viernes, 28 de febrero de 2014

Marissa Mayer’s First 30 Days

On my last visit to Yahoo at the end of July, it was as if a dark cloud had been lifted. Employees enthuastically lined up to enter the cafeteria in the first week of "Free Lunch". URL's, Yahoo's main cafeteria, was more packed than a typical Tuesday. Many expressed how excited they were about the future of their company.

"I used to worry about my team quitting; not anymore!" said an engineering manager with a big smile.

"I was looking for a job but I am going to stick around for a while!" exclaimed another employee. 

During the regrettable five month reign of former CEO Scott Thompson, Yahoos rarely saw him on campus. In stark contrast to her predecessor, new CEO Marissa Mayer is often spotted in the cafeteria and at FYI (Yahoo happy hours) every Friday when execs showcase their products. You'd be an idiot not to stay a little while, at least to take in the Marissa spectacle.

However, despite atmosphere of excitement due to the arrival of a morale-boosting celebrity CEO, a few Yahoo employees continue to feel trepidation about company strategy, or lack thereof. After all, it's been more than eight months since the company had a clear direction to march toward, and it still doesn't.

But it seems that the new executive is, smartly, taking a few cues from other well-respected founder-CEOs.

  • When Marissa announced free lunch, she channeled the Apple founder by referencing "One More Thing" (Steve Jobs).
  • She plans to review and approve each hire (Larry Page).
  • She shuns PowerPoint and asks VPs to explain their products by drawing on the whiteboard (Jeff Bezos – when you present to Jeff, you write it in prose).
  • AllThingsD reported that she's hiring a COO to run the business side, freeing her up to focus on product and innovation (Mark Zuckerberg).

As a former Yahoo myself, it will be interesting to see what happens to the beleaguered company when a product-driven, consumer-focused CEO is running the show. I, for one, can't wait to meet her at Disrupt SF.  I also look forward to the day when Marissa finally resolves the decade-old question – "Is Yahoo a technology or a media company?" Because she's already banned, "What is Yahoo?"

Editor's Note: Christine Ying is TechCrunch's new product manager, who (obviously) used to work at Yahoo before she came to TC.

[Image credits: David Geller,

Andreas WeigendJames Duncan DavidsonGuillaume Paumier]

Marissa Mayer is CEO of Yahoo. Previously as a VP at Google, Marissa Mayer led the product management and engineering efforts of Google's local, mobile, and contextual discovery products including Google Maps, Google Maps for Mobile, Local Search, Google Earth, Street View, Latitude and more. At 36 years old, she was also the youngest member of Google's executive operating committee. During her 12 years at Google, Marissa led product management and design efforts for Google web search, images, news,...

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BlindSquare: App Uses Foursquare Data to Help the Blind Navigate Streets

The 20 million+ people worldwide on Foursquare have created an incredibly detailed crowdsourced directory. BlindSquare is a new app that's making use of Foursquare's 2 billion check-ins worldwide to help blind pedestrians find locations on foot or while using public transportation.

BlindSquare integrates Foursquare data with Apple's native VoiceOver technology to create a location-based virtual map through sound. When the app is enabled, it reads addresses, street names and surrounding locations aloud. Directions are available on demand.

"Basically it speaks what's around you and if you want to go somewhere it will give guidance," Finland-based app creator Ilkka Pirttimaa tells Mashable. "When they travel on a bus, they don't normally know where to get of. Now, they can hear surroundings and even street crossings when [the] bus is making a turn."

The app is available in the Apple iTunes store for $14.99. The high cost covers the right to use Acapela's speech synthesis technology that turns text into speech on different devices, according to developers.

BlindSquare was conceptualized and created in six months. Pirttimaa calls it a mashup of GPS technology, speech synthesis, crowdsourced data through Foursquare and augmented reality with audio.

"You launch the app whenever you need assistance," he says. "If blind person is in the area, which she doesn't know, BlindSquare will help to 'draw a map' with information about streets and crossings and services around you."

