Instagram Direct Isn’t Dead, The Messaging Feature Has 45 Million Users

Instagram Direct Inbox Seven months after launching Instagram Direct, 45 million of Instagram’s 200 million users are actively sending or opening Direct messages, the company tells me. This 23% monthly usage rate indicates Direct is far from stillborn. While I haven’t seen or heard of many friends using the ephemeral private sharing channel, it may be quietly gaining steam with those who use Instagram… Read More

Rap Genius Raises $40M, Changes Name To Genius, Launches Embeddable Annotations

Genius Dot Com Rap Genius made three big moves today to further its goal to annotate the world. The founders tell me it’s raised a $40 million Series B led by Dan Gilbert and joined by previous investor Andreessen Horowitz at a valuation under $1 billion. It also changed its name to and is launching embeddable annotations so any website can hover over text and see explanations and… Read More

XKit, The Tumblr Client For Power Users, Arrives On iOS

xkit A well-liked Tumblr extension called XKit, which adds more functionality to the social blogging service, has just made its way to mobile in the form of a paid iOS app. Though there have been some reports of flattening Tumblr traffic following its acquisition by Yahoo, the platform today hosts close to 200 million blogs, which are updated over 94 million times per day. Among these bloggers is… Read More

Twitter’s New Analytics Tell Advertisers And Publishers How Many People Actually Saw Their Tweets

twitter dashboard If you’re looking for more details about how all of your tweets are doing, Twitter today released a new analytics dashboard for advertisers, Twitter Card publishers, and verified users.
The company already gave its advertisers data about tweets that they’d paid to promote, covering things like impressions, replies, and link clicks, but there was nothing equivalent for… Read More

Michael Acton-Smith To Step Aside As CEO Of Mind Candy As Moshi Monsters Struggles

mind candy office Mind Candy, led by star gaming property Moshi Monsters and founder Michael Acton-Smith, has been seen as one of the breakout successes of the UK startup and gaming world. But as many others in the space know all too well, game fads come and go, and so things are changing. Today Mind Candy is announcing that Acton-Smith is stepping down as the company’s CEO, while Divinia Knowles,… Read More

Facebook Launches “Out-App Purchase” Ads

Facebook Out-App Purchases What if in-app purchases didn’t have to happen in-app? Rather than indirectly helping developers monetize with ads that drive them installs and re-engagement, Facebook today began letting them sell Facebook desktop game virtual goods straight from ads in the News Feed or sidebar. But an even more lucrative opportunity could be bringing these “out-app purchase” ads to mobile.… Read More

LinkedIn Steps Up Its AI Play, Turns Its Contacts App Into A New Connected App

linkedin-logo With 40% of LinkedIn’s 300 million users accessing the social network for professionals via mobile devices, the company has been stepping up a gear on its mobile business, adding new apps around specific experiences like job hunting. Today comes the latest development on this front, a new app called LinkedIn Connected. Designed as the next generation of its Contacts app —… Read More


Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 5.21.29 PM In the old days of Twitter — at least ‘old’ by Silicon Valley 2.0 standards, which is anything over five years — you could count on a couple of things. First, Twitter would go down almost every time people started really seriously using it. There’s a reason ‘fail whale’ is still part of our vocabulary.
The second is that every time that there was a… Read More

Tinder’s Sean Rad To Join Us At Disrupt SF 2014

sean rad Sean Rad, the co-inventor of the hottest dating game in the land, will be joining us onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014 to chat about the success of Tinder and its plans for monetization. Tinder is also currently the subject of a lawsuit served by its former VP of Marketing Whitney Wolfe, which we have covered here. The app in its present iteration has been around since 2012, but… Read More

Ultratext Is A Simple GIF-Making App That Works With iMessage

ultratext3 There’s nothing more obnoxious than texting someone who doesn’t respond (at least somewhat) promptly. And their excuse? “Sorry, I didn’t see your text!” Ha, no more, my so-called friends, no more! A new app called Ultratext will help get their attention by letting you easily create colorful, flashing GIF messages you can quickly send via iMessage. Read More