What is the Internet Of Things ? Paradigm Changing or Hype ?

A couple weeks back Mike did a story on IOT.com and its $2.8 million price tag. Some people have left comments or emailed asking more about what exactly the Internet of Things (IOT) really is.

Pocket-Lint did a piece on IOT yesterday that is a good read for those interested in learning more.  From the article:

What is Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT, for short) is a phrase for when everyday objects are connected to the internet and participating together on a system, though it also means the convergence of conventional connected devices and smart appliances‏.

The Internet of Things was recently one of the stars of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where we saw many start-ups and manufacturers introduce web-connected products with smartphone apps or access to social networks.

Although these are considered connected devices, they’re also basic IoT devices. You see, there are many IoT hardware and software platforms being developed that could allow such connected devices to collaborate. Companies spearheading these systems include Sen.se, Arduino, ThingWorx3 and others.

The goal is to have people seamlessly retrieve knowledge and function on a day-to-day basis without having to sit down at a computer or talk to another human. It’s like ubiquitous computing, but it goes beyond Google Glass and extends to every home, car, business, building and system in the world.

Who coined Internet of Things?

Kevin Ashton supposedly coined the phrase “Internet of Things” while working for Procter & Gamble in 1999. He later co-founded the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ashton talked in depth about IoT to the RFIDJournal.com in 2009.

Read the whole story here

Here is a video from IBM that is very good and worth watching if you are interested in IOT:

Why Would A Guy Making Millions in Just 8 Months Want to Sell ?

Business Insider did not one but two articles on Scott DeLong and his ViralNova.com. ViralNova makes it bacon with click bait. DeLong started a site that in just 8 months gets 100 million visitors.

From the article:

Most people dream of getting rich instantly. That’s why the lottery is so popular.

One man, Scott DeLong, found a way to do it. Eight months ago, he founded ViralNova.com. It’s a media company that uses click-baity headlines to draw in readers. The content is perfect for Facebook sharing. Headlines include:

Last month, his website pulled in 100 million visitors. That means, 100 million people visited ViralNova.com. DeLong uses remnant ads (cheap ads, like Google AdSense). There are two ads on every page. A site like ViralNova, which pulls people in via external links, usually has a high bounce rate (or people who leave the website quickly). That means each user is probably reading one or two articles, and ViralNova’s two ads are probably running on 100 – 200 million pages every month.

The writer of the article had a nice back and forth on Twitter asking DeLong why he would want to sell. It is worth reading the whole article as its interesting going inside the minds of entrepreneurs. DeLong does not want VC, he does not want to hire people and he said he does not like pressure. His reply to being called lazy in the first tweet was excellent. As someone who spends up to 18 hours a day working and writing online I always chuckle when friends of mine talk about the work while at the same time complaining about a mere 8 hour work day.
Of course there is risk here for any potential buyer as DeLong is the talent and if he leaves the business might take a hit. The other risk is he gets a lot of traffic from Facebook.
Facebook recently changed the NewsFeed algorithm, but DeLong told AllThingsD’s Mike Issac on Twitter that ViralNova’s traffic has only increased since Facebook’s algorithm changes.

One commenter summed up perfectly the model:

this reminds me of sites like Mahalo that were good at gaming google SEO until google changed its algo with Panda update or Zynga when Facebook prevented them from spamming the newsfeed.

he’s getting 63% of his traffic from Facebook..


he’s one FB algo update to irrelevance (just ask Zynga).. and he knows it.

go to his site and he has a huge FB share button on each post.. (and no where to post a comment). so the only action a user can take on the viralnova.com website is to share on facebook and comment on facebook. it’s a conversion trick that leads to the post spreading on FB. if there was a place to comment on the site this would actually decrease posts to facebook and shares and traffic.

Upworthy.com uses the same conversion trick. big facebook share button with no place to comment on the site. sort of like Coke.. no Pepsi.

Facebook will eventually shut down the hose.

DeLong made clear he wants out and is exploring options but will not take just any deal. Read the whole article here

Chicago Sun-Times to test Bitcoin and Twitter paywall with startup BitWall

The Chicago Sun-Times, the 9th largest newspaper in the USA, is testing a social paywall that will accept both Tweets and Bitcoin in partnership with the content monetization startup BitWall.

For 24 hours on February 1st, 2014, Chicago Sun-Times readers will be prompted to donate Bitcoins to or Tweet about the Taproot Foundation to test the functionality and acceptance of Bitcoins on the site.

The Taproot Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps design, marketing, IT, strategic management, and HR professionals do pro bono work for other nonprofits.  BitWall, based in San Francisco, works with news sites to monetize content in innovative ways while helping increase newspapers’ social visibility via Tweets.

BitWall CEO Nic Meliones said: “The Chicago Sun-Times is showing its technological leadership by being the first major newspaper to adopt a social paywall and Bitcoin-powered monetization strategy. Bitcoin is an innovative technology well suited to online monetization.”

