Monthly Archives: October 2019
Digital media holding company IAC has taken the next step toward spinning off Match Group, with a proposal outlining what that process would look like.
Match Group (which owns Tinder, PlentOfFish, OkCupid, Hinge and of course Match itself) is already a publicly traded company, but IAC remains the majority owner. With the spin-off, IAC says it should distribute its Match Group shares to IAC stockholders, “resulting in two independent public companies.”
“Today IAC proposed an important first step in the separation of Match Group from IAC,” said IAC CEO Joey Levin in a statement. “IAC is confident that the proposal communicated to the Match Group special committee provides strong footing for Match Group to begin its journey as a thriving, independent company.”
Under the proposal (which IAC says still needs to be approved by its board of directors, as well as the aforementioned special committee, as well as stockholders), Match Group’s dual-class stock structure would be eliminated, creating a single class of stock.
The company said in August that it was exploring spin-offs of both Match Group and ANGI Homeservices.
In his statement today, Levin said, “As it relates to evaluating our ownership stake in ANGI Homeservices, we don’t currently expect to turn our attention to the question of a spin-off until a Match Group transaction has been completed.”
Avoid pressing hard on the screen.
Tap lightly to keep it safe.
Your Galaxy Fold isn’t water or dust resistant.
Don’t allow any liquids or foreign objects to enter it.
Don’t attach anything to the main screen, such as a screen protector.
So begins your journey. It’s the story of one of the most fascinating product releases in recent memory. It’s also the story of the most polarizing product I’ve ever reviewed…twice.
The Galaxy Fold is at once a hopeful glimpse into the future and a fascinating mess. It’s a product I can’t recommend anyone purchase, but it’s one I’m still glad Samsung had the guts to make.
What’s perhaps most frustrating are the glimpses you get using the device, those moments it transcends lovely and is legitimately useful. And when you leave the device at home, you actually start to miss the 7.3-inch display.
Two scenarios in particular have really highlighted the value of Samsung’s strong-headed approach to pushing boundaries.
First is the gym. Unfolding the device and propping it up on the control panel of a piece of exercise equipment is a beautiful thing. Full-screen Netflix, baseball games from MLB At Bat. Watch the minutes and the calories just fly away. The Fold also works great with the Galaxy Buds, which are legitimately one of the best hardware products Samsung has produced in ages.
Second is the subway. I’ve been prepping for interviews by reading Pocket stories on the train, with the Notes app open in a side window. This is great. Like a seriously awesome thing. And this is coming from someone who still has trouble embracing smartphones as serious productivity devices. There are just too many limitations to that small screen. When I want to get work done, the laptop comes out. I’m not suggesting the Fold completely changes the math here, but it does edge ever closer, blurring that line a bit in the process.
So there you go. That’s two distinct examples, covering both entertainment and productivity. The fact is the same as ever: big screens are good. The question is how we get there. It’s a true fact, of course, that plenty mocked Samsung with the first Note device. It seems hard to believe, but in 2011, 5.3 inches seemed impossibly large for a phone. By 2018, however, 5.5 inches was the most popular screen size for handsets. And that number appears to still be growing.
Clearly Samsung was right on that one, and the Note played an outsized role in pushing those boundaries.
After years of teasing flexible and foldable displays, the tech world was understandably excited when the Galaxy Fold finally arrived. Honestly, there were long stretches of time when it felt like the handset would never arrive. As such, it feels strange to suggest that the product was somehow rushed to market.
It’s important to remember, of course, that part of the mainstreaming of big phones has been the technologies supporting the large screen. Samsung, Apple, Huawei, et al. have done a good job consistently increasing screen to body ratios. The new Notes may have bigger screens than ever, but other breakthroughs in manufacturing means we’re not walking around with bricks.
Similarly, this decidedly first-generation device is big and thick. Anecdotally, reactions have been…mixed. The two separate rounds of review devices I’ve received from the company (round two, for reasons we’ll get into in a second involved two devices) have coincided with big TechCrunch-hosted events in San Francisco. First TC Sessions: Robotics in April and then Disrupt last week.
