Cup Daily, that CrunchGear says will absolutely be worth downloading.

They also say World Football Daily is another great (but not free) podcast that will be bringing the thunder during the tournament.

Also check out ESPN’s Soccernet World Cup Podcast, The Independent World Cup Podcast and that of the Daily Mail (and here’s some more if you’re not satisfied yet).

Bonus: “How to organise that World Cup pub crawl” via Drinksin.com.

Ok, what did I miss? (Not that I’ll be updating this post, I’m too psyched for the opening match that’s about to start – but at least people will find more useful links in comments).

Also, I say Spain is going to win the tournament. You can quote me on that.

Betting on another team? Get over to Smarkets and let’s see what your bets are worth.

comScore Says Bing And Yahoo Gained Market Share In May. Or Have They?

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 12:22 AM PDT

Audience measurement firm comScore has released its May 2010 U.S. Search Data report, and it shows continued market share gains for Yahoo and Microsoft.

Yahoo and Bing/MSN each added approximately 60 bps and 30 bps to 18.3% and 12.1%, respectively. Google is down, claims comScore, declining approximately 70 bps for the second consecutive month to 63.7%.

But that’s not the whole story, and investors need to caution when interpreting the data as presented by comScore, say analysts.

Gleacher & Company’s Broadpoint.AmTech puts it this way:

While these numbers are correct on an apples-to-apples basis (in the sense that certain types of searches – e.g. contextual shortcuts and slide-shows – are being counted consistently across properties), the trending data for which we think comScore is most useful shows a different picture.

J.P. Morgan has this to say about the reported numbers:

User interface changes continue to cloud the picture. Google, Yahoo! and MSN all made notable changes in April and May, according to comScore. As such, numbers may not be directly comparable to past months.

We think more months of data under the new methodology could clarify matters.

Update: comscore’s Cameron Meierhoefer addresses the issue in a blog post (via Business Insider).

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/comscore-says-itll-fix-search-share-measurement-now-that-yahoo-and-microsoft-are-gaming-it-2010-6#ixzz0qYUGHvgw

We’ve detailed how Yahoo has boosted its search market share with these ‘tricks’ last month.

When adjusted, backing out Yahoo and Bing/MSN’s use of contextual shortcuts and image slide-shows from both May and April, Broadpoint.AmTech estimates that Yahoo’s share actually declined roughly 30 bps month over month in May to 16.6%, while Microsoft Sites’ share was flat at approximately 10.8%.

Google, after a small data collection adjustment to the April data (namely a change in how Google handles searches with typos), appears to have gained roughly 30 bps of share in May to 66.4%, says Broadpoint.AmTech. However, Google’s domestic core search market share was 63.7% in May, down slightly from 64.4% in April, J.P. Morgan claims.

According to the reported data, total US core search volume increased 11.2% year over year in May, an acceleration from 5.3% growth in April, adds J.P. Morgan. However, adjusting for the impact of user interface changes, the firm estimates search volume was up roughly 7%.

Kosmix Unleashes Its Realtime Tweetbeat On The World Cup

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 09:40 PM PDT

The problem with Twitter is that it is too noisy. Filtering the signal from the noise is still too burdensome. The founders of search engine Kosmix think they have an answer with a new product called Tweetbeat, which they are unleashing in a preview version designed specifically to filter all the Tweets about the World Cup soccer tournament. Tweetbeat ingests the entire firehose of 65 million Tweets a day, and spits out only those about the World Cup which are it deems to be the most popular and important. It tries to capture everything from news to teams, players and fan shout-outs.

What’s more impressive, though, is that along the left-hand side are flag icons of 32 teams. When you click on a flag, you see Tweets only about that team. You can follow only Brazil, England, Nigeria, or whatever team makes you want to cover yourself with body paint. The name of the team or “World Cup” doesn’t even have to be in the Tweet. Tweetbeat recognizes individual player names such as Cole or Maradona, nicknames, teams, even stadiums, and it delivers all of these Twets in realtime. A slider at the top allows you to adjust the speed at which the stream flows down the page. Next week, Tweetbeat will be available as an iPhone app and desktop widget, and sites like MySpace plan to use the data in their own widgets.

