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UK’s ITV to charge for its online catch-up TV player

The Next Web - Facebook-tagged - Wed, 27/07/2011 - 10:33am

UK broadcaster ITV is introducing a micropayment system for its online TV-on-demand service, in a move designed to counteract a fall in advertising revenue.

ITV reported its first fall in TV ad revenue in a year and a half back in May, and it has said that TV ad revenues will be down 2% in July and 4% in August.

As the Guardian reports today, ITV has announced plans to launch various payment systems to access ITV Player from early 2012 with ITV Chief Executive, Adam Crozier, saying:

“Our pay mechanism will launch at the turn of the year, we have picked our partners. We are working on the consumer proposition, what people are prepared to pay for and what will work and won’t work.”

It’s expected that a number of different payment models will be rolled-out in the first few months of 2012. Whilst ad revenue in September is expected to be roughly the same as last year, ITV has announced that total revenue is up 4% this year, reaching £1.03bn for the first half of 2011. ITV’s broadcasting and online division constituted £887m of the total figure.

More specifically, ITV’s online revenue increased by a third year-on-year, with ITV Player recording a 19% increase in average monthly unique users, and “long form video views” (whole TV shows watched on ITV Player) rose two-thirds to 180m.

We reported yesterday that ITV Player is now available on some Freesat boxes, and the broadcaster is clearly looking at ways to bring its product to a wider audience and optimize its potential revenue streams. It has been experimenting with various online viewing models, such as register-to-view trials for Champions League football matches, among other popular programmes.

ITV first discussed the possibility of introducing micropayments back in 2009, with Director of Group Development and strategy, Carolyn Fairbairn, saying: “Micropayments are absolutely on our agenda. We are part-funding the Digital Britain research into the viability of this.”

These plans were further outlined last August, when Adam Crozier said they hoped to have something in place by the end of 2011: “We need to invest online – our site isn’t as good as some of our competitors. We need to start to find a way to develop pay online and look to launch micropayments.”

But the desire for a ‘softer launch’ means that this will be put back to 2012. Crozier says:

“We originally said there was a possibility of doing it then [in the fourth quarter]. From a technical point of view we could do it but we want the consumer proposition right. We want a softer launch.”

ITV is forecasting TV ad revenue to be “broadly flat” come September, compared with the same period last year, whilst the overall ad revenue across the third quarter will be “slightly down”.

Categories: Facebook

Inside a fake Chinese Apple Store [Video]

The Next Web - Facebook-tagged - Wed, 27/07/2011 - 9:42am

The fake Chinese Apple Stores we reported on last week have certainly grabbed the attention of the mainstream media (it is the summer ‘silly season’, after all). MSNBC have even sent a camera crew down to one of the stores (presumably one that wasn’t asked to close) and took a look around.

You can see why customers would be confused – it looks and feels just like the real thing, and we imagine Apple’s lawyers are busily preparing to take them out for ever. As the report states, trademark law exists even in China – even if you could be forgiven for thinking that it didn’t.

Categories: Facebook

Apple looking into mini solar panels for future products

The Next Web - Facebook-tagged - Wed, 27/07/2011 - 7:46am

Apple has been looking into the potential for using miniature solar panels in its future products, .

The report says that Apple’s not just looking into technical feasibility, but Taiwanese solar panel manufacturers who could supply the company — meaning this process may be further along than you might think.

But those panels need more work before they can be used in products, according to Digitimes.

Apple filed a patent for solar panel usage in mobile devices in 2009 which could apply to laptops, tablets and phones.

Apple has been experimenting with alternative charging methods recently. Since most of the heavy iPhone users I know never go outside during the day, I can only imagine solar panels as an alternative method — perhaps a way of simply extending the day-to-day battery time of an iPhone while the cord (or conductive pad?) remains the primary means of charging.

But I’d take the improvement over NFC and other features with more of a wow factor. Extra battery time isn’t something to be sneezed at!

Categories: Facebook

Before U.S. release, over 5 million Samsung Galaxy S2 phones have been sold.

The Next Web - Facebook-tagged - Wed, 27/07/2011 - 7:08am

Samsung Electronics has announced that the company sold more than 5 million units of its Galaxy S2 smartphone, according to Yonhap News Agency.

While we have to sheepishly admit that a disproportionate number of us at TNW are iPhone-toters, this particular phone is very well known around here.

The S2 has been on the market in South Korea since the end of April, and in Japan and parts of Europe in May.

The smartphone with a massive 4.3″ screen is the sequel to the very popular Samsung Galaxy S, and runs Google’s Android mobile operating system.

The device reached the milestone just before its August debut in the United States and is performing quite well when viewed against Apple and Samsung total smartphone sales for the second quarter of this year — Apple moved 20.34 million units and Samsung moved 19.5 million.

It’ll be interesting to see how the United States launch improves those numbers.

