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Snaptrends quietly lays off entire staff, ceases operations

(BUSINESS NEWS) The American Genius has uncovered that after Twitter pulled the plug on Snaptrends, so has Facebook and the brand is now quietly shutting down.

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Snaptrends lays off all staff

Austin-based social media surveillance startup, Snaptrends is shutting down operations, and has laid off the entire company, several former employees tell The American Genius.

The company has been forced into a fire sale of their code and all of their social media accounts went silent in mid October.

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Founded in 2012, the social media software offers visualizations of social media content in any specific geographic location, essentially allowing users to monitor digital chatter and trend spot. The insights offered have helped many brands and organizations over the years to gain a competitive advantage.

Snaptrends impaired by Twitter feed being cut

It’s not just brands that benefited from Snaptrends’ insight machine, it’s also police forces, national intelligence agencies, and foreign governments (like Saudi Arabia and Turkey). In fact, they’ve been used during warrant roundups and to assess threats during a visit from President Obama three years ago in Dallas.

The Austin Chronicle uncovered a letter from Snaptrends to the Austin Police Department from last year wherein the company said they make use of “advanced algorithms and processes” to procure a “high density social data footprint.”

Snaptrends bragged about helping an unidentified police agency to increase their arrest rate by 400 percent by using social media surveillance to identify suspects’ locations, according to Daily Dot who sought comment from Twitter.

Because Twitter updated their contract terms earlier this year to limit surveillance of their users, Twitter responded by cutting Snaptrends’ feed, leaving the startup impaired.

Snaptrends being cut off by Twitter mirrors Geofeedia’s similar divorce after the software was used to monitor activists and help police agencies to gather intelligence on Black Lives Matter organizers among others.

Facebook kills Snaptrends’ API access

Snaptrends asserted that they sell directly to law enforcement agencies to avoid disclosing their process. Perhaps because it was because they may have used “undercover accounts” to bypass Facebook’s privacy options like Geofeedia did.

Facebook has publicly stated that they cut Geofeedia’s Instagram and Topic Feed APIs because they exceeded the purposes for which they were provided, and when Daily Dot asked for comment, they were told Facebook would take the same action for any developer using those methods.

Snaptrends’ access to Facebook has since remained a big question mark until today when sources informed the The American Genius that Facebook has now cut Snaptrends’ API feed, rendering them dead in the water.

In summary

Over a week ago, the news broke that Twitter had severed Snaptrends’ feed, impairing their ability to offer social listening tools to brands and intelligence agencies.

The American Genius uncovered today that Facebook has also cut their feed, leaving the company unable to continue operations. Now, Snaptrends has let all staff go and it remains unseen who will buy the code they are quietly selling off.Click To Tweet

It also remains unclear as to whether or not any Snaptrends customers have been notified or if the founder intends on revitalizing or pivoting the brand.

As of publication, Snaptrends has not responded to our request for comment.

UPDATE (11:53AM cst): Company Founder, Eric Klasson responded, “Snap Trends remains actively in business at this time. The Company has made lay-offs recently given developments in the social media monitoring industry. Today, our focus is on the corporate marketplace.”

UPDATE on November 02: Klasson answers some of our questions, not others.

#Snaptrends

Business News

Chasing Clubhouse success? How the audio chat room trend affects products

(BUSINESS NEWS) It is inevitable that when a new successful trend comes along, other companies will try to make lightning strike twice. Will the audio chat room catch on?

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Smiling woman seated in dark room illuminated by lamp and phone light, participating in audio chat room.

Businesses are always about the hot new thing. People are the always looking for the easiest dollar with the least amount of effort these days. It tends to lead to products that are shoddy and horribly maintained with the least amount of flexibility in pleasing their customers. However, you also have to look at the customer base for this as well. You follow where the money is because that’s where its being spent. It’s like a merry-go-round, constantly chasing the next thing. And the latest of these is the audio chat room.

During the pandemic the entire world saw an eruption of social audio investments. Silicon Valley has gone crazy with this new endeavor. On the 18th of April this year, Clubhouse said it closed on some new funding, which was valued at $4 billion for a live audio app. This thing is still in beta without a single penny of revenue!

The list of other companies who have pursued new audio suites (either through purchase or creation) include:

  • Facebook
  • Spotify
  • Twitter
  • Discord
  • Apple

This whole new audio fad is still in its infancy. These social media and tech giants are all jumping headlong into it with who knows how much forethought. A number of them have their own issues to deal with, but they’ve put things aside to try and grab these audio chat room coattails that are running by. It’s a mix of feelings about the situation honestly. They are trying to survive and keep their customers.