Some early findings from the day before the first game begins (of English-only Tweets):

  • Overall, the World Cup is the most popular category on Twitter in the past 24 hours after Justin Beiber.
  • England is getting the most Tweets, with 40 percent more than any other team, followed by the U.S. Brazil is fifth (remember, in English), and Paraguay is dead-last in popularity on Twitter.
  • The most popular players on Twitter are  Joe Cole, Wayne Rooney, and Lionel Messi (again, if Kosmix analyzed Portuguese Tweets, I’m sure it would be a different story, but I am still kind of surprised Rolando didn’t rank higher).

Under the hood, Kosmix is applying its core semantic search technology to Twitter’s firehose of Tweets to categorize them instantly. Kosmix has created a taxonomy of the Web which spans more than 10 million topics and their relationships. It doesn’t rely on hashtags or keywords, but on relationships, influence, and trending clusters. Kosmix co-founder Anand Rajaraman explains:

To determine whether a tweet is part of a trending story, Tweetbeat creates real-time clusters of tweets, based on semantic similarity. The tweets in a cluster are about the same story. We then rank stories using a combination of many different real-time signals, including the number of tweets, the influence scores of the people who have tweeted the story, and the rate at which the cluster is growing (i.e., "story velocity" and "story acceleration").

We use a variety of signals to compute a real-time influence score for every active twitter user. The score depends not only on static factors, such as number of followers, but also on dynamic factors, such as retweets and who retweeted. So, being retweeted by an influential user makes you more influential.

He calls this influence score “Krank.” Kosmix is applying these techniques right now to the World Cup teams and players as a showscase of what its technology can do, but later this summer it will release a full version of Tweetbeat across all topics.

Apple Begins Urging Developers To Get Their iOS 4 Apps In For Launch

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 07:32 PM PDT

Today, Apple has begun emailing iPhone app developers to let them know they're now accepting iOS 4-compatible apps in the App Store. Just as it does each time before a new OS launches (such as earlier this year with the iPad OS, which was iPhone OS 3.2 — yes, it's a little confusing), Apple wants to make sure it has apps to show off when the new OS hits on June 21 (three days before the iPhone 4 launch).

And this launch is important because it brings the ability for third-party applications to run in the background for the first time. Earlier today, Pocket-lint noted that "massive delays" were expected for multitasking apps. But there were two major problems with this report. First, it seemed to suggest that the iPhone 4 was the key to multitasking. In fact, it is iOS 4 that brings the ability to multitask, and it brings it to the iPhone 3GS and latest generation iPod touch as well. More importantly, they noted that "in our initial testing, only Apple apps, like the Clock, Mail and Safari, can multitask. That's it!" Um, that's because there are no third-party apps available yet that have this built in. That's exactly why Apple is sending out emails that they're going to start accepting them now.

Here's my favorite line from the Pocket-lint story, "When we spoke to a number of developers, that aren't keen to be named in this article for fear of backlash from Apple, they all confirmed to Pocket-lint that, for any app to take advantage of the new multitasking features, it will have to be updated." Uh, yes. That's exactly what Apple has been saying all along. I'm not sure what backlash a developer would face for pointing that out.

FUD aside, developers can begin submitting these iOS 4-compatible apps now. And from what I've heard from developers, it's not that hard to do. In fact, a number of them got apps up and running in time to work on the demo units Apple made available after the WWDC keynote address on Monday. For example, here's Pandora running in the background. Foursquare was working as well, as were other apps.

But it's not all good news for developers. When Apple makes a call for these new, specific applications, they usually shove other ones aside to make sure the can approve these special ones in time for a launch. We saw this with the iPad launch. Based on what we're hearing from some developers now, it appears that regular (non-iOS 4) apps are seeing approval wait times that are longer than normal already.

