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February 24 2014


February 22 2014

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February 20 2014


January 23 2014

One Year In, Vine’s Battle Has Just Begun
vine-1stTomorrow, Vine will celebrate its first birthday. Celebrating in our own way, we asked Vine's GM and co-founder Colin Kroll about the last year of Vine, and what to expect in the future. He said one thing that really surprised him about Vine was how people collaborated within the app, and how interested people were to "hardware hack" with camera accessories.
Travel The World From Your Web Browser With This Beautiful Instagram Hack
SomewhereFrench hacker Benjamin Netter recently released a cool hack called Somewhere, an addictive jukebox machine for travel destinations using Instagram, Foursquare and Wikipedia data — the most impressive part of this simple hack is that people are spending 13 minutes on average on the website. “While working on Tripovore, I realized that Instagram pictures were much better than professional photos to feel the atmosphere of a place” Netter told me. “I thought that it would be incredible to travel through other people’s eyes.” Every time Netter stumbles upon a beautiful place on the web, like an abandoned city, a desert or an incredible oceanic trench , he adds the name to Somewhere’s database. Then, his script will automatically crawl around 150 Instagram pictures from this particular location. Thanks to a facial recognition algorithm, the script excludes selfies — selfies represent a good chunk of the photos taken from these beautiful places. After that, all Netter has to do is to pick a picture. Somewhere uses both Foursquare and Wikipedia to respectively attach a map and pull a description. While coding Somewhere, Netter realized that Instagram’s database had gotten very big. In fact, you can use Instagram as a big data platform to draw useful conclusions. For example, if you look at the most popular locations on Instagram in the past seven days, you will find the most touristic places in the world. But the beauty of Somewhere lies in its jukebox aspect. The big blue ‘somewhere else’ button will refresh the page and take you to another city, landscape or building — it’s very addictive. There’s no business model or long term goal — Somewhere is just a dream-inducing time sink that was coded on the side.

January 09 2014

With Revenue Now In The Millions, Piqora Prepares A “Content Management System” For The Visual Web
piqora-cmsPiqora, a company which began its life as a Pinterest-centric company once called Pinfluencer has over the past year expanded further into the visual web space with marketing tools for Tumblr and Instagram, as well. Today, the company is giving a peek inside its business, and announcing it’s now generating revenue in the single digit millions, with monthly recurring revenue up 600% in 2013. In addition, the company is also publicly disclosing a $2.1 million round of venture financing from last April,  which comes on top of a previous seed round of $1.4 million. Freestyle Capital again led the newer round, which also included participation from WTI (venture debt), Baseline and Lazerow Ventures. Over the past year, Piqora has grown its customer base 400%, and now serves over 300+ clients, generally in the fashion, home decor and e-commerce space, including several well-known brands like Crate & Barrel, Wayfair, Etsy and Steve Madden, for example. These business pay anywhere from $12,000 to $24,000 on for an annual subscription to Piqora’s services, which include its analytics dashboard as well as a hands-on customer relations component which sees the firm advising brands on how to better succeed with their advertising, marketing and community-building efforts across the visual web. For instance, Piqora’s team can suggest what to do when Pinterest pins and re-pins are declining, or which popular and trending hashtags they should use when posting to Instagram. With the Instagram product in particular, the company is now tracking over 1,000 hashtags, CEO Sharad Verma tells TechCrunch. In addition, over 400 brands have connected their Google Analytics and Omniture accounts to measure the social ROI of their images, and Piqora has tracked over 450 (up 800% year-over-year) photo contests and sweepstakes on visual networks, which delivered over half a billion in product impressions. Now, the company is embarking on a plan to expand its product suite yet again in 2014, with something Verma likens to a “CMS for the visual web.” “The number of images that brands have to now monitor has exploded beyond imagination. What they’re looking for is a unified way to manage all the images – to collect branded images from a variety of networks – and the ability to see all the images in a consolidated library, sort of like a content management system for the visual web,” he says. This product, Verma explains, would allow marketers access to internal resources like

