Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “New Facebook Analytics Tool Digs Deeper Than Insights”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “New Facebook Analytics Tool Digs Deeper Than Insights”

New Facebook Analytics Tool Digs Deeper Than Insights

Posted: 03 Aug 2011 05:03 AM PDT

A webpage owner has seemingly unlimited choice in products that slice and dice information about those who visit her page. Real time? Personal? With a heat map? No problem. Facebook page managers, however, don’t have it as easy.

The Google Analytics of Facebook is called “Insights,” and for someone who is dealing with the typical Facebook fan page, it’s a sufficient meat-and-potatoes analysis tool. PageLever, a Y Combinator startup that launched on Wednesday, is a more elaborate version of Insights for brands that want to get a bit deeper in their analysis — a group of users that so far includes YouTube, Microsoft, Mint and Kayak.

PageLever shows impressions (any time a story loads in a browser, whether on your page or not) for any date range, not just month or week. It separates unique impressions from repeat impressions so that you can see your true reach, and it shows when and where fans “unliked” your page. You can also look at what type of content — photos, video, text or flash — your audience responds to best.

Most of the data, says co-founder Jeff Widman, comes from Insights’ API but is not necessarily visible within the Insights dashboard. Services like Buddy Media and Webtrends already accomplish similar feats with public information and the Insights API, but none to Widman’s knowledge take advantage of the data collected by obtaining permissions from the page administrator using Facebook Connect. This means that the tool can’t be used to measure a competitor’s traffic, but also that PageLever has access to more data.

More data theoretically gives page managers a leg up in Facebook’s somewhat frustrating version of the SEO game.

“Essentially it helps find more eyeballs for your content,” Widman says.

Check out the screenshots below and let us know if you’d find PageLever useful.

More About: analytics, data, facebook insights, Page lever

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RIM Launches Three New BlackBerries

Posted: 03 Aug 2011 04:07 AM PDT

Research in Motion has launched BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 and two new Torch models, BlackBerry Torch 9810 and 9850/9860.

The two BlackBery Bolds, as well as the new BlackBerry 7 OS all of these devices are based on, were originally introduced back in May.

The BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 smartphone is the thinnest the company has produced so far, and has solid specifications, with a 1.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB of onboard memory, 720p HD video recording as well as support for NFC and 4G HSPA+ networks. The device sports the classic BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard and a touch LCD screen.

The company also plans to launch BlackBerry Torch 9810 and 9850/9860, all of which will feature a large touchscreen display on the front, similar to Apple’s iPhone.

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 has a vertical slide-out keyboard as well as a 1.2 GHz CPU, a large, 640×480 pixel display with 246 DPI, 768 MB of RAM memory, 8 GB of storage, a 5-megapixel camera capable of recording 720 HD video and HSPA+ support. The device will be exclusive to AT&T and is expected to hit the stores this August.

The all-touch BlackBerry Torch 9860 is coming to AT&T at a later date (as well as BlackBerry Bold 9900). The device is sporting a 3.7" inch touch screen at a WVGA (800×480) resolution with 253 DPI, a 5-megapixel camera, GPS and a digital compass.

And if you wondering about the varying version numbers on some of the new BlackBerries, the answer is simple: the Torch 9850/9860 as well as Bold 9900/9930 will be the same device, only on different networks.

The announcement comes after a rough year for RIM, which has had a tough time selling its tablet, the PlayBook, and eventually had to revise its outlook for the future and drastically cut its workforce.

How do you like these new BlackBerries? Please, share your opinions in the comments.

More About: blackberry, blackberry bold, blackberry torch, Bold, research in motion, RIM, Torch

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Now You Can Easily Create a Foursquare Business Page

Posted: 03 Aug 2011 03:13 AM PDT

Foursquare business pages are no longer limited to large brands with the money and clout to buy Foursquare’s limited and in-demand dev resources — business pages are now self-serve, Foursquare announced on Tuesday.

For the past 18 months, Foursquare has created about 3,000 business pages in-house, relying on its developers and designers and coordinating with brand creative teams along the way.

It was a time-consuming, unsustainable and restricting growth model that limited the amount of businesses that could be “followed” on Foursquare. As a result, the location-based service tended to work with big names, such as Louis Vuitton, Zagat, The New York Times, the History Channel, Brooklyn Museum and the city of Chicago.

Now, any business can create a free Foursquare business page, enabling it to customize a branded page where fans can “follow” the brand and unlock its tips.

Foursquare’s new self-serve model for brand pages will be particularly beneficial to small businesses, who have gained from managing their venues on Foursquare, but have not had the ability to interact with users by leaving Foursquare tips.

The biggest improvement to the business page experience is the ability to have entire teams of people manage the same page. Foursquare introduced a new tool to enable brands to add multiple page “managers” to a page’s account.

Before getting started, brands should read through Foursquare’s FAQ on business pages to get an idea of what they’ll need to get started and maintain the page.

Check out Mashable‘s Foursquare page here for a look at how we’ve branded it and added tips.

More About: business, foursquare, lbs, location-based apps, location-based service

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AT&T Offers $20K in Eco-Minded Mobile App Development Contest

Posted: 03 Aug 2011 01:51 AM PDT

AT&T is offering a total of $25,000 in its “Power Your Future” mobile app development contest, which is focused on discovering apps that deliver an environmental or energy efficient benefit.

The winner and first runner-up will be awarded $20,000 and $5,000, respectively, and winning applications will be promoted in AT&T retail stores across the country and could potentially be preloaded on future AT&T smartphones.

The contest began on August 1 and applications will be accepted until September 28 on the contest’s homepage. Entrants may submit up to five applications for consideration. Once eight finalists are chosen, a public vote will begin on October 11.

On top of the prize money and possibly being preloaded on future AT&T smartphones, the winner will also receive airfare and lodging to be honored at the 2012 AT&T Developer Summit in Las Vegas in January.

AT&T recently ran another app development contest for social good in partnership with One Economy. Applications for Good challenged developers to create apps for low-income Americans to help them get educated, find jobs, get healthy and manage their finances.

Image courtesy of Flickr, exlibris

More About: ATT Wireless, Entrepreneur contests, mobile app development, mobile apps

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Google Chrome Gets Instant Pages

Posted: 03 Aug 2011 01:19 AM PDT

Instant Pages, a feature that enables almost instantaneous loading of certain web pages, has made its way to the stable version of Google Chrome.

The feature, introduced several weeks ago through Chrome’s beta channel, preloads some of the Google search results before you click them, making the loading process much faster than normal.

The new stable version of Chrome brings a couple of other features too, such as print preview (for Windows and Linux users only), as well as improvements to omnibox (Chrome’s combination of the search box and address bar), which now makes it easier to go back to pages you’ve visited before by typing a part of the page’s address and finding the matching page via a dropdown menu.

To see how Instant Pages work, check out the video below.

More About: browser, chrome, Google, google chrome, instant pages, web browser

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Google+ for Android Gets Improved Notifications & More

Posted: 03 Aug 2011 12:24 AM PDT

Google has released an update for the Google+ Android app, adding bug fixes and an improved notification system.

Version 1.0.5 of the app includes 12 different updates that improve the app’s usability. The biggest change to the app is an improvement to the reliability to notifications. One welcome change is that notifications about users adding you to their Google+ circles are now shown in bulk (notifications were unbearable in the previous version.) It also makes +mentioned usernames clickable, navigating the user to that person’s profile page.


Google has also made it so the stream doesn’t reset to the top of the screen when the phone is rotated and has rolled out a series of improvements to Google+ Huddles, including the ability to hide one-on-one huddles, adding clickable links and improving autocomplete. You can check out the release notes to learn more.

On a completely unrelated note, I am enjoying the personalized YouTube videos the Google+ team has been releasing for Google+ product updates. They’re informative and explain technological updates in an intimate and social manner. It’s a nice touch for a company accused (justifiably) of not getting social.

More About: android, Google, Google Plus

For more Mobile coverage: Lets Users Share Tracks From SoundCloud

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 10:23 PM PDT

As is usually the case with startups, is not the only music-listening room service on the block. There’s also, which adds SoundCloud into the mix. launched back in March without much fanfare. “It’s been live all along, though we never had a high profile public launch,” says co-founder Mike O’Brien. “Then as the ‘social listening’ phenomenon started to get a big influx of media attention, the word gradually spread and users also found their way to”

The phenomenon that O’Brien is referring to is, a buzzy, still-in-beta app that has in recent months caught the attention of both the tech and music scene. is similar in use to Turntable and operates via the same principle of sharing music with friends. “Mike and I worked together at, and during the day we'd chat and share YouTube music links to keep ourselves entertained,” says co-founder Number Two, Steven Huynh. “We wanted to build a site to facilitate this in a fun and easy way, and were influenced by our days in AOL chatrooms, so a lot of that shows in the site's design and functionality.”

