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The Boy Who Cried Facebook Phone

TechCrunch - Facebook-tagged - Sat, 12/01/2013 - 10:01pm

In The Lord of the Rings, when Sauron’s forces capture Gollum, they torture him in Mordor but are only able to get two things out of him: “Shire” and “Baggins”. Over the past few days, we’ve had similar frustrations in trying to track down the content of the Facebook event taking place this coming Tuesday. Despite hounding a number of people who might be in the know, the only discernible things we were able to come up with was: “big deal” and “mobile”.

Interesting, but way too vague. But we endured. And now we have a bit more information. And that information points to a Facebook Phone …of some sort.

I know, I know. The Facebook Phone is so often rumored that it’s reaching “Apple Tablet” or “Apple Phone” levels at this point. And while those devices did eventually manifest themselves, the Facebook Phone not only has not, but it has been directly denied by everyone at Facebook — including Mark Zuckerberg himself — several times.

And yet, all kinds of things in tech have this funny way of only being false until they’re true. (See iPad mini or the “Google Phone“, for example.)

And so, with that in mind, multiple sources have told us that they expect some sort of Facebook Phone to be on display on Tuesday.

Now for the caveats (and they’re important). It’s not entirely clear if this will be an actual piece of Facebook branded hardware or if they will simply use hardware from a phone maker to show off some sort of new Facebook OS for mobile. That is to say, it could very well be that the “Facebook Phone” is more about a Facebook OS running on a phone (or a few phones).

This has always been a point of contention in the Facebook Phone saga. When Facebook has denied working on a phone in the past, they’ve typically been careful to say that they weren’t building a phone — as in, hardware. It’s just the type of non-denial denial that allows politicians to weasel their way out of sticky situations.

No, Facebook probably doesn’t have employees in some secret factory in Asia building mobile hardware (though I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve been tinkering quite a bit back here in the U.S.). Instead, if there is any hardware, they undoubtedly partnered with an OEM to actually make it.

Or again, maybe they focused on the software and added it to some existing phone in the last mile. Given how prevalent OEM leaks are and that there hasn’t been any word in months (since HTC was last rumored to be building the Facebook Phone), this may be the most likely scenario.

Also complicating matters is all the chatter that Facebook has both publicly and privately told partners such as Google and Apple that they had no intention to build their own phones. Again, maybe it’s semantics. Or maybe Facebook simply changed their minds. Or maybe this phone/OS isn’t meant to compete head-on with the iPhone and the Android phones that Google focuses on. Perhaps this is meant solely for emerging markets.

This is all total speculation, but given Facebook’s charge to reach developing countries (where expensive smartphones capable of running Facebook’s apps are far less prevalent), perhaps they decided to help create their own low-end and low-cost smartphone — something one step up from a feature phone, but nothing like the quality/caliber of the iPhone or something like the Nexus devices.

Facebook has always said they want to enable the entire world to share. And that’s why projects like Facebook Zero were created. But a low-end smartphone with Facebook baked into everything could truly be a game-changing device in the third world. But again, that’s all speculation.

What about the OS itself? How would Facebook do it? Details are slim here as well, but the obvious answer would be a fork of Android. This would allow the OS to run hundreds of thousands of apps already out there. With Amazon seeing some success doing this with their Kindle Fire tablets (and soon their own phone as well), this could have emboldened Facebook to make the move now.

Another possibility is webOS. That OS won rave reviews as an elegant counter to iOS and Android when Palm released it several years ago. Then HP acquired the company, promising that they would “double down” on webOS. Then HP started playing a deadly game of musical chairs with their leadership and webOS was basically taken out back behind the shed. But HP did go out of their way to open-source the OS recently. So… I suppose it’s possible. But probably far less likely than Android simply because the ecosystem is already there and that OS is much more mature.

Probably even less likely is Facebook building their own OS from scratch. It’s simply a lot of work to do so. And again, without an ecosystem to support it, adoption could be rough (though maybe Facebook cares less about that if they’re targeting the emerging markets).

We do know that Facebook has previously had projects underway to see what they could do with Android. When we initially reported on the Facebook Phone project over two years ago, this was a big part of it. From our understanding, that team ultimately moved on and the project was stopped. But experimentations with Android continued. A new project surfaced later under the name “Project Buffy”, as AllThingsD reported in 2011.

That project was said to be under the direction of CTO Bret Taylor — but he left the company in June of last year. That report also singled out HTC as the partner Facebook was working with. Given HTC’s financial hardships while trying to play in the regular Android ecosystem, this could make sense even now. But who knows.

Another report, by The New York Times right before Taylor left, suggested the scope of the Facebook Phone project had been expanded. That report claimed Facebook was ramping up the hiring of engineers (particularly ex-Apple ones) including those who had worked on hardware.