Take some of this with a grain of salt, because my co-workers can be pretty damn cynical about new technologies (and yes, I’ve been at this long enough to include myself in this). Reactions ranged from genuinely wowed to disappointed bafflement. There was also one co-worker who repeatedly threatened to eat the device because she said it looked like an ice cream sandwich, but that’s a story for another blog post.
There are plenty of things to be critical from a design standpoint. The “first-gen” feel runs very deep with the device. When closed it’s quite thick — like two phones stacked atop one another. The crease is visible, as has often been reported. And the front display isn’t particularly useful. I get why it’s there, of course. There are plenty of moments when you just want to check a quick notification, bit it’s incredibly narrow and sandwiched between two massive bezels.
None of those really matter much compared to the device’s fragility. The Fold will forever be the device whose release date was pushed back after multiple reviewers sent back broken devices. Mine worked fine. The company went back to the drawing board for several months and came back with a more robust device that patched up some holes and reinforced the folding mechanism. Mine broke.
After about 27 hours with the device, I opened it up in line at CVS and noticed something weird about the screen. Sitting between the butterfly wings was a mass of pixels I referred to as an “amorphous blob.” I’d been fairly gentle with the thing, but, as I put it in a followup, “a phone is not a Fabergé egg.” In other words, it’s understandable that the product isn’t designed to, say, survive a drop onto hard concrete or a dunk in the toilet.
While it’s true that many other modern phones have evolved over generations to withstand such accidental bumbles, it’s also understandable that the Fold is a little more fragile. We can’t say Samsung didn’t warn us, and I do appreciate that Samsung was able to go back to the drawing board before wide release, but there’s a pretty strong argument to be made that a smartphone that needs to literally ship with warnings like the ones stated up top isn’t fully ready for prime time.
CNET recently got its hands on a folding machine and found that the handset could withstand 120,000 fold. That’s a little more than half of the promised 200,000. Another third-party test found similar results. Not ideal, but not terrible. It’s about three years’ worth of folds. If you’re dropping $ 2,000+ on a phone, you may well want it to last closer to the promised five years — though if you have that sort of disposable income, who knows?
I would honestly be more concerned with the kind of day to day issues that could potentially result in damage like what I saw. It’s possible that mine had a defect. I’ve been using a replacement that Samsung dropped off after collecting mine to send back to Korea for testing. Granted, I’ve been using it even more gingerly than its predecessor, but so far, so good.
This morning I saw a report of a user experiencing what appears to be the same defect in the same spot. A commenter astutely pointed out the placement of a screw discovered during a recent teardown that could be the source of these issues. As ever, it will be interesting to see how this all…unfolds.
I’m not going to get too far into the other specs here. I wrote thousands of words in my original review. Nothing about the underlying technology has changed between versions one and two. All of the big updates have been to the folding mechanism and keeping the device more robust.
It’s fitting, I think that my model had 5G built-in. Both technologies feel like a glimpse into the future, but there’s little to recommend plunking down the requisite money to purchase either in 2019. The clear difference is that slow saturation of next-generation cellular technology is a bit more understood at this point. Telling someone that their fingernails can damage their $ 2,000 phone is a different conversation entirely.
I do think that Samsung’s committed to the Galaxy Fold long-term. And I do believe that there will eventually be a place for the products in the market.
The biggest short-term concern is all the negative press following the first wave of devices. The FlexPai felt more like a prototype than consumer device. The Fold feels like something of an extended public beta. And the Huawei Mate X, which, although incredibly promising, is still MIA, as the company does another pass on the product. Global availability is another question entirely — though, that’s due to…other issues…
Knowing Samsung, the company will return from all of this with a much stronger offering in generation 2. There are a LOT of learnings to be gleaned from the product. And while it offers a glimpse into the promise of foldable, you’re better off waiting until that vision is more fully realized.
SAP CEO Bill McDermott announced he was stepping down last night after a decade at the helm in an announcement that shocked many. It’s always tough to measure the performance of an enterprise leader when he or she leaves. Some people look at stock price over their tenure. Some at culture. Some at the acquisitions made. Whatever the measure, it will be up to the new co-CEOs Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein to put their own mark on the company.