Like those AOL chatrooms, the site is pretty easy to use: Sign in via Facebook or Twitter and you’ll be prompted to create a room. Invite friends to the room via the aforementioned social networks to start spinning tracks. You can also join a single public room, if you have no friends. The room itself looks just like your average chatroom — no avatars and decks like on — with music and chat located in the same spot. To listen to music, you can either drag and drop files into the room’s DJ queue or search for music on SoundCloud.

Granted, this site is not as built out or popular as It also hasn’t sealed any licensing agreements, as has, and is basically a bootstrapped effort. Still, the addition of SoundCloud into the mix is an awesome one. We can see this service being extremely useful for bands and music industry folks who want to easily share and get feedback on their tracks, right from their SoundClouds.

What do you think, Turntable adherents: Will you be checking out

Image courtesy of Flickr, Steve Snodgrass

More About: music,, startup,

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iPhone App Is a Mobile Marketplace for Local Arts & Crafts

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 09:39 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.

Name: Goshi

Quick Pitch: Goshi is an easy to use, hyper-local mobile marketplace with safe transaction hubs.

Genius Idea: A mobile marketplace for arts and crafts enthusiasts.

Fire up Craiglist, search for something you want and you’ll most likely find exactly what you’re looking for. This on-demand, instant-gratification search experience makes it nearly impossible for upstart companies looking to compete with the 16 year-old site on user experience and feature set alone.

Perhaps Goshi, a mobile-only marketplace for buyers and sellers of local goods, can avoid getting squashed by the fleshy veteran with a fresh and lightweight twist on neighborhood listings.

The startup, which launched its iPhone app [iTunes link] in Chicago last week, is attempting to hook new users with a predominately visual experience and a focus on item discovery, instead of search. Sellers can list an item with price, optional description and a photo. Seekers can use the app to happen upon cool or unique items for sale nearby.

To deliver on its visual promise, Goshi crops images of items for sale and emphasizes sellers’ photos throughout the application. Item discovery has been crafted around a hub-based experience; users are encouraged to post and exchange goods at personality-laden local coffee shops or “hubs.”

Goshi seeks to appeal to arts and crafts enthusiasts, along with the growing handmade goods community. “We’re more like Etsy than Craiglist,” Goshi co-founder Chad Lomax says of the company. “Goshi is for discovery and browsing things in your neighborhood.”

To that end, Goshi designs to work with chambers of commerce in various cities — it’s already doing so in Chicago — to create ad-hoc hubs for neighborhood sidewalk sales and craft fairs to help city’s promote their events and give shoppers a way to browse and locate items they want before they hit the streets. Also important to Goshi is mobilizing for-sale items at city thrift stores and second-hand shops.

Goshi is an almost-graduate of the Chicago accelerator program Excelerate Labs’ Summer 2011 program. The startup has secured $75,000 in seed funding and plans to release an application for Android in two to three weeks time. Goshi also plans to soon expand its application to New York and San Francisco communities.

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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, Excelerate Labs, Goshi, listings, marketplace, spark-of-genius

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GroupMe Goes Global, Adds Direct Messaging

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 09:01 PM PDT

Group texting app GroupMe is out with version 3.0 of the service. It adds a slew of updates, including direct messaging, a new beta feature called “Questions” and global access to the app.

GroupMe launched last fall as a group messaging solution — a kind of SMS chatroom. Over the past year, it has amped up its features to compete with similar services like Fast Society and the Facebook-owned Beluga, adding bells and whistles like location and photo-sharing.

Fast Society has been consistently rolling out new additions as well — most recently video — but Beluga seems to have stalled back in March. Apple, in the meantime, is planning on releasing a new messaging service called iMessage (which includes group messaging) — part of iOS 5.

To keep up with the times, GroupMe is out with a few more tweaks to round out 3.0, which is available on iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 devices.

Changes include:

  • Availability in 90+ countries on 900+ carriers.
  • Enhancements to the web app to make it fully-functional.
  • The ability to send messages to an individual (yes, like a text message).
  • A “Questions” feature that lets users create opt-in groups and adds the ability to poll audiences on Facebook and Twitter.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Stephan Geyer

More About: android, blackberry, groupme, iphone, windows phone 7

Gmail Phone Calling: Now Cheaper & in 38 Languages

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 08:21 PM PDT

Google has expanded the scope of Gmail’s phone calling feature, reducing the cost of international phone calls and making the feature available in 38 languages.

The product, which is powered by Google Voice, will be rolling out across the world in the next few days. A green phone icon will appear in a user’s Gmail account once the voice calling feature is available in his or her country. The search giant introduced voice calling in Gmail in August.

In addition to the international rollout, phone calls will be getting cheaper for calls to more than 150 locations around the world. “For example, it's now only $0.10 (or €0.08) per minute to call mobile phones in the U.K., France or Germany (landlines are $0.02/min), $0.15/minute to call mobile phones in Mexico and $0.02/min to call any phone number in China and India,” Google product manager Pierre Lebeau explained in a blog post.

For those of you who use Gmail phone calling to call your friends or colleagues in the U.S., you don’t have to worry; phone calls within the U.S. and Canada will remain free until the end of 2011.

More About: gmail, Google, google talk, Google Voice

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What a Global Food Crisis Looks Like [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 07:48 PM PDT

food image

Oxfam is putting the world food crisis right under your mouse. The organization has just released an interactive map showing how countries the world over are being hurt by high and volatile food prices.

The Food Price Pressure Points Map is more than just a global snap shot of the food crisis. As part of Oxfam’s GROW campaign, the map helps illustrate which countries are at most risk and how users can help.

There are four main sections to the interactive map. A world map displays countries that are highly vulnerable to price spikes. Clicking on the red exclamation points brings up quick information on the area’s food-related problems, the causes behind them and what impact they’re having. A stats page compares malnourishment and dependency of imports. A photos page shows pictures from the ground, and the Act Now option redirects users to Oxfam’s food crisis support page for GROW.

Food prices have been hitting record peaks since 2010. The number of people without enough to eat is again rising and could soon reach more than 1 billion people globally, according to Oxfam. The food crisis is more than just poverty. Prices can spikes due to local violence, government inaction or increasingly extreme weather conditions.

In Yemen, one-third of the population suffers from acute hunger. The cost of wheat flour was 117% higher in May 2011 than it was the previous year in the capital city. In Russia, the price of the average food basket rose by 20% to 30% between July 2010 and March 2011. In Guatemala, nearly half of the children under five are chronically undernourished. In rural areas, that number can climb as high as 70%.

The map is banking that educating the general public will lead to action. A lot of non-profits include an ask for money or support, but people are often unwilling to donate to causes they know nothing about. Oxfam’s map is trying to bring the food crisis to the fore, and in doing so, trying to fix it.

What do you think? Will an interactive map make you more likely to help? Let us know in the comments.

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Image courtesy of Oxfam

More About: Food, food crisis, infographic, interactive map, Map, non-profit, oxfam, oxfam grow, social media, world food crisis

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Newt Gingrich’s Twitter Followers Are 8% Human [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 06:59 PM PDT

When New York search company PeekYou happened to start crunching the numbers on GOP candidates’ Twitter followers last month, they encountered a number so odd that they thought they must have done the math wrong.

The startup uses an algorithm to determine how many of your followers are consumers, i.e. actual identifiable human beings, as opposed to spam accounts, business accounts and private accounts. (The company is so maniacal about making sure it has correctly identified spambots, it bought access to thousands of them on eBay.)

When it came to the GOP field, what stood out was the percentage of verifiable humans that follow Newt Gingrich: just 8% of the total.

“At first, we actually thought it might have been a bug,” says Michael Hussey, PeekYou’s CEO and Founder. “We have seen some pretty low consumer ratios in our testing, but Newt's was the lowest we had ever seen.”

Then on Monday, an anonymous ex-Gingrich campaign staffer told Gawker that his former boss had been paying for Twitter followers. As dubious as the sourcing was, it made perfect sense to Hussey and his team. Perhaps, they thought, this wasn’t a bug on their side after all.

The Gingrich campaign’s response to the Gawker story was to point out that Gingrich’s account had been on the Suggested Users List. This was put together by Twitter between 2009 and 2010, when the service was growing exponentially. Accounts on the list — including @Mashable — did gain a large number of followers.

