Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Nook Teardown Reveals a Tablet Not Meant to be Torn Down”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Nook Teardown Reveals a Tablet Not Meant to be Torn Down”

Nook Teardown Reveals a Tablet Not Meant to be Torn Down

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 05:29 AM PST

Most users never open up their gadgets and fiddle with the innards, but some like to change the battery and repair the devices. Those belonging to the second camp won’t be too impressed with the Nook Tablet, which proved quite a tough nut to crack.

iFixit’s detailed teardown of the Nook Tablet shows that the device is relatively hard to disassemble, with hidden screws preventing easy removal of the rear panel, and a number of adhesive strips make the entire process quite tedious.

Of course, Barnes & Noble never meant for users to open their Nook Tablets and fix them themselves, so it’s hard to blame the company for not making the device more repair-friendly. Still, if you’re the tinkering type, you should know that the Nook Tablet won’t make it too easy for you – iFixit gives it a six out of 10 score for repair-ability (10 being the easiest to repair).

For comparison, iFixit gave Amazon’s Kindle Fire an eight out of 10 score on the same scale in a recent teardown.

SEE ALSO: Nook Tablet Gives Kindle Fire a Run for Its Money [REVIEW]

The teardown didn’t revealed any big surprises. The Nook Tablet is quite similar to the Kindle Fire, if a little bit thicker — it features a similar IPS display with a 1024×600 pixel resolution, and the same Texas Instruments OMAP4 1 GHz dual-core processor.

Check out the entire teardown here.

Nook Tablet Box

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: disassembly, iFixit, Nook Tablet

Pay a Blogger Day Hopes You’ll Pay for the Content You Love

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 05:00 AM PST

Flattr, a startup that seeks to motivate Internet users to pay for content they love, is launching the first Pay a Blogger Day Nov. 29. The team hopes inspired Internet users will send some monetary token of appreciation — by buying a song, ebook, t-shirt or giving them a “Flattr click” — towards their favorite songsters, podcast creators, open-source software developers and bloggers.

“We think that many blogs are insightful and witty and people just expect them to be free even though there are a lot of effort and love put into them,” Flattr co-founder Linus Olsson told Mashable. “It’s about time to try to give them something tangible back, at least one day of the year.”

Part of the campaign is the promotion of Flattr buttons, publicly launched in August 2010, which you can think of as “Like” buttons that amount to more than a digital thumbs up. Readers who register with Flattr designate a monthly sum (the site suggests a mere €3) that will be divided between the number of Flattr buttons they click throughout the month. Flattr makes it easy for bloggers to add the button to their own sites, as well.

When it comes to Pay a Blogger Day, Flattr doesn’t care if readers support bloggers through clicking Flattr buttons or simply through purchasing their merchandise. The startup cares most about starting a movement.

“If you’re an amateur blogger and get one beer from your readers it could be the best beer you ever had,” Olsson says.

To help spread word of the movement, Flattr has partnered with Posterous, Twingly and Bambuser.

You may be wondering if this movement will really generate enough income to provide bloggers with a viable income. A blogger testimonial on the site says, “This month … I’ve made $0.03, but it was the best $0.03 I ever made.”

So maybe Pay a Blogger Day won’t provide bloggers with enough money to make a living, but it may give them the necessary pat on the back to encourage them to keep contributing their craft to the Internet.

Do you think Pay a Blogger Day can change with way free content is thought about on the Internet? Would you sign up to support the content you love?

More About: flattr, pay a blogger day, startup

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Will HTC ‘Buffy’ Be the Facebook Phone We’ve Always Wanted? [REPORT]

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 04:17 AM PST

Buffy Facebook phone

Facebook is working with HTC to develop a phone that has a much deeper integration with the social network than any previous "Facebook phone." That's according to a report from All Things D, which says the phone is probably 12 to 18 months away from hitting store shelves.

Codenamed "Buffy" after the vampire slayer of the same name, the phone will run a modified version of Google’s Android, but Facebook is reported to be tweaking the system "heavily." HTC is known for modifying Android on its phones with its HTC Sense interface, and both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have created tablets with highly customized versions of the Android, so it's possible that Facebook is adopting a similar strategy.

