Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Ex-Myspace Exec to Launch Facebook Alternative With Funding From DFJ

Former Myspace Music CTO Dmitry Shapiro has raised about $1 million in funding from investors including Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Myspace founder Tom Anderson to launch a privacy-conscious alternative to Facebook named (for the moment) Altly.

Shapiro said in a blog post this week that Altly will be a social network that gives users easy and detailed privacy controls, data ownership and portability, and an even footing with advertisers who wish to use their data.

You already know this, but I have to say it:

Of course privacy is an enormous issue for Facebook and one many people are pissed off about, but it will be incredibly hard for an upstart social network to compete with Facebook, and even more so for one that is more private and therefore can’t fully enjoy the benefits of network effects.

Some quotes, in case you’re not up for reading the full manifesto:

There is clearly nothing wrong with Facebook making money, as all business has to do. What IS clearly wrong is when our privacy, our personal information, our digital lives are being subjugated for the sake of profit, without us having any meaningful capability to opt out, or even know the extent of such activity.

Is there another option? What are our alternatives? If we don’t like what Facebook is doing, what can we do about it?

Well, herein lies the problem. There are NO serious alternatives at this time. For every Coke there is a Pepsi, for every Ford there is a Chevy, for every PC there is a Mac and for every Facebook there is…. a void! Facebook has such overwhelming power that practically no one believes that trying to build an alternative is possible.

Draper Fisher Jurvetson Managing Partner Josh Stein said in a tweet, “Incredibly excited to be an investor in Altly, my third adventure with @dmitry.”

Shapiro’s previous companies include Veoh (a video streaming site that spent a ton of money falling behind YouTube, was finished off by a legal fight with Universal Music and eventually sold to Qlipso) and Akonix (an instant messaging security company that was bought by Quest). He left Myspace in April.

Disclosures: Myspace is owned by News Corp, as is this Web site, and please see the part about Facebook in my ethics statement.


Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik