Dot Coms

42 articles
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Ted Nelson's Xanadu project began in 1960 and was supposed to be the universal, democratic hypertext library that would help human life evolve into an entirely new form. It didn't go that way.

Update: The software was finally, quietly released in April.

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The story of a lead squandered.

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For the first time, the giants of the tech industry are spending more on creating, buying, and fighting patents than they are on R&D.

Part of New York Times' ongoing iEconomy series.
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How the self-proclaimed “inventor of all things streaming” went from dot-com millionaire to crime ring accomplice.

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The autopsy of a once-dominant site.

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An exposé of Internet Marketers.

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A profile of Mark Zuckerberg, savvy CEO.

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On the relationship between Stanford and Silicon Valley.

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A report from Austin, Texas as it turns into a dot-com hotspot.

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He was fired from the company he helped create, YouSendIt. Then the cyberattacks started.

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Dotcom didn’t look like a criminal genius. With his ginger hair, chubby cheeks, and odd fashion sense—he often wore black suits and white-on-black wingtip shoes—he looked like he should be setting up a magic table.

How Kim Schmitz, the proprietor of Megaupload, made his fortune and landed in a New Zealand prison.

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How the U.S. government used a serial con who was caught running a mail-order steroid pharmacy in Mexico to prove that Google was knowingly placing ads for illegal drugs.

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On YouTube’s shift towards professionally created content.

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On the TechCrunch founder’s venture capital fund, and a new breed of startup investor.

As Twitter-loving VC investors have become brand names themselves (Fred Wilson, Marc Andreessen, Chris Sacca), what one might call the auteur theory of venture capitalism has emerged—the idea that startup companies bear the unique creative signature of those who invested in them. To study a venture capitalist’s portfolio is to study his oeuvre.

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Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook vs. Amazon.

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In Silicon Valley, up all night coding in the dorms with the aspiring Mark Zuckerbergs of tomorrow.

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On how search and advertising became indistinguishable, the finer points of not being evil, and why privacy is by nature immeasurable. How Google made us the product:

“Google conquered the advertising world with nothing more than applied mathematics,” wrote Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired. “It didn’t pretend to know anything about the culture and conventions of advertising—it just assumed that better data, with better analytical tools, would win the day. And Google was right.”

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A look at the dating site's new algorithm.
Codenamed “Synapse”, the Match algorithm uses a variety of factors to suggest possible mates. While taking into account a user’s stated ­preferences, such as desired age range, hair colour and body type, it also learns from their actions on the site. So, if a woman says she doesn’t want to date anyone older than 26, but often looks at ­profiles of thirty-somethings, Match will know she is in fact open to meeting older men. Synapse also uses “triangulation”. That is, the algorithm looks at the behaviour of similar users and factors in that ­information, too.
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On Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and the gender dynamics of Silicon Valley.

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Inside the world of online dating:

If the dating sites had a mixer, you might find OK Cupid by the bar, muttering factoids and jokes, and Match.com in the middle of the room, conspicuously dropping everyone’s first names into his sentences. The clean-shaven gentleman on the couch, with the excellent posture, the pastel golf shirt, and that strangely chaste yet fiery look in his eye? That would be eHarmony.

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A profile of new Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard, who in another life was a touring musician and hated Ticketmaster just like everyone else.

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On the “world’s largest social network that you probably haven’t yet heard of” and its enigmatic founder.

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“The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.”

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At times, Mr. Hsieh comes across as an alien who has studied human beings in order to live among them.

A profile of the Zappos CEO.

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How and why Zappos works.

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An insider history of the fall of Myspace; from Rupert Murdoch calling Facebook a mere “communications utility” to the disastrous 2006 deal with Google that demanded huge pageviews and ads everywhere, and finally the present day ruins of a titan.

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A site for handcrafts flirts with an IPO.

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The next frontier of search is… everything. Voice recognition, image recognition, and why Google’s data set is one of the most valuable scientific tools of our age.

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A profile of Jack Dorsey, co-founder (and displaced CEO) of Twitter. Dorsey’s latest venture, a mobile credit card system called Square that only officially launched in February 2011, already processes more than a million transactions per day.

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A requiem for the ‘content portal’ era.

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On the group of friends who came to rule the bizarre, decreasingly lucrative world of Internet porn.

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How YouTube went from ubiquitous to profitable; and where it goes next.

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How the social networks that popped up in Facebook’s absence—the site is not available behind the Great Firewall—are changing Chinese culture.

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On the (disputed) origins of the Huffington Post.

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A tech neophyte looks for answers in Silicon Valley, “the last place in America where people are this optimistic.”

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Where the actual online money is centralized, and where Google will have to go to continue chasing it.

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The perpetually underpaid author takes a moonlighting job with Demand Media, publisher of search-engine optimized articles with titles like “Hair Styles for Women Over 50 With Glasses”, absurdity ensues.

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Diapers.com has a stripped-down business model, a massive warehouse staffed by robots, and a legitimate chance to outsell Amazon.

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The rise and fall of Suck.com, the web’s first daily-updated site.

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Foursquare and Gowalla are in a VC-funded race to become the dominant location-based social network. But their founders say both companies have a larger purpose.