Apparently, Telegrams are Still a Thing

MAKE ME

MAKE ME

In 2006, Western Union announced the end of its telegram services, leading many to proclaim an end to the messaging service whose popularity once approximated that of WhatsApp.

Apparently, however, you can still send a telegram — just not through Western Union. Instead, International Telegram, or iTelegram, picks up the slack. According to Wikipedia:

iTelegram provides telegram, mailgram and telex service. In the United States, iTelegram still operates the telegram service which, until 2006, was marketed under the Western Union brand.

Niftily, in the UK at least, “for telegrams to hotels, inns or B&B’s, a street address is not necessary. For example, ‘Hilton Heathrow, London’ is sufficient.”

With “daring” billboard (and lack of punctuation), PrimeHangout aims at Facebook

At least it's not another messaging app.

At least it’s not another messaging app.

The social networking wars resurge, this time in the form of billboard dares. The latest entrant to the arena is PrimeHangout, spotted in San Francisco by Jonathan Cowperthwait, Product Marketing Manager at social analytics startup awe.sm.

Taking aim at Facebook’s billion-or-so users, PrimeHangout offers “Social media with artificial intelligence!” adding, “The future is here” — apparently a future freed from the constraints of pesky, sentence-ending typographical marks.

We are the Next Step” claims the Philadephia-based startup, to approximately fifteen Twitter followers.

Registration for the site is “FREE” (emphasis theirs) and features a bevy of in-network apps, including sClassified©, Transparency©, PH Mall, Relationship, MyPicBook©, DocuTrail©, and Music & Movies.

“All these,” they enticingly claim, “plus Games and more.” (Ed: Punctuation added.)

Brave internet pioneers may sign up today, turning dares into dollars that will hopefully fund even more of these fantastic advertisements.

Let the competition begin

Price Per User: The Surprisingly Average Metric Behind the WhatsApp Aquisition

All your users are belong to us.

All your users are belong to us. (Source: Statista)

Think the price tag for the WhatsApp acquisition is special? Think again.

Via a post on her Napsterization blog, serial entrepreneur Mary Hodder tipped me off to a new perspective that justifies the $16-to-$19-billion acquisition: price per user.

Hodder points to a chart on statistics aggregation site Statista, cited above, compiling the price per user paid for ten high-profile, consumer-oriented technology companies. The figures range from a low of $6 per user (for multiplayer gaming studio OMGpop) to a high of $240 (paid by Microsoft to acquire Skype).

Depending on which way you flip the integer, Facebook either paid $35 per WhatsApp user (at the $16 billion valuation) or $45 per user (at $19 billion). These figures line up consistently with previous high-profile acquisitions, including MySpace ($36 per user) and YouTube ($48 per user).

Facebook’s second-most-recent high-profile acquisition — mobile-first photo-sharing network Instagram, purchased for $1 billion — amounts to $22 per user. Not quite as high as WhatsApp, certainly — but roughly in the same ballpark.

Unlike Instagram, however, which duels in a fiercely competitive photo sharing app arena, WhatsApp supplanted a vast global telecommunications infrastructure, becoming the default messaging platform for nearly half a billion users (and counting), who use the service to bypass the price and privacy concerns raised by SMS, along with the platform lock-in imposed by iMessage, BBM, and other proprietary networks.

In addition to controlling the world’s biggest social network, Facebook nows owns one of the world’s largest messaging networks, providing the Palo Alto company with a windfall of new users, particularly in regions where it’s struggled to gain traction.

PressFriendly Offers Startups a DIY Alternative to PR Agencies

The future of PR is in your hands.

The future of PR is in your hands.

Back in 2006, several months into launching my first startup, ZapTix, an enticing email arrived from a Chicago-based PR agency, where I was located at the time. We had a compelling back-and-forth conversation about their services, which all sounded great — until, that is, I learned about the price: $5,000 per month.

As far as PR agencies go, this, I’ve since learned, is on the low-end of retainers. In Silicon Valley, rates for reputable agencies hover around $10,000 to $15,000 per month, and only go up from there.

For the right company, in the right circumstances, this can be a bargain, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for PR professionals who go to tremendous lengths to craft stories, build momentum, and communicate effectively on behalf of their clients.

That said, the agency model often feels like a one-size-fits-all solution, flopping like a bulky sweater over the bodies of lean and bootstrapped ventures, who may need far less than what an agency provides. Often, the best pitch for an emerging startup comes not from an agent, but from the direct, authentic voice of a company’s founder.

Realizing this, a new venture, PressFriendly, offers a compelling, freemium service to help startups create their own news and share it with receptive journalists.

Founded by Paul Andren and Joel Denya, who met at YCombinator startup HelloSign, the company guides startups through a nine-step PR wizard, starting with a one-line takeaway, proceeding to various details about the release (angles, important details, type of announcement, and so on), and finally matching the story with journalists who are likely to express interest in the content.

VentureBeat reporter Rebecca Grant reviewed PressFriendly in a recent piece, catching on to their value — not to mention their disruptive potential:

As a reporter, I spend an inordinate amount of time sorting through irrelevant, un-newsworthy, uninteresting pitches. I (and I think I can speak for my colleagues here) am not any more likely to cover a startup that is pitched by a PR person than I am to cover one that’s pitched directly by an entrepreneur. In fact, I prefer the latter. What matters is the pitch has to catch my interest and contain relevant information.

Furthermore, all of our email addresses can be found on our author profile pages, so it’s not as if there is some secret, exclusive pipeline to our inbox.

So startups, with their limited resources, do not need to shell out for an expensive agency if they can get the pitch right.

FTW! GaymerX2 Surpasses Kickstarter Goal in Under 24 Hours

GaymerX2, the LGBTQ-focused gaming convention in San Francisco, secured over $12,000 in Kickstarter pledges in less than a day, easily surpassing their fundraising goal of $10,000 — with a month still to go.

The event follows last year’s GaymerX convention, which drew over 2,300 gaymers from around the world. This year’s convention promises an even bigger event, with three times the square footage at the InterContinental, a centrally-located downtown venue.

As with many fandom conventions, GaymerX2 offers a wide variety of attractions and spectacles, including live musical performances, celebrity appearances, and a rumored demo of Read Only Memories, the queer cyberpunk adventure game developed by in-house studio MidBoss Games.

The convention, along with the game — not to mention a YouTube video series — stem from the prolific, visionary mind of founder Matt Conn, whose efforts have galvanized widespread awareness of the queer gaming community, bringing a tangible sense of community and solidarity to a group whose members often express feelings of marginalization in both the gaming community and the world at large.

Fans and allies can back the GaymerX2 Kickstarter for as little as $1, with early bird convention tickets starting at $59.