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[VIDEO] ExtraHop CEO Jesse Rothstein

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Saturday 31 May 2014 5:01 am

To date, ExtraHop has raised a total of $61.6 million in funding to fuel its growth as a real-time wire data analytics vendor.

In a video interview with Enterprise Networking Planet, ExtraHop CEO Jesse Rothstein explains what his company’s technology is all about and why it’s different than simply running an open-source packet sniffer on a network.

“ExtraHop is a platform for wire data analysis,” Rothstein said. “We allow people to extract intelligence from the wire data.”

Read the full story at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet:
ExtraHop Raises $41 Million for Network Monitoring [VIDEO]

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Comcast, Blasted By Customers, Disappoints Developers Too

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 May 2014 10:57 pm

Wednesday, at the Code Conference in Los Angeles, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts told an audience of technology executives, analysts and journalists that he’s “trying to change the company.” He has a team comprising more than a thousand software engineers, he said, suggesting the cable provider wants to become a major player in the software development game.

It’s an ambitious goal, even if it does seem a little unlikely. For all of the company’s vast coffers, there’s still one thing it doesn’t have: APIs released to the developer community. There’s no way for outside app makers to work with Comcast’s latest X1 television platform.

Picking up on this, an audience member asked Roberts when that will change. The chief executive offered no date or estimated timeline. Instead, he said, “[It’s] on the road map.”

Vague much?

Developing Frustration

X1 is Comcast’s attempt to beat back the cord-cutting movement. A HTML5-based Internet television platform, it offers a “set-top-box-in-the-cloud” premise—blending live television with streaming and apps—making for Comcast’s most innovative, technologically relevant product yet.

As a product offering, it has had limited test runs up until now, but Comcast hopes to officially roll it out this year. The potential reach could be enormous. According to the New York Times, Comcast currently services 21.7 million total video subscribers.

That raises the stakes for potential developers, particularly if this “road map” actually leads somewhere. It’s a hazy, amorphous promise. Until the company offers some clarity, only one thing is really crystal clear: Comcast isn’t offering outside developers any APIs, or application programming interfaces, to make apps for this X1 platform. Some day, sure. But not now.

It’s baffling, given Roberts’ declaration—especially when you consider that X1 is an emerging platform about to launch in an app-driven world created by the likes of Apple and Google. X1 only has a few applications from outside companies, primarily Facebook and Pandora. Comcast is reportedly pursuing a deal with game company Electronic Arts, but even if it succeeds, those would be streaming games, not apps. As it stands, there’s no Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube, much less apps from smaller developers like Plex. There’s not even an app for Angry Birds, Flappy Birds or any other type of birds.

Of course, Comcast owns the platform, so it can do whatever it wants. But there’s something a bit arrogant about a company that believes it can innovate better on its own (or by cherry-picking partners) than the broader community.

If the company really does want to become something other than the dictator of cable TV and Internet broadband pipes that people think it is—if it wants to step out as a technological innovator—then it needs to do something different. It needs to embrace the developer community.

Comcast should have its APIs ready for launch. At the least, it should plan to ramp up for a quick release shortly after X1 rolls out, sending developers invitations to sign up. Comcast shouldn’t keep developers on the back burner, waiting around until the company gets around to it. Some day. Eventually.

“We Don’t Wake Up Wanting To Be Hated”


Meanwhile, when it comes to the public at large, the cable company sits in the hot seat. ”We don’t wake up every day, and go to work and say, ‘We want to be hated,'” Roberts said in response to a question from an audience member. The topic was Comcast and Time Warner Cable—the object of its acquisition dreamsranking near the bottom for customer satisfaction.

Glenn Derene, electronics editor at Consumer Reports, believes he knows why: “Everything else in consumer technology is getting more affordable every year—everything except communications services.”

But Roberts clearly doesn’t think that’s the full story. At the Code Conference, he cited his reasoning for the Comcast hate: It’s a consumer-facing company, he said, so it takes the flack when others raise their prices. (The “others” here likely refers to TV studios and networks, and their expensive rights or programming agreements.)

It’s an excuse that’s about as satisfying as “it’s on the road map.” And if it were true, all cable and satellite providers would be in a heated race to the bottom, not just those two.

