Joe Ciarallo

Internet Week Chairman On Why He Ditched His Blog for Twitter

In the final installment of our Media Beat series with David-Michel Davies, Executive Director of International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, the organization behind Internet Week New York, he tells us why he gave up his blog for Twitter.

We also chat about why he thinks the iPad is the first device to get media companies really excited, and what he thinks about Apple refusing to let Flash software operate on the device. “It’s unfortunate for users,” he said.

Part 1: Internet Week Chairman: ‘We Created This As An Open Platform’

Part 2: How To Win a Webby Award

Media Beat is’s interview series with the movers and shakers of the media world. View all past episodes at and follow Media Beat on Twitter.

Baratunde Thurston: ‘I Don’t Know That Media Companies Need To Be Saved’

In this final segment of our Media Beat interview with The Onion web and politics editor Baratunde Thurston, we talk digital media trends.

When it comes to location based services that are currently all the rage, Thurston said, “Whether Foursquare itself survives or lasts, I don’t know, but what I do know is that location isn’t going away.”

We then of course talked about the iPad and how it will change the media business. Thurston providing us with video of him “fake buying” an iPad at an Apple store in Manhattan.

He wanted to see if Apple employees would still cheer him on. They did.

When asked if the iPad will help media companies generate more revenue, Thurston said, “I don’t know that media companies need to be saved.”

He did say, “I think the iPad can help an intelligent media company,” but added that many media companies are more interested in “preserving their print margins than they are in taking advantage of these new capabilities” that devices like the iPad present. “They’re more interested in protecting than innovating,” he said.

PART 1: The Onion‘s Baratunde Thurston on the Key to Writing a Catchy Headline

PART 2: The Onion‘s Baratunde Thurston On Why Media Pros Should Diversify

Media Beat is’s interview series with the movers and shakers of the media world. View all past episodes at Follow Media Beat on Twitter.

The Onion’s Baratunde Thurston On Why Media Pros Should Diversify

Like many media professionals these days, Baratunde Thurston wears many hats.

He has been with The Onion for more than two years as Web and politics editor, recently hosted a show on the Science Channel, “Popular Science’s Future Of,” and has a forthcoming book called How To Be Black. Did we mention he also does stand-up comedy?

“It all feeds itself,” he said in the second installment of our Media Beat interview.

“My own comedy benefits just from being around super funny people at The Onion. I get to test out some of the technology and social media ideas I have at a relatively large news organization, fake though it may be, and the stuff I learn out in the tech world I’m able to bring back into my world at The Onion and see if we can kill it there. So I don’t see much of a conflict, it’s actually pretty complementary.”

In fact, “having more than one skill,” Thurston said, “is just a reasonable decision of investment of your time and your talent.”

PART 1: The Onion‘s Baratunde Thurston on the Key to Writing a Catchy Headline

PART 3: Baratunde Thurston: ‘I Don’t Know that Media Companies Need to Be Saved

Media Beat is’s interview series with the movers and shakers of the media world. View all past episodes at Follow Media Beat on Twitter.

Media Beat: Lockhart Steele: ‘I Don’t Know Anyone in the New Media Space…That Has an iPad Strategy’

In the third and final installment of our interview with Lockhart Steele, we asked the Curbed Network founder and president how his company sees itself competing in an online publishing world with more content walls and e-readers.

“Let the big guys figure out some of these answers and just copy them in a good way,” he replied.

We also talked about AOL’s content strategy, whether the CPM will be the dominant online ad pricing format for years to come, and of course, the iPad.

“I don’t know anyone in the new media space, just on the Internet, that has an iPad strategy,” said Steele, adding that many traditional publishers seem to be obsessed with the device. As for Curbed’s mobile strategy, “You can read my site on your iPhone,” said Steele. “Sometimes this stuff gets over-thought.”

