Lets you create and browse outfits and buy individual pieces right from the app.
Because, I for one, love to shop. And I love Polyvore, which has been around for about five years as a website, but just now launched its own fancy iPhone app. Want to shop for a certain trend, color, or style? You can find various collages (think Pinterest boards before Pinterest) made by other members—some of which are designers—and fill your virtual shopping bags with wares from links around the internet’s virtual mall. For example, if you were looking for an ugly Christmas sweater you’ll actually wear after that holiday party, you’re in the right app.
Download this app for:
- iPhone, Free
Beautiful picture sets
My wallet hurts in December
The announcement that Pinterest raised a lot of money at a billion-plus valuation was expected; less expected was the name of the lead investor: Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce giant.
This is a brilliant move for everybody involved. Here’s why:
- Pinterest is building a monetization strategy based on driving ecommerce referrals: if you pin something you or someone else who follows you can buy it, and Pinterest gets a referral fee. From what we’ve been told, however, this still drives minimal revenue as Pinterest gets that referral income from a third party company, and because a lot of Pinterest activity is “aspirational” (you might “pin” a $20,000 wedding dress because it’s fabulous, but you’re not going to buy it). Turning Pinterest into a monetization engine would therefore require product optimizations, such as e.g. allowing brands to build stores inside Pinterest. That being said, Pinterest clearly has a lot of potential. As you can see from the chart above, from Capstone Investments’ Rory Maher, Pinterest already drives as much traffic as Twitter despite being years younger.
- This is where Rakuten comes in. Rakuten not only has great e-commerce experience, being the biggest e-commerce company in Japan, it has experience at a very specific kind of e-commerce; what’s known as “B2B2C.” Rakuten’s website is like a “shopping mall” where thousands of small businesses set up storefronts that Rakuten manages and drives traffic to. Rakuten is not like Amazon, in that it’s not a store, but it’s also not like eBay, in that it’s not a pure marketplace. It’s something inbetween, that’s known as B2B2C, that allows businesses to sell to consumers via an intermediary. What’s more Rakuten, starved for growth in its home country, has been on an international warpath, buying leading European and American commerce startups for hundreds of millions of dollars and investing heavily in China.
In other words, Rakuten could teach Pinterest how to become this B2B2C powerhouse; how to become a fee-collecting intermediary for social commerce by figuring out how to connect shoppers and businesses and brands. This would be extremely profitable for everyone involved.
I have a love/hate relationship with CrunchBase. On the one hand, it has great information about startup tech companies. On the other hand, it relies on a wiki-like structure which means it is sometimes not updated as frequently or as accurately as old-style databases which used to employ people go over the data regularly. However, its wikiness means it can be free – pretty useful for the entrepreneur! Perhaps the real unsung hero of CrunchBase is its API which means third party developers can whip up new things with the data. The latest is SeedTable, a new project from Imran Ghory, a founder of CoderStack.
Ghory has built a brand new interface to CrunchBase which exposes a few things CrunchBase itself can’t right now due to the limitation of its interface. And it really is very good. A quick tip: start typing in the name of a city in the search box.
“I wanted to see how London was doing compared to other cities in terms of startups,” Ghory told me. In building SeedTable he realised it was also really useful for discovery, thus you could click London, then Consumer Web, then see who had backed those companies.
So we can now see the ‘Most Active Cities’ (in the last 12 Months) in terms of startup funding are San Francisco, New York and London. However, there are separate figures for Palo Alto and Mountain View, which suggests Silicon Valley remains head and shoulders above the rest overall.
Drilling down to a city, say London, we can see historic trends such as a big hump when many companies were founded in 2008-2011, and we can see VC, Angel and Exits tacking upwards.
One anomaly Ghory found was that companies often only add themselves to CrunchBase after they have funding, which throws their founding data out of whack. If people just entered super-accurate information, and did it early, we’d see better data. (Anyone can add anything to CrunchBase).
SeedTable also exposes the top Angel rankings by investment count in London. This includes The Accelerator Group, Stefan Glaenzer, Index Ventures, Eden Ventures, Seedcamp and Sherry Coutu. The same listing for most active VCs lists Index Ventures, Accel Partners, Eden Ventures, Balderton Capital and Pentech Ventures.
Of course, this only relies on CrunchBase, which needs to be maintained and updated.
When you get to places like Istanbul, CrunchBase starts to show its gaps, with far less data available, even though it’s clear the city is in a tech boom. At least the upward graph is there on founded companies.
SeedTable is an example of data being made a great deal more useful via interface. I can see myself using it almost as much as CrunchBase.
SOPA is an anti-piracy bill working its way through Congress…
House Judiciary Committee Chair and Texas Republican Lamar Smith, along with 12 co-sponsors, introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act on October 26th of last year. Debate on H.R. 3261, as it’s formally known, has consisted of one hearing on November 16th and a “mark-up period” on December 15th, which was designed to make the bill more agreeable to both parties. Its counterpart in the Senate is the Protect IP Act (S. 968). Also known by it’s cuter-but-still-deadly name: PIPA. There will likely be a vote on PIPA next Wednesday; SOPA discussions had been placed on hold but will resume in February of this year.
…that would grant content creators extraordinary power over the internet…
The beating heart of SOPA is the ability of intellectual property owners (read: movie studios and record labels) to effectively pull the plug on foreign sites against whom they have a copyright claim. If Warner Bros., for example, says that a site in Italy is torrenting a copy of The Dark Knight, the studio could demand that Google remove that site from its search results, that PayPal no longer accept payments to or from that site, that ad services pull all ads and finances from it, and—most dangerously—that the site’s ISP prevent people from even going there.