SEE ALSO: 6 New Gadgets Helping People With Disabilities

The technology was built to help blind individuals in unfamiliar areas. BlindSquare draws a map of information about surrounding streets, crossings and services nearby. Categories within the app include arts and entertainment, colleges, food, great outdoors, nightlife spots, residences, shops and travel.

Foursquare map points show up ranked by number of check-ins.

"BlindSquare reports the most popular restaurants, cafes, etc.," he says. "So, it's not just listing places around. BlindSquare helps you to make sense what's around you."

Pirttimaa tested the app with blind individuals in Finland, the U.S. and Australia. One of the volunteers who tested the app used an iControlPad bluetooth gaming control to navigate within the app. The BlindSquare user attached the control to a guide dog's harness.

Guide dog

Users can enhance the application with recommended accessories. Pirttimaa suggests using a bone conduction head set, "which leaves users' ears open" to natural sounds. Any bluetooth-based remote can be used to control the system.

The application is available for global use or wherever Foursquare data is available. The app also utilizes data from OpenStreetMap — an wiki-map of the world that anyone can edit. The app with speech synthesis technology supports 26 languages including English, Finnish and Swedish.

BlindSquare Test Subject

The app even lets individuals who can't see the screen check in to Foursquare. Pirttimaa says: "Blind people love Foursquare, too. It's simple. Just shake the device and you hear where you are [at] an address, or nearest crossing. If you are at some Foursquare place, you can re-shake to check in."

For more about the BlindSquare app, here's the user guide provided by Pirttimaa.

Images courtesy of BlindSquare

Are You a Human brings gaming to CAPTCHAs

Posted 22 May 2012 15:38pm by Patricio Robles with 0 comments

CAPTCHAs or conversions? While just about every business hopes to boost its conversions, the ill effects of spam bots and screen scrapers have driven countless companies to implement CAPTCHAs on their websites.

In some cases, CAPTCHAs are poorly implemented, leaving users (and potential customers) scratching their heads as they try to decipher text so distorted as to be incomprehensible.

Not surprisingly, in an effort to find a better way to let humans in and keep bots out, companies have looked to 'innovate' and bring the world a better CAPTCHA. In 2009, a Microsoft patent for an ad-based CAPTCHA was discovered, and in 2010, a startup called Solve Media launched an offering for ad-based CAPTCHAs that it claimed delivered a much-higher-than-average 40% engagement rate.

But apparently there's more work to be done, at least according to Detroit-based startup Are You a Human. As reported by VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi, the company believes that there's an even better way to keep the bots out -- through gaming:

With Are You a Human's tool, companies can embed a simple game instead. For instance, one minigame requires users to look at a set of five images and pick up the two tools and put them in a tool box. Or the user can drag and drop toppings onto a pizza. Since the games are dynamic and always changing, they are hard for computers to solve but easy for people to complete. PlayThru can improve security and entertain users at the same time, and it works easily on touchscreen smartphones.

According to a user survey Are You a Human conducted, the company's game-based CAPTCHA is far more appealing to users than traditional CAPTCHAs. It gives them a "much more pleasant experience" according to Are You a Human's COO, Reid Tatoris.

Currently, Are You a Human is being used on more than 200 sites and there are some 300,000 to 400,000 'sessions' each month. Not surprisingly, the company's business model will eventually involve the development of branded games.

So will your next CAPTCHA experience include a brief amount of gameplay? Naturally, given the popularity of gaming on the web today, Are You a Human's approach seems well-timed.

But that doesn't mean that a game-based CAPTCHA is going to be a good fit for every site. At the end of the day, CAPTCHAs interrupt the user experience, so publishers will probably always need to think carefully about when and how they're implemented (if at all), no matter how fun or effective anyone tries to make them.

Gillmor Gang: Tomorrow Never Knows

Korrio: Safe Web Tool Helps Parents Manage Kids’ Sports Teams

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: Korrio

Quick Pitch: An all-in-one planning and organizing solution for parents or coaches of youth athletes

Genius Idea: Korrio offer a comprehensive platform where parents or team organizers can schedule games, communicate with parents, share team information and more, in one safe online location.