This issue and the attitude toward developers are fundamentally connected. Comcast has an opportunity to pursue a robust ecosystem, one that welcomes developers and excites customers. Allowing third-party developers to bring their apps and services to X1 would provide more services, features and entertainment to end users. And it could do it without those expensive content deals. Too bad the company appears to be squandering this opportunity to turn sentiment around.

Roberts said he wants to change the company. And he has a pathway to do so. Unfortunately, with arrogance and excuses, it just looks like more of the same.

Comcast was contacted for this article, but as of this writing, had not replied to inquiries.

Image by Owen Thomas for ReadWrite

Comcast, Blasted By Customers, Disappoints Developers Too

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 May 2014 10:57 pm

Wednesday, at the Code Conference in Los Angeles, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts told an audience of technology executives, analysts and journalists that he’s “trying to change the company.” He has a team comprising more than a thousand software engineers, he said, suggesting the cable provider wants to become a major player in the software development game.

It’s an ambitious goal, even if it does seem a little unlikely. For all of the company’s vast coffers, there’s still one thing it doesn’t have: APIs released to the developer community. There’s no way for outside app makers to work with Comcast’s latest X1 television platform.

Picking up on this, an audience member asked Roberts when that will change. The chief executive offered no date or estimated timeline. Instead, he said, “[It’s] on the road map.”

Vague much?

Developing Frustration

X1 is Comcast’s attempt to beat back the cord-cutting movement. A HTML5-based Internet television platform, it offers a “set-top-box-in-the-cloud” premise—blending live television with streaming and apps—making for Comcast’s most innovative, technologically relevant product yet.

As a product offering, it has had limited test runs up until now, but Comcast hopes to officially roll it out this year. The potential reach could be enormous. According to the New York Times, Comcast currently services 21.7 million total video subscribers.

That raises the stakes for potential developers, particularly if this “road map” actually leads somewhere. It’s a hazy, amorphous promise. Until the company offers some clarity, only one thing is really crystal clear: Comcast isn’t offering outside developers any APIs, or application programming interfaces, to make apps for this X1 platform. Some day, sure. But not now.

It’s baffling, given Roberts’ declaration—especially when you consider that X1 is an emerging platform about to launch in an app-driven world created by the likes of Apple and Google. X1 only has a few applications from outside companies, primarily Facebook and Pandora. Comcast is reportedly pursuing a deal with game company Electronic Arts, but even if it succeeds, those would be streaming games, not apps. As it stands, there’s no Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube, much less apps from smaller developers like Plex. There’s not even an app for Angry Birds, Flappy Birds or any other type of birds.

Of course, Comcast owns the platform, so it can do whatever it wants. But there’s something a bit arrogant about a company that believes it can innovate better on its own (or by cherry-picking partners) than the broader community.

If the company really does want to become something other than the dictator of cable TV and Internet broadband pipes that people think it is—if it wants to step out as a technological innovator—then it needs to do something different. It needs to embrace the developer community.

Comcast should have its APIs ready for launch. At the least, it should plan to ramp up for a quick release shortly after X1 rolls out, sending developers invitations to sign up. Comcast shouldn’t keep developers on the back burner, waiting around until the company gets around to it. Some day. Eventually.

“We Don’t Wake Up Wanting To Be Hated”


Meanwhile, when it comes to the public at large, the cable company sits in the hot seat. ”We don’t wake up every day, and go to work and say, ‘We want to be hated,'” Roberts said in response to a question from an audience member. The topic was Comcast and Time Warner Cable—the object of its acquisition dreamsranking near the bottom for customer satisfaction.

Glenn Derene, electronics editor at Consumer Reports, believes he knows why: “Everything else in consumer technology is getting more affordable every year—everything except communications services.”

But Roberts clearly doesn’t think that’s the full story. At the Code Conference, he cited his reasoning for the Comcast hate: It’s a consumer-facing company, he said, so it takes the flack when others raise their prices. (The “others” here likely refers to TV studios and networks, and their expensive rights or programming agreements.)

It’s an excuse that’s about as satisfying as “it’s on the road map.” And if it were true, all cable and satellite providers would be in a heated race to the bottom, not just those two.

