Thursday, 2 June 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “FaceNiff Makes it Easy to Hack Facebook From Android Smartphones”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “FaceNiff Makes it Easy to Hack Facebook From Android Smartphones”

FaceNiff Makes it Easy to Hack Facebook From Android Smartphones

Posted: 02 Jun 2011 01:26 AM PDT

FaceNiff is an Android application that lets users sniff and intercept web session profiles over Wi-Fi networks, stealing other users’ credentials from services such as Facebook, Twitter and others.

The app requires root access on the user’s Android smartphone, but other than that it’s fairly simple to use, which makes it perhaps even more dangerous than Firesheep, a Firefox extension that lets users hijack Facebook and Twitter sessions over Wi-Fi networks. FaceNiff also works on WPA-encrypted Wi-Fi networks, which Firesheep doesn’t support.

While we’re not suggesting that any of our readers should use the app to hack someone’s account (it might even be illegal depending where you live), the sheer fact that such an app exists and is very easy to use means that you should be extra cautious when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.

Recently, we wrote about the necessity of using HTTPS, which offers a fair degree of protection against attacks such as those from FaceNiff and FireSheep. If you still haven’t switched to HTTPS connection on all your favorite web services which support it (both Facebook and Twitter have the option), we recommend you do so right now.

Besides Facebook and Twitter, the latest version of FaceNiff also works with YouTube, Amazon and Polish social network Nasza-Klasa.

[FaceNiff via Engadget]

More About: android, facebook, FaceNiff, hack, hacking, smartphone, wi-fi, Wireless

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Pete Cashmore Talks Google, Nokia & Mashable Follow on Bloomberg [VIDEO]

Posted: 02 Jun 2011 12:00 AM PDT

Mashable‘s Pete Cashmore paid a visit to Bloomberg’s studios this week to discuss the big buzz in tech.

In this five minute interview, Cashmore chats about Nokia’s freefalling sales, Google’s failed attempts at social, the search giant’s Groupon competitor and the new Twitter Follow button. Cashmore makes it clear that Google is a big fan of Twitter, even while Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt calls Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon the tech world’s “Gang of Four.”

Cashmore ended the interview with the announcement that Mashable Follow now has 100,000 users. Mashable has also announced the addition of Robyn Peterson as SVP Product.

Check out Pete’s interview and let us know how you think he did in the comments below.

More About: Bloomberg, mashable, pete cashmore, social media

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Should You Build That Website You’ve Been Talking About? [FLOWCHART]

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 10:30 PM PDT

So you’ve got a great idea for a website. That makes you and about 17 bajillion others.

When it comes to committing to building a site or app, there are a ton of factors to take into consideration. Even if you have a killer idea or two, you still need skills, chops, and a web-savvy posse to help you execute and promote your site.

Here’s a handy flowchart from creative marketplace Vitamin Talent to help you decide whether it’s time to build an awesome website, time to go back to school, time to hire a dev or two, or time to go back to the drawing board.

If this flowchart is really lighting a fire under your most recent website idea, you can also check out our lists of resources for devs and web designers and free sites for learning how to code.

Click image to see larger version.

[Source: Vitamin Talent]

More About: development, flowchart, infographic, web design

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Snooth Turns Wine Discovery Into a Social Game

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 09:57 PM PDT

Snooth, the world’s largest wine site, continues to lead tech innovation within the wine industry. On Wednesday, the company added a social layer called Wine Rack to its site, enabling users to better discover and learn about new wines.

Wine Rack uses gaming mechanics to encourage users to discover and taste more wines, rewarding them with trophies to show their wine experience and knowledge. Through wine tutorials and tasting flights, the feature helps users build wine comprehension while enabling them to better interact with others in the Snooth community and earn virtual souvenirs for their achievements.

Wine Rack is an innovation preceded by other successful launches by Gramercy Labs, the lifestyle-focused startup collective founded by Philip James and Kevin Fortuna. Last year, it launched the Snooth Wine Pro iPhone app, which uses image recognition to help users find and purchase wines, among other features. Late last year, the company also founded Lot18, a private sale site for wine and epicurean products that is revolutionizing the way wine is distributed. Founder Philip James recently told Business Insider that Lot18 is generating seven figures in sales every month. Not too shabby for a startup that has only been around for the better half of a year.

We spoke with CTO and co-founder Mark Angelillo for a first look at Wine Rack. He explained that the initial idea behind Wine Rack was “to give users a better idea of how they were learning and growing with wine, how they were getting interested in the product and how they were progressing through playing with wine data.”

Angelillo and his team (which includes himself, another engineer and a designer) put extensive research into the product, consulting with social gaming experts at Foursquare, Zynga and Badgeville; reading papers on gaming theory; and discussing the app’s functionality and features with wine specialists, including Snooth Editor Gregory Dal Piaz.

Check out Wine Rack’s features in the gallery below, and, in the comments below, let us know your thoughts on the service and if you’d use it.

Discover, Taste, Win

Snooth's new social layer, Wine Rack, uses gaming mechanics to encourage users to discover and taste more wines. Users are rewarded with virtual trophies to show their wine experience and knowledge.

The app lives on Snooth's website, but Angelillo's team plans to make it more mobile-compatible in the future.

Learning about Wines with the Library

The Wine Rack Library features a growing number of educational units that aim to help users increase their knowledge of wines.

The units are created by Snooth Editor Gregory Dal Piaz and lead users through the process of learning about wine. Users are encouraged to read the article and then complete the quiz to win the corresponding trophy.

All Wines View

The "All Wines" page enables a user to see all wines that he or she has interacted with on Snooth. Interactions with wines include rating, reviewing, saving, adding them to the wishlist, and storing them in the virtual cellar.

Cellar Management with Cellar View

For more detail-oriented wine collectors, Snooth is releasing the Cellar view, which enables users to track their personal cellars. Users can manage details such as the wine's name, notes, value and size, as well as noting how many bottles he or she has of it.

Building a Wine Wishlist

Users can build a wishlist of wines that can be viewed as a gallery or in an Excel-style format, as with Cellar view. In the future, Snooth will include pricing data in the wishlist to help users with purchasing decisions.

Learning about Wines with Flights

Users interested in strengthening their wine knowledge will enjoy the Flights section on Wine Rack. A "tasting flight" is a term used in the wine industry to discuss a selection of wines grouped together for tasting and comparing.

For example, the "Earn Your Colors" flight challenges users to taste through one red, one white and one rosé wine in order to earn the trophy.

Adding Wines to a Flight

To learn more about the details of a flight, users can click on each wine type within the flight, upon which a pop-up window appears, explaining what types of wines qualify. Users can then search Snooth to add wines to their flights. Or, if they have already reviewed a qualifying wine, the app identifies and notes it.

In-Depth Flight Page

Each flight has its own page dedicated to explaining how a user can complete it. A user's progress is indicated, and once he or she completes the flight, the date is noted. Users can see which people from their network have completed the flight, are "almost there" or are "working on it." Users can also see data from the entire Snooth community about how many (and which) users have completed a particular flight, along with the number of users within the community who have completed it.

Trophies Page

Users can earn two types of trophies with Wine Rack: Flight trophies and Snooth trophies. Flight trophies are unlocked when a user completes a flight. Snooth trophies are based on interactions within the community and include activities such as reviewing wines from certain regions and tasting a particular number or type of wines. All trophies are showcased within the Trophies page.

Brand trophies are also available for wine companies interested in engaging the Snooth community. Today Wine Rack launches with its first partner, Terlato Wines International, which is offering a limited edition trophy for users that read an article about one of its wine brands, Seven Daughters, and complete its related quiz in the Library section of the app.

Learning About Trophies

Each trophy has its own page dedicated to explaining how a user can earn it. For example, the "Sampler" trophy is unlocked by reviewing 5 wines. The trophy page also shows details about who has unlocked the trophy within a user's network and the entire community.

Stats Page

For those interested in data, the Stats page gives a quick overview of a user's interactions and portfolio on Snooth, including details such as trophies earned, total number of wine ratings and reviews and number of wines cellared.

Wine Rack Contest

In honor of its launch of Wine Rack, Snooth is hosting a contest on Twitter to give away $300 in wine accessories. Tweeters must follow @Snooth on Twitter, and include the hashtag #snoothwinerack and the link in their tweet to enter.

The New Social Profile Page

In its move to make the site more engaging, Snooth also redesigned its member profile pages and launched the "Taste Button." The Taste Button is located across the site, and most notably on the user's profile page, and enables users to quickly note which wines they are tasting at the moment.

The Taste Button

The Taste Button mimics Facebook and Twitter in its simplicity, asking the question, "What are you tasting?" When a user inputs information, the outcome is a status update on his or her profile. The tasted wine is placed in the users Wine Rack and if a trophy is unlocked, a message will appear.

When a user is visiting another user's profile page, the Taste Button asks, "What should [User's Name] taste?" This gives users the ability to easily recommend wines to one another.

Social Login Options

A user may log in to Wine Rack using their Snooth account, Facebook or Twitter.

More About: drinks, Food And Drink, snooth, wine, Wine Rack

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“The Last True Hacker” Now Selling Signed Books

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 09:56 PM PDT

The Free Software Foundation is has launched second editions of two landmark publications by Richard Stallman, a.k.a. rms, “the last true hacker.”

The volumes, Free as in Freedom 2.0 and Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman, 2nd Edition are both now available from the FSF store as free downloadable PDFs and as signed copies. Signed hard copies cost $50 each.

And while you’re shopping, you can also pick up a stuffed baby gnu, the FSF mascot, for $25.

The free-software activist launched the GNU Project in 1983 to create a free Unix-like operating system. He also founded the Free Software Foundation in 1985. The Linux kernel was built on and still supports GNU Project components that came before it and laid the foundation for open-source operating systems.

Stallman is also the main author of several copyleft licenses, including the GNU General Public License, the most widely used free software license.

Stallman’s life work revolves around freedom, by which he means four things:

  1. The software should be freely accessible.
  2. The software should be free to modify.
  3. The software should be free to share with others.
  4. The software should be free to change and redistribute copies of the changed software.

These principles underlie and inform the free and open-source software movement, and they also are used in many of the arguments for Creative Commons licensing for art and music.

image courtesy of Flickr, jolieodell

More About: foss, free software, free software foundation, fsf, hackers, open source, rms, Stallman

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Start a Career in Social Media, Online Marketing or Web Design

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 09:24 PM PDT

If you’re seeking a job in social media, we’d like to help out. For starters, Mashable‘s Job Lists section gathers together all of our resource lists, how-tos and expert guides to help you get hired. In particular, you might want to see our articles on How to Leverage Social Media for Career Success and How to Find a Job on Twitter.

