December 5, 2022

Helicopters Bring Viewers Vivid Images of Tornado

Once the tornado passed, the helicopter pilot, Jon Welsh, turned back to survey what had been lost. He pointed out a landmark for local viewers, Veterans Memorial Park, and said starkly, “It’s gone.” Nearby was a housing development. “Completely gone.” Mr. Welsh’s cameraman panned to the south, toward more homes. “Gone.”

Two minutes later he could see a school in the distance. “Oh, my God,” he said, grasping for words. Mr. Welsh called out for police while he tried to identify the cross streets for what turned out to be Plaza Towers Elementary School, one of at least two schools decimated by the storm. The cameraman’s close-up showed adults running toward the rubble.

The immediacy of the television coverage in the aftermath of the Moore tornado contributed to a collective sense of shock in the country, nearly two years to the day after similarly horrific scenes played out in Joplin, Mo., about 200 miles to the northeast. The vastness of the disaster in Joplin wasn’t demonstrated until the sun rose the next morning, but in Moore it appeared to be visible within minutes, thanks in part to KFOR and other local television stations.

The CBS-affiliated station, KWTV, also had a helicopter hovering over the damage not more than 15 minutes after the tornado passed. The cameras, in some cases, beat the rescuers to the worst-hit neighborhoods, and helped viewers near and far process what had happened.. The visuals from Mr. Welsh’s helicopter, in particular, spurred national news organizations to make the tornado damage the top story on their nightly newscasts and Web sites. NBC and CBS even televised special reports shortly after the tornado dissipated.

The live pictures and information, almost universally praised by viewers from afar who saw it online and on cable news channels, reminded some of the enduring value of local broadcasters at a time when apps and social networks tend to get more attention.

The reporters in Moore were supplemented by residents who posted photos and videos on those social networks. CNN at one point on Monday afternoon interviewed an eyewitness to the tornado aftermath who had published six-second videos with Vine, a relatively new app owned by Twitter. By the evening, the text message number for donations to the American Red Cross, 90999, was a nationwide trend on Twitter.

A number of national reporters, like Al Roker of NBC’s “Today” show and Sam Champion of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” were a short distance away from Moore when the tornado touched down. That’s because they had rushed to Oklahoma a day earlier, after an earlier outbreak of tornadoes elsewhere in the state.

By nightfall on Monday they were in Moore. So was Mike Bettes, a correspondent for The Weather Channel, who was among the first to arrive in Joplin after the tornado there. Reporting live on the channel on Monday, Mr. Bettes walked through what used to be a home and gestured to the kitchen, where a car laid, mangled. “I have only seen this once in my life, and that was two years ago in Joplin,” he said.

NBC and CBS said their evening news anchors, Brian Williams and Scott Pelley, respectively, would helm their broadcasts from Oklahoma on Tuesday. The “Today” show, which was supposed to emanate from Yellowstone National Park on Tuesday morning, part of a week-long cross-country tour, scrapped that plan on Monday night and said all of its hosts would be in Moore in the morning instead.

In prime time, NBC’s singing competition “The Voice,” shown live, paused several times to send well-wishes to Oklahoma. CBS postponed what was supposed to be the season finale of “Mike Molly” because the episode, titled “Windy City,” had a storyline involving a tornado. The network scheduled a repeat episode instead and said the tornado-related one would be shown sometime later.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/21/business/media/helicopter-brings-viewers-vivid-images-of-tornado.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Facebook Is Said to Be in Talks to Buy Waze

If the sale is concluded, it would give Facebook the ability to better deliver locally tailored ads and content to its 1.1 billion users.

The potential purchase price, which some news reports have said could run as high as $1 billion, would rival what Facebook paid last year to buy Instagram, a fast-growing mobile photo-sharing service.

Waze, which is based in Israel, has been talking to potential suitors for months, and the discussions are fluid. A deal may not be reached or other bidders could emerge.

A Facebook spokesman said the company did not comment on speculation. A Waze spokesman could not be reached for comment on Thursday evening.

The Israeli publication Calcalist first reported the news of the talks.

Maps have become a crucial battleground for big technology companies, including Google, Apple and Microsoft, as consumers rely more heavily on their cellphones and companies strive to deliver more location-based advertising and services.

