Digital Download 7-07-08


Some advertisers may believe the web (from online video to social networking) is the ideal playground for the young adult consumer but there has been emerging data that supports the theory that senior citizens are also internet savvy, if not more so, in this realm. According to the AARP and the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, 42% of American citizens over the age of 50 check the Web for news daily or several times a day, compared to just 18% of users under 20. Also, there’s a reported increase of this demographic using the Internet for fun and interaction. When it comes to social media, 70% of consumers age 50 and up said that their online community was "very" or "extremely" important to them. In contrast, just about half of all social network members under age 20 said the same. "Baby boomers are the most socially educated population ever," said Davis, a self-defined Boomer. "They may read the paper, or even go on the Web to get their information, but they're constantly networking with people to verify and expand their knowledge, and that's something we're seeing reflected in their activity on our site."


LG Mobile, Ford Motor Co. and Microsoft are a few of the big brands that are using hands-free marketing and advertising campaigns to encourage consumers to stop talking and texting while driving. Their promotions give away everything from free handsets to advice, and are aimed at driving good will during a time when lost jobs and rising fuel and foods costs are curbing personal budgets. LG Mobile gave away more than 1,000 LG Bluetooth headsets last Thursday at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Experts were on hand to help consumers pair headsets with mobile phones. LG reached out to wireless bloggers to build buzz for the promotion and sent wireless headsets to local TV and radio station traffic reporters. After July 1, Headsets.com will send consumers a free headset if they are cited for driving while talking or texting on a cell phone. A study released earlier this month from ABI Research estimates that 2.4 billion Bluetooth-enabled devices will ship worldwide by 2013. More than half are cellular handsets and a quarter are wireless headsets.


There was a lot of anger in the blogosphere last week over The Associated Press’s assertion that some blogs were infringing its copyright by publishing excerpts of its articles. Jim Kennedy, an Associated Press vice president, said that the news agency now feels its demand was heavy-handed and was rethinking its policies. The current seven blog posts in question emerged on the Drudge Retort and contained short excerpts of A.P. articles. Last week, the A.P. demanded that the Drudge Retort remove the posts because they violated its copyright. Mr. Kennedy now says the news agency plans to create new guidelines for how blogs can use its material, after discussions with representatives of blogging groups and others. Mr. Kennedy said the association hadn’t withdrawn its copyright complaint and even small parts of articles and headlines are valuable and should be protected. In reaction to what Mr. Kennedy said, Michael Arrington declared on TechCrunch: “So here’s our new policy on A.P. stories: they don’t exist.” Jeff Jarvis, on BuzzMachine, wrote: “Back off, A.P. Because we won’t.” More important, the A.P. could well offer bloggers a safe harbor to use its content under certain circumstances without asserting a claim that every use beyond that line is copyright infringement.


Behaviorally targeted advertising, which is expected to grow 60% by 2112, holds the promise of relevant advertising and greater revenues from ad inventory. But consumers are sensitive both to their behavior being tracked online and to the constant influx of marketing messages beamed at them. One way of directly addressing consumer concerns is by making ad targeting truly opt-in rather than opt-out. And for consumers to sign on, marketers will need to offer clear trade-offs, including access to valued media such as movies and prime TV shows, marketing messages that speak directly to the individual's current needs, and downloads and discounts.


The New York Times reports that social networks like MySpace and Facebook have helped Obama's campaign revolutionize the use of the Web as a campaign fundraising tool, as Obama raised more than two million donations of less than $200 each with the help of Chris Hughes who was one of the original founders of Facebook.

 The center of that movement has been My.BarackObama.com, an interactive community site for his supporters. As the candidate himself said in a statement, "One of my fundamental beliefs from my days as a community organizer is that real change comes from the bottom up, and there's no more powerful tool for grass-roots organizing than the Internet." Peter Daou, NY Senator Hillary Clinton's Internet director, recently described Obama's online reach as "amazing," adding that, "their use of social networks will guide the way for future campaigns." Learning from this case study, team Obama is now applying the same strategies to win the general election, but this time, The Times notes, they will need to expand beyond young, Internet-savvy supporters to reach the general public.


