Happy Friday, everyone.
A few tidbits to share this morning.
First, congratulations to Alley Insider who yesterday announced that they'd raised $1 million from private investors (including former WSJ publisher Gordon Crovitz, HuffPo founder Kenneth Lerer and Mayfield Ventures' Allen Morgan, among others) at a $6 million valuation. Or, as Henry Blodget described it, pots of money at mind boggling valuation. They intend to use the funds to hire more writers and launch a few new blogs including the soft-launched Clusterstock. I've written extensively about blogonomics and with recent acquisitions of Ars Technica and PaidContent it's pretty clear that trade publishing is seriously moving to the blog format.
Blog aggregator and analytics provider Monitor110 shut its doors this week. Investor Roger Ehrenberg provides his thoughts.
Music suggestion site Last.fm has launched a modest redesign. The new page looks cleaner but no major functionality changes that I can see. The new look does highlight the user's "radio station" more prominently and adds lots of graphical images of recent content.
Microblogging platform Twitter is also experimenting with a new design it seems, though it's not out there for all to see. TechCrunch has images of the experimental site that a few people have stumbled upon. I mostly use Tweetdeck, Twhirl and Twitterberry for my tweets so I haven't seen it yet. From what is shown, it doesn't look like any major new functionality. If Stone and Ev want guidance on new development efforts, I'd suggest focusing some time on dealing with the emerging Twitter spam issue. To start, listing how many people have blocked an account will make it easier for all to recognize spammers (otherwise, just look at the follows-to-followers ratio).
Alacra had its annual softball game yesterday. Thanks to Steve Davison for getting it all organized. Fun was had by all and I'm pleased to report there were no injuries. We'll post more photos and video on the Alacra Blog in the next few days.
Fran Falchook didn't play in the game but was competitive in the after-party as you can see here.