ICOA / Google Scandal: PRWeb’s fault, or an online culture obsessed with the ‘Big Four’?

The genie is now out of the bottle on a mass scale around something that most content marketers have known for several years running: to be noticed in today’s online news world, you must stand on the back of giants: Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Twitter.

UPDATE: Note that Techcrunch, The Next Web, Silicon Alley Insider, GigaOm, AllthingsD and The Associated Press ALL posted based off the fraudulent press release, not just Techcrunch

In case you’ve missed the news, the search, public relations and online journalism industries are all in an uproar over a fake press release that was written and distributed over PRWeb in order to generate a stock boost for the offending company.

At the center of the scandal, ICOA Wireless, a U.S. provider of wired and wireless broadband internet networks, who yesterday distributed a release claiming that the company had been acquired by Google for $400m.

Rumour: CNN to purchase Mashable for $200m

The next big (read: nine-figure) consumer internet acquisition may involve an unexpected buyer – CNN.

According to Reuters’ Felix Salmon, the Time Warner-owned cable news network could announce as early as Tuesday that it is acquiring Mashable, one of the most popular tech/social media blogs for a figure that could be north of $200m.

SAY Media acquires ReadWriteWeb

Yesterday ReadWriteWeb, a popular technology blog founded by Richard MacManus in 2003, announced that it is being acquired by digital publishing upstart SAY Media. 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but according to TechCrunch’s sources, the deal was under $5m.

SAY Media has been active on the acquisition scene, having snapped up web properties including Dogster, Remodelista, a digital agency called Sideshow and publishing platform company Six Apart.

The apparent strategy; instead of simply building an ad network for new media, SAY Media wants to consolidate the market and own the properties it sells against.

Five things you can learn from TechCrunch’s implosion

Bulding a successful company usually takes a lot of hard work, and a lot of time. But destroying a successful company can take be measured in hours and minutes. Case in point: TechCrunch.

Started by a single blogger, Michael Arrington, TechCrunch became one of the most prominent voices of Silicon Valley and the tech startup scene and was acquired a year ago by AOL for an eight-figure sum.

Dispelling the TechCrunch myth

The debates over what constitutes journalism, and what the future of journalism will look like, rages on.

Last week, a firestorm erupted when TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington announced that he was launching a fund to invest in technology startups.

TechCrunch, of course, which is now owned by AOL, is a blog focused on technology startups, and while Arrington will apparently be off the editorial payroll, he’ll still be able to contribute as an unpaid blogger.

Adding fuel to the firestorm: the fact that AOL itself is investing in Arrington’s fund.

The demise of the new media empire?

Newspapers? Dying? Television? Might as well die too. New media? That’s where future empires will be built.

At least that’s what some have been claiming since blogging and ‘new media‘ became a mainstream phenomenon. And to be sure, new media’s future does look bright. But is it as bright as many had predicted? Perhaps not.

Reputation is dead, long live reputation

What is more important than your reputation? For most individuals and
businesses, the answer to that is simple: “not much.”

Our increasingly networked world has only boosted the importance of
reputation. On the internet, the investment often seen today in PR,
social media and reputation management solutions highlights this.

Is the controversy over virtual goods and ‘scam’ CPA offers overblown?

The market for virtual goods, and the CPA offers that many consumers
complete to purchase them, is under attack. The first salvo was fired
by TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington and the battle has now spread to the
mainstream media.

The fallout was quick. And it continues: after being the target of no
less than six TechCrunch posts in the past week relating to these
scam‘ offers, Zynga, one of the most prominent companies in the space,
has removed all of its CPA (lead gen) offers while it seeks to work with the third
party networks that provide them to root out the types of offers that
have come under fire.

Equity for tech licenses? No thanks

An interesting fact about personal finance startup, which recently sold to Intuit for $170m: the account aggregation technology that powers is licensed from a company called Yodlee.

Yodlee, which was founded in 1999, has raised over $100m in funding. While it operates its own consumer-facing personal finance website, its core business is in licensing its technology to others. Its licensees include startups similar in nature to as well as major financial institutions like Bank of America.

Another popular tech blog embraces paid content

There’s a lot of talk about newspapers charging for their content
online but quietly, something interesting is happening: the very blogs
that are usually associated with ‘free’ are dipping their toes in the
waters of paid content.

In the tech blogosphere, TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb sell reports.
GigaOm has a subscription service. Add to that list Ars Technica, which has launched a new subscription service dubbed Ars Premier 2.0.

Microsoft regrets racist photo edit and meme creation

Someone’s head will roll for this. There is a Microsoft employee inept at Photoshop who has brought a good deal of embarrassment to the company with a poor attempt to white wash the company’s marketing materials in Europe.

The above images both graced Micrsoft websites this week. The top picture, which appears on the company’s Seattle-based website, features a black man.
But on the company’s Polish site, a white man’s head was superimposed into
the shot. Whoever massacred the image didn’t have time to deal with issues of consistency — he left the original man’s hand unchanged in the Polish version.

A reader pointed out the discrepancy to TechCrunch, and Microsoft has since apologized. The company isn’t naming names on who was responsible for the mistake, but they have since returned the image to its original state on the Polish website. Too bad for them it’s already become a meme.

Microsoft Bing jingler sticks it to Techcrunch’s MG Siegler

The winner of the Microsoft Bing Jingle Challenge (or whatever it was called) yesterday had his song savaged by Techcrunch writer MG Siegler.

“’Catchy’ is one word for it,” wrote MG. “Another is awful.” I’m afraid I agree with Siegler here, apart from the catchy bit, but make of it what you will:

It turns out that the winning songwriter – one Jonathan Mann, who writes one song a day and uploads them to YouTube – isn’t one to take this kind of criticism lying down. He has replied to Siegler via the power of song!