We do know is that as recently as this past September at our TechCrunch Disrupt conference, Zuckerberg told my CrunchFund partner Michael Arrington that a Facebook Phone has “always been the wrong strategy for us.” “It’s a juicy thing to say we’re building a phone, which is why people want to write about it. But it’s so clearly the wrong strategy for us,” he went on to say. And just to drive the point home: “Let’s say we built a phone… hypothetically — we’re not, by the way.”

All pretty damning for a Facebook Phone project, right? Maybe. But again, all of that could technically be weaseled into a denial of a hardware project. Which is essentially what Zuckerberg denied to us in 2010 as well. (You’ll note that he specifically denied making an operating system at the time there as well, but there’s still wiggle room with forking Android, and that was over two years ago.) We later heard that news of the leak of the project made Zuckerberg as angry as some employees had ever seen him, so… One could imagine Zuckerberg getting up on stage on Tuesday, laughing, and saying something like “well we didn’t actually build the phone!”

Facebook is fairly good at keeping things close to the vest these days. And the truth is that there are a number of things the company could announce on Tuesday. But speculation that is something smaller, like a new app, doesn’t jibe with the multiple sources telling us this is going to be “a big deal”.

Also the fact that Facebook has called in the press from all over the world for this event is telling. Facebook isn’t just holding an event at their headquarters in Silicon Valley, they’re simultaneously holding an event in London as well.

So yes, this is us getting you all excited about a Facebook Phone project yet again. And given our record of success with these stories, you’ll be forgiven if you chalk this up to us once again “crying wolf”. But that doesn’t mean we’ve been wrong in the past. And that doesn’t mean we’re wrong here. Eventually, we’re going to be right on this. Promise*.

Now, as to whether or not anyone actually wants a Facebook Phone, that’s another matter

*fingers may be crossed behind my back for now.

[Disclosure: I own shares of Facebook in the public market because I'm a genius with impeccable timing. Also, handsome. CrunchFund, where I'm a general partner, also owns some shares of Facebook by way of an acquisition. Sadly, these shares don't give me any special insight into things like Facebook Phones. CrunchFund is also an investor in GoPollGo, which I link to above. I used it to make the poll because it's the most kickass, simple polling software out there. And because I was trying to news of the Facebook Phone — though that that last time I to do that — hence, the preceding 1,500 words. More disclosure fun here.]

Categories: Facebook

Inside Facebook - Sat, 12/01/2013 - 1:00am

Some users see option to message Zuckerberg for $100 - As part of Facebook’s , some users are seeing an option to send a message to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s inbox for $100. When Facebook began the paid message test, the company said it would charge $1 to have messages rerouted from a user’s Other folder to the main inbox, but that it would also try higher price points for public figures and celebrities. As for the $100-price tag for Zuckerberg, Facebook told Mashable, “We are testing some extreme price points to see what works to filter spam.” Image via Mashable

Facebook issues grants to local nonprofits – Facebook has given $200,000 in grants to 42 nonprofits in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, according to the Mercury News. The donations are part of a deal with the city of Menlo Park that gives Facebook permission to expand its headquarters there. The grants range from $2,500 to $5,000 and support causes including youth programs, food distribution, small business aid and clothes for homeless kids.

Facebook solves password security flaw – Facebook has fixed an issue that would have allowed someone to change a user’s password without the user’s knowledge, according to researcher Sow Ching Shiong who discovered the security flaw. Previously, someone could visit /hacked on a logged in account and reset the password without being asked for the original password. Since the discovery, Facebook asks users to verify their password before proceeding.

Facebook customer satisfaction worse than any other social network - Facebook scored the lowest out of any social networks in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index ratings. Facebook’s score of 61 put it last among social networks and third worst of all companies in the index. Facebook’s score is tied with that of cable and internet provider Comcast. Google+ and Wikipedia came in first among social networks with a score of 78. The ACSI ratings are based on customer surveys.

Categories: Facebook

Inside Facebook - Fri, 11/01/2013 - 9:54pm

Facebook began rolling out its “Promote Page” option in , and now details of how it works have emerged. When page owners use the Promote Page button, they’ll be able to create three different types of Facebook ads  – including mobile ads — without having to use the more complicated ad dashboard.

Social media consultant Jon Loomer tested this option recently and shared information about the experience. He found that page owners can click Promote Page from the top of the page’s admin panel. There are options to set a daily budget and adjust the audience, as well as edit the payment method, but page owners could get started with a campaign in as few as two clicks if they already have a credit card on file.