Waze, which has more than 40 million users globally, is unusual in that it relies primarily on GPS data and real-time information from its users, who contribute updates on traffic, routes and even where to buy cheap gasoline.

Users of the service also typically share their locations continually as they drive — a potential gold mine of data that would be useful for Facebook as it seeks to serve up targeted ads.

“These people are giving permission for the cloud to track where they are,” said Brian Blau, a research director at Gartner, a technology research firm. “This is a particularly difficult problem for social networks in general. Very few people want to be tracked.”

Facebook currently uses maps from Microsoft’s Bing, but it also has a relationship with Waze. Facebook users can log into Waze using their Facebook accounts and share their location data with their Facebook friends.

Other technology companies, particularly Apple and Google, have also been watching Waze closely and may be interested in a potential acquisition of the start-up to improve their own mobile mapping services.

Facebook has been trying a variety of strategies to increase the amount of time that its users spend on its site, particularly on mobile phones. Last month, it introduced a new interface for Android smartphones called Facebook Home, and on Thursday the company said that about one million users had downloaded the software.

Facebook and other social media companies are just beginning to wrestle with the challenges of effectively delivering local advertising to their customers.

While Facebook might not be able to use Waze’s data immediately for that purpose, Mr. Blau said “this is more for the future. They are going to want to deliver contextual advertising.”

Waze has raised several rounds of financing from venture capital firms, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, BlueRun Ventures, Magma Venture Partners and Vertex Venture Capital.

Claire Cain Miller contributed reporting.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/10/technology/facebook-is-said-to-be-in-talks-to-buy-waze.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Facebook Shows Off News Feed Redesign

The new design of the Facebook News Feed presents bigger photos and links, including for advertisements, and lets users see specialized streams focused on topics like music and posts by close friends.

The changes are designed to address the company’s two most vital challenges: how to hold on to users at a time of competing, specialized social networks and how to draw more advertising dollars to please Wall Street.

Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s co-founder and chief executive, said at a news conference that he wanted Facebook to be “the best personalized newspaper in the world.” And like a newspaper editor, he wants the “front page” of Facebook to be more engaging — in particular on the smaller screens of mobile devices.

The topic-specific News Feeds could well persuade users to spend more time scrolling through various streams of content. And the redesign will offer bigger real estate for advertisers, including more opportunities for brands to feature bigger pictures, which marketers say are more persuasive than words.

Facebook’s proprietary algorithms, which try to guess what every user will want to see, will continue to filter the items that show up on each person’s main News Feed. And users will be able to drill down into specific topics they are interested in, akin to the sections of a newspaper.

For instance, they can switch over to specialized feeds that are focused on just the music they are interested in, or they can scroll through a feed that consists of posts from the pages of products and people they follow — a bit like Twitter. If they want to see everything that their friends have posted, they can choose to do that, too; those posts will rush down in chronological order, without any filtering by Facebook’s robots.

Facebook introduced the new design to some users of the Web version of its service on Thursday, and will extend it to all Web users and to mobile apps in coming weeks.

It’s unclear how users will react to the changes; in the past, major design changes have often been greeted by complaints, at least initially.

Investors seemed to welcome the new look. Shares of Facebook rose 4.1 percent on Tuesday, to $28.58. But the company’s stock price remains substantially lower than its $38 initial public offering price last May.

Facebook is clearly hoping the new format will encourage users to stay longer on the site. At the news conference to announce the changes, officials offered examples of content they hoped would be compelling: photos of a cousin’s babies on one area of the page, Justin Timberlake concert news on another, a list of stories your friends liked on National Public Radio on still another.

“The best personalized newspaper should have a broad diversity of content,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “The most important stuff is going to be on the front page,” he went on. “Then people have a chance to dig in.”

The announcement met with swift praise from the advertising industry. In addition to bigger ad formats, the redesign’s specialized content streams could keep users glued to the site longer, marketers said.

“This will result in more time spent over all on the Facebook News Feed — and of course, increase engagement with content and ads,” said Hussein Fazal, chief executive of AdParlor, which buys advertisements on Facebook on behalf of several brands.

Facebook executives suggested that there would be no immediate changes to the number of advertisements that appear on the News Feed.