“We continue to experiment and test new technologies that we believe engage our readers and look forward to being the first major USA newspaper to test a Bitcoin-based paywall,” said Jim Kirk Publisher/Editor and Chief of the Chicago SunTimes.

Wrapports, LLC, CTO Josh Metnick also added: “Using this frictionless payment technology in concert with BitWall’s software allows us an innovative feasible micro-transaction and time-based access revenue models”

Taproot Foundation Chicago Executive Director Elizabeth Schwan-Rosenwald said: “Technology is driving social innovation and impact in new and exciting ways. Kicking of 2014, Taproot is thrilled to be the recipient of an innovative collaboration between BitWall and the Chicago Sun-Times. The Sun-Times is a longstanding partner in Taproot’s work to build pro bono in the corporate sector, which strengthens and grows nonprofit infrastructure. As Taproot builds a national pro bono movement we are so pleased to be a part of the collaboration between Bitwall and the Chicago Sun-Times.”

About Sun-Times Media:

Sun-Times Media is dedicated to being the premier source of local news and information for the greater Chicago area. Its media properties serve more than 300   communities across the region and include the Chicago Sun-Times and Suntimes.com; seven suburban daily newspapers, including the Beacon-News (Aurora), Courier-News (Elgin), Lake County News-Sun, Naperville Sun, Post-Tribune (Merrillville, Ind.) and the SouthtownStar; Chicago Reader, more than 30 weekly newspapers published by the Pioneer Press, as well as web sites for those newspapers, splash.suntimes.com, and more. Follow the Sun-Times at @suntimes.

About Wrapports, LLC:

Wrapports, LLC is a technology-driven media holding company whose media properties connect with millions of engaged readers and viewers weekly through tablet app, print, social media and mobile platforms. Through strategic investment in emerging technologies and new content portals, Wrapports is modernizing the business of media. Wrapports is the owner of Sun-Times Media, publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper and more than 30 other media properties. To learn more, visit www.wrapports.com and follow Wrapports at @wrapports.

About BitWall:

BitWall is a content monetization company based in San Francisco, CA. It provides social paywalls and Bitcoin monetization for online publications, including newspapers, magazines and blogs. BitWall is backed by Boost VC, Tim Draper, and the Boost Bitcoin Fund. To learn more, visit www.bitwall.io and follow BitWall @bitwall.

Virginia Says Yelp Must Reveal The Real Names of 7 Who Left Critical Reviews

A decision in Virginia could affect the free speech of users of the popular review website Yelp. This could also trickle down to other areas where free speech is concerned.

The case revolves around Hadeed Carpet based out of Alexandria, Virginia. The company did not believe that some of the negative comments it received were from actual customers. They sued Yelp to get the identities of these individuals and won. The case was appealed and the appellate court  affirmed the lower court’s ruling. So this matter is now going to the Virginia state supreme court.

Search Engine Land wrote about this and from the article:

Yelp argued that the First Amendment places a meaningful evidentiary burden on the plaintiff before the identity of an anonymous speaker can be revealed. The Virginia court sidestepped the First Amendment argument and decided the appeal on the basis of Virginia’s own statute dealing with  the “Identity of persons communicating anonymously over the Internet.”

As a practical matter all the plaintiff was legally required to do to compel disclosure of these user identities was make a number of sworn statements to the court:

  • That one or more communications that are or may be tortious or illegal have been made by the anonymous communicator, or that the party requesting the subpoena has a legitimate, good faith basis to contend that such party is the victim of conduct actionable in the jurisdiction where the suit was filed.
  • A copy of the communications that are the subject of the action or subpoena shall be submitted.
  • That other reasonable efforts to identify the anonymous communicator have proven fruitless.
  • That the identity of the anonymous communicator is important, is centrally needed to advance the claim, relates to a core claim or defense, or is directly and materially relevant to that claim or defense.
  • That the individuals or entities to whom the subpoena is addressed are likely to have responsive information

The “reasonable efforts to identify the anonymous communicator” in this case were apparently fulfilled by representations to the court that Hadeed consulted its customer database and believed that these individuals were not actual customers.

It will certainly be interesting to see how far this goes, could it make it to the U.S. Supreme Court ? A ruling like this could certainly affect other areas of the Internet at least in Virginia, forums and blogs could likely be affected.

Read the Search Engine Land story here

Overstock Reaches Sales of $130,000 in First Day of Accepting Bitcoin


Overstock CEO says the company made $130,000 in first day of Bitcoin sales.

Patrick M. Byrne did an interview on CNN which was interesting and worth watching. The interviewer and Byrne have a good back and forth where she is skeptical of Bitcoin to go mass market.  Byrne respectfully disagreed.

He does mention they are always trading out of Bitcoin and do not hold it. He says until his suppliers will accept it he will not hold. The interviewer asked if he saw other retailers accepting Bitcoin ? He replied that they will as they cannot cede the market to Overstock.

If you are interested in Bitcoin this is an interview worth watching.