Crowdfunding website IndieGoGo has flipped the switch on its promotional algorithm, which pushes campaigns to a coveted spot on its front page. The company says the algorithm adds more democracy to a human-bias driven industry.
“Like America, IndieGoGo is equal opportunity for all, but no guarantees,” said co-founder and chief executive Slava Rubin in an interview with VentureBeat.
IndieGoGo, like competitor Kickstarter, allows groups to go online, post a funding request, and accept money. Anyone, whether they have a big idea or individual project, can create a page and set a funding goal. Goals are not set in stone, however. Some competing crowdfunding websites won’t allow its users to collect promised money unless it has hit a funding goal. IndieGoGo, on the other hand, lets people choose whether to “fix” their funding to an all-or-nothing structure, or take whatever they can get.
Microstock photography has drawn much ill will from many professional photographers. With its low barrier to entry and even lower payouts, it’s been viewed as undercutting the larger market for photography, and propping up less than talented photographers. But recent months have seen the addition of a new twist to the world of microstock photography, something that some traditionalists also often scorn — the smartphone.
For all the ire microstock photography has generated, as least as much heat goes to the ubiquitous smartphone and its often heavily filtered photos. Yet as some naysayers continue to fight against it, smartphone photography has gained some modicum of respectability in the last year or so, with major magazines and papers using iPhone photographs snapped in warzones as well as sports fields — so what happens when the two worlds combine?
A big challenge for investors is piercing management's feel-good, "it's all great if you leave out the bad stuff" earnings metrics to measure a company's true profitability. Even the official GAAP accounting numbers frequently need plenty of scrubbing to reveal the real picture. For example, many companies claim victory by boasting that their ratio of net profits to shareholders' equity is a big number. Investor beware: Management can hike "return on equity" by piling on debt, and high leverage makes the player riskier, not better. Another tactic, now in vogue, is moving factories that make the most profitable products to low-tax nations where the taxes may not remain low for long. That tax arbitrage provides a one- or two-time boost in earnings, but doesn't prove management is running the basic businesses any better.
Last April, Dong Nguyen, a quiet 28-year-old who lived with his parents in Hanoi, Vietnam, and had a day job programming location devices for taxis, spent a holiday weekend making a mobile game. He wanted it to be simple but challenging, in the spirit of the Nintendo games he grew up playing. The object was to fly a bug-eyed, big-lipped, bloated bird between a series of green vertical pipes. The quicker a player tapped the screen, the higher the bird would flap. He called it Flappy Bird.
The game went live on the iOS App Store on May 24th. Instead of charging for Flappy Bird, Nguyen made it available for free, and hoped to get a few hundred dollars a month from in-game ads.