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Napster Owner Rhapsody Passes 2M Paying Users As It Extends unRadio To Europe

July 29, 2014 in News, TechCrunch

napster grafitti In 2012, Rhapsody nabbed the European assets of streaming service Napster, covering the UK and Germany, to fill out its 2011 acquisition of Napster in the U.S., as part of its strategy to square up globally to Spotify and other online music rivals. Today, it’s putting that reach to use as Rhapsody is expanding its unRadio service for the first time outside of the U.S. The news comes… Read More

Uber Gets Down To Business With New Travel Expense Tools And Concur Integration

July 29, 2014 in News, TechCrunch

eyeem uber Uber has spent four years building a perfect transportation alternative to taxis and black car services in cities around the world. But until today it’s just been focused on consumer travel. Now the company is going after a huge new opportunity by changing the way business users can book and expense rides on its platform. Read More

Apple Acquires BookLamp, Final Amount Still Pending

July 29, 2014 in News, TechCocktail

Late last week TechCrunch reported that Apple had made an interesting move to acquire Boise, Idaho based book startup BookLamp. The location of acquisition paired with the fact that Apple is buying a startup in the literature market are both causes to pay close attention; Apple seldom moves to buy smaller tech companies, but when they do it’s usually a smart move.

One of Apple’s recent acquisitions was to buy Beats Audio, by Dr. Dre, for $3 billion – that’s right – billion with a ‘B’. Granted, Apple tends to remain very secretive when they do acquire a company so all the details surrounding BookLamp are still forming.

What we do know, according to the TechCrunch post, is that Apple spent anywhere between $10 and $15 million for BookLamp. Tech Cocktail has been working with the local Boise community for a few years now, so we’re excited to stay on this story and keep you up-to-date as it continues to unfold, so stay tuned.




Et Tu, Taibbi? No one seems to have noticed the most worrying line in Pierre Omidyar’s new blog post

July 29, 2014 in News, Pando Daily


Much ado today about Pierre Omidyar’s nine month update on his strategy for First Look Media. Gone is the grand plan to create a stable of digital magazines, and in its place a greater focus on building tools for journalists. Omidyar insists, however, that his two already announced blogs — John Cook’s The Intercept and Matt Taibbi’s unnamed project — will continue as planned.

We’ve seen this playbook before of course. A couple of years ago I wrote about ebook publisher, The Atavist’s plans to pivot into a platform to allow others to publish. (They too promised they would maintain a commitment to also publishing their own material.) My thoughts on that move — outlined in a post subtly titled “Platforms are for Pussies” are equally relevant today…

Every day another independent publisher pulls this same move: “we’re going to refocus on being a platform”. Evan Ratliff’s Atavist has all but abandoned its original publishing model in favor of its ebook “platform”, GOOD magazine has fired its entire editorial staff and will instead focus on being “a platform for social good” and now Punch! wants to help other publishers make it impossible for readers to click on articles about Mitt Romney.


I mean, I get it. Editorial is expensive. Christ, it’s so expensive… But it gets worse: Not only is editorial expensive, but nobody wants to pay for it. Readers, we’re told, don’t want to pay for it (I’ll deal with that bullshit another time). And investors certainly don’t want to pay for it… No investor of sound mind thinks he or she will make money from a magazine, any more than they think investing in restaurants or airlines is a smart move.

A platform, on the other hand… well, that’s the answer to everything. Noone ever went broke building a platform. For one thing, a platform doesn’t need to commission editorial: some other sap takes care of that — either clients (Atavist, Punch!) or Joe User (GOOD magazine).

Of course, in the case of first look, Omidyar is both sole investor and publisher. And apparently he’s just realized that, even with a $250 million dollar budget and a big pile of NSA leaked documents acquired along with Glenn Greenwald, creating a serious journalistic enterprise is hard.  A platform, on the other hand, is something Omidyar has built before and clearly believes he can build again. Someone else can take care of actually fixing American journalism and delivering on all the promises he made in his weirdly Pierre-centric launch video.

But while others discuss Pierre’s pivot, and what it means for Greenwald’s future at the project, there’s another pivot tucked away in the announcement that most people seem to have missed. Here’s the line (emphasis mine):

“[W]e’ve partnered with the talented Matt Taibbi to plan and launch this fall a new digital magazine with a satirical approach to American politics and culture.”

“A satirical approach to American politics and culture.”

Now compare that with Taibbi’s original plan on joining First Look, as reported in the New York Times back in February… (again, emphasis mine)

Mr. Taibbi will start his own publication focusing on financial and political corruption, he said in an interview on Wednesday. First Look is financed by the eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who is worth $8.5 billion, according to Forbes. Mr. Omidyar has pledged $250 million to the project.

Even the Times couldn’t resist pointing out the juxtaposition. Were we really supposed to believe that Taibbi would be allowed to investigate financial corruption, and Wall Street hi-jinx, when his boss is one of the richest men in America?