Your hustle should be on the field, not when it comes to planning the game. That's why Seattle-based startup Korrio created a web tool for busy parents of young athletes or youth sports team organizers. The site is basically a sports administrator in your pocket: communicate with parents, schedule games, register for teams, host club and team websites and more — all in one platform.

"More Sport, Less Hassle" is Korrio's slogan.

Steve Goldman, CEO and Founder of Korrio, says "Korrio offers an end-to-end unified platform which combines all the sophisticated administrative functionality needed to run a successful youth sports program — combined with family-facing benefits, including auto generated personal dashboards for every Korrio user to manage their sports life."

Goldman founded Korrio in 2009 and launched the site's Playflow platform in January 2011. Youth sports organizations using Korrio pay $8-$10 per player for an annual license.

Korrio says parents have no need to fear putting their children's names on the web tool. Even though they can access Korrio from any computer, smartphone or mobile device, the information is kept safe and secure using top-notch privacy technology and full SSL encryption on every web page. Korrio also complies with COPPA and other state and federal laws requiring protection of the information of minors.

"Korrio decides what a visitor can see based on his role (i.e. parent, coach, team manager, registrar or teammate)," Goldman said. "We know who everyone is and how they are connected to the player. Protecting the player is our top goal."

Even children that don't have access to email can use Korrio to hold pre- and post-game discussions, share photos, compare game notes and plan events through the site, which is only accessible by teammates and parents.

Currently, Korrio is in the youth soccer market, but this year Goldman says the company plans to expand to include other major youth sports including football, baseball, basketball and lacrosse.

Do you have children in team sports? Would you use Korrio? Tell us in the comments.

?Photo courtesy of iStockphoto/CEFutcher ?

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

TV still most effective ad channel for driving web traffic, says Deloitte

Posted 19 March 2012 11:00am by David Moth with 0 comments

Television is still the most effective advertising channel in driving traffic to websites, according to a new survey by Deloitte.

The sixth annual 'State of the Media Democracy' report, based on responses from 2,276 UK consumers aged between 14 and 75 years old, found that 64% of respondents had visited a website after seeing an advert on TV.

61% said they visited a website after seeing a magazine ad, 59% said a newspaper ad drove them online, while only 12% of respondents said a mobile app advert had prompted them to visit a brand's site.

A further 62% of respondents said they paid more attention to newspaper adverts than their online equivalents.

Deloitte said that online display advertising had actually lost ground year-on-year, in 2010 only 49% of respondents said they paid more attention to print than online.

The power of TV advertising is to be expected, as the survey also found that 98% of people chose TV services as their favourite type of media.

The data is supported by an Efficient Frontier report from last year, which showed that during an eight-week TV ad campaign searches will typically jump between 60% to 80% on a brand's name, and between 40% and 60% on generic terms related to the brand.

Traffic attributed to TV ads is also presumably driven by the rise of smartphones – though the survey doesn't specifically question participants about method of access - since it's now much easier to visit a website while watching a show via your mobile.

Similarly, many ad campaigns are now designed specifically to hammer home the name of the website – GoCompare, CompareTheMarket and Groupons new 'Groupon dot com' campaign are some obvious examples.

But while the TV stats seem valid, the data relating to newspaper ads raises further questions.

Newspaper circulation figures have been declining for years, so it's surprising to see that newspaper ads only drive 5% less traffic than TV ads.

Print ads have undergone something of a revolution, with the introduction of QR codes and augmented reality apps. Though they're becoming more interactive, linking readers directly to webpages, it's often difficult for people to really remember where they really first saw a print campaign.

Creatives are repeated across billboards, newspapers, magazines and more - so pinpointing the exact trigger that sends someone online is a difficult thing to do.

David Moth is a Reporter at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter

TED launches new YouTube channel as part of education drive

Posted 13 March 2012 11:47am by Patricio Robles with 0 comments

The non-profit organisation TED is responsible for some of the most inspiring talks relating to technology and innovation in circulation today.

Unsurprisingly, videos of these often become viral hits within relevant communities online. But many believe TED is ignoring an important audience: youngsters.

As TED curator Chris Anderson explains, "Over the past few years...we've seen these talks spread over the Web and a recurring theme from people in the community has been, 'These are great, but could you do something more for the kids?'"