[Thanks Noah]

WordPress Gives Us The VIP Treatment, Goes Down On Us Again

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 06:35 PM PDT

Well, that was fun. If you tried to access TechCrunch any time in the last hour or so, you probably noticed that it wasn’t working at all. Instead, you were greeted by the overly cheery notice “WordPress.com will be back in a minute!” Had we written that message ourselves, there would have been significantly more profanity.

The cause of the downtime is still being determined; we’re waiting for more details from WordPress.com, the hosted blogging platform that is home to over 10 million blogs. We’re hosted under their VIP program, as are other large sites like GigaOm and some of CNN’s blogs. As far as we can tell, all 10+ million blogs hosted by WordPress were affected by the downtime.

Needless to say, we’re pretty upset. WordPress has a fairly reliable track record overall, but it was only a few months ago that WordPress suffered their worst downtime in four years, when all hosted blogs were down for around 110 minutes. At the time, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg wrote on the company’s blog that he hoped “it will be much longer than four years before we face a problem like this again”. It’s been less than four months.

We’re awaiting further details from the WordPress team (we expect they’ll have an update on their official blog shortly).

Update: Mullenweg responded in the comments below with some more details:

As you’ve noticed, we’ve brought the vast majority of blogs back, including yours. We’re currently working on bringing back the rest (including GigaOM), we have to verify their options data first, then the home page, then stats. However if you’re back already like TC is everything should work as normal.

The cause of the outage was a very unfortunate code change that overwrote some key options in the options table for a number of blogs.

Mike and team at TC: you guys have jinxed us, but we still love you. These past two rapid-fire incidents have been cringe-worthy and painful, and I’m sorry they both happened shortly after your switch to VIP.

Comcast’s Tunerfish Debuts To The Public With HBO’s True Blood Series

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 04:58 PM PDT

Comcast’s Tunerfish is opening to the public today; and debuting a deal with HBO for their show True Blood. Tunerfish, which was demoed at TechCrunch Disrupt a few weeks ago, was incubated by the Plaxo team (Comcast acquired Plaxo in 2008) and is led by former Plaxo VP of Marketing John McCrea.

Tunerfish allows people to share with a single click what they are watching, on their social network(s) of choice in real time. Much like Twitter does for tweets, Tunerfish also displays which TV shows are trending among your friends (in the last hour, 24 hours, etc.), which gives users a way to discover shows they are not yet familiar with. The site also encourages people to check-in to shows on both its web-based app and iPhone app, much like you would in Foursquare or Gowalla.

Using Tunerfish, True Blood’s fans will have the opportunity to earn "Truebie" and "Maker" badges by Tweeting on the site while they watch and influencing their friends to do the same. Tunerfish will use these check-ins to determine and reward loyal fans with the badges.

HBO’s is also launching a True Blood Twitter Microsite, which allows True Blood fans to Tweet and access live conversations about new episodes while watching them on TV. Called Bloodcopy.com, the site will feature weekly Twitter "hosts" that will live Tweet during each episode initiating conversations, interacting with fans and facilitating giveaways. The microsite was built using Twitter's @anywhere technology.

Tomorrow, There Will Be More Than 350 TechCrunch Birthday Parties Everywhere

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 03:56 PM PDT

Tomorrow, TechCrunch turns five years old. We’ve grown up with the Web over that time from a one-man hobby in Michael’s home to an expanding media outfit of almost two dozen full-time staff around the world. Since all of you won’t fit in our new offices in San Francisco (as much as we’d like to invite you, especially the commenters on MG’s posts), we thought why not let readers throw their own parties around the world.

A couple weeks ago, with the launch of Meetups Everywhere at our Disrupt conference in New York, we started with about 50 Meetups. Quickly, that grew to 150, then 250, and now the number is at more than 350 TechCrunch Meetups from Bangalore and Jakarta to Johannesburg and Miami Beach. More than 4,000 readers will be celebrating with us, and you can join them.

Check out the nearest city with a TechCrunch Meetup, or create your own. The biggest Meetup right now is in American Fork, Utah, with 372 people all going to a BBQ, followed by San Francisco (333), New York (164), and Bangalore, India (137). Come meet me at the one in New York City, or TechCrunch Europe editor Mike Butcher in the UK.

These Meetups are more about you, and how much the Web has changed in the past five years, than it is about us. Just think about it. Five years ago, Facebook hadn’t yet graduated from colleges. YouTube, Twitter, and Foursquare didn’t even exist. TechCrunch was writing about Web 2.0 startups, but now we don’t even use that term anymore because the entire Web has absorbed those concepts. It is social, programmable, and increasingly mobile. Every site with an API is a potential platform that can be mashed up to create new sites and apps. That’s just the way it is.

If you are an organizer of one of the 350+ Meetups, thank you. Here are some things you can do. Take plenty of photos and videos, and upload them to Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, or YouTube. Tag everything #tcmeetup. Stream live video from your meetup, you can set up a free channel on Livestream, and we will be streaming on the New York City party on this TCMeetup channel.

Get people on video answering these questions, and we’ll pull together the best answers in a highlight video:

  • What technology can you not live without that did not exist five years ago?
  • What will the Web look like five years from now?
  • What kinds of startups will create the most wealth over the next five years?
  • Why do you read TechCrunch?

B52 Media, Bookmarks.com Buy Single Letter Domain E.CO For $81,000

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 03:55 PM PDT

Moments ago, a rare single letter domain name was auctioned off live over the Internet. The domain name is E.CO, and it was sold through Sedo for $81,000, as reported by several industry blogs.

All proceeds from the first .CO domain auction goes to a charity of the buyers’ choice.

The seller, .CO Internet, which operates the .CO top-level domain, will soon be announcing the winners of the auction, but we’ve learned the names of the buyers ahead of time.

Lonnie Borck from B52 Media and Uri Kerbel from Bookmarks.com have both won the charity domain auction, and are keeping the name of the charity they’ll be donating the money to private.

The E.CO auction was held live at this week's Internet Week conference in New York City. The last hour of bidding, which concluded at 4:10 pm Eastern Time, was also simulcast at both the Internet Retailer (Chicago) and TRAFFIC (Vancouver) shows.

We’re told over 10 countries were represented, and over twenty people bid on the domain name – a record number for any single domain auction. Visit e.co to learn more about the auction.

The successful auction marks a second interesting event for .CO Internet – just yesterday Twitter debuted a new service with the name t.co.

How To Make The Most Of The World Cup: Apps, Web Sites, Podcasts and More!

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 01:35 PM PDT

Let's get down to business. The World Cup begins tomorrow, June 11, 2010. The tournament kicks off with hosts South Africa against Mexico at 9:30am ET/6:30am PT on ESPN in the U.S. (International readers: you'll have to consult your local listings.) Consider this post a general how-to on making the most of the tournament. Mobile Apps, helpful Web sites, podcasts, etc. Woo~!

Kevin Rose To Leave Diggnation

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 01:00 PM PDT

Digg founder and CEO Kevin Rose will be leaving his popular Diggnation show, we’ve heard from a source. This has not been confirmed by Kevin, but we believe it’s accurate. Revision3, which hosts the show, has not yet returned our request for comment.

The show has been “aired” since July 1, 2005 and regularly attracts 200,000 or more viewers. It is the most popular show on Revision3, although new shows like Penn Point are starting to bring in real mainstream talent.

Why is he leaving? We’re speculating, but his new job as CEO of Digg may be keeping him too busy to make time for the show. Or maybe it’s just that after five years he ready to focus on something new.

It’s not clear if cohost Alex Albrecht is staying with the show, or if it will simply shut down.

Update: Rose says via Twitter that he will leave the show at the end of this year.

Update 2: Revision 3 says Kevin will be there at least through the end of the year (perhaps they think they can change Kevin’s mind): “Every year we sit down and think about what the next year of Diggnation should be. Those decisions have not yet been made, however Kevin and Alex will remain hosting the show through at least 2010 . We will also be announcing an exciting new video project of Kevin’s on Revision3 in the coming months.”