What form that will take remains to be seen. McDermott’s tenure ended without much warning, but it also happened against a wider backdrop that includes other top executives and board members leaving the company over the last year, an activist investor coming on board and some controversial licensing changes in recent years.
The timing certainly felt sudden. McDermott, who was interviewed at TechCrunch Sessions: Enterprise last month sounded more like a man who was fully engaged in the job, not one ready to leave, but a month later he’s gone.
But as McDermott told our own Frederic Lardinois last night, after 10 years, it seemed like the right time to leave. “The consensus was 10 years is about the right amount of time for a CEO because you’ve accomplished a lot of things if you did the job well, but you certainly didn’t stay too long. And if you did really well, you had a fantastic success plan,” he said in the interview.
There is no reason to doubt that, but you should at least look at context and get a sense of what has been going in the company. As the new co-CEOs take over for McDermott, several other executives including SAP SuccessFactors COO Brigette McInnis-Day, Robert Enslin, president of its cloud business and a board member, CTO Björn Goerke and Bernd Leukert, a member of the executive board have all left this year.
Zazzle Media’s second annual “State of SEO survey” has assessed the value and ROI of SEO, looking at its impact in securing funds or resources.
The data suggested that 60% of marketers find that resources and a shortage of budget are the main reasons they don’t spend more on organic search activity. However, almost a third of surveyed marketers still don’t know how to measure the impact of SEO on their results.
The survey reviewed 70% of in-house marketers and 30% of agency heads from various companies. It called for marketers to develop a better understanding of attribution models, measurement tools, brand value, and purpose when it comes to spending more on SEO.
The main reasons cited for marketers struggling to secure investment are competitor awareness, revealing that marketers are too aware of their competitor’s activity, even noting that their branded keywords were being targeted by their competitors.
The report noted that data-led objectives can act as investment enablers as they can easily quantify and measure consumer traffic. They also help marketers prove ROI, by reviewing how marketing practices are improving year on year.
Yet the survey revealed that there is still a lack of understanding around best practices for marketers to use. A quarter of those surveyed called for clearer guidelines on best practice from Google Webmasters, revealing that there is, in fact, a knowledge and skills gap around SEO.
Zazzle Media’s head of search and strategy, Stuart Shaw, said
“As an industry, we’ve needed to educate, educate, educate – at almost every level of client infrastructure. That challenge still remains, in fact, it probably changes monthly but now with more noise than ever.
However knowledge has always been power in this industry, keeping up with updates, marketing news and best practice guidelines across Google and Bing can be the difference in the results marketers need to secure that extra budget.”
You can download the full results of The State of SEO here, and check out the top-line stats on the infographic below.
I had the great pleasure of being able to ask Dr. Marie Haynes a few questions about E-A-T. What it is and how you can improve it.
Dr. Marie Haynes is a well-known SEO expert from Ottawa, Canada. She speaks a lot about Google penalties, algorithm changes such as Panda, Penguin, and also Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines.
Paul Lovell: What is E-A-T?
Dr. Marie Haynes: E-A-T stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust”. Google mentions E-A-T many times in its Quality Raters’ Guidelines. Google also mentioned E-A-T in a whitepaper recently published, saying, “Where our algorithms detect that a user’s query relates to a “YMYL” topic, we will give more weight in our ranking systems to factors like our understanding of the authoritativeness, expertise, or trustworthiness of the pages we present in the response.
As such, if a site wants to rank well for Your Money or Your Life queries, it is very important that it has all three elements of E-A-T.
PL: How does the Quality Rater Guidelines, help website owners?
DR M H: Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines were created as a guideline to teach human quality raters how to assess high and low-quality issues on websites. In early 2017, we noticed at MHC (Marie Haynes Consulting) that many sites coming to us for site audits after seeing traffic drops were sites that were generally technically sound, but were being outranked by businesses that had all of the components of E-A-T as described in the QRG.
Google has said that the QRG do not exactly reflect Google’s algorithms, but that they fundamentally show us what they want the algorithm to do. We believe that if something is in the QRG as a sign of high or low quality, it is something we should be assessing for our clients.
