commentary Is it OK for AOL's TechCrunch editors to invest in companies they write about?
It's a question we once had figured out but a new generation of editors says it's OK. As long as it's disclosed. But is that enough?
Mike Arrington, editor and founder of TechCrunch, an AOL company, yesterday disclosed his investments in some high-profile start-ups.
He said he had refrained from making investments in start-ups since 2009 because of distracting accusations of conflicts of interest, but that he had recently changed that policy (following the sale of TechCrunch to AOL).
Netflix's subscription business model is an online video powerhouse, but would it work for music?
There's a sharp difference of opinion in the music sector about that right now. Billboard magazine started the debate Tuesday when veteran writer Glenn Peoples suggested that the major record labels might do well to emulate some of Netflix's practices. Ethan Kaplan, a former digital exec at Warner Music Group, later that day wrote on his blog, Blackrimglasses.com, that he's highly skeptical.
The discussion was sparked by Google and Apple's recent efforts to launch cloud music services. Both would enable users to store their music libraries on the companies' servers and then stream songs to users' Internet-connected devices. Google has talked to the labels about charging a fee for the service, according to previous reports. CNET reported on Monday that Apple has told the labels it too will charge.
These companies and the major labels are betting on subscription. They're doing this though the services that have attempted to prove the model in the past have a spotty record. Rhapsody, Yahoo Music, and the recycled Napster all failed to draw large audiences. Most players in the sector dream of having 1 million paying subscribers. Compare that with Netflix, which saw 3 million movie fans sign up for its service in the year's first three months. The company's U.S. subscribers now number 22.8 million, the same amount as Comcast. Helping to fuel that growth was Netflix's offer of $8 a month for unlimited streaming access to movies and TV shows.
"With Netflix consumers have proven they will rent content--even re-run(s)--and stream it from the cloud," Peoples wrote in Billboard. "They will pay for digital content they could get for free through illegal means. They will pay if the service allows streaming through multiple devices."
Peoples wrote that Netflix's low-cost, easy-to-use Web site, and nearly ubiquitous presence on Internet-enabled devices is a worthy blueprint for the music industry. But Kaplan said that Peoples' premise is flawed at its core. … Read more
Yahoo Mail, which boasts more than 250 million users worldwide, hasn't been working for many of them today.
The company was vague about how many customers were hit by the outage, what the cause is, and how long the problem will last.
"Yahoo mail is currently inaccessible to some users," the company said in a statement. "We are working to correct the issue and restore all functionality immediately. We know that this may have caused some inconvenience and we apologize to our users who might be affected."
Spokesman Jason Khoury said the outage affected a &… Read more
A cloud-based music service wouldn't be anything without a name. And Apple might have found a suitable choice.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has acquired domain name iCloud.com from Sweden-based "hybrid cloud computing" provider Xcerion, GigaOm is reporting, citing an anonymous "tipster." The publication's source says Apple paid $4.5 million for the domain name.
Neither Xcerion nor Apple has confirmed a sale, and it's worth noting that the site's Whois data shows that Xcerion still owns the domain. However, Xcerion used to operate its cloud-based storage service on iCloud.com … Read more
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion has bought Tungle, a start-up with a scheduling app that synchronizes across various calendar systems.
The deal was revealed yesterday in a Tungle blog post, in which company chief Marc Gingras said his team was "excited" about the takeover. The financial terms of the deal between the two Canadian companies have not been revealed.
"This is exciting for you too as we expect the Tungle service to only get better," Gingras wrote. "Our plan today is what it has always been--for Tungle to become integrated with your daily activities and … Read more
Tomorrow, the world will witness one of the most beautiful and joyous anachronisms known to humanity.
A royal prince will marry his commoner bride, as tears are shed from London to Liverpool. Clockwise.
And yet reports have emerged that the likes of the Norway's king, Australia's prime minister, David Beckham, Sir Elton John, Guy Ritchie, Joss Stone and Mr. Bean will be prevented from letting the world instantly know their own feelings. (If you need the full guest list, it's here.)
News Corp. is expected to begin entertaining bids for MySpace this week, with a minimum asking price of $100 million, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
In addition to about a half dozen private equity firms expected to submit offers, a couple of Internet companies have also expressed interest in the foundering social-networking site, according to the report, which cited people familiar with the matter.
News Corp. representatives declined to comment on the report.
The media giant revealed in January that it was exploring the possibility of selling or spinning off MySpace after months of rumors and its own … Read more
Fueled by its PayPal division, eBay reported first quarter results today that exceeded expectations.
Revenues jumped 16 percent to $2.5 billion, compared to the same period a year ago, and profits soared by 20 percent to total $475.9 million, or 36 cents a share.
The results were in line with its internal projections of revenues of up to $2.5 billion and earnings per share and up to 36 cents a share. The company also met or exceeded analysts expectations for the period.
PayPal continues to be the area where eBay sees the most growth. Net revenues from … Read more
Three major film studios have been unwilling so far to ink deals that would let YouTube rent out their movies, a new report claims.
Rumors surrounding YouTube's plans to expand its rental service with flicks from major studios most recently cropped up earlier this week. As of this writing, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Universal Studios have all signed on, according to reports.
However, Fox, Disney, and Paramount Pictures have decided against signing a deal with YouTube, according to an article published yesterday by TheWrap, an entertainment-news site. The article claims the studios are holding out over concerns … Read more