The PageMeld Blog

Following the digital publishing revolution

Wikipedia bans 250 contributors after suspicion of ‘sockpuppetry’

Sue Gardner, executive director of Wikimedia Foundation, the backer of Wikipedia, says the foundation has “blocked or banned more than 250 user accounts” after it suspected the contributors were engaging in “sockpuppetry,” which the encyclopedia defines as using an “online identity used for purposes of deception.”

Gardner says that Wikipedia editors have “expressed shock and dismay”  to learn that contributors “may have been paid to write articles on Wikipedia promoting organizations or products” a practice that violates “numerous site policies and guidelines.”

Gardner says the encyclopedia editors are doing “difficult, painstaking work of trying to figure out what’s happening here….. we are currently assessing all the options at our disposal. We will have more to say in the coming weeks.”


Recipe portal launches digital cookbook platform

Time Inc.’s recipe portal says it’s launched digital cookbook publishing platform that offers consumers a way to create personalized digital cookbooks for $1.99 each. The cookbooks work on both iPad and Nook.

When building their digital cookbook, consumers can glean recipes from MyRecipes’ collection or upload their own. The digital cookbooks are initially limited to 20 recipes each, but additional recipes can be added to a cookbook in packs of ten for 99 cents.

Recipes in the digital cookbook include an ingredient list, instructions and an optional photo. Each digital cookbook includes a table of contents, index, search tool, bookmarks, and notes. Consumers can upload a cover image as well.


Freedom of the Press Foundation launches tool for whistleblowers

Freedom of the Press Foundation, an advocacy group for public-interest journalism, says it’s launched SecureDrop, secure platform for Whistleblowers. 

The foundation says news organizations can use SecureDrop to “securely accept documents from whistleblowers, while better protecting their sources’ anonymity.” The foundation claims that several news agencies have signed up for SecureDrop installations.

SecureDrop has been audited by a team of University of Washington researchers, led by Alexei Czeskis, security expert Bruce Schneier and Tor developer Jacob Appelbaum.

Longreads launches member drive

Longform story search engine Longreads says it’s launching a member drive to drum up 5,000 new subscribers. New readers can sign up for $3 a month or $30 a year. The site remains free, and doesn’t promise paying members much except for “early access to new features.”

The site bills itself as the source of the “best long-form stories on the web.” Readers can use Longreads to find fiction and non-fiction stories that run over 1,500 words. The site claims the stories “are best enjoyed away from your desk — whether it’s on a daily commute, an airplane, a subway, or your couch.”

PolitiFact launches PunditFact

PolitiFact, a fact-checking site operated by the Tampa Bay Times, says it’s launching PunditFact, a site “dedicated to checking claims by pundits, columnists, bloggers and the hosts and guests of talk shows.” The site will hire journalists to research statements by media figures and rate their truthfulness. The results will be published on and featured on the PolitiFact site as well.

PunditFact is funded by $625,000 in grants over two years from the Ford Foundation and the Democracy Fund. It also received funding from craigconnects, a philanthropy run by craigslist founder Craig Newmark.

Kobo inks La Central partnership

eBook platform maker Kobo says it will offer its digital reading system to Barcelona book seller La Central’s customers under a partnership that starts November 12.

La Central sells local Spanish and international titles in French, Italian, German and Portuguese. Kobo says La Central is its first bookstore partner in Spain. Under the partnership, Readers can buy Kobo’s eBooks and devices in La Central stores.

Self-published books jumped 59% in 2012

The number of self-published books jumped 59% to 391,000 last year, according to ISBN analysis by ProQuest an affiliate of bibliographic data provider Bowker. Forty percent of the self-published titles were eBooks, up from 11% in 2007.


Instagram rolling out inline ads

Instagram, Facebook’s photo-sharing service, says US customers will see an “occasional ad” in their feed. The company says it will “start slow” and “focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands.”

Instagram says its inline ad experience should feel the same as flipping through a magazine.

The company’s new inline ad displays could be a winner, especially for mobile, where screen real estate is limited. The Washington Post is experimenting with a similar ad presentation, with a new visual layout called Topicly, which organizes news topics into graphic tiles. Occasionally a tile will feature an ad.

Adobe customer data hacked

Adobe says that hackers have lifted data from 2.9 million customers, including “Adobe customer IDs and encrypted passwords” and “customer names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates, and other information relating to customer orders.”

The company does not believe hackers gained access to decrypted credit card numbers.

To remediate the breach, Adobe says it’s resetting user passwords and contacting customers who’s credit card numbers were pilfered. It’s also contacted the banks that issued the stolen credit card numbers and notified federal authorities.

Cloud-based publishing tool maker Madefire raises $5.2M

Cloud-based publishing tool maker Madefire says it’s raised Madefire $5.2 million in funding. The investment was lead True Ventures, which invested $1.1 million in Madefire in October 2011.

Madefire’s system produces eBooks in a format it calls “Motion Books,” which are made up of “words, pictures, sound, motion and interactivity.”

The company says it plans to use the capital to produce “a continuous flow of original weekly material exclusive to the Madefire App and online.”

Madefire says it’s already inked partnerships with comic book publishers that want to distribute their content in the Motion Book format, including IDW, Top Cow, Boom and iTV Studios America.

In to True Ventures, Madefire also raised money from Anthem Venture Partners, Crosslink Ventures and Correlation Ventures also participated in the funding round.

Several angels also investested in Madefire as well, including former Apple SVP of Applications Sina Tammadon, former Macromedia chairman Bill Woodward, media entrepreneur and investor Richard Seet and Hollywood attorney Gary Stiffelman.