Hussey does have some comfort for Gingrich on that score. “It’s true that people who were on that list do tend to have less identifiable audiences,” he says. “But 8% is still unusually low” — the lowest he’s ever seen by five percentage points.

We’ve asked PeekYou to crunch the numbers for other politicians who were on the Suggested Users List, such as California’s former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and its current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom (who has almost exactly the same number of followers as Newt). In the meantime, here’s the list of GOP candidates they compiled.

Note that even if you reduce Gingrich’s Twitter followers to its 106,067 verifiable humans, he’s still in a very strong position compared to his rivals. Only Sarah Palin has more.

Photo credit: Flickr user Gage Skidmore

More About: followers, newt gingrich, PeekYou, trending, twitter

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AOL Launches Editions: iPad Magazine, Flipboard Competitor

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 06:08 PM PDT

AOL has released ‘Editions’, a social newsreading app for the iPad, furnishing device owners with yet another way to get their news fix.

Like forerunners Flipboard and Zite, Editions pulls in data from your social networks (in this case, Facebook and Twitter) to help deliver a personalized news feed in a magazine-style format.

As with Zite, users can improve the results simply by reading; the app will learn what topics and sources readers tend to gravitate towards. You can teach the app by identifying sources they like and don’t like, and keywords they are and are not interested in, both in the settings panel and when they pull up individual articles.

Articles are rendered in an in-app browser, meaning that all of the original ads and formatting are displayed — and that it often takes a while to load. (It seems AOL took note of Zite’s early misstep in this department.) Readers can share articles via Facebook, Twitter and email, and bookmark stories for later reading.

All of this is pretty standard. It’s also several paces behind competitors. Flipboard, for one, allows users to pull in feeds from several additional social networks — including LinkedIn, Instagram and your RSS feed. It also allows users to search across all of the articles in the app.

But there’s more. AOL Editions improves on other social newsreading apps because it plays to the habits of both traditional newspaper readers and iPad readers.

For one thing, it provides a more holistic, organized newsfeed. Instead of just pulling in my interests, which would leave me with a jumble of media, tech, fashion news and little else, I swipe through the Top News section to pick up leading headlines across all sections from the last 24 hours.

Likewise, I can visit the Local News section to get a sense of what is going on in my neighborhood. That part is a welcome supplement given that I, like many others, no longer subscribe to a local newspaper.

I also like — although I expect other readers might not — that there’s a finite amount of content in the app. This is one of The Daily‘s big selling points. Editions is designed to be read once per day. Users set the time they want it delivered and it can be read from start to finish — which, in the days of the neverending web, makes for a nice contrast.

For a fuller preview, check out the gallery below.

Connect to your social networks to get started.

Customize your topics.

Customize colors and sections.

The home screen features local weather information, as well as upcoming birthdays, pulled from Facebook.

Articles can be shared via email, Facebook and Twitter, or bookmarked for later reading.

Teach the app what topics and keywords you're interested in.

Local news section.

More About: aol, aol editions, Flipboard, ipad app, media, zite

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The 20 Most-Shared Video Ads of the Month

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 05:45 PM PDT

Quick story: I went to the barber’s recently and the guy cutting my hair told me about some video on YouTube that showed a monkey shooting an AK-47. Since Mashable had just written about the video, I said “Oh, you mean for that new Planet of the Apes movie?”

“No,” he replied. “This is a monkey shooting a gun.”

The lesson: Either we were talking about two totally different videos or, in this case, people don’t necessarily connect your viral video with the product it was intended to promote. This could be a worrying trend, since the new wave of viral marketers go out of their way to bury any reference to the sponsor.

But the efficacy of these videos is beside the point for our current purposes. What’s important for the Mashable Global Ads Chart, our list of the 20 most-shared ads, is views. In raw numbers, these are the video ads that the world spent the most time watching in July. As usual, there’s a random assortment of fake virals, outright commercials and the same videos that keep popping up month after month. And, oh yeah, there’s that monkey with the gun.

Note: The list below does not include music videos, user-generated content or movie trailers. Unruly Media's Viral Video Chart tracks 18 million shares a day through third-party APIs.

20 Most-Shared Video Ads, July 2011

"Ape With AK-47" (Twentieth Century Fox's Rise of the Planet of the Apes)

There's something magical about a monkey and an AK-47. That's the only conclusion to draw from the 11 million views that this video has drawn since June 13. The viral video is one of several that Fox released to promote its upcoming movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which hits theaters on August 5.

"Crazy Marriage Proposal - Guy falls off building!!!" (Neuro Water)

In another one of those "is this for real?" viral ads, a guy executes a fairly elaborate marriage proposal possibly with the goal of marketing Neuro Water.

"2D Photography Rube Goldberg" (2D Photography)

Rube Goldberg contraptions are a mainstay of viral videos, whether they're for OK GO or for Honda. The latest entrant in the category is 2D Photography, a commercial photography firm in Toronto.

"Google Chrome: Justin Bieber" (Google)

After getting up close and personal with Lady Gaga, Google profiles another young singer. Maybe you've heard of him?

"Angry Birds Live" (T-Mobile)

The popular mobile game Angry Birds is played out IRL, and hilarity ensues.

"Unleash Your Fingers" (Samsung)

Samsung launches the Galaxy S II in France with the help of Jay Funk, who is, of course, an "Internet Finger Tutting phenomenon," according to Samsung. Funk can make cubes and butterflies and other stuff come out of his hands with a little CGI help.

"Danny MacAskill - Way Back Home" (Red Bull)

In another long-term hit, Danny MacAskill does some crazy stunts on his bike on a trip from Edinburgh back to his hometown, Dunvegan, in the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

"Ken Block's Gymkhana THREE, Part 2; Ultimate Playground; l'Autodrome, France" (DC Shoes)

More racing porn on behalf of DC Shoes. Pretty impressive, but can Block drive the car through car-sized holes in cement walls?

"The Google+ project: A quick look" (Google)

You may have heard something about this new social network, Google+. Well, here's a guide if you haven't.

"Evian Roller Babies International Version" (Evian)

Those lovable Roller Babies are back, or never left I suppose.

"BMW 1M - Walls - MPowered Performance Part 1" (BMW)

Racing car videos are the macho equivalent of LOLCats. Here, a BMW 1 Series M Coupe makes its way through cartoon-style car-shaped holes in concrete walls. Professional driver. Do not attempt. Watch Part 2 here.

"Justin Bieber and Usher Happy Birthday Song [Mysto & Pizzi vs. Agent Jackson remix]" (American Cancer Societ)

The Biebs and Usher sing Happy Birthday for all those cancer survivors out there. They must have bought the rights to the song, since anyone who posts themselves singing "Happy Birthday" on YouTube will get their video taken down because of copyright issues.

"The Force" (Volkswagen)

Volkswagen's oft-parodied Lil' Vader Super Bowl spot still has legs. It appears to be a good idea to put a young child in your Super Bowl ad.

"The most amazing beat box video ever!!!" (Trace Urban)

French beat box phenomenon EKLIPS performs a four-minute history of hip-hop in a single take. Professional beat boxer. Do not attempt.

"Assassin's Creed Revelations E3 2011 Trailer [HD]" (UbiSoft)

A big hit in a surefire viral video category: video game previews.

"The X Factor- World Premiere Preview" (Fox)

Simon Cowell gets all soft and fuzzy for his new show, The X Factor. No, just kidding. He's the same jerk he always was.

"The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" (Old Spice)

The original viral hit from Old Spice got a new lease on life when the brand rolled out a duel between old Old Spice guy Isaiah Mustafa and wannabe Old Spice guy Fabio. Hilarity ensued.

"Dear 16-year-old Me" (David Cornfield Melanoma Fund)

Dear David Cornfield Melanoma Fund: You're ruining my summer with this effective and heart-rending public service announcement about melanoma.

"Challenge Accepted" (Old Spice)

A hundred or so videos were created during Isaiah Mustafa's "Hunk Off" with Fabio. This was one of them.

"HUGO Just Different" (Hugo Boss)

It's a Hugo Boss ad, but it's just different because Jared Leto is in it.

More About: advertising, MARKETING, viral videos, youtube

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Old Version of Twitter To Be Killed Off This Week

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 05:00 PM PDT

Twitter is finally retiring the old version of its social media service, nearly a year after the launch of New Twitter.

“If you’re currently using Old Twitter, we want to let you know that you’ll be upgraded to New Twitter this week,” the company announced in a tweet.