Julie Zhou, the company’s design chief, said only that ads would be more visual. “Everything across the board is going to get this richer, more immersive design,” Ms. Zhou said.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/technology/facebook-shows-off-redesign.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Disruptions: Tech Valuations Defy the Restraints of Reality

Dave Morin, the founder of Path, in the company's San Francisco offices.Peter DaSilva for The New York TimesDave Morin, the founder of Path, in the company’s San Francisco offices.

On a recent Thursday night I stood motionless and perplexed on the dance floor of a San Francisco club. As I looked around, 300 or so people danced and darted back and forth to a free open bar while laser lights shot overhead. Cellphones glowed, like a video of luminescent jellyfish, as people snapped pictures and slung moments of the evening onto dozens of social networks.

What made the evening so perplexing was that the party I was attending celebrated Path, a mobile social network that just two months earlier was essentially written off in Silicon Valley. If the company held a party back then, people would have assumed it was a going-out-of-business sale. Now, after rebooting to positive reviews from the blogosphere, Path is again the talk of Silicon Valley. Some are even proclaiming that the company could be “the next Facebook.”

Watching the Valley’s perception of Path go from positive to negative and back has been like watching a hyperactive child with a yo-yo. The valuation has oscillated in near synchronicity.

This, I have learned, is the mentality of much of Silicon Valley, where decisions are not always made based on revenue or potential business models, but instead seem to be driven by a herd mentality and a yearning to be a part of a potential next big thing.

This is most evident in the valuations that are given to companies here. Two start-ups, each with 10 million users and no revenue, can be valued anywhere from $50 million to $1 billion.

Facebook is a prime example of this. The company does generate considerable revenue and is currently valued at $84 billion and is expected to reach $100 billion by the time of its initial public offering later this year. That’s a higher market valuation than Disney or Amazon.

Paul Kedrosky, an investor and entrepreneur, explained in an interview that one reason valuations are so wildly inflated is that venture capitalists want to be associated with a potentially successful start-up just so it looks good in their portfolio. This, he said, has driven absurd buying on the secondary private market, where stocks are bought and sold before a company goes public.

“There is massive buying on the secondary market by venture guys just for the showmanship of it,” he said. “These buyers are much less price sensitive and just want a company in their portfolio so they can stick the logo on their Web site.”

A report released last week by SecondMarket.com, such an online marketplace, said it had $558 million in transactions in 2011, up 55 percent from the year earlier. Almost two-thirds of those transactions were for consumer Web sites and social media start-ups.

Other investors give money to several companies hoping to strike it rich with at least one. I call that the Peter Thiel Effect. Mr. Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, gave $100,000 to Mark Zuckerberg, a founder of Facebook, when the company was starting out. That investment is expected to be worth $1 billion when Facebook goes public.

In other instances, you have spite investing. This is when venture capitalists will give millions of dollars to a start-up simply because they were not given the opportunity to invest in the competitor with the original idea.

Some investors no longer even need to hear about a company to hand out money. Jakob Lodwick, an entrepreneur and co-founder of Vimeo, recently raised $2 million simply on the promise that he might have a good idea for a company in the near future.

It’s as if someone found out where Hasbro prints Monopoly money and gave every venture capitalist a key to the company’s storage facility.

“I have never seen such a generation of people shorting tech stocks,” Mr. Kedrosky said, noting that he too has chosen to bet that Groupon, Zynga and LinkedIn will fall significantly in value. “Usually the short community is more nervous about it, but there is a monolithic view that this generation of technology I.P.O.’s is completely broken.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=772c5e74ba4242e61030b343cba93d1a

Bits: Google+ Gains Traction, Researcher Says

Julian Staratenschulte/European Pressphoto Agency

Google’s mission to compete with Facebook in social networking may be gaining speed.

On Tuesday Paul Allen, a researcher, published an analysis saying that Google+, the company’s social networking service, has reached 62 million registered users. More important, one-quarter of all users signed up in December alone, he said, putting it on a path to sustained global growth.

Mr. Allen has an admitted self-interest in seeing Google+ succeed; he makes applications designed to be used on social networks. And his methodology in coming up with the number of users is innovative, and not exactly ironclad. He gathered from the United States Census Bureau a list of 400 surnames that are uncommon in the United States, like Distler, Wooding and Loup. Using Elance, a Web site where freelancers bid for jobs, he got a count of the number of people with those names on Google+, and extrapolated from his list what those numbers say about the overall population of Google+.