As print newspapers' classifieds ad sales drop, more money for auto, real estate, jobs, and garage sale ads grow online. Craigslist still remains at the top of online classifieds. Analysts who follow Web classifieds closely agree the space is in flux. Even Wal-Mart has gotten in the free listings game, and Microsoft recently shut down their version, Windows Live Expo. While most listings on Craigslist are free, the site charges for some real estate listings. "I think they have not known exactly how to position that product," said Sterling of Google. Now, the company seems to be focused on using it as a service for individuals, small businesses, and firms with large listings feeds such as Cars.com and CareerBuilder to post ads or upload data that can then be found on Google's main search site. While Craigslist clearly leads as a destination for all sorts of classifieds, from collectibles to casual encounters, some think a new entry could attract lots of users without necessarily competing with Craigslist. One of the primary reasons for Craigslist's success is its communal sensibility; regular users feel a connection to the site and its other visitors.


A federal judge has ordered Google to turn over information on YouTube users to Viacom as part of the media conglomerate's $1 billion copyright infringement suit against Google. The information will include the Internet protocol addresses and viewing history of YouTube visitors, raising concerns among privacy advocates that the information could be used to identify individual users. The two companies have both said they would take steps to prevent the information from being made public, and Viacom said it would not use the data to target individual users for copyright violation.


So I Was Way Off

Ok, I'll admit it. My prediction that Yahoo would eventually succumb to MSN's bid would have been a lousy bet to lose. I don't know if the news of the Google and Yahoo agreement (I like to call it Goohoo) is a good thing or bad thing. I just know Google always gets the best of both worlds. Today, Reuters posted an article saying that Microsoft won't be making other troublesome internet acquisitions anytime soon. This has to be the quote of the week from Chief Executive Steve Balmer: "People don't under understand what they're talking about. At the end of the day, this is about the ad platform. This is not about just any one of the applications". Right on, Steve. But it still looks like Microsoft is hanging on to position #3 behind Google and Yahoo. Better shape up or ship out!


Digital Download 6/16/08


Yahoo signed an agreement with Google just hours after its very last talk with MSN this past Thursday . With Yahoo’s finally farewell to negotiations with MSN, Google comes out on top (as usual) with the 10 year agreement that will have Yahoo serving its search ads on its portal. This means big bucks in the future for Google who could gain up to $1 billion from the ad pack. What does this mean for advertiser? The positives include a more convenient and manageable search campaign as well as access to a much larger search-ad inventory. The downsides include higher bidding prices, antitrust questions and one less option for marketers to choose another search provider.


Just in time for Father’s Day, the new beta social network for dads called Odadeo was announced last week. It’s currently in private beta mode and it serves to help patriarchs keep in touch with their children, get parenting tips from fellow dads, and build blogs about their kids with photo and video sharing capabilities. Stef Lewandowski is one of the service’s founders and believe Odadeo is a great social channel for parents, specifically fathers, to communicate and connect closer with their children as well as other families who may share the same interests and hobbies.


A new beta site called TravelMuse will sure to be plenty of competition for Travelocity, Expedia and TripAdvisor. It’s a new online portal that blends travel planning tools with quality editorial content topped off with a weekly theme or destination. TravelMuse is a one stop destination for reviews, trip planning and travel booking service. This site is perfect for those travelers who are not sure of where to go and like to see where others have enjoyed recent travels and what recommendations are popular. This goes for product purchases as well as global journeys. They present new feature destinations on a routine basis, plus the requisite tips, tricks, and specials like book reviews and ecotourist picks. In addition, TravelMuse users can transfer bookmarklets to their browsers to collect third-party data to keep in one cloud-based location. This option can prove very convenient if one’s itinerary becomes rather elaborate.


Plurk is another new microblogging site that has seen plenty of traffic in the past month due to Twitter’s constant problems and errors. Plurk offers a very similar service to Twitter, but throws in a curve ball with its horizontal timeline of updates, extended freedom of conversation, and “karma” points for avid users. It’s similarity to Twitter attracts Twitter users, it’s unique layout intrigues those who are looking for something “different,” and now, third party applications will promote widespread activity. The experience is similar to reading comments on FriendFeed, however, the layout of the site only creates unnecessary confusion. Regardless, many internet users (mostly Twitter fanatics) have visited Plurk enough to quadruple the site’s number of visits this month.