Part of the package would be serving up Facebook apps via HTML5 support. This would allow users to play games like Farmville and Poker directly from the Facebook app. While most developers offer their apps as separate downloads from Facebook, that prevents them from tapping into active Facebook users, while cutting Facebook off from potential revenues. Buffy would presumably bridge the gap.

Buffy will be far from the first Facebook phone. Earlier this year INQ Mobile released two phones, the Cloud Touch and Cloud Q that put the service front and center. Then HTC took it a step further with the Status, which came to the U.S. on AT&T this summer and featured a prominent dedicated Facebook button. Finally, Facebook released an app designed specifically for the iPad in October.

Apple, however, hasn't played as nice with Facebook as the service might have liked, however. When Apple unveiled iOS 5, the latest major update to the software on iPhones and iPads, it featured deeper integration with Twitter — letting users share photos directly from the phone's camera app, for example. An option for sharing to Facebook was noticeably absent.

Both HTC and Facebook told Mashable that they don't comment on rumor and speculation, though the Facebook spokesperson added, "Our mobile strategy is simple: we think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social. We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers to bring powerful social experiences to more people around the world."

The collaborative picture Facebook paints is a far cry from the ultra-competitive war among mobile platforms with Google, Apple, Facebook, and others vying for consumers' hearts and minds. Perhaps the most telling aspect of the rumored phone is the codename. With a name like Buffy, the Facebook phone's mission is clear: slay all comers.

More About: Buffy, Facebook, Facebook Phone, htc

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Facebook Introduces Sponsored Stories to Ticker

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 02:36 AM PST

facebook sponsored ticker

If you're annoyed by the Facebook news ticker already, just you wait. Facebook confirmed that it has introduced sponsored stories, or ads, to the ticker.

“Sponsored Stories now appear in Ticker on the home page,” a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable. “Sponsored Stories are an extension of News Feed, so we think it’s natural that they appear in Ticker.”

The ticker first appeared to mixed reviews when Facebook revamped News Feed in early September. It's intended to be a repository for those quick, repetitive messages like "Jill Liked Flying Kites" or "Dave and Floyd are now friends," leaving meatier status updates to the main feed.

At the same time, the different kinds of updates that could appear in the ticker expanded, with services like Spotify introducing the ability to automatically share what you're listening to via the new feature.

The new approach, and the ticker specifically, received tepid reviews from Facebook users, and some reacted with outright anger. Among the more pointed criticisms: If the ticker updates weren't important enough for the main feed, why have them at all?

It appears part of the answer may be for the ticker to serve Facebook's growing advertising platform. After all, if users aren't paying that much attention to it, they may be less inclined to complain about advertising occasionally appearing there. While there’s no way to opt-out of seeing the sponsored content, users will be able to click the “X” in the post to hide the updates, just like regular ticker items.

The inclusion of sponsored posts among regular ones will be familiar to any user of Twitter, Digg, and other networks. Sponsored content in various "feeds" is rapidly becoming the norm in social media, although most services clearly mark the content as such.

More About: ads, Advertising, Facebook, Facebook Ticker, sponsored content, trending

A Friendly Reminder From Google: 2-Step Verification Protects You From Hackers

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 01:49 AM PST

Did you know that Google offers 2-step login verification for Gmail accounts? The feature has been around a while, and now Google has written a reminder for all users who need an extra layer of security for their Gmail account and other services connected to it.

In addition to logging into Gmail with your email and password, with 2-step verification you’ll have to go through the added trouble of entering a code Google will send to your phone. This will “approve” the computer you’re currently logging in from for 30 days, so you don’t have to do this every time you log in.

If you have a smartphone, you can also generate the code on your phone using the Google Authenticator app.

Yes, entering an additional code is somewhat of a nuisance, but it would also greatly complicate matters for anyone who has gotten a hold of your password. To successfully log into your Gmail account, that person would also need to obtain your phone.

In its blog post, Google emphasizes that this reminder is just “general security advice, not an indication of an attack or compromise,” but one has to wonder if the Redmond giant is seeing an increased number of complaints from users whose Gmail accounts have been compromised.

To enable 2-step verification for Gmail, go here.

