Though it doesn’t appear to have affected their popularity, the visual quality of GIFs is pretty crappy. A startup by the name of Imgur is trying to change that with the release of Video to GIF -- a simple tool that lets users quickly select a clip from a streaming video, and then turn it into a GIF. “Except, there's one big catch: most of the time, Video to GIF won't actually present you with a .gif file,” The Verge reports. “It'll give you what Imgur calls a ‘.gifv,’ which works much the same way as a true GIF but ...
AOL’s imminent reorganization means pink slips for about 150 sales people, but, contrary to previous reports, gaming site Joystiq will not be shutting down. So sources tell TechCrunch. “Joystiq will stay on as a separate channel at Engadget, while [Apple news site] TUAW content will be folded into the bigger site,” it reports. “It’s still being decided whether the two brand names will remain.”
Is blogging dead? Is the digital revolution burning out our brightest minds? Is it time for everyone to unplug, or at least reevaluate our relationship with technology? Andrew Sullivan’s seemingly abrupt decision to cease blogging has seeded this line of questioning. Is it justified? The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza doesn’t think so. Blogs, at least, are simply publishing mediums, says Cillizza -- and publishing certainly isn’t dead. “As long as people want to read smart and shareable analysis on issues in the news, I think blogging -- at least as I conceptualize it -- will be just fine.”
Particularly under the reign of Tim Armstrong, AOL hasn’t hesitated to rid itself of underperforming properties. Sources tell Kara Swisher that the company is gearing up for another “extensive house-cleaning” and the first fatality is likely to be video game site Joystiq. “The site, which seems to have about a dozen staffers, was founded in 2004 as an extension of Engadget and as part of Weblogs, which AOL bought in 2005,” Swisher notes. Meanwhile, “More content closures are coming, said sources.”
Gawker Media generated net revenue of $45 million last year, which values the company that Nick Denton built at around $250 million. Across its network of sites, traffic increased 20% in 2014 to nearly 500 million monthly pageviews and 130 million unique visitors. But, as Business Insider reports, Denton isn’t happy. “Editorial traffic was lifted, but often by viral stories that we would rather mock," the curmudgeonly mini-mogul bemoaned in a recent company-wide memo.
As its automated ad business continues to thrive, AOL is reportedly ready to reorganize its human sales staff. Of course, that means “an unspecified number of layoffs,” Re/Code’s Kara Swisher reports. “While there will also be hiring in new areas of business in a restructuring designed to orient the company toward its more promising [programmatic] businesses going forward, the changes have shaken the AOL divisions in charge of revenue.”
The BBC just debuted Taster: a digital platform for testing new content and technology. "Taster will feature early and experimental concepts from across TV, radio and online, enabling the BBC to explore the future of content,” the network said in a statement. Writes The Hollywood Reporter: “The service allows the BBC to release ideas early, get feedback from audiences and improve them if there is potential in them.”
Before relinquishing his mayoral crown, Michael Bloomberg reportedly expressed an interest in acquiring The New York Times to Arthur Sulzberger Jr. “Sulzberger replied that the paper was not for sale,” New York Magazine reports. “Bloomberg’s overture … might be one reason why talk of a Bloomberg-Times eventuality has flared up among insiders in the wake of the most recent round of Times’ layoffs.”
Fortune considers the rapid rise in tech startups valued at $1 billion or more. “It wasn’t long ago that the idea of a pre-IPO tech startup with a $1 billion market value was a fantasy,” it writes. Now, Fortune counts 80 of them, and “Technology is driving the boom.” In particular, “Smartphones, cheap sensors, and cloud computing have enabled a raft of new Internet-connected services that are infiltrating the most tech-averse industries.” Think Uber and Airbnb. “Investors see massive opportunity in the upheaval.”
Interana an analytics startup founded by two former Facebook engineers just raised $20 million in a round led by Index Ventures. “The idea behind Interana is to make Facebook-style event analytics, as well as a the same type of data-centric culture, available to all types of companies with lots of event data to analyze,” GigaOm reports. “To do this, Interana built an entire system from the ground up, from columnar storage engine to user interface.”