Categories: Facebook

All Facebook - Wed, 27/07/2011 - 6:54am

A new Facebook page offers businesses a how-to guide to marketing and advertising on the social network.

Facebook for Business is a basic subsite that outlines a step-by-step process for launching a marketing plan, and includes both paid and earned media opportunities that businesses can leverage.  Facebook breaks down the process along these lines:

  1. Build a presence
  2. Engage your community
  3. Get the word out

Familiar tools such as pages, ads, , deals, places and social plug-ins are all mentioned as resources businesses can incorporate into their Facebook presence to boost their image and drive traffic.

The Facebook page further breaks down each of these tools into easily digestible steps, making it easier for a reader to understand how to get each tool up and running.

The site follows another initiative launched in the spring, Facebook Studio, that also helped explain advertising on Facebook.

From what we can tell, the dedicated page is a good idea, especially for a small business, consultants or a “mom and pop” store.

Given the positive on the effectiveness of Facebook advertising, we think anything that makes it easy for businesses to market on Facebook is worthwhile, even a site that’s as straightforward as Facebook for Business.

The timing is a bit curious, given a recent report by that finds Facebook advertising is up 104 percent in the second quarter of 2011 as compared to the first quarter. We wonder why the social network would go to the trouble of launching a new effort designed to boost advertising when revenues are up?

The answer could lie in the positive surrounding the launch of .

What do you think about the Facebook for Business site?

Categories: Facebook

Developer relies on Bitcoin to fund U.S. trip, Customs sends him home

The Next Web - Facebook-tagged - Wed, 27/07/2011 - 5:15am

A Bitcoin developer was sent back to China last week after arriving at a U.S. airport with $600 in cash because customs and border patrol agents did not believe he could fund his visit with Bitcoin, GeekWire reports.

“Doctor Nefario” is the developer’s alias. He founded the Global Bitcoin Stock Exchange and had gone to the U.S. with the intention of forming a “Bitcoin Development Center” with other Bitcoin developers at a co-working space he’d put a deposit on in Bitcoin.

The visit was supposed to have lasted two months, but Nefario did not make it past customs.

Nefario says he was held in a small office for five to six hours and was questioned over his lack of funds and on the topic of Bitcoin.

Nefario had arrangements to exchange Bitcoins for US$1,500 in cash later that morning.

U.S. customs presumably decided it was too likely that Nefario intended to work in the country illegally or even become an illegal immigrant to permit entry.

One could argue that the usefulness of Bitcoin is to be questioned in a society that doesn’t officially recognize it, but it is possible to purchase a great variety of items with the currency. One thing I think most Bitcoin users would agree on is that it was foolish to base an international trip on a currency that most Customs officers would never have heard of.

Categories: Facebook

Typekit starts serving PostScript fonts to work around Windows rendering problems

The Next Web - Facebook-tagged - Wed, 27/07/2011 - 2:44am

Typekit has announced that it is now serving PostScript versions of certain fonts in order to work around a problem with Windows rendering.

Those who haven’t upgraded to the DirectWrite type rendering that comes with Internet Explorer 9 and is an option in Firefox 4 are still using the GDI rendering engine, which has anti-aliasing that only works in one direction.

With certain fonts in larger sizes, this causes the type to have jagged, unappealing outlines.

But a quirk allows Typekit to work around the problem. By serving PostScript instead of TrueType versions of certain fonts, grayscale antialiasing is used instead — smoothing out the jagged lines.

This workaround has been rolled out for the fonts Bello Pro, Calluna, Lapture Display, and Quatro. Typekit is working with foundries to identify other fonts that could benefit from this hack.

If you’ve experienced unsightly rendering under Windows with some of your favorite fonts, it looks like your problem could soon be solved for good.

The image above shows Bello Pro with GDI anti-aliasing on the left and grayscale on the right — a marked improvement.

Categories: Facebook

Facebook Will Bring Credits To Mobile Browsers

TechCrunch - Facebook-tagged - Wed, 27/07/2011 - 1:59am

Over a month ago, we first reported on Project Spartan, Facebook’s secret plan to bring applications to the mobile web via HTML5. Facebook is working with teams of third-party developers that they call their “Spartans” and hope to unveil the project later this summer. As we noted, the key to all of this is really Credits. Right now, Facebook has no way to make money on any of the mobile platforms out there. With Credits bought and sold through the web browser, they’ll have a way. It’s that simple.

That’s why it’s surprising to see Bloomberg report today that “Facebook May Bring Credits to Mobile Browsers“. Um, of course they will. Not only did we report it last month, in a follow-up story, I included a screenshot of the implementation. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. It’s real. No anonymous sources needed.

Either Bloomberg missed that report (to be fair, it was buried in a couple thousands words bashing Facebook PR — more on that in a second) or they weren’t convinced. Either way, I’ll go ahead and include the shot again.

This is also odd since Bloomberg did try to give us some credit for something. Sort of. Half-way down the page we get this throw-away line: “The TechCrunch blog previously reported on Facebook’s HTML5 efforts.” No link, of course. Typically old media jackassery on the web.