As Pando has written before, Omidyar has long been a critic of government wrongdoing, but when it comes to corporate America, he takes a firm “don’t ask, don’t tell” position. He once said that leakers of corporate documents should face the full force of the law, and that he’d be glad to hand one over to the cops should they approach him with stolen Wall Street secrets.

Today we have the answer: Apparently Taibbi will still be going after politicians and popular culture, but he’ll have to find another outlet for his rightly celebrated take-downs of billionaires like the one who pays his salary.

(I emailed Taibbi a couple of hours ago for clarification. No reply as of press time.)

Paul Carr

Paul Carr is editorial director of Pando. Previously he was founder and editor in chief of NSFWCORP.

Tech savvy attorney, turned CA congressional candidate, says she’ll accept bitcoin donations. Obviously.

July 29, 2014 in News, Pando Daily

Christina Garnier

In what is becoming an increasingly common strategy for politicians seeking support of the left-leaning Internet community, democratic congressional candidate Christina Gagnier from California’s 35th district (Inland Empire) has decided to accept campaign contributions in bitcoin.

Gagnier tells CoinDesk that the decision was influenced by requests from constituents looking to make virtual currency donations, saying:

My campaign is particularly focused on meeting voters where they are at, whether that’s showing up on their doorstep to see how I can help or accepting a currency like bitcoin as a way to engage someone in the campaign.

She is hardly the first politician to take advantage of the recent Federal Election Commission (FEC) decision to allow political candidates to accept up to $100 per donor in bitcoin. Previously, those candidates soliciting bitcoin donations have included incumbent Colorado House Representative Jared Polis already an avid bitcoin supporter within congress), prospective Georgia House Representative Bob Barr, prospective Louisiana House Representative Paul Dietzel, prospective Virginia House Representative Will Hammer, Texas Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, California Lieutenant Governor candidate Gavin Newsom, and Oakland mayoral candidate Bryan Barker.

Unlike most of her fellow politicians accepting bitcoin donations, who used BitPay and its special campaign finance-focused offering, Gagnier has partnered with Coinbase (which it’s worth mentioning is based in California, as opposed to BitPay’s Georgia).

Outside of Polis, who publicly advocated on behalf of bitcoin before the change in FEC regulation, Gagnier’s decision appears among the most authentic. She is a founding partner of the law firm Gagnier Margossian LLP, specializing in technology and Internet law. She is also familiar with the challenges of online anonymity and pseudonymity, having spoken at the 2014 SXSW festival on the topic of revenge porn.

Gagnier is also Internet entrepreneur. Her campaign bio lists her as a founder of online job hunting platform JobScout, where she remains the company’s CEO. Unmentioned on any official campaign materials is that the company is a pivot of Gagnier’s first startup, Trail, which as of last fall aimed to teach digital literacy in underserved communities.

Gagnier too seems to see the virtual currency as more than simply a means of attracting affinity donors, but rather as a path toward improving our banking and finance sectors. She tells CoinDesk:

Technology impacts and will impact every single industry. Having a Congress comprised of individuals from a variety of the backgrounds is the way that we get regulation that makes sense and is practical for various industries…

When each state has their own set of laws dealing with money transmission and now some states seek to independently regulate bitcoin, it can be really confusing to someone who wants to accept or transact with bitcoin. Some federal guidance and a cohesive legal framework would be extremely helpful.

The news has spurred a lively discussion in Bitcoin forums. As one Reddit commentator succinctly explains:

We need more technologically adept representatives who understand the law representing digital currency in Washington. Sadly, some members of congress have trouble with technology and science, so having knowledgeable representatives will be key in getting bills that are digital friendly passed in the house.

Another, however, takes issue with Gagnier’s understanding of the mechanics of Bitcoin, writing in a pair of threaded comments:

The “Issuance” of bitcoin? Sorry lady, we dont issue bitcoins. Nor is there ANY possible way for your state to control the issuance of bitcoins. We’ll go ahead and let the system work the way it works without your unasked for regulation.


The state will not control the issuance of bitcoins. Ever. Any conversation about regulating the ‘issuance’ of bitcoins is clearly a lack of understanding of the technology, which for someone who is a founding partner of a tech-focused legal firm, she should know better and clearly does not.

The slapstick Buttcoin blog, unsurprisingly, takes a similarly cynical view, naming a discussion thread on today’s news, “Political candidate takes advantage of teenage hormones in latest ‘donation drive.’” And several commenters, in both forums, seemingly couldn’t get past the fact that Gagnier is indeed quite attractive, offering little more than sophomoric remarks varying on how much she “has their vote.”

Given the limits imposed by the FEC, it’s unlikely that we’ll see virtual currency fundraising replace traditional methods for politicians any time soon. But Gagnier, like Polis before her, demonstrates that it doesn’t always have to be a PR ploy either. This is the latest example of a savvy candidate in a state that is heavily invested in bitcoin’s success, listening to her constituency. Whether she has the political chops to represent the state in Congress is an other question entirely.