Welcome the new way to pass on your business card. Retaggr is a new site that lets you compile all your online activities into one interactive profile. The result is a virtual business card that acts as a widget wherever your name appears on blogs or other Retaggr-enabled sites. You can use Retaggr to let people see your photo, twitter status, a link to your blog, and links to other social sites like Facebook. You can add any web widget to your Profile Card including Gtalk, Flickr, Youtube, Tumblr and more. What’s great about Retaggr is that it acts as the ultimate business card 2.0 for internet users who want to let people know who they are on the web as well as expand their personal brand. Likewise, Retaggr works as an ideal tool for bloggers who want their community of readers to get to know each other and participate more frequently. Names now become links that expand the Profile Card widget and showcase each owner’s virtual information without ever having to leave the site. Plus, blogs and sites that use Retaggr also get the photo tagging functionality which is similar to Facebook and Flickr, but takes it further by letting you see the names and Profile Cards of people in a picture all at one time.


Digital Download 6/2/08


The IAB Leadership Forum on User-Generated Content & Social Media held in New York on June 2 included an intimate workshop with Jon Gibs, VP of Media Analytics of Nielsen Online and Jeffrey Graham, Executive Director, Customer Insights of The New York Times on the subject of quantifying brand influence in consumer-generated media, specifically in the social space. Using the previous NYTimes project as a case study, Neilsen’s BuzzMetric tool measured 70 million blogs, 6 billion comments and their corresponding sentiments and impact, 48 million inbound links and 19 million unique visitors from January to February in 2007. Statistics show NYT.com far exceeds brand influence level suggested by audience size. Findings also show the blogs that link to NYT business coverage are influential, independent and wealthy. The demographics reveal the average is male from ages 25-49, self employed and make around six figures in income.


A new research study done by an undisclosed European mobile service provider along with Dr. Marta C. Gonzalez and Cesar A. Hidalgo using sensitive location-tracking data from random cell phones in Europe has revealed interesting results of human behavior. The study shows that most people don’t go far away from their home, they frequent the same locations and they exhibit similar patterns whether they travel long or short distances. Researchers believe studies like these could help open new doors in disease tracking, urban planning or emergency planning. They also made sure to exclude and scramble any individual identifying information that could personally be misused. 100,000 randomly chosen cell phone users were tracked via calls, texts and cell tower proximity for the study.


According to the latest Hitwise report, MyYearbook.com is the third-largest and fastest growing social network in the U.S right now. MyYearbook was founded by two high school students and has grown over 426% over the past year in the market space. In contrast, Facebook and Myspace both have declined over the past six months in regards to growth. Still, the two social giants beat out MyYearbook with internet visits, 74% and 15% respectively. MyYearbook, however, wins over on site stickiness with an average time of 32:54 compared to Myspace’s 29:54 and Facebook’s 20:52.


Digital Download 5/27/08


BusinessWeek posted an article this morning in retrospect to its 2005 story "Blogs Will Change Your Business.” They’ve come to the self-realization that today’s business world is beyond blogs which are just one of the do-it-yourself tools out there on the net. Social connectors like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are changing the dynamics of companies around the world. Millions of companies are engaging with customers, befriending rivals and clicking through pictures of coworkers and friends. Top executives are playing the social field like Sun Microsystems’ CEO Jonathan I. Schwartz who has his own blog. IBM set up its own social network for employees, Beehive which boasts over 30,000 employees. A Dell employee who goes by “Ggroovin” tells BusinessWeek that Dell's service on Twitter has brought in half a million dollars of new orders in the past year. Some even use Twitter to find job potentials. "The new résumé is 140 characters," tweets 23-year-old Amanda Mooney, who just landed a job in PR. Major investors and corporations have been focused on the profit potential of social sites; they promise relationships in return of companies’ investments. Even MySpace is struggling to figure out the financials. And there's no guarantee that Web masses will stay loyal for the long haul. Sophisticated social metrics are still in the works and hopefully we’ll hit the jackpot while the space is hot.