PL: How can you improve E-A-T?
DR M H: Because E-A-T has many components, there are many things that can be worked on in order to see improvements in this area. Expertise is a tough one to improve upon, but we have seen some cases where we felt it helped by simply adding more “braggy” information on expertise on the homepage and about the page in an effort to show potential readers why this website is an expert on its topics.
We believe authority is heavily tied to links. The QRG talks about how important it is to have other experts recommending you as an expert. In other words, do you have people linking to you because they truly want to recommend your content, your business, or anything else? If you have true recommendations from authoritative places, this contributes to the “A” in E-A-T.
The “T” in E-A-T is the most interesting to me. There are so many elements of trust that we believe Google is measuring. These may include your online reputation, whether or not you have easy to find contact information, whether your refund policy is available online, whether you quote medical sources appropriately, and also, for medical sites, whether you write on topics that contradict general scientific consensus. There are many other elements as well.
What we have found is that the key to recovery for a site that has seen an E-A-T related hit is to determine where the issues are, and then find ways to improve upon them. If people are distrusting your site because perhaps it is too ad-heavy, removing some ads could potentially help. If your nearest competitor has thousands of authoritative mentions, where you have tens of them, this is an area to work on.
PL: What is the best signal for website owners to work on first?
DR M H: I’m going to give an SEO answer here and say that this really depends. First, don’t get too stuck on just E-A-T. If your site has dropped in traffic or rankings, it could be due to technical issues, or perhaps because a competitor is simply outranking you. It doesn’t always mean something is wrong.
With that said, however, one area where we seem to be seeing some significant gains repeatedly is in disavowing large volumes of links that were made for SEO purposes alone. Our thought is that link quality is tied in to “T” in E-A-T.
PL: What does YMYL mean?
DR M H: Most sites we analyze are “Your Money or Your Life” sites. If people make important decisions by reading your site, or if you are spending money on this site, no matter how small the amount, then it is likely YMYL.
PL: How can you track if your E-A-T is rising?
DR M H: There is no “E-A-T metric” or signal to track. But, in our experience, if a site is negatively affected at the time of a core quality update, there is likely an E-A-T issue. What we have seen is that if we can make enough improvements in E-A-T, the real benefit comes with the next core update. That’s usually our barometer for improvement.
Google has updated its algorithm many times over the last few years. Which updates would you say have been more focused on EAT and why?
I personally believe that almost, if not all, of the core updates since early 2017 are focused on some element of E-A-T.
Don’t forget to share your thoughts on E-A-T in the comments. If you wish to stay up to date with Marie you can do so on Twitter @Marie_Haynes or head over to mariehaynes.com.
Paul Lovell is an SEO Consultant And Founder at Always Evolving SEO. He can be found on Twitter @_PaulLovell.
The post Interview with Marie Haynes: What you need to know about E-A-T appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
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Less than a day after Apple was criticized by Chinese state media for allowing HKmap in the App Store, the crowdsourced map app said it had been delisted.
This is Apple’s second reversal on the issue, which it explained with a statement claiming it learned that the app “has been used in ways that endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong.”
Grammarly provides a toolkit used today by 20 million people to correct their written grammar, suggest better ways to write things and moderate their tone depending on who will be doing the reading.
Okta is giving end users information about suspicious activity involving their login, while letting them share information with the company’s security apparatus.
Waymo’s existing programs all use a human safety driver behind the wheel. Now the Alphabet-owned company is getting ready for completely driverless rides.
From the looks of it, the Calm Booth by Room is little more than a standard Room booth, with frosted glass, softer lighting and “a soothing misty forest interior.” But it’s a pretty smart partnership between two white-hot startups.
The prize this year honors M. Stanley Whittingham, John Goodenough and Akira Yoshino, all of whom contributed to the development of what is today the most common form of portable power.
Marantz has in recent years trained his attention on the tech world and its contribution to social unrest in the United States and beyond. And he has just published a new book, “Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation.” (Extra Crunch membership required.)