Moving on, the real story here remains the one we originally reported: Facebook is attempting to come up with their own way to circumvent Apple’s App Store and Google’s Market, to maintain control of the applications within the Facebook ecosystem.

There are mixed signals out there right now as to whether or not Apple may actually be helping Facebook with this effort in some regard. Because many applications (and most games) on Facebook’s platform right now require Flash, they do not work on devices like the iPhone and iPad. If Facebook could get these working through HTML5, it would be another huge blow to Adobe’s platform — which Apple must love. There is some talk that Apple may be interested in seeing this happen within Facebook’s own iPhone app, and their soon-to-be-unveiled iPad app.

But again, the key for Facebook is Credits. And that’s where things could get very complicated with Apple. If Facebook tries to circumvent the App Store to sell credits, Apple is clearly not going to want that in any native app (unless some sort of deal is struck, which seems unlikely at this point). But Facebook can get around this by going web-only with the functionality.

When we initially reported this, Facebook threw a hissy-fit and tried to spin the press in opposition to our story. This led to the second story where I revealed more about Project Spartan, including the picture of Credits running in a test version of a Spartan app.

Interestingly enough, Bloomberg today comes to the same conclusion I did (a conclusion shared by those actually working on Spartan apps, by the way). “Facebook is seeking to build a software community that rivals Apple’s,” Bloomberg notes, pointing out that Facebook would like a piece of the growing mobile app revenue pie that Apple is seeing.

Let’s see if Facebook PR throws another hissy fit over what is common sense. Facebook wants and needs to make money. Apple wants and needs to make money. Apple owns a mobile platform to do so. Facebook does not. At some point, this will become an issue. A big one.

[crunchbase url="http://www.crunchbase.com/company/facebook,http://www.crunchbase.com/company/apple" name="Facebook,Apple"]

Categories: Facebook

All Facebook - Wed, 27/07/2011 - 1:45am

After four years in operation on the Facebook platform, the daily deals network has decided to shutter its books section, Visual Bookshelf.

The site encourages users to export their accounts to GoodReads.

We’ve included directions about how to move your LivingSocial account and .

How To Import Your Living Social Books To GoodReads

1. If you haven’t already, sign up for a GoodReads account.
2.  to import into GoodReads.
3. The site should handle the rest.
4. If you just want a copy of your LivingSocial collection,  to download a CSV document with your information inside.
5.  to download a CSV document with all your LivingSocial reviews.

To read more about LivingSocial’s closure of VisualBookshelf, click here to see more coverage on our sibling blog GalleyCat.

Categories: Facebook

Inside Facebook - Wed, 27/07/2011 - 1:40am

Today, internet marketing research company comScore released a white paper detailing which Facebook features receive the most usage and where users interact with branded content. The report shows that 27% of Facebook browsing is on the news feed and home page — 4% of all time spent online in the US.  21% of time was spent on profiles, 17% on Photos, 10% on applications, and 25% on the rest of the site. Most engagement with branded content happens on the news feed, not Pages, yet the average brand in the top 100 Facebook Pages reaches only 16% of their fans per week if they post five days a week.

These stats should illuminate that brands should put more effort into optimizing their news feed posts than developing apps for their Pages if they want to reach the most people. The report is based on a two million person opt-in panel of web internet users that agreed to be monitored, so the sample size is ample though it might skew towards savvier, less skittish users.

Most Time Spent on News Feed and Photos, Not Apps

Facebook’s Photos feature is often considered a core driver of time spent on Facebook. ComScore’s stats showing more usage of the news feed than Photos don’t necessarily disprove this, as time spent reading news feed stories and notifications generated by photo uploads and tags are counted towards the news feed’s time. Facebook has yet to develop other features as popular as the news feed or Photos.

Some might expect that applications and games would take up more than 10% of user time. In September 2010, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg , or roughly 40% of users were playing games on Facebook when the service had 500 million users, and that stat might still hold true. A few months prior, Playdom CEO cited undisclosed personal sources saying 40% of all time on Facebook was spent on games — a much higher percentage than comScore’s figures. These new stats should serve as a reality check that brands shouldn’t be too focused on building tab applications or marketing within social games.

Brands Must Focus on the News Feed

ComScore’s data supports a similar conclusion as findings by Facebook Page analytics tool provider PageLever, which showed that the average Facebook Page receives an . Essentially, each post a Page publishes only reaches a small fraction of its total fans via the news feed, and an even smaller portion of its fans visit the Page itself.

Pages that want to increase the percentage of their fans which they reach with news feed posts should make sure to post every day. A study of the top 100 Pages showed that for each additional day per week that a Page posts, it reaches 2.5% more of its fan base. Those that post every day can reach as much of 22% of their fan base each week.