Remember last week’s section on the evolving scandal over Starbucks’ resurrection of its old logo? Well, a recent post in Ad Age had reported the company’s attempt at a redesign in reaction to the controversy online buzz. Company executives first planned to release the old logo nationwide as part of its 35th anniversary but they limited its release to the Northwest. It didn’t matter because one Washington school district banned Starbucks coffee cups during the limited-time offer unless students concealed the mermaid’s breasts with a cup holder. The logo redesign has been recently under fire by a Christian organization with just 3,000 members whom took issue with what they saw as sexual connotations. Earlier this month, the group and its media-savvy leader got news outlets flocking for a piece of the action. "If you make a comment about the Starbucks logo, it goes all over the news. It's a fascinating phenomenon," said Mark Dice, a 30-year-old Wisconsin native who leads the Resistance Manifesto. The organization's home page lists the founder's many media appearances, including "The O'Reilly Factor," the London Telegraph and Pakistan's Daily Times. Mr. Dice said the response has been overwhelming. He said he's gotten his share of hate mail, but has also managed to expand his mailing list, and participation in his online forum is up. "We've made points on various issues but nothing has gotten the exposure of this," Mr. Dice said. "This one took off and went viral." Adding to the frustration at Starbucks is the widespread misperception that the logo change is permanent; the Pike Place cups will only be in circulation for a few more weeks.


Big changes for Facebook are planned to push out next month. The most important component reveals that user profiles on the service will evolve from the current and often cluttered page into four tabbed sub-pages highlighting the feed, info, photos and applications. Users will have more control over their feeds and what information their friends see about them. The info tab will contain all the data typically found on Facebook pages today like the user’s education and location. The photo tab will have a portfolio of images. Finally, programs created by third-party developers since last summer and installed by users are relegated to a fourth “application boxes” tab and will generally become less visible. But Facebook executives said there will be new opportunities for some developers who create the best applications to get their programs mentioned prominently on feed pages, and to entice users to create custom tabbed pages devoted to their programs. The changes come as Facebook aims to simplify its user pages in response to the criticism of it being a bit too visually chaotic as well as indications that its growth might be tailing off. According to a recent report from Nielsen Online, 22.4 million users visited Facebook in April, down from 24.9 million in March. Overall year-over-year growth slowed to 56% from last year’s 98% growth rate.

Palabea just announced today that it’s now open to the public after spending several months as a limited-access resource. Palabea is essentially a social networking site with the intentions of bringing different cultures and languages of the world together where people can interact while teaching and influencing each another. Everything here is a platform and everything is social. Users can upload most anything relevant to a modern learning experience such as documents, videos, podcasts and pictures. It even has a visually appealing layout that makes it fun for members of all ages. There’s even a place to hold virtual classrooms. Want to connect with particular site members? You can. Want to take your language learning to another level and consult with language specialists and schools? You can do that, too. Anyone is welcome from the casual and curious visitors to the serious pursuers. Palabea has also established partnerships with several companies, including Deutsche Welle, Cafe Babel, Babylon, and TANDEM Fundazioa. BBC Learning English will soon be adding resources as well.


Here’s something fun and halfway relevant: a Mashable article highlighted 13 online tools for beer lovers alike. A few listed sites include: AllAboutBeer.com which is based on the same-named magazine and hosts details on beer locators, guides and articles; Beer100.com which has info on home brewing, calorie counts of major brands and links to bar webcams; BeerInfo.us is a customized Google search engine bringing you all the info there is to know on beer; BeerSuggest.com helps you locate beer related events, rate and tag beers and breweries; Chugd.com is a social network for the beer drinkers who can create a profile, tag & rate beers and find beer related events and post photos from parties; Coastr.com is similar but let’s you review those places and give them a rating; and last but not least, Foamee.com, a Twitter tool to help you keep track of whom you recommend a beer or coffee to, and vice-versa.


Digital Download 5/19/08


A recent article written by Donald K. Wright, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, Professor of Public Relations, College of Communication, Boston University and Michelle D. Hinson, M.A.,Director of Development, Institute for Public Relations, University of Florida reports on a three-year-long international survey of public relations practitioners examining the impact blogs and other social media are having on public relations practice. Findings show these new media are dramatically changing public relations. Results indicate blogs and social media have enhanced what happens in public relations and that social media and traditional mainstream media complement each other. The study also finds the emergence of blogs and social media have changed the way their organizations communicate, especially to external audiences. It also reports blogs and social media have made communications more instantaneous by encouraging organizations to respond more quickly to criticism.