This issue and the attitude toward developers are fundamentally connected. Comcast has an opportunity to pursue a robust ecosystem, one that welcomes developers and excites customers. Allowing third-party developers to bring their apps and services to X1 would provide more services, features and entertainment to end users. And it could do it without those expensive content deals. Too bad the company appears to be squandering this opportunity to turn sentiment around.

Roberts said he wants to change the company. And he has a pathway to do so. Unfortunately, with arrogance and excuses, it just looks like more of the same.

Comcast was contacted for this article, but as of this writing, had not replied to inquiries.

Image by Owen Thomas for ReadWrite

Comcast, Blasted By Customers, Disappoints Developers Too

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 May 2014 10:57 pm

Wednesday, at the Code Conference in Los Angeles, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts told an audience of technology executives, analysts and journalists that he’s “trying to change the company.” He has a team comprising more than a thousand software engineers, he said, suggesting the cable provider wants to become a major player in the software development game.

It’s an ambitious goal, even if it does seem a little unlikely. For all of the company’s vast coffers, there’s still one thing it doesn’t have: APIs released to the developer community. There’s no way for outside app makers to work with Comcast’s latest X1 television platform.

Picking up on this, an audience member asked Roberts when that will change. The chief executive offered no date or estimated timeline. Instead, he said, “[It’s] on the road map.”

Vague much?

Developing Frustration

X1 is Comcast’s attempt to beat back the cord-cutting movement. A HTML5-based Internet television platform, it offers a “set-top-box-in-the-cloud” premise—blending live television with streaming and apps—making for Comcast’s most innovative, technologically relevant product yet.

As a product offering, it has had limited test runs up until now, but Comcast hopes to officially roll it out this year. The potential reach could be enormous. According to the New York Times, Comcast currently services 21.7 million total video subscribers.

That raises the stakes for potential developers, particularly if this “road map” actually leads somewhere. It’s a hazy, amorphous promise. Until the company offers some clarity, only one thing is really crystal clear: Comcast isn’t offering outside developers any APIs, or application programming interfaces, to make apps for this X1 platform. Some day, sure. But not now.

It’s baffling, given Roberts’ declaration—especially when you consider that X1 is an emerging platform about to launch in an app-driven world created by the likes of Apple and Google. X1 only has a few applications from outside companies, primarily Facebook and Pandora. Comcast is reportedly pursuing a deal with game company Electronic Arts, but even if it succeeds, those would be streaming games, not apps. As it stands, there’s no Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube, much less apps from smaller developers like Plex. There’s not even an app for Angry Birds, Flappy Birds or any other type of birds.

Of course, Comcast owns the platform, so it can do whatever it wants. But there’s something a bit arrogant about a company that believes it can innovate better on its own (or by cherry-picking partners) than the broader community.

If the company really does want to become something other than the dictator of cable TV and Internet broadband pipes that people think it is—if it wants to step out as a technological innovator—then it needs to do something different. It needs to embrace the developer community.

Comcast should have its APIs ready for launch. At the least, it should plan to ramp up for a quick release shortly after X1 rolls out, sending developers invitations to sign up. Comcast shouldn’t keep developers on the back burner, waiting around until the company gets around to it. Some day. Eventually.

“We Don’t Wake Up Wanting To Be Hated”


Meanwhile, when it comes to the public at large, the cable company sits in the hot seat. ”We don’t wake up every day, and go to work and say, ‘We want to be hated,'” Roberts said in response to a question from an audience member. The topic was Comcast and Time Warner Cable—the object of its acquisition dreamsranking near the bottom for customer satisfaction.

Glenn Derene, electronics editor at Consumer Reports, believes he knows why: “Everything else in consumer technology is getting more affordable every year—everything except communications services.”

But Roberts clearly doesn’t think that’s the full story. At the Code Conference, he cited his reasoning for the Comcast hate: It’s a consumer-facing company, he said, so it takes the flack when others raise their prices. (The “others” here likely refers to TV studios and networks, and their expensive rights or programming agreements.)

It’s an excuse that’s about as satisfying as “it’s on the road map.” And if it were true, all cable and satellite providers would be in a heated race to the bottom, not just those two.