January 02 2014


December 30 2013

73% Of U.S. Adults Use Social Networks, Pinterest Passes Twitter In Popularity, Facebook Stays On Top
Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 15.54.02Facebook may be currently facing question marks over how well it's faring with younger users, but among those over 18 in the U.S. it remains the social network king. According to figures out today from the researchers at the Pew Research Center, the percentage of adults using the social networks of Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram to communicate with each other is now at 73%, and Facebook — the world’s largest social network with 1.19 billion users and a burgeoning international business — remains the most popular in the U.S. as well, with 71% of U.S. adults on it.
73% Of U.S. Adults Use Social Networks, Pinterest Passes Twitter In Popularity, Facebook Stays On Top
Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 15.54.02The U.S. is edging ever closer to social media saturation, with the percentage of adults using multiple social networks to communicate with each other now at 73%, and -- partly thanks to the rise of mobile apps -- the number of people on multiple networks now at 42%, according to figures out today from the researchers at the Pew Research Center.

December 23 2013

Fly Or Die: Instagram Direct
instagramdirectAs you may have already figured out, Instagram has launched private messaging this month, calling it Instagram Direct. It lets users send a photo up to 15 people without publicly broadcasting that photo to their entire following. Recipients can like the photo and participate in live chat underneath it. So, what do we think?

December 19 2013

Instagram’s First Ad Results Are “Promising” With Ad Recall Up 3X, Awareness Up 10%
Screenshot 2013-12-19 at 9.02.58 AMInstagram may prove a valuable platform for advertisers. Instagram released its first results on ads since they began appearing November 1st. Brands saw average ad recall up 32% while brand message awareness was up 10% across four campaigns, with Levi’s reaching 7.4 million US 18-34 year olds in 9 days while Ben & Jerry’s reached 9.8 million US 18-35 year olds in 8 days. These don’t prove real return on investment, but Instagram calls the results “promising”. Instagram’s highlighting of reach, recall, and awareness shows it sees itself as a host of institutional brand advertising that generates demand, rather than a platform for direct performance advertising that fulfills demand and directly leads to sales. Focusing on an ad model of this kind locks Instagram in to an endless quest to suck in more time-on-site. The more photos and videos you look at, the more ads you’ll see, and the more money it makes. Here are the full details of the results from Instagram’s first four completed ad campaigns *   Reach *   All four initial ad campaigns measured were successful at delivering the broad reach our advertisers were seeking *   The marketers achieved a high impact with a very low average frequency of ad impressions per user *   Levi’s reached 7.4 million people in the U.S. across a nine-day period, targeting people aged 18-34 *   Ben & Jerry’s reached 9.8 million people in the U.S. over eight days, targeting people aged 18-35 *   Ad Recall *   Across the four campaigns, there was a 32-point incremental lift in ad recall per campaign for people who were repeatedly exposed to a particular campaign versus control groups *   Awareness *   Across the four campaigns, there was a ten-point incremental lift in brand message awareness per campaign for people who were repeatedly exposed to a particular campaign versus control groups *   In particular, seventeen percent of people who saw a single ad for Ben & Jerry’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch-flavored ice cream not only became aware of the new flavor, they also associated it with the brand

December 17 2013

“Verified” Label Found In Instagram’s Mobile App, But It’s Not What You Think, Says Company
instagram-appInstagram's mobile application has been hiding what first appeared to be an account verification feature of some sort, and other developer settings, TechCrunch has learned. The feature puts a small text label next to the Instagram user's name which simply reads "Verified." However, this may not be representative of a forthcoming verification badge system, similar to Twitter's, from what we've heard.
Tags: Apps TC instagram

December 15 2013

Too Different, Not Different Enough: Why Instagram Direct May Fail
Instagram Direct CropMy friends aren't using Instagram Direct, at least not yet. I've received just two IGD messages since it launched Thursday. In the meantime, over 20 close friends I regularly message with elsewhere have posted publicly to Instagram, and I've received about 60 Snapchat Snaps from 18 different people. It's obviously early, but right now, I'm more inclined to bet against Instagram Direct than on it.

December 14 2013

Gillmor Gang: Brain Chemistry
gillmor-gang-test-pattern_excerptThe Gillmor Gang — John Taschek, Keith Teare, Dan Farber, and Steve Gillmor — take the edge off of a slow week with a relaxed conversation about Instagram and Twitter direct messages, online anonymity, its effects on the brain, and Google's reasons for cacheing Gmail images. Occasionally Farber disappears to throw another log on the fire.