In an effort to reach a younger audience, TED has announced a new initiative, TED-Ed. Given the tagline "Lessons worth sharing", its mission is both simple and ambitious - "to capture and amplify the voices of great educators around the world".

To do this, TED is planning to unveil a new site next month that will feature a "library of curiosity-igniting videos" produced by educators and animators as well as "powerful new learning tools."

But for those who can't wait, the organisation has launched a TED-Ed YouTube channel, which offers up the videos already published. These include a series of videos on Questions No One (Yet) Knows the Answers To and Inventions that Shaped History.

Needless to say, it will be exciting to see how TED-Ed evolves, and it's reasonable to expect that it will become an important contributor to the rapidly-growing collection of educational content online.

From open courseware initiatives like the one at MIT, to exclusively digital ventures like Khan Academy, it's hard to deny that a digital revolution is taking place in the realm of education.

But beyond education, TED-Ed is just one example of how companies and organisations are looking to reach under 18s using the internet.

Yesterday, for instance, Netflix announced that its less-than-a-year-old Just for Kids offering is being expanded to the PlayStation 3, giving children 12 and under access to content like SpongeBob and Thomas the Tank Engine.

For both commercial and non-profit entities, targeting non-adults often makes a lot of sense. It could even become crucial for many of them.

After all, today's youth are arguably the most tech-savvy ever, and the proliferation of affordable consumer electronics, larger and larger portions of future generations will grow up using internet-connected devices.

To educate and influence those future generations, and for commercial entities, build brand loyalty, developing offerings for those under 18 could prove to be a very wise move.

Floppy Disks Don't Count as Halloween Candy


Halloween is expensive — from buying items for your costume to stocking up on candy for neighborhood trick-or-treaters, it can really break the bank.

But that doesn't mean you can forgo giving out traditional candy bars for whatever old tech you've got lying around.

In this comic, Krishna Sadasivam of PC Weenies shows that giving out floppy disks and AOL CDs on Halloween will probably get your house egged.

BONUS: Tech-Inspired Halloween Costumes

Homepage image: Flickr, coolmikeol. Comic illustration by Krishna Sadasivam, PC Weenies. Published with permission; all rights reserved.

Best Western: how customer experience and telling stories will grow your business

Tim Wade is Director of Marketing & Ecommerce at Best Western Hotels, and has been responsible for repositioning  the brand in Great Britain under the strap line 'Hotels with personality'.

Tim will be speaking at our JUMP event on October 9 about the importance of customer experience and storytelling for the brand.

In advance of this, I've been asking him about the story behind his presentation...

Can you give us a taste of your presentation at JUMP?

Everything starts with a purpose and ambition, the purpose leads to a journey and along that journey you learn to master the art of storytelling. 

My presentation shares the ups and downs of the journey Best Western are on.

Why is customer experience seen as more important in the digital age?

I don't think it is more important in the digital age.

It has always been important but with the advent of reviews and social media we can measure the impact of both positive and negative customer experiences and therefore it becomes higher up the agenda on the board table.

What elements make up the customer experience?

In the hotel industry, in fact in any service industry customer experience consists of so many elements.

Whilst the Jump conference focuses on digital and technology you can't forget the most important element in customer experience – great people sharing a common purpose.

What is the best starting point for businesses seeking to evaluate their overall customer experience? 

You must begin with the customer and the data.

At Best Western we have post stay surveys that have provided years of data about the experience, our first task was to analysis this data to determine what are the key elements in driving a customer's intent to recommend.

Talk to people who have done it before. We have been working with a world leading expert in Smith+Co. Experience counts for a lot.

Is mobile a particular challenge in terms of customer experience? How do you adopt the booking process for mobile users?

I don't see mobile as a challenge but more as an opportunity. An opportunity to deliver a deeper and richer customer experience. Sure there are challenges when it come to technology, integration, platforms, cost and keeping up with the pace of it

How is Best Western using storytelling in its marketing?

At the very centre of our marketing activity is storytelling.

The great thing about Best Western is that as a group of 280 independent and individual hotels each has a unique and very authentic story to tell, from the oldest hotel in Europe, to a place where Charles Dickens wrote for days, many ghost stories, hotels that make their own chocolates and honey to a hotel where you can go wild water swimming with the head chef.

These are the stories that differentiate our brand from the bland and the ordinary.

What are the most successful digital channels for Best Western?

Like many, the channels that deliver revenue are email, search, display, affiliates – but we also want to tell our stories and build brand preference and so our content is developing fast with You Tube and social playing a great role.

What are the particular challenges for your brand on digital channels?

It's a big question, overall I think the biggest challenge is constantly being agile.

Like many organisations we have systems and resource challenges that mean it can take too long to get to market, so we are in the process of changing much of this now.

JUMP is all about creating seamless multichannel customer experiences. Now in its fourth year, the event will be attended by more than 1,200 senior client-side marketers. This year it forms part of our week-long Festival of Marketing extravaganza.

Mig 2D: Retro Shooter debuts for shoot 'em up fans

From the game's description:

Mig 2D has 20 levels of the most intense gameplay, offering you the chance to control a legendary fighter plane and other, no less dangerous, war machines. You'll be opposed by legions of flying, floating, crawling and wheeled metal monsters, real and fantasy. To destroy these steel hordes there's a top arsenal of various weapons which may be upgraded and improved. Mig 2D offers three of the strongest 'bosses' ever to challenge your abilities. Mig 2D - a flight to remember!

We're talking a strict vertically-scrolling shooter here, there are no flight simulation elements or any attempt at depth or realism. Having said that, the action comes thick and fast, and the difficulty is very well pitched:

Mig 2D, screenshotMig 2D, screenshot

The graphics are well done on the whole, though the fonts used and 'soft keys' again give lie to the Java implementation here.  There are mini-games, but the only one I managed to get to was the refuelling sequence (below).

Mig 2D, screenshotMig 2D, screenshot

As with all decent shoot 'em ups, there are bonuses and powerups to collect, with appropriate effects; (right) in between the (fairly lengthy) levels, the ad-supported, free version has an enforced 30 second wait while an ad is displayed.

Mig 2D, screenshotMig 2D, screenshot

In action at last, then, with the Mig following your finger around the screen and auto-firing, which keeps things simple. As certain targets are hit, bonuses and power ups are released - these are collected by flying over them; (right) as damage occurs to your aircraft, cracks and bullet holes start appearing on the screen.

Mig 2D, screenshotMig 2D, screenshot

There's an impressive array of enemy aircraft and ground structures/vehicles, seemingly plucked from all eras of warfare. The graphics are very reminiscent of the classic Sky Force throughout.

Mig 2D, screenshotMig 2D, screenshot

Cranking through the levels.... and (right) browsing through the Help screens. A 'Store' is mentioned but, and I'm obviously being thick here, I couldn't see a 'Store' to tap on anywhere in the game. Maybe it appears as an option beyond a certain point?

Mig 2D, screenshotMig 2D, screenshot

The refuelling section is a nice touch, with the boom position varying in the wind and you have to stay lined up with it. Rather unfairly, bad guys come and shoot at you while you're refuelling! Sounds dangerous to me....!

This isn't the slickest shoot 'em up ever, but it is well paced and full of gameplay features. Certainly worth shoot 'em up fans investigating.

You can buy Mig 2D: Retro Shooter for £1.50 here or download a free, ad-supported version here.

Boston-Based Local Marketing Startup Privy Raises $1.7 Million Seed Round From 500 Startups, Atlas, And Others

Privy, a Boston-based local marketing startup that was also one of the standouts from the 500 Startups Demo Day this past February, has raised $1.7 million in seed funding from Atlas Ventures, 500 Startups, and others for its end-to-end solution for small businesses.

Also participating in the round were John Dais (VP Finance at Wildfire), Mike Volpe (CMO of Hubspot), Justin Kitch (founder of Homestead), Ralph James (former COO of First Marblehead), Jere Doyle (founder of Eversave) and other angel investors.

