This Week In Web - 2.21.14

  •   Miki Pacifico

By Miki Pacifico

This week: Hedge funds get into the ad game, Facebook set on $19B shopping spree, and Upworthy's social fail whale.

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With Ban on Ads Removed, Hedge Funds Test Waters

It's no surprise that with the SEC's removal of regulations limiting the "general solicitation" of investors that hedge fund firms are beginning to dip their toes into the pool. What does this mean for digital marketing? Well, it means a whole new pool of potentially timid ledes. The long history of tight regulations means not only do these firms not know how digital marketing works, but they are more likely to be skeptical of the results. Our goal as an industry should be to usher them into the future of marketing with a gentle, but firm, hand. Click through the link to read more about this ban lift and what it means for the future of the financial industry.

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Facebook to Pay $19 Billion for WhatsApp

Despite rumors of a Google swoop-in, it appears that Facebook - through a semi-bromantic courting - will be purchasing WhatsApp for a record breaking $19B. Zuckerberg and WhatsApp founder Jan Koum have been simmering on the professional-romantic backburner since meeting two years ago and are ready to take their relationship to the next level. Given that the app boasts a mere 55 employee roster, the $345M per employee purchase price is rather impressive (our President, one Douglas Logan, was quite taken aback). Given the rapid growth of the app and high percentage of younger users who utilize it to accomplish daily smart phone tasks without the fees (such as sending pictures and text messages), this may be one profitable and forward thinking move on Facebook's part, which tends to not be their modus operandi. While WhatsApp will benefit from the Facebook infrastructure, the two entities will remain separate, with the app operating as though still a startup. Click through to read more about this merger and to feel bad about your lack of entrepreneurial spirit (why DON'T I own a multi-billion dollar startup?!)

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How Airbnb, Yelp Are Changing Hotel Marketing

Just a quick note on this before I take you through more interesting topics. Major hotel chains are just now realizing that their customers want to explore new cities and not hole themselves away inside their hotel spa. Really? We are just getting this? Red Lion hotels caught on and created local microsites for each of their locations with recommendations for events and sights at the local level. Not at all surprisingly, they saw a significant increase in the number of reservations. That is all I have to say about that.


© The Verge

Upworthy Social Stats Do Not Paint Accurate Picture of Readership

Initial analysis of stats related to Twitter shares and reader rates are showing a major disparity in Upworthy's backend data. Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat, claims that one could extrapolate the data to include other social media platforms such as Facebook. This would throw shade at Upworthy in a big way. Not that I care one iota about Upworthy's reputation, but lets be logical here. Social behavior on Twitter could not be farther from social behavior on Facebook. Twitter users function in 140 character limits and spend next to no time consuming actual content outside of pictures because the consumption of said content requires them to leave the Twitter app or website. Let's not put the cart before the horse here, Tony. Lets also keep in mind that the majority of that data stems from mobile users where the flow from one app to another tends to be stunted. I, for one, tend to forget what app I started out in when I leave it and finish reading whatever article caught my eye. I would be interested to know how they are accessing this data over at Chartbeat, and why they haven't also looked at data for Facebook before making such a bold claim. Click through to read his full analysis of the data and prepare to ever-so-gently place your face in your palm.