Brandtags.net is an interesting online tool that is a collective experiment in brand perception. All tags are generated by anonymous people and do not reflect the opinions of the site owner. The basic idea of this site is that a brand exists entirely in people's heads. Therefore, whatever it is they say a brand is, it is what it is. I found the comparison tags between The New York Times and Wall Street Journal very interesting (liberal vs conservative) as well as how many people say “Catherine” (aka Catherine Zeta Jones) for T-Mobile. Speaking of brand perception, what do you think about the hype around the new Starbucks logo?


Businessweek released an article today on where internet portals such as Google and Yahoo collide with social networks like Facebook and Myspace. Apparently just days after Google’s Friend Connect trial run began on May 12 (a new tool that would let Web sites add a host of new social networking features), Facebook "suspended" their access saying it violated privacy terms in its user agreement. Though Facebook says it has "reached out to Google several times about this issue" to work out a solution, the decision shadows the growing tensions and blurring lines between social networks and traditional web portals, both of which are angling to capitalize on the presumed advertising riches that will come from social media. For MySpace and Facebook, "all of this openness is a big gamble," says Debbie Williamson, an industry analyst at eMarketer. "It's a big gamble on who is going to control this user info and the bulk of the ad revenues”. Yet it's a wager both companies appear willing to make with their impressive revenue growth beginning to slow. If a site ceases to be a popular destination for users, it can still maintain a hold on them by bringing their valuable contact information and personal preferences to other sites—in the social network's branded package.


The Online Promoter Score, developed by researchers at Northwestern University is a new metric offered by MotiveQuest. The tool can correlated the relationship between marketing and online brand advocacy to sales by measuring the net frequency of people recommending a brand online. A 16-month test of the metric helped BMW discover the connection between online buzz and retail traffic and helped Mini revamp its media-relations philosophy. Since MotiveQuest launched in 2003, it has been gaining ground in the online brand-monitoring space populated by rivals such as Nielsen Buzzmetrics and Cymfony. MotiveQuest works with a list of marketers that includes Citibank and Nike in addition to BMW Mini. Mini and MotiveQuest collected data from nearly 30 million online conversations about the Mini brand and its competitors on blogs, social networks; and sites such as Yahoo Autos and MSN Autos from January 2006 until April 2007. Trudy Hardy, manager of Mini marketing, said the results prompted Mini to take a different approach to online partners and prominent bloggers. "We treat bloggers like press [now]," she said. "We'll invite them to test-drive cars first and have asked one to be the official podcaster of our events." While Ms. Hardy said the metric doesn't "tie back directly" to sales, it correlates web traffic and online conversations to actual retail traffic.


Today, the Google Blog announced the search giant will now be accepting third-party advertising tags on its content network in North America. This will empower advertisers to work with approved third parties to serve and track display ads, including rich media ads, across the Google content network through AdWords, giving them more options, flexibility and control over their campaigns. This will now enable advertisers and agencies the ability to serve ads and measure performance through these certified third parties: advertiser ad servers such as DoubleClick (DFA) and Mediaplex; rich media agencies like DoubleClick, Interpolls, PointRoll and Unicast; as well as research firms such as Dynamic Logic, IAG Research, InsightExpress and Factor TG. Advertisers and agencies will now be able to manage their Google content network campaigns with the same systems they use for other online campaigns, which is helpful for determining the effectiveness of their online advertising mix. For publishers on the network, this program offers a way to expand their advertiser base and enable advertisers to better understand the value of their inventory, with the goal of increasing their overall revenue.


Digital Download 5/12/08

Hope you guys had a great Mother's day weekend. Without further ado, here's this week's digital download.


An article in last week’s Forbes listed five exclusive social networking sites that were upcoming in the world of elitists. "It's taken a while for wealthy consumers to start using networking sites, mostly due to privacy issues and concerns," says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, a New York-based research company that focuses on high-net-worth individuals. "But now they want to leverage all those social-networking advantages.” The social networking sites listed were aSmallWorld, Diamond Lounge, Squa.re, Quintessentially and LuxuryRatings.com. Your membership depends on who you know and, in one case, how much you are willing to pay. An interesting finding reported by Luxury Institute was that Participation levels for the wealthy in leading social networks were 16% for MySpace, 13% for LinkedIn and 11% for Facebook.