But we’d like to help in a more direct way, too. Mashable‘s job boards are a place for socially savvy companies to find people like you. This week and every week, Mashable features its coveted job board listings for a variety of positions in the web, social media space and beyond. Have a look at what's good and new on our job boards:

Mashable Job Postings

Business Development Coordinator at Mashable in New York, NY.

Executive Assistant at Mashable in New York, NY.

Community Assistant at Mashable in New York, NY.

Community Director at Mashable in New York, NY.

Community Intern at Mashable in New York, NY.

Editorial Intern at Mashable in New York, NY.

Tech Reporter at Mashable in San Francisco, CA.

Regional Sales Director at Mashable in San Francisco, CA.

Campaign Specialist at Mashable in New York, NY.

Mashable Job Board Listings

Lead Developer at SSENSE in Montreal, Canada.

Program Officer, Health Communication & Media Partnerships at Kaiser Family Foundation in Menlo Park, CA.

Mobile Web Developer – Frontend at The Washington Post in Washington, D.C.

Social Media Marketing Manager at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, CA.

UI/UX Designer at EMI Music in New York, NY.

Technical Project Manager at EMI Music in New York, NY.

Director at Public Affairs, MTV in New York, NY.

Marketing Analytics Specialist at Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York, NY.

Designer at 8thBridge in Minneapolis, MN.

Web Developer at 8thBridge in Minneapolis, MN.

UI Designer/Mid-Level Web Designer at Quirky in New York, NY.

Ecommerce Director at Mental Floss Inc in New York, NY.

Web Developer and Programmer at MCN in Miami Beach, FL.

Front-End Developer at charity:water in New York, NY.

Senior Analyst at Best Buy in Minneapolis, MN.

Web Developer at Kiplinger Washington Editors in Washington, D.C.

Digital Producer at On Ideas, Inc in Jacksonville, FL.

Publisher at Haute Living in New York, NY.

Manager, Online and Social Media Marketing at Crowd Science in Mountain View, CA.

Technical Director Interactive Marketing at .Com Marketing in Winter Park, FL.

Audience Development Coordinator at PCWorld|MacWorld in San Francisco, CA.

Associate Director, Social Media at Attention in New York, NY.

Senior Paid Search Engine Manager at Acquinity Interactive in Deerfield Beach, FL.

Lead Social Media Strategist at Moroch in Dallas, TX.

Web Developer (PHP, HTML, CSS) at iFuel Interactive in New York, NY.

Web Developer (PHP, HTML, CSS) at iFuel Interactive in Tarrytown, NY.

Game Metrics Analyst at ToonUps in Wayne, PA.

Director of Digital Marketing at Buddy Media in New York, NY.

Manager, Recruiting at Buddy Media in New York, NY.

Lead Engineer, Value Added Services at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

Javascript Engineer at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

Director of Human Resources at Buddy Media in New York, NY.

Project Manager at All Things Media in Ramsey, NJ.

Senior Manager, Social Media and ePR at LBi US in New York, NY.

Director, Digital and Social Strategy at Bernard Hodes Group in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Quality Engineer at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

Director of Product Management, Mobile Products at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

Marketing Director at INDG in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

JavaScript Engineer at Meebo, Inc in Mountain View, CA.

Senior Account Director at M80 in New York, NY.

Senior Software Developer at charity: water in New York, NY.

Interactive Producer at Imagination Publishing in Chicago, IL.

Director of Customer Marketing at A Confidential eCommerce Company in New York, NY.

Marketing Communications Specialist at A Confidential Company in Atlanta, GA.

Director, Email Marketing at The Washington Post in Washington, D.C.

Senior Account Director, Social Media at New Media Strategies in Arlington, VA.

Design Director at The Onion in Chicago, IL.

Digital Account Manager at American Express Publishing in New York, NY.

Ruby Developer at American Express Publishing in New York, NY.

Chief Technology Officer at Downtown Music LLC in New York, NY.

Lead Developer at American Express Publishing in New York, NY.

Marketing Manager, Audience Development at American Express Publishing in New York, NY.

Marketing Director at Dailymotion in New York, NY.

Traffic Manager at Dailymotion in New York, NY.

Account Director at David All Group in Washington, DC.

VP/Group Director, Digital Marketing at Digitas in Boston, MA.

Director, Product Development at MTV Networks in New York, NY.

Junior Associate at Post+Beam in New York, NY.

Sr. Producer, Ad Sales Production and Integrated Marketing at LOGO in New York, NY.

Associate Editor at Everyday Health in New York, NY.

Mashable‘s Job Board has a variety of web 2.0, application development, business development and social networking job opportunities available. Check them out here.

Find a Web 2.0 Job with Mashable

Got a job posting to share with our readers? Post a job to Mashable today ($99 for a 30 day listing) and get it highlighted every week on (in addition to exposure all day every day in the Mashable marketplace).

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, YinYang

More About: jobs

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Startup Publisher Gives Readers Control Over What Books Get Printed

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 08:28 PM PDT

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

readName: Unbound

Quick Pitch: Unbound crowdsources funding for books.

Genius Idea: Ending the hunt for the next bestseller and the innovation bottleneck that comes with it.

The book publishing industry, says Unbound co-founder Dan Kieran, is broken.

“Publishers spend huge amounts to secure potential bestsellers, but only a very small number of those work out,” he says.

In the quest for the next big seller, authors who are known for one kind of book are encouraged to continue publishing that kind of book. Covers are designed to be eye-catching rather than beautiful. And innovative ideas that haven’t yet proven themselves as sellers can get left in the dust.

Kieran and his two co-founders, who are all authors and/or publishers, decided to rethink publishing in a way that shifts its focus from what might sell onto what readers have already declared they will read. Unbound, which launched on Sunday, allows authors to pitch their ideas directly to readers instead of editors. If enough readers support it — usually between 1,500 and 5,000 — the book will be published. If not, they get their money back.

Readers can pledge their support in different denominations. At the first level, they’ll receive an ebook edition of the book if it is published. At the most expensive, they’ll receive two invites to the launch party, lunch with the author, two signed first editions of the book and two ebook editions.

All supporters get their names printed in the back of the book and access to the author’s “shed,” where they can read updates about the book’s progress, draft chapters and other extras.

So far the platform only has five book proposals listed on it. Former Monty Python team member Terry Jones has pitched a comic book of “cautionary fables” involving machines and novelist Tibor Fischer has pitched two stories. Less than a week in, none of the proposals are anywhere close to gathering enough support to publish. Jones and Fischer have had the most success, each achieving 2% of their goals.

All of the proposals are from somewhat established authors with fan bases that have provided much of the support. Eventually, however, the platform hopes to be more like Kickstarter, which allows anyone to post a project for potential crowdfunding. But then why don’t authors just take advantage of Kickstarter’s already established user base and put their book pitches there?

Kieran says that Unbound provides all of the editing and distribution services of a publishing house, which the more broadly focused Kickstarter obviously doesn’t. That makes forking over 50% of book profits — much less than Kickstarter project leaders take home (95%), but much more than the typical publishing house pays its writers (about 7% to 15%) — worth signing up for. That, and the creative freedom that advance sales create.

“The difference is that because the books have already been sold, it gives an opportunity to change the way they’re made,” Kieran says.

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

More About: bizspark, books, publishing, startups, unbound

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Top 25 Most Shared Mashable Stories in May

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 07:40 PM PDT

icons image

The news cycle in May got off to a fast start as social networks were abuzz on May 1 with speculation and subsequent confirmation of terrorist Osama bin Laden’s death.

The month ended on a lighter note with such stories as Twitter launching a Follow button for websites, which is the freshest post to make our list of top 25 most shared stories.

You — our engaged readers — not only absorbed the aforementioned two stories and everything in between, but you also shared them in droves with your friends across social sites. Some of you also joined our social sharing and content curation platform called Mashable Follow, which now has more than 100,000 users, and used the M Share button to keep your online network in the know.

Based on figures from the M Share button, the following 25 stories got the most love, with number one receiving more than 42,500 combined shares on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Google Buzz.

Thanks for reading and sharing our content. We look forward to seeing which stories you share in June!

Most Shared Stories: 25 to 21

25. Chinese Prisoners Forced To Farm Gold in Online Games

24. Google Reveals Mobile Payment System: Google Wallet

23. 17 Twitter Tips from Mashable Connect Attendees

22. Altered Martin Luther King Jr. Quote Goes Viral After Osama Bin Laden's Death

21. You Can Now Tag Pages in Facebook Photos

Most Shared Stories: 20 to 16

20. Is There a Social Media Tech Bubble? [INFOGRAPHIC]

19. Julian Assange: Facebook Is a Spy Machine [VIDEO]

18. One Twitter User Reports Live From Osama Bin Laden Raid

17. Top 5 Foursquare Mistakes Committed by Small Businesses

16. 8 Brands That Have Found Success on Facebook & What We Can Learn

Most Shared Stories: 15 to 11

15. Money-Shredding Alarm Clock Is Completely Unforgiving [PICS]

14. Apple Now World's Most Valuable Brand [STUDY]

13. 10 Historic Tweets That Captivated the World

12. The Eating Habits of Conservatives Versus Liberals [INFOGRAPHIC]

11. Twitter Launches Follow Button for Websites

Most Shared Stories: 10 to 6

10. President Obama Delivers Statement on Death of Osama Bin Laden [VIDEO]

9. Elaborate Marriage Proposal Delights Bride-To-Be [VIRAL VIDEO]

8. Starbucks & Lady Gaga Team Up On Scavenger Hunt

7. Facebook To Buy Skype? [REPORT]

6. Space Shuttle Twitpic Launches Woman to Tweeting Fame

Most Shared Stories: 5 to 1

5. Facebook Dislike Button Scam Gets More Sophisticated [WARNING]

4. Microsoft Acquires Skype for $8.5 Billion

3. It's Happening: Top 10 Rapture Bomb Pics

2. Which TV Shows Are the Most Social? [STATS]

1. Just How Dangerous Is Sitting All Day? [INFOGRAPHIC]

More About: barack obama, facebook, foursquare, google wallet, mashable connect, microsoft, osama bin laden, Skype, twitter, wikileaks

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Why Flip Video’s Inventor Is Starting a High-Tech Grilled Cheese Empire

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 07:04 PM PDT

What would you do after Cisco killed your beloved product? For Jonathan Kaplan, the inventor of the Flip video camera, the answer was simple: start a venture-backed nationwide chain of grilled cheese sandwich joints.