More About: 2-step verification, e-mail, gmail, Google, hackers

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Small Business Saturday: A Guide for Shoppers and Stores

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 12:56 AM PST

Round two of Small Business Saturday — another post-Thanksgiving national shopping day launched in 2010 — is taking shape as consumers and businesses prepare for the Nov. 26 event.

Small Business Saturday‘s goal is to to steer shoppers toward local independently owned businesses during the holiday season instead of bigger stores on Black Friday or online on Cyber Monday.

This year, the campaign is getting a more support from social media sites such as Facebook, Foursquare and Google. American Express cardholders, for example, can sync their Foursquare accounts to their cards to receive a $25 credit after spending $25 or more on Small Business Saturday. At this time a year ago, the event’s Facebook Page had fewer than 1 million Likes. Now, the page has 2.3 million Likes.

Below are some tips for shoppers and stores on how to get involved in the movement.

What Is Small Business Saturday?

American Express and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg created the annual day-long initiative last year to boost sales for struggling small business. “One purchase is all it takes,” say people in the above video. “So pick your favorite local business and join the movement.”

Statistics from American Express OPEN show the inaugural event had some impact: Forty-one elected officials declared Nov. 27, 2010, Small Business Saturday, and people sent 30,000 tweets using the hashtags #SmallBusinessSaturday and #SmallBizSaturday.

“Last year, we saw a 28 percent rise in sales volumes for our small business merchants versus the same day in 2009,” said Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly, SVP at American Express OPEN.

The list of supporters for 2011 continues to grow as more cities, states, advocacy groups, public officials and corporate partners jump on board.

How to Participate as a Consumer

Small Business Saturday has grown through press coverage and word-of-mouth marketing offline and online. You can contribute to the latter on the campaign’s Facebook Page or on Twitter by using the hashtags #SmallBusinessSaturday and #SmallBizSaturday.

As an incentive, you can get $25 back on Small Business Saturday. You have two ways this year to receive the $25 credit for spending $25 or more at a small business:

  • Register your American Express Card here.
  • Sync your Foursquare account to your American Express Card here.

FedEx this year also gave away 40,000 $25 gift cards, which have all already been claimed.

How Small Businesses Can Prepare

Like last year, American Express gave $100 in free Facebook advertising to 10,000 business owners. And although those have all been claimed, many more tools are available for your business to prepare for Nov. 26.



  • My Business Story: Create custom videos using YouTube’s editing tool to entice your customers.


  • Take charge of engagement: YourBuzz is a tool that allows users to read and respond to customer reviews and online mentions in one location. For Small Business Saturday, YourBuzz is offering $200 in free advertising credits on LinkedIn Ads ($100 for 6,500 business owners) and Facebook ($100 for 10,000, which is all used up).

Go Social:

  • Coupon-less offers: Provide mobile-based deals to your American Express card-wielding customers.


More About: black friday, Business, cyber monday, Holidays 2011, shopping, Small Business

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Can Vertical Acuity Stop Your Site Losing Visitors?

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 09:13 PM PST

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: Vertical Acuity

Quick Pitch: Vertical Acuity is a self-serve content syndication platform.

Genius Idea: Letting a website’s visitors browse other publications’ content without leaving.

Google, Facebook and Twitter allow users to bounce between different publications’ websites — often to the detriment of those publications’ revenue.

Vertical Acuity wants to reduce this bouncing by turning sites into platforms for discovering content from other publications. Its year-old content syndication platform lets websites post each others’ content.

The websites using the system, such as Inc. Magazine and TVGuide.com, can choose to only provide content to other publications, only run content from other publications, or both. Some charge the publications that want to run their content, and others choose to pay a fee for keeping their own ads attached to the content that runs on other publications. Publications that create the content approve who else is allowed to run it.

“We’ve made business partnerships with other publications as easy as a Facebook friend request," Vertical Acuity CEO Gregg Freishtat says.

Companies such as Outbrain also facilitate content promotion across websites, but most plant thumbnails or links that direct site visitors to content hosted on other sites. Vertical Acuity brings the content to them.

This ideally keeps visitors who would have otherwise immediately left a news article on one website for another like it on a different website. Meanwhile, that other publication still earns revenue for their content and can find a wider audience without dominating search results. The system essentially cuts out the middleman in online news browsing.