Part 1: Lockhart Steele on Nick Denton: ‘I Loved Working For Him’ (FishbowlNY)
Part 2: Curbed Network Founder Lockhart Steele: ‘We Look For Niches Where We Can Be A Little Bit Weird’

Media Beat is’s interview series with the movers and shakers of the media world. View all past episodes at Follow Media Beat on Twitter.

Media Beat: Curbed Network Founder Lockhart Steele: ‘We Look For Niches Where We Can Be A Little Bit Weird’

Curbed Network founder and president Lockhart Steele didn’t necessarily mean for Curbed to become his full-time job. “Somehow it became a job when all I really thought it was going to be was be a hobby,” he told us. His company includes the well-known blogs Curbed, Eater, Racked, and Gridskipper, along with local and national versions.

In the second installment of our interview with Steele, he also said the network gets more traffic from Twitter than Facebook, but mostly because the network does a better job promoting their stories on Twitter.

Of course, everyone wants to know how blog networks can make money. Steele said the company is diversifying its revenue stream with classified listings and job boards. Still, Steele believes in CPM advertising, as it accounts for more than 80 percent of his company’s revenue.

As to where the company may look to expand, “We look for niches where we can be a little bit weird,” Steele said.

Part 1: Lockhart Steele on Nick Denton: ‘I Loved Working For Him’ (FishbowlNY)
Part 3: Lockhart Steele: ‘I Don’t Know Anyone in the New Media Space…That Has an iPad Strategy’.

Media Beat is’s interview series with the movers and shakers of the media world. View all past episodes at

Loopt CEO: We’re Happy Not To Be in Foursquare Versus Gowalla “Battle”


Mobile social mapping service Loopt’s 3.5 million users in the United States dwarf that of Foursquare and Gowalla, who count about 500,000 and 100,000 users, respectively. Despite that fact, much of the chatter about location-based services here at the South by Southwest conference has been framed as “Foursquare versus Gowalla.”

That’s fine with Loopt CEO Sam Altman. Altman sees his company as a different kind of service than Foursquare or Gowalla. Loopt is taking a “hybrid” approach, Altman told WebNewser today, providing both “live tracking” and the “check in” model, which Foursquare is mostly known for. With Loopt, “you don’t have to check in to have a constantly updated map,” said Altman, adding, “mainstream users tend to be more lazy.”


As The New York TimesJenna Wortham recently noted, the “live tracking” model poses a challenge for iPhone users, as the iPhone currently doesn’t allow apps to keep running in the background for continuous monitoring. However, this could change soon, said Altman.

With Loopt, users choose exactly what information they want to make public, and where they want to publish it. This includes the usual suspects of Facebook and Twitter.

“You can’t type in to Google, ‘parties in Austin tonight,’” and get relevant, up to the minute results, said Altman. With Loopt you can.

“In the last year we’ve seen this change, where we’ve hit a critical mass on smartphone penetration with data plans and continued excitement about these services,” he said.

“Ten years ago the most requested feature in phones was a camera. That has shifted to GPS capabilities,” he said. Loopt has deals in place with Sprint, Verizon and AT&T, and the company still generates most of its revenue from these deals, where carriers pay Loopt to bundle the service onto new phones, Altman said.

However, “location based coupons are increasingly part of our revenue,” said Altman. He said brands are eager to set up loyalty programs with the service.

Twitter Launches @anywhere Platform

[Photo: Joe Ciarallo/]


Twitter CEO Evan Williams didn’t announce an ad platform today at the South by Southwest Interactive conference, but instead something he called an “at” platform.

@anywhere, a new platform that will integrate Twitter data with Websites.

“Imagine being able to follow a New York Times journalist directly from her byline, tweet about a video without leaving YouTube, and discover new Twitter accounts while visiting the Yahoo! home page-and that’s just the beginning,” wrote co-founder Biz Stone on the company’s blog.

The platform will launch with partners including Digg, The New York Times,, eBay, Amazon, and Bing.