Twitter has been warning users since the switch to New Twitter that the old version would eventually be put to rest. In June, the social media company made its warning more urgent. Twitter informed us at the time that a permanent switch was impending.

Will you miss the old version of Twitter, or is this change long overdue?

More About: New Twitter, Old Twitter, twitter

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Skype for iPad Delivers on Video Calling Dreams [HANDS-ON]

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 04:33 PM PDT

Skype released its official iPad app earlier this week, offering iPad and iPad 2 users a way to chat by text, voice or video with their Skype pals.

We took some time to test the app on our iPad 2 earlier today and found the app lives up to most of its promises, offering a robust experience.

Using the app, iPad users can connect with their Skype contacts and use the iPad as a bonafide telephone. We were able to make calls to outside numbers, video chat with desktop users and video chat with Skype for iPhone users.

The interface is more similar to Skype for Mac, rather than Skype for iPhone. Surprisingly, the design that looks clumsy and overlarge on the desktop makes sense on the iPad.

The ability to chat via text while doing video chat is a great — and much needed — feature.

Houston, We Need Bandwidth

Our only criticism of the app is that to work well, it needs a strong data connection. Skype might say that video chat works over 3G — and if you are using a particularly strong network, that might be true. Still, in our tests (using our admittedly terrible office Wi-Fi), there was a significant lag in video signal unless the connection was strong.

This delay, which could be as much as five seconds, would make Skype virtually unusable. In other words, don’t try video chat unless you have lots of bandwidth.

As for video quality – we were impressed. The video signal coming from the iPad 2′s front-facing camera looked great on a desktop or iPhone screen and video from other users looked good — provided we had a strong connection — on the iPad screen.

Voice calls over Wi-Fi sounded fine to us, though we’re not sure it’s any better than what you might get on a 2G cell phone. You can also make calls with Skype-enabled TV and Blu-ray players.

All in all, we’re impressed by what Skype has put together. The app isn’t perfect — a way to share files like a photo or text document — would be a great addition.

Making a Call

Your icon and your caller's icon appear on the screen.

Text Chat

In portrait mode, you can see the icons of your recent and online contacts.

Text Chat

In landscape mode, contact names are also visible.

Account Info

Account info is visible at any time by tapping your user icon.

Video Chat

Video chat in portrait.

Video Chat

Video chat in landscape.

Video Chat

Video chat in landscape.

Text Chat View

Contact Home Screen

The home screen shows your contacts listed in a grid.

Home Screen with Account Info

Skype Request

You can send Skype requests in the app.

Add a Contact

You can add a contact by tapping the "+" button and searching by name or Skype name.

Skype Calling

The landscape view of dialing a number on Skype.

Skype Calling

The portrait view of dialing a number on Skype.

More About: ipad apps, Skype, Skype ipad, voip

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Pulse Hits 5 Million Users, Scores Syndication Deal With ESPN

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 03:43 PM PDT

Pulse, a news reader application for iOS and Android, has signed a partnership with ESPN to bring the sports entertainment brand’s content to Pulse’s mobile applications.

Pulse has now been installed more than 5 million times by mobile users across all supported platforms, the startup also tells Mashable.

“Pulse is an instant-on experience without requiring registration,” says co-founder Akshay Kothari. “5 million users have opened the app and started using it.”

ESPN, for the first time ever (according to Pulse), will be syndicating its content to mobile by way of Pulse’s apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. Coverage pushed to Pulse will include ESPN Headlines, MLB, NFL, NBA, WNBA and NCAA football and basketball news and analysis.

Pulse says it’s taking the partnership as an opportunity to rework its Pulse Sports category. “The new Pulse Sports is broken down by sport, enabling you to customize your experience by season or by your favorite sport,” Cristina Cordova, a member of Pulse’s business development team, writes in a blog post on the news.

The addition of ESPN comes less than two weeks after Pulse inked partnerships with The Atlantic and The National Journal to beef up featured content in its news, politics, business and culture verticals.

Pulse’s new partnerships and growing user base suggest that the startup is standing strong against competitor Flipboard, an iPad-only social news reading application. Flipboard, a media darling, reported 2.5 million users in June and has recently begun displaying ads in its application.

More About: ESPN, news readers, pulse, social news, startup

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10 Fascinating Facts About Mobile Phones

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 02:57 PM PDT

Chances are you don’t leave home without your mobile phone, but how much do you actually know about our portable telephonic devices and their fascinating history?

Do you know who Martin Cooper is? How about a textonym? What are one-quarter of U.S. mobile phone towers disguised as? Who devised the 160-character text message limit?

SEE ALSO: 10 Fascinating Facts About Phone Numbers

Take a look through our gallery of fun mobile phone-related facts and let us know in the comments which ones are new to you. And by all means, share any cellular trivia you’ve picked up.

1. The First Commercial Mobile Phone

The world's first mobile phone call was made in 1973 by Motorola employee Martin Cooper from the streets of New York City. He called his biggest rival. "I was calling Joel Engel who was my antagonist, my counterpart at AT&T, which at the time was the biggest company in the world. We were a little company in Chicago. They considered us to be a flea on an elephant," Cooper told BBC.

"I said 'Joel, this is Marty. I'm calling you from a cellphone, a real, handheld, portable cellphone.' There was a silence at the other end. I suspect he was grinding his teeth."

The phone he called on was a prototype Motorola DynaTAC which, a decade later, was to become the world's first commercially available mobile handset. It got the FCC's thumbs up in 1983 and launched in 1984 at a cost of $3,995 -- which is about $9,000 today, accounting for inflation.

As a symbol for '80s yuppie tech, the DynaTAC appeared in Gordon Gekko's hands in Wall Street, and later, Patrick Bateman used one in American Psycho. It was also known as the "Zack Morris phone" because the Saved by the Bell character often used a similar model in the series.

The first mobile phone call in the UK took place in 1985. Comedian and one-half of Morecambe and Wise, Ernie Wise, called from London to Vodafone's Newbury, Berkshire offices, then located over a curry house.

2. The First Smartphone

The world's first smartphone debuted in 1993 at Florida's Wireless World Conference. Launched by BellSouth Cellular and "weighing in at a little more than a pound," it was a phone-come-PDA with an early LCD touchscreen display.

The press release from the launch describes the new handset: "Designed by IBM, Simon looks and acts like a cellular phone but offers much more than voice communications. In fact, users can employ Simon as a wireless machine, a pager, an electronic mail device, a calendar, an appointment schedular, an address book, a calculator and a pen-based sketchpad -- all at the suggested retail price of $899."

With only 2,000 Simons made, the handset is now a collector's item. The Microsoft-backed Bill Buxton Collection of retro tech boasts a Simon, and you can find out more about the pioneering device on the website.

3. The 160-Character Text Message Limit

There are various theories about who invented the text message. Short, text-based messaging was developed in a range of telecommunications systems toward the end of the 20th century, but the man credited with creating the SMS -- the mobile phone's short message service -- is German Friedhelm Hillebrand.

Working for the GSM group, Hillebrand came up with the concept of a 128-byte text message to be sent via the existing mobile phone network. The message's shortness was an obvious parameter due to the size limit, but the exact 160-character limitation was a curious creation of Hillebrand's.

The story goes that in 1985 Hillebrand experimented with making notes on his typewriter to come up with the ideal message length. "Hillebrand counted the number of letters, numbers, punctuation marks and spaces on the page. Each blurb ran on for a line or two and nearly always clocked in under 160 characters," the L.A. Times reports.

He ultimately deemed the 160-character limit as "perfectly sufficient," and with two more "convincing arguments" (postcards and Telex transmissions often had fewer than 150 characters), the GSM group created the standard in 1986. Afterwards, all mobile phone carriers and mobile phones were ordered to support it.

Nowadays you can send messages longer than 160 characters, but Hillebrand's legacy lives on via Twitter. The micro-blogging service's 140-character limit was determined by text messaging -- 140 characters for the tweet and 20 for the Twitter username.

Image courtesy of kamshots

4. The Pocket Dialing Problem

Chances are you've received a "phantom" call on your mobile phone, especially if your name begins with an "A." "Pocket (or 'butt') dialing," when a jostled phone calls a number from someone's pocket or bag, is one of the minor annoyances of mobile life.

For the emergency services though, it's a more serious problem. In the early 2000s the National Emergency Number Association revealed that "phantom wireless calls" made up about 70% of 911 calls in some U.S. areas. In the UK the figure reached as many as 11,000 calls per day.

So why is a pocket dial so likely to reach 911 or 999? Although a phone's keypad may have been "locked," these numbers will still dial in case of a real emergency. In fact, many older American mobiles auto-dialled 911 when a caller pressed and held number nine, or two numbers at once.