As an estimate, 3.499 billion people that make around 50% of the earth’s population are active social media users. Of that, Facebook alone has over 2.375 billion active users. WhatsApp, an instant messaging app by Facebook, has more than 1.6 billion users.
Despite the fact that Facebook owns a majority of leading social networks, there are many other social platforms where users love to engage and spend time. YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok are some of the most popular, non-Facebook social media platforms at present.
Marketing on social media is quite different from traditional marketing. In 2018 alone, $ 74 billion were spent on social media marketing worldwide. Why? Because social media marketing yields better visibility and ROI than traditional and TV advertising do.
This blog covers six new and proven social media marketing strategies on the following key areas. Implementing these strategies, you will be able to bring in new customers, build strong relationships and trust, and win back customers that seem to have been lost forever.
Start creating Instagram stories
As mentioned earlier, Instagram has over a billion users. And, roughly, half of its users use Instagram Stories every day.
And that’s where you have a chance to cash in via your Instagram Stories.
Considering the fact that you can build your audience and convert them through your stories, you should have a separate dedicated strategy for your Instagram Stories.
If you too are planning to use Instagram Stories, here are some of the best practices to create Instagram Stories that get views, engagement, and clicks –
- Add hashtags (#)
- Tag your location
- Run polls and encourage users to participate
- Use trending stickers and icons
- Follow the right image and video formats so your stories look good on mobile screens
- Put your popular updates, content, and stories in highlights
- Add links to stories
- Place strong CTAs
If you have a verified business account or more than 10000 followers, you could also set up your shop on Instagram. And then, you can promote your products through your Instagram Stories and ask watchers to take the desired action to buy.
Get started with YouTube Ads
With its 1.9 billion users, YouTube is the largest and most active video social network. At an average, its users spend at least 40 minutes every time they open YouTube.
If you are a YouTube user, you are already aware of YouTube ads being run before and during the videos you are playing.
Imagine your ads being shown to users chosen strategically based on whether they fit into your buyer definition.
Wouldn’t that be a great way to boost visibility and awareness?
You can target users – or show your ads to specific users – based on their Google search and YouTube watch history. Put simply, if a user has searched for a product or term on Google, and you have a product that falls into that category, you can choose to show your advertisement to that user.
YouTube reaches more people than any TV network in the world. Using YouTube Ads could give your brand massive visibility and your sales a big boost.
To set up your video ad campaigns, you will need to create attractive and meaningful videos to engage and delight your audience. Here is a complete guide to create and run your video ads campaign on YouTube.
Increase your reach with Facebook Ads funnel
Facebook’s more than two billion users access the platform eight times a day, either through web or mobile. That makes it the most active social network as well.
Given that, it becomes a platform with plenteous sales and marketing opportunities.
But, to be exact, Facebook is not a place where a user is ready to buy. It is certainly a platform to make a user a loyal customer that not only will buy from you in the future but will also spread your brand through the word of mouth.
If pitched right, Facebook Ads offer higher returns on investment meetings, and in most cases, surpassing your ad objectives and expectations.
The most important element of your Facebook ads is your content, which could be a blog post, infographic, video, live webinar, or eBook. The focus should be on producing quality content that you can pitch your audience.
You can also create the same content in multiple formats so that you can convince people at different stages in different ad formats through different ad sets. Creating and promoting segmented content by targeting it your lookalike audience is the basics of Facebook Funnel marketing.
Remarketing is probably the best feature of Facebook Ads. You could expose your brand (through your ads) to potential audiences multiple times till the time they make a decision.
TikTok Ads for a specific audience
TikTok rose to fame after a revamp, followed by the takeover of Music.ly a couple of years back. This Chinese social network allows users to create 15-second videos while lip-syncing on popular soundtracks, music, movie dialogs, and famous personalities. This fun app is largely popular among teens and those in their twenties.
The platform is available in 150 countries and in 75 languages. On Apple AppStore and Google Store, TikTok is one of the most downloaded free apps.
TikTok is an attractive marketing platform, especially if you have products that interest teens and tweens.
Of 500 million, 26.5 million are from the United States and 43% from India. 66% of its audience is below 30 years. These stats tempt marketers to use TikTok marketing to promote their brand.