Some are already speculating on how Twitter can drive revenue from the platform, including having content partners pay for the data, as the company did via their deals with Microsoft’s Bing and Google.

Williams was not clear as to when the platform will go live.

On another note, Williams also mentioned that the company is sending sending cease and desists “every day” to shady Twitter marketing companies that look to scam the system by allowing people to buy followers and influence on the site.

More to come…

More Power to the People in the Next Version of Digg

digg 2
Digg event at Stubbs BBQ, Austin

The annual Digg event at Stubbs BBQ is a who’s who in tech for SXSW Interactive – an evening of hanging out in what is essentially a field of dirt, to drink cans of Lone Star and listen to live entertainment.

This year, Digg made a big announcement at their event- they are about to launch the next version of the popular social bookmarking news site, which promises to be faster and easier to use. Digg CEO Jay Adelson highlighted new features – log ins will no longer be required to submit news, opening up the number of submissions to millions. Users’ home pages will be tailored to their own interests, and any keyword can be its own category, creating an unlimited number of topics. The new Digg will increase the amount of content one can consume, and Adelson made sure to stress personalization and curation – “The people who curate this stuff are you guys.”

Post announcement, Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht took the stage for a live edition of Diggnation. The crowd was completely enthralled; they have become the Rolling Stones of the web. I stuck around for the live entertainment, NYC band The Walkmen, though when they finally took the stage, the audience was down to half. The excitement was truly over Digg and their news about what’s next. More exciting, it seemed, than a free live show by a hot, indie band.

People can sign up to test the new Digg here:

This post was authored by Kirsten Cluthe.

HuffPo CTO Paul Berry: Sponsored Comments Will Help Brands Be Able To Respond

Today at the South by Southwest conference, Huffington Post Chief Technology Officer Paul Berry previewed one thing his team is working on launching in the near future: sponsored comments.

Berry said that brands are “getting good at listening,” but, “being able to actually respond is something that they’re struggling with the ‘how to.’”

When asked what trends he is looking at to help HuffPo continue to grow its traffic, Berry said, “I think it’s pretty clear that real-time is tremendously important to covering what’s happening in the world.”

Real time for HuffPo includes Twitter and Facebook of course, but also Google Buzz, which Berry said “is going to become tremendously important.”

“If You Think The Internet Is Going to Replace Cable, You’re Crazy” Mark Cuban, HDNet

Cuban Ronen

What is the future of television, and how can anyone make money in the business of internet TV? Mark Cuban, founder of and HDNet, and Avner Ronen, founder of Boxee, took a heated debate that began online to the stage yesterday at SXSW.


It is pretty clear that their business philosophies are intrinsically different. Mark Cuban is a successful entrepreneur turned investor, and he’s all about making money. Avner Ronen would like to make money, too – eventually. His start up, Boxee, is one of several new online entertainment products trying to be the new television network, studio, and distribution platform. Though innovative, Boxee is not yet profitable.

Their disagreement is over how quickly the Internet will become the primary method for high-definition video delivery. Cuban believes that television, as it is now, will never go away. His points are well made; the technology to deliver high quality content isn’t here yet, and such disruption would require the public to change their behavior.

“If you think the Internet is going to replace cable, you’re crazy,” Cuban said.

For the audience as SXSW, this is a foreign concept: what do you mean, there are people who don’t watch Hulu? Everyone in this crowd streams, downloads and believes the Internet is the solution to just about every problem there is. But, what is the business model? Not one that could totally change the broadcast television and cable ecosystem.

When the conversation turned to the audience, many people just wanted to complain about their cable providers. One audience member said, “I dropped my cable and moved to watching everything online, because I don’t want to be screwed by the man.”

“The man’s always going to screw you, dude,” Mark Cuban responded.

But the SXSW crowd wants a revolution, and they see companies like Boxee as leading the charge.

This post was authored by Kirsten Cluthe – thanks for letting me borrow your MT account, Joe!