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.

Announcing #sfbeta :: NYC SocialWeek Edition

Held in San Francisco since 2006, #sfbeta arrives in New York City on Monday, October 14, in partnership with SocialWeek.

Join hundreds of founders, investors, and hackers at The Alley for an evening of awesome people, groundbreaking startups, and illuminating conversation, celebrating the future of social media and the innovators behind it.

Co-produced with longtime friend and collaborator Michael Gold, Founder & Executive Producer of #techdrinkup, you’re invited to join us at the first and only NYC #sfbeta of the year.

#sfbeta provides a curated group of startups with the opportunity to demo throughout the evening. Startups with a social media focus: apply to demo today.

Register now for #sfbeta :: NYC SocialWeek Edition