This issue and the attitude toward developers are fundamentally connected. Comcast has an opportunity to pursue a robust ecosystem, one that welcomes developers and excites customers. Allowing third-party developers to bring their apps and services to X1 would provide more services, features and entertainment to end users. And it could do it without those expensive content deals. Too bad the company appears to be squandering this opportunity to turn sentiment around.

Roberts said he wants to change the company. And he has a pathway to do so. Unfortunately, with arrogance and excuses, it just looks like more of the same.

Comcast was contacted for this article, but as of this writing, had not replied to inquiries.

Image by Owen Thomas for ReadWrite

How An Early Mistake Shaped Pinterest’s Plans For Making Money

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 May 2014 10:57 pm

How An Early Mistake Shaped Pinterest's Plans For Making Money

Pinterest has never been in a hurry to convert investor dollars into financial gains—and given that it’s raised close to three-quarters of a billion dollars over the past five years, it hasn’t needed to be. 

But the visual social pinboard is finally getting serious about making money. Last winter, it hired former San Francisco Chronicle president Joanne Bradford, who today serves as head of commercial and content partnerships at Pinterest.

Joanne Bradford, photo courtesy of Pinterest.Joanne Bradford, photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Now that Bradford’s been at Pinterest for six months, the site’s commercial strategy is becoming clearer. This month, her team unveiled the latest stage of “promoted pins,” which are essentially advertiser-sponsored versions of the image-based bookmarks—known as “pins”—that Pinterest users put up and share on the site.

“The Pinterest mission is to help people discover things,” Bradford told me in a recent interview. “Promoted pins help people discover, and help brands be discovered.”

Second Time’s A Charm

Pinterest’s promoted-pins strategy has been extremely cautious. When the company first announced promoted pins last September, shortly before hiring Bradford, the sponsored pins blended right into the woodwork of the site. A promoted pin for a camping lantern would be almost indistinguishable from the regular rustic images that come up on a search for “hiking.” 

The origin of that incrementalist approach to advertising traces back to an early Pinterest misstep in February 2012. Back then, the site was so small it didn’t have a PR department. So when Pinterest did some quiet experimentation with automatic affiliate linking—that is, by adding tracking code to pins that linked to e-commerce sites, a technique that could be used to generate revenue—it didn’t disclose what it was up to.

Then pinners such as technology blogger Josh Davis discovered the automatic affiliate links and criticized the site for allegedly profiting off of user’s pins without telling anyone. The whole affair blew up into a mini-scandal, prompting Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann to call Davis and explain the testing process.

Ever since, Pinterest has been extremely wary about maintaining the trust of its pinners. You can see how that’s played out with promoted pins, which Bradford described as an idea shaped by surveying lots of users. It’s not just about making sure users are aware of how Pinterest makes money, but that it’s making money in a way that won’t squick out users the way affiliate links did.

“Promoted pins [are] the result of much testing,” she said. “You can only find the pins in searches and category feeds right now, where they’re most relevant and [least intrusive.] It’s the result of a lot of pinner and marketer feedback.” 

Slow And Steady

In September, promoted pins highlighted images for testing purposes. Beginning this May, promoted pins from an initial set of 12 advertisers will begin appearing in Pinterest categories and search results. 

From ABC Family to Walt Disney, they’re brands you’ve already heard of, which is probably why Pinterest selected them. Bradford noted that 93 out of the world’s top 100 brands have accounts on Pinterest, and there’s lots of advertiser demand for promoted pins. 

“Brands find Pinterest to be a rich canvas to tell their stories,” she said. “We’re very flexible. Search and display ads are a little bit confined in how you can tell your story to consumers.”

Even though promoted pins will only show up in particular parts of the site, opening the floodgates to all brands without alienating users might be tricky. Even Facebook and Twitter haven’t find a way to promote companies that doesn’t jar users out of their browsing experiences. So, as usual, Pinterest is currently opting for transparency and testing.

Bradford’s current plan is to help those advertisers learn how to best use Pinterest. Ideally, brands will then providing the kind of pins users like to see, making their promoted pins look less like ads and more like everyday shared images.

“Partnerships [with brands] aren’t just, ‘Go get ad dollars.’ That’s not how we think about it here,” Bradford says. “We’re really about teaching partners how to be their best on Pinterest and connect consumers in a very authentic way.”