Google is serious about mobile wireless broadband. So much so, it announced a $500 million contribution to the new Clearwire-Sprint WiMax business last week. Of course, Google has its own best interests in mind since this investment ensures that the resulting broadband network is as open as possible and accepts Android handsets and devices. Rumors say Google will most likely be the default search engine on devices connected to the network. Google hopes the network will expand advanced high speed wireless Internet access in the U.S, allow consumers to utilize any lawful applications, content and devices without blocking, degrading or impairing Internet traffic and engage in reasonable and competitively-neutral network management. These are exciting times prefacing a new wireless era!


Andrew (Andy) Sauter, also known as the author of smoexpert.com, shows us an example of how with only an hour of work on a Saturday morning, a zero dollar budget and a 56K modem, he made international news within 48 hours. The subject? A Clinton Obama gun mailer. Thanks to all the social channel players who made it possible: Flickr, Digg, Reddit, Technorati and YouTube; CNN and NewsWeek picked up the buzz and took a mundane negative mailer and made it an international sensation. A mailer, which was probably only meant to be viewed by maybe forty to fifty thousand people, reached millions on an international level. This is just one example out of millions of the power of social media optimization.


Coolspotters is a newly launched site that focuses on celebrities and the products they wear in various photos. It allows users to track stars, products, brands, TV shows, movies, places and events and encourages them to talk about and purchase those items shown. The idea of the site is to show connections between people and things. These connections are called “spots” (i.e. “I spotted that”), and show details on the item. If something is incorrect, users can change or remove it, and add new people and things. Coolspotters is the first collaborative site that gets users to do most of the work where it’s essentially a structured data wiki. The end result is a ton of highly structured, highly valuable information. Users can search, find and purchase related things all in one celebrity-filled hot spot.


Myspace decided to jump on the Twitter bandwagon and announced an added profile-sharing function (called Data Availability) which will enable users to update both profiles at the same time. The new service allows MySpace users to indicate whether they would like to make information in their MySpace profile visible on other sites such as eBay, Yahoo and Photobucket too. MySpace said it would like to expand it to other partners who might be interested as well. It seems Myspace is trying to become a social network aggregator itself and following the idea behind the likes of Digsby and Yoono. When asked on a conference call whether Facebook would eventually become involved in the program, MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe said "This project is open to any site out there that wants to work with us. We're happy to work with Facebook if they want to join up with us on this project."


Digital Download 5/5/08

Hope you all enjoyed the spectacular weather we had this weekend.
Here’s this week’s digital download and don’t forget to have a cerveza in honor of Cinco De Mayo!


For those who have been keeping up with the Microsoft/Yahoo saga, shocking news came last Saturday when Microsoft announced its bid withdrawal. Apparently Microsoft’s increased offer of $33 per share wasn’t good enough for Yahoo’s $37 per share minimum. Some experts have speculated that this is just another one of Microsoft's tactics to have Yahoo eventually come crawling back. Others say, Yahoo is now scrambling to make a deal with Google despite its weakened negotiation leverage. The backlash of the weekend news has Yahoo shares trading around $23 this morning which equates to about $14 billion that was left on the table. The progress of social and digital media is largely influenced upon Yahoo’s future.


According to a new cross-platform Internet measurement Nielsen report, Mobile Internet extends the audience reach of many leading Internet sites by an average of 13% over home PC traffic alone. The particular categories of weather and entertainment can have a greater, extended reach. Take AccuWeather.com for example: the site received a 43% audience lift from mobile Internet users. “The data demonstrate that the mobile Internet can not only increase the frequency of visits to a web site, but also grow the overall size of the pie,” said Jeff Herrmann, vice president of Mobile Media for Nielsen Mobile. “Publishers can now monetize their total cross-platform audience, and advertisers will better understand the efficiency and incremental value of mobile Web traffic.”


Bring back the spirit of the 80’s with that mixtape madness and make your own personalized compilations to share and compare your music taste. This time around, you can do it all online. Muxtape is a free service which allows any user to upload songs in order to create a sharable, online digital 'mix tape.' The mixes aren’t embeddable, but the links can be shared with anyone, and muxtapes are available for public access. The only downsides to this service are that users aren’t allowed to upload multiple songs from the same album, artist, or songs they don’t have permission to let Muxtape use. Are there legal issues involved? Kinda. In using muxtape’s service, you’re acknowledging that muxtape has permission to use the songs you upload. And, you can only create one muxtape.