December 12 2013

Instagram Is The Apple Of Apps, Fast Following With Finesse
insta-appleInstagram didn't invent photo sharing, video sharing, or the photo messaging it launched today. With 150 million users, it doesn't have to be first. It just wants to be the best, making new experiences accessible to as many people as possible, but with style. You might say Instagram steals these ideas, but that would put it good company. It's what people say about Apple.
Kevin Systrom Says He Vets All Instagram Ads, “Too Early” To Put Them On Instagram Direct
instagramadDuring this morning's press event unveiling Instagram Direct for private photo-sharing, co-founder Kevin Systrom offered some thoughts about monetizing (or not monetizing) Instagram and its new feature. Systrom suggested that Instagram will have an ad-related announcement coming soon, but for now he was willing to say, "We're taking it very slowly." He added that the early results have been "really encouraging so far," and that are it's important for Instagram ads (like the one pictured to the left) to feel like organic, high-quality content — in fact, he said there's a "thorough" content review process "that actually goes through me."
Instagram Introduces Instagram Direct
instagramdirectToday at a press event in New York, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom has announced that the photo-sharing service is introducing private photo-sharing and messaging. The feature is called Instagram Direct. Instagram has always been a mostly public social network, with a broadcast structure instead of connections based on mutual friendship, like Facebook. The introduction of Instagram Direct marks a new phase for the company.
Instagram Says Half Of All Instagrammers — 75M+ — Use the App Daily
instagram event inviteAt a press event today in New York City, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom announced that the photo- and video-sharing app is used by half of its users use the app every day. Back in September, the company told the Wall Street Journal it had more than 150 million monthly active users (a gain of 128 million from Instagram's user base at the time of its acquisition by Facebook a year earlier). Assuming that number is still accurate, that means more than 75 million Instagrammers use the app every day.

December 11 2013

Facebook Puts Its Web Feed In Motion With Auto-Playing Videos
facebook-video-adsThe News Feed is about to get a lot more lively. Just days after pushing its auto-play feature for videos to all mobile users, today we spotted auto-playing videos on, and the company confirms to me "we're continuing a wider rollout of in-line video on web". Once this rollout is complete, the stage will be set for the introduction of more flashy video ads.
Will Instagram’s Messaging ‘Moments’ Be Ephemeral?
ininvite2Instagram is preparing to launch a new messaging service on its platform this year — as soon as its event this Thursday — TechCrunch has heard from a variety of sources. This isn’t too shocking, as Om Malik reported that the service would be coming very soon in a piece last month. What we’ve also heard, however, from a few sources, is a very interesting rumor: Instagram’s messaging feature will feature messages that will disappear over time. We haven’t been able to get a solid confirmation of this one so let’s call a spade a spade — this is conjecture. Hence the headline with a question mark up there. But, since we’re here, let’s talk it out. From what we understand of the messaging feature, it will be a part of the main app but may not be dedicated to a separate section on the tab bar. This leads us to believe that it will be an offshoot of the profile section of the app, similar to how Twitter’s previous app handled DMs, though yesterday’s update places messages right in the tab bar. It’s also possible that Facebook has sent over some of its ‘Poke’ messaging vibes along with Facebook Chat Groups and Messenger director Peter Deng back in August. Deng moved to Instagram in August, when Instagram founder Kevin Systrom said that “his experience building out Facebook News Feed and Messenger make him the perfect fit for our company.” Deng told TechCrunch at the time that “Mark [Zuckerberg] wanted to make the world more open and connected. We want to capture and share the world’s moments. It’s a beautiful mission.” The messages are text-based, with a fairly straightforward interface reminiscent of any other chat app. We don’t know if images or video will be an option but it would be hard to imagine why they wouldn’t be. TC’s Josh Constine has talked before about how a private channel might be good for Instagram. And the service as a whole has been making an effort to facilitate people’s use of it as a messaging platform — this would be a natural continuation of that path. Obviously an Instagram ephemeral messaging system, if what we hear is accurate, would be an effort to play into the arena that is currently being dominated by Snapchat. And everywhere you go, people really want to know what other people think about Snapchat (especially teenz!).
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