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Devon Glenn

Devon Glenn is the editor of SocialTimes. She wrote about arts and entertainment at the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register before moving to New York in 2008, where she covered the emerging startups scene for mediabistro and the now-defunct mobile magazine u+me. At SocialTimes, she combines both worlds in her coverage of social media news and trends for creators, curators, and everyone who deals with content. Devon has shared her expertise in social media with numerous outlets including WSJ's The Daily Wrap, BBC's The Strand, and People StyleWatch. She lives somewhere between Brooklyn and the weird part of YouTube. You can reach her by email at devon@socialtimes.com.

Q&A: Zite President Ali Davar Responds to Early Feedback on His ‘Intelligent’ iPad Magazine

An iPad magazine called Zite has recently joined the ranks of Netflix and Mashable Follow in allowing users to curate their own content from multiple sources.   Following its launch in mid-March, Zite was the number one free news app on iTunes, with 100,000 downloads in the first five days and 160,000 by the end of the month.   Early adopters responded well to the app, requesting – and receiving –  additional features like Instapaper for offline reading and Delicious for bookmarking articles.  But publishers had a few concerns.  We asked Zite president Ali Devar to explain the app and to tell us what’s next for the company.  Read his responses after the jump:

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Travel Channel Invests in Oyster.com

Your spring break just got fancier. The Travel Channel has, according to a press release, “acquired a meaningful interest” in Oyster.com, an upscale hotel booking site based in New York City. Founded in 2008, Oyster.com started out as a review site like Trip Advisor and grew to be a full-service transaction site like Hotels.com, using professional writers – not consumers – to check out the hotels in person, take candid photos, and write the reviews. Per the agreement, Oyster.com will share exclusive content with the Travel Channel, as well as collaborate on cross-platform promotional opportunities and programming.

Said Travel Channel president Laureen Ong:

This is a transformational event for the Travel Channel. Entering into a strategic relationship with Oyster.com greatly broadens our position as a trusted source for information and allows us to go beyond the inspiration and entertainment we offer on television. Simultaneously, this partnership provides an incredibly meaningful way to connect with and improve the experience of travelers and adventure seekers everywhere.

Said Oyster co-founder and CEO Elie Seidman:

We believe in engaging audiences through the power of a strong respected brand and reliable expertise. That’s what we’re building at Oyster.com and we were always impressed with the trust and knowledge that Travel Channel represents, and the large and discriminating audiences it attracts.

UPDATE: This morning GalleyCat editor Jason Boog interviewed Seidman on the Morning Media Menu about the Travel Channel’s investment, which Boog reports was $7.5 millon.  Follow this MP3 link to hear more about the deal.

Mashable Personalizes News with ‘Mashable Follow’

The moment mbStartups has been waiting for is here.  Mashable, which is already an excellent news source for digital media, has stepped up its game with the launch of Mashable Follow:  a new tool for personalizing and sharing news.   With this new social layer, every story and topic on the site will have a “follow” and “unfollow” button that readers can use to create and refine a personal “my stories” feed.

There are already tools for publishers to track which stories got the most page views and shares after they’ve been posted, but what’s interesting about the “follow” button is that it offers a way for publishers to gauge interest in stories that haven’t been written.  Just yesterday, FishbowlNY told the story of how business editor Peter Goodman  left the New York Times for AOL simply because he had more freedom to follow up on stories that otherwise might not have fit into the editorial calendar.   If a lot of users are following a particular story, that will be a pretty obvious sign to Mashable’s editors that a follow-up story is in order.

“Mashable Follow is the natural extension of social media within the news experience,” said Pete Cashmore, Mashable founder and CEO in a statement.  Readers can now log in with Facebook or Twitter, which automatically imports their contacts into the system.   Once they create a profile, they can follow their friends or see reading lists from other users with similar interests.  With an improved link sharing function, users can post articles to Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz or Digg with a single click.

Mashable has even managed to throw in a gaming element – there are badges for readers who make comments, follow or share stories, and connect with other users.   (How about a politeness badge?  Best spelling and grammar?  Most creative spam attempt?)

