Category Archives: Southern California

MySpaceCould the once-mighty MySpace be coming back for round 2?

From being one of the darlings of the Internet to being one of the most laughed about tech companies, not many good things have been said about this company. From first going from one of the hottest properties on the Internet to being a part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. media empire and ultimately selling for cheap to Tim and Chris Vanderhook, the end looked grim for the struggling social network. Just like it’s predecessor, Friendster, MySpace appeared to be heading into the way of irrelevance (at least most people probably thought it was irrelevant already). Facebook was the king of the hill now and there wasn’t room for anyone else. But in the days since the Vanderhooks, young investors who brought in famed actor and musician/singer, Justin Timberlake, bought the struggling network from News Corp. for $35 million in 2011, things have slowly started to pick up steam–all for the better.

The New York Times’ Media Decoder section published a piece yesterday where they believe that, according to comScore data, the tide might be turning in favor of MySpace. Sure, the social network is practically bleeding users and losing site traffic practically every month, but according to comScore, monthly traffic to MySpace rose in January 2012 — a 4% increase from the previous month and the first increase in over a year. It still pales in comparison to its peak when the site received over 75 million unique visitors, but it seems somehow the Vanderhooks managed to put a temporary bandage on its wound. Chris Vanderhook, MySpace’s chief operating officer, says that they went from “zero signups per day to 40,000.

But how can that be? What exactly is the site doing differently that would cause this massive amount of daily signups to occur? Mr. Vanderhook believes it’s because they’ve integrated with their competitor, Facebook, and also with Twitter. Oh, and not to mention that MySpace has one hell of a music library. The New York Times states that with MySpace having full licensing deals with thousands of record labels, as well as songs from numerous unsigned acts, there are over 42 million songs that can be played and shared–way more than what you would get on more regarded music services like Spotify and Rhapsody.

This new “focus” that MySpace has will probably be a big hit in their “revival”. I certainly don’t consider them prosperous (yet), but I think that they have stopped the moving ship and are now making the necessary course corrections. With an enormous music library at their disposal, the niche market that the Vanderhooks are carving out for themselves is smart. They’re definitely moving towards being the number one hub for all things music and entertainment–something that they tried out before a few years ago with their Secret Concerts, but didn’t really gain traction. It’s not smart to try and compete with Facebook at this point–but by being that hub of music and entertainment with your ties into other social networks like Facebook and Twitter (a-ha! The data sharing works both ways!) and even now on smart TVs through Panasonic, this will be a great effort to be back in the spotlight.

In its hey day, the brand MySpace was probably known best for being a social network–it was your place where you could customize it however you want and be friends with anyone you wanted, almost like it’s a rented apartment. Now, in 2012, with their new brand that was unveiled about two years ago, MySpace is now becoming known more for the “entertainment experience” where they want you to be able to share what content is out there that defines who you are–what do you like and what’s your personality.

Can MySpace pull a Rocky and come back to engrain itself into our minds as something that is significant? I think so–they’re doing some pretty good things with music and when I look at the new site (without signing in…I don’t think I remember my MySpace login), it reminds me almost of Pandora Radio with a hint of YouTube, Billboard.com, and Turntable.fm. It could be the best place to find things that you really enjoy.

That one million new users is a great start, but if you use Facebook as a benchmark (~580 million users), MySpace has a long way to go in order to strike it rich.

Eventup

Event managers and planners have something to celebrate today. I’m sure you can ask any event planner how long they take to struggle to find the right place for your party or event. Not only do they have to navigate around the city, quotes, and specs, but it’s all time consuming. And often times, there’s not a website around that features photos of the event space — just how efficient is this? Well not very. But now, thanks to Los Angeles’s newest and hottest tech incubator, Eventup is here to help make your event planning much easier.