Phone designers and manufacturers have now disabled such options, but pocket dialing still happens. Last year two men were overheard during a car burglary after one of their phones called 911. In May of this year a drug dealer was arrested after he pocket-dialed the police during a deal. And a Maine man with an arrest warrant was "triangulated" and caught when he repeatedly called the police from his pocket.

Image courtesy of Laram777

5. The World's Most Expensive Mobile Phone

British jeweler Stuart Hughes lays claim to creating the world's most expensive mobile phone. The iPhone 4 "Diamond Rose" edition boasts a price tag of £5 million, which currently translates to $8,184,968.42.

For that astonishing sum, the purchaser gets 500 individual flawless diamonds totaling over 100 carats, a rose gold Apple logo with 53 diamonds, and a single cut 7.4-carat pink diamond on the home button.

Hughes has also bundled in an 8 carat single cut flawless diamond which can replace the pink one, just in case you needed a sweetener to seal the deal.

6. Fake Plastic Trees

With nearly two-million mobile phone towers and antennas in the U.S., you'd expect to see one on every street corner. The fact is, they are very often disguised. In urban areas, clever engineers have developed ways to install the equipment into signs, clock faces, drainpipes, telephone poles, church and catherdral roofs and even weather vanes.

One of the most noted ways of "disguising" a mobile phone tower, however, is in plastic trees. The website Fraud Frond "pays homage to the fake trees that disguise our cell phone towers." There's even a "fake plastic trees" Flickr group. The photographer Robert Voit recently held an entire exhibition dedicated to photos of the phenomenon.

"Many people don't know about these things," says the Fraud Frond site. "They're hidden pretty well. But if you look for 'em, they're easy to spot."

Image courtesy of Allan Ferguson

7. Telephonophobia, Nomophobia, Frigensophobia & Ringxiety

Our relationship with our mobile phones hasn't always been an easy one. Aside from the etiquette issues a portable phone involves, some sources suggest our mental health has suffered too.

With varying degrees of plausibility, experts have identified telephonophobia, nomophobia, frigensophobia and ringxiety (or fauxcellarm) as conditions that can affect the mobile phone generation.

Telephonobia is the fear of making or recieving phone calls.

Nomophobia (no-mobile-phone phobia) is the fear of being out of contact either by your phone being lost, out of juice or out of signal range.

"Ringxiety" or "fauxcellarm" is described as a "psycho-acoustic phenomenon" when you hear (or feel) your mobile ringing when it's not.

Frigensophobia is the fear that using your mobile is damaging your brain.

Image courtesy of Olle Svensson

8. The Invention of Voicemail

In 1986 Scott Jones, a 26-year-old research scientist at MIT, invented the modern cellular voicemail system over a pizza.

Although the American mobile phone carriers had regulation-based legal issues to surmount before they could offer voicemail to the masses, Jones' startup Boston Technology won bids to create the voicemail systems for the mobile industry's big names.

While we now take voicemail for granted (and may even get fed up with it), in the late '80s it was an exciting prospect. Here's an excerpt from an article of the time that explains the concept:

"Company executive Gray, for instance, may need to convey a question to Smith, who is out of town, before the board meeting the next morning. Gray leaves a memo on Smith's 'voice mailbox.' Smith calls in later that afternoon and realizes he cannot answer Gray's question, so he appends a personal note to Gray's memo and redirects it to company counsel Brown's mailbox. Brown returns from his luncheon appointment, receives the message, and gets to work. By 10 p.m. he comes up with a solution, leaves his response in Gray's voice mailbox, and goes home. The following morning, Gray dials his office number and listens to Brown's message. No time or energy has been wasted."

Image courtesy of FaceMePLS

9. Textonyms

We're all aware of text speak, but are you familiar with textonyms? You've no doubt been affected by them at some point in your mobile life. Born from mobile phone predictive text systems, a textonym is a word that that is typed using the same order of keys on a numeric keypad as another word. A classic example is "home," which can also appear as "good" or "gone," as they're all created by typing "4663."

An increase in QWERTY keyboards and more "intelligent" software means that textonym faux pas are now being replaced by auto-correct faux pas, but not before textonyms made the crossover from mobile to real life. "Book" entered the vocab of hip, lazy teens as a new word for "cool" because it was the default when typing "2665."

Image courtesy of Ken Banks

10. The Best-Selling Mobile Phone

If hype was everything, you might assume the Apple iPhone was the best-selling handset to date. With the recent news that 100 million iPhones have been sold, Apple has certainly made the top five, but it's far behind the bestseller.

The world's most popular phone is the Nokia 1100, a basic GSM candybar launched in 2003. Over 250 million 1100s have been sold. Nokia's 3210 and 3310 also made the top five, while the last slot belongs to the iconic Motorola RAZR.

The 1100 made headlines in 2009 when German models were said to be changing hands for as much as $32,000, after reports indicated the handset could "intercept" info from other phones. This was eventually revealed to be a hoax.

Image courtesy of Phil Campbell

More About: cell phones, cellphones, facts, List, Lists, mobile phones, phones

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Economist Launches Android App, All-Access Subscriptions

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 02:31 PM PDT

The Economist rolled out both an Android tablet edition and all-access subscription options Tuesday.

The newsweekly joins Sports Illustrated and Time in its multi-platform subscription offering, which enables readers to access all versions of The Economist, including its print, smartphone, tablet, audio and web editions, for a single rate. (Prices vary by region).

A digital-only option is also available for $29 per quarter, or $110 per year. Single issues on iPad and Android tablets can be purchased for $5.99, £3.99, or €5.40, depending on your region. Access to the editor’s weekly selection of six “must-read” articles is available for free.

“We want our readers to be able to read us wherever and however they want, and we will continue to develop for platforms and mobile devices capable of delivering the unique Economist weekly reading experience, free from distractions,” says Oscar Grut, managing director of digital editions at The Economist.

We haven’t yet tried out the Android version, which runs on small and medium-sized Android tablets running OS 2.x, but the app has received mostly positive reviews in the Android Market thus far.

Try it out for yourself and let us know what you think.

More About: android, magazines, media, The Economist

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Google+ Hits 25 Million Visitors, Gets More Sticky [STUDY]

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 02:14 PM PDT

Google+ has hit 25 million visitors and — despite a recent contrary report — users are spending more time there as well, according to comScore.

The social network, introduced on June 28, hit the 25 million visitors mark on July 24, says Andrew Lipsman, vice president of industry analysis at comScore. That means there have been 25 million unique visitors to the Google+ website, not counting mobile users. In July there were roughly 20 million Google+ users.

This rate of growth is much faster than that of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace over the same time period, though Lipsman was careful to note that the other three networks still have much bigger audiences than Google+. [See charts below.]

A recent report from Experian Hitwise showed visits to Google+ fell 3% for the week ending July 23, compared to the previous week, and that average time spent on the site fell 10%. Meanwhile, comScore’s research shows people spent about 50% more time on the network in the week ending July 24 than in the week that ended on July 10.

Gmail penetration appears to be a key factor in Google+’s growth. In general, Google+ is popular where Gmail is popular, Lipsman says. “If you think about it, Gmail is where your social network through Google is likely to exist,” he says. Lipsman estimates that roughly 20% market penetration is the tipping point for social networks — once they reach that level, they tend to become firmly established.

Google+ Hits 25 Million

ComScore's research shows visitors to Google+ hit 25 million around July 24.

Google+'s Growth

Google+ grew much faster than Facebook, Twitter and MySpace did in a comparable time period.

Google+ Engagement

People are spending more time, on average, on Google+ each week.

Critical Mass

ComScore believes that to hit critical mass, a social network has to hold 15-20% of the market.

Putting Things in Perspective

Google+ has achieved fast growth, but it still has a ways to go to catch up to the other social networks.

More About: ComScore, facebook, Google, Google Plus, myspace, trending, twitter

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With New Domain Names on Market, .ORG Guns for .NGO

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 01:58 PM PDT

computer image

The Public Interest Registry, the non-profit that runs the .org domain name has officially announced its intention to grab the soon-to-be-released .ngo domain name.

New generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) will be launched worldwide in 2012. This means websites can end with something other than the usual .com, .net and so on. The .ngo domain name will be reserved exclusively for non-government organizations. So far, .org has been the de facto domain for non-profits and charity groups. However, there are no formal restrictions against for-profit companies signing up under the banner.

To qualify for .ngo, an organization must be officially identified as a non-governmental organization. The Public Interest Registry hasn’t disclosed how it will accurately vet applications though a process will be put in place.