Over time, Mr. Allen has changed the mix of names to try to reflect the number of people on Google+ outside the United States, where some of those names might be more common.

Mr. Allen also tracks his estimates against information Google provides about the population of Google+ during its quarterly earnings calls. In July, Google said Google+ had 10 million members. In October, the number was 40 million. Google does not supply additional information about the population of Google+.

In Mr. Allen’s analysis, the high percentage of new users matters, because it would mean Google is getting people to join at an accelerating rate. “It’s gaining 625,000 people a day,” Mr. Allen said in an interview. “In the last week of November it was signing up 199,000 a day.” By the end of this month, Mr. Allen thinks Google+ will have 65 million users. When Google next announces its earnings in mid-January, he said, “I expect Larry Page will announce they have 75 million people.”

Maybe so, but a more important issue is whether an acceleration in sign-ups will continue. There is some reason to believe it will, because social networks tend to become more useful to people as more people they know join them, and keep them entertained with status updates and links to other things on the Web. Also, new versions of Android, Google’s mobile operating system, will have automatic signups for Google+. That will drive traffic, possibly along with some usage-killing resentment from being dragooned into yet another social network.

“Projecting my numbers linearly, they’ll have 293 million people by the end of 2012,” Mr. Allen said. But, he added that he thinks things will really speed up, to 400 million users. “I’m very bullish,” he said.

While that number is still less than the minimum of 800 million people that Facebook claims (and its total is probably much higher than that, because Facebook would like to file for its initial public offering with some kind of eye-popping number), it would make Google+ the second-largest social network within 18 months of introduction.

Mr. Allen’s analysis doesn’t look at the important statistic of total time spent on Google+ per user, and whether that is increasing. That number tends to show loyalty, and provides advertisers with more clues about what to pitch users while they are on the site. Facebook’s new Timeline feature, which allows people to insert older photos and mementos to create a narrative of their lives, will probably increase time spent on Facebook, as well as decrease the chances that people will leave that site. Timeline will also, Mr. Allen noted, enable more app discovery, as people see what games, sites, and social tools their friends are using.

Mr. Allen’s guess about the population in Google+ is not the highest one around. Last week the Global Web Index analysis firm claimed that Google+ had 150 million members. But it didn’t say how it reached that figure.

 

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=6adf6a95d0b59e98dae93d720fcdb208

Bits Blog: Google+ Gains Traction, Researcher Says

Julian Staratenschulte/European Pressphoto Agency

Google’s mission to compete with Facebook in social networking may be gaining speed.

On Tuesday Paul Allen, a researcher, published an analysis saying that Google+, the company’s social networking service, has reached 62 million registered users. More important, one-quarter of all users signed up in December alone, he said, putting it on a path to sustained global growth.

Mr. Allen has an admitted self-interest in seeing Google+ succeed; he makes applications designed to be used on social networks. And his methodology in coming up with the number of users is innovative, and not exactly ironclad. He gathered from the United States Census Bureau a list of 400 surnames that are uncommon in the United States, like Distler, Wooding and Loup. Using Elance, a Web site where freelancers bid for jobs, he got a count of the number of people with those names on Google+, and extrapolated from his list what those numbers say about the overall population of Google+.

Over time, Mr. Allen has changed the mix of names to try to reflect the number of people on Google+ outside the United States, where some of those names might be more common.

Mr. Allen also tracks his estimates against information Google provides about the population of Google+ during its quarterly earnings calls. In July, Google said Google+ had 10 million members. In October, the number was 40 million. Google does not supply additional information about the population of Google+.

In Mr. Allen’s analysis, the high percentage of new users matters, because it would mean Google is getting people to join at an accelerating rate. “It’s gaining 625,000 people a day,” Mr. Allen said in an interview. “In the last week of November it was signing up 199,000 a day.” By the end of this month, Mr. Allen thinks Google+ will have 65 million users. When Google next announces its earnings in mid-January, he said, “I expect Larry Page will announce they have 75 million people.”

Maybe so, but a more important issue is whether an acceleration in sign-ups will continue. There is some reason to believe it will, because social networks tend to become more useful to people as more people they know join them, and keep them entertained with status updates and links to other things on the Web. Also, new versions of Android, Google’s mobile operating system, will have automatic signups for Google+. That will drive traffic, possibly along with some usage-killing resentment from being dragooned into yet another social network.

