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A common annoyance for web users is when websites require browser technologies that are not supported by their device. When users access such pages, they may see nothing but a blank space or miss out a large portion of the page's contents.
Starting today, we will indicate to searchers when our algorithms detect pages that may not work on their devices. For example, Adobe Flash is not supported on iOS devices or on Android versions 4.1 and higher, and a page whose contents are mostly Flash may be noted like this:
Fortunately, making websites that work on all modern devices is not that hard: websites can use HTML5 since it is universally supported, sometimes exclusively, by all devices. To help webmasters build websites that work on all types of devices regardless of the type of content they wish to serve, we recently announced two resources:
As always, if you need more help you can ask a question in our webmaster forum.Posted by Keita Oda, Software Engineer, and Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst
Every picture tells a story, but what about every Facebook ad campaign? The social network teamed up with Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer and social media advertising technology firm Adaptly on a study in which two separate campaigns were run this past May for independent fashion and lifestyle website Refinery29. The results were detailed in a post on the Facebook for Business page.
One of our early sessions at the recent Video Ad Summit was "TV is Video, But is Video TV?" which included Doug Knopper (Co-CEO, FreeWheel), Peter Naylor (SVP, Ad Sales, Hulu), Fred Santarpia (EVP, Chief Digital Officer, Conde Nast Entertainment) and Dan Suratt (EVP, Digital Media and Business Development, A+E Networks), with me moderating.
The question is highly relevant as it influences how ad spending will evolve and how pay-TV's value proposition will be perceived given the proliferation of online originals. Our panelists offer a range of perspectives, with some consensus that if it's long-form, high-quality, rights-managed and brand-safe online video, there's no practical difference vs. TV. One data point that Peter shares - that 62% of Hulu's content is now viewed on connected TV devices - underscores how mainstream online video viewing has become.
Above: A kid uses the "Epic!" app for iPad.
Epic makes a strong case for a kids-only e-book subscription service — one that goes beyond its $5 monthly price tag.
The Palo Alto, California-based startup launched its iPad app in January, targeting kids 12 and under. Headed by CrowdStar founder Suren Markosian and former YouTube executive Kevin Donahue, Epic aims to fill the gap left by services like Amazon’s Kindle, Apple’s iBooks, and competing subscription service Oyster, all of which are made for adults, said the Epic cofounders.
“I really wanted to design the experience around instant gratification,” Markosian, Epic’s chief executive, told VentureBeat.
Rather than requiring book downloads, Epic can stream all its books. That means kids can quickly open and glance at books until they find one they like. There’s still a download option for offline reading, which can be toggled for any of Epic’s 5,000 titles.
Above: Epic’s “minibook” view.
With knowledge gleaned from his time heading CrowdStar, a mobile and social games developer, Markosian built some light gamification features into Epic. Kids earn virtual achievements as they use the app. There’s a badge for reading a book on the weekend, for example, and another for reading two books in a row.
The service also features a recommendation engine inspired by Netflix’s rating and recommendation system. As on Netflix, kids can rate each piece of content one to five stars, which affects what type of books Epic will suggest.
“My son loves cars, so automatically the books recommended in the interface are all about things that move and have wheels,” said Markosian.
Above: Epic also supports full-screen reading.
Assistance with content discovery is more important for kids than for adults, who are more likely to know what they’re looking for, he added.
Epic also measures stats like books viewed, time spent reading, and books completed. That info is readily available to both kids and parents, which have a separate account to monitor usage and handle payments.
Those usage figures also affect the amount of revenue Epic shares with participating publishers, which includes publishing giants Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins. Epic has also signed up National Geographic Kids and Andrews McMeel Publishing as partners, the company revealed exclusively to VentureBeat.
While Epic declined to disclose its current revenue figures or subscriber numbers, the company did share some stats with VentureBeat:
Epic has raised $1.4 million in seed financing from backers like Menlo Ventures, Webb Investment Network, Innovation Endeavors, Maven Ventures, and Morado Ventures.
Above: Epic cofounder Kevin Donahue.
Those connections have been valuable for Epic. In fact, Yahoo chairman and Epic investor Maynard Webb originally introduced Epic founder’s to Kevin Donahue, now Epic’s cofounder and head of content partnerships, as a potential angel investor.
“Within about 15 minutes of hearing [Markosian] pitch,” said Donahue, “I could relate as a potential customer.”
Epic originally launched with a $10 per month price point, but has since slashed that in half to $5 per month.
“At the price point we have and with the quality of the books, I think it’s an amazing value and a huge market,” Donahue told VentureBeat.
Epic is now available on the Apple App Store as an iPad-only app. The company plans to release apps for the iPhone, Android devices, and other platforms sometime down the line.
“Our goal is to, first, offer every family in the United States with kids 12 and under a fun way for their kids to read books on any digital platform,” said Donahue. “The secondary mission is then to expand that globally.”