Founder Benjamin Jabbawy explains that building a startup in the local marketing space was a natural fit, as the child of small business owners himself. "Having been technical my whole life, I was the son that both of my parents would say, 'hey, I need a website for my business. I need Facebook, Google Ads, etc.," he explains with a laugh.

Privy was started in 2011, originally with the focus of serving the small, independent small business owner/operator, as well. But after participating in the 500 Startups program, the company shifted more of its resources toward another sector within the small business market: the multi-unit regional and national chains which already have a marketing manager or team in place.

Jabbawy notes that it was important that Privy had begun small, because it helped inform the design and feature set of the product, which aims to be simple to understand and easy to use. Today, interested businesses can now get started using the service in about 20 minutes or less.

A marketing manager, upon first login, uploads the information about the business, including the names of the managers at each location and the addresses. They then authenticate with all the different channels where they have assets, including Facebook, Twitter, email (Constant Contact, Mailchimp, e.g.) and more, as well as at their website and mobile site.

Afterwards, they can then use Privy by entering their "chalkboard specials" — the limited-time offers they run for a specific time frame, plus a photo and description of each. Marketing teams can do this as the offers come up, or they can load them up to a year in advance if they're better organized and prepared. Privy then automates the distribution of those campaigns to the various services and sites the company uses.

From an online dashboard, businesses can see at a glance which sites are driving customers, and drill down into customer info, data on redemptions, reviews, claims, and more. Customer data can also be both imported and exported to Mailchimp and Constant Contact and CSV, to allow for more personalized targeting of the audience segments.

With the additional funding, the company is planning to double its team of eight over the next few months and further develop the product. On the latter front, more integrations are in the works, including for services like Yelp, Foursquare, and Open Table, as well as within the "offline world." Though Jabbawy couldn't get into specifics on this, he did say the plan includes point-of-sale system integrations, in order to track conversions from online to off.

"In addition to proving ROI," he says, "it's really about one of the big challenges we have: the segmentation and the re-marketing. We focus all of our distribution efforts on behalf of our merchants on finding really high-intent customers," he explains. Jabbawy says it's not about using huge discounts to convert customers, it's about getting the right people at the right time.

"Seventy-eight percent of consumers turn to the web before deciding on buying locally," he says. "Yet, local businesses struggle to capture this interest, the moment of a consumer's highest intent, and convert it into real, in-store customers." That's where Privy aims to help.

Currently the pricing for Privy's system is custom (on demand). Jabbawy declined to provide the customer count, saying only the company had "enough to make it interesting."

jueves, 27 de febrero de 2014

8 Life Lessons From TV Dads

In honor of Father's Day, we've rounded up a collection of valuable life lessons from our favorite TV dads.

Sure, Homer Simpson and Don Draper may not be paragons of fatherhood — but on our climb up the ladder to the Danny Tanner league, we can use all the help we can get.

What TV dads inspire you? Let us know in the comments below.

Graphics and video by Mashable

Hiring Developers? Codassium Combines Collaborative Code Editing And Video Chat Into One Web App

As just about any startup in the valley world could tell you, hiring good developers is one helluva process.

First you've gotta find the rare developer who isn't already drowning in job offers. Then you've gotta sit down and chat 'em up to make sure they'll be a good fit for your team. Then you've gotta make sure they can actually, you know, code. All in all, the process can take weeks, with a dozen false starts along the way.

By combining a collaborative code editor with live video chat, Codassium makes the process a bit less painful.

While I personally find the idea of coding on-the-fly while someone I hope will give me lots of money stares at my face terrifying, it's a pretty standard part of the developer interview process. Sometimes the interviewer will ask you to code out a bit of functionality with whatever language they use internally to gauge just how well you grok the nuances. Sometimes they'll ask you how you might make a certain operation more efficient. Other times, they'll just throw in a bit of broken code and say "Quick! Find the bug!" while sounding an air raid alarm and blasting a fire extinguisher in your face*.

Generally, this part of the process entails having the interviewee come into your office (which, in many cases, means flying them out to wherever you may be), or trying to juggle a video chat app like Skype alongside something like Collabedit. Codassium takes those two pieces of the puzzle, crams them together, and sticks them in one browser window.