That may sound like Kaplan has lost his marbles, but bear with us. Kaplan’s genius, as shown in the highly popular Flip, is creating super-easy, mass-produced technology. With his new business, The Melt, he’s done that twice over. Buy a grilled cheese on your smartphone, and you get a QR code to swipe in store when you arrive. The back-end software ensures that you get a piping hot grilled cheese in your hands within 60 seconds of checking in.

Kaplan has also invested a lot of effort on making his grilled cheese hardware easy and effective. He tapped European appliance giant Electrolux to create a brand-new grill with a built-in microwave. It nukes the cheese for 15 seconds, then toasts the bread for another 30 seconds. We can confirm that the resulting sandwiches, doing the rounds here at the D9 conference, were uniformly tasty.

Win or lose, you can’t deny that Kaplan has put a lot of thought into this scheme. He found a breadmaker in Chicago whose bread was kneaded in such a way that it created air bubbles for the cheese to fill. He’s pairing different kinds of bread with different kinds of cheese, as well as simple but tasty soups (The Melt’s only other sale item, apart from Crackerjacks). Sandwiches will go for $5 apiece, or $8 with soup.

“We’re selling nostalgia and happiness,” Kaplan told Mashable. “Grilled cheese makes people happy.”

Evidently, his backers at Sequoia Capital agreed. Kaplan won’t say how much funding he received, but he plans to start more than 500 Melt locations in the next four years. Each store will cost between $500,000 and $1 million. You do the math.

Famed VC Michael Moritz is sitting on the board, as is Apple retail head Ron Johnson, and the first handful of stores will open in San Francisco in August. Some will stay open as late as 2 a.m., a big deal in a town that largely shuts down at 10 p.m.

Another reason the whole Melt concept might work out better than expected? One word: calories. Put a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of soup next to just about any other fast food option, and it’s going to look like a plate of greens. Chipotle may be able to offer you online ordering (and Chipotle, by the way, is a $9 billion business), but good luck working off the 500-odd extra calories a burrito is going to give you compared to the Melt’s offerings.

Are you buying it? Is America ready for high-tech grilled cheese? Let us know in the comments.

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Twitter Attempts to Personalize 1.6 Billion Search Queries Per Day

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 06:24 PM PDT

Twitter is rolling out a new search experience, its most ostentatious addition being photo and video results. Perhaps more notable, however, is that the product is a ground-up rewrite of the entire search infrastructure.

Twitter’s search engineering team describes the evolution of the search product and also shares some staggering Twitter search figures in a blog post on the release.

Twitter search is serving an average of 1.6 billion queries per day as of April of this year. That figure represents 18,000 queries per second and marks substantial growth in users’ search activity since Twitter’s acquisition of the search tool Summize in 2008. Back then, it was processing an average of just 200 queries per second.

To scale to meet this demand, Twitter has made big changes. The rewrite, first started in spring 2010, involved a new realtime search engine and, most recently, a switch to a Java server called Blender for three times faster search.

Early in the process, search engineers used Twitter’s first internal hackathon to build a prototype of image and video search. The project was so well-received by the company it went into production.

But in revamping the search experience with image and video search, Twitter also felt the need to not just return results matching keyword queries but to show search results with relevance to the searcher, essentially personalizing the search experience.

“Often, users are interested in only the most memorable Tweets or those that other users engage with,” the company writes. “In our new search experience, we show search results that are most relevant to a particular user. So search results are personalized, and we filter out the Tweets that do not resonate with other users.”

To do so, Twitter’s search index now incorporates static information on tweets such as language and text, dynamic information such as users’ interactions with tweets, and information about the searcher. “Our ranking function accesses the social graph and uses knowledge about the relationship between the searcher and the author of a Tweet during ranking,” the company explains.

Twitter, which also now removes duplicates in search, promises to extend the personal relevance search features to mobile. “In the coming months, we will improve quality, scale our infrastructure, expand our indexes, and bring relevance to mobile.”

Twitter now sees upwards of 2,200 tweets per second.

More About: image search, twitter, Twitter Search

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Chinese Hackers Targeted U.S. Officials in Gmail Phishing Attack

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 05:42 PM PDT

Google has revealed that U.S. government officials and Chinese activists were the targets of a recent Gmail phishing attack that originated from China.

“Through the strength of our cloud-based security and abuse detection systems, we recently uncovered a campaign to collect user passwords, likely through phishing,” Google engineering director Eric Grosse said on the company’s blog. “This campaign, which appears to originate from Jinan, China, affected what seem to be the personal Gmail accounts of hundreds of users including, among others, senior U.S. government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries (predominantly South Korea), military personnel and journalists.”

Google said that the attack was focused on monitoring the content of the targeted users by secretly forwarding emails from compromised accounts. The attack is reminiscent of last year’s famous Google security breach instigated by Chinese hackers.

“Google detected and has disrupted this campaign to take users' passwords and monitor their emails,” Grosse added. “We have notified victims and secured their accounts.” The search giant is now encouraging users to activate a two-step verification process to prevent unauthorized access from new computers.

This is at least the second attack targeting Google accounts by Chinese hackers. The first time it occurred, Google nearly pulled out of China and caused a firestorm of controversy by refusing to censor its search engine. This time, Google tried to bury the lede and not turn this into another Google vs. China fiasco. Perhaps that’s the wiser move: after all, people are fooled by phishing scams all the time, even senior U.S. officials.

Image courtesy of Flickr, sinkdd

More About: china, Google, security

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Microsoft Offers First Sneak Peek of Windows 8 [VIDEO]

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 05:16 PM PDT

Tired of all those Windows 7 ads? You may or may not be glad to know Microsoft just started demonstrating public prototypes of its successor, tentatively (but not definitively) called Windows 8.

Windows President Steven Sinofsky gave the first live demo of Windows 8 here at the D9 conference in southern California. At first blush, it seems like the most radical overhaul of the aging OS in its nearly 30-year history. Designed to be as usable on a touchscreen as on a traditional desktop device, it borrows much of the look and feel of Windows Phone 7. (Indeed, the phone team at Redmond was heavily involved in Windows 8′s design.)

“What we tried to do with Windows 8 was reimagine what we want to do with a PC,” Sinofsky said. “We colored outside the lines.”

The homescreen has become a series of tiles, each leading to their own app — just as in Windows Phone 7. The tiles can be customized. One of those tiles leads directly to a more traditional Windows desktop. Another is marked “Store,” suggesting that Microsoft is going to follow Apple down the road of putting an App Store on the desktop (although Sinofsky didn’t confirm that).

A demo by Microsoft VP Julie Larson-Green, which she writes about here, included a number of apps running at once. The apps could be switched by swiping from the left corner, and could also be dragged on the same screen in any combination. Swiping from the right brought up a menu bar.

Sinofsky was at pains to point out that despite the unusual look and feel, this was still the same OS at root. “Everything that runs on Windows 7, every peripheral, will run on this,” he said. He wouldn’t say when the launch date was, beyond confirming that it would be 2012 at the earliest.

Here is a video Microsoft just released, walking us through Windows 8. What do you think of the new OS? Is it more than a fancy coat of paint? Let us know in the comments.

More About: microsoft, touchscreen, Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, windows phone 7

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How Twitter Works as a Q&A App [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 04:29 PM PDT

If you think about it, Twitter actually serves as one of the most widely used and engaging Q&A apps.

Around 3 million questions are asked on Twitter each month, and the questions range from tech support and product recommendation requests to job and relationship advice, as well as pleas for new music.

And the more followers you have, the more likely you are to ask them questions publicly. People with fewer followers tend to send questions via direct messages. But around 20-30% of asked questions never get answered.

The below infographic from Q&A service InboxQ contains tons of fun — and valuable — facts about how Twitter is being used by average folks and businesses to ask and answer questions.

Twitter, like many modern social media tools, can be just about anything you want to make it. Do you often use Twitter as a Q&A platform?

Click image to see larger version.

[Source: InboxQ]

More About: infographic, q&a, twitter

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7 Ways to Build a Business Around WordPress

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 03:54 PM PDT

wordpress image

Brian Casel is a web designer and business owner who works with WordPress every day. He's the co-host of Freelance Jam, a live web show for freelance web designers. Connect with Brian on Twitter @CasJam.

It's no secret that WordPress is the fastest growing content management system (CMS) platform on the web. As of this writing, WordPress has a 54% market share of all websites that use a CMS. As users continue to flock to WordPress, we in turn see massive demand for WordPress’ products and services.

If you're a WordPress expert, your products and/or services are part of a rapidly growing market. In fact, over the past few years, we've seen the launch and success of businesses that are built entirely around WordPress.

In this article, we'll look at various business models that have proved successful in the ever expanding WordPress arena. We'll look at the mechanics of each model and how they differ in terms of craft, operation, benefits and downsides. If you're a designer or developer looking to leverage your expertise in WordPress to build a business, let's just say you have quite a few options to consider.

1. WordPress Design/Development Consultancy

The most common way for a web designer/developer to build a business around WordPress is to offer web design services specializing in WordPress CMS sites. Your client base would be businesses, organizations and individuals looking to establish a web presence with a user-friendly way to update and manage their site content.

Like any consultancy, this business model is time-based. Either you charge an hourly rate or quote flat project fees that are derived by estimating the amount of time a project will take. While a time-based model may be more difficult to scale, there are two factors that allow you to gradually raise your rates: your skill level and the demand for your services. Both should improve naturally as your consultancy progresses.

Plus, the fact that you use WordPress speeds up your development process by providing amazing base functionality, a strong community to support your craft, and a user-friendly platform to build on top of. Using WordPress is a highly efficient way to capitalize on your time-based business model.

There is a vast abundance of WordPress consultancies out there. CodePoet maintains a worldwide directory of WordPress specialists. FreelanceSwitch is always a good place to find freelancers as well.

WordPress Theme Customization

WordPress themes have become wildly popular among both users and web developers. One of the most common requests from clients is to have their WordPress theme customized to fully suit their needs. Freelance web designers who are just starting out may find this to be a great market to serve.

You might specialize in customizing themes from one particular theme provider. For example, WooThemes has a listing of "Affiliated Woo Workers." Or theme customizations may fall into the general mix of WordPress services you offer. We've also seen specialized shops like TweakMyTheme that exclusively offer theme customization services.