If a competitor creates this new capability and they stay stagnant then they lose customers. If they do this however without dealing with their current issues then they could also lose people. It’s an interesting catch 22 for people out there. Which group do you fall in? Are you antsy for a new toy or are you waiting for one of these lovely sites to fix a problem? It’s another day in capitalism.

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Business News

This web platform for cannabis is blowing up online distribution

(BUSINESS NEWS) Dutchie, a website platform for cannabis companies, just octupled in value. Here’s what that means for the online growth of cannabis distribution.

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A small jar of cannabis on a desk with notebooks, sold online in a nicely made jar.

The cannabis industry has, for the most part, blossomed in the past few years, managing to hit only a few major snags along the way. One of those snags is the issue of payment processing, an issue compounded by predominantly cash-only transactions. Dutchie, a Bend, Oregon company, has helped mitigate that issue—and it just raised a ton of money.

Technically, Dutchie is a jack-of-all-trades service that creates and hosts websites for dispensaries, tracks product, processes orders, keeps stock of revenue, and so much more. While it was valued at around $200 million as recently as summer of 2020, a round of series C funding currently puts the company at around $1.7 billion—approximately 8 times its worth a mere 8 months ago.

There are a few reasons behind Dutchie’s newfound momentum. For starters, the pandemic made cannabis products a lot more accessible—and desirable—in states in which the sale of cannabis is legal. The ensuing surge of customers and demand certainly didn’t hurt the platform, especially given that Dutchie is largely responsible for keeping things on track during some of the more chaotic months for dispensaries.

Several states in which the sale of cannabis was illegal also voted to legalize recreational use, giving Dutchie even more stomping ground than they had prior to the lockdown.

Dutchie also recently took on 2 separate companies and their associated employees, effectively doubling their current staff. The companies are Greenbits—a resource planning group—and Leaflogix, which is a point-of-sale platform. With these two additions to their compendium, Dutchie can operate as even more of an all-in-one suite, which absolutely contributes to its value as a company.

Ross Lipson, who is Dutchie’s co-founder and current CEO, is fairly dismissive of investment opportunities for the public at the moment, saying he instead prefers to stay “focused with what’s on our plate” for the time being. However, he also appears open to the possibility of going public via an acquisition company.

“We look at how this decision brings value to the dispensary and the customer,” says Lipson. “If it brings value, we’d embark on that decision.”

For now, Dutchie remains the ipso facto king of cannabis distribution and sales—and they don’t show any plans to slow down any time soon.

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Business News

Ford adopts flexible working from home schedule for over 30k employees

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ford Motor Co. is allowing employees to continue working from home even after the pandemic winds down. Is this the beginning of a trend for auto companies?

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Woman in car working on engineering now allowed a flexible schedule for working from home.

The pandemic has greatly transformed our lives. For the most part, learning is being conducted online. At one point, interacting with others was pretty much non-existent. Working in the office shifted significantly to working remotely, and it seems like working from home might not go away anytime soon.

As things slowly get back to a new “normal”, will things change again? Well, one thing is sure. Working from home will be a permanent thing for some people as more companies opt to continue letting people work remotely.

And, the most recent company on the list to do this is Ford Motor Co. Even after the pandemic winds down, Ford will allow more than 30,000 employees already working from home to continue doing so.

Last week, the automaker giant announced its “flexible hybrid model” schedule to its staff. The new schedule is set to start in the summer, and employees can choose to work remotely and come into the office for tasks that require face-to-face collaborations, such as meetings and group projects.

How much time an employee spends in the office will depend on their responsibilities, and flexible remote hours will need to be approved by an employee’s manager.

“The nature of work drives whether or not you can adopt this model. There are certain jobs that are place-dependent — you need to be in the physical space to do the job,” David Dubensky, chairman and chief executive of Ford Land, told the Washington Post. “Having the flexibility to choose how you work is pretty powerful. … It’s up to the employee to have dialogue and discussion with their people leader to determine what works best.”

Ford’s decision to implement a remote-office work model has to do in part with an employee survey conducted in June 2020. Results from the survey showed that 95% of employees wanted a hybrid schedule. Some employees even reported feeling more productive when working from home.

Ford is the first auto company to allow employees to work from home indefinitely, but it might not be the only one. According to the Post, Toyota and General Motors are looking at flexible options of their own.

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