Rumors & Acquisitions: The Earthquake, Violence and Mike Arrington Likes To Be Optimistic Edition

NO, YOU AREN’T CRAZY. Twitter asploded with soul-searching tweets as New Yorkers wondered if they’d really felt something. Haha, Warby Parker evacuated; so did Jordan Newman, Google spokesman and a recent transplant from the Googleplex, who felt it on the 15th floor and evacuated himself although people on the fourth floor didn’t notice anything. Gary Vaynerchuck wondered if it was because he had just announced his retirement from making wine videos. There was some alarm when the newsroom saw a tweet that trains were down, which turned out thankfully to be untrue. The earthquak’s total DMG to NYC was more along the lines of this. But we have already an animated .GIF, a mug (thanks Etsy!) and a check-in (thanks Foursquare!) to remember it by.

GUNS AND STEEL. Remember Silk Road, the website with an absurdly-long URL where you can buy drugs and other wonderful things with Bitcoin, and lots of its harmless customers gave quotes to Gawker? There’s a similar underground site that’s a little more ominous, a source tells Betabeat. It’s called Metal Storm–another common name that makes it tough to find by a search–and senators might want to pay more attention to this one, because it sells guns.

GROUPME’S MILLIONS. Betabeat reported that Skype payed “more than $50 million” (and 47 signed Taylor Swift CDs!) for GroupMe, a figure we confirmed with two sources close to the company. But later All Things D reported $85 million and the blogosphere ran with it. Welp, we figured, that is more than $50 mm. But now TechCrunch king Mike Arrington, who’s been historically possessive of news around the start-up born at his own hackathon, is saying something different in a post titled “What Skype Really Paid for Groupme.” Well. “Our sources close to the companies say the initial payment for GroupMe is $43 million, and deferred payments (or an earnout) can get the GroupMe shareholders as much as $68 million over four years. The founders will receive another few million dollars as part of their long term employment agreements.”

But here’s the fun part. “As an aside, when we add estimated acquisition prices to CrunchBase, we usually put in the higher number instead of a range. I like being optimistic, and we can always edit it downward later if new information becomes available.”

SEED-STAGE SLAUGHTER. Blind item! What mommy-centric group-buying start-up with a New York founder just acquired another mommy-centric group-buying start-up based in Manhattan?

NEW THING. Forrst founder Kyle Bragger has a new start-up and it’s “now finished enough to start using it for real.” The site is password-protected, and so far the Twitter account is mum.

REPUTATION MANAGEMENT. Real-time mini-gig sites like Coffee & PowerFiverr, Zaarly and the grand-daddy Craigslist are fueling the market for fake reviews on Yelp, Google Places, and even Foursquare. “My team will write 6, 5-star, KEYWORD reviews of your business or website listed on Google Maps reviews. All reviews 5 star. These are very postive reviews, saying great things about your listing. Not only will these reviews help get on page one in Google Maps, but they will help you tremendously to make sales. They serve as testimonials as well as sales pages at the same time. One paragraph long. Up to 60 reviews per listing available. No adult.” Rumors & Acquisitions: The Earthquake, Violence and Mike Arrington Likes To Be Optimistic Edition