Using Codassium is quite simple. You click one button to start a chat, give your browser permission to access your webcam, then share the unique URL with whoever else you want to join in on the conversation. I'm not sure if they've set a hard cap on how many people can be video chatting in one room at once, but I was able to cram in 6 talking heads before I ran out of room onscreen.

Codassium is built with Google's rather awesome (if a bit nascent) WebRTC framework. The upside: that means the video chat works without Flash or any other third-party plugin. The downside: it also means that it currently only works in Chrome (or a pretty recent nightly build of Firefox).

While Codassium isn't quite as fully featured as something like Sublime Text (it currently lacks support for tabs, for example), it has most of the basic bases covered. It handles tabs as you'd expect, and does syntax highlight for most of the major languages, from Python and Javascript to C++ and Objective-C.

While I don't see myself leading any developer interviews anytime soon (I'm a half-way decent coder, if I do say so myself, but we've got people waaaaay more suited for that task here at TC), I like it for a totally different reason. I recently took a bit of a hiatus from writing to brush up on a few rusty skills, coding included. I'm fortunate enough to have a few friends who are way better coders than I am, and they were often willing to lend a hand whenever I'd get stuck trying to wrap my head around a particularly tough topic. This usually meant hopping on the phone and pasting bits of code back and forth over Skype, which was… not awesome. I would've loved to have had something like Codassium in my toolbox at the time.

Codassium is built by Wreally Studios, a small firm out of LA that just builds a lot of neat stuff. If you're a journo or some other archetype that often finds themselves transcribing audio recordings, be sure to check out their audio player/notepad mashup app, Transcribe, as well.

[* I dont know if this actually happens, but I like to imagine that it does.]

Turning Off A Keyword That Drives 750,000 Visits Per Year

As part of the merging of the and websites we have deleted a few of the older and less valuable blog posts. One of the big ones that we have just removed was the post that I created in 2008 to rank for the keyword.

This post gets around 2000-3000 visits per day with peaks at over 5000 visits. The record was over 12,000 visits in a single day.

We noticed that the post has terrible user engagement and can't be helping the rest of the sites rankings. The conversion rate is non-existent and if Google is throttling traffic to the domain like they often do we don't want this traffic to replace relevant traffic.

The post has sent around 750,000 visits per year for 4 years now so we felt it was about time to turn if off. It will be interesting to see what happens to traffic to the rest of the site, I'm guessing it will go up. We have seen before the impact of turning off low value pages that get lots of traffic and we usually see the rest of the site get a boost.

BY Patrick Altoft AT 10:03am ON Monday, 26 November 2012

Patrick Altoft is Director of Search at Branded3 and has worked in the SEO industry for over 8 years. With experience across some of the worlds largest brands as well as startup businesses Patrick is well known in the industry and speaks regularly at the major SEO conferences and events.


  • I find it terrifying how it demonstrates the level of trust that users put in Google rankings – we had one person on the phone refusing to believe we weren't the DVLA

  • Patrick,
    What is your threshold for "low engagement" blog post?

  • There is no specific threshold but in this case the page had pretty much zero engagement and crucially most of the visitors probably went back to Google after they loaded it. This makes Google think we are a bad search result.

  • And yet, with the "terrible" engagement, and all the users going back to Google, it still ranks #3. It actually ranks #1 among pages that aren't actually the URL in question. Makes you wonder how stiff these so-called penalties really end up being in the end.

  • Patrick…sorry this is mystifying to me "probably went back to Google after they loaded it. This makes Google think we are a bad search result."
    ummm if they go back and refine the search… it has the opposite affect…won't they think it is a good result? Or go and search for something else… Sorry but sometimes people just want answers and it doesn't require much to fulfil that need. I think Google is smart enough to figure that out… as to throttling traffic… sorry not a believer… though Andy Beard has tried a few times to explain it to me and others … again I just can't fathom Google doing it…

Tumblr ‘Truly Disappointed’ That Twitter Revoked Its Friend-Finding Privileges

Twitter isn't done with its efforts to take tighter control of its API — now Tumblr users can no longer search for their Twitter friends when they sign up on the microblogging service.