Using this feature creates three different ads on behalf of the page: a standard Marketplace ad that appears in the desktop sidebar, Page Like Sponsored Stories that appear in the desktop and mobile feed, and a new type of Page Like ad which will appear on mobile. Previously, Facebook only allowed Sponsored Stories, Page Post Ads and App Install Ads in the mobile News Feed, but with this new feature, it seems Marketplace ads can now appear on mobile. Marketplace ads have a headline, body copy and image, and can be shown to any audience, even if users are not already connected to a page directly or through a friend. See about the different types of Facebook ads for more information about these terms.

Facebook began testing Marketplace ads in the desktop News Feed , but the test didn’t extend to mobile until now. This is useful because it helps small pages reach a larger pool of potential new fans. We recently wrote about  of Facebook’s mobile formats when used for fan acquisition, but these seem to be alleviated with the new ad type.

However, as Loomer notes, ads created through the Promote Page button are very broadly targeted and use very basic creative pulled directly from the page’s About section. Page owners can select city, state or country-level targeting, but these ads don’t include additional demographic- or interest-based targeting. Advertisers that want to customize their campaigns should use the main self-serve ad tool or even more advanced platforms. “Promote Page” is meant for small businesses who might not have much experience with Facebook advertising, similar to the Promoted Post feature introduced .

According to , only pages that have a profile photo and a listed address are eligible for the Promote Page feature. Loomer reminds advertisers that unless a page owners manually turns off the campaign, these ads will continue to run and spend the daily budget.

Images via Jon Loomer.

Categories: Facebook

The quiet rally: Facebook’s stock has drifted 19% higher in 2013, up 80% since lowest point

The Next Web - Facebook-tagged - Fri, 11/01/2013 - 9:14pm

If you are a Facebook investor, check your portfolio: the company has given you a gift. Since the last trade of 2012, Facebook’s stock has risen an incredible 18.86%, marching past the $30 per share barrier.

For you mathheads out there, Facebook closed out 2012 at $26.62, according to Google finance. At the time of writing, the company was trading at $31.64. WolframAlpha informs us that change totals a nearly 19% gain for the company.

Facebook, which struggled after its initial public offering, has rebounded from a low of $17.55, up just over 80% since that historic bottom; those who waited and scooped up Facebook stock likely made a tidy profit.

If this story sounds familiar, it’s because yesterday TNW noted that Groupon has doubled its share price in the last 60 days or so, itself coming back from deep declines; Groupon, however, has more ground to make up than Facebook.

Here’s the chart of Facebook’s gains, again via the excellent Google Finance:

The trend is clear from the start of the year, with few days of declines in between; investors have found new love for the social giant.

What is going on? An analyst upgrade early in the year certainly helped. News of a forthcoming press event to see what the company is ‘building’ cropped up. And reports surfaced that the company is indeed managing to better monetize its mobile traffic, a key challenge for the company.

All told, the updraft has carried the stock to fresh highs not seen since it was moving the other direction following its IPO. Facebook will report its latest quarter’s earnings on the 30th of this month. Stay tuned.

Top Image Credit: 

Categories: Facebook

Inside Facebook - Fri, 11/01/2013 - 8:45pm

Facebook added 27 new positions to its  this week, including a number of openings on the recruiting, marketing, sales, user operations and other teams.

The company added a listing for a Country Manager, France. The job description calls for  ”the highest caliber executive leader to manage Facebook’s revenue growth and profitability throughout France and to spearhead the company’s strategic relationships with global brands, agencies, and partners.”

Other noteworthy jobs include Head of Global Recruiting; Manager, Corporate Development; Security Counsel and two IP Counsel positions.

New listings added to Facebook’s :
  • Country Manager, France (Paris)
  • Space Planner (Menlo Park)
  • Business Operations Analyst, Platform (Menlo Park)
  • Payroll Accountant (Menlo Park)
  • IP Counsel (Notice & Takedown) (Menlo Park)
  • IP Counsel (Product) (Menlo Park)
  • Security Counsel (Menlo Park)
  • Manager, Public Policy (Washington)
  • Manager, Technology Communications (Mobile) (Menlo Park)
  • IT Manager (Menlo Park)
  • Technology Partner, G&A (Menlo Park)
  • People Services Representative (Menlo Park)
  • Head of Global Recruiting (Menlo Park)
  • Recruiting Programs Associate, EMEA (Contract) (Dublin – London)
  • Software Engineer, Network [Jan 1] (Menlo Park)
  • Associate, Partner Marketing (Menlo Park)
  • Creative Strategist (Chicago)
  • Vertical Content Associate, Marketing Communications (Menlo Park)
  • Content Manager, Marketing Communications (Menlo Park)
  • Specialist, User Operations (Menlo Park)
  • Principal, Developer Operations (Menlo Park)
  • Analyst, User Operations, Dutch (Dublin)
  • Manager, Corporate Development (Menlo Park)
  • Media Solutions (Austin)
  • Client Partner, Global Marketing Solutions (Sydney) (Sydney)
  • Client Partner, Politics (Washington)
  • Forensic Ads Analyst (Dublin)

Who else is hiring? The Inside Network Job Board presents a survey of current openings at leading companies in the industry.