If your skills are more specialized, you may find steady work as a subcontractor for agencies and other consultants. For example, if you're a WordPress plugin developer who lacks design skills, you can offer your PHP expertise to designers or agencies looking for specific functionality built into a larger WordPress site.

One benefit of subcontracting is that all of your jobs are collaborations with design/dev professionals rather than the end client. There tends to be less stress and easier communication when the people you work with "speak the language." You can generally expect more professionalism this way as well.

2. Web Design/Development Agency

After working for several years as a freelance consultant, you may reach a point when you want to grow your business beyond just raising your rates. The logical next step is to hire full-time employees or subcontractors and transition to an agency operation.

WordPress can play a central role at the agency level. Not only can it serve as your primary web development platform, but you can look to the vast WordPress community to find new hires and collaborators.

Having a team allows you to multiply your earnings per hour or take on more projects simultaneously. You can also deliver a better final product since it was built by a team of specialists.

If you're making the transition from being a solo consultant to agency, your personal job description will change quite a bit. Expect to spend less time in Photoshop and code and more time in calls, meetings, reviewing portfolios and juggling the many responsibilities of a business owner. Some find this transition exciting while others prefer to focus on their craft. That's something you need to consider before growing your operation.

3. WordPress Themes Sales

Among the most prominent business models in the world of WordPress is theme sales. Today's market is flooded with WordPress theme shops and the competition is fierce. The massive growth of the WordPress user-base means thousands of new users are entering the market every month.

Selling WordPress themes is a product business, which offers the benefit of being detached from time-based revenue. But don't think that running a themes shop doesn't require tons of time and work. You’ll be busy creating and maintaining themes as well as handling ongoing customer support.

In the world of WordPress themes, there are quite a few options to consider as you plan your business:

Independent Theme Shops

One way to enter the themes business is to start up your own independent ecommerce website to sell your themes. There is a lot to consider before diving in. First, building an effective ecommerce site is a tough task in and of itself. You're also responsible for all of the marketing costs and customer database infrastructure. Of course, the benefit is you get to keep 100% of the revenue from your themes.

Another benefit to selling WordPress themes independently is the freedom to try out various pricing models, such as simple one-time theme sales, membership to access all themes (a recurring revenue model), or free themes with premium support.

WooThemes, Press75, and StudioPress are a few examples of the big players in the independent theme shop arena. Smaller shops have followed suit.

WordPress Theme Marketplaces

For those interested in designing and selling WordPress themes, but aren't ready to build and market your own independent ecommerce website, joining a popular marketplace could be the way to go.

The benefits of selling on a marketplace is that you get to focus on designing and supporting themes while the marketplace handles the bulk of your marketing and traffic generation. The downside is most marketplaces take a significant commission on sales and usually don't give you control over theme pricing. Another potential downside is your themes are listed right alongside many competitors so it can be easy to get lost in the mix. But with great products shown on a high-traffic stage, the pros can certainly outweigh the cons.

Theme Forest, Mojo Themes, and Theme Garden, are all thriving and reputable WordPress theme marketplaces worth consideration.

4. Plugin Development & Support

Premium plugins may offer more of an opportunity for newcomers than theme sales. While they are very popular with users, there are simply less plugin developers in the space. But the market is growing rapidly.

If you or your team have the development chops to create awesome functionality built on top of WordPress, plugins could be the business to look at. Like WordPress themes, one route is to independently sell your plugin through your own ecommerce site. Gravity Forms, Plugin Buddy, and Cart66 have shown that this business model can be successful. You can also release your plugins on marketplaces such as CodeCanyon, WP Plugins, and Mojo Themes (they also have plugins).

One potential challenge in a plugins business might be customer support. This can prove to be even more difficult than supporting themes since there are so many compatibility variables. But with the right support team in place and a great, carefully developed product, the customer support challenge can be overcome.

5. WordPress Web Hosting

These days, recurring revenue is among the most sought after pricing models for new startups. The power of a recurring revenue stream is tremendous when you think of the growing potential lifetime value of each of your customers. Looking for a recurring revenue model in the WordPress space? WordPress hosting may be worth consideration.

Every user on a self-hosted WordPress site needs some kind of web hosting. Popular and low-cost web hosts like Godaddy, Dreamhost, MediaTemple and others all offer WordPress compatability and one-click installation. But this seems to be the extent to which their services go in respect to WordPress.

Other hosting companies have positioned themselves as WordPress hosting specialists, with an extended set of WordPress services attached to their hosting, like theme installation and WordPress support and optimization. A few examples include, WP Engine, and ZippyKid.

Getting into the hosting business is no easy task. You'd better have an intimate knowledge of server technology and scaling issues. It also requires a significant investment in infrastructure, customer support staff, and marketing. And don't forget the potential firestorms that will arise when your servers inevitably go down and every one of your customers flames you on Twitter. That said, the recurring revenue is a powerful benefit not to be understated. If you make it work, it can be a very lucrative business model.

6. WordPress Community Content

Creating valuable WordPress-related content is a great way to build a long-term brand and audience, which in turn can be leveraged to build a strong business. The WordPress community provides an abundance of helpful information. With just a few Google searches, you can find anything you want to know from a WordPress user.

You can start a blog with focused content in a sub-niche within the WordPress world. WPCandy covers all news related to WordPress. WP Beginner provides helpful tutorials to developers starting out with WordPress. WP Engineer tackles more advanced topics for developers. There are also podcasts like WordPress Weekly. The possibilities are endless.

The primary revenue source for content-driven models is advertising. However, building a strong readership can also be a great launching pad for a products and/or services business.

The challenge with a content-driven approach is the lengthy period of time and unwavering effort required before you start to see results. It can take months of posting several blog posts per week before you build enough traffic to attract advertisers. And don't forget about the time involved in creating all of that content, or the cost of hiring writers.

7. Premium WordPress Support

This is an interesting and innovative business model that has popped up in recent years. Since WordPress is an open source community-driven project, there really isn't a centralized location where you can get instant and reliable general customer support. That's not to say there aren't amazingly supportive community forums like those on But sometimes people or companies seek more substantial support options.

One company that comes to mind is WP Help Center, which offers monthly subscriptions to on-call WordPress customer support and development. Another innovative startup is WP Questions, where anyone can ask or answer questions related to WordPress. Those who offer the best answer win a monetary prize paid by the asker, with a portion going to WP Questions.

The Possibilities Are Endless

These business models are just the tip of the iceberg. There are tons of innovative approaches popping up all around the WordPress platform. It's truly an exciting time for WordPress and the larger community of those who build the web.

Are there any other WordPress focused business models worth noting? Untapped opportunities in the WordPress space? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Titanas

More About: business, business models, dev & design, ecommerce, WordPress, wordpress business models

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30+ Upcoming Social Media & Tech Events

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 03:28 PM PDT


Every week, Mashable puts together a calendar of upcoming social media and web events, parties and conferences.

Here are some tips on how to network, share your information and promote your event using social media:

Mashable’s Weekly Social Media and Marketing Event Guide is proudly supported by Eventbrite, the Web’s Event Marketplace.

June 3-4, 2011, Victoria, BC, Canada: Last year’s event was the largest social media event in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. This year’s Social Media Camp will feature more time, more sessions, more speakers, more exhibitors and more sunshine! This year’s keynote speakers are the critically acclaimed authors of “The Now Revolution”, Jay Baer and Amber Naslund. Whether you are an avid Facebook user, interested in learning about Twitter, or you're trying to grow your business by leveraging social media tools – there is something for everyone at this event! Register and use the promo code MASHABLE to save $50!

June 5-9, 2011, San Francisco, CA: The 2011 Semantic Technology Conference (SemTech) is the world's largest educational conference for the community of executives, technologists, researchers, investors and customers who are involved with semantic technologies. The SemTech conference draws together more than 1,000 forward-thinking technology and business leaders from around the world, representing the entire marketplace of vendors, developers, researchers, start-ups, investors and customers. SemTech 2011 features five days of presentations, panels, tutorials, announcements, new company/product launches, and conversations. It’s a place for new learning, professional networking, and business development. For details and registration, visit the site. Register and use the promo code MASH to save 15%.!

June 6-8, 2011, Boston, MA: The Art & Science of Integrating Traditional & Social Media Marketing – Measure Up, is the world's most comprehensive cross-dimensional view of marketing measurement best practices. With a focus on return on investment (ROI) as it relates to the integration of traditional, online and mobile activities; specifically, social media, this event explores analytics across the entire marketing mix and incorporates those results into marketing strategies and tactics to drive higher revenue, profit and brand share. Register and use the promo code XU2308MASH and save 10%!

June 6, 2011, New York, NY: It’s time to make plans for Realtime NY 11, a full-day immersion entirely about business on the mobile, social and realtime web. Learn how innovative executives from brands like McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Delta, Citibank, IBM, and the NHL are using realtime tools to listen and respond to customers, create new opportunities and build bottom-line value. Realtime, mobile and social technologies fundamentally change how consumers and businesses interact. At The Realtime Conference you’ll see real case studies about real brands and meet the social media business pioneers who are driving real value. 10 hours of hardcore learning and networking. Plus wi-fi, power, breakfast, lunch and cocktails. Register with the promo code MASHABLE to save 20%

June 6-7,2011, New York, NY: Federated Media presents The Conversational Marketing Summit: Leading agencies, marketers, platforms and entrepreneurs come together for our industry’s most rigorous and thought-provoking annual 2-day gathering, the Conversational Marketing Summit, to benefit from a discussion about what we've learned so far and get a jump on what the future has to offer. We aim to bridge the innovations of the internet with the practice of marketing.  Please join us More information and registration details at – Register with promo code CmMash to save 15%!

June 7-8, 2011, Munich, Germany: a4uexpo Europe is the largest pan European Affiliate and Performance Marketing Conference. With over 1000 delegates, a diverse conference programme, a focus on quality, knowledge transfer and unparalleled networking opportunities with delegates and key industry figures from around the world, a4uexpo Europe is a must attend educational and networking event. Whether a new or established affiliate, agency, entrepreneur, search specialist, merchant or network – a4uexpo is the conference for those serious about making an impact in Affiliate and Performance Marketing. Register with the promo code MASHABLE25 and save €25 on a full conference pass for a4uexpo Europe.

June 7-8, 2011, Seattle, WA: Join the most accomplished search marketers in the world – Search Marketing Expo – SMX Advanced Seattle. Check out the full agenda, featuring two days of experts-only sessions, keynotes and the highest-level networking anywhere. Don't wait – SMX Advanced has sold out 4 years running. Register with partner code smx100mashable and you'll save $100 and secure your spot.