“Projecting my numbers linearly, they’ll have 293 million people by the end of 2012,” Mr. Allen said. But, he added that he thinks things will really speed up, to 400 million users. “I’m very bullish,” he said.

While that number is still less than the minimum of 800 million people that Facebook claims (and its total is probably much higher than that, because Facebook would like to file for its initial public offering with some kind of eye-popping number), it would make Google+ the second-largest social network within 18 months of introduction.

Mr. Allen’s analysis doesn’t look at the important statistic of total time spent on Google+ per user, and whether that is increasing. That number tends to show loyalty, and provides advertisers with more clues about what to pitch users while they are on the site. Facebook’s new Timeline feature, which allows people to insert older photos and mementos to create a narrative of their lives, will probably increase time spent on Facebook, as well as decrease the chances that people will leave that site. Timeline will also, Mr. Allen noted, enable more app discovery, as people see what games, sites, and social tools their friends are using.

Mr. Allen’s guess about the population in Google+ is not the highest one around. Last week the Global Web Index analysis firm claimed that Google+ had 150 million members. But it didn’t say how it reached that figure.

 

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=6adf6a95d0b59e98dae93d720fcdb208

Jim Romenesko, an Original Blogger About Journalism, Retires

He was an aggregator before it became a dirty word. He was a blogger before there were blogs.

But early next year, Jim Romenesko, the go-to source for news about the news, will retire from the blog that bears his name.

Mr. Romenesko, whose blog on the Poynter Institute Web site became an addictive distraction for journalists across the country who found their work promoted on his page and their office gossip laid bare, said on Wednesday that he was starting a new venture that would report more general interest news.

Aggregating news has gotten tedious, he said. The ease with which anyone can create a site of their own, and the proliferation of social networks like Twitter has made it harder to break through.

So he’s going back to what he got into journalism to do in the first place: reporting. He said his new site, JimRomenesko.com, would still cover media but would also touch on other topics he’s interested in, like food, finance and real estate. He will still contribute casually to Poynter.

“I’m not going to be doing three-sentence summaries of other people’s work. That’s behind me,” Mr. Romenesko, a 57-year-old former newspaperman, said.

“My role kind of vanished. I was a town crier but just one of many,” he added, acknowledging that the social media revolution had left him somewhat disoriented but determined to find something more rewarding.

“I was recently criticized by someone who said I didn’t tweet very well. Then he went on to write about his lost luggage. If that’s tweeting, well, I don’t know,” he said.

Mr. Romenesko was a pioneer of a form of online journalism that is now commonplace. Sites like Gawker and Dealbreaker would become popular years later using similar models.

He identified the hunger for niche news, and connected his readers through an online community in which they could debate and comment on the story of the day. And if they had an internal memo they wanted to leak him, all the better. He would post it and guarantee anonymity. His last name became a verb that editors hoped they would never find themselves on the other end of — as in, “You just got Romenesko’d.” That typically meant one of their memos had leaked on his site.

Mr. Romenesko, said Bill Mitchell, a Poynter faculty member, in a send-off on Poynter’s Web site, “flattened the journalism landscape so interesting things that happened in small newsrooms — whether painful examples of plagiarism or award-winning work — were as likely to be Romenesko’d as developments in the nation’s media centers.” Mr. Mitchell helped recruit Mr. Romenesko to Poynter in 1999 after seeing how much cachet his first Web site, MediaGossip.com, had built up in media circles. Mr. Romenesko has slowed his pace recently, posting fewer items to his blog and relying more frequently on other Poynter contributors. He used to rise at 5 every morning and comb the Web for items. He would never take vacations.

“I get up at 6:30 now,” he confessed. And he said his new schedule would be much more conducive to taking trips, which he planned to do more regularly.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=e2c521c1111579e4f07fdf69096e9f99

DealBook: A Force Behind the Gaga Effect

Soon after Apple started its music-centric social network Ping last year, Steven P. Jobs reached out to Lady Gaga and her business manager, Troy Carter, for feedback.