LA’s tech scene has definitely been heating up over the past few months and one of its main contributors has been the new incubator Science, the brainchild of former MySpace CEO Mike Jones and Color co-founder Peter Pham. After the latest collapse by MySpace, the LA tech scene took a hit and needed to find a solid foot hold in which they could bring back the success of days past. And with the recent release of Eventup, it looks like the incubator is onto something. And it’s not surprising since they have some of the best minds in the LA tech scenes, such as Mike Macadaan and Sean Percival, two former MySpace execs who have gone or are going through the fires of entrepreneurship and have created something great. And you might wonder why are all MySpace colleagues working in the same incubator? It seems to be perfectly normal, especially when you consider that MySpace encompassed a large portion of the existing talent pool in the city. VentureBeat’s Jolie O’Dell has a great interview about Science that you can read here.

Eventup isn't available in San Francisco

But back to Eventup…we know that it’s a product of Science, but now that it’s launched, just what does it do? Well in a nutshell, it’s the AirBnB of event planning. As TheNextWeb’s Courney Boyd Myers writes, “just Googling ‘event spaces’ brings up a load of miserable options…” So why don’t you save youself some time and just go to Eventup’s website and do a search of what you want, easily. Right now it looks like only Los Angeles and Southern California venues are available in their database, although they’re doing a bit of a grassroots approach and crowdsourcing for venue information — so if you want to make sure your city is represented in here and help bring in more business, then share your venue with Eventup! But enough of the San Francisco plug, let’s talk about specifics in what event planners will get as a result of this experience: a pretty good results page that shows a lot of promise, I must say…let’s take a look at one in particular:

Exchange LA venue

What event planners will get is a helpful screen with a description of the venue, the types of parties that can be held there, maximum capacity, photos, location and calendar of availability. And the fact that there’s a “verified listing” badge also adds a measure of security knowing that you’re looking at something legitimate.  And no longer will you need to trouble yourself into wondering whether it’s available or not — the calendar will allow you to easily look and book! It’s easy, right? I couldn’t have put it better than what they have on their site:

Simply, search by location, filter down by event type, your budget, how many people are attending, and find venues that are available for the date you have your heart set on. You’ll have high-resolution images, maps to show you what part of town it’s in, and ratings and reviews that help you not get ripped off. All of this, without having to spend hours, if not days, searching through various websites and making phone calls.

The cost? It’s probably all set up by the homeowners and venue managers, just like you’d expect when trying to find a place to stay outside of a hotel. Eventup will take 10% of each booking and will manage all financial transactions and bookings. And for your safety, they also offer venue owners insurance options just in case (we all know what happened to AirBnB, right?).

In one of my former lives, I used to work in tourism and each city has unique spaces that you could rent, like a museum or hotel conference room or even a restaurant back-room. Eventup is the replacement for that and very much the yellow pages of event space. Imagine being able to find some ridiculously awesome venues like Jim Morrison’s former residence or even one of Entourage’s actor’s home just to have an event — that’ll give your attendees something to remember, right? Right now they have over 350 venues in LA and I’m sure that it’s only going to grow.

Eventup is out in the wild now for you to check out. It’s also one of six products to come out of Science and is headed by former MySpace exec Tony Adam.

cctv's temporary home

Last night, at the All Things D’s D:Dive Into Media event in Dana Point, California, Peter Kafka sat down with Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo to talk about the company and get an idea about the direction it was going. In case you’re interested, the entire conversation was liveblogged and you can read it here. But as I was reading it, I found something interesting about the conversation — Twitter is redefining its role in the world of communication. Some may think that it’s a medium to broadcast their message across the Internet, but rather, Mr. Costolo is telling the world, at least today, that Twitter is just the messenger. In fact, they’re not a media company. He responds that they’re in the media business whereby they distribute traffic and are one of the largest drivers to all sorts of other media properties. So by that definition, the media companies are those that are using the service to broadcast–brands, startups, politicians, and the average citizen.