June 8, 2011, Singapore: With the phenomenal growth of apps worldwide, Asia is the next big market to watch out for. Planet of the Apps Asia is the leading event dedicated to mobile applications in Asia. The two day conference plus a dedicated masterclass day brings together the mobile application ecosystem in one location. The event will shine on a light on the latest innovations and showcase the latest solutions in the world of mobile applications. Be part of this definitive event and network with professionals from all around the globe.

June 14, 2011, London, UK: 20 social media experts will be speaking at the Social Media Results Conference – From Engagement To ROI. Procter & Gamble, Barclaycard, Nokia, Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd, MTV Networks UK & Ireland, Mothercare, Lonely Planet, American Airlines, Kodak Ltd, Comic Relief, Vue Entertainment, Cisco Europe, Phones 4u Limited and many more will be discussing their real-world, actionable social media insights on how to drive the customer journey with consistently genuine interaction and fully integrated, targeted social media campaigns. Click here to download/view the conference program.

June 15-18, 2011, Nairobi, Kenya: The spotlight in AfriTech Kenya 2011 will be on "Brand building using a digital platform". It’s projected to be the largest gathering of digital media gurus and industry shapers in the African continent. The conference will be held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) on June 15-18, 2011. Outstanding business luminaries, philanthropists, government decision-makers and investors will be participating during this four day historic summit. For more information and to register, please visit

June 15-16, 2011, New York, NY: “Exploring the State of NOW” – The 140 Characters Conference: New York City (#140conf) will be taking place June 15-16, 2011 at the 92nd Street Y, where we will continue to explore the effects of the real-time web on both business and on people. This event is expected to be the largest worldwide gathering of people interested in the effects of the real-time Internet on both business and "we" the people. #140conf exposes you to the power the Internet has to disrupt businesses, change lives and create serendipity. You will leave with a fresh outlook on how the real time web can be used in your business or personal life to actually do something meaningful. Register TODAY and take advantage of the "Early Bird" prices.

June 16, 2011, London, UK: The Augmented Reality Summit is designed to explore this new dynamic reality and provide delegates with the perfect opportunity to uncover Augmented Reality in full and explore the opportunity's AR brings any brand or company. The AR Summit is positioned at the forefront of this exciting continually developing new industry. Whether you are a Brand, Advertiser or Agency, Technology provider or Developer looking to meet key industry figures, keep up with the latest developments, technology's & tools or simply to network with other from the world of AR – Register and use the promo code ARMASH to save 25%!

June 20-21, New York, NY: At the new ALL FOR ONE Marketing Show presented by DM Days, you'll learn how Domino's, FreshDirect, Grey New York and other top companies maximize ROI by leveraging customer insight and data to successfully integrate marketing channels. You'll walk away with concrete examples of successful campaigns from marketing experts and thought leaders. Register with the promo code DM730 and save $200!

June 20, 2011, New York, NY: Games for Change is the leading global advocate for supporting and making games for social impact. The Games for Change Festival is the largest gaming event in New York City and the only international event uniting "games for change" creators, the public, civil society, academia, the gaming industry and media. Register before April 15th and save 30%!

June 21-22, 2011, New York, NY: The Second Annual Corporate Social Media Summit is 'the' event for big business using social media. This year we have speakers from Dell, Best Buy, Kodak, Coca-Cola, Southwest Airlines and many more. They will share best practice to help your company leverage the power of social media for better marketing, customer engagement and enhance profitability. The conference is designed for corporates like you – and our agenda is based on three months of research with your peers. Download a brochure here for all the info you need. Register and use the promo code MASH11 to save 10%.

June 21-22, 2011, Los Angeles, CA: Digital Content Monitization West 2011 is a unique opportunity to find out how to drive revenue and profitability from different content and formats across a wide variety of channels. 60+ senior level speakers from will help you sort out the best short and medium term strategies for delivering revenue through digital content. With its focus on west coast industries, you’ll dig deep into how the film, music and games sectors are driving new sources of revenue. Plus the publishing, sports, TV and news sectors will provide detailed information about how to monetize rich media content. Register online at and use the promo code DCM MASH for early booking discounts.

June 23 - 24, 2011, Chicago, IL:  SOCIAL CUSTOMER 2011 is a high-level executive summit that focuses on using smart social CRM programs to improve customer loyalty, enhance brand experience and increase revenue. Hear from game-changing organizations such as Chicago Bulls, Verizon, PepsiCo, Dell, Bloomberg, Rosetta Stone, H&R Block, Godiva, Dominos Pizza and more! Also hear our keynote presentation by Becky Carroll, Social Media Correspondent, NBC 7 / SAN DIEGO, Author, THE HIDDEN POWER OF YOUR CUSTOMERS. Organizations must embrace today's empowered customers, so if you are a business leader who is looking to deliver world-class experience via social networks, this event is the #1 place to be. Join the conversation and register today (Save $200 with the promo code SYX243).

June 27-29, 2011, Las Vegas, NV: The Future of Web Apps (FOWA) is coming to Vegas. After successfully running shows in Miami and London, the conference hits Vegas for the first time in June. A conference for web developers and entrepreneurs, there are 3 days of jam packed web fun including a day of workshops and 2 conference days of two tracks. As well as App Clinics and Expo Area, you can learn and network with people who have passion for the web! Register with the code FOWA_MASHABLE and receive 10% off our 2 day conference passes.

June 28-29, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Produced by AllFacebook, AF Expo is your how-to guide for Facebook marketing and development. This two-day event is your inside look at Facebook innovations and technology issues jointly impacting marketers and social developers. Packed with case studies and real-world perspectives, AF Expo offers attendees a sneak peek at the latest Facebook data, demographics and design issues. Our experts include Tamara Mendelsohn (Director of Marketing, Eventbrite), Joseph Adolf (Manager, Digital Marketing, JetBlue Airways), Mark Rose (VP Product, Visa), Clara Shih (author, The Facebook Era), and many more. Register with promo code MASH to save 15

July 14-16, 2011, Dallas, TX: The Big Design Conference is an intense day of learning within the scope of Strategy, Social Media, User Experience, Gaming, Mobile, Usability, Design, and Code Development. Experts from across the country will gather to present theories, research, experiences, and best practices to students, professionals, and executives looking to stay on the bleeding edge. Experts include Beverly Robertson (President, National Civil Rights Museum), Russ Unger (Director of UX, Happy Cog), Jeremy Johnson (Director of UX, Game Stop), Brian Sullivan (Usability Principal, Sabre), Joshua Clark (author of Tapworthy), Jared Spool (Founder, User Interface Engineering), and many more. Mashable readers receive 20% off conference registration by using the code MASHABLE during the checkout process.

July 27-29, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Join us at the premiere of ePharma Summit West, the sister event to The ePharma Summit, the largest, longest running and most respected digital marketing event for the Life Sciences Industry. Network and join the conversation with hundreds of fellow thought leaders from top Pharma, Biotech, Device and Health Science companies. Register as a Mashable reader with the promo code XP1656MASH and save 10%.

August 1-3, 2011, San Antonio, TX: The eduWeb Conference is the event for you to meet, share, explore, and learn from your higher education peers on topics including mobile apps, branding, web site analytics, social media strategic planning, and web development. eduWeb offers four tracks: marketing communications; design and development; social media; and information architecture. Register with the promo code 11Mash and save $50!

September 6-8, 2011, Cleveland, OH: At Content Marketing World, you'll learn how to transform your marketing department into a storytelling factory, engaging your prospects and customers in all the right channels with the right messages– including social, mobile, email, online and even print and in-person strategies. Through 24+ breakout sessions and amazing keynotes led by worldwide experts, you'll get the tools you need to be a successful content marketer. Plus, you'll experience the best of what Cleveland has to offer, starting with our opening night reception at the infamous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Register and use the promo code mash to receive $100 off the current price of a ticket.

September 11-14, 2011, Denver, CO: Come join the best and brightest of the iOS development community at 360|iDev, the first iOS developer event to be held by the developer community! Speakers include many leading community members, and app store success stories. With over 40 sessions, including hands-on training the sunday before the conference, 360|iDev offers more content than any other iOS developer event in the world. Register and use the promo code iosmash to save 20% of the ticket price.

September 12-13, 2011, Renaissance Glendale, Phoenix, AZ: The third Social Media Optimization Summit event, presented by Multifamilypro, brings together small to mid-sized business owners with an interest in putting social media to work successfully within their organizations in ways that are proven to generate results. The event offers two full days of intensive, hands-on workshops from the intermediate to advanced level, led by top social media experts. The unique "See it. Hear it. Do it." approach allows attendees to learn by doing, and begin immediately applying newly-acquired skills and knowledge while the event is underway. See what others are saying about the event and register now at and use discount code Mashable to save $100!

September 20, 2011, Chicago, IL: Federated Media presents Signal Chicago: The Marketing in Real Time Conversation. We will be focusing on the theme of “Marketing in Real Time.” From “real time bidding” on new demand-side and exchange platforms to “real time messaging” of location-based services, marketing has time-shifted into the present tense. A new suite of tools and services have evolved which enable the marketer to have conversations with customers in real time, creating both challenges and opportunities.Please join us More information and registration details at – Register with promo code SIGMash to save 15%

Sept 21-22, 2011, London, UK: ad:tech London is the UK’s essential free to attend event for professionals seeking to stay ahead of the latest interactive media, advertising and marketing trends. The event unites advertisers, media owners and agencies to harness the power of digital and deliver real marketing ROI. Alongside the exhibition, there is also a conference featuring 100+ international speakers for serious digital innovators and marketers. Mashable readers can take 20% off their conference ticket price. Register online now with the promo code MASH11 at

September 26-29, 2011, Kaua’i, HI: Search and Social Hawaii is an elite conference unlike any other that will provide you with the strategies and complete know how to thrive in this ever changing environment. Each day begins with morning sessions around the hottest topics. With Keynote Bruce Clay of Bruce Clay, Inc. and speakers from corporations such as Real Networks, Network Solutions, AT&T, Microsoft Bing and Logitech. Afternoons are spent in a relaxed environment including planned activities in which individual attendees can get to know speakers and each other on a more personal level continuing the discussion and building long lasting relationships. Register and use the promo code SSWootMash to save 10%.

