A weekly recap of the latest news on the CNBC Disruptor 50 companies upending the status quo in the markets.
Ouya's game is off
Ouya could do no wrong, at least until now.
The gaming console was one of the most successful Kickstarter projects ever and leveraged that crowdfunding to more recently secure a serious round of financing from serious venture capital investors. Its first round of consoles sold out quickly on shopping sites, including Amazon UK and Target, when it launched in late June.
But since its game console launch, sales of games have been slow. The news trickled out this week from game developers who said they weren't seeing much in the way of sales from Ouya's console, leading Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman to go public with some stats.
Uhrman told tech and culture website The Verge that Ouya has only seen 27 percent of its user base pay for games. Ouya owners are clearly taking advantage of the console's requirement that every game be available in some sort of free-to-play form.
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Uhrman remains optimistic: For 13 of the top 20 games on the system, at least eight percent of free downloads are converted into a paid purchase, she said.
"I think there are a lot of social and mobile app developers that would kill for an 8 percent attach rate on a platform that's 30 days old," she told The Verge. "These numbers will grow as more gamers pick up consoles and as we attract more developers, and I believe that by the end of the year we'll see a few developers telling us they've made more than a million dollars on Ouya."
Foursquare targets small business ads
Foursquare has officially launched its self-serve ad platform, providing small businesses with a location-based advertising tool already used by big retailers and food companies
"The idea behind these new ads is simple—connect people looking for somewhere to go with businesses that want to drive traffic to their stores," Foursquare wrote in a blog post this week.
Foursquare targets users based on two criteria: location and likely customers. Seventy-eight percent of people who search locally actually make purchases, the company said. Ads will appear in search results and on the app's home screen.
Foursquare plans to charge for ads when users click on them, or when they visit the advertised locations. It says 1.4 million small businesses use its platform.
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Twitter tweets on your behalf to sell ads
Twitter launched this week the wider release of an integration the company is doing with TV commercials first introduced in May—Twitter TV ad targeting. A blog post from Twitter included a shot of a new Twitter ads dashboard showing tweets from Twitter users raving about TV commercials.
The platform is designed to allow TV advertisers to increase the effectiveness of ads by promoting on the social media platform, as well as track the effectiveness of the ads using analytic tools. Twitter claims early adopters have already seen increased brand awareness and higher purchasing from consumers as a result of the campaign.
Twitter, though, sold this ad campaign a little too hard and mistakenly went down the road of false advertising.
While the Twitter users who were featured in the blog are real, their tweets were not. The users never raved about whatever was being sold, and weren't unaware their profile pics and accounts were being presented in Twitter's blog sent out to hundreds of thousands via the @Twitterads Twitter account and retweeted to more than 1.5 million.
Twitter apologized and a note on its marketing webpage linking to the blog now reads: "An earlier version of this blog post included an image with mock tweets from real users of our platform. This was not OK. Once we became aware of this mistake, we took it down immediately. We deeply apologize to the three users included in the earlier images."
Aereo now a broadcaster's secret weapon?
Aereo has moved from being in the legal cross-hairs of the big broadcasters to being a bargaining chip as broadcasters battle amongst themselves.
The high-stakes negotiation between the CBS and Time Warner Cable playing out this week is the first to unfold in the New York area since Aereo came to market there last year, and that has created a new wrinkle, according to The New York Times.
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By relying on the antennas, Aereo does not pay the kinds of retransmission fees that distributors pay to broadcasters, and which the broadcasters are fighting over now. Analysts argue distributors could exploit Aereo to avoid paying retransmission fees.
CBS threatened to take away channels from three million of Time Warner Cable's 12 million subscribers.
Time Warner Cable spokeswoman Maureen Huff told the Times it would recommend Aereo to its New York subscribers if CBS was blacked out. CBS has been among the companies fighting Aereo in court.
The broadcasters initially set a deadline of Wednesday to make a delay, but have delayed it until next Monday.