Peter Kafka and Dick Costolo (credit: AllThingsD)

During this interview, Twitter’s CEO was pressed on a whole lot of issues like SOPA and PIPA and even the 2012 elections. Many probably criticized Twitter for not participating in some sort of “black-out” a couple weeks ago over the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act that was being debated in Congress, but Mr. Costolo defended Twitter’s actions by saying that “there were 3.9 million tweets that day about SOPA and PIPA. When you’ve got an amplifier like that, you don’t pull the batteries out of the microphone.” Seems logical to me because how else are you going to communicate your anger while still protesting?  It seems that Twitter has taken on the life of the messenger quite well and that you shouldn’t “shoot the messenger”. In other words, just like communication was done through paper mail or telephone tree or even email and message boards, so too now can people use Twitter as that medium and it seems Mr. Costolo is letting the service be all about the people and allowing them to communicate – as long as it adheres to all local laws.

Jack welcomes California senators to Twitter

As for the 2012 election, Mr. Costolo believes that it’s going to be the Twitter election — more than 2008 was. Why? Because it seems that all party presidential candidates and other potential office-seekers are using Twitter to get their message across. Just look at how yesterday, California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, joined Twitter. The fascinating thing about 2012, according to Mr. Costolo, is that this was apparent during this year’s State of the Union: “When Obama made the spilled milk joke, there was this collective groan, and we didn’t have to wait for the pundits to tell us that. Republicans live-tweeted.” News happening isn’t late breaking anymore…it’s just breaking. Mashable has analyzed these comments and believes that Twitter has become an essential platform for reaching voters and for gathering and responding to feedback in real-time — and they’re entirely right. No longer are we going to have to go attend a rally just to get 30 seconds with that candidate to ask them questions or ask one of their surrogates. Instead, if the candidate is serious about talking to as many people as humanly possible, voters can send a tweet and get some sort of a response back. Moreover, evangelist voters can create a rapid grassroots effort to help get out the vote as well.

Twitter has definitely helped shape the way people communicate with one another and as I look at the company, I don’t see another AT&T or Verizon or media company that controls the Internet airwaves. Rather, it’s a technology that we can use to communicate. No longer is the pen mighter than the sword…it’s the tweet that rules.

Photo Credit: kenyee/Flickr.com / Peter Kafka and Dick Costolo via All Things D

Ferris Bueller

A couple weeks ago, a quick teaser video emerged on the web and many thought that all signs pointed to the sequel to the classic movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The teaser video simply had Ferris Bueller star, Matthew Broderick emerge from behind a curtain and hint “how could he go to work on a day like this”. The full-length video was supposed to air around the time of this year’s Super Bowl, but according to All Things D’s Lauren Goode, Hawker Media’s car blog Jalopnik, discovered it online last Friday. It seems that the rumors were all wrong…well at least technically. The teaser wasn’t about a movie sequel. Rather, it was a promo spot for a car – the Honda CR-V.

Directed by the writer/director of “The Hangover”, Matthew Broderick pulls a Ferris by calling in sick from his work and does all the things he did in his movie, but with a more modern twist. There’s no more high school in Chicago – he’s now playing himself in real life and avoids work with his agent. Next, instead of the favorite St. Patrick’s Day parade and crooning “Danke Schoen”, he celebrates Chinese New Year (well-timed, by the way). Oh, and the topping on the cake? Remember when Cameron’s car gets stolen by the valets in the movie? Well Broderick’s video has that too, except the valet steals the CR-V.

So the video has been definitely upgraded for the modern times, but I’ll admit that I’m a bit disappointed that it’s not for the next part of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Nevertheless, it is a bit funny and doesn’t necessarily focus on the car, but you do see Broderick driving it around Los Angeles enjoying his day off while reminding us about the cool parts of Broderick’s movie.

Below is the entire YouTube video for your enjoyment.

Broderick? Broderick?

Since our last beta invite post was such a hit, we decided to bring you another new site to check out! ScoreBig is the latest way to score (pun intended) below-retail tickets to an upcoming event or concert in your area.

The site currently has more than 500,000 events from this weekend to this summer and seats from the best in the house to the most affordable, so it’s not just last-minute seats that no one wants.

Some of the perks of the members-only site include:

  • Every ticket  is below retail price
  • No fees or delivery charges
  • Members decide how much they pay (a la Priceline)

Although there’s currently a wait to get in and try ScoreBig, we have 50 invites for Bub.blicio.us readers! Click here to sign up.

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