Yoono, a social bookmarking tool which already boasts 1 million users, is coming out of private beta and offering only a few invites to the public. Yoono acts as a browser add-on that lets you chat and share items with friends instantly, offers recommendations as you browse the web and enables you to update your status across various networks and bookmark items. Yoono has a sophisticated capability that allows users to dig down into his or her friends’ content across networks and stream content. Yoono’s widget compiles all updates from Twitter, Facebook, Piczo, Flickr, and Friendfeed, and displays them in a scrollable list. The most useful is “Discoveries”, a widget that analyzes the pages you visit and presents a number of relevant tags and related sites, along with a list of Yoono users who share similar interests. “Web Notes” acts as a collaboration tool that lets you drag images, text, and video into the side bar for future reference or sharing with friends.


Today, the Associated Press launched location-targeted mobile news for the iPhone. Several big news corporations are on board with the new AP service that promises to deliver local news from participating member newspapers and national and international news which will be organized by zip code. AP’s global product development director, Jeffrey Litvack says the Mobile News Network would offer easier access to local news stories than Google or Yahoo’s mobile news services.


Wow, Microsoft Walks Away

I was blown away from yesterday's news of the status of Microsoft/Yahoo's bidding war. I have been predicting over the past few months that Yahoo would put aside its pride and see the benefits of a merge with Microsoft and succumb to its offer. Apparently, even after Microsoft raised its bid to $33 a share (which in itself was not was predicted) Yahoo's CEO Yang wouldn't accept less than $37. Come on, does $4/share make that much of a deal breaker? I guess it does enough for Yahoo to stubbornly hold ground and Microsoft to pout and withdraw its bid.

Some experts have speculated that this is just another one of Microsoft's tactics to have Yahoo eventually come crawling back. Others say, Yahoo is now scrambling to make a deal with Google despite its weakened negotiation leverage. The shareholders are fuming mad since most were more than happy to settle for Microsoft's $33/share offer. What is the fate of Yahoo? Whatever they decide to do, there's little chance they'll have the opportunity again to be in a respectful power of position as a major competitor.


This Week's Digital Download

Nokia Losing Hold On Teens

In a recent report of the Global Habbo Youth Survey 2008, Nokia has lost some of its popularity among teens to Samsung and Sony Ericsson since 2006 when Habbo conducted its last youth survey. The statistics also show 71% of teens are using their mobile phone as a portal mp3 player, 88% regularly communicate via SMS, 70% are using them to take photos and short videos, 64% play games and over a quarter surf the web on their mobile phones.

Your Mom Uses Myspace

Contrary to what most marketers have been saying about Myspace and the social network’s future and significance in the social space, the April 2008 comScore reports had some surprising results. 60% of the Facebook audience visits Myspace, 58% of YouTube and 39% of LinkedIn follow suit. An interesting fact found is while 60% of Facebook users visit Myspace, only 30% of the MySpace audience visits Facebook. Other findings show MySpace reaches 36% of all Moms 25+up online and they spend an average of 3.2 hours on the site and visit about 18 times each month.

Flickr Video Is Here!

Flickr Video officially launched April 8 and currently only Pro members can upload videos but everyone can view them. Flickr will only allow 150MB or smaller individual files (roughly 90 secs worth of video). You have the option to upload longer videos, but Flickr will only play it until the 90 sec mark before going back to the start. Pro users can upload as many as they like and now there’s an advanced search that lets you select which type of content you want.

Social Media Is a Customer Service Channel

Last week, the Society for New Communications Research released a new study on “Exploring the Link Between Customer Care and Brand Reputation in the Age of Social Media”. More than 300 consumers surveyed agreed that search engines are the most valuable online tools for this research. 81% believe that blogs, online rating systems and discussion forums can give consumers a greater voice regarding customer care and 59.1% of respondents use social media to “vent” about a customer care experience among other other findings. Dell and Amazon were cited as the top companies to utilize the online social spaces for customer care. One remarkable observation is the “growing group of highly desirable consumers using social media to research companies: 25- to 55-years old, college-educated, earning $100,000+ – a very powerful group in terms of buying behavior,” said Dr. Ganim Nora Barnes, senior fellow, Society for New Communications Research. “This research should serve as a wake-up call to companies: listen, respond, and improve.”