Categories: Facebook

Inside Facebook - Fri, 11/01/2013 - 8:28pm

Facebook’s first designer, Aaron Sittig, has left the company, according to the Wall Street Journal. Sittig worked at Facebook from 2005 to 2010, and then again since January 2011. According to his Facebook , he ended his work at Facebook in December 2012. He has not publicly shared his upcoming plans.

As for new hires, Facebook removed 24 job listings from its  this week, likely after filling roles in the areas of engineering, recruiting, marketing, sales and data analysis.

Notably, Facebook seems to have hired a Front End Software Engineer, Sales Tools job that has been open since . The job description said Facebook was looking for someone to “develop a suite of applications for large advertisers, media agencies, and Facebook’s global Sales force” and help invent “the future of Social CRM.”

Prior listings removed from Facebook’s :
  • Front End Software Engineer, Sales Tools (Menlo Park)
  • Executive Assistant (11 month contract) – London (London)
  • Executive Protection Specialist (Menlo Park)
  • Localization Director (Menlo Park)
  • HR Specialist (Menlo Park)
  • Business Recruiter (Menlo Park)
  • Technical Sourcer (Menlo Park)
  • Technical Program Manager (Menlo Park)
  • Global Marketing Solutions Events Operations Associate – Contract (Menlo Park)
  • Internet Marketing Analyst, SMS (Menlo Park)
  • Business Content Marketing Manager (London)
  • Marketing Communications Manager (São Paulo)
  • Account Manager, Australia (Sydney)
  • Associate, Media Solutions (Hyderabad)
  • Media Solutions (Direct Response), Sydney (Australia) (Sydney)
  • Media Solutions, Sydney (Australia) (Sydney)
  • Regional Manager, SMB Latin America (São Paulo)
  • Analyst, Operational & Customer Insights, SMB Team (Austin)
  • Small & Medium Business (SMB) Account Manager Japan (Tokyo) (Tokyo)
  • Client Partner, Commercial Development (Sydney) (Sydney)
  • Global Accounts Team Lead, APAC (Singapore) (Singapore)
  • Manager, Global Sales Outsourcing (Singapore) (Singapore)
  • Manager, Account Management (London)
  • Pricing and Yield Analyst, Singapore (Singapore)

Who else is hiring? The Inside Network Job Board presents a survey of current openings at leading companies in the industry.

Categories: Facebook

$100 Zuck Message Is An A/B Test Of Different Messaging Price Points, Not A Sign Of Facebook Desperation

TechCrunch - Facebook-tagged - Fri, 11/01/2013 - 7:17pm

Would you pay to get Mark Zuckerberg to read your email? If so, how much? That’s what Facebook wants to find out, apparently. Some Facebook users are able to send the CEO an email that reaches his main inbox within Facebook’s messaging system for a cool $100, Mashable has discovered, in a report that is now making its way to mainstream press including The Wall St. Journal and The Guardian, among others.

No, Facebook is not that desperate for cash – it’s just testing some outrageous price points in order to figure out how high prices have to be to keep spam out of your inbox.

The ability to pay to send a message that reaches another Facebook user’s inbox is a feature the social networking site first announced last month.

The feature is specifically designed for communicating with other Facebook members who you’re not friends with, the company said. Facebook recently rolled out changes to its inbox privacy settings, which had previously allowed fairly strict control over whose messages you would see (“friends,” “friends of friends,” “everyone,” etc.). With the newer, more flexible filtering options, users will either mostly see messages from friends and other people they may know (“Basic Filtering”), or just friends (“Strict Filtering”), TechCrunch’s Josh Constine explained at the time.

The key thing about these earlier changes is that they now allow Facebook to use its own relevance filtering technology to better determine if there are messages that probably should hit your inbox, and then send them your way. Under the previous system, you may have missed these messages. For example, if your settings were “friends only,” when one non-friend and a few of your friends were messaging with you in a group, that may have ended up in your “Other” inbox – a section of the inbox most Facebook users rarely check.

Alongside these changes, Facebook introduced the ability to message non-friends by paying a small fee.

But how small? That was yet to be determined, though it was said prices may start around a dollar.

Of course, the Internet industry has long since debated that charging senders even a tiny fee per email could cut down on the amount of spam that reaches our email inboxes. Or you could just charge people yourself. But Facebook’s email system is a bit different, as it’s not its own standalone, fully-fledged email product, but rather a feature that has evolved over time from a need to communicate privately with other Facebook users.