“If you have 3 or 4 fewer Google searches every day,” Freishtat says, “everyone is better off except for Google.”

Image courtesy of istockphoto, Aluxum

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, Media, Vertical Acuity

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Seminal RPG ‘Chrono Trigger’ Coming to iPhone

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 08:14 PM PST

Game publisher Square Enix announced on its blog today that it plans to release a version of the beloved role-playing game Chrono Trigger for the iPhone and iPod touch next month.

Originally released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo, Chrono Trigger is hailed by many as a landmark game for its unique story and mechanics. Players travel through time via mysterious portals, gathering a party of memorable characters across different epochs and learning of their mysterious interconnections — all in a bid to save the world from a future of destruction.

Members of your party develop new skills as they fight together in combinations of three, and the deeds you do in one time period (e.g. the Middle Ages) affect circumstances in others (e.g. 2300 A.D.). With surprising plot twists and multiple endings, the game has heart and depth seen in few of its contemporary titles.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Role-Playing Games for iPhone

The game has been re-released previously on the Sony Playstation, the Nintendo DS, and most recently on the Wii’s virtual console. The journey to iOS is one more step in the very gradual opening of Square’s illustrious back catalog.

Square released some images showing the game’s new touch interface. Besides a necessarily revamped UI, the original graphics appear to be intact.

The price and a specific release date have yet to be announced, though Square writes that fans will be able to get their thumbs on it “before the end of December.” If you haven’t experienced Chrono Trigger (or want to relive its 16-bit glory), mark your calendar and check the App Store. If the port is true to the original, you won’t be disappointed.

More About: chrono trigger, Gaming, iphone, iPhone games, Mobile

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BlackBerry PlayBook Price Slashed to $199 [VIDEO]

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 05:59 PM PST

RIM has slashed the price of the struggling BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to $199, the company announced on Monday. Although RIM says the deal will be for a limited time — perhaps to coincide with Black Friday — it’s not the first price cut for the device, which debuted at $499 but was cut to $299 in September following lackluster demand.

More About: blackberry, blackberry playbook, RIM

UC Davis Pepper Spray Now Available in Stronger Dose, on Amazon

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 05:19 PM PST

A stronger version of the pepper spray made infamous by the UC Davis campus police officer who casually sprayed a row of seated, protesting students is available for purchase at Amazon.com.

But don’t dally, shoppers; as of 8pm ET, the online retailer only had eight left in stock.

According to Amazon’s product description, the First Defense brand is the “most widely used pepper spray in law enforcement and corrections” worldwide. A UC Davis spokesperson confirmed to Mashable that campus police use a First Defense product containing 0.7% major capsaicinoids, the active ingredient that makes eyes sting, noses run and faces burn.

The pepper spray on Amazon advertises 1.3% major capsaicinoids — “the most intense formula available,” according to Safariland, the company that makes First Defense products. Photos of UC Davis’ pepper-spraying officer have been added to the Amazon page by customers, and fake reviews added since Nov. 18 laud the product for, among other things, its ability to “breezily inflict discipline on unruly citizens.”

But Amazon is not the only option for online consumers in the market for a way to ward off would-be attackers.

There are cannisters that attach to keychains, gun-shaped dispensers and canisters colored pink and branded for breast cancer awareness.

Pepper spray comes in traditional stream form, as well as gels and foams meant for better skin adhesiveness. There are also pepper foggers that, when fired, create a mist rather than a spray.

“The only difference there is it’s not recommended for windy days,” says Sally Morris, a representative for the website pepper-spray-store.com.

Morris said that events like the UC Davis incident typically have no effect on sales. Her website’s busiest time is usually the back-to-school season, she says, when concerned parents arm their new and returning college students.

“People who purchase pepper spray are really just looking for a non-lethal way to protect themselves,” Morris said.

Morris declined to reveal information about customer demographics regarding age or location, but said that all of her company’s sales come from within the United States, where states legislate pepper spray differently.

In New York, for example, online retailers can’t ship sprays intended for use on humans, but state residents can buy from pharmacies or firearms dealers. In California, citizens are allowed to carry a maximum of 2.5 ounces of the spray, while law enforcement officers can have more. The canister used by the UC Davis officer on Nov. 18 appears to be larger than 2.5 ounces.