A study of three popular brands on Facebook, Starbucks, Bing, and Southwest Airlines, showed that they saw 40 to 151 times more impressions in the news feed than on their Pages. While this study only had three data points, marketers should take note of the disproportionate amount of exposure that occurs in the news feed. This is partly because re-shares of news feed posts by a Page’s fans help drive news feed exposure.

ComScore’s white paper also stresses that a great deal of potential for exposure lies in the friends of a brand’s current fans. If Pages can post content compelling enough that fans are willing to re-share it, they can reach a huge new audience. This is because Facebook has said for years that the average user has 130 friends, though we’ve heard that could be closer to 170 now. ComScore’s report shows that the total count of the friends of fans of Facebook’s most popular Pages is on average 31 to 84 times higher than the fan counts of those Pages.

In conclusion, users are spending the most time on the news feed, and thats where engagement with brands happens. Brands should post every day and aim to attain high levels of Likes, comments, and re-shares to increase the visibility of their posts and maximize exposure to both fans and their friends

For Page posting strategy tips that can help you leverage your existing fan base and gain new Likes, visit the Facebook Marketing Bible, Inside Network’s complete guide to marketing and advertising through Facebook.

Categories: Facebook

This gorgeous case for the iPad 2 sets the bar high, very high

The Next Web - Facebook-tagged - Tue, 26/07/2011 - 11:56pm

The Contega case for iPad 2 is another solid creation from Pad & Quill, makers of fine portfolio cases for tablets, readers, phones and more. The concept behind the Contega and its brethren is to duplicate not just the feel of handling a book but a hardbound leather one at that. Think of them as the Easton Press of gadget case makers.

Pad & Quill has produced the very popular Octavo for iPad 2 for some time now but has just added the new Contega to its lineup. The Contega follows the same basic premise of the Octavo, in that it is a leather bound and cloth lined case for the iPad 2. It also shares the bookbinding aesthetic of the original and the overall feeling of care in its manufacture. The new sauce is the fact that the Contega now also functions as a two-position easel style stand for your iPad as well as a protective case.

The Contega is built in much the same way as the Octavo, with the exterior bound in a soft Italian leather that’s pleasant to the touch. It really feels like a high quality business folio or collectors edition book. It’s relatively resistant to scuffing and scratching, although you’ll probably have to protect it in much the same way as you would any leather object.

There was very little to complain about as far as the build quality of the Contega that I had to review. The seaming is all excellent and the leather was all bonded and folded nicely as well. The interior was pleasantly lined in a green cloth, although there are other colors avaiable on Pad & Quill’s site.

The frame that holds the iPad in is made of Baltic birch and is relatively light, although not nearly as ligth as the bamboo of the DodoCASE. The birch does feel significantly more sturdy though and its laminated layers should hold up well to bumping and banging and there is little danger of flex causing it to come unglued from the backing. The openings for the buttons and ports are all generous and you should be able to fit any size dock connector or headphone cable that you need to. The hollows scooped out around the orientation switch and volume buttons are plenty big enough to reach into although a bit of finger-shoving is in order for the switch.

The cutout for the speaker is scooped so that sound will travel forward. Since the iPad 2′s speaker is decent but not exactly ear-shattering, it’s nice when a case is designed not only to avoid muffling the audio, but also to amplify and project it. This is a nice detail that i’ve come to expect from most high-grade cases and the Contega didn’t disappoint. The camera hole doesn’t obstruct the view so that’s fine there and the elastic clasp seemed to work just as well as any other I’ve seen.

The easel function of the Contega works very nicely and because the design of the case is nearly identical, adds no bulk at all when compared to an Octavo. The easel is used by sliding the iPad holder frame out from the backing and setting it into one of two grooves on the cover. This will place it at an angle so that you can view the screen hands-free. The two angles work best from about 2-3ft or 4-5ft away, although that will probably depend on your height. You can still flip the cover around back to provide a small wedge that can help you type on the iPad while it’s laying flat.

The cover of the Contega contains a magnet that allows it to work with the iPad 2′s automatic on-off function. This means that when you close the lid or open it, the iPad will turn itself on or off. It also leads to the biggest flaw in the Contega.

The biggest issue that I have with the Contega is that, because the binding is, necesarily so, not attached at the edge of the frame, it tends to shift laterally towards the spine while you’re holding it closed in your hand. This means that the front edge slides toward the iPad, triggering the auto-unlock and power on feature. It leads to a constant click-click-click as the iPad turns itself on and off.Even if the volume is turned down, your iPad is still power cycling. While it’s unlikely to be harmful in the short term, it’s unlikely that this is any good for it.

The bigger problem is that if you set it down without checking, it’s likely that it will have been turned on while you were carrying it. This means that if your iPad is set to the ‘never’ setting under auto-lock, you’re in danger of draining your iPads battery, which I did while testing the Contega, twice.