While a fee of a dollar may make sense for a large majority of Facebook users, there are some VIPs, like CEO Mark Zuckerberg, where the price would need to be much, much, much higher. This is what the new experiment is about, and it’s not necessarily going to remain up-and-running indefinitely - especially with all the attention it’s getting now.

“I think the test makes it clear Facebook will need highly dynamic price points for this feature,” says Constine, TechCrunch’s resident Facebook expert. “It may need to look at friend counts, friend requests, subscriber counts, profile views, how often a famous person gets people trying to contact them, or even use some external reputation database to determine who it needs to jack up the paid messaging price for.”

So how much would you pay to send Mr. Zuckerberg an email that’s more likely to be read? And what would you say, once you had his attention? Unfortunately, those are questions we may never really know the answer to.

Image credit: yes, Mashable

Categories: Facebook

Russian Giant Yandex Has Secretly Built A Killer Facebook Search Engine App Codenamed “Wonder”

TechCrunch - Facebook-tagged - Fri, 11/01/2013 - 6:19pm

Yandex, the Google of Russia, has built a voice-activated visual search engine for Facebook. Codenamed “Wonder,” the mobile app lets people ask what businesses friends have visited and what content they’ve consumed, sources confirm. The question is if Facebook will permit the app. Its policy prohibits use of its data in search engines without permission, and Wonder resembles Facebook “Nearby.”

I talked to multiple industry sources who’ve seen Wonder first-hand or currently have a build of it on their iOS device (though an Android version may have been developed, too). The logo you see above is my attempt at an artist rendition of what sources say an early version of the app’s logo looked like. One source said Wonder is “about more than Facebook” which means it could pull in more traditional search results, or just make use of data from the partners I detail below.

A Yandex spokesperson said Yandex “can’t confirm and can’t comment” on Wonder. However, they did admit that “Yandex is working on mining social data. We are building social products.” It also noted it would have an announcement to make on that front in the coming weeks or months, which could certainly be a reveal of Wonder.

Here’s a rundown of how an alpha version of Wonder worked, but note that some design and partnership details may change if it’s released.

Welcome To Wonder

Wonder users can search using voice for things such as “restaurants in Los Angeles my friends have visited.” A horizontal, tile-by-tile scrolling interface lets them view one at a time the restaurants where their Facebook friends have taken photos or checked in. Wonderers can also type to search instead of using voice, or ask to see where a specific friend has gone.

Clicking on a business shows a horizontal stream of photos and recommendations of that place posted by their friends. Another tap brings up Foursquare-powered venue info such as a map, address, and phone number.

Wonder isn’t just for local businesses like Facebook’s recently launched “Nearby” feature built by the acquired Gowalla team. Wonder can pull up music that friends have listened to, let you learn about artists thanks to Last.fm-powered profiles, or preview or buy songs from iTunes. There’s a news discovery component, too. You can see news articles recently read by all your friends or a specific friend and read them within the app through an internal browser.

Yandex’s Passport To The USA

Yandex has largely limited itself to Russia and Russian-speaking markets over the years — a market where it is currently the largest search provider. But its share in its home market has come down and been hovering around 60 percent in the last year with competition from Google and others, so it is turning to growth elsewhere.

Just as Google has extended into mobile to expand the potential footprint for its advertising network, Yandex has done the same.

Chief among those efforts have been Yandex’s moves in mobile. A little over a year ago, it bought a company called SPB Software, which develops cross-platform mobile applications and user interfaces.

Some of projects SPB may have helped Yandex with include apps discovery for , , taxi services (similar to Uber, with a very popular app in Moscow) and more (this includes apps for movie listings, ecommerce, Yandex’s Dropbox-like app Yandex.disc, and Yandex.market for ‘personal shopping’ ). In fact, you could think of these as a composite for some of the features of Wonder.

Perhaps most important of all, are . Yandex’s maps have replaced Google on iOS devices in Russia, and it also provides the search (but not native maps) on Windows Phone devices in the country. These location-based services might just be Yandex’s passport out of Russia (or so it hopes).

Yandex’s Dream, Facebook’s Nightmare?

So Wonder sounds great, especially compared to Facebook’s internal search engine, which is glaringly deficient. There’s no way to search for news read by friends, searching an artist’s name in the music category returns zero results, and if you figure out how to use the Places tab to search for restaurants, you’re met with standard-looking search results. Finding photos or recommendations of businesses from your friends is tough.

Facebook tried to fix some of this with Nearby, and did a pretty good job with the business search. Built into a tab in Facebook’s primary mobile apps, Nearby shows you places friends have been, Liked, or recommended. It took a browse-by-category approach to minimizing mobile typing, in contrast to Wonder’s focus on voice commands. However, Nearby doesn’t surface photos taken by friends at places yet, and it might be better off as a standalone app rather than being buried in Facebook for iOS and Android’s navigation.