So if you live in the right state and are in the market for a new can of pain-inducing aerosol — finding an online retailer to suit your needs shouldn’t be a problem with the surplus of internet hawkers. But, like so many purchases these days, even online pepper spray shopping comes with moral dilemmas.

“The market is really, really saturated and business isn’t great,” said Greg at peppersprayplus.com, who declined to give his last name. “Big companies like Walmart and Amazon are taking over everything, the pepper spray market included.”

BONUS: Pepper Spray Cop Gets the Meme Treatment


Photo from KnowYourMeme

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: amazon, online shopping, uc davis

Bill Gates Testifies: Microsoft Beat WordPerfect Fair and Square

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 04:53 PM PST

Bill Gates

Bill Gates testified in a Salt Lake City courtroom Monday in a lawsuit that accuses Microsoft of — surprise! — monopolistic behavior. The accuser: former WordPerfect owner Novell.

If you're old enough to remember Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a lame movie, before it became a hip TV show, you may also recall a promising challenger to Microsoft Word called WordPerfect, which was bought by Novell in 1994.

WordPerfect was once a powerful brand, and it still has a following in academic and legal circles thanks to its differentiating features (such as streaming codes, which are similar to HTML tags). WordPerfect even had larger market share than Word in the 1980s and early 1990s, when the operating system of choice was DOS.

Then came Windows. After its debut in 1989, Word for Windows grew quickly while WordPerfect stumbled into the party late in 1992 with a buggy version.

The release of Windows 95 sealed its fate. There wasn't a Win 95 version of WordPerfect until May 1996, nine months after Word 95 debuted and continued to eat up market share. Novell ended up selling WordPerfect that year, to Corel, for what it says was a $1.2 billion loss.

In 2004, Novell finally cried foul. The company says WordPerfect never got a fair shot on Windows 95 since Microsoft shut it out of the development process, ostensibly in favor of Word. Novell names Gates himself, claiming he ordered Microsoft engineers to reject WordPerfect as a Windows 95 application because it was too good.

Gates himself took the stand Monday to give his side of the story. While questioned by Microsoft lawyer Steven Holley, Gates said he denied the central argument of Novell's suit — that the software giant withheld elements of Windows 95 that undermined WordPerfect.

Gates said that creating Windows 95 was the "most challenging, trying project we had ever done.” He admitted that the development team removed a technical feature of the operating system that would have supported WordPerfect, because he believed it might crash Windows. In the end, Gates argued, Novell didn't innovate fast enough, and Word was the better product.

The numbers tend to support Gates' argument. Stan Liebowitz of the University of Texas looked at the market share of Word vs. WordPerfect since 1986, and it clearly shows Word shooting up fast while WordPerfect sinking from its once-dominant position, starting in the early 1990s.

word processor market share

Would a faster (and less buggy) release on Windows 95 have turned the tide? Or at least given WordPerfect a fair shake? That's the central question U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz will have to answer. But let us know your take in the comments.

More About: bill gates, Corel, microsoft, Novell, office, word, WordPerfect

New York Times Launches Group Digital Subscriptions For Companies

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 03:47 PM PST

The New York Times is ready to start extending sales of its “all access” digital subscriptions across tablets and smartphones to companies and organizations with more than 50 employees.

The introduction of a new structure of paid digital circulation comes as the promotion that gave 100,000 NYT digital subscribers access through subsidized a Ford Lincoln marketing campaign enters its last month in December.

The NYT won’t estimate how many of those users it expects to convert to paying for their own access after the Lincoln digital subscription coverage ends. Under that program, which began roughly a month after the NYT introduced its metered paywall for complete access to its website and other digital formats last spring, a limited amount of users who clicked on a Lincoln ad on the NYT homepage were offered the digital subscription for the rest of 2011 after paying a one-time $35 fee.

There are currently three tiers for digital access to the NYT content. Although there are often discounts offered, it regularly charges $35 for complete monthly access to the NYT’s website, smartphone and tablet content; $15 a month for the site and smartphone access; and $20 a month for the site and tablet only. Print subscribers also get the option of free digital access.