Now there’s two solutions to this problem. First, you could just set an auto-lock time, which is fine and not that difficult, but that defeats the whole purpose of the iPad 2′s cool new automatic on feature, which the Contega is equipped to take advantage of. In the end, the better solution is for the positioning or power of the magnet in the Contega’s front cover to be changed so that the triggering no longer occurs. Frankly if it didn’t offer the magnet at all, this issue wouldn’t exist, so just shut off the automatic feature of the iPad and it will go away.

If you use an iPad only in your home then you may not really get the market for premium iPad cases. They’re pricier than a simple shell or the Apple Smart Cover, and they’re usually a bit bulkier too. But what they give you is a combination of protection and an air of respectability. In the case of the Contega, you get a sleek portfolio case with gorgeous looks and the tactile pleasure of leather, as well as an incredibly useful easel case. It’s really the best combination of these two types of cases that I’ve seen.

If you’re not hung up on the auto-lock setting and don’t mind setting it to something reasonable, the Contega offers more than enough polish and functionality to overlook the magnet issue.  The Contega is available directly from Pad & Quill for $89.99.

Categories: Facebook

All Facebook - Tue, 26/07/2011 - 11:30pm

Facebook has impersonating as Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.

The profile had created a bit of a media frenzy after a status update appeared asking fans not to talk bad about Cutler’s ex-fiancee and former Hills star Kristin Cavallari.

The status update said, “Thank you all for the support, but if you talk bad about Kristin I will delete and block you. It’s unnecessary and heartless.”

NBC Chicago confirmed that Facebook deactivated the profile for being fake.

Cavallari , “I do NOT have a facebook” and “Jay doesn’t have a facebook either…so all these articles quoting him are wrong.”

In the meantime, fans are showing their support for Cutler on another , which isn’t official but has more than 13,000 likes:

Congrats Jay! It took a lot of courage! We support you!

Bummer with Kristin…she’s a cool chick. Keep your head up. Glad to hear the lockout is over…excited to see the bears play this season!

glad you ditched the bitch! love you…excited to see you play this year!

The couple broke up over the weekend, just days after their engagement party. Cutler and Cavallari had been together for 10 months and were four months into the engagement.

Cavallari tweeted late Sunday, “Thanks for the support. Love u guys.”

Categories: Facebook

Daily deal website TeamBuy.ca expands to Victoria

The Next Web - Facebook-tagged - Tue, 26/07/2011 - 10:51pm

As the daily deal phenomenon continues to grow, so does its expansion into different markets. Today TeamBuy.ca, the first, largest and fastest-growing independently owned Canadian team-buying website, has launched in Victoria, BC — its 16th Canadian city to date.

“One of the main reasons we went with Victoria because of the success we’ve seen in Vancouver,” said Ghassan Halazan, CEO of TeamBuy.ca when reached to comment on this story. “Obviously the promxity there (from Vancouver to Victoria) gave us enough of a precedent to notice that a number of signups were coming from the Victoria area and that users requesting that we get going there.”

Victoria has a Groupon portal (as well as other smaller daily deal sites such as Ethical Deal and Couvon), but the Toronto-based TeamBuy.ca clearly believes that the capital city of British Columbia is a market that was ripe for what it has to offer, despite a lot of competition in what is considered to be a small market.

“We know that it’s a smaller city compared to others where we’ve launched in terms of population,” Halazon explained. “But the more research we did there the more we found it was a compelling area for ‘Mom & Pops’ and local businesses, which is really what this model is about — introducing customers to merchants on a local basis is at the heart of Teambuy.ca’s offering.”

With the addition of Victoria to its growing list of Canadian markets, TeamBuy.ca is available in Brampton, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Mississauga, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg and the Ontario regions of York and Durham. TeamBuy.ca has grown quickly since its launch in October 2009, and with an appearance on the popular CBC television show Dragon’s Den in September 2010 to further augment the coffers it plans to add more markets in the near future.

The Teambuy.ca team has pegged Kimberly Hebert, to manage the Victoria portal, and as with every city in which the company operates, there will be a minimum of 2 representatives “on the ground”.

“As a West Coast city with amazing attractions, Victoria is a Canadian hot spot,” said Hebert. “We can’t wait to show people there a side of the city they haven’t seen before!”

Halazon believes that having a team based in each city gives them an advantage over much of the competition, as it conveys a “personal touch” that others just can’t offer.

“That’s part of our strategy,” Halazon stated. “Having somebody that merchants can shake hands with and relate to. And we have the resources and the infrastructure to serve these merchants at volume.”

Residents of Victoria (and the whole of Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands) who subscribe to TeamBuy.ca will receive an additional 20 per cent off their first purchase until Sunday, July 31 – Simply use the promo code SaveInVictoria during the check-out process to redeem the savings.

With Rogers launching its own daily deal service this week and the daily deal sector growing in leaps in bounds, TeamBuy.ca certainly isn’t going to stand by on the sidelines and watch. It’s going to hit the ground running — both literally and figuratively — in what is a very crowded and competitive field.

