The UpStream

Crowdsourcing: Why It Doesn't Work

posted Sunday Aug 12, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Crowdsourcing: Why It Doesn't Work

When you source a project on Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, or one of 450 other international crowdsourcing websites, how do you know that anything the person is saying is possible? Sure, most of these sites provide certain securities to protect the funders from being tricked, but it doesn't protect against everything. For example, take a man who knows no practical skills about what might work on Kickstarter and have him offer to write a book about what might work on Kickstarter and launch a project to fund it on Kickstarter. That seems to be exactly what happened.

Glenn Fleishman, a freelance tech writer, decided he had covered crowdsourcing enough in his articles to write a book, so he launched Crowdfunding: a Guide to What Works and Why, a project for him to write a book about the topic he thought he knew. He produced his sales pitch video where he came across like he had just enough information to make the video and not quite write a book and put the project up on July 6th. On July 23rd, he canceled the project with no warning. He wrote on his blog,

I've opted today to suspend my book's crowdfunding campaign at Kickstarter. The project is only a bit over 10% funded and unlikely to succeed. But I'm happy about it. Why? Have I gone crazy? No. I learned an enormous amount through this effort.

You certainly read that right. There's a lot more to read after the break, and I'm not asking for $25 to continue.

Valve to Bring Non-game Apps to Steam Starting September 5th

posted Saturday Aug 11, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Valve to Bring Non-game Apps to Steam Starting September 5th

Game company Valve has always been known to do things a little differently. With innovations like Steam and amazing FPS titles like Counter-Strike and Half-Life, it seems as if everything they do turns into something great. Since earlier this year, we were curious as to what was up the company's sleeve to be the next big thing. Fans worldwide were let down when told that there would be no Steam Box or other announcement at E3, even though we found out more details about Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Where's Valve going and is it a smart move for them? Our take is after the break.

Data Breach at Blizzard Comprises Emails and Security Questions but not Passwords

posted Saturday Aug 11, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Data Breach at Blizzard Comprises Emails and Security Questions but not Passwords

This week we have news of another breach in the gaming world, however it is not in any way, shape or form related to Sony and their handicapping outage last year. Instead, the victim is Blizzard Entertainment and their Battle.net online gaming network. Blizzard, makers of StarCraft, World of Warcraft and Diablo, has had their internal network security compromised and the company has issued emails to customers today. Blizzard has said the email went out to all customers who have used Battle.net, however at the time of this writing, my inbox has not received any such notification. Perhaps I wasn't affected?

The good news is that Blizzard is also saying no financial information has been breached to their knowledge, so you're safe in that regard. Also, while email addresses to lots of non-Chinese users of Battle.net were snatched along with passwords, those passwords were scrambled, which cannot be said for Yahoo! and other companies' breaches as of late. Scrambling or "hashing" passwords, is a common practice in development and has become the accepted, secure way to handle all customer login activity.

Who is responsible for this and what steps is Blizzard taking to ensure this won't happen again? The path to the answers resides safely and securely after the break.

Google Censors Search Results Again, Now Worldwide

posted Saturday Aug 11, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Google Censors Search Results Again, Now Worldwide

Google has, once again, changed their search algorithm, but it's not for the normal reasons. Normally when these changes happen it is to enhance their search result relevancy; this time it is to reduce their search result relevancy. In response to pressure from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Google will now suppress relevant search results from websites which have had copyright claims against them.

Amit Singhal, Google Engineering SVP, wrote,

This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily - whether it's a song previewed on NPR's music website, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed from Spotify.

While this may be good for Hulu and Spotify, what does this mean for legitimate websites who have received false claims? Hit the break for those answers and responses from affected parties, both for and against.

US District Judge Overturns $147 Million Settlement Against Research in Motion

posted Saturday Aug 11, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

US District Judge Overturns $147 Million Settlement Against Research in Motion

Good things come to those who wait long enough. For Research in Motion, the maker of the infamous BlackBerry devices which have come and gone with their popularity as fast as Kevin Federline's rap career, the wait seems to have been very, very long. Inappropriate jobs, faulty PlayBooks and marketing blunders have plagued the company until recently, where RIM has decided to set a new course for their future. Now, it would appear good things are happening in the customary set of three.

RIM's second piece of good news in five months comes from none other than a US judge, overturning a ruling of infringement between Research in Motion and Mformation Technologies. The judge said that RIM did not infringe on the plaintiff's patent involving a remote management system on a wireless device.

How much money will RIM get back and what's next for the company. We dive into the good stuff, head-first, after the break.

Zynga Bribes Employees to Keep Them From Quitting

posted Saturday Aug 11, 2012 by Scott Ertz

It has been a rough couple of weeks for Zynga. Though the largest producer of Facebook games, their earnings report sucked this quarter, their future products have not impressed and their $200 million OMGPOP acquisition has not exactly gone as planned. The company has begun to resort to licensing tactics, including a Draw Something-branded TV show to try and keep the lights on. Combine that with an insider trading investigation and a lawsuit from EA over the similarities between their new game The Ville and EA's The Sims Social.

None of this inspires confidence from the market, but even less confidence is inside the office. Because of this, the company is expecting many employees to leave out of fear. In an attempt to prevent this, the company handed out stock to all full-time employees to encourage them to stick around. While stock options are a common occurrence within Zynga for performance within a quarter, a full-company handout is not. As of right now, Zynga has 77.4 million outstanding options worth about 76 cents apiece.

Is this a sign of the end or common practice? Hit the break to find out.

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