It was bad enough that companies like Facebook and Google relentlessly mine your information and sell it to advertisers. But now third-party startups are getting into the mix. Thanks to unprecedented access to photos uploaded to apps like Instagram, these third-parties are scanning and storing people's photos on behalf of major advertisers.
Soylent, the semen-esque food substitute financed by venture capitalists, is nothing if not resilient. It can keep you sated for hours with a full, gaseous feeling. It can even withstand reports of rats in its kitchen and still show up in The New Yorker. But slurping the fun out of life's most basic pleasure requires some social media marketing.
Instagram is experimenting with using Facebook Places for location rather than Foursquare. This is bad for Foursquare's chance to make money by being the "location layer" for the internet, although Pinterest, Vine, and Flickr use Foursquare for free. It's bad for Instagram users because Facebook Places blows.
Last July describing the cultural impact of Black Twitter, Buzzfeed's Shani O. Hilton wrote, "It's diffuse, powerful, and all around you." That's the kind of active, influential user base that startups dream of. But we've barely heard a peep about it from Twitter. Now that it needs ad revenue, that's changing.
Tech investors said Viddy, an Instagram clone with video, was worth $370 million. The tech press parroted the "Instagram for video" line until their lips chapped, assuming it was true—since when is app hype wrong? Turns out it was! The startup just sold itself for an itty bitty percentage of that figure, because no one used it.
Mobli, a shameless Instagram ripoff, was just supposed to be another hobby for bored famous people. With inexplicable investors like Serena Williams, Tobey Maguire, Lance Armstrong, and Leo DiCaprio, the app was one more harmless vanity project among many. But then the second richest man in the world came along.