At the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., Lady Gaga peppered Mr. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, with questions about Ping’s design and how it would work with other social networks. The pop star and Mr. Carter voiced concerns over the lack of integration with Facebook, but they left respecting Mr. Jobs’s overall vision.

The meeting also gave Mr. Carter, a new technophile, an idea. He called his friend Matthew Michelsen, a well-connected technology investor and entrepreneur, to find a platform for entertainers that could help them manage their fan base across all major social networks.

“I said why try to find a platform, let’s try to build one,” said Mr. Michelsen.

Despite Lady Gaga’s demanding world tour schedule that fall, Mr. Carter and Mr. Michelsen quietly founded a start-up, the Backplane, with a team of seven. The company, which has not yet been unveiled, is a platform meant to power online communities around specific interests, like musicians and sports teams, and to integrate feeds from Facebook, Twitter and other sites.

“Backplane will provide a platform and tools for communities to socialize and communicate on a more focused level,” said Mr. Carter, sounding less like a pop star’s manager and more like an entrepreneur delivering the typical elevator pitch. “We needed a more concentrated base.”

While Lady Gaga herself — née Stefani Joanne Germanotta — is the artist and creative mind behind Lady Gaga Inc., her lesser-known manager, Mr. Carter, is leading the enterprise’s digital strategy. Unlike other managers who focus on a handful of big platforms like YouTube, Mr. Carter is trying to tap into a broad range of online tools to keep the Gaga machine in overdrive.

Backplane — a blend of music, celebrity and technology — was a natural evolution, says Mr. Carter, who has worked with Lady Gaga for more than four years. As traditional sales have dwindled, the Internet has become increasingly important in music management.

“There was a time when radio stations wouldn’t play Gaga’s music, because it was considered dance,” said Mr. Carter. “Outside of live performances, the Internet became our primary tool to help people discover her music.”

Mr. Carter represents an emerging group of Hollywood managers, actors, musicians and other industry players who are spending more time in Silicon Valley, as technology upends the way people consume content.

The worlds of technology and entertainment have often clashed, tested by products like the music-sharing service Napster, through which some users shared files illegally. Some critics in Silicon Valley are still skeptical of Hollywood people, whom they view as carpetbaggers overestimating their worth.

“Sure these guys can be helpful, but can Lady Gaga make a company? No,” said Jeff Clavier, a venture capitalist.

To Mr. Carter, the two industries are symbiotic. As he pushes to extend the Lady Gaga brand and his own influence in Silicon Valley, he has had many meetings with executives from Zynga and Larry Page, the chief of Google, whom Lady Gaga affectionately calls Larry Google. He is also an investor in several promising start-ups, including Bre.ad, Tiny Chat and Lumier, a company backed by Facebook’s first outside investor, Peter Thiel.

Mr. Carter’s own venture, Backplane, is attracting capital from prominent backers. The company has raised more than $1 million from a group of investors led by Tomorrow Ventures, the investment firm of Google’s chairman, Eric E. Schmidt. Lady Gaga, who has acted as an informal consultant, is also a major shareholder, with a 20 percent stake.

“I’ll never forget when I first met Troy” in 2009, said Mr. Michelsen, who at the time was helping the rapper 50 Cent with his online initiatives. After talking for nearly three hours about the intersection of music and technology, Mr. Carter ended the conversation by saying, “I’m going to get you out of music and you’re going to get me into the tech business.”

Casually dressed in dark jeans, a loose-fitting cream-colored cardigan and thick-framed glasses, Mr. Carter, 38, stands in stark contrast to his client, a paparazzi magnet in her pyrotechnic bras and towering Alexander McQueen heels. Mr. Carter is more comfortable out of the limelight, quietly brokering deals for his larger-than-life clients.

He has worked for Sean Combs, the late Notorious B.I.G. and Will Smith, whom he met in his hometown, West Philadelphia, in the late 1980s. Mr. Carter had come through a scrappy childhood, often subsisting, he said, on government-issued cheese. As a teenager, he lugged crates of records for D.J. Jazzy Jeff and Mr. Smith, then known as the Fresh Prince.

Today, as the chief executive of his own management company, the Coalition Media Group, he represents the firm’s talent, including the YouTube sensation Greyson Chance and the Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra. But a great deal of his time is spent with his biggest client, Lady Gaga.