September 29-October 1, 2011, Atlanta, GA: As pet owners, bloggers, consumer brands and those connected to the industry – including veterinarians – continue to build upon social media & marketing, pet social media education & networking is an extremely important aspect to mobilizing efforts and to address the challenges faced by pet owners. Whether you use YouTube, Twitter, Dog/Catbook or online forums to gather & share information about pets, it's increasingly important for this community to have a face-to-face forum. Established in 2009, the BarkWorld Conference & Expo is the only pet social media conference covering ALL facets of social media & pet education. Our 2011 annual conference will focus on many topics, including: how to take great photos your pet & use it online, how to build/design a blog & monetize, mobile applications, metrics/SEO, pet food demonstrations, promoting your pet/business via social media and using online forums. Join us for this 2 ½ day conference. You'll be amazed with the information you'll walk away with and the new connections you'll make; your well-trained, leashed, pet is welcome. Register with the promo code MASH2011 to receive a 25% discount.

October 1-6, Boston, MA: At DMA2011, you – and 10,000 marketing peers from around the world – will find everything you need to develop and execute the real-time integrated marketing campaigns that drive measurable bottomline results for your brand. Listen to 300+ marketing experts and gurus talk about social, mobile, mail, search, data, attribution, and more. Plus, you'll find hundreds of technologies in the Exhibit Hall, the only one of its kind in the world! Register now with the promo code AN504 and SAVE $250!

October 5-6, 2011, Seattle, WA: The first annual Seattle Interactive Conference is a two-day event celebrating the convergence of online technology, creativity, and emerging trends in one of the world’s most innovative cities. SIC brings together entrepreneurs, developers and online business professionals from throughout the U.S. and beyond for a powerful combination of in-depth presentations, networking opportunities, and uniquely Seattle social events. Attendees have the rare opportunity to explore disruptive technologies and business models with visionary thinkers and peers in areas ranging from online commerce and social media to gaming, interactive advertising, entertainment, and much more.

October 9-11, 2011, Scottsdale, AZ: Join 200 of your advertising and PR agency friends at BOLO 2011. This event champions the marketing stalwarts, showing you how to leverage today’s digital marketing trends and technologies for economic advantage. Hear from industry thought leaders such as Scott Stratton, President of UnMarketing, and Jay Baer, author of The Now Revolution. From analytics and targeting to social media and agency management, the topics are cutting-edge and chosen to help your agency stay ahead of the curve in digital. Register now with the promo code MASHABLE for 10% off.

October 17-18, 2011, New York, NY: Pivot is the only conference focused purely on how major brands, agencies, marketers and content creators can succeed by understanding, accessing and influencing the emerging Social Consumer. Hosted by Brian Solis, a noted social marketing consultant to major brands worldwide and author of Engage, the self-help handbook for winning the new marketing game, Pivot delivers two full days of unique content and experiences that illuminate the altered marketing landscape, delivered by transformational thinkers, technologists, entrepreneurs and entertainers. Register with the promo code MASH20 and save 20%!

October 26-27, 2011, Sofia, Bulgaria: The only digital industry event for Central and Eastern Europe and one of industry’s premier events in Europe. At the Webit Expo & Conference, more than 6000 people from the CE Europe’ digital ecosystem gather together. Amazing line up of world renowned international and local speakers in the conference programme and some of the top service and technology providers among the exhibitors. Webit Conference programme includes The Main Stage (inspiring keynotes from the leading digital companies in the world), Webit Dev Camp (where platform owners meet the developers of CEE), eGov Summit (regional government officials and world CEOs in discussion on e-gov, e-health, etc), The Creative Lounge (the world’s creative minds gathered together). Register with the promo code WEBMASH and save 10%!

November 3-5, 2011, Los Angeles, CA: BlogWorld & New Media is the first and only industry-wide conference, tradeshow and media event dedicated to blogging, podcasting, social media, social networking, online video, music, Internet TV and radio. BlogWorld conference attendees enjoy more than 120 cutting-edge educational sessions presented by industry leaders, while New Media Expo provides the only industry-wide new media marketplace for networking, online business and marketing resources. Social Media Business Summit, exclusive to BlogWorld, is the world's largest social media business conference where business owners, marketing executives and global brands learn strategies, tools and technologies to grow their businesses with social media. Register at with the promo code MASH20 to save 20% off the ticket price!

November 16-18, 2011, Las Vegas, NV: The WOMMA Summit is the only word of mouth marketing conference where research and measurement integrate with online social media and offline conversations. The Summit is a year-end review of BEST and NEXT practices in word or mouth and social media marketing in addition to future trends. WOMMA Summit showcases through leadership from some of the innovative and forward thinking. Go to to learn more about the event and use code WOMMASummitMASH when registering for the event.

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City Proves Its Mettle With 5,000-Person Lip Dub [VIDEO]

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 03:18 PM PDT

Each day, Mashable highlights one noteworthy YouTube video. Check out all our viral video picks.

After website Main Street dubbed Grand Rapids, Michigan, a “dying city” (with the story published in Newsweek due to a content-sharing partnership), the citizens of Grand Rapids fought back with a massive, now-viral lip dub.

Main Street has since posted an explanation of its methodology — the site wasn’t slighting Grand Rapids’s swagger, simply pointing out population decline. But we’re happy that the city was able to channel its rage into something so inspired.

Director Rob Bliss managed to raise $40,000 to make the video, gathering together thousands of citizens to perform a one-take rendition of Don McLean’s “American Pie.” Roger Ebert even called it “the greatest music video ever made.”

What do you say? Do you think your town could stir up the pride to make such a video tribute?

[h/t Andy Meek]

More About: american-pie, Don McLean, Grand Rapids, lip-dub, video, viral video, viral-video-of-day, youtube

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Causecast Launches a Wikipedia for Brand Philanthropy

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 03:08 PM PDT

suit image

Causecast is aiming to become the Wikipedia of philanthropy with the launch of its Cause Integration Profiles.

The site allows any company to sign up and create a page listing its charitable actions, partnerships and grants. This data can then be searched and pulled up for a snapshot of how your favorite brands are — or are not — giving to charity. It will produce a Cause Integration Scorecard which rates the company’s employee volunteer programs, sustainability initiatives and corporate donation matching programs.

Corporate social responsibility has seen a ton of growth as major brands realize the financial benefit to doing a little good every now and then. Consumers prefer brands that are associate with a cause, and in a 2008 study, 90% of those surveyed said it is important that businesses, governments and non-profits collaborate to solve pressing social issues.

“[Brands] can’t go out and toot their own horn about this stuff, it doesn’t come off right but we still want to go and put that information out there,” says Ryan Scott, Causecast‘s founder and CEO. “There is a viable way of doing direct marketing on the Internet that is also ethical.”

causecast image

The profiles are also a way to make charitable outreach a larger part of brand identity. The site allows companies to add customizations like RSS feeds, recent examples and links to relevant topics. The Cause Integration Profiles is a win-win. Brands can show-off their philanthropic actions to the public and consumers can see if those brands are actually doing good or just greenwashing their PR.

Causecast is a cause integration platform that helps match up non-profits and brands. However, the profiles won’t be limited just to Causecast clients. Causecaust has paired up with Corporate Responsibility Magazine to use its “100 Best Corporate Citizens List” as a way of seeding the Cause Integration Profiles site. That list includes companies like Campbell Soup, Nike and Hewlett-Packard. The profiles will be free though Causecast will gradually introduce a premium version based on company size and need. “I’m not terribly concerned about making money off this, just the same way we’re not terribly concerned about making money off of non-profits,” Scott said.

What do you think? Should brands have more transparency about their social good efforts? Can the public help keep them honest? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr,

More About: brand, cause integration profiles, causecast, charity, corporate social responsibility, csr, non-profit, social good

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Twitter Launches Photo & Video Search

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 02:33 PM PDT

Twitter began rolling out an improved version of its search service Wednesday, which now surfaces photos and videos on the right side of the results page, as well as more relevant tweets.

Users can click on the sidebar (below) to view a full-page grid view of photo and video results.

In the coming weeks, Twitter will also enable users to upload and attach photos directly to their tweets both on and its mobile apps — much to the chagrin of third-party photo services like Twitpic — the company said in a blog post.

More About: photo, Search, social media, twitter, video

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Groupon & Expedia Launch Travel Deals Service

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 02:31 PM PDT

Groupon and Expedia have joined forces to create Groupon Getaways with Expedia, a new service that will broadcast travel deals.

The new service will hew closely to Groupon's existing model, in which customers have a limited time to take advantage of a deal. A press release from the two companies promises that the discounts will be "typically around 50% off retail rates found at other online travel sites." A customer buys a voucher and redeems it at a later date.

Groupon also announced Wednesday its Groupon Now location-based deals service will expand into San Francisco and New York (where it will face off with a competing service from LivingSocial).

More About: Expedia, groupon, LivingSocial

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10 iPhone Apps for Planning the Perfect Wedding

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 02:20 PM PDT

Summer is right around the corner, and with that warmer weather comes wedding season. Seeing your friends and loved ones getting married is one of life's greatest joys. For anyone who has planned a wedding, well, you know what it's like. There's the dress, the band, the reception site, the photographer, the flowers and the countless other details that somehow all need to be pulled together.

Back in the heyday, brides and grooms wielded their trusty notebooks and Excel spreadsheets with copious notes on vendor contact information, budget details, dates and reminders. But now, thanks to fancy smartphones and apps, everything you need can be found in one place — even in one app, in some cases.

The following 10 apps are great for planning, managing, or just getting some wedding ideas. When the big day finally arrives, and everything has fallen into place because you've stayed so organized, all you'll have to do is meet eyes with your spouse-to-be and have your apps to thank for what will undoubtedly be one of the happiest days of your life.

Ain't love grand?

1. iWedding Deluxe — the Wedding Planner

Is it pricey? Yes. Is it comprehensive? Yes. iWedding Deluxe is an all-encompassing app that can be your home base for anything and everything wedding-related. Of course, all the major organizational categories like budget, venue information, contact information and to-dos are covered, but there are tons of extras like tools for finding nearby vendors, links to wedding favors, photo storage for items that inspire you, guest list details, and even a function that lets you record whether Uncle Bob wants the salmon or steak for his entrée. There's also a countdown timeline that provides advice on things you should get accomplished as you lead up to the big day.

Cost: $9.99

2. Plan Your Wedding with Mindy Weiss

If you follow celebrity weddings at all, it's likely you know of Mindy Weiss, "celebrity wedding planner to the stars." She has certainly earned the title, planning weddings for A-listers like Ellen Degeneres, Heidi Klum and Gwen Stefani. Her eponymous app is chock-full of wedding expertise and includes video clips from Mindy herself, creative ideas, current wedding trends and up-to-date access to collections from the hottest designers. If you're into celebrity life, this app gets you one step closer to living it.

