Verizon to Sell Tumblr to WordPress Owner Automattic Inc.

Verizon announced that it is selling New York-based Tumblr to WordPress parent company Automattic Inc. Terms of the deal have not been formally announced, although some reports suggest that Automattic paid less than $3 million. Verizon purchased Tumblr in 2017 following its Yahoo acquisition; Yahoo paid $1.1 billion for the blogging platform four years earlier. Today, Tumblr is an active social networking hub and home to 475 million blogs. While it has a dedicated community, it does not share the same cultural impact as platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. Continue reading Verizon to Sell Tumblr to WordPress Owner Automattic Inc.

Rotten Tomatoes Diversifies Critic Pool to Strengthen Service

In an effort to make its Tomatometer ranking of movies and TV shows even stronger, popular review aggregation service Rotten Tomatoes made a move this week to add more female and minority reviewers. By revising its criteria for new critics, the service aims to include a wider range of voices, including those from the increasing number of reviewers gaining audiences via podcasts and YouTube. In order to be more inclusive, Rotten Tomatoes has adjusted its requirements that have thus far been based largely on employment duration and scale of publishing. As a result of the changes, 200 new critics were added to the site yesterday. Continue reading Rotten Tomatoes Diversifies Critic Pool to Strengthen Service

Google Brain Leverages AI to Generate Wikipedia-Like Articles

The latest project out of Google Brain, the company’s machine learning research lab, has been using AI software to write Wikipedia-style articles by summarizing information on the Internet. But it’s not easy to condense social media, blogs, articles, memes and other digital information into salient articles, and the project’s results have been mixed. The team, in a paper just accepted at the International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR), describes how difficult it has been. Continue reading Google Brain Leverages AI to Generate Wikipedia-Like Articles

Amazon Rolls Out Social Influencer Program to Market Goods

Amazon hopes that YouTube celebs and Instagram stars can help market brands and recommend products found on the popular e-commerce site. The company has quietly launched a beta test of its Amazon Influencer Program, which allows social media influencers to apply to participate in the initiative and earn commissions on products sold. The new program is designed to work with influencers who have significant followings and regularly post content related to shoppable content across “all tiers and categories,” according to Amazon. Continue reading Amazon Rolls Out Social Influencer Program to Market Goods

Half of Web Traffic Now Encrypted as Websites Adopt HTTPS

A new report from rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) found that half of today’s Web’s traffic is now protected by encryption. The increased adoption of HTTPS is largely a result of efforts from big tech companies, like Google and Facebook, and an increased awareness of government surveillance. Google started factoring whether a website was on HTTPS or HTTP into its algorithm. WordPress, one of the biggest Web hosting providers, switched to HTTPS last year. Continue reading Half of Web Traffic Now Encrypted as Websites Adopt HTTPS

AOL Layoffs Reflect New Emphasis on Mobile, Video and Data

AOL is planning to release 5 percent of its staff today, affecting about 500 employees. “CEO Tim Armstrong said that most of the cuts will come in its corporate units, while resources will be shifted more at mobile, video and data offerings going forward,” reports Recode. AOL, which was purchased last year by Verizon, recently added 1,500 employees from its ad deal with Microsoft and acquisition of Millennial Media. AOL’s current structure features its media unit (with properties such as Huffington Post and TechCrunch) and its platforms groups, which includes its advertising tech. “Armstrong said the layoffs are not related to current discussions AOL execs are having with Yahoo counterparts about integration between the two companies,” notes Recode. Continue reading AOL Layoffs Reflect New Emphasis on Mobile, Video and Data

Alibaba’s Shopping App Mixes E-Commerce and Social Media

Alibaba is expanding beyond e-commerce into social media and entertainment with its mobile app Taobao. Founded in 2003 as a site for small businesses to sell directly to consumers, Taobao has since blossomed with social and entertainment, a “one-stop shop” paradigm that’s getting Chinese youth to spend more time on the site than visitors to Amazon and Twitter, and mobile revenue more than doubling in the most recent quarter. What helps to make the site so successful are its more than 1,000 special interest groups. Continue reading Alibaba’s Shopping App Mixes E-Commerce and Social Media