The .ngo domain will be a way to both consolidate and expand the global NGO community. “NGOs themselves have a very strong identification with that acronym,” says Brian Cute, the registry’s CEO.

The registry is also hoping to bring more organizations online from the developing world. Cute says the registry is working with partners in developing countries on how to take their philanthropy online and expand their reach. The goal, Cute says, was not to simply collect money a second time: “There are a lot of NGOs, grassroots NGOs, who are not online. The intent here is not to effectively garner a second registration fee [on top of .org].”

Losing .ngo, a dedicated charity domain, would be a big hit to the Public Interest Registry, which has staked its name and brand on online philanthropy. Right now, .org has more than 9 million users, according to the registry.

What do you think of creating a new domain name just for non-government organizations? Should the registry be concerned if its application fails? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Flickr, aftab.

More About: dev, domain, domain name, generic top level domains, gtld, ngo, org, PIR, public interest registry, social good, tech, technology

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Wi-Fi Day Is Here: What’s the Best Network Name You’ve Encountered?

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 01:34 PM PDT

Today’s numeric date — 8.02.11 — resembles the name for the earliest set of standards for Wi-Fi: 802.11. And to no one’s surprise, the similarity has inspired netizens to declare Tuesday “Wi-Fi Day.”

Advances in Wi-Fi use continue to emerge: For example, HP unveiled a Wi-Fi mouse earlier this year. And Underground commuters in London will have Wi-Fi access in 270 stations just in time for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers manages 802.11 protocol, but today you have the power to make us chuckle. Here’s how.

What’s the Best Wi-Fi Network Name You’ve Used or Seen?

We’ve all been there — at a coffee shop, an apartment complex or somewhere public — when suddenly you stumble upon an epic Wi-Fi network name.

Three Mashable employees who shall remain anonymous access their Internet via these networks:

  • Honk if you love Jesus
  • Batcave
  • Dog Day

We know you’ve seen better, so in the comments, tell us what awesome network names you’ve encountered.

Image based on a photograph from iStockphoto user Petrovich9

More About: Holidays, internet, News, technology, wi-fi, Wireless

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iPhone, iPod Touch Travelers Rule the Air [STUDY]

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 12:59 PM PDT

At 30,000 feet, Apple’s iOS devices reign supreme.

According to data from Gogo, a Wi-Fi provider on several airlines including American, Delta, United and Virgin, 80% of mobile travelers connect to its Wi-Fi via an iOS device.

Breaking it down further, the iPhone, with 65% share, is the most-used mobile device at 30,000 feet on the Gogo Wi-Fi network. And iPod touch owners accounted for another 15%. Android users, by comparison, represent 12% of mobile travelers accessing Gogo’s network.

The Android operating system has usurped iOS and Symbian in overall share of the smartphone market, so why the huge in-air disparity? “It's clear that iPhone users are ahead of the curve in understanding those capabilities,” Gogo chief marketing officer Ash ElDifrawi says, “but more and more people are starting to discover how to connect using their smartphone on a plane.”

Meanwhile, BlackBerry users account for 6% of mobile travelers on Gogo’s inflight Wi-Fi, and all other mobile devices, including those using Windows, represent a paltry 2% of Gogo’s network activity.

Image courtesy of Flickr, indisposed

More About: android, gogo inflight internet, inflight wi-fi, iOS, wifi

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3 Tips for Running a Successful Daily Deal Promotion

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 12:27 PM PDT

John Amato is the CEO of MarketSharing, a premium business-to-business deals provider for exceptional business products and services. Follow @MarketSharing on Twitter for more information and the latest deals for businesses.

Recently, I stated my thoughts on why daily deal sites are here to stay, and it lead me to start thinking about the daily deal space a bit more.

We've all heard horror stories surrounding daily deals. A local café business goes belly up; a large restaurant becomes inundated with coupon hunters, thereby losing its regular customers. In this economic climate, such losses are not to be downplayed. However, do these stories mean that all daily deals are bad for business?

Quite simply, the answer is no, they aren't.

As with any decision, a small business owner needs to take daily deals seriously and plan for successful execution. Just because a daily deal doesn’t require up front capital doesn’t mean it shouldn’t involve an investment of time and energy. Effective daily deals are built upon detailed planning and analysis. And when these crucial steps are carried out correctly, the effort will reap rewards.

When business owners are delving into these marketing campaigns, they should learn from three of the most common flaws of failed daily deals.

1. Know Your Margins

Daily deals discount a product or service, which can result in a serious financial plus or minus for a business. When reducing the price of a revenue generator, business owners need to know what goes into the cost of making their product and their margins. Knowing the margins will help daily dealers set their discounted price.

With the standard daily deal discount being 50%, and an additional 50% commission going to the deal site, the costs should be 25% or less of the retail price in order to break even. Granted, this equation changes based on the specifics negotiated with a deal provider. It serves more as a backbone equation to show that margins play a critical role in turning a positive promotion.

Business owners should keep in mind that by "only" breaking even, they have nonetheless used the daily deal platform to generate new customers at no cost.

2. Prepare for the Surge of Deal Seekers

One common daily deal issue involves hordes of new customers flooding one location all at once. If not managed and anticipated correctly, this rush places a tremendous stress on a business, its staff and its customers ⎯ both new and old alike.

In order to avoid this situation, the merchant should determine how much volume their business can handle with the daily deal promotion, and then cap the discounted units sold at that specific number. Ideally, the daily operations will not be disrupted. Furthermore, such analysis will work as a pseudo insurance plan if a merchant incorrectly crunches the margin numbers.

Additionally, new customer calamity can be avoided if merchants ask their deal provider for references from other local shops that ran similar deals. That way they’ll better understand the anticipated customer volume.

According to research conducted by deals site Yipit, businesses can expect approximately 25% of vouchers to be redeemed in both the first and last months of the campaign. Much like our margin equation, this data should help businesses prepare for the deal deluge. As such, business owners should make sure that staff is trained how to process the deal's coupons, and that the facility can handle the surge of new customers.

3. Get Your Employees Onboard

It would seem that a business has the green light once it calculates margins and determines capacity. However, there's still more to be done to drive success. Now each business owner should encourage their employees to help convert daily dealers from bargain hunters to repeat customers.

As Uptal Dholakia's Groupon study states, the key factor in a successful campaign is employees. Workers should be educated on the intricacies and background of the deal so that the entire team knows how to achieve the desired goal.

For example, if a restaurant were to run a daily deal on a new dish, as opposed to the most popular one, the owner should tell the staff that they are doing so to highlight a new direction or strength, and that they should emphasize its selling points to new customers.

Most importantly, merchants and employees should be prepared for the increase in foot traffic, and thus, be ready to represent their company with a positive attitude. If new customers encounter a negative environment, they will ultimately connect that mood with the business, and probably decide to take the deal and run.

If merchants do their margin homework, prepare for the onslaught of new customers, and ensure that new customers encounter a positive experience, they will have created a solid backbone to generate repeat customers and avoid a daily deal disaster.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, jbk_photography

More About: business, coupons, daily deals, groupon, List, Lists, MARKETING, offers, small business

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iPhone 5 Could Double Apple’s Mobile Market Share [STUDY]

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 11:54 AM PDT

The iPhone 5 could help Apple double its market share in the smartphone category and come close to catching up with Android, according to a report by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

Munster’s report is based on a survey of 216 mobile phone users. Some 64% of respondents said they plan to buy an iPhone as their next mobile device — and just under a third of those would-be Apple customers (29%) already own iPhones. The rest are mostly BlackBerry owners (28%) and Android users (17%).

Of the iPhone owners in the survey, 94% said they’d buy another iPhone; the rest would opt for Android phones. When it came to Android users, 42% said they’d switch to the iPhone. But the biggest group of defectors are BlackBerry owners: 67% of them plan to switch to an iPhone.

The two companies that carry the iPhone also have a lot of potential switchers in their ranks. Some 55% of Verizon subscribers who don’t have an iPhone expect to buy one; three-quarters of this group are waiting for the iPhone 5. Among AT&T customers, 53% are waiting for the next iPhone.

In part, Munster attributes the large number of potential iPhone buyers to the fact that it will be at least 14 months between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5 releases. Previous updates took 12 months. Munster predicts Apple’s market share could more than double throughout the next round of phone purchases.

Apple’s market share in smartphones for the second quarter was 19%, according to market research firm Canalys. Android’s share was 48%.