The problem is that Yandex’s Wonder may be a bit too great and employ too much of Facebook’s data. In May, Facebook updated its to include the statement “You must not include data obtained from us in any search engine or directory without our written permission.” Facebook tells me this was designed to keep your friends from volunteering your private information to public search engines. But Wonder could definitely be interpreted as a search engine, especially considering its built by Yandex, and the policy doesn’t only apply to private data.

In fact, Facebook apparently learned that Yandex was developing Wonder around the time it changed its policy, and the line could have been added to protect Facebook’s future endeavors in search from invaders like Yandex. Therefore, Wonder might get its public Facebook data access shut down if it doesn’t have permission, and I’ve heard Yandex is actually worried this will happen pre- or post-launch.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself explained at TechCrunch Disrupt SF that Facebook is getting into search:

“Search is interesting. I think search engines are really evolving to give you a set of answers…’I have this specific question, answer this question for me’. Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer the questions people have. ‘What sushi restaurants have my friends gone to in New York in the last six months and Liked?’ These are questions that you could potentially do at Facebook if we built out this system that you couldn’t do anywhere else. And at some point we’ll do it. We have a team working on search.”

Facebook Nearby, since it launched, could answer that sushi question, but so could Wonder thanks to Facebook’s data. With local business discovery comes lots of opportunity for monetization through sponsored placement and other channels. Facebook may not want some other company cashing in on this.

There is hope, though. Facebook struck a status update licensing deal with Yandex in 2010 to allow public posts from Pages to appear in the Russian search engine. In exchange Facebook got a widget on the Yandex home page that helped it sign up Russian users when it was still fighting off local social network VKontakte. Russian news outlet Ria Novosti also reported that Zuckerberg visited Yandex’s headquarters in Moscow in the Fall and held talks with management there.

Perhaps Facebook and Yandex could come to some sort of partnership around Wonder, such as a revenue share or allowing it to use Facebook data in exchange for more promotion of Facebook on Yandex. Other possibilities include Facebook buying the app from Yandex, cloning it the way Facebook copied Snapchat to build Poke, or working out a larger deal where Yandex assists Facebook with its search strategy. If Facebook was really feeling generous, it could just give Yandex permission to use the necessary data in Wonder.

No matter the outcome, sources say Yandex has proven there’s wondrous potential for Facebook in mobile search.

[Additional reporting by Ingrid Lunden]

Categories: Facebook

All Facebook - Fri, 11/01/2013 - 5:47pm

Once again, a technology-based company has exposed to the world their classic misunderstanding of change. , the failure was two-fold: a failure in planning and an even bigger failure to communicate.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Categories: Facebook

Inside Facebook - Fri, 11/01/2013 - 4:00pm

As Facebook builds its ads business and gives advertisers more ways to reach different audiences, a new lexicon has emerged.

The social network has invented terms like Sponsored Stories, Page Post Ads and Promoted Posts, but it doesn’t always explain them or maintain consistent usage over time, especially since the same ads serve different levels of advertisers, who purchase them through varying channels.

Here we’ll break down the main categories of Facebook ads that appear in News Feed and the desktop sidebar: Sponsored Stories, Page Post Ads, Promoted Posts and Marketplace Ads. Understand the difference in what the units look like, how they are purchased, who they can be shown to and what goals they achieve.

Sponsored Stories

Sponsored Stories are built around user activity. Advertisers simply pay to highlight an action that users have already taken on the social network or within a Facebook-connected app. That action is shown to a user’s friends, either in the sidebar or in News Feed. Sponsored Stories cannot be used to reach an audience that is not connected to the page or app through a friend.

Advertisers do not have any creative control over these ad types because they are generated from an organic user action. They might also include a page or app’s current profile photo.

The most common Sponsored Stories are “Page Like” stories, but advertisers can sponsor check-ins, offer claims, Likes on individual posts, or any custom Open Graph action. For example, Doritos has sponsored stories about when users “vote for a finalist” in its Crash the Super Bowl app.

Companies can also sponsor stories about when users share links from their domain. For example, when a user posts an Amazon link on Facebook, Amazon pays to show that story to more of a user’s friends, as seen to the right.

The goal of Sponsored Stories to get more users to take the same action that a friend has. If a page wants Likes, it can show Page Like Sponsored Stories. If a retailer wants more users to claim an offer, it can show Offer Claimed Sponsored Stories. If a company wants more sweepstakes entries in its custom Open Graph app, it can create Sponsored Stories about users “entering a sweepstakes.”