The future of news is here and we have to say, it’s a step up from getting a newspaper clipping in the mail from grandma.   If you (or your grandmother) are still confused, check out the demo below:

Book Review Startup IndieReader Looks for the ‘Cream-of-the-Indie Crop’

Put the word “independent” in front of anything and its coolness factor doubles. Cheaply made films and music albums can pass for high art with the right amount of vision. But put the word “self-published” in front of a novel, and readers instantly think “inspirational poetry that hasn’t been proofread.”   IndieReader, based in New Jersey, is an online resource for lovers of independent books and the people who write them.  IndieReader might not be the first publication to review self-published books, but it is bold in its similarity to the “critically-acclaimed independent films” category on Netflix.

Indie Reader founder Amy Edelman created the site for “literate people who are looking for something other than the latest James Patterson novel,” she said, adding, “not that there’s anything wrong with James Patterson.”  IndieReader reviews and rates self-published books to help readers find the ones that are worth reading.  After a year and a half of Beta testing, the site was relaunched last month to include news, commentary, interviews, and IndieReader Selects, a special page for indie bookstores to find local authors.

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Gift Lounge at the 2011 Kids’ Choice Awards to Benefit Japan

This weekend the orange carpet will be lined with Katy Perry-loving children while they cheer on the nominees of 2011 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.  Working behind the scenes is Gavin Keilly, founder of a gifting company called GBK.  On March 31st and April 1st  from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM, GBK, along with Tiger Beat and Bop, will host a luxury gift lounge for the award nominees and presenters at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills.  Proceeds from the event will go to the American Red Cross to help relief efforts in Japan.

Gavin Keilly started the nonprofit gifting suite for movie premieres and awards shows in 200o.  ”I wanted to help others, but I did not want to be a martyr in the process,” Keilly told Mediabistro.  GBK is a social venture that donates 20% of its profits to charity.  According to Reilly, the events have raised anywhere from $500,000 to three or four million dollars for charities such as City of Hope and the Make a Wish Foundation.

The company originally focused on bringing high-profile celebrities to charity events.  To give the celebrities an incentive to come back, Keilly sent them home with thank-you gift bags that were worth between $40,000 and $50,000. When Ozzy Osbourne took a watch Keilly had given him and put it in his mouth, the entrepreneur instantly saw the potential the gifts had for product placement.

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NYC SeedStart Media 2011 to Provide Mentoring, Funding for Media Startups

A new opportunity has just popped up for media startups in New York. NYC SeedStart Media 2011 is a 12 week summer boot camp specifically for startups in the digital media space, including ad infrastructure, mobile, digital content and ecommerce businesses.  Each of the 10 companies selected for the program will receive  $20,000 in funding, space to work, and mentoring from an impressive group of media, advertising, and tech companies in New York City that includes AOL Ventures, Comcast, Google, Hearst, MTV Networks, News Corporation, New York Times, Ogilvy, Time Warner, and Vivendi, as well as veteran VCs and entrepreneurs.  The ideal applicant is a media-focused team of two with at least one technical co-founder and a source code or beta product ready to go.  The program begins on June 15th and they’ll be accepting applications through March 31st.  To apply, click here.

Come to our Startups Cocktail Party in NY

In 1994, she threw a cocktail party.  In 1996, she built a website.  Today mediabistro.com is overflowing with opportunities for media industry professionals to meet people, share resources, find a job, read the news, learn new skills, and showcase their work.  Join us on Tuesday, March 15th for an evening of cocktails and innovation at mediabistro’s Startups Cocktail Party in NY, hosted by our favorite cyber hostess and founder, Laurel Touby.

The startups party is a great place for founders and VCs of new startups to connect with editors, writers, producers, robots, graphic designers and book publishers who work in magazines, television, film, radio, newspapers, book publishing, online media, advertising, PR, and design. Bring lots of business cards and whatever other fancy new handheld networking device you’re using.  The party will be held at Turtle Bay NYC and will include drink specials and complimentary appetizers.  Get your free tickets here.