Categories: Facebook

This project hopes to make the .app TLD the home for all apps

The Next Web - Facebook-tagged - Tue, 26/07/2011 - 10:20pm

The news officially came down in June — ICANN, the governing body of Internet domain names, would soon begin allowing anyone to buy words and turn them into top level domain extensions. No longer would we be bound to .com, .net and the like but instead we could have a site such as TheNextWeb.tech.

Of course it didn’t take long for savvy web entrepreneurs to start coming up with ideas on how best to use the new open-ended TLD system. One such group, calling itself “The .app Project” is looking to secure the .app TLD in order to turn it into a domain “run for and by software developers who produce apps for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone as well as desktop platforms such as Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.”

While Apple users are somewhat familiar with calling something by a .app file extension, soon Mail.app could actually send someone to Apple’s Mail application page where they could find more about the product. Of course, there could be some huge financial benefit to the group as well, as application owners pay top dollar to reserve their slot in the domain. The consumer (in this case, the app owner) should get an added layer of protection from the .app domain, as well, according to .app Project CEO Matthew Baxter-Reynolds:

“In the world of current gTLDs, such as .com there’s no in-built control over cybersquatting or intellectual property. What we can do with .app is design it from the ground up to protect the intellectual property of software developers.”

For now, it’s all about raising cash. The group is looking to raise just shy of half a million dollars in two stages. The first stage will go to pay for the ICANN “evaluation fee” of $185,000. After that, the remaining raise will go to fund the initial stages of operation for the project. Fortunately, according to ICANN, the shortest time that the evaluation will take is 9 months and that’s assuming that everything goes as planned. That should leave plenty of time for getting things into working order for the .app Project.

For now, if you want to pre-register, you can do so. You’ll have to understand, though, that there’s a pretty judicious process for who gets what .app name. Pre-registration will allow you to sign up for the same domain as another person or company and then it will be decided at a later term as to which one should hold the name once it’s available.

There isn’t a lot of information, just yet, as to how that decision process will work. There’s also the uncomfortable thought of putting your domain name entirely into the hands of someone else where, if challenged, you could lose it. If all goes as is stated, however, it should prove to be a great benefit to app owners and developers around the world.

Categories: Facebook

Facebook launches Facebook for Business. Your move, Google+

The Next Web - Facebook-tagged - Tue, 26/07/2011 - 9:56pm

Surely you’ve seen the talk about business profiles on Google+ lately. In fact, our own profile for The Next Web was shut down (unsurprisingly) after Google+ clarified its terms of service to say that only people were allowed to have them. In short, if you want your business’ name to appear in search results on Google+, there’s only one way to do it for now.

Facebook has clearly seen the buzz, too. It should come as no surprise then that the site has rolled out a new section which details some best practices and shows how Stories, Ads and Pages can all work to increase your business.

The design of the sub-site is well done, highlighting step-by-step methods for putting together your pages, running ads and detailing who will see what, depending on the interaction. Interestingly, Facebook is calling almost everything a “Sponsored Story” (), regardless of if it’s a checkin, a Like to a page or a share.

From our sources, stories is Facebook’s “way of saying conversations about your brand, going on in the Facebook universe”. This is in pretty sharp contrast to , which still exists as a way to share “collective experiences” that people on the site have had together.

It’s worth noting, however, that our contact with Facebook has stated that Facebook wants to “inspire small businesses by seeing how other businesses have found success on Facebook by sharing their stories.” That clearly leads us to believe that Facebook Stories will start seeing a bit more business-oriented content, in the coming months.

In all, it’s a great addition for Facebook, and it’s timely at that. While Google is still ironing out exactly how business profiles will work on the Google+ service, Facebook has stepped up with a flashing sign to show people exactly how they can succeed using Facebook for Business.

Categories: Facebook

Inside Facebook - Tue, 26/07/2011 - 9:42pm

The following is an excerpt. The complete article, available in our Facebook Marketing Bible, includes more key differences between Twitter and Facebook, Twitter mistakes to avoid, and how to optimize your marketing strategy for the two platforms.

Facebook is not Twitter, and Twitter is not Facebook.

For veteran users of both platforms, this statement is well understood. But for marketers and brands new to either network, or for those with an extensive level of experience in one but not the other, the differences are not immediately apparent.

In this article, we compare brand Twitter Profiles to Facebook Pages, looking at the ways in which one is different to the other and the pros (and cons) each platform offers to the marketer.

How Do Facebook and Twitter Compare?

While the marketer’s aspirations for both platforms are similar – namely, to build a large and engaged audience to raise brand awareness and drive footfall – the manner in which each network and audience is approached and cultivated needs to be tailored specifically to that network.

Facebook and Twitter have many apparent similarities, both in functionality and in jargon, including:

  • Usernames
  • Profile Pages
  • Avatars
  • Status Updates
  • Tagging

Both platforms also provide an outstanding way for businesses to market themselves to users, and offer first line customer support. However, the use of similar terminology aside, the ways in which these features are both implemented and received are often very different.


