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New York social media startup Upworthy makes videos that matter go viral like no one else

Upworthy’s co-founder, Peter Koech­ley describes how his media site suc­ceeds in its mis­sion: to make videos with impor­tant con­tent – con­tent that real­ly impacts on how peo­ple live their lives — go “as viral as some idiot surf­ing off his roof”, to bor­row from the web­site. He puts it like this: “From the very begin­ning we said we’re not going to do news. It sort of feels like tod­dlers play­ing soc­cer. Everyone’s run­ning after the ball. We want to be doing some­thing that adds val­ue. Instead of doing the most time­ly thing, or to have it first, we kind of want to be the place that’s reli­ably great, even though we’re not first. And in that sense we’re more magazine‑y than newsy. We’re adding more con­text, and frankly not stress­ing about top­ics that oth­er peo­ple are talk­ing about.” Social media man­agers will doubt­less be intrigued as to how the site is kept ‘reli­ably great’; Upwor­thy pro­claims that its video con­tent is “…sen­sa­tion­al and sub­stan­tial. Enter­tain­ing and enlight­en­ing. Shock­ing and sig­nif­i­cant.” And with its vast fol­low­ing on Face­book, that claim is no exag­ger­a­tion. Spon­sored con­tent Hav­ing recent­ly raised $8 mil­lion in Series A fund­ing (it raised $4 mil­lion last Octo­ber), Upwor­thy…

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New York content marketing startup Contently takes the multimedia turn

Here’s a ques­tion to tax the gray mat­ter of enter­pris­ing tech prod­uct man­agers and chief rev­enue offi­cers: how do you get your new­­ly-launched tech com­pa­ny to trans­form the 48 cents you have sit­ting in your bank account into well over $1 mil­lion in rev­enue in a few short years? If the answer clam­or­ing for atten­tion is “impos­si­ble”, Shane Snow, co-founder of the New York-based con­tent mar­ket­ing Con­tent­ly would beg to dif­fer, because that’s exact­ly what he and his two bud­dies achieved with Con­tent­ly by link­ing brands to con­­tent-cre­at­ing jour­nal­ists. From text to mul­ti­me­dia Snow agrees that con­tent mar­ket­ing is an espe­cial­ly hot new space which every­one is clam­or­ing to get a piece of, as any prod­uct man­ag­er in this part of the tech mar­ket can con­firm. But Snow and his col­leagues have pret­ty sound busi­ness anten­nae; they’ve real­ized that, as this form of mar­ket­ing matures, brands want more than the writ­ten word for their con­tent. That’s why Con­tent­ly is expand­ing its ros­ter of free­lance jour­nal­ists to include experts in mul­ti­me­dia mes­sag­ing. Snow explains: “We’re get­ting more inquiries around info­graph­ics and videos and pho­tos. There’s more than one way to tell a sto­ry. Often the best way to tell a sto­ry…

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New York fitness encouragement startup Fitocracy launches new group service — and opens the door to a revenue flood

Com­mu­ni­ty man­agers who prize user engage­ment might do well to take a good look at New York-based fit­ness and gam­i­fi­ca­tion start­up Fitoc­ra­cy, whose com­­mu­ni­­ty-dri­ven engage­ment plat­form has secured greater user engage­ment than Twit­ter since its launch in Octo­ber 2010. And it’s poised to gen­er­ate some hand­some rev­enue with its lat­est offer­ing, a group fit­ness pilot straight­for­ward­ly named “Group Fit­ness.” Addic­tive encour­age­ment  Now boast­ing 1 mil­lion users (and count­ing), Fitocracy’s mete­oric suc­cess has been large­ly due to the addic­tive appeal of its gam­i­fi­ca­tion and its clever quan­tifi­ca­tion of fit­ness data for indi­vid­ual users. But if that’s what gets peo­ple start­ed, it’s the encour­age­ment fac­tor that keeps them com­ing back for more. Of that, its founders Dick Tal­ens and Bri­an Wang are in no doubt. Any sea­soned com­mu­ni­ty man­ag­er will know that if some­thing fos­ters engage­ment on a social net­work, it’s prob­a­bly worth ampli­fy­ing. And that’s pre­cise­ly what Group Fit­ness has been designed to do. It lets users choose a pri­vate com­mu­ni­ty of fel­low fit­ness enthu­si­asts — a com­mu­ni­ty com­plete with its very own per­son­al train­er. Unpar­al­leled inter­net-based fit­ness suc­cess  As Tal­ens puts it, “We think that this is what is going to make Fitoc­ra­cy a bil­lion dol­lar com­pa­ny. If you look…

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Social analytics startup Unmetric sets its sights on global expansion after $5.5 million cash injection

The New York-based social ana­lyt­ics web­site Unmetric has just raised $5.5 mil­lion in Series B, tak­ing its total invest­ment to $8.7 mil­lion. And most sea­soned prod­uct man­agers will see why: over the last year, it’s been adding some pret­ty nifty tools to its ana­lyt­ic reper­toire. How to impress a sea­soned prod­uct man­ag­er  The com­pa­ny asks brands a sim­ple ques­tion: “Are you social enough?” Then it sup­plies them with an answer. It tracks over 10,000 brands over a raft of social shar­ing sites (Twit­ter, Face­book, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pin­ter­est), mon­i­tor­ing what they’re doing and whether they’re work­ing. Not only can brands get a pic­ture of how their activ­i­ties are per­form­ing, they can com­pare their per­for­mance with that of com­peti­tors, too. YouTube was added last year, and the data Unmetric col­lects there can’t fail to impress the job­bing prod­uct man­ag­er. It mon­i­tors 24 YouTube met­rics to test the effec­tive­ness of a brand’s video cam­paigns, includ­ing views, rat­ings, favorites and tags. Then it crunch­es the data into a chan­nel score of between 0 and 100. Last year, Chevro­let hit an Unmetric score of 60, which encour­aged it to upload more YouTube videos which between them added up to three hours. Glob­al ambi­tions But…

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New York-based startup Oyster aims to be the Netflix for eBooks

Sea­soned ecom­merce ana­lysts may have their doubts about the via­bil­i­ty of a sub­scrip­tion all-you-can-read e‑book ser­vice, but New York-based start­up Oys­ter thinks oth­er­wise, hav­ing recent­ly launched an iPhone app offer­ing unlim­it­ed access to 100,000+ book titles. The $9.95 month­ly sub­scrip­tion offers titles from a diverse range of gen­res, from famous clas­sics to inter­na­tion­al best­sellers and biogra­phies to sci-fi. Will it fly? But that hard-nosed ecom­merce ana­lyst might still need some con­vinc­ing: can the mod­el that worked for Spo­ti­fy (music) and Net­flix (movies) trans­fer to e‑books?  $3 mil­lion in fund­ing for an app that only saw the light of day last sum­mer sug­gests that investors think it can. A sin­gle tap of the app will let users access the book of their choice and they can browse the offer­ings by title or genre. Not only that, Oys­ter offers read­ers rec­om­men­da­tions based on top­i­cal news issues or trend­ing new movies. And for those who like steamy bodice rip­pers, there’s a pri­va­cy fea­ture that pre­vents friends from know­ing what you’ve been por­ing through. Co-founders Andrew Brown, Eric Stromberg and Willem Van Lanker have spent the last year busi­ly mak­ing arrange­ments with pub­lish­ers. And in case our imag­i­nary ecom­merce ana­lyst is still dubi­ous, all…

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