More About: android, apple, blackberry, gene munster, iPhone 5, Piper Jaffray

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Facebook Buys iPad Book-Maker Push Pop Press

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 11:34 AM PDT

Facebook announced Tuesday it has acquired stealth startup Push Pop Press. Co-founded by a former Apple designer, Push Pop Press is best known for the iOS version of Al Gore’s book Our Choice.

The Our Choice app is one of the most impressive visual book experiences we’ve seen on any platform. At WWDC in June, Apple awarded the app a 2011 Apple Design Award.

As impressive as Push Pop’s technology is, a Facebook acquisition, on the surface, seems a bit strange.

When Mashable’s Adam Ostrow spoke to Push Pop’s Mike Matas at TED, the former Apple designer was enthusiastic about the way Push Pop could be used for more than just books. Perhaps that content could be extended to Facebook.

Here’s what Push Pop has to say about the acquisition:

Now we’re taking our publishing technology and everything we’ve learned and are setting off to help design the world’s largest book, Facebook.

Although Facebook isn’t planning to start publishing digital books, the ideas and technology behind Push Pop Press will be integrated with Facebook, giving people even richer ways to share their stories. With millions of people publishing to Facebook each day, we think it’s going to be a great home for Push Pop Press.”

That got us thinking about the possibilities of a Facebook app built using Push Pop technology. What if browsing through the news feed, tagging photos or watching videos could be as fluid and expressive as the Our Choice app? What if Facebook could allow brands or publishers to create their own types of Facebook Page apps? What if curated Facebook content could be released in app form?

As nice as the leaked Facebook iPad app looks, something along the lines of Our Choice could be a game changer.

What do you think about this acquisition? Let us know in the comments.

More About: acquisition, facebook, ipad, push pop press

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My Morning Jacket Premieres Video on Google+ to Lackluster Response

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 11:16 AM PDT

Although we have yet to see brand or business pages on Google+, we have certainly seen folks using the new social network in interesting ways. The latest? The band My Morning Jacket premiered the video for “Holdin On To Black Metal” on the service Monday night.

Since the group cannot yet have an official My Morning Jacket page, bassist Tom Blankenship and guitarist Carl Broemel posted the video to their own personal pages. And no one really seemed to notice — mostly because Broemel only has one connection on the site (Blankenship), while merely 42 people have Blankenship in their Circles. (It probably doesn’t help that Blankenship’s profile photo is a childhood snap.) Blankenship’s post yielded three plus ones, one comment and 12 shares.

While we applaud the band for hopping the early adopter train, the rather lukewarm Google+ reception shows that the platform isn’t quite ready for primetime when it comes to this kind of promotion. Granted, some musicians have found some success with Google+ Hangouts, but most of those seem to be solo acts whose own names carry enough weight when it comes to recognition.

And there’s the rub. The band cannot yet promote itself as a single entity on Google+, which is key for getting the kind of attention a video premiere deserves. By contrast, My Morning Jacket has around a quarter of a million fans on Facebook, and after posting the video an hour ago (at time of filing) it had 56 Likes and nearly 500 comments.

In addition to last night’s Google+ experiment, the band also premiered the video on YouTube — smack on the homepage — complete with a curated playlist, so it’s not like it will be hurting for attention. Still, this exercise does highlight how greatly Google+ needs official pages for brands and services in order for it to become a full-on marketing tool for musicians.

More About: Google, MARKETING, music, my-morning-jacket, video

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Samsung Galaxy Tab Challenges iPad With New Ads [VIDEOS]

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 10:37 AM PDT

How does a tablet-maker compete with the iPad 2? By playing up product attributes — like being thinner, faster and lighter.

That’s Samsung‘s approach, at least, for its Galaxy Tab. The brand broke three ads for the UK market Monday that each highlight one of those qualities.

The “Lighter” ad imagines a situation in which an elevator is so loaded up that the weight of a cup of coffee, rather than the Samsung Galaxy Tab, makes all the difference. The “Thinner” ad shows a dad camouflaging his Tab with a pencil. In “Faster,” a bratty kid complains that his (unnamed) tablet is too slow while a kid sitting next to him is able to enjoy the speed of the Galaxy Tab.

Though the ads don’t mention the iPad 2 by name, the Galaxy Tab is lighter and thinner, though it’s debatable whether it’s faster. (The device’s alleged similarity to the iPad is the subject of a dispute in Australia right now.) Motorola also tried to puncture the Apple mystique with a well-received Super Bowl ad, but that hasn’t made Xoom a hit.


A bratty kid complains about the slow download speeds on his tablet while another kid sitting nearby enjoys the Samsung Galaxy Tab's faster operation.


A Dad uses a pencil to hide his Galaxy Tab from his prying son.


A harangued employee is able to catch a ride in an elevator after ridding himself of a cup of coffee, which was heavier than his Galaxy Tab.

More About: advertising, iPad 2, MARKETING, Samsung Galaxy Tab

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Startup Success: How Soraya Darabi Put Foodspotting on the Map

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 10:28 AM PDT

The Extraordinary Entrepreneurs Series is supported by Diet Coke®. Now, the drink that helps you stay extraordinary brings you extraordinary people. Find Diet Coke® on Facebook for access to a whole lot of extraordinary.

Entrepreneurs tend to be busy, but Soraya Darabi is in a league of her own as a co-founder of the culinary photo app Foodspotting, new media strategist at ABC News and an adviser to a handful of startups. Mashable spoke with her about entrepreneurship, her inspirations and the many hats she wears.

Name: Soraya Darabi, 27

Company: Foodspotting and ABC News

Fun fact: While at the New York Times, Soraya tweeted for “The Gray Lady.” When there was an uproar in the wake of a typo on the Twitter feed, she knew that social media was something big.

How did the Foodspotting story begin?

Foodspotting began when Alexa [Andrzejewski] and her husband were taking a trip to Japan, and she noticed that everyone around her was taking photos of food, and she really wanted to understand where those photos were headed. But more importantly, she became inspired because she was trying all these dishes that she hadn't tried before, and when she got back to San Francisco, she didn't know how to identify those dishes.

Foodspotting also began as a coffee table book where one could sift through gorgeous photos of all of the most unique dishes in the world – and we still think that's a good idea! But it wasn't until she met up with Ted Grubb, one of the early engineers at Get Satisfaction who was developing a food app himself. Over time, they decided that it was a great idea to make Foodspotting into an app, together.

Shortly thereafter, Randy Reddig (a Square co-founder) introduced me to Alexa and Ted. I flew out to [San Francisco] on his recommendation — it really felt like a blind date. I was still at The Times and was so intrigued by the concept! I acted like an overly-caffeinated cheerleader when I met them and said repeatedly there are a lot of ways to get other people excited about this company, because it's a recommendation engine and a discovery platform and an activity rolled up into one. We all knew food in particular is something people naturally convene about and we were certain we could create a strong community within an app.

I advised Foodspotting while I was at The Times and then I went to to gather product development experience, which was also a great entrepreneurial experience. Foodspotting launched at SXSW 2010 with a beta version of the iPhone app. I went down and saw all the traction, and it made me want to be more involved and to be a better adviser for the project. I found myself feeling very passionate about what Ted and Alexa were building — a community around the technology, just as we had planned. We came together last summer and were all feeling mutually confident that raising a seed round together and starting a company based around what it means to love food and travel and discovery made a lot of sense. We hired our first employee in September.

What about Foodspotting is game-changing?

Foodspotting is game-changing because there are thousands upon thousands of restaurant recommendation engines for helping you decide where to eat, but until Foodspotting, there was nothing as granular and pointed as what you should eat when you're at a restaurant. Whether it’s the best street food in Vietnam or what to order to impress a girl on a first date, there are thousands of ways in which Foodspotting helps users make smart culinary decisions in their day-to-day lives. We help our users discover what’s possible. So many of my busy twenty-something friends in New York order Thai food three times a week and rarely take risks with what they eat. I was raised in a food family — my grandmother was a chef and my aunt was a caterer — so I’ve always been surrounded by delicious food. When I moved to New York, I was excited most of all about the restaurants and new cuisines I didn't have as much access to growing up in Minneapolis.

There are three co-founders — what’s your role?

The company is beautifully managed by Ted and Alexa. Ted is the CTO, and he manages the product side so well. And Alexa is in the driver's seat — it's her vision. I've learned so many things from watching her take her vision and make it a reality. My core contributions have been in marketing, business development and product partnerships. We're a company that believes very strongly in the importance of playing well with others.