Condé Nast’s Nicole Delma Heads for Music Startup RCRD LBL

E-mail marketing industry veteran Nicole Delma has left the magazines, and all the vowels in the alphabet, for RCRD LBL, a music discovery platform with free MP3 downloads.   As chief data officer, she’ll be in charge of  growth, marketing and product development for RCRD LBL’s e-mail and data program and products.

Delma was the head of e-mail marketing operations for Condé Nast publications from 2005 to 2009, where she managed the e-mail marketing branch of the company’s database marketing team responsible for the annual e-mail deployments on behalf of Condé Nast’s 28 titles and its  advertising partners.   Delma also led the e-mail promotions for Condé Nast’s Fashion Rocks, Shop Vogue, W Desires, Glamour Reel Music and Reel Moments, GQ Man of the Year and The New Yorker Festival.  She established Condé Nast’s e-mail Best Practice center and led quarterly e-mail training seminars.

Her most recent stop was at Getty Images, where she developed and executed Getty Images Global internal and partner e-mail marketing programs for Getty Images, Photos.com, Clipart, Thinkstock, Jupiter Images, Pump Audio, Getty Images Music, Punchstock, iStock, Flickr, and Adobe.

Located in Soho, RCRD LBL launched in 2007 as a joint venture between Downtown Music and Peter Rojas, the creator of Engadget, Gizmodo and Weblogs, Inc.  The company delivers a curated selection of free MP3s  to its users with a RCRD of the Day daily e-mail newsletter.

Get Married Media and RecreateMyNight Host Live Wedding in Times Square

As if bridal magazines and social networking sites weren’t addictive enough,  the publishers of Get Married magazine and GetMarried.com have teamed with New York startup RecreateMyNight to create Party On!, a site where the bride, groom and all the guests can post status updates and share wedding photos and videos from Facebook and Twitter.  Following the site’s launch on December 15th,  the inaugural event took place on New Year’s Eve with a live wedding in Times Square.

“We have a highly engaged audience on GetMarried.com that is also extremely active through social media.  As part of our mission to provide innovative solutions that enhance the wedding planning experience, Get Married’s Party On!™ is an exciting and natural fit for brides and their friends to document experiences through this exceptional use of social media,” said Stacie Francombe, founder and editor-in-chief of Get Married Media in a statement. “We are thrilled to bring Party On!™ to our fans and revelers across the globe so they can be a part of the Get Married in Time Square celebration—even from their own homes—as well as share their own memorable events.”

Bethany Philips and Geoffrey Dubie, two Marine reservists who met in Iraq, were chosen from over 2,000 couples to have their wedding streamed live during one of New York’s most celebrated events.  On the evening of December 31st, 632 people checked in to post photos and congratulate the couple while they exchanged vows.

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Game Building on a Budget: Tips from the New York Social Gaming Summit

From your desktop to the palm of your hand and straight into your virtual wallet, social games like Farmville are among the hottest ways to make a business out of wasting time with friends. The Social Gaming Summit is an all-day event of talks on how to build, monetize and distribute new social games.  Previously held in London and San Francisco, the conference made its New York debut yesterday at the New Yorker Hotel.  Attendees flew in from as far as Russia and China to hear what industry leaders had to say about building social games in an increasingly competitive market.  The speakers shared valuable insights on how bootstrapped startups can get their share of the pie.

Mobile Platforms: Android vs. iPhone

At the conference, Paul Chen of PapayaMobile noted that publishing games on mobile devices is more complex than publishing them online, but because there are three times more mobile subscribers than PC and Internet users, it’s worth the effort.   Apple is easier to monetize because of the higher quality of its content, said Chen, but on the Android new games have less competition.  The Android is also better for submitting new games because the approval process is faster than on the iPhone.   His advice: try it out on the Android, work out the bugs, and put the game on the iPhone when it’s ready to hit a wider market.

Distributing on Facebook

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