IGTV for more views and actions
IGTV is probably Instagram’s best feature from a marketer’s standpoint. Earlier, it was a standalone app.
Back then, using it was an uphill battle for marketers and a confusing affair for the user. It was challenging for marketers to generate engagement and views on their videos.
Now, things have turned easier.
What’s more interesting is: Users can now see IGTV previews on their Instagram feed. And by tapping the preview on their feed, they can move to and watch the video on the IGTV tab which is existent within the app’s interface.
Your videos are also shown in the search or discover section on Instagram – which gets you more views from users interested in videos, products, and services like yours. Strategic use of IGTV gives your brand a chance to showcase your product videos in an interactional manner and stand out.
With that, Instagram and IGTV offer a completely different approach to reach and convert. So gear up and create IGTV specific videos to deliver quality and value, and to gain more views and engagement.
Here are seven useful tips to get started with IGTV marketing
- Create videos in Instagram-friendly (vertical) format
- Keep your video content short and crisp – full of information
- Choose different backdrops or locations to shoot your video. (it helps create visual interest for the audience)
- Conduct game shows and interviews (make sure they are relevant)
- Add subtitles to your videos (and make it easier for users, who watch videos with the sound off)
- Use pop-up texts to send important messages during the video
- Design your cover photo showcasing your title and keywords
Live video marketing
To make your marketing efforts perform, you will need to be different. Social media has transformed how businesses are run. The dominance of video-sharing platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, SnapChat, and TikTok has ignited a new trend within social media.
Since users spend one-third of their time watching online videos, video marketing has now become an integral part of any successful social media marketing strategy. And for that reason, 87% of marketers use video to market their content and brands.
Evidently, every brand and marketer seems to be doing video marketing. So, now is the time to take a step further and indulge in live video marketing.
Live video is the future of video marketing. People love watching live videos more than pre-recorded videos, as it is more trustworthy. Users know that there is no editing involved and what they are seeing is true and unedited.
According to a survey, 80% of customers would be more interested in watching live videos rather than reading blogs, web pages or customer reviews. Videos are easy to digest, and live videos add a dash of reliability to easy understandability.
If you haven’t started a live video, put together a live video marketing strategy for all social networks that support live streaming.
Since you are managing multiple platforms, you would not want to spend all your time navigating from one platform to another. It makes perfect sense to introduce a social media marketing tool in your process. Not only will it save your time, but also streamline your process and makes it easier for you to analyze and develop future strategies.
The success of your social media strategies relies largely on the experience of the user first on your social media and second, on your landing page. This definitely includes, but is not limited to, the content, the navigation, the design, and the call to action.
To supercharge your social media marketing efforts, you could consider working on the SEO part as well. People still use search engines to find products and services they need. Installing an SEO extension on your website, you can improve its SEO-readiness and performance on search engines.
To end with, here is what you should focus on
- Select the right platform(s)
- Set your goals
- Identify your target audience
- Share what your audience likes to engage
- Make your social media strategies flexible
- Be consistent
- Never leave a chance to interact with the audience
To identify what’s working and what’s not, you should keep a watchful eye on the performance and outcomes of your updates and social media ads. Make necessary changes in your social media strategy as and when needed.
I hope the ideas suggested in this article help you curate an effective social media marketing strategy for your brand. If you have some questions or if you would like to share something, drop a line in the comments section below.
Birbahadur Singh Kathayat is an Entrepreneur, internet marketer and Co-founder of Lbswebsoft. He can be found on Twitter @bskathayat.
The post Six social media marketing strategies that work and convert appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Instagram has finally turned Throwback Thursday into an official feature. It’s part of the new Instagram “Create” mode that launches today in Stories, bringing the app beyond the camera. Create makes Instagram a more omni-purpose social network with the flexibility to adapt to a broader range of content formats.
For now, the highlight of Create is the “On This Day” option that shows a random feed post you shared on the same calendar date in the past. Tap the dice button to view a different On This Day post, and once you find one you prefer, you can share it to Stories as an embedded post people can open.
