- The Morning Coffee – 1 December 2014
- Narrative Science raises $10 million, Fires its robot reporters
- Where Yahoo went wrong when they decided to sell prints of CC-Licensed Flickr images
Posted: 30 Nov 2014 08:02 PM PST
This morning’s reading list includes James Patterson’s latest brainstorm, music publishers suing Cox (an ISP) over piracy, the sale of Thalia, a debate on the changes to the VAT rules in Europe, and more.
Posted: 30 Nov 2014 08:03 PM PST
Narrative Science announced on Friday that they had raised another $10 million in a capital funding round as it shifted its focus from algorithmically generated news stories to private reports written for corporate customers. GigaOm reported on Friday that:
This was Narrative Science’s third funding round, bringing their total capital investment to $32 million. Other investors this time around includded existing investors Sapphire Ventures (formerly SAP Ventures), Jump Capital, and Battery Ventures. The startup had last raised capital in September 2013 ($11.5 million).
It’s not clear how much of the hype was deserved, but Narrative Science had been getting a lot of attention over the past few years for its AI-driven Quill platform, which can be used to create simple news stories based on collections of statistics like financial earnings projections (this is how Forbes used it).
But that was yesterday; now Narrative Sciences is turning its tech to serve corporate customers like financial service providers. I won’t speculate at length as to why but I will note that Narrative Science has numerous competitors in the robot reporter market.
As I reported in June:
When I first read this story I thought that NS might be shifting industries because there was more money outside of the news industry, but now I wonder if perhaps NS is expanding into an industry where there is less competition for its services.
Either is a good possibility, I think.
The post Narrative Science raises $10 million, Fires its robot reporters appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 30 Nov 2014 08:09 PM PST
WSJ reported last week that Yahoo’s latest move to increase its revenues was pissing off Flickr users:
Just to be clear, Yahoo is only selling prints of works licensed under the CC clause which allows for commercial use, so they what they are doing is completely legal. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t ruffling feathers.
For some time now I’ve believed that the Creative Commons license needed more variations of the commercial use clause, and now it would appear that some creators feel the same way. The WSJ found several creators (six out of 14 contacted) who apparently wouldn’t mind my using their images in a blog post, but are not happy that Yahoo is going to sell prints.
That includes Nelson Lourenço, a photographer based in Lisbon, who told the ESJ that “When I accepted the Creative Commons license, I understood that my images could be used for things like showing up in articles or other works where they could be showed to public”. He’s not so happy about Yahoo selling prints, adding that “selling my work and getting the full money out of it came as a surprise”.
And he’s not the only one who is viewing this move askance. Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield said that the move was “a little shortsighted”. He added, “It's hard to imagine the revenue from selling the prints will cover the cost of lost goodwill.”
He’s not wrong in calling this move shortsighted; by annoying users Yahoo is poisoning the well. At least some of those users will stop uploading photos which Yahoo can use, and even if they continue to use Flickr those users might simply switch to a non-commercial CC license. That would stick Flickr with all of the cost of hosting the images with no chance to generate revenue, something I would describe as the worst possible outcome (for Yahoo, at least).
I think this move was particularly boneheaded not just because of the loss of goodwill but also because I can see how it would not have been hard for Yahoo to turn this to their advantage. How?
By paying a royalty on each print sold. While Yahoo is going to pay a select group of photographers, most are going to be left out in the cold.
That royalty is not required under US law but it would still be a good idea. It would mollify most of Yahoo’s critics, and what’s more it could potentially have been used to turn all those creators into salespersons. They could direct requests for prints to Yahoo, generating more revenues all around.
It’s a shame Yahoo didn’t think of that before stepping in this mess.
This isn’t the first time that Yahoo has tried to generate revenue from Flickr since acquiring it in 2005. The photo hosting service offers a Pro service level, and in researching this post I found hints that Flickr was somehow using the uploaded photos commercially as far back as 2007 (I can’t find any specifics on that, though).
image by Dave Ward Photography
The post Where Yahoo went wrong when they decided to sell prints of CC-Licensed Flickr images appeared first on The Digital Reader.
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