Her star power, combined with Mr. Carter’s aggressive deal-making, have made Lady Gaga a force on the Web. In May, she became the first Twitter user to reach 10 million followers, edging out the teenage phenomenon Justin Bieber and President Obama. Her Facebook page has 36 million fans. And in the last few weeks she has begun promotional deals with Google, Zynga and Gilt.

“Troy and Gaga are doing things with communications and fan relationships that we haven’t really seen before,” said Gary Briggs, a vice president at Google, who worked with Lady Gaga’s team on her recent TV commercial for Chrome, Google’s web browser.

Amazon sold digital copies of Lady Gaga’s latest album, “Born This Way,” for 99 cents on May 23 in a heavily publicized move to promote its music service. Her fan base of so-called little monsters crashed Amazon’s servers on the first day of sales. The promotion, paid for by the retailer, helped her sell 1.1 million albums in the United States in its debut week, according to figures released by Nielsen SoundScan, the most for any artist since 2005.

Unlike most venture capitalists, Mr. Carter tends to invest in platforms that are complementary to entertainers. Backplane, along with Bre.ad, a personalized ad start-up, and Lumier, a design-oriented company, will prominently feature Lady Gaga for their public introductions.

Because of Lady Gaga’s reach, she is a valuable incubator to promote new concepts or products. Zynga recently began GagaVille, a special promotion that allowed FarmVille users to unlock her new songs and special virtual items like unicorns and crystals. Bing Gordon, a director at Zynga, called it a logical combination, saying “it’s all about entertainment.” He recently added Gaga crystals to his virtual farm.

The deal developed like many in Lady Gaga’s empire. Mr. Carter and his team negotiated the structure of the arrangement, hammering out a partnership in 90 days. Lady Gaga worked on the creative end, pulling visual components from her music videos and tours to bring a sense of “authenticity” to the design.

“Technology has long been the driver of growth in the music business from the invention of lacquers, eight-track players, vinyl, cassettes and CDs,” Mr. Carter said. “In order to continue the growth we have to go back to embracing technology and the way that people choose to consume music.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=7a2c23c161da8f287f7a82dc15e139a6

DealBook: Yandex Shares Soar 55% in Market Debut

Arkady Volozh, second from right, Yandex's chief, and other executives celebrate the start of trading in their company's shares.Mark Lennihan/Associated PressYandex’s chief, Arkady Volozh, second from right, and other executives celebrate the start of trading in their company’s shares.

4:17 p.m. | Updated

Shares of Yandex, one of the largest Internet companies in Russia, climbed more than 55 percent on Tuesday in their Nasdaq trading debut.

Yandex’s stock, which was priced at $25 on Monday, closed at $38.84, a gain of $13.84. The shares opened at $35 and briefly rose as high as $42.01.

The enthusiasm for the Yandex offering, the largest technology offering since Google’s $1.7 billion market debut in 2004, reflects the rising exuberance for Internet companies in the United States and elsewhere in the world.

Over the last few weeks, a handful of multibillion-dollar companies have jumped into the public markets, enjoying robust first-day pops reminiscent of the last technology boom. Renren, one of China’s leading social networks, surged 29 percent on its debut on May 4 and raised $743 million in its offering.

LinkedIn, a social network for professionals, more than doubled on its first day of trading on Thursday. The company, which had recently traded in the secondary markets at an implied valuation of $2.5 billion, is now valued at more than $8 billion.

While overall demand for promising Internet companies is running high, some stocks have struggled to hold on to investors at lofty prices. Renren is now trading below its offer price. LinkedIn has also pulled back, but it is still trading sharply above its offer price.

Over all, there have been 23 technology I.P.O.’s so far this year, raising $4.5 billion, according to data from Renaissance Capital. Not including Yandex, these I.P.O.’s traded up 14.9 percent on their first day on average.

Enthusiasm has been building for Yandex. Two weeks ago, it forecast a more modest price range of $20 to $22 a share.

On Monday evening, the company, based in Moscow, sold 52.2 million shares in its offering, raising $1.3 billion. The stock began trading Tuesday under the ticker symbol YNDX.

Its underwriters, led by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank Securities, also have the option to sell an additional 5.2 million shares to cover over-allotments.