Cost: $7.99

3. BRIDES Wedding Genius 2.0

This app is definitely geared more toward brides than grooms. BRIDES Wedding Genius 2.0 is a visually stimulating app that will fill the bride with inspiration for wedding dresses, rings and honeymoon destinations. There are hundreds of photos in this app that will help narrow down styles and top picks, as well as let brides save favorites and locate retailers in her area that have her favorite items.

Cost: FREE

4. Wedding Budget

If you need a straightforward budgeting app to keep track of the long list of costs, deposits, final payments and how much money you have left, Wedding Budget is a good app to have. It breaks down costs into categories such as ceremony, flowers, music, photography, gown, etc., tells you how much you have allocated, how much you have left, and when the next payment is due.

Cost: FREE

5. Wedding 911 by The Knot

Getting engaged is relatively easy, but the questions start up once the rock is on that finger and the big day is just 12 to 18 months away. When should we start looking for a site? Who pays for what? Do I have to feed the vendors? Wedding 911 aims to ease pre-wedding anxiety and answer common questions that most people have when planning the big day. The answers are provided by Carley Roney, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the ultimate wedding website,

Cost: FREE

6. WeddingScan

One of the perks of getting engaged — aside from committing yourself to another person for the rest of your life, of course — is creating your wedding registry! Walking around Crate & Barrel with a barcode scanner, now that's fun. But why limit yourself to just one or two major retailers? This app lets you scan any barcode from any store into your phone and create a centralized registry on

Cost: $2.99

7. Wedding Row

Once planning is underway, it can be hard to decide on your wedding vision. There are so many options and so many decisions to make. During the process, it's likely you'll look through a lot of wedding websites and magazines to get inspired. While you're doing that, you can use Wedding Row as your main resource for collecting all the "potentials" until you've decided they're "definites." The app keeps different "inspiration boards" of pictures you've collected or items you've taken photos of along the way so you can eventually narrow down your choices and have the wedding of your dreams.

Cost: $1.99

8. Fun Wedding

Your band or DJ has asked you for a "top requests" lists and a "do not play" list. Once you've written down your top three songs of all time, you may be at a loss as to what else you want to include. Fun Wedding provides song selections in categories like bride & groom, bride & father, groom & mother, as well as the top 200 most requested songs and breakout hits from the 1950s to present day. This app is a great resource for making sure people dance the night away.

Cost: $0.99

9. Wedding Flowers Moodboard

Flowers are sometimes an afterthought until the ceremony, band, photographer and reception site have been decided upon. They are, however, an important part of every wedding celebration. The bride's bouquet usually loses its luster as the night wears on, but it is front and center when it gets held down the aisle. There are so many choices when it comes to bouquet arrangements. Wedding Flowers Moodboard provides brides with many different images and ideas for creating their perfect color and flower arrangement.

Cost: $1.99

10. Destination Weddings and Honeymoons Guides

Destination weddings are popular but they can add several more steps to the wedding planning process. The Destination Weddings and Honeymoons Guides is a complement to the Bonnier publication. It is a resource of beautiful locations for wedding sites or honeymoons in the Caribbean, Mexico, the Pacific and more. The app provides incredible images of these locales, along with resort details and contact information. (For iPad only).

Cost: FREE

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, GyeneiGabor

More About: App, ipone, Mobile 2.0, mobile apps, wedding

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Welcome Robyn Peterson, Mashable’s New SVP of Product

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 02:02 PM PDT

Today is a big day for Mashable’s technology team. In addition to our announcement that Mashable Follow exceeded 100,000 users just 38 days after launch (see coverage on Reuters and Bloomberg), we’re excited to announce that Robyn Peterson is joining the team as SVP of Product.

Robyn’s previous roles include Head of Product at Next Issue Media, VP of Product and Technology at NBC Universal and Chief Technology Officer and SVP of Product Management at Ziff Davis Media. He’s been instrumental in launching some of the most interesting media products of the past 10 years.

Robyn will be heading up product management in our tech group, with a particular focus on Mashable Follow given the remarkable growth of the service. He’ll also lead the expansion of our development teams in both our New York and San Francisco offices.

Welcome Robyn to the Mashable team! Should you wish to follow him, Robyn is @robynpeterson on Twitter.

More About: mashable, mashable follow, robyn peterson, social media, tech

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Barnes & Noble’s Touchscreen Ereader Now Shipping

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 01:59 PM PDT

Barnes & Noble announced Wednesday that it has begun shipping its Simple Touch Reader, the latest in its line of Nook ereader devices.

Although it’s no Kindle killer, the $139 ereader boasts some impressive stats, including two months of battery life, a 6-inch, E-Ink touchscreen display and built-in Wi-Fi . At 5 x 6.5 inches, it’s 1.5 inches shorter than the Kindle, and 1 ounce lighter (7.5 ounces).

Pre-orders began shipping Tuesday. New online orders are shipping immediately in time for Father's Day delivery, Barnes & Noble said in a statement.

More About: barnes & noble, nook, simple touch reader

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HOW TO: Add the +1 Button to Your WordPress Site

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 01:50 PM PDT

Google turned up the heat on its +1 feature Wednesday, rolling out the new +1 button across select partners sites (including Mashable) and introducing a new tool for publishers to embed it on their own sites.

Google has made adding the +1 button fairly simple, but we wanted to provide self-hosted users with a quick walkthrough of the process of adding and enabling the +1 button to their site and their blog posts. We’re sure that dozens of +1 plugins will be available in the next few days, but in the meantime, this is what you need to do.

Step 1: Add a Line of JavaScript to Your Theme Files

The +1 button tool page lays out what webmasters need to add to their website. For users who have a standard XHTML website (or are using Tumblr), copying and pasting <script type=”text/javascript” src=””></script> before the </body> tag on a website works just fine. WordPress users, however, will need to add that snippet to their theme files.

Simply Go to the Appearances section in the WordPress dashboard and select “editor.” Then find the footer.php file in your template listing. Scan through the file until you see the area marked </body>, then paste in the JavaScript line.

Hit update and you’re ready for step two!

Step 2: Add a Button to Your Sidebar

After the JavaScript snippet has been added to your website, users can paste the <g:plusone></g:plusone><g:plusone></g:plusone> wherever they want a button to appear. Using the +1 button tool, you can configure the button size and include other advanced options.

Another common use for the +1 button, besides on individual blog posts, will likely be in sidebar widgets on a homepage. This can act as a nice, generic hub for +1 activity.

To add the +1 button to a sidebar in WordPress (assuming your theme supports sidebars), simply go to the Appearances section in the Dashboard and select “Widgets.”

We’ll assume that you want to create a new widget for the +1 button, but other sidebar widgets can also be customized to display the button.

Drag a new “Text” widget to the sidebar location of your choice. You can add a header if you want, or you can leave it blank. In the text portion, paste the button configuration you want using the +1 button page. The standard code is <g:plusone></g:plusone>

You can choose how you want the button to align itself using HTML or referring to CSS classes from your stylesheet.

Additional Tips

At this point, we’ve successfully added the +1 button to a WordPress website. Users can add the button to individual posts by entering the button code in the body of a post, or add it in automatically by adding a line to the WordPress loop in the post.php and loop.php theme templates.

Here are a few things you might want to take into consideration when using the +1 button on your site:

  • By default, the button doesn’t have a URL parameter set. Instead, the JavaScript will crawl your page and make its best guess for the URL that you are liking. If you want to specifically ask users to +1 a certain URL, add [code]href=""[/code] to the button’s tag. For instance, if I wanted to add a +1 button that reported to Mashable, this is the code I would use:<g:plusone href=””></g:plusone>
  • For sites with the popular Bad Behavior WordPress plugin it can interfere with the +1 button, at least as of this writing. Disabling the plugin will allow users to add +1 buttons to their site.

See it in Action

I added the +1 button to my personal website using the steps outlined above.

More About: +1 button, Google +1, tutorial, WordPress

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Is Twitter Killing Off Third-Party Services?

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 01:39 PM PDT

Twitter’s announcement of its own photo-sharing service puts quite a few third-party photo-sharing services in a bind.

Apps such as Twitpic, Twitgoo and Yfrog have long been employed by users wishing to show images to their Twitter followers. In fact, Twitter even started supporting in-stream photo viewing with the revamping of

But with Twitter’s soon-to-roll-out service, which will allow users to upload photos directly to Twitter via the official web and mobile apps, third-party services are being cut out of the picture.

A Twitter rep said in an email to Mashable, “We're still supporting other third-party photo services in our mobile and desktop clients, so users can choose the one that works best for them.”

Although Twitter isn’t immediately revoking API access or support for these apps, it is entering into an entirely new field of competition. And the Twitpic and Yfrog devs certainly didn’t expect they’d be competing with Twitter.

We spoke with Twitpic founder Noah Everett Wednesday via email. “We had no idea Twitter was building a photo feature. Communication between developers and Twitter has never been very clear and the relationships between Twitter and its developers has changed a lot since the Chirp conference last year,” he said. “A more clear feature roadmap and better communication would have been much appreciated by all their developers.”

Twitter’s Turning Point

Everett refers to a turning point in the Twitter/third-party dev relationship about a year ago. Until spring 2010, Twitter apps built with Twitter APIs had been allowed to flourish with little interference and no competition from Twitter.

But at Chirp, the company’s first developer conference, Twitter announced it had acquired Tweetie, a popular iPhone client from dev shop Atebits. Before then, no one thought Twitter was going to develop an official mobile client, and an entire ecosystem of third-party Twitter mobile apps had sprung up.

With the Tweetie announcement, Twitter effectively crushed the futures of quite a few startups and mobile dev shops. The company had allowed and encouraged the development of these mobile apps, and it was now in direct competition with them.

In more recent announcements about the API’s use in building Twitter clients and the subsequent acquisition of TweetDeck, Twitter is taking a similar position in the ecosystem of Twitter desktop clients and dashboards. (In fact, some point to the redesign itself as an attack on desktop clients.)

And today, we’re seeing the same story being played out with photo-sharing apps.

Whose Business Is It, Anyway?

Of course, it’s Twitter’s prerogative to build user-requested features in-house rather than letting third-party apps capture all that traffic. The company’s API isn’t a public utility, and no one but Twitter actually has the right, in the legal sense, to use it.

None of the third-party devs would deny that Twitter needs to make money on its own product. What they do resent is the poor communication between the company and outside devs.