Most Sponsored Stories can be created through the self-serve ad tool, Power Editor or API, however, Open Graph Sponsored Stories require advertisers to work with a third-party provider that has access to the API.

Sponsored Stories have been around , but when Facebook first began using the term, it also encompassed what later became known as Page Post Ads. The change has led to some lingering confusion, but ads that are directly derived from page posts are no longer considered Sponsored Stories. We’ll discuss Page Post Ads in the next section. The defining factor of Sponsored Stories to remember is that they are paid promotion of organic user activity.

Page Post Ads

Page Post Ads are advertisements that begin as posts on a fan page but get additional paid distribution among fans, friends of fans, or non fans within News Feed or the sidebar, as a result of creating campaigns in Facebook’s ad tool, Power Editor or API.

Page Post Ads can be links, photos, videos, offers, events, questions or statuses, allowing for a lot of creative freedom. And unlike Sponsored Stories and Promoted Posts, these ads can be shown to anyone on Facebook, even if users are not connected to the page themselves or through a friend.

Page Post Ads are ideal for engagement and content marketing, as well as promoting events and offers, but they are not always as effective for fan acquisition. For example, a Page Post Ad might give users the option to play a video, like the video, comment on it and share it, in addition to the option to Like the page itself. This is different from Sponsored Stories, which give users one clear call to action.

Facebook no longer uses the exact term “page post ads” in its self-serve ad interface, though it continues to use it in educational materials and the more advanced Power Editor tool. Within the self-serve dashboard, the company has rebuilt the ad creation flow to focus on objectives rather than specific terms that less experienced advertisers might not be familiar with. Instead of asking advertisers to “create a Page Post Ad,” for example, it suggests that page owners “Promote page posts.” This action creates a Page Post Ad.

Promoted Posts

Promoted Posts are page posts that get additional paid reach in News Feed among fans and friends of fans as a result of using the page’s .

Promoted Posts are similar to Page Post Ads because they originate as a piece of content on a page, but they are bought through the Promote button on a post itself rather than through the ad tool, Power Editor or API. The pricing structure is different as well. With Promoted Posts, page owners pay a flat rate to reach a given number of users. For Sponsored Stories, Page Post Ads and other Facebook ad types, advertisers pay per impression or per click.

Another difference between Promoted Posts and Page Post Ads is that Promoted Posts are only shown to a page’s existing fans, with an option to reach friends of fans as well. Page Post Ads have more flexibility in that they can reach non-fans or only friends of fans. Promoted Posts also do not have allow for interest- or category-based targeting, which other Facebook ad types do.

The goal of these ads is to reach more of a company’s existing audience and some of their friends. These help get a page’s content seen but generally do not drive new Likes.

Promoted Posts are shown exclusively in News Feed, both on desktop and mobile, whereas Sponsored Stories and Page Post Ads can be run in the sidebar.

Marketplace Ads

Marketplace Ads are desktop sidebar advertisements, which include a headline, body copy and image. These ads can lead to a page or app on Facebook, as well as to third-party websites. Marketplace Ads are the only ads eligible for Facebook Exchange retargeting inventory.

Marketplace Ads that aren’t bought through the Facebook Exchange can include a call to action, such as a Like button or Use Now button, as well as social context about how many users Like a page or use an app.

We saw Facebook testing “Page Like” Marketplace Ads in News Feed , and have heard that they could be coming to the mobile feed.

Categories: Facebook

All Facebook - Fri, 11/01/2013 - 3:05pm

When Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss , it was evident that the landmark case had far-reaching implications. Who knew that it would be felt all the way on planet Krypton? Using the , Warner Bros. successfully retained the copyright for comic book superhero Superman.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Categories: Facebook

All Facebook - Fri, 11/01/2013 - 1:44pm

This week, 12 Gigs is hiring a mobile game UI designer, as well as a front-end software engineer. Meanwhile, Rumble needs a senior game engineer, and Brightroll is on the hunt for an account manager. Get the scoop on these openings below, and find additional social media jobs on Mediabistro.

Find more great social media jobs on our job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented AllFacebook pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow .

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Categories: Facebook

All Facebook - Fri, 11/01/2013 - 1:17pm

Facebook marketing application platform is adding to its bouquet, announcing the addition of its Insights solution to its Social Marketing Platform.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Categories: Facebook

All Facebook - Fri, 11/01/2013 - 1:04pm

Facebook has long allowed page administrators to , but now the site is apparently pushing more options for marketers to pay to amplify pages themselves. As Jon Loomer points out, some pages have the option to quickly create ads to get more likes.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Categories: Facebook

All Facebook - Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:54am

The “Other” folder in the inbox of Facebook Co-Founder and CEO is probably not the most efficient place to be for Facebook users who want to reach him via on the social network. The good news is that there may be a way to avoid being banished to the Other folder. The bad news: It’ll cost you — $100, to be exact.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Categories: Facebook

All Facebook - Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:29am

Warnings about a Facebook called My Birthday Calendar have gone viral on the social network, but it turns out that the app is no more or less harmful than many other Facebook apps.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Categories: Facebook

All Facebook - Fri, 11/01/2013 - 10:58am

Facebook users may soon be seeing a lot of in their , as President signed into law a bill approved by the and the to alter the of 1998.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Categories: Facebook

Inside Facebook - Thu, 10/01/2013 - 8:05pm

Facebook is looking to conduct some user research for its latest mobile app, Poke, including phone interviews to understand how people use and feel about the service.