How An Early Mistake Shaped Pinterest’s Plans For Making Money

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 May 2014 10:57 pm

How An Early Mistake Shaped Pinterest's Plans For Making Money

Pinterest has never been in a hurry to convert investor dollars into financial gains—and given that it’s raised close to three-quarters of a billion dollars over the past five years, it hasn’t needed to be. 

But the visual social pinboard is finally getting serious about making money. Last winter, it hired former San Francisco Chronicle president Joanne Bradford, who today serves as head of commercial and content partnerships at Pinterest.

Joanne Bradford, photo courtesy of Pinterest.Joanne Bradford, photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Now that Bradford’s been at Pinterest for six months, the site’s commercial strategy is becoming clearer. This month, her team unveiled the latest stage of “promoted pins,” which are essentially advertiser-sponsored versions of the image-based bookmarks—known as “pins”—that Pinterest users put up and share on the site.

“The Pinterest mission is to help people discover things,” Bradford told me in a recent interview. “Promoted pins help people discover, and help brands be discovered.”

Second Time’s A Charm

Pinterest’s promoted-pins strategy has been extremely cautious. When the company first announced promoted pins last September, shortly before hiring Bradford, the sponsored pins blended right into the woodwork of the site. A promoted pin for a camping lantern would be almost indistinguishable from the regular rustic images that come up on a search for “hiking.” 

The origin of that incrementalist approach to advertising traces back to an early Pinterest misstep in February 2012. Back then, the site was so small it didn’t have a PR department. So when Pinterest did some quiet experimentation with automatic affiliate linking—that is, by adding tracking code to pins that linked to e-commerce sites, a technique that could be used to generate revenue—it didn’t disclose what it was up to.

Then pinners such as technology blogger Josh Davis discovered the automatic affiliate links and criticized the site for allegedly profiting off of user’s pins without telling anyone. The whole affair blew up into a mini-scandal, prompting Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann to call Davis and explain the testing process.

Ever since, Pinterest has been extremely wary about maintaining the trust of its pinners. You can see how that’s played out with promoted pins, which Bradford described as an idea shaped by surveying lots of users. It’s not just about making sure users are aware of how Pinterest makes money, but that it’s making money in a way that won’t squick out users the way affiliate links did.

“Promoted pins [are] the result of much testing,” she said. “You can only find the pins in searches and category feeds right now, where they’re most relevant and [least intrusive.] It’s the result of a lot of pinner and marketer feedback.” 

Slow And Steady

In September, promoted pins highlighted images for testing purposes. Beginning this May, promoted pins from an initial set of 12 advertisers will begin appearing in Pinterest categories and search results. 

From ABC Family to Walt Disney, they’re brands you’ve already heard of, which is probably why Pinterest selected them. Bradford noted that 93 out of the world’s top 100 brands have accounts on Pinterest, and there’s lots of advertiser demand for promoted pins. 

“Brands find Pinterest to be a rich canvas to tell their stories,” she said. “We’re very flexible. Search and display ads are a little bit confined in how you can tell your story to consumers.”

Even though promoted pins will only show up in particular parts of the site, opening the floodgates to all brands without alienating users might be tricky. Even Facebook and Twitter haven’t find a way to promote companies that doesn’t jar users out of their browsing experiences. So, as usual, Pinterest is currently opting for transparency and testing.

Bradford’s current plan is to help those advertisers learn how to best use Pinterest. Ideally, brands will then providing the kind of pins users like to see, making their promoted pins look less like ads and more like everyday shared images.

“Partnerships [with brands] aren’t just, ‘Go get ad dollars.’ That’s not how we think about it here,” Bradford says. “We’re really about teaching partners how to be their best on Pinterest and connect consumers in a very authentic way.”

How An Early Mistake Shaped Pinterest’s Plans For Making Money

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 May 2014 10:57 pm

How An Early Mistake Shaped Pinterest's Plans For Making Money

Pinterest has never been in a hurry to convert investor dollars into financial gains—and given that it’s raised close to three-quarters of a billion dollars over the past five years, it hasn’t needed to be. 

But the visual social pinboard is finally getting serious about making money. Last winter, it hired former San Francisco Chronicle president Joanne Bradford, who today serves as head of commercial and content partnerships at Pinterest.