…which would go almost comedically unchecked…
Perhaps the most galling thing about SOPA in its original construction is that it let IP owners take these actions without a single court appearance or judicial sign-off. All it required was a single letter claiming a “good faith belief” that the target site has infringed on its content. Once Google or PayPal or whoever received the quarantine notice, they would have five days to either abide or to challenge the claim in court. Rights holders still have the power to request that kind of blockade, but in the most recent version of the bill the five day window has softened, and companies now would need the court’s permission.
The language in SOPA implies that it’s aimed squarely at foreign offenders; that’s why it focuses on cutting off sources of funding and traffic (generally US-based) rather than directly attacking a targeted site (which is outside of US legal jurisdiction) directly. But that’s just part of it.
…to the point of potentially creating an “Internet Blacklist”…
Here’s the other thing: Payment processors or content providers like Visa or YouTube don’t even need a letter shut off a site’s resources. The bill’s “vigilante” provision gives broad immunity to any provider who proactively shutters sites it considers to be infringers. Which means the MPAA just needs to publicize one list of infringing sites to get those sites blacklisted from the internet.
Potential for abuse is rampant. As Public Knowledge points out, Google could easily take it upon itself to delist every viral video site on the internet with a “good faith belief” that they’re hosting copyrighted material. Leaving YouTube as the only major video portal. Comcast (an ISP) owns NBC (a content provider). Think they might have an interest in shuttering some rival domains? Under SOPA, they can do it without even asking for permission.
…while exacting a huge cost from nearly every site you use daily…
SOPA also includes an “anti-circumvention” clause, which holds that telling people how to work around SOPA is nearly as bad as violating its main provisions. In other words: if your status update links to The Pirate Bay, Facebook would be legally obligated to remove it. Ditto tweets, YouTube videos, Tumblr or WordPress posts, or sites indexed by Google. And if Google, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, etc. let it stand? They face a government “enjoinment.” They could and would be shut down.
The resources it would take to self-police are monumental for established companies, and unattainable for start-ups. SOPA would censor every online social outlet you have, and prevent new ones from emerging.
…and potentially disappearing your entire digital life…
The party line on SOPA is that it only affects seedy off-shore torrent sites. That’s false. As the big legal brains at Bricoleur point out, the potential collateral damage is huge. And it’s you. Because while Facebook and Twitter have the financial wherewithal to stave off anti-circumvention shut down notices, the smaller sites you use to store your photos, your videos, and your thoughts may not. If the government decides any part of that site infringes on copyright and proves it in court? Poof. Your digital life is gone, and you can’t get it back.
…while still managing to be both unnecessary and ineffective…
What’s saddest about SOPA is that it’s pointless on two fronts. In the US, the MPAA, and RIAA already have the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to request that infringing material be taken down. We’ve all seen enough “video removed” messages to know that it works just fine.
As for the foreign operators, you might as well be throwing darts at a tse-tse fly. The poster child of overseas torrenting, Pirate Bay, has made it perfectly clear that they’re not frightened in the least. And why should they be? Its proprietors have successfully evaded any technological attempt to shut them down so far. Its advertising partners aren’t US-based, so they can’t be choked out. But more important than Pirate Bay itself is the idea of Pirate Bay, and the hundreds or thousands of sites like it, as populous and resilient as mushrooms in a marsh. Forget the question of should SOPA succeed. It’s incredibly unlikely that it could. At least at its stated goals.
…but stands a shockingly good chance of passing…
SOPA is, objectively, an unfeasible trainwreck of a bill, one that willfully misunderstands the nature of the internet and portends huge financial and cultural losses. The White House has come out strongly against it. As have hundreds of venture capitalists and dozens of the men and women who helped build the internet in the first place. In spite of all this, it remains popular in the House of Representatives.
That mark-up period on December 15th, the one that was supposed to transform the bill into something more manageable? Useless. Twenty sanity-fueled amendments were flat-out rejected. And while the bill’s most controversial provision—mandatory DNS filtering—was thankfully taken off the table recently, in practice internet providers would almost certainly still use DNS as a tool to shut an accused site down.
…unless we do something about it.
The momentum behind the anti-SOPA movement has been slow to build, but we’re finally at a saturation point. Wikipedia, BoingBoing, WordPress, TwitPic: they’ll all be dark on January 18th. An anti-SOPA rally has been planned for tomorrow afternoon in New York. The list of companies supporting SOPA is long but shrinking, thanks in no small part to the emails and phone calls they’ve received in the last few months.
With Halloween behind us, retailers are now full swing into the Holiday shopping season. And consumers aren’t too far behind. By the end of October, a little more than half of consumers surveyed said that they have begun their Holiday shopping. In fact, 1 out of 10 consumers have completed at least half of their expected Holiday shopping.
Toys and games, electronics, and gift cards were popular gift items to purchase last week. And while 1 in 3 consumers bought books the week end Oct 16, only 14 percent purchased books last week. Santa was in a part mood last week, as can be seen by the jump in event ticket purchases.
Overall spend increased, probably do to the increase in higher ticket value items. The average consumer spent $190 dollar online and $264 dollars in-stores on Holiday gift and items. At this point in the season, consumers are still favoring in-store purchasing.
And where are consumers spending all of those in-store dollars? Walmart, Best Buy, and Kohl’s were the most popular retailers to shop at last week. Macy’s saw a large jump in foot traffic, probably due to their Party & Holiday Home sale.
Compete Holiday Insights™ will be your source for tracking consumers’ online and offline holiday shopping, so stay tuned for more posts like this in the coming weeks.
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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