Match.com buys OKCupid, plus Google's war of words with Microsoft and the rest of the day's news.
A match made in heaven. Match.com snatched up online dating site OkCupid for $50 million, TechCrunch reports. The acquisition is useful to IAC's Match.com, because OkCupid singles tend to be younger—though they're accustomed to not paying for the online dating service. It's an interesting, um, match, because OkCupid launched as a free alternative to industry giant Match. Check out Inc.'s interesting 2008 report on OkCupid's early struggles to gain a user base, and a piece from this past year on OkCupid's innovative and amusing analyses of user data. Mazel tov!
Instagram snaps up funding. Once upon a time there was Shutterfly. And then there was Flickr. And Picasa. And Facebook albums. Now, Brad Stone writes in BusinessWeek, there is Instagram, which "represnets a new kind of stylish startup on the Web—one whose skyrocketing popularity, thanks to the prominence of outlets like Apple's App Store, largely precedes its evolution into a traditional company with such accoutrements as financing, office space—or even a permanent Web address." Well, for a four-person company, it's soaring, earning a new $7 million investment, announced today. The founders say they want to use the funding to beef up engineering staff and build additional features.
Google's Bing sting. The search giant believes Microsoft is copying its Internet search results, according to The New York Times. Google made the claim after a sting operation of sorts, which involved creating 100 "gibberish" search queries and matching them with random results. In most cases, Bing led users to the same incorrect search results. Microsoft didn't deny Google's claim, but said it was nothing more than a "spy-novelesque stunt."
Street View moves indoors. Now arm-chair web surfers can cruise the halls of MoMA and the Met. The New York Times reports that Google has planted its Street View cameras inside 17 of the world's most famous museums, including Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum, London's National Gallery and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Called Google Art Project, the site features extremely high-resolution images, letting users zoom in on every brushstroke. Check it out here.
Take a lesson from these guys: The high-flying dot-coms that spent millions on Super Bowl ads a decade ago are all but dead today. Business Insider has a roundup of eight start-ups that bought a coveted spot during the most-watched television event of the year, only to be crushed by the looming dot-com bust. All that's left are vague memories of a sock puppet (Pets.com, which folded in 2000) and cowboys herding cats (EDS, which was bought by HP).
Branding gold from the Garden State. Yes, that's New Jersey, and yes, we can blame Jersey Shore. The New York Postreports that Jerseylicious, which follows the lives of stylists at a salon based in Green Brook, New Jersey, has doubled its viewership in its second season. The final episode was the Style Network's highest-rated telecast ever, proving that, well, in TV land, Jersey has been crowned king.
Cheering on an "activist" judge. Some small business groups have been in high spirits since yesterday—when a federal judge in Florida ruled President Obama's health-care law unconstitutional. "Right now, the main thing (the ruling) does for our members is give them hope," Karen Harned of The National Federation of Independent Businesses told the The Wall Street Journal. Of course, plenty of entrepreneurs spoke out against the ruling, calling it "drama and publicity" for the benefit of insurance companies. Tell us what you think in the comment thread below.
The Star Wars entrepreneur? Eric Jacqmain will sell you a death ray for just $90. The 19-year-old whiz kid from Indiana mounted hundreds of tiny mirrors on a satellite dish. The resulting lens is so powerful that anything in its focus will burst into flame. Jacqmain posted footage of his invention on YouTube, which immediately went viral. Watch the video here.