Michael Carney

Michael Carney_PandoDaily
Michael Carney is a West Coast Editor at PandoDaily, covering venture capital, financial technologies, ecommerce, the future of television, and a variety of other subjects. He has spent his career exploring the world of early stage technology as an investor and entrepreneur, working in multiple countries within North and South America and Asia. He is an enthusiast of all things shiny and electronic and is inspired by those who build businesses and regularly tackle difficult problems. You can follow Michael on Twitter @mcarney.

Rohit Bhargava Doesn’t Think You Should Over-Focus on Company Branding

July 28, 2014 in News, TechCocktail

As an author Rohit Bhargava has written three physical books and published two e-books. As the CEO at Influential Marketing Group, he’s just as comfortable.

That’s because in addition to being a dynamite author, Bhargava has always been a marketing and branding guy. He started out at a big time agency, but when he shifted into starting his own company he had a major realization.

He was spending too much time crafting the company brand versus actually focusing on the company vision. But part of what makes a great entrepreneur is the ability to fail fast, often, and forward, and Bhargava doesn’t have the same approach to marketing anymore.

Experience has show him how startups make or break themselves via branding. According to Bhargava, one of the most frequent and grave mistakes he sees is when a startup thinks the only way they can make money is to sell advertising.

The issue is that, as a startup, you don’t have enough people to successfully pull this off. Bhargava told Frank Gruber, during his Startup Mixology book tour stop in Washington D.C., that the proper course of action is to sell something focused on sponsorship or content.

Here’s the video:




Mark Ames appears on Sam Seder’s Majority Report to discuss Reason Magazine’s holocaust denial

July 28, 2014 in News, Pando Daily

Radio Free Strawberry

This morning, Pando’s Mark Ames appeared on Sam Seder’s Majority Report show — today hosted by Matt Binder and Michael Brooks — to talk about Reason’s holocaust denial and pro-Apartheid coverage. He also discussed “why Holocaust revisionism is important for far right politics, the Kochs and Holocaust deniers and the Libertarian quest to demonize FDR.”

The video of the show is below, or you can listen to the audio version here.

(For background, read Mark’s Reason exposés  here and here, and my response to Reason’s bizarre reply here.)

Paul Carr

Paul Carr is editorial director of Pando. Previously he was founder and editor in chief of NSFWCORP.

Dive Into Fates Forever, Startup Battlefield’s First MOBA Game

July 28, 2014 in News, TechCrunch

9729104214_5daa181505_o When Jason Citron launched Fates Forever in the TechCrunch Disrupt SF Startup Battlefield, it was impressive but many would say they weren’t surprised. Gamers have undoubtably heard of Jason’s previous success, OpenFeint, one of the first and most significant social platforms for mobile games on iOS and Android. Basically the Xbox live for the iPhone. Not bad for a 24-year-old. Read More

Apple hit with class action suit for spying on iPhone users (Here are the court filings)

July 28, 2014 in News, Pando Daily


Apple has been hit with a class action suit on behalf of 100 million iPhone users who, allegedly, are being spied on by the phone’s location tracking tools.

According to the suit, filed in Federal Court in San Jose by lead plaintiff Chen Ma…

In or around September 2012, Apple released iPhone 4 which contains an iOS operating system software that enables iPhone 4 to track its users’ whereabouts down to every minute, record the duration that users stay at any given geographical point, and periodically transmit these data stored on the users’ devices to Apple’s data base for future references.

…Plaintiff alleges that while using her iPhones, including her current iPone [sic] 5S, she was not given notice that her daily whereabouts would be tracked, recorded, and transmitted to Apple database to be stored for future reference. She was not asked for and thus has not given her consent, approval and permission nor was she even made aware that her detailed daily whereabouts would be tracked, recorded and transmitted to Apple database.

Ma in particular objects to reports that her data might be shared with the US government…

According to belief and information, Plaintiff further alleges that Apple has released and disclosed the above described private information of iPhone users to third parties, including but not limited to US government who, according to information, has made more than 1,000 information requests to Apple..

Ma says in the court documents that she first heard that Apple was tracking her from a news report on China state television…

On or about July 11, 2014, China’s Central Television (CCTV) announced its investigation into iPhones’ Location Service, revealing for the first time that her iPhone 5S tracks and records her daily whereabouts without her knowledge, and Apple has been surreptitiously acquiring the data of her daily whereabouts down to every minutes without her knowledge, consent approval and permission.

…because God knows, Chinese state television knows a thing about governments using technology to spy on large numbers of people.

Ma is seeking an injunction to prevent Apple continuing to track users, along with class certification for the suit and punitive damages.

Here’s the court filing…

Paul Carr

Paul Carr is editorial director of Pando. Previously he was founder and editor in chief of NSFWCORP.

How to Build a Digital Reputation When You Have No Time

July 28, 2014 in Entrepreneur Magazine, News

Here are four steps to quickly create a strong online reputation.