A Look Behind The ‘Words With Friends’ iPhone Gaming Phenomenon

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 12:45 PM PDT

Back in fall 2008 — an eternity by mobile standards — I wrote about a fun little iPhone chess game called Chess With Friends. The game hit the App Store at a time when there were at least fifteen similar apps on the market, but it had one key differentiator: it tapped into the iPhone’s network effect to let you challenge your friends at a time when the vast majority of applications ignored the iPhone’s Internet connection. Eight months later, the small company behind Chess With Friends released the next game in the series, a Scrabble-like app that has since gone on to become a smash hit. It’s called Words With Friends. I sat down with brothers Paul and David Bettner, two of the founders of ‘Words‘ development house Newtoy, to get the back story on how the game grew to such popularity and where they’re going next.

The premise of ‘Words‘ is simple: you fire it up and are playing a Scrabble-like word game against one of your friends in seconds. There’s no single player mode — the entire experience is built around multiplayer. And that formula has proven to be golden: the app now has over 1.6 million daily active users who average a full hour of playing every day. It has been on Apple’s top grossing list for four months running and serves over 1.5 billion ad impressions every month.  Between the freemium ad-supported app and the paid version (which sells for $2.99), the game is making quite a bit of money, though the brothers wouldn’t get into specifics.

Newtoy got its start after Microsoft decided to shut down Ensemble Studios, which was developing a now-defunct game for the Xbox 360 called Halo Wars. The brothers, who were Ensemble employees, were asked to keep working on the game anyway but they declined and decided to start their own indie studio. Newtoy was founded in September 2008 and shipped Chess With Friends that November. The game was pretty straightforward, allowing you to invite your friends to play an asynchronous chess game (you make a move, they make their move at their convenience, and so on). At the time I said that the app “longed for push“, because users had to manually check in on the game themselves to see if it was their turn — they couldn’t get the push alerts that iPhone users receive today.

Chess With Friends did fairly well by 2008 standards, but it was hardly the hit that ‘Words‘ later went on to become. Still, it was popular enough that the Newtoy team had to devote more time than they would have liked to ensure their servers could keep up with demand. Their followup game was put on the back burner.

Finally, in July 2009, the studio released Words With Friends. At the time they had no idea it would become a hit — they took a small $200K seed round from friends and family and started working on an ngmoco title called We Rule (which they didn’t own full rights to) to make sure they could keep paying the bills. As they worked on We Rule, Words With Friends did fairly well but wasn’t exactly surging.

And then John Mayer happened. On October 5 2009, Mayer tweeted that Words With Friends “is the new Twitter” (the Newtoy guys say they didn’t have anything to do with it). The application promptly surged in popularity, and has since ridden on its inherent virality to grow to where it is today — as more players signed up, they’d tell their friends to join so that they could play each other (remember, the game is multi-player only). The Bettners say that the application had already started to hit an inflection point in growth before the Mayer tweet, but there’s no doubt that he gave it a major push in the right direction. The ‘With Friends’ series has now seen 6.5 million downloads.

Of course, Words With Friends was hardly the first such word game on the market, so how did it catch on?  The Bettners chalk this up to the user experience.  Whereas the official Scrabble iPhone app forced users to trudge through a few menus before they could access its multiplayer features, Words puts your multiplayer games front-and-center. You can boot up the app and be in a game in just a few seconds, which the Bettners say is key.

Success has come with a few hurdles, though, namely that Newtoy has to deal with a massive number of moves every day (players have cumulatively made over 1 billion moves). In some ways, this has held Newtoy back. Anyone who has played Words With Friends can probably tell you that adding friends in the game is a pain — instead of hooking into Facebook Connect, users have to manually type in their friends’ aliases, which is the sort of mechanic you might have expected a few years ago but feels woefully out of date now. There’s no Facebook application or web presence of any kind, so you have to make all of your moves from an iPhone or iPad. And the game isn’t available on any other mobile platforms like Android.

