Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between.
Airbnb’s recent moves in the wake of a global travel slowdown are interesting and worth understanding in chronological order. What it details is a company spending heavily today to keep up its future health. Demand will return to the world travel market in time — how much, no one knows — and Airbnb wants to be a well-liked participant in the return to form.
Building off our last look at the company, we should understand how Airbnb intends to not only survive, but come out the other side of the pandemic with enough user trust to get back to work.
An IPO promise
If you want to keep pace with the way the modern consumer likes to buy, then you need to be able to meet them wherever they are on your website and in the sales funnel. Cue chatbots…These are an excellent intermediary to help curate customized experiences, lower friction and get buyers the answers they need at the speed of a pop-up window.
Read more at PPCHero.com
HipChat, the workplace chat app that held the throne before Slack was Slack, is being discontinued. Also being discontinued is Atlassian’s own would-be HipChat replacement, Stride.
News of the discontinuation comes first not from Atlassian, but instead from a somewhat surprising source: Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield. In a series of tweets, Butterfield says that Slack is purchasing the IP for both products to “better support those users who choose to migrate” to its platform.
Butterfield also notes that Atlassian will be making a “small but symbolically important investment” in Slack — likely a good move, given that rumors of a Slack IPO have been swirling (though Butterfield says it won’t happen this year). Getting a pre-IPO investment into Slack might end up paying off for Atlassian better than trying to continue competing.
The deal we’re announcing today with Atlassian is pretty amazing. Indeed, I tried to fit it all in one (280 character) tweet but I just couldn’t do it. So, I’ll lay it out in a few. But first, I wanted to thank Scott, Mike, Jay and the team: incredible to work with you.
— Stewart Butterfield (@stewart) July 26, 2018
Details: • Atlassian is discontinuing Hipchat/Stride • Slack is purchasing the IP to better support those users who choose to migrate • We’re both working closely together to make sure that’s as simple and painless a process as possible …
— Stewart Butterfield (@stewart) July 26, 2018
Atlassian VP of Product Management, Joff Redfern, confirmed the news in a blog post, calling it the “best way forward” for its existing customers. It’s about as real of an example of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” as you can get; even Atlassian’s own employees will be moved over to using Slack.
According to an FAQ about the change, Stride and HipChat’s last day will be February 15th, 2019 — or a bit shy of seven months from the date of the announcement. So if you’re a customer on either one of those platforms, you’ve got time to figure things out.
It doesn’t sound like any of Atlassian’s other products will be affected here; Bitbucket, Jira, etc. will carry on, with only the company’s real-time communications platforms being shuttered.
Hipchat was launched in beta form back in 2009, long before Slack’s debut in 2013. It mostly ruled its space in the time in between, leading Atlassian to acquire it in March of 2012. Slack quickly outgrew it in popularity though, for myriad reasons — be it a bigger suite of third-party integrations, a better reputation for uptime, or… well, better marketing. By September of 2017, Atlassian overhauled its chat platform and rebranded it as as “Stride”, but it was never able to quite catch up with Slack’s momentum.
You can now buy game and concert tickets from teams and musicians within Snapchat, thanks to an integration with SeatGeek .
While Snapchat has started testing e-commerce features in the past few months, SeatGeek says this is the first ticket-buying experience built into the Snapchat app.
The Los Angeles Football Club was the first team to sell tickets through this integration, by posting a Snapchat Story (and a Snapcode on the team website) that allowed users to swipe up to buy tickets to the May 26 game. The full purchase experience takes place without leaving the app.
“We’re always looking to reach our fans in innovative ways, and selling tickets directly to our followers on Snapchat gives us an incredible opportunity to connect with our most dedicated supporters,” said Los Angeles Football Club President and co-owner Tom Penn in the announcement.
SeatGeek co-founder Russ D’Souza said that as “the pipe gets solidified,” you’ll start seeing more Snapchat/SeatGeek ticket sales. He added that this the kind of integration he was hoping for when the company launched the SeatGeek Open platform a couple of years ago, allowing teams, musicians and other rightsholders to sell tickets directly through SeatGeek. (The platform also supports ticket sales through Facebook.)
“For too long, the legacy ticketing approach has been to make it difficult for teams to sell tickets in lots of places,” D’Souza said. “Teams should want to sell their tickets in as many places as possible.”
And it sounds there are additional deals in the works: “What we’re excited about over the next few months is beating the drumbeat of openness with new partnerships … We want to drive the whole industry forward and create more tangible results that cause the industry to open up.”
The U.S. government isn’t the only one feeling skittish about Kaspersky Lab. On Friday, the Russian security firm’s founder Eugene Kaspersky confronted Twitter’s apparent ban on advertising from the company, a decision it quietly issued in January.
— Eugene Kaspersky (@e_kaspersky) April 20, 2018
“In a short letter from an unnamed Twitter employee, we were told that our company ‘operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices,’” Kaspersky wrote.
“One thing I can say for sure is this: we haven’t violated any written – or unwritten – rules, and our business model is quite simply the same template business model that’s used throughout the whole cybersecurity industry: We provide users with products and services, and they pay us for them.”
He noted that the company has spent around than €75,000 ($ 93,000 USD) to promote its content on Twitter in 2017.
Kaspersky called for Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to specify the motivation behind the ban after failing to respond to an official February 6 letter from his company.
More than two months have passed since then, and the only reply we received from Twitter was the copy of the same boilerplate text. Accordingly, I’m forced to rely on another (less subtle but nevertheless oft and loudly declared) principle of Twitter’s – speaking truth to power – to share details of the matter with interested users and to publicly ask that you, dear Twitter executives, kindly be specific as to the reasoning behind this ban; fully explain the decision to switch off our advertising capability, and to reveal what other cybersecurity companies need to do in order to avoid similar situations.
In a statement about the incident, Twitter reiterated that Kaspersky Lab’s business model “inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices.” In a statement to CyberScoop, Twitter pointed to the late 2017 Department of Homeland Security directive to eliminate Kaspersky software from Executive Branch systems due to the company’s relationship with Russian intelligence.
“The Department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks,” DHS asserted in the directive at the time.
Buying event tickets online isn’t a great experience. Sites like Ticketmaster are the default, but are difficult to use and expensive. A startup called Lea wants to offer a more modern experience by combining event search, discovery, seat selection and payment all in a single application that works right in Facebook Messenger. Yes, that’s right – Lea is a chatbot. And while… Read More
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