Absurdly Hyped Startup Airtime Has Officially Flopped And Top Execs Are Fleeing

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/absurdly-hyped-startup-airtime-has-officially-flopped-and-top-execs-are-fleeing-2012-10

Olivia Munn Airtime

Airtime, the startup with a product that connects random Facebook users in video chats, is a huge flop and its senior people are fleeing the company, Liz Gannes of All Things D reports.

CTO Eric Feng, brought in through a March acquisition, is on his way out. Cofounder Shawn Fanning is no longer day to day at the company.

It’s particularly bad news that Feng is leaving because after joining the company in March, he fired everyone who had been working on the startup’s tech before.

Airtime, which raised $33 million from Kleiner Perkins, only launched its product 12 weeks ago, but it’s already pretty obvious not many people want to use the thing. Gannes reports that it only has 11,000 daily active users. By comparison, Instagram has 11 million.

Fanning’s cofounder is Sean Parker, the guy played by Justin Timberlake in the Facebook movie. Gannes says he was the driving force behind Airtime’s weird product launch event, which was attended by all sorts of mid-level celebrities. He says this launch “worked” because it drove traffic. Uh huh.

Gannes talked to Parker, and has more quotes from him here >>

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Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 news No Comments

Google Is In Total Denial About Its Huge Problem With Google+ (GOOG)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/google-plus-rj-metrics-engagement-2012-5

Larry Page looking down

When is Google going to admit the obvious?

Google+, the “social spine” of CEO Larry Page’s counterattack on Facebook, is a flop.

That’s according to a detailed analysis of user activity by research firm RJ Metrics for Fast Company.

RJ Metrics selected 40,000 Google+ users at random. It then analyzed their public posts.

What they found is that a lot of people start sharing on Google+, then stop. 3 out of 10 made a single public post, then never posted again. Even among people who made five posts, 15 percent had stopped posting.

RJ Metrics said this “decay rate” was disturbing.

Other analysts have found that people spend an average of 3 minutes a month on Google+, versus 7 hours on Facebook.

Now, it’s possible that many Google+ users are not posting publicly and are sharing privately instead, as Google+ allows. That’s Google’s timeworn excuse when asked about Google+ engagement. But Google has refused to give clear statistics about activity on Google+.

“Google is just refusing to answer the question for its own reasons, which is probably because Google+ has far less activity as a standalone social network than either Facebook or Twitter,” wrote Google expert Danny Sullivan recently.

Go see the gory details on Fast Company >>

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Thursday, May 17th, 2012 news No Comments

Six Reasons Why ‘John Carter’ Flopped

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-why-john-carter-flopped-2012-3

John CarterBest Opinion:  Entertainment Weekly, Deadline, LA Times…

As expected, the ambitious sci-fi “fever dream” John Carter tanked at the box office this weekend, earning just $30.6 million on its estimated $250 million budget and finishing behind the The Lorax (which is in its second week).

By comparison, four recent films with similarly out-sized budgets — Spider-Man 3Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsAvatar, and the most recent Pirates of the Caribbeansequel — averaged $99 million in their debut weekends.

Observers had predicted that John Carterwould flop, based on its poor performance in audience tracking studies. But now that the film has fulfilled those low expectations, they’re enumerating the reasons. Here, six theories:

1. There was no star power
John Carter is a rarity: A massively-budgeted tent-pole film without a single recognizable name in its cast, says John Young at Entertainment Weekly.

Producers cast a completely unproven lead, Friday Night Lights‘ Taylor Kitsch. And while Avatar starred a similarly untested Sam Worthington, “James Cameron’s name is as big as any movie star,” and Worthington was joined on screen by known-quantities like Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez. “The most familiar face in John Carterwas… Mark Strong?”

2. The marketing was a misfire
The movie is the victim of some “really rotten marketing,” says Nikki Finke at Deadline. A series of bland, confusing trailers — “as generic” as the film’s title — failed to convey the scope of the Civil War-to-Mars story or build interest around the characters.

Though you wouldn’t know it from the trailers, the film features a compelling love story, which could have snagged female audiences. Shortening the title from the original John Carter of Mars also turned the film into “a sphinx,” says Young. “Who is John Carter? Where is he? Why can he leap great distances?” The marketing answered none of these questions.

3. The young guys didn’t show up
John Carter is the kind of effects-heavy, action-adventure sci-fi film that’s supposed to appeal to the young male demographic that flocked toTransformers or Clash of the Titanssays Amy Kaufman at the Los Angeles Times.

Yet the audience that turned out this weekend was surprisingly older; 59 percent were over age 25. Blame the marketing again, says Finke.The studio mistakenly catered to the fanboys of the source material instead of the general public. See exhibit A, says Young: The Super Bowl commercial that “wrongly assumed audiences were so familiar with theJohn Carter brand that simply seeing the movie’s title would excite them.”  

4. The reviews didn’t sell any tickets
Critics were largely polite to John Cartersays Robert Fure at Film School Rejects. Apart from a few hyperbolic raves and pans, most reviews fell into “it’s alright” territory. “Consensus is you’ll probably think the movie is okay, but you might want to wait for the DVD” — a death knell for a film that cost $250 million to make. 

5. It never overcame the initial negative buzz
The movie was “doomed by its first trailer,” says Claude Brodesser-Akner at New York. That first action-less and effects-less trailer in July was so “disastrously impotent [and] muddled” that audiences were simply left thinking, “What was that?” Later attempts to refine the marketing campaign came too late.

The film “had become a punch line — to those on whom it managed to register at all.” Once the “established simplistic narrative that the film is a big-budget flop started to take hold in the press,”says Mark Hughes at Forbes, the negative buzz spread so quickly and so loudly that John Carter never stood a chance.

6. Nobody, it seems, wants to go to Mars
Disney now has three relatively recent films set on Mars that have flopped. See previous box office duds Mission to Mars and Mars Needs Moms. “Avoiding the red planet for the next few decades might be a smart move for the Mouse House,” says Gregory Ellwood at HitFix

This post originally appeared at The Week.

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Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 news No Comments

how many millions for this dog that won’t hunt?

whoppervirgins.com was not even live when the TV kicked in. ¬† That’s one expensive spike in search volume. ¬†Anyone know if it drove any sales?


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Friday, February 27th, 2009 digital No Comments

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