When I pointed out these shortcomings to the brothers, they repeatedly responded “We know! We’re working on it!”. I couldn’t get a hard timeframe out of them, but it sounds like Facebook Connect will be coming first, followed by some kind of web app, with an Android version at some point in the not particularly near future (lame). But the brothers also point out that Apple is planning to release GameCenter, a social gaming network that is being built directly into iOS, which should be even easier to use than Facebook Connect.

Looking forward, the Bettners say that they have more games in the works as part of the ‘With Friends’ franchise, and they’ll be able to nudge their current userbase toward the new apps.  When I pushed for more details on these games they declined, explaining that they’re “sort of like Apple when it comes to new games”.  I think they’ve still got a ways to go when it comes to secrecy though — I doubt Apple would have agreed to talk with me in the first place.

Tweeeeeeeeeeeeeet! Twitter Has A Way To Show Off Your World Cup Allegiances

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 12:42 PM PDT

During the last World Cup in 2006, Twitter had just a few thousands users. Now they have 125 million users sending 65 million tweets a day — and 65% of those users are outside the U.S. As such, they’ve created a special section on twitter.com to highlight this year’s version of the sporting event that brings the world together.

This section highlights the key matches coming up as well as top tweets from Twitter accounts affiliated with soccer in some way. Notably, each World Cup matchup will get its own page and live-updating tweet stream about that particular game. For example, here’s South Africa vs. Mexico.

But the coolest thing may be the way you can show your allegiance to one team using a special hashtag. Twitter only hints at this feature, but as you can see, employees are already using it. In this tweet from Twitter’s Vitor Lourenço, he’s clearly rooting for Brazil, and you can see the Brazilian flag in the tweet. How did he do that? Simply use the hashtag “#BRA”.

Twitter also has new special backgrounds for the World Cup that members can decorate their profiles with. It’s also worth noting that “England and Spain have banned Twitter usage by players during the World Cup,” according to Twitter.

Update: Also cool, the country flags link back to the special Twitter World Cup pages built for that country. For example, see my tweet here and click on the U.S. flag.

Stanford Students Build Their Own Y Combinator

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 12:38 PM PDT

Editor’s note: The following guest post is written by Larry Chiang, author of What They Don’t Teach you At Stanford Business School and an advisor to the new Stanford Student Startup Lab.

STANFORD, CA—Here on campus, a couple of undergrads successfully built their own Y Combinator. It launches today.

It’s called SSE Labs and it is modeled after the incubator Y Combinator, except it take zero equity. One company in its portfolio is already making waves, Alphonso Labs. Alphonso created the Pulse News Reader app for the iPad, which is the top paid iPad app in iTunes right now. Aksahy Kothari and Ankit Gupta are founders.

The inaugural startups are:

Alphonso Labs—iPad news reader, with plans to expand to the iPhone and Android.
Think Bulbs—Builds mobiile photo discovery apps for the iPhone
FountainHop—Building an event mapping platform that intelligently and intuitively gives users access to geo-temporal data relating to their physical surroundings.
Naquatic—iPhone and iPod Touch game developer creating large scale, online, social games starting with world conquest games.
Black Swan Solar—Goal is to make solar energy cheaper than coal.
InvestAway—A platform for delivering personalized, professional advice to individual investors.
MyLinkPower—Help professionals get jobs through their social networks.
Motion Math—Create educational games that kids love and parents trust. Inspire kids to learn by creating intuitive understanding through mobile game play.
Loki—Location-aware mobile gaming.

Penda: The big question that Penda answers is "What are your friends doing online?" Platform for users to share the information they're consuming and need.

Stanford Student Enterprises Labs accelerates startups like Alphonso Labs by providing office space, housing, cash stipends, workshops, access to mentors, a rolodex of tier-one VCs, speaker training for CS majors and distribution to industry conferences. It also gives feedback to iterative product updates via weekly dinners. (Disclosure: I am on the Board of Advisor but I do not take money or any equity position. I am helping SSE Labs because I think entrepreneurs should own 100% of their company or as much as possible, anything else is asse9).

Believe it or not, Stanford Business School does not really support the SSE Labs. Perhaps that is because SSE Labs is at odds with the venerable Stanford Tech Venture Partners. STVP is the staid, old-guard organization at the university that believes entrepreneurship should not be incubated within the bounds of the 94305 zip code using university resources.

Further pressure to keep SSE Labs from starting, came from the Dean of the Graduate School of Business in an email to the entire GSB student body asking that no B-schooler take part in SSE Labs inaugural set of teams. SSE Labs was hatched under considerable and sustained pressure to kill the first business accelerator on campus. But SSE Labs is legally able to operate this accelerator because it is an independent 501 c3 with revenues of about $1.5 million. It is run by founder and managing director, Cameron Teitelman and Tomas Vacek who manages and invests SSE operational funds. They are both undergrads on-track to graduate in June. Non-students are allowed to participate on teams. The requirement is each team needs one Stanford student enrolled 2009-2010. If you think your team qualifies, apply here.

Twitter Starts Teaching You How To Tweet With Videos

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 12:25 PM PDT

One of the keys to Twitter is that on the face of it, it’s very simple to use. You just type in 140 characters or less, hit “Tweet,” and you’re done. But actually it’s a bit more complicated if you want to get more out of it. So Twitter has started doing what any good company should — they’ve started making video tutorials.

The recently launched Twitter Help Center now features a number of videos to answer questions such as “What is Retweet?” “What is Following?” “What is a Timeline?” and “How to Find People and Be Found“. Twitter has also set up a YouTube account for these videos.

These are new videos that we made in house. We’re experimenting with videos to gauge the impact on helping people use and understand Twitter better,” a Twitter spokesperson tells us.

So how good of a job does Twitter do explaining its service? Check out the video below and judge for yourself.

Redfin’s CEO, Michael Arrington And Tom Cruise Walk Into A Room

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 12:01 PM PDT

With TechCrunch’s fifth birthday less than 24 hours away, a certain degree of navel gazing is appropriate, if not required. On Wednesday afternoon, TechCrunch founder and newly minted Seattle resident, Michael Arrington, dropped by Atlassian’s Starter Day for a double header: an interview with Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman and “Tom Cruise” (more on that later).

Over the last few years, Arrington has interviewed Kelman several times (most recently here), but at Starter Day, Kelman got to turn the proverbial tables on Arrington, taking the questions to him. For those who want a primer, or more insight on the origins of TechCrunch, why he hasn’t sold the company yet, why he doesn’t think he would make a good CEO, and the value of boat ownership, see the video above.

Now on a more serious note, what about that “Tom Cruise” video you ask? Well yes, this also happened:

Some of you might have seen “Tom Cruise” in this Mac Vs. PC spoof or on FunnyOrDie:

Dead-on Cruise cackle aside, “Tom Cruise” is actually Evan Ferrante, an actor and producer who launched his Hollywood career on his uncanny knack for mimicking Cruise’s swagger and yes, memorizing virtually every line in Jerry Maguire and Top Gun.

What started off as a way to meet women in college with his friend (who of course, had a natural Jean-Claude Van Damme impression), quickly turned into a handful of viral videos on YouTube and FunnyOrDie, and ultimately a legitimate career.

After doing some recent online work with Disney as “Tom Cruise”, which was packaged with content for the Twilight series, Ferrante says his career took off with corporate gigs and commercial work at home and abroad (apparently the Tom Cruise impersonation business is huge in Australia). His next move: an upcoming HBO documentary, Teenage Paparazzo, a project he co-produced that will apparently not include any Cruise cameos. Our brief backstage interview with Ferrante is below.

What does this have to do with TechCrunch’s Fifth birthday? Absolutely nothing, but it is a gold mine for TechCrunch readers who’ve always wanted to see a slightly amused, slightly confused Arrington bombarded by a barrage of Tom Cruise-isms.

If you would like to contact Evan Ferrente for an event, before he actually reaches Tom-Cruise-level-fame, you can reach him at ferrantefilmgroup@gmail.com.


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