Univision Acquisition Marks End of the Road for Gawker.com

We have an update to Univision’s $135 million acquisition of Gawker Media. Latest reports indicate that the deal will not save the company’s flagship site, and Gawker.com will shut down next week. “The website itself won’t go dark when it stops publication, but it won’t have anyone running it,” reports Recode. Gawker Media’s remaining sites — including Gizmodo, Deadspin and Jezebel — will be folded into Fusion Media Group, Univision’s English-language digital media division, as part of the company’s push to target millennials. Univision recently invested in The Onion, The Root and Fusion. Continue reading Univision Acquisition Marks End of the Road for Gawker.com

Univision Outbids Ziff Davis, Buys Gawker in $135 Million Deal

TV network and digital publisher Univision will purchase Gawker Media for $135 million, a deal that includes all seven of the blog network’s sites, including Jezebel, Deadspin and Gawker.com. The only other bidder in the auction, Internet publisher Ziff Davis, originally offered $90 million. “I am pleased that our employees are protected and will continue their work under new ownership — disentangled from the legal campaign against the company,” said Gawker Media owner Nick Denton. “We could not have picked an acquirer more devoted to vibrant journalism.” Continue reading Univision Outbids Ziff Davis, Buys Gawker in $135 Million Deal

BBC Turns to Parrot Analytics AI to Measure Show Demand

BBC Worldwide has recently employed artificial intelligence to analyze global demand for specific TV shows. In the most notable case, the BBC turned to New Zealand company Parrot Analytics’ AI and data science to learn that Germany, China, India and Singapore had high demand for its contemporary “Sherlock” series. After extensive testing, the BBC has again used Parrot’s data for several other shows, to find territories and platforms where demand exists. Parrot’s research includes multiple screens and markets. Continue reading BBC Turns to Parrot Analytics AI to Measure Show Demand

Second Life’s Linden Lab Debuts New Virtual Reality Project

Linden Lab, which innovated the virtual world Second Life in 2003, is entering virtual reality with Project Sansar. The company has been working behind the scenes to build virtual worlds for Oculus Rift and other VR headsets, and relies on its experience with Second Life to inform Project Sansar. Second Life is user-centric, allowing players to create and explore virtual landscapes of their own making. Project Sansar, on the other hand, allows brands to build VR worlds and link to them from websites or third-party apps. Continue reading Second Life’s Linden Lab Debuts New Virtual Reality Project

Rentrak and ListenFirst Want to Measure TV Show Stickiness

Research firms Rentrak and ListenFirst Media are collaborating on a new data set designed to help advertisers identify TV shows that generate consistent viewing and high social engagement. While these programs may not always have the highest ratings, they may have some of the most impassioned fans and may be a better target for advertisers. The research combines Rentrak’s viewership data from set-top boxes with ListenFirst’s data collected from blogs, social media platforms and other sources. The companies presented the research at an Advertising Research Foundation event in New York. Continue reading Rentrak and ListenFirst Want to Measure TV Show Stickiness

LinkedIn Acquires E-Learning Service Lynda.com for $1.5 Billion

In a deal worth $1.5 billion in cash and stock, LinkedIn has agreed to acquire popular online learning service Lynda.com. With this new acquisition, LinkedIn gains another resource to push content to users and promote interaction (LinkedIn already encourages users and influencers to provide content to its site). Originally founded as a service to learn Web design skills, Lynda has become the go-to destination for e-learning and professional development at a starting subscription cost of $25 per month. Continue reading LinkedIn Acquires E-Learning Service Lynda.com for $1.5 Billion

New Tool for Film Marketers Analyzes Buzz on Social Media

United Talent Agency and Rentrak, an entertainment data company, have teamed up to bring studio marketers a tool that tracks the hype on social media surrounding a specific film. With this data, marketers would be better armed to make the necessary tweaks to a marketing campaign that can help make a movie a hit. PreAct is the name of the new tool, and since its debut in January, the service has signed up entertainment giants such as Sony Pictures Entertainment and 20th Century Fox. Continue reading New Tool for Film Marketers Analyzes Buzz on Social Media

LiketoKnowit Gives Instagram Users Easy Way to Shop Online

LiketoKnowit is a website that allows Instagram users to easily locate items, such as clothing and jewelry, in an Instagram post and then purchase them online. After signing up on the website, whenever a user “likes” a post on Instagram that links to “liketoknow.it,” they receive the information about the product in their inbox with links to shop online. RewardStyle, a company that allows fashion bloggers and publishers to earn commissions on items they link to, developed the site. Continue reading LiketoKnowit Gives Instagram Users Easy Way to Shop Online

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