Well, Pinterest had to make money at some point
The latest news on the CNBC Disruptor 50 companies upending the status quo in the markets:
Pinterest pines for some 'tasteful' ad revenue
Every social media ultimately faces a question more important than how many users they can trumpet: How much money they can make? The IPO market won't give a social media firm its billions without an effective ad strategy, so "we're going to start experimenting with promoting certain pins from a select group of businesses," CEO Ben Silbermann wrote on the company's blog this past week.
No annoying banner or pop-up ads, but "promoted pins" based on search results and "relevant" user interests.
"Nobody's paying for anything yet," wrote Silbermann. "We want to see how things go and, more than anything, hear what you think." He also described the promoted pins as "tasteful," "transparent" and "relevant."
Eating America's best burgers, the Foursquare way
Foursquare helps users identify many things, including the best burgers around the country. Its mobile check-in feature has found America's most popular burgers by ranking the joints where the most Foursquare users have felt compelled to "check-in."
(Read more: Giving you the power of a tech giant)
Kabam ain't as free as it used to be: Gamers
Video game maker Kabam prides itself on its free-to-play model. Well, some players of its Dragons of Atlantis social strategy game have organized in protest against a change to the free-to-play game that they argue forces them to pay.
Kabam said it was trying to curb unfair advantages exploited by some gamers—the company makes changes to games to optimize it for both fairness and monetization, and Venturebeat reported that the revolt was limited to a small but vocal group.
Etsy: Smalltown America's savior?
Would you trust a person with a ball of yarn and crafting needle to bring your municipality back from the ranks of dying America? If you're the mayor of Rockford, Ill., why not?
Third-term Mayor Larry Morrissey has teamed with Etsy on an entrepreneurship program to bolster local business and improve the town's education system. Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson provided his strong views on some big social topics to Forbes—think Elon Musk with pottery instead of rocket ships.
About time Uber started greasing engines, we mean palms, in Washington
The sharing-economy companies don't receive much love from old school regulators who can't get their heads around new market structures, which often operate outside bureaucratic boundaries. But how long can any industry, especially a profitable one last, without "lawyering up" in D.C.?
Private car-for-hire company Uber doesn't want to find out the answer and has ramped up its hiring of lobbyists, lawyers and public relations firms in a bid to influence municipal leaders and sway public opinion.
Some who have joined Uber backroom team have ties to President Barack Obama, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Politico reported.
(Read more: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas ... as data)
Spotify takes a cue from Netflix, and Behind the Music
Original content is the new playlist for Spotify. The music service has launched its own original content series, Spotify Landmark.
A post on the Spotify blog explains, "Landmark is the story behind the greatest musical moments, told by the folks who made them. The show weaves together intimate interviews with artists, producers, industry figures and celebrities to create an 'aural history' of legendary albums, concerts and events."
The first Landmark feature, co-produced by journalist Alan Light, formerly of Rolling Stone, Spin and Vibe, is based on Nirvana's final studio album "In Utero" and coincides with its 20th anniversary reissue. It's also reminiscent of VH-1's popular Behind the Music series.
Airbnb is in the hotel business, after all
Airbnb has argued with regulators that it shouldn't be lumped with traditional lodging companies when it comes to taxes and other bureaucratic headaches, but when it comes to building out its executive team, the lodging start-up finds that the hotel industry will do just fine. Airbnb has hired Chip Conley, founder and former CEO of boutique hotel chain Joie de Vivre, to lead new efforts to improve the guest experience.
Conley told TechCrunch that the rental marketplace is in an extension of the boutique hotel movement—a way to deliver "a localized, personal experience" to travelers. Conley described his new job as figuring out "how to take hundreds of thousands of hosts and help them live up to their potential."
(Read more: Can Google save the rainforests?)
Twilio messages a big heart
Twilio showed this week that while its business plan is to destroy the traditional telecommunications industry, it's really a nice guy with a big, charitable heart. CEO Jeff Lawson unveiled Twilio.org at its annual TwilioCon, a three-day summit in San Francisco.
Twilio allows phone and messaging to occur through software-based systems rather than the traditional glut of hardware running most office-based telecom solutions. Now it plans to help qualified nonprofits send a billion messages by providing $500 in credits and 25 percent discounts on voice and messaging services.
Rent the Runway rents a bigger runway
Rent the Runway has launched a plus-size division.
"Every woman deserves to feel beautiful before the most important occasions in her life," Jennifer Hyman, co-founder and CEO, said in a statement released Tuesday. "Until now, we have only been able to follow through on this undertaking for virtually half of the female population."
The website now offers styles ranging from sizes 14 to 22.
Warby Parker's board adds a big name, but a familiar one
J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler has joined the board of directors at eyeglasses market disruptor Warby Parker.
Drexler was already an investor in the company and has served as an advisor to its four founders.
(Read more: Coming to a store near you: Cutting-edge tech)
And in this week's edition of "Would have never happened without Kickstarter"...
Composer Aaron Dunn's Kickstarter goal: raise $75,000 to record the complete works of the 19th-century Polish romantic composer Chopin——every nocturne, prelude, waltz, polonaise, mazurka and étude—and offer them on his culture website Musopen, to be enjoyed anytime and free of copyright. Thanks to Kickstarter, Dunn's dream is now going to be a streaming audio reality.
Meanwhile, Kickstarter launches in ... North Korea?
A few weeks ago, a Kickstarter project was posted on the Internet featuring two young men who went by the names of Pacman and Peso. The duo and their producer were using the site to fund the filming of a rap music video in Pyongyang.
And in this week's edition of "Would have never happened without 3-D printing"...
The 3-D printing company MakerBot honored New York Fashion Week by printing its first garment, the Verlan Dress. It was designed by the New Skins: Computational Design for Fashion workshop led by designer Francis Bitonti of Dita Dress. It was the first creation to use MakerBot Flexible Filament, an adaptable filament material made from polyester.
Related news of interest to the CNBC Disruptor 50 companies:
Dropbox drops the ball
Until this week, Northeastern University Professor Heidi Kevoe-Feldman loved Dropbox.
"I've been using Dropbox for years for everything," she told Business Insider. "I have students upload papers to it, I collaborate with other researchers on it."
This Wednesday, when she tried to access some of her research files, she discovered that over 200 movie files were missing and over 3,000 pictures, the shocked prof told BI. But the story has a somewhat happy ending.
—By Eric Rosenbaum, CNBC.com