My role has included facilitating ongoing brand partnerships for the company, creating symbiotic relationships with organizations like the Travel Channel, Bravo, New York magazine and Gourmet. I work on bringing great ambassadors like Marcus Samuelsson, who add tremendous value. I work to forge relationships with product teams at other companies — BlackBerry sponsored our SXSW event, for instance, which helped us create a great relationship with RIM, and now we’re launching a BlackBerry app. We’ve worked closely with Facebook and Google — most every opportunity I bring to the table requires development integration, so we've been selective to-date about the partnerships we enter into.

What is your vision of success?

I think it’s healthy to not to have one distinct vision, and instead I try to feel successful with life as I know it. Whether it's my work at ABC News or with Foodspotting or working collaboratively with the companies I advise, I feel really lucky to work with inspired individuals who share my passion for all things geeky and disruptive. Meanwhile, I do think success outside of the workplace is equally important to success within it. So quality and balance of life and the ability to choose projects will always be high on my list of goals.

What inspires you?

Most risk-takers inspire me. I just got off the phone with a 23-year-old who called for career advice, which I found funny because I'm not a power CEO. He said so earnestly, “I really want to create value and in order to do so I should be an entrepreneur so I can help folks out, but I also want to run the show with a team of friends who feel as strongly about what we are building as I do.” It was classic Gen Y, but you know what? That will never fail to inspire me. Our generation believes we can change the world and because we believe that, we will.

Alexa inspires me for taking the concept of Foodspotting and executing on that vision diligently. She's a non-traditional CEO. In fact, I think we need more UX-driven entrepreneurs now that I've worked with her.

Aaron Koblin’s TED talk on data visualization and making art out of technology was so inspiring to watch. I’m inspired by the bands I discover daily on The Hype Machine. Right now I’m listening to Japanese Surf Rock per a recommendation of a musician I met at a dinner party recently. It’s the perfect work music — mellow but avante garde.

And then, outside of tech, so much inspires me, I studied literature and art history in college, so I’m constantly reading fiction (right now it's Dr. Zhivago — sort of strange for a balmy summer) or going to exhibits, most recently the Cory Arcangel show at the Whitney. Whether it’s inspiration from flipping through a monthly edition of Harper’s Bazaar every month or from a twist on a dish I never thought I'd try, everyday life is what excites me.

Economically, I'm inspired by culture shifts in art and news and technology — because that's what makes the world move.

What was the turning point in your career?

The first turning point I remember happened while I was in college in D.C. — I worked at Sony Music for a couple of years as a college marketing rep, but I was downloading music more on Limewire than I was listening to the physical CDs [that] the company sent me each month for distribution to local radio stations. It occurred to me then that the Internet is transformative and it is changing the music industry dramatically, and while many people in the music industry are afraid of it, I felt it was changing things for the better. I remember thinking "I’m discovering more music now than I ever would have before these engines existed," and it felt like magic. Then I became obsessed with the idea of convergence and really wanted that internship at to see if similar synergies were happening across industry. But mostly, [I wanted to see] if the news business was also experiencing what some perceived to be a tumultuous time and others perceived to be a great awakening. So at WaPo, I was able in 2004 to really see how a newsroom was experiencing a transformative time because of revelations like RSS.

Then I came to New York and worked in media for several years. When Conde Nast acquired Reddit in 2006, I worked on the best way to communicate that acquisition. I watched as three young guys entered the Conde Nast building, and they were about my age and they had just created this amazing product that millions of kids were using and I watched how a big media institution — an aspirational one at that — was incorporating the Reddit tool across the board in order to update their web properties. That’s the moment at which I began reading tech news sites every day and poring [over] news about social media because I was so fascinated by how the media world was being transformed by tools built by 23-year-old dudes. Smart dudes.

In addition to your own work with Foodspotting and ABC News, you also advise startups. What compels you to do so?

I advise a few companies, but I tend toward the ones that add a lot of value and are creatively focused. One is Architizer, a creative network for architects. What excites me about them is that you don't have to be an architect to feel passionately about structure and the art of industrial design and landscape. They make it accessible to everyone. Architizer has over 360,000 fans on Facebook now, and they’re one of the most popular Tumblr feeds [about] architecture. I'm so proud of the work their team was able to accomplish in just over a year and I've learned so much about how to be an entrepreneur from watching them grow.

It’s a great learning experience for me, but it’s also a way to stay current on all of my various interests. And they help me as much as I help them.

What’s your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

For up-and-coming entrepreneurs, my advice would be don't just jump in to working at a startup or creating a startup because you think it will be a world of fun and games. It will be so much harder and so much more intensive than you imagine. Also, the tech industry can be volatile, so toughen up!

However, if you aren't risk-averse, and you want to put your heart into something with lasting value and you know you have the right team making the product a reality, you must do it. There's never been a better time in our history to take this chance. With the recession, everyone and their mother is an entrepreneur, and most everyone I meet is sitting on a great idea they should be executing. We all know that the market is incredibly hot right now, investors are more excited than ever to invest in smart product-driven ideas.

Just know full well realizing those ideas depends on your team and on really listening to what your customers want. But thanks to social media, we’ve never been more tapped in to what our customers want, and we can really listen to the community. Get Satisfaction FTW!

Last piece of advice: Distance yourself from the hype and what everyone’s calling a "tech bubble," and really just focus sincerely on making a product that people want to use. It's hokey, but it's true.

What are your thoughts on women in tech?

I think I’m ready for the focus to not be "Do women make great entrepreneurs?" and instead for there to be an overall acceptance that there are kick-ass ladies out there making really great products. Period. I want the focus to be less on the two X chromosomes and more on their visions. As Sheryl Sandberg said so well in her TED talk, it's just about demanding a seat at the table.

Caterina Fake was one of the early female founders I looked up to — Flickr was such a beautifully exercised vision that it’s impossible to ignore her contributions to the industry. Every single day I seem to be meeting another exceptional woman entrepreneur who has an idea to change the landscape of media and technology.

I know that it's a matter of time before we forget we ever talked about women in tech as if they're an anomaly.

Series Supported by Diet Coke®

The Extraordinary Entrepreneurs Series is supported by Diet Coke®. Now, the drink that helps you stay extraordinary brings you extraordinary people. Find Diet Coke® on Facebook for access to a whole lot of extraordinary.

More About: business, digital media, entrepreneur, Extraordinary Entrepreneurs Series, foodspotting, media, social media, Soraya Darabi, startups

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Arianna Huffington: How HuffPo Got to 100 Million Comments

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 08:59 AM PDT

Readers of The Huffington Post like to share their opinions: That much is obvious from the comment counts on its stories, which can frequently number more than 10,000.

HuffPo recently celebrated a testament to the large, engaged audience it has attracted: its 100 millionth comment last weekend.

The online newspaper now averages more than 175,000 comments per day, and the site received more than 4.45 million comments last month alone, says founder Arianna Huffington.

In a phone interview with Mashable, Huffington attributed HuffPo‘s success to several factors, the chief being pre-moderation of comments.

“From the first day when we had hardly any resources to spend on it, we committed ourselves to moderating comments,” Huffington says.

HuffPo employs 30 human moderators who work alongside “Julia,” a backend moderator that algorithmically filters out comments that don’t belong on the site. They keep trolls and offensive remarks out of the comment sections and work to quickly approve posts so that there isn’t a long gap between submitting a comment and it appearing on the site.

Although moderation goes a long way toward ensuring the quality of the comments, HuffPo also does an excellent job of surfacing the remarks that are most relevant to individual readers. If you connect to using your Facebook or Twitter login, you’ll see comments posted by people in your network above regular comments. This allows for high-frequency group debate amid the broader public conversation.

The rest of the comments are displayed not chronologically, but ordered by popularity and a user’s commenting history.

Recognition is another important factor, says Huffington. Readers can earn badges and privileges (such as the ability to author posts using rich text) for sharing and commenting on content. Soon, Huffington Post CTO Paul Berry says, users will be able to award each other badges to recognize commenters who are funny (“LOL” badge) and insightful (“pundit” badge). Leaderboards will also show commenters that are worth following.

There is also, of course, a certain je ne sais quoi to HuffPo‘s commenting success — something about the tone, Huffington suggests, that makes readers want to comment.

“We have a certain attitude, a certain playfulness in the way we do headlines for instance, that makes people want to be more engaged,” Huffington says. Questions and other types of prompts at the end of posts also help get the conversation going.

“People no longer want to passively sit back and be served up news, information and entertainment. They want to engage with a story, react to it, add to it and share it,” she explains.

The Huffington Post, it appears, has given people a platform to do exactly that.

More About: aol, Arianna Huffington, community, Huffington Post, journalism, media

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