The social network is using Ethn.io to recuit participants through Facebook ads that lead to a short questionnaire. Users will receive $75 Amazon gift card if they are selected to be interviewed over Skype or GoToMeeting. Facebook is requesting that participants have a webcam. [Update 1/10/13 1:19 p.m. PST - Facebook is also using SurveyMonkey to recruit participants for interviews at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, Calif. The SurveyMonkey form asks users additional questions, including what type of phone they have and an example of how they use Poke if at all.]

Poke is a standalone app for iPhone that allows users to send messages, photos or video to their friends for a designated period of time. After a few seconds, the content is removed from the app. The app, which is largely a clone of the popular Snapchat application, was reportedly built in 12 days. It launched on Dec. 21, 2012, hit No. 1 on the App Store’s free apps list, but has since slid to No. 343. Snapchat, on the other hand, has sat between No. 3 and No. 9 for the past month. Today it’s No. 6.

Facebook likely wants to get a better understanding of who’s using Poke, how and why — or why not. Usage numbers can tell one side of the story, but interviews can reveal other important insights. Facebook has a research team that creates surveys, conducts phone and in-person interviews, and sometimes even to ask questions that could help Facebook design better products in the future.

Poke is interesting because it is playful while the rest of Facebook is very much a utility. Although seemingly inane at first, as adding an important new layer to Facebook because it enables people to share certain moments that only otherwise happen in person, whereas the rest of Facebook feels so permanent. But among many adults the app, like Snapchat, has the bad reputation of being something for kids, or even a “sexting” application. For younger users who were using Snapchat before Poke, Facebook’s version might not be necessary. Facebook also faces user distrust over privacy issues, which could be in conflict with what people want out of an ephemeral messaging service.

Facebook’s research could give the company a clearer idea of what direction to take Poke from here.

Categories: Facebook

All Facebook - Thu, 10/01/2013 - 7:55pm

Celebrities had a great year on Facebook in 2012. rose up the page charts to be the most popular human-based page on the social network, and several athletes saw their likes go up considerably around the time of the . However, Facebook’s popularity among those who don’t have iPhones or Android devices made the most popular page in 2012, according to Quintly.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Categories: Facebook

Inside Facebook - Thu, 10/01/2013 - 6:22pm

Page post ads in the desktop News Feed once again include a “Like Page” button, which could make the unit effective for fan acquisition once again. However, the mobile version of the ad does not include the same call to action.

Page post ads can be links, photos, videos, offers, questions, events or statuses. These can be promoted to a page’s existing fans, friends of fans and audiences without any connection to the page. It used to be that when the ads were shown to non-fans, the unit emphasized the “Like Page” action over engagement, such as likes, comments and shares.

On Nov. 22 last year, Facebook so users would interact with the post itself and be less likely to Like the page. Spruce Media that clickthrough rate of this placement dropped from 2.52 percent down to 0.62 percent as a result. Conversion rate fell from 12.8 percent to 6.5 percent. The average cost per fan increased 270 percent.

Now, starting some point in the past week, the “Like Page” button is back for desktop News Feed page post ads, though not for the mobile equivalent. Advertisers should be aware of these differences as they plan their campaigns. Page post ads are generally good for content marketers and pages looking to increase engagement, but they are not optimized for fan acquisition. If getting new fans is an important secondary goal, advertisers may not want to buy mobile page post ads since they do not currently have the Like Page button.

For advertisers, it can be hard to keep up with Facebook’s tweaks, especially since the social network often tests different variations with different users. These design changes can significantly affect how users interact with ads, but advertisers do not get any information about whether their ad was shown to someone in a test group. An ad could be effective in gaining fans one day but then greatly underperform the next because of a small difference an advertiser can’t see. This makes it difficult for advertisers to compare past campaigns or to feel like they can apply previous learnings to their strategy today. We’d like to see Facebook give advertisers an accurate preview of what their ad will look like to the majority of the audience being targeted. Currently the social network gives advertisers a basic idea of what elements are included in an ad but day-to-day design changes are not reflected in the preview.

Categories: Facebook
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