WhatsApp and Facebook Execs Split Over Business Strategy

The long slow-boil dispute between Facebook and WhatsApp’s two founders over how to create more revenue out of the acquired app has led to an ugly breakup. WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton reportedly had constant disagreements with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, who were both eager for a greater return on the company they purchased for $22 billion in 2014. Facebook remained committed to its advertising model, and Koum and Acton were opposed to targeted ads. Continue reading WhatsApp and Facebook Execs Split Over Business Strategy

Reddit Chief Promises Better Communication with Community

In the wake of the abrupt dismissal of Reddit employee Victoria Taylor, CEO Ellen Pao apologized to the site’s disgruntled users, acknowledging a history that goes back several years of broken promises and poor communication. But apologies by Pao and co-founder/executive chairman Alexis Ohanian haven’t yet mollified users, who are circulating an online petition demanding Pao’s termination. The 10-year old San Francisco-based company has 70 to 80 employees but relies on its power users to govern the site. Continue reading Reddit Chief Promises Better Communication with Community

Apple Considering Change to iTunes Charge for App Partners

Apple charges app publishers 30 percent of subscription amounts initiated through apps, the same percentage it collects for in-app revenue. Some companies have been working around the charge by not enabling subscriptions through their mobile iOS app or charging consumers more. However, the company is reportedly considering a change to the agreement, but only for subscriptions that are delivered via Apple devices rather than the App Store. Such a revision suggests that only services offered through Apple TV would likely be exempt from the 30 percent fee. Continue reading Apple Considering Change to iTunes Charge for App Partners

Study: Declining Customer Satisfaction with TV, Internet Service

Customer satisfaction with cable TV, Internet and phone service providers has fallen to a seven-year low, according to a study from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. When surveyed about satisfaction involving 43 industries, consumer response placed television and Internet companies tied for last place. Recent merger talks have placed TV and Internet providers under particular scrutiny, while disappointing customer service and rising prices have taken on a different dynamic in an era of streaming options such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Continue reading Study: Declining Customer Satisfaction with TV, Internet Service

E-Commerce: Amazon’s Return Policy Jumps Ahead of the Pack

While Amazon may be best known for its fast delivery and massive product selection, the Seattle-based company has also devoted a great deal of effort to offering one of the best refund and return policies possible. In fact, Amazon currently leads all e-commerce retailers when it comes to cash back for items returned. Where some companies take days, even weeks to reimburse customers for returns, Amazon takes an average of 1.3 days, according to a new study by StellaService Inc.  Continue reading E-Commerce: Amazon’s Return Policy Jumps Ahead of the Pack

Google Offers Special Deals to Keep Top Talent on YouTube

As Facebook’s video startup Vessel begins to take shape, the company has aggressively pursued some of YouTube’s most popular online stars. In response, Google has been structuring more lucrative deals for its stars to keep them from leaving. The company has gone as far as offering multiyear deals, performance-based bonuses and additional funding for video production. Although Vessel has yet to launch, it is reportedly looking to secure programming in advance of its debut.  Continue reading Google Offers Special Deals to Keep Top Talent on YouTube

Nearly 40 Million Twitter Users Do Not See Ads on Site or App

About 14 percent of Twitter’s 271 million users do not log in directly to the mobile app or website, where Twitter features its ads. These 37.9 million consumers instead access Twitter content through third-party apps such as Flipboard, Instagram, Foursquare or various news sources. When Twitter filed its IPO last year, the company projected that the number of people accessing via third-party apps would decline. However, growth of the third-party app population has doubled since then. Continue reading Nearly 40 Million Twitter Users Do Not See Ads on Site or App

Newstag Slated to Launch Crowd-Curated Video News Service

Swedish startup Newstag has developed a compelling revenue-sharing approach that it hopes will solve the “broken economic model” of today’s news dissemination and consumption. Newstag plans to help professional news organizations, brands, NGOs and general consumers make money from news when it launches its service commercially in September. According to journalist and ETCentric contributor Adrian Pennington, the company recently announced $1.3 million in seed funding. Continue reading Newstag Slated to Launch Crowd-Curated Video News Service

Amazon Plans to Make Major Investment in Original Programs

Amazon plans to beef up its investments in original, Web-only, video programming. The company’s CFO Tom Szkutak explained that Amazon is slated to spend about $100 million on “many new pilots” during Q3 2014. Amazon’s Prime Instant Video has been trying to keep up with Netflix, but has yet to reach the success of hits such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.” However, $100 million was the amount Netflix gambled on the first two seasons of “House of Cards” alone. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Make Major Investment in Original Programs

Netflix Exec Talks Viewer Habits, Development Plans and More

Netflix’s head of original content, Cindy Holland, recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about emerging trends in entertainment media and some of her company’s ambitions. Topics included Netflix viewer habits, development and pilot plans, working with content creators, and the straight-to-series strategy. Holland, a 12-year veteran of Netflix, oversees a growing portion of the company’s $3 billion programming budget. Most recently, she has been tasked with developing original series. Continue reading Netflix Exec Talks Viewer Habits, Development Plans and More

DRM News: Now You Can Own the Digital Comics You Purchase

Image Comics, publisher of the best-selling comic book “The Walking Dead,” is now selling its comics as direct digital downloads, allowing the user to own DRM-free copies. It is the first major comic publisher to move away from the current model of downloading via licensing. Despite industry concerns regarding piracy and loss of revenue, Image Comics sees digital ownership as an opportunity for increased sales and distribution. Continue reading DRM News: Now You Can Own the Digital Comics You Purchase

Minecraft Enjoys Global Success, Inspires Indie Developers

“Minecraft,” created by Markus Persson four years ago, has become one of the world’s most popular video games. Its 22 million users make it three times more popular than “World of Warcraft.” The virtual world’s simple gameplay provides users with creative freedom, offering Lego-like blocks to build basic structures that can be later transformed into palaces. It is also giving other game developers the idea that a successful video game can be made independently. Continue reading Minecraft Enjoys Global Success, Inspires Indie Developers