Twitter did the same thing to Instagram last month. And last week, it announced new restrictions to its API, which will make things especially tough for developers building consumer apps that compete with Twitter's.

The change at Tumblr was spotted earlier today by The Next Web (basically the Twitter option disappeared from the "find people you know" screen), following a prediction from Buzzfeed's Matt Buchanan: "It's a (very) safe bet that Tumblr — essentially a rival social network-turned-media company — is next to lose access to Twitter."

A Tumblr spokesperson confirmed the removal via email:

To our dismay, Twitter has restricted our users' ability to "Find Twitter Friends" on Tumblr. Given our history of embracing their platform, this is especially upsetting. Our syndication feature is responsible for hundreds of millions of tweets, and we eagerly enabled Twitter Cards across 70 million blogs and 30 billion posts as one of Twitter's first partners. While we're delighted by the response to our integrations with Facebook and Gmail, we are truly disappointed by Twitter's decision.

Twitter, meanwhile, just pointed to its initial statement on Instagram: "We understand that there's great value associated with Twitter's follow graph data, and we can confirm that it is no longer available within Instagram." (I guess we're supposed to just swap in "Tumblr" for "Instagram" in our heads.)

Looks like not everyone at Twitter is thrilled with the decision either. After the news broke, The New York Times' Nick Bilton tweeted, "I don't think people understand that Twitter is a start-up that has to make money, not a non-profit-up." To which Twitter engineer Alex Choi replied, "I wholeheartedly agree, but this @tumblr business just stinks."

[image of the old Tumblr "find your friends" page via Matt Buchanan]

Twitter, founded by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams in March 2006 (launched publicly in July 2006), is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to post updates 140 characters long. Twitter "is a real-time information network that connects [users] to the latest stories, ideas, opinions, and news." The service can be accessed through a variety of methods, including Twitter's website; text messaging; instant messaging; and third-party desktop, mobile, and web applications. Twitter is currently available in...

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Tumblr is a re-envisioning of tumblelogging, a subset of blogging that uses quick, mixed-media posts. The service hopes to do for the tumblelog what services like LiveJournal and Blogger did for the blog. The difference is that its extreme simplicity will make luring users a far easier task than acquiring users for traditional weblogging. Anytime a user sees something interesting online, they can click a quick "Share on Tumblr" bookmarklet that then tumbles the snippet directly. The result is...

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Get Ready For The TC Mini-Meetup In Philadelphia On June 19

Everything is in readiness for our upcoming Philly meet-up where we'll imbibe fine beverages, eat some DiNics, and talk about what you're working on. The goal of this meet-up is networking and pitches so come prepared with a thirty second pitch and please, please, please no paper. We want to talk to as many of you as possible and in the our goal is to energize and assess the start-up arena in Philly (and everywhere we hold these things.)

The event is on June 19 at the Field House, 1150 Filbert St. from 6-10pm. We will have drink tickets for you so look for us at the event. If you want to tweet us, it's @johnbiggs and @jordanrcrook. If you have specific questions, email me at

Please RSVP here.

As is our wont, we like to hold these on neutral ground and we'd love to sit down with you to chat about what you're working on during the day. The official office hours reservations are closed, but if you want to stop by and wait for an opening, feel free. We're holding office hours at Caribou Cafe near the venue, also on June 19, beginning at 12 noon.

Special thanks to our excellent sponsors who helped get this thing off the ground as well as Anthony Coombs who was our ears on the ground. We'll also be hunting for Disrupt Battlefield companies, so get your pitch down cold.



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Leading marketers rely on Monetate's cloud-based browser technology to achieve a new level of speed and control, allowing them to run 16 times more optimization campaigns compared to industry averages. The Monetate Agility Suite includes advanced products for testing, merchandising, targeting, and cross-channel consistency, providing an opportunity to bypass IT restraints and react in real time to customer demands. Monetate also helps marketers implement best practices and drive online revenue through its expert strategic services and content publishing teams. For more information visit or follow us on Twitter @Monetate.



Seed Philly

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