Joanne Bradford, photo courtesy of Pinterest.Joanne Bradford, photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Now that Bradford’s been at Pinterest for six months, the site’s commercial strategy is becoming clearer. This month, her team unveiled the latest stage of “promoted pins,” which are essentially advertiser-sponsored versions of the image-based bookmarks—known as “pins”—that Pinterest users put up and share on the site.

“The Pinterest mission is to help people discover things,” Bradford told me in a recent interview. “Promoted pins help people discover, and help brands be discovered.”

Second Time’s A Charm

Pinterest’s promoted-pins strategy has been extremely cautious. When the company first announced promoted pins last September, shortly before hiring Bradford, the sponsored pins blended right into the woodwork of the site. A promoted pin for a camping lantern would be almost indistinguishable from the regular rustic images that come up on a search for “hiking.” 

The origin of that incrementalist approach to advertising traces back to an early Pinterest misstep in February 2012. Back then, the site was so small it didn’t have a PR department. So when Pinterest did some quiet experimentation with automatic affiliate linking—that is, by adding tracking code to pins that linked to e-commerce sites, a technique that could be used to generate revenue—it didn’t disclose what it was up to.

Then pinners such as technology blogger Josh Davis discovered the automatic affiliate links and criticized the site for allegedly profiting off of user’s pins without telling anyone. The whole affair blew up into a mini-scandal, prompting Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann to call Davis and explain the testing process.

Ever since, Pinterest has been extremely wary about maintaining the trust of its pinners. You can see how that’s played out with promoted pins, which Bradford described as an idea shaped by surveying lots of users. It’s not just about making sure users are aware of how Pinterest makes money, but that it’s making money in a way that won’t squick out users the way affiliate links did.

“Promoted pins [are] the result of much testing,” she said. “You can only find the pins in searches and category feeds right now, where they’re most relevant and [least intrusive.] It’s the result of a lot of pinner and marketer feedback.” 

Slow And Steady

In September, promoted pins highlighted images for testing purposes. Beginning this May, promoted pins from an initial set of 12 advertisers will begin appearing in Pinterest categories and search results. 

From ABC Family to Walt Disney, they’re brands you’ve already heard of, which is probably why Pinterest selected them. Bradford noted that 93 out of the world’s top 100 brands have accounts on Pinterest, and there’s lots of advertiser demand for promoted pins. 

“Brands find Pinterest to be a rich canvas to tell their stories,” she said. “We’re very flexible. Search and display ads are a little bit confined in how you can tell your story to consumers.”

Even though promoted pins will only show up in particular parts of the site, opening the floodgates to all brands without alienating users might be tricky. Even Facebook and Twitter haven’t find a way to promote companies that doesn’t jar users out of their browsing experiences. So, as usual, Pinterest is currently opting for transparency and testing.

Bradford’s current plan is to help those advertisers learn how to best use Pinterest. Ideally, brands will then providing the kind of pins users like to see, making their promoted pins look less like ads and more like everyday shared images.

“Partnerships [with brands] aren’t just, ‘Go get ad dollars.’ That’s not how we think about it here,” Bradford says. “We’re really about teaching partners how to be their best on Pinterest and connect consumers in a very authentic way.”

How An Early Mistake Shaped Pinterest’s Plans For Making Money

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 May 2014 10:57 pm

How An Early Mistake Shaped Pinterest's Plans For Making Money

Pinterest has never been in a hurry to convert investor dollars into financial gains—and given that it’s raised close to three-quarters of a billion dollars over the past five years, it hasn’t needed to be. 

But the visual social pinboard is finally getting serious about making money. Last winter, it hired former San Francisco Chronicle president Joanne Bradford, who today serves as head of commercial and content partnerships at Pinterest.

Joanne Bradford, photo courtesy of Pinterest.Joanne Bradford, photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Now that Bradford’s been at Pinterest for six months, the site’s commercial strategy is becoming clearer. This month, her team unveiled the latest stage of “promoted pins,” which are essentially advertiser-sponsored versions of the image-based bookmarks—known as “pins”—that Pinterest users put up and share on the site.