Perhaps the most important difference between Facebook and Twitter is the size of the respective networks. As of July 2011, Facebook said it had over 750 million registered monthly active users. Twitter is cagey with the release of its user data but recent estimations put the platform at somewhere between 200 and 300 million users. However, these numbers only reflect registered accounts — the active user count on Twitter is considerably smaller. For example, third party measurement firm comScore shows it reaching 139 million unique users worldwide in May.

Post Frequency

Popular Facebook Pages typically post one or two updates every day. Whether a Page’s fans see that post is determined by the Facebook news feed EdgeRank algorithm. This is designed to show users the most relevant posts in the default Top News tab of the news feed, though users can also select to view a more comprehensive stream of updates in the Most Recent tab of the new feed.

The goal for marketers with Facebook Page posts is to attain the most Likes and comments, which increase a post’s EdgeRank, and drive re-shares of posts, which expose branded content to the friends of fans. Therefore, marketers should compose posts that they think will be the most engaging for their audience.

Popular Twitter profiles typically post much more frequently, sending out closer to a half dozen tweets a day. Twitter’s stream displays tweets in strict reverse chronological order. A profile followers are therefor only likely to see the tweets if they’re reading Twitter within a small timeframe after an update is published, or if it is retweeted by a high volume of people they follow.

The goal for marketers with Twitter updates is therefore to publish as much solid content as possible in order to catch followers when they’re reading. The real-time nature of Twitter also favors breaking news. The first profile to post about breaking news or something important will often receive many retweets. Therefore marketers should try to turn as much relevant content about their brand into tweets as possible, and move quickly when posting about topics that appeal to a wide audience.

Brand Presence vs. Broadcast Channel

Overall, however, Facebook appears to be most focused on reinforcing its focus on private, real-world connections through ongoing improvements to features like Groups and Chat. It is also focused on providing a platform for full-featured brand presences, where business can host engagement applications, contests, and rich media content as well as distribute updates. Twitter has meanwhile settled into becoming a broadcast channel for brands with some conversational functionality.

Facebook and Twitter share some similarities but these are considerably outweighed by the differences between the two networks and their audiences. Marketers looking for success on both must invest time and expertise into tailoring strategies that fit within the unique constraints of each. Learn about more key differences — and how to optimize for each platform — in the full Facebook Marketing Bible article.
Categories: Facebook

All Facebook - Tue, 26/07/2011 - 8:40pm

Responding to Connecticut Attorney General with privacy concerns in general and photo tagging in particular, Facebook is running online ads instructing users on how to opt out of the feature.

Bloomberg reported that the social network also took steps to ease the process of reporting impostor profiles.

Facebook launched its photo-tagging feature in December. Connecticut State Representative Kim Rose told Bloomberg in February that a fake Facebook page had been created in her name, with the page owner then asking her friends for money; at the time, the news service quoted Jepsen saying:

The lack of an opt-in process for Facebook users is troubling because unknowing consumers may have their photos tagged and matched using facial-recognition software without their express consent, potentially exposing them to unwelcome attention and loss of privacy.

Bloomberg added that a second fake Rose profile was discovered and deleted within one hour.

Facebook spokesman Tim Sparapani said in an email to Bloomberg:

People across the country using Facebook will be more aware of our personalized privacy settings and how they can be used to benefit their experience on the site. The attorney general has been an effective partner on this project.

And Jepsen told Bloomberg, “For any users who opt out, any facial-recognition data collected will be deleted,” adding that the new language and links added to Facebook’s contact form will make it easier to report false profiles, and that the social network will not allow accounts reported as fake to be reactivated without confirmation via telephone or other methods.

Readers: Did Facebook do enough to address the Connecticut attorney general’s concerns?

Categories: Facebook

All Facebook - Tue, 26/07/2011 - 8:28pm

For every person who likes a page on Facebook, there are an average of 50 other friends who may be reached via advertising.

and Facebook, which examines how social media brand impressions reach fans and their friends throughout Facebook, as opposed to just on brands’ pages.

For brand marketers, the report has some valuable insights:

  • Measuring the reach of branded content is key to leveraging a presence on Facebook.
  • Understanding the relationship between friends of your fans is key to maximizing brand content on Facebook.

Additional findings follow below.

Facebook Dominates

Facebook has an an audience of approximately 160 million U.S. visitors each month and accounts for 90 percent of all time spent on social networking sites. (Source: comScore)

Facebook News Feed Rules

Users spend more than a quarter of their time on their Facebook newsfeed, which represents 4 percent of all time spent online in the U.S.  Users are 40-150 times more likely to consume branded content in the newsfeed than to visit a fan page.

It’s About Fans And Friends

Branded content among friends of fans significantly exceeded the reach among fans. While brand page fans are the easiest to reach, friends of fans typically represent a much larger set of consumers (on average 34 times larger for the top 100 brand pages).

How aware are you of how your friends know their friends?

