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Technology

Uber Offers Taxi Drivers a Ride to Their Own Protest

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This morning we read news of the massive traffic-blocking protests that have greeted most-expensive-startup-ever Uber as it tries to conquer Europe. VentureBeat just shared the company’s response: ferrying angry London taxi drivers to their own event while adjusting its policies to make nice.

“Riders won’t pay any additional charges, while Uber caps the commission drivers must pay at 5%…Uber says its 5% commission is the lowest in the city.”

So how much is the 12,000-strong protest damaging the company’s business? This headline pretty much says it all:

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Probably not the intended result…

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5 Important Lessons for Your Tech Startup’s PR Launch

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Today we bring you a guest post from Kristen Tischhauser and Chathri Ali, co-founders and managing partners of talkTECH, an L.A. and Chicago-based communications/business development firm serving “innovative, emerging brands and new-to-market products.”

This post is presented by AirPR, a technology platform to increase PR performance. The San Francisco-based technology company is passionate about using data to show the true impact and value of PR.

We, as humans, are impatient. We don’t like to wait; we want what we want and we want it now. That’s why when launching a new tech startup, it’s smart to take a deep breath and make sure that the PR trigger isn’t pulled too quickly. As the famous saying goes, you never have a second chance to make a first impression.

Entrepreneurs put countless hours into perfecting our product or service, yet too many get excited to launch and do so before they are truly ready. A launch is not idea generation. We’re past the stage of throwing something out there to see what sticks. Instead, we want the masses to welcome us into their lives all the while wondering how they ever lived without us. This only happens if the proper steps are taken to ensure a successful launch.

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Frank & Oak CEO Discusses Its New Branding Tool: Owned Print Media

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No, that headline isn’t a joke: Frank & Oak, a Montreal-based men’s fashion/lifestyle brand that came into the world as a digital business, recently decided to put its brand in print.

The project launched at the end of May, with the first issue of biannual magazine Oak Street available for purchase online and at select coffee shops and other venues. The premiere contains editorial pieces on everything from the expected (men’s fashion) to the very unexpected (trends in humane fishing and artisanal coffee) with more on the blog.

For context, Frank & Oak has received quite a bit of media attention from both general publications and tech blogs since launching in 2012 thanks both to its status as a mobile commerce-turned brick and mortar retailer a la Warby Parker and its custom apps.

The decision to launch a lavish print mag feels especially unusual for such a forward-thinking business. We asked Ethan Song, CEO and co-founder of Frank & Oak, to explain the strategy behind it.

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Netflix Stops Accusing Verizon of Being Slow, Starts Proving It

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Verizon may claim to have moved on from its spat with Netflix, but the latter isn’t quite done with this business, thank you very much.

After Verizon sent a cease-and-desist letter insisting that Netflix stop accusing it of slowing down customers’ streaming speeds, the content company’s comms director wrote a blog post indicating that its “transparency campaign” would officially end next week. We might take that announcement with a grain of salt, though: the real purpose of the post was to hype the release of a new round of performance data designed to shame those very service providers.

Click through for the statement, which we read as, “We MIGHT stop bringing attention to your network congestion. Or we might not. Deal with it.”

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Verizon to Netflix: ‘No, You’re Slow!’

Netflix might just be too clever for its own good.

Earlier this week, the company confirmed that it had gotten a bit cheeky with Verizon, its partner in the love/hate net neutrality dance.

Netflix, in the face of what might resemble extortion from a certain angle, recently agreed to pay for the right to “direct access” to Verizon customers in order to ensure that its videos stream at optimum speeds. The company signed a similar deal with Comcast.

Of course, we can see why Netflix might want to gripe about this fact, and they chose a sly way to do it. But Verizon wasn’t amused. Their statement after the jump.

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Online Retailers Should Launch PR Campaigns Around Site Safety

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A study from USA Today finds that nearly a quarter of Americans (24 percent) have stopped shopping online, at least for the moment. These respondents have ceased their online shopping activity after the string of stories about data breaches and cyber attacks. A full 56 percent have said they’re only making their purchases on sites that belong to major companies with reputable online portals. And more than half (55 percent) say that they’re keeping an eye on their checking account and other financial information more closely.

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Sam’s Club Is First Retailer to Adopt ‘Safer’ Credit Card

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Someone in the retail industry has finally made the decision to start catching up with the rest of the world.

Sam’s Club–provider of gallon-sized mayonnaise jars, 64-count TP packs and enough toothpicks to build all four major New York City bridges–became the first big retail name to announce the adoption of a “safer” credit card for regular customers.

Maybe they wanted to skip ahead of the competition–or maybe they were inspired by eBay’s friendly suggestion that all shoppers might want to change their damn passwords after its massive data breach.

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What You Need to Know About the Pending Vocus/Cision Merger

CisionVocusIf you are a tech-savvy communications professional, you may have been slightly surprised by yesterday’s news that two of the industry’s top providers of cloud-based software would soon join forces.

Private equity firm CTGR Canyon Holdings broke the news of its plans to bring Cision and Vocus together yesterday in a release that promised “new software tools, content and services that help organizations of all sizes to enhance their performance.”

You may recall that this news follows April reports regarding unsuccessful attempts by Meltwater to acquire a majority stake in Cision.

This afternoon we spoke to Peter Granat, the now-former Cision AB CEO who will serve as chief of Vocus and president of the related Canyon affiliate, to get some additional insights into the deal and what it means for you.

Granat’s quotes after the jump.

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NYC Restaurant Gets Burned In Google Reviews By Glass Lovers

google glass tweetYear-old East Village restaurant Feast had been doing pretty well until it had a run-in with disgruntled Google Glass fans.

A diner, startup CEO Katy Kasmai, was asked to take off her Glass during brunch recently over privacy concerns. Feast says it has previously asked a patron to do the same thing for the same reason without incident. In this case, Kasmai took to Google+ to vent.

“For the first time ever this place, Feast, in #NYC just asked that I remove +Google Glass because customers have complained of privacy concerns in the past. Never has happened to me before in the one year I’ve had Glass. I left,” she wrote.

After the complaint went up, a number of people took to Google to give one-star reviews of the restaurant. Feast’s manager spoke with the EV Grieve blog to say that, for them, the negative commentary is damaging.

“[Y]ou have 13 people, which is about half the total reviews, who have never been to our restaurant, let alone live in NYC, leave you one-star reviews … it’s malicious and technically a violation of Google’s own terms for leaving reviews,” the manager said.

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Google Tops Apple On ‘Most Valuable Brand’ List

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The 2014 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand analysis has declared Google the most valuable brand in the world, pushing Apple out of that top spot for the first time in three years.

According to the report, which is conducted by Millward Brown and commissioned by WPP, Google’s brand value went up 40 percent last year to $159 billion, while Apple saw its brand value drop 20 percent to $148 billion. Adweek attributes Apple’s fall to “the company’s well-publicized recent lack of innovation.” Meanwhile, Google has been on a tear with things like Google Glass, the growth of Android products and other innovative products.

CNN playfully points out that the report will “change virtually no minds in the tech world’s long-running battle of fan loyalty.” But it may put an exclamation point on all the buzz about Apple needing a new product (or two) to get its brand mojo back on track.

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