EveryBlock, the Holovaty-founded, Knight-funded, MSNBC.com-purchased neighborhood news-and-data site, updated its iPhone app today to make it easier for people to post questions, photos, or other info from their phone. That fits in well with their 2011 relaunch aimed at moving EveryBlock “from a one-way news feed to a two-way community platform.”
And it’s getting some promotion:
To support the launch of the new application, EveryBlock will run ads in Chicago bus shelters and New York subway stations throughout the month of May. The advertisement bears the headline, “EveryBlock: Fit your neighborhood into your pocket.”
Selfishly, I hope that the move to UGC makes it easier for them to expand beyond their 16 cities: Bostonians one mile from my house get EveryBlock, but here in Cambridge (and any other Boston suburb), we got zilch. (A bit more on the launch here from Appolicious’ Brad Spirrison.)
Ars Technica’s Venkat Balasubramani and Eric Goldman note the case of Bland v. Roberts, where three sheriff’s department workers argue they were fired because they had “liked” the Facebook page of their boss’ electoral opponent. The court says a Facebook like does not qualify as protected First Amendment speech:
It is the court’s conclusion that merely “liking” a Facebook page is insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection. In cases where courts have found that constitutional speech protections extended to Facebook posts, actual statements existed within the record.
First Amendment jurisprudence, of course, has held that many non-verbal, non-written acts qualify for protected status (memorably flag burning).
The HuffPo cofounder and Buzzfeed expansionist tells paidContent you shouldn’t bother waiting for banner ads to be your digital-revenue salvation, and that socially attuned advertising is the new hotness:
So what will the online advertising industry look like when it catches up to the new paradigm? One possibility can be found in Buzzfeed’s own office where a creative team works with the site’s advertisers to help make their content as social as possible.
On the Buzzfeed site, ads are seeded in the stream of stories and are supposed to be appealing in the same ways as the site’s native content. This is consistent with Peretti’s mantra that a publisher should ensure the ad type is native to the platform (advertorials in print newspapers, for instance).
Felix Salmon notes the impact of this weekend’s New York Times exposé of Walmart’s business practices in Mexico — it killed $12 billion in market cap — and “raises the obvious question”:
Shouldn’t the NYT, which can always use a bit of extra revenue, take advantage of the fact that its stories can move markets so much? Not directly: I’m not suggesting that the New York Times Company should start buying out-of-the-money put options on Mexican corporates in advance of its own stories. But how much would hedge funds pay to be able to see the NYT’s big investigative stories during the trading day prior to the appearance of the story? It’s entirely normal, and perfectly ethical, for news organizations, including Reuters, to give faster access to the best-paying customers. What’s more, good journalism is increasingly being done by people who unabashedly have skin in the game.
Felix is right to note that “church-lady types would I’m sure faint with horror” (plenty of non-church-lady types, too). But note that there’s already something a bit like this in existence: Footnoted, which we wrote about in 2010. Footnoted’s Michelle Leder and crew generate a few stories a week by poring over quarterly filings and other publicly filed documents from corporations — looking for the little details that might escape a quick glance (hence “footnoted”).
At paidContent, Laura Hazard Owen has a nice interview with an anonymous publishing executive about why he (gasp!) disables the DRM on ebooks:
I had thought about breaking DRM before, but had never done so. A key reason why I didn’t is that I want to honor the IP rights of publishers. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized: I bought the book, and now I want to be able to read it on any device I choose…
Do I feel “evil”? No, not really. If I was giving these books away, I would, but I’m the only person using them.
Not a bad rate: launched in June 2011, at 1 million users in November 2011, at 2 million users in April 2012. Mobile now accounts for 12 percent of FT.com subscriptions and 19 percent of traffic, the Guardian reports.
Would be interesting to see data from a news outlet with less high-end readers, since the primary issue with any HTML5 app is discoverability (finding the thing without having an app store to search) and permanence (a still-awkward process for saving the app as a home screen icon.)