For example, early in the history of the company’s API, co-founder Biz Stone said, “The API has been arguably the most important, or maybe even inarguably, the most important thing we've done with Twitter. It has allowed us, first of all, to keep the service very simple and create a simple API so that developers can build on top of our infrastructure and come up with ideas that are way better than our ideas.”

However, every time third-party devs come up with an overwhelmingly popular feature, Twitter has swooped in and quickly dominated the space, putting indie devs out of business. And image-sharing is without doubt hugely popular. alone gets around 10% of the traffic seen on, according to three traffic-reporting sites.

Ever since the turning point at Chirp, investing one’s time, effort and capital into a Twitter app has been a risky proposition, and as Twitter continues to encroach on the domain of third-party services, the opportunity for building a sustainable Twitter app becomes narrower and less certain.

Can Third-Party Apps Survive?

Just as Seesmic founder Loic Le Meur once told the anti-Twitter complainers at Chirp to [redacted] themselves, Everett is sticking to a staunchly optimistic line when it comes to Twitpic’s future.

While he admits he is “not sure what strategy we will be taking with Twitpic currently,” he does say, “We believe that Twitpic will live on. We’ve built an extremely powerful, worldwide brand, and we own that brand … regardless of this feature announcement from Twitter.”

But in fact, the fate of Twitpic, Yfrog and other third-party photo-sharing services remains uncertain. (Twitgoo’s predicament is unique, since that brand is under the Photobucket umbrella, and Photobucket is hosting Twitter’s official photo-sharing feature.)

At any rate, this latest development will certainly serve as further discouragement to any developer (or investor) with an eye on the Twitter ecosystem outside Twitter itself.

More About: image sharing, photo sharing, third party, twitgoo, twitpic, twitter, yfrog

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San Francisco Giants Are First MLB Team To Say It Gets Better

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 01:26 PM PDT

The San Francisco Giants have helped kick off Pride Month by becoming the first professional baseball team to join the “It Gets Better” campaign. The campaign features celebrities and everyday people telling youths not to be ashamed of being gay and that life gets better.

It Gets Better has already featured videos from Neil Patrick Harris, Google, Tim Gunn, Ke$ha, cast members of Glee and even President Obama.

Pro sports teams have come under more scrutiny lately, especially after Kobe Bryant of the Lakers and Joakim Noah of the Bulls separately used the word “faggot” as a derogatory slur during NBA playoff games. has helped lead the charge petitioning nearly every major sports team to join the “It Gets Better” campaign.

The Giants, who also won last year’s World Series, were the first MLB team to get on board, releasing the above video Wednesday. It’s great to see the Giants franchise — itself no slouch when it comes to social media — joining the cause so quickly.

Let us know what you think of the video. How important is it for pro sports to support the LGBT community? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Baseball, gay, homosexual, it gets better, LGBT, pride month, pro sports, social good, social media, youtube

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Shaq Announces Retirement Via Twitter

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 01:03 PM PDT

Basketball star Shaquille O'Neal has announced his retirement from the NBA via Twitter and a short video he linked to from the microblogging site on Wednesday.

In the video, which was posted to startup Tout, O'Neal says, "I want to thank you very much, that's why I'm telling you first I'm about to retire." A subsequent video asks fans to use the hashtag #shaqname to suggest new nicknames for the man previously known, among other things, as "The Big Shamrock," "The Big Aristotle" and "Shaq Fu."

Shaq's decision to share the news with his followers first should come as little surprise — he was one of the first major celebs to hop onto the service back in 2008 (and seriously engage with it) and remains one of its most visible athletes.

SEE ALSO: Celebrities on Twitter: 30 Famous First Tweets

Interestingly enough, Shaq was also an early user of 12seconds, a short-form video startup that ultimately failed. Similarly, Tout also sports a short-form model limiting users to 11 second clips (7-minute abs anyone?). It’s unclear whether Shaq has an official relationship with Tout.

More About: shaq, sports, tout, twitter

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Does This Audi Commercial Rip Off Eminem? [VIDEO]

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 12:50 PM PDT

Does a new Audi ad use the backing track from Eminem's “Lose Yourself” or is it just similar?

Eight Mile Style, the publisher of Eminem's copyrights, thinks it is the actual song and is seeking an injunction against the automaker in Germany’s Hamburg Regional Court. Audi reps could not be reached for comment.

The song was actually used in another ad, Chrysler's two-minute “Imported from Detroit” spot that ran during this year's Super Bowl. (Eminem also appeared in the ad.)

Above is the disputed Audi ad for its 2012 A6 Avant. Below is Chrysler's ad. What do you think? Does Eminem have a case or is Audi just guilty of being uncreative?

More About: advertising, audi, Chrysler, eminem, Super Bowl

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Venmo Now Overnights Funds To Your Bank Account

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 12:41 PM PDT

Social payments startup Venmo is meant to be both a practical and enjoyable way for friends to electrically exchange money, split bills and make good on IOUs. A recent service update might also make it the fastest way to cash out on funds friends have sent your way.

Venmo, which was previously working with an intermediary processing partner to handle bank transfers, is now working directly with U.S. banks. The net result for app users is the ability to cash out of Venmo and receive funds overnight.

The update, quietly announced Monday, is significant; Venmo is now faster than PayPal when it comes to transferring funds to bank accounts in the U.S. Plus, speedy money transfers could help the young startup win over users from its more formidable competitors and hook newbies on the service.

“The result is that you never have to worry about sending money to a friend who is new to Venmo,” CEO Andrew Kortina tells Mashable. “If you’re at dinner and send a friend 50 bucks, she can sign up, instantly verify her account, request a cash out, and the money will show up in her checking account tomorrow — that’s way faster than writing/cashing a check or using PayPal.”

The service update, which brings with it a big “Cash Out” button in the iPhone and Android apps, represents the startup’s desire to meet user demands. “The biggest complaint we heard from users was that this process was too slow,” Kortina says.

Now that users can verify their bank accounts instantly and cash out from Venmo to receive money overnight, Kortina believes the startup will be able to win more PayPal users over to Venmo.

“The reason we’re winning away ex-PayPal users is because we are working to build something better. That means building a service that’s more social and easily accessible on your mobile device. Now, we’re happy to be able to announce that it’s also faster and more liquid.”

An electronic money service, especially one aimed at helping friends split checks and resolve real-world money matters, is only as good as its ability to get money from one friend to the other. Venmo now does so overnight.

Venmo is still invite-only, but Mashable readers can sign up for the service using the invitation code “mash61.”

More About: personal finance, startup, venmo

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5 Key Shifts Happening Right Now in the World of Digital Marketing

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 12:25 PM PDT

"We’re living through the social revolution, which is every bit as significant as the industrial revolution." So began the remarks of David Jones, the global CEO of Havas and Euro RSCG, who keynoted the Mashable Connect conference at Walt Disney World last month.

Focusing his comments on the shifts taking place within his purview — the world of marketing — Jones pointed to five specific trends, offering a number of specific examples of how digital is changing everything.

Jones believes that marketing is becoming less about image and more about reality. That is to say that social media has made it impossible to hide, and that eventually the truth will come out. Jones cites Domino’s “Pizza Turnaround” campaign, which was made in response to brutal feedback about the company’s product (not to mention the now infamous YouTube videos of Domino’s employees doing unsavory things with pizza), as an example of accepting reality and using it to genuinely improve product and try to change minds.

Similarly, Jones thinks the brands that will perform best in this environment are those that give up control. He’s a fan of efforts like Foot Locker’s Sneakerpedia, a site that lets sneakerheads share their collections and is more about the culture of sneaker collection than a direct sell for shoes. Inversely, he cites the BPGlobalPR fiasco as an example of a company that doesn’t understand this concept (BP) getting humiliated because of the scale and velocity of social media.

Aside from these two higher level concepts, Jones sees the value of marketing dollars decreasing and believes “you [can no longer] buy attention, you have to earn it.” In this regard, one of his agency’s more successful campaigns has been for Dos Equis. The beer brand’s “Most Interesting Man in the World,” who Jones describes as a “65 year old cross between Ernest Hemingway and James Bond,” has clearly been a huge success in earning attention. Dos Equis has become one of top alcohol pages on Facebook, with fans posting a nonstop barrage of comments emulating the character’s Chuck Norris Facts-esque soundbites.

In terms of technology trends, Jones, like many marketers, is a big believer in location and thinks we’re only scratching the surface. With some 85% of searches relating to location according to Jones, campaigns like Gap’s free jeans promo on Facebook Places and KLM Surprise (which leveraged Foursquare in combination with a myriad of other public social media data) are just the tip of the iceberg.

Beyond evolving marketing tactics, however, Jones thinks that the most successful businesses and leaders in the future will be those that are socially responsible. He envisions “a world where the people that do the most good make the most money,” citing programs like Pepsi Refresh and Nike Better World as examples of companies finding what he calls a “social business idea.” Jones himself is the co-founder of One Young World, an annual summit that assembles young leaders to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.

You can watch Jones’s entire keynote in the video below:

More About: david jones, Euro RSCG, havas, MARKETING, mashable connect

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Esquire Challenges iPad Owners to “The Hardest Puzzle Ever”

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 12:11 PM PDT

Esquire has released an iPad app the publication is calling “the hardest puzzle ever.”

It is certainly very difficult. The game [iTunes link] combines Rubik’s Cube-style puzzles with riddles — including those with and without Google-able answers — of scaling difficulty. After successfully completing each level, users can opt to print out and assemble 3D trophies, a clever addition.

The app is one of several that Esquire‘s editors have been developing for the device, enabling them to push further beyond the traditional magazine format. Although Esquire is indisputably one of the best magazines on the iPad, it is still largely a translation of its print counterpart.

“We had the opportunity to create something native to the iPad, not just a translation,” Deputy Editor Peter Griffin noted in an interview with Mashable. “[The app] carries not just the name and the brand but also a sensibility unique to this device.”

Although the app utilizes the iPad’s touchscreen very well, it fails to take advantage of the device in one respect: Internet connectivity and, in particular, opportunities for social interaction.

While users can opt to tell their friends when they complete a new level — designed to create a sense of competition between players — they can’t actually play against against each other in the way that they can with iPad games like Scrabble [iTunes link].

Furthermore, users cannot opt to create multiple games, which will inevitably disappoint those who share their iPads with puzzle-loving spouses, friends or family members.

The app is free to download, but users must fork over $4.99 to play the upper levels.

More About: esquire, ipad, media

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