Categories: Facebook

Windows Phone Mango released to manufacturing

The Next Web - Facebook-tagged - Tue, 26/07/2011 - 8:17pm

It is official at last: the Windows Phone Mango update has been released to manufacturing. That Mango has ‘gone RTM’ is not surprising, as a phone that employs the software is set to be unveiled in mere hours.

Phones designed for and running Mango have been rumored to go on sale in either August or September, with the earlier date becoming more likely as time goes along and new information in uncovered.

The Windows Phone blog outlined the current status of the code:

This marks the point in the development process where we hand code to our handset and mobile operator partners to optimize Mango for their specific phone and network configurations. Here on the Windows Phone team, we now turn to preparing for the update process. The Mango update for current Windows Phone handsets will be ready this fall, and of course will come pre-installed on new Windows Phones.

This explains what we already knew: Forthcoming handsets will have Mango installed from sale, while current phones are going to be forced through an extensive update process. With the previous Windows Phone 7 update, NoDo, there was a fiasco involved with getting the code to extant handset owners. Microsoft simply cannot afford a repeat performance.

As always, we invite you to read our hands on coverage of Mango. The software had been originally promised to be released before this year’s holiday season, a time frame that the company has handily complied with.

You can read the news of the first upcoming Mangoed handset here.

Categories: Facebook

Inside Facebook - Tue, 26/07/2011 - 8:07pm

BrightWhistle is a customer and patient acquisition platform that uses the Facebook Ads API and its own landing page optimization technology to lower acquisition costs for health care providers, as well as multi-location businesses. Currently a managed spend service, BrightWhistle has just raised $1.1 million seed round led by Hamilton Ventures to fund development of a licensable tool for marketing departments and their agencies.

BrightWhistle automatically generates special landing pages for every ad its clients run so those who click through immediately see relevant content that increases the likelihood of conversion.

Landing Page Optimization to Reduce Customer Acquisition Costs

Here’s how the company’s service works once BrightWhistle signs a health care provider client:

  1. Websites are created for each of the clients doctors, locations, or products to drive organic leads and search discoverability.
  2. Content pertaining to the client’s services such as blog posts from journalists and physicians is licensed and published to these sites.
  3. A client’s Facebook ads are loaded into BrightWhistle, which optimizes them around click through rate and other ad metrics.
  4. Landing pages incorporating the licensed content are automatically generated for each ad creative and targeting permutation.
  5. These landing pages are published where they’ll drive the highest conversion, either as a tab app on the client’s Facebook Page, or on their website.
  6. Potential customers see relevant ads, click through to a landing page of relevant content that qualifies the lead, and they fill out a form to use the client’s services.
This system can significantly reduce the cost of customer acquisition because ad clicks aren’t wasted by directing leads to one-size-fits-all landing pages that are irrelevant or located on sites that don’t facilitate conversion. Landing tab apps are focused on driving sales and immediate ROI rather than gaining Facebook fans for a client’s Page. BrightWhistle co-founder and CEO Greg Foster tells us, “Some people in the industry still think it’s just about Likes, just about brand building. I think that’s selling Facebook short on its potential to generate more customers and revenue. In February , Facebook began , paving the way for BrightWhistle’s automatic landing page optimization technology. TBG Digital, one of the largest Facebook Ads API partners, has also released a , but it only allows manual landing page creation. Managed Spend Service Available, Licensable Tool to Come

The 8-person BrightWhistle team is based in Atlanta. Its board will be joined by Jamie Hamilton, managing partner of Hamilton Ventures, Emerson Fann, managing partner of Eastside Partners which participated in the $1.1 million seed round, and former Disney and Weather Channel executive Paul Iaffaldano. BrightWhistle will use the seed round to hire for its development team so it can finish building its licensable tool. Its sales team will also be expanded to court more health care providers and agencies.

The company was approved in February to join the limited set of Facebook partners with access to the . BrightWhistle now manages hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in Facebook ad spend for several clients that pay 10 to 15% of total spend and a per-site per-month fee. It can also handle Google, Twitter, and LinkedIn marketing. Once the tool is finished, it will be licensed to agencies that will integrate the developer’s cut into what they charge clients. Eventually, BrightWhistle hopes to license its tool directly to health care providers as a software-as-a-service.

Over the past few months we’ve seen some , with , Vitrue partnering with TBG Digital, and other deals. When asked if he thought this consolidation would continue, Foster said “Absolutely. It feels like we’re maybe a year from companies with more sales or money in the bank starting to consolidate the ecosystem to build a more robust service.”

With an performance-boosting customer acquisition service that could be translated from health care providers to other verticals, BrightWhistle itself could become a target for partnership or purchase. Foster tells use “We aren’t stupid. We want to find the best outcome for us and our investors. We may be the acquirers, who knows. Right now we think we’re in the place (the Facebook Ads API) where there’s the highest willingness for clients to pay.”

Categories: Facebook

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