“The Pinterest mission is to help people discover things,” Bradford told me in a recent interview. “Promoted pins help people discover, and help brands be discovered.”

Second Time’s A Charm

Pinterest’s promoted-pins strategy has been extremely cautious. When the company first announced promoted pins last September, shortly before hiring Bradford, the sponsored pins blended right into the woodwork of the site. A promoted pin for a camping lantern would be almost indistinguishable from the regular rustic images that come up on a search for “hiking.” 

The origin of that incrementalist approach to advertising traces back to an early Pinterest misstep in February 2012. Back then, the site was so small it didn’t have a PR department. So when Pinterest did some quiet experimentation with automatic affiliate linking—that is, by adding tracking code to pins that linked to e-commerce sites, a technique that could be used to generate revenue—it didn’t disclose what it was up to.

Then pinners such as technology blogger Josh Davis discovered the automatic affiliate links and criticized the site for allegedly profiting off of user’s pins without telling anyone. The whole affair blew up into a mini-scandal, prompting Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann to call Davis and explain the testing process.

Ever since, Pinterest has been extremely wary about maintaining the trust of its pinners. You can see how that’s played out with promoted pins, which Bradford described as an idea shaped by surveying lots of users. It’s not just about making sure users are aware of how Pinterest makes money, but that it’s making money in a way that won’t squick out users the way affiliate links did.

“Promoted pins [are] the result of much testing,” she said. “You can only find the pins in searches and category feeds right now, where they’re most relevant and [least intrusive.] It’s the result of a lot of pinner and marketer feedback.” 

Slow And Steady

In September, promoted pins highlighted images for testing purposes. Beginning this May, promoted pins from an initial set of 12 advertisers will begin appearing in Pinterest categories and search results. 

From ABC Family to Walt Disney, they’re brands you’ve already heard of, which is probably why Pinterest selected them. Bradford noted that 93 out of the world’s top 100 brands have accounts on Pinterest, and there’s lots of advertiser demand for promoted pins. 

“Brands find Pinterest to be a rich canvas to tell their stories,” she said. “We’re very flexible. Search and display ads are a little bit confined in how you can tell your story to consumers.”

Even though promoted pins will only show up in particular parts of the site, opening the floodgates to all brands without alienating users might be tricky. Even Facebook and Twitter haven’t find a way to promote companies that doesn’t jar users out of their browsing experiences. So, as usual, Pinterest is currently opting for transparency and testing.

Bradford’s current plan is to help those advertisers learn how to best use Pinterest. Ideally, brands will then providing the kind of pins users like to see, making their promoted pins look less like ads and more like everyday shared images.

“Partnerships [with brands] aren’t just, ‘Go get ad dollars.’ That’s not how we think about it here,” Bradford says. “We’re really about teaching partners how to be their best on Pinterest and connect consumers in a very authentic way.”

TrueCrypt Project Goes Bust

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 May 2014 4:20 am

The TrueCrypt project is hosted on the SourceForge open-source code repository, which posted an ominous warning May 28:”Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues.”

The project is now recommending that users migrate away from TrueCrypt to other disk-encryption technologies. Frankly, I’m not too surprised. TrueCrypt was recently audited in a report by iSec Partners, and although the report did not find any obvious large security issues, it wasn’t exactly favorable, either.

Read the full story at eWEEK:
TrueCrypt Open-Source Disk-Encryption Project Shuts Down –

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Microsoft Is Also Reportedly Piling Into The Smartwatch Race

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Thursday 29 May 2014 10:12 am

When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said his company would forget past blunders—like missing the boat on smartphones—and focus on the future, he wasn’t kidding. The Surface maker is planning on entering the rapidly growing smartwatch market with its very own wristworn contender, Forbes reports.

According to sources “with knowledge of the company’s plans,” the device will be festooned with sensors and will incorporate technology and expertise from Microsoft’s Kinect motion-detecting controller, specifically in optical engineering, to continuously track heart rate. The gadget will supposedly feature a color display oriented on the underside of the wrist, presumably for privacy protection, with an overall appearance similar to Samsung’s Gear Fit.

Unlike Samsung’s device, however, Microsoft’s version will work with Androids, iPhones and Windows Phones when it debuts, possibly this summer.

Image collage by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

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