For investors, Yandex represents a bet on Russia’s burgeoning technology market. Last year, the company generated about 64 percent of all search traffic in the country, recording revenue of $439.7 million and net income of $134.3 million.

“This is the Google of Russia,” said Scott Sweet, a senior managing partner of I.P.O. Boutique. “They are profitable, their growth is outstanding and they have over 60 percent market share; Google has about 22 to 30 percent.”

Yandex’s largest shareholders include the hedge fund Tiger Global Management, Baring Vostok Private Equity Funds and the company’s chief executive, Arkady Volozh. All are selling some shares in the offering.

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DealBook: Finding Long-Term Value in Renren

Executives of Renren, one of China's largest social networks, at the New York Stock Exchange on the first day of trading of the company's shares.Adam Au/Reuters Executives of Renren, one of China’s largest social networks, at the New York Stock Exchange on the first day of trading of the company’s shares.

Many of Renren’s investors profited handsomely from the company’s initial public offering, when shares priced at $14 on Wednesday. But a venture capital firm, DCM, which owns 7.5 percent of the Chinese social networking site, is holding on to its stake.

On Wednesday, a DCM general partner, David Chao, talked to DealBook about the long-term value of Renren and why the firm is bullish on China. The company, which has an office in Beijing, has made 28 investments in the region since 1999 — nine of which have gone public.

Mr. Chao, who recently replaced Derek Palaschuk as the chairman of Renren’s audit committee, also discussed the recent questions surrounding the company’s financials. Mr. Palaschuk stepped down last week amid accusations of accounting fraud at Longtop Financial Technologies, where he has been a chief financial officer since 2006.

What is driving investor interest in Renren?

There’s the huge growth of the middle-income class in China. People used to say 10, 15 years ago, that maybe 10 percent of China’s population was middle class, that was about 150 million then. They say today that the number is closer to 400 million. We’re talking about a country where the middle class alone is larger than the entire population of the United States. These people buy cars, broadband services, smartphones. That’s really the engine behind the growth.

Companies that capture that momentum well will do very well. Now, five years, 10 years from now — when some of that growth slows down inevitably — I think you will see some of the valuations more akin to their U.S. counterparts.

Are you concerned that the valuations of Chinese Internet companies like Renren or Youku are too high?

When Youtube was purchased by Google for $1.6 billion, Youtube had significantly less traffic than what Youku has today. Did Google overpay, underpay? I think quite frankly, in the beginning people thought Google overpaid. But now people think it was a fair or low price.

If you accept the thesis that China is the world’s largest Internet market by number of users and that it will soon become the second-largest media market in the world, then the valuations for the market leaders in each segment of the Internet space – if they can maintain their position long term – are justified.

China’s social media space is pretty crowded. Are you worried about Renren’s position in the market?

Renren is about real identity, on par with Facebook. I think you have to look at the fact that Renren is the largest real identity Web site and it’s jumped into social commerce. And it has done it a lot earlier than Facebook. Nuomi [Renren’s group buying site] is one of the top Groupon sites in China.

Net net, we continue to believe that it is an exciting story. Whoever is No. 1 in this segment is probably going to continue to do well. If you look at the winners of each wave of the Internet, it’s pretty obvious that all the winners are multibillion-dollar companies.

What is your response to critics who say Renren’s financials are not very strong, that its per user monetization rates pale when compared with Facebook?

It looks like a wide gap. But if you look at the average of a Chinese person versus the average U.S. person, the gap is like 5x to 10x. I think people should not view things in absolute terms.

The company was also criticized for an accounting issue last month, when it revised the number of monthly unique logins for the first quarter.

First and foremost, the company refiled. At the end of the day we filed with the right numbers. It was a typo that was printed. China is still a developing country. If you look historically at accounting standards around the world, there are countries that have to catch up to others. Having said that, it’s really hard sometimes, when you’re in China and you’re in a business dinner and you bring this topic up. Chinese business people will say what about Enron, what about Tyco?

As a venture capitalist in China, where are valuations starting to feeling frothy?

We haven’t seen a tremendous increase in competition, because we largely focus on the early stage. When we back companies like Renren, they are still very small companies. On the early stage side, we’ve seen a little bit of a price creep, but not much compared to later stage investments which have to price relative to current public market valuations. The increase in prices in late-stage deals has a far greater impact on venture returns.

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