The launch could make it easy for users to convert their old impermanent content into fresh ephemeral content. That could be especially helpful because not everyone does something Stories-worthy every day. And given how many #TBT throwbacks get shared already, there’s clearly demand for sharing nostalgia with new commentary.
When asked about Create mode, an Instagram spokesperson told me, “this new mode helps you combine interactive stickers, drawings and text without needing a photo or video to share . . . On This Day suggests memories and lets you share them via Direct and Stories.” It’d sure be nice if embedded On This Day video posts played inside of Stories, but for now you have to tap to open them on their own page.
Instagram actually launched a different way to share throwbacks, called “Memories,” early this year. But most users didn’t know about it because it was tucked in the Profile -> Three-Line ‘Hamburger’ Sidebar -> Archive option used to for Highlighting or Restoring expired Stories or post you’d hidden.
Now On This Day is much more accessible as part of the new Create Mode inside the Stories composer, which replaces Type mode with more options for sharing without your camera than just posting text. You can access it by swiping right at the bottom of the screen from the Stories camera, instead of left to other options like Boomerang. Create lets you use features otherwise added as Stickers atop photos and videos, but on their own with new suggestions of what to share:
-Countdown timer with suggestions for “The Weekend,” “Quittin’ Time,” and “School’s Out”
-Quiz with suggestions including “What’s my biggest fear?” and “Only one of these is true” (The Quiz sticker already had suggestions)
-Poll with suggestions including “Sweet or savory?” and “Better first date: dinner or movie?”
-Question with suggestions including “If you had 3 wishes…” and “Any hidden talents?”
Instagram is also offering a new version of its Giphy -powered GIFs feature inside Create. It lets you search for a GIF and see it tiled three times vertically as the background of your Create post, rather than laid on top.
Through all these features, Create lets people generate new things to share even if they’re laying in bed or stuck somewhere. As Instagram grows internationally to more users with lower-quality phones, and replaces Facebook for many people, the ability to share text and other stuff without having to use their camera could increase people’s posting. Between the Camera shutter modes and room for more sharing styles in Create, Instagram can encompass most any content.
As of today, Instagram is about more than photos and videos. It’s stepping up as a multi-faceted social app just as Facebook’s battered brand becomes desperate to turn Instagram into its reputation and business lifeboat.
Southeast Asian real estate portal 99.co agrees to joint venture with iProperty, as their rival PropertyGuru prepares for IPO
Southeast Asian real estate portal 99.co has agreed to form a joint venture with iProperty. As part of the deal, iProperty owner REA Group will invest $ 8 million of working capital into the venture, expected to be finalized by the second quarter of 2020.
99.co and REA Group, a real estate-focused digital advertising conglomerate that is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), say that the JV immediately makes 99.co the market leader in Indonesia and positions it to take the top spot in Singapore, as well. The deal also makes 99.co a more formidable rival to PropertyGuru. Backed by TPG Capital and KKR, PropertyGuru is expected to raise up to AUD $ 380.2 million (about USD $ 255.9 million) in an IPO on the ASX this month.
The joint venture is expected to be finalized by the second quarter of 2020 and 99.co will assume full control of REA Group brands iProperty.com.sg in Singapore and Rumah123.com in Indonesia. The JV will be led by 99.co’s management team, including co-founder and CEO Darius Cheung.
99.co’s last round of funding was a $ 15.2 million Series B, announced in August, that the company says took its valuation to over $ 100 million.
In a press statement, Cheung said “We are coming for market leadership. This is a key milestone that positions us instantly as number one in Indonesia, and well on our way to that in Singapore. Our innovative DNA plus REA’s unrivaled experience and resources makes this partnership a lethal combination Southeast Asia has not seen before.”
The company’s existing shareholders, including Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, Sequoia Capital, MindWorks Ventures, Allianz X, East Ventures and 500 Startups, will have a combined stake of 73%, with REA Group holding the remaining 27%.
Launched in 2014, 99.co was created to make real estate listings more navigable for renters and buyers in Singapore and other Southeast Asian markets. REA Group owns portals in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and China, and a property review site in Thailand. It is also a stakeholder in Move, the American real estate site, and Indian property portal PropTiger.