The new group subscriptions will be offered according to those three tiers and will be discounted from those above prices, said Ray Pearce, the NYT’s VP for Circulation and Reader Applications, in an interview with paidContent. The rates will be determined by the number of individuals a company or organization adds.

“This is a response to the number of requests we’ve gotten to set up group subscriptions,” Pearce said. “We’ve built a subscription model that we think will meet the individual needs of pretty much any organization. There is a self-management tool that will make it easy to assign access to individual employees. For example, if a company can assign single administrator to manage who gets access. We’ve also made it easy to add, delete and substitute individuals who fall under a company’s group subscription. For example, if an employee leaves the company, the company can simply assign that access ‘seat’ to someone else.”

More About: new york times, newspapers

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Google Launches Search App for iPad — With a Siri-like Feature [VIDEO]

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 03:44 PM PST

Google unveiled the latest version of its free Search app for the iPad on Monday, making searching on the Apple device faster and more intuitive — and, ironically, giving Android tablet users another reason to switch.

Google’s YouTube video on the app, above, highlights some of the key new features of the free app — including an easy way to recommend and share content with others on Google+, Siri-like voice search, and Google Instant — that is, seeing display results as soon as you begin to type, without the need of pressing the search button.

“You'll notice that searching is faster and more interactive from your first keystroke,” said Daniel Fish, Software Engineer for the Google Search app, on the Google Mobile Blog.

The app – available for iPads with iOS 4.0 or higher – also includes an innovative way to look at search results and websites side by side. New pages are added with a slide-in pane that layers over search results and makes it easy to go back and forth between them.

The updated app also makes revisiting previous searches seamless, with a Visual Search History feature. Searching for images has also been optimized. Tapping on a picture launches an image carousel that lets you swipe through to see other photos. Meanwhile, for those with Siri on the brain, the app provides a similar service allowing users to search by voice and skip typing all together.

Will you use Google’s Search app rather than going to your browser on the iPad? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Apple iPad, Google, ipad

Young Woody Allen Fights a Kangaroo [VIDEO]

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 02:57 PM PST

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

Anyone committed enough to sit through a four-hour Woody Allen documentary is in for some serious treats. Like, say, a young Allen boxing a kangaroo whom he affectionately calls the “Australian Light-Heavyweight Champion.” He then actually sort of has a boxing match with the confused antipodean.

Woody Allen: A Documentary, airing on PBS, is a rare glimpse into Allen’s journey from writer, to actor, to director and back again. Allen, a notorious self-deprecator, has shied away from media appearances while directing a series of movies including his most recent, Midnight in Paris. Why is Allen unwilling to participate in documentaries? Because, apparently, he didn’t think anyone would be interested in watching.

This clip shows an entirely different side of Allen who, as a young comic and rising star, was pushed by his manager to get on TV as much as possible. The fight was staged for an episode of Hippodrome, a 1966 variety show that showcased absurd sketches like dog tricks, brass bands and other vaudeville.

Allen’s human-on-kangaroo match shows a sprightly and understandably anxious Allen play-fighting with a kangaroo as its manager (in the suit) looks on. Allen is most remembered for his neurotic characters, but here he shows some real slapstick aptitude, alternately playing to the crowd and not getting killed by the kangaroo.

The sketch would be unlikely to get the go-ahead now, thanks to animal protection laws. As anxious as Allen is, the kangaroo looks equally scared by the hullabaloo, even if it is doing most of the punching. Animal activists get some delayed schadenfreude near the end when the kangaroo gives its wrangler a good thump.

More About: Video, viral-video-of-the-day, YouTube

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20 TV Shows With the Most Social Media Buzz This Week [CHART]

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 02:12 PM PST

OK, I admit. I had to do a little research to find out why the heck WWE Raw topped the cable social TV chart this week. Turns out, one of the most anticipated wrestling alliances happened right here in New York on Nov. 20 — The Rock matched up for the first time with rival John Cena to fight The Miz and R-Truth at Madison Square Garden.

If you’re more likely to recognize Dwaye “The Rock” Johnson from his Hollywood pursuits, then my guess is you tuned into the American Music Awards instead, which incidentally, topped the broadcast social TV chart. The AMAs also aired last night, which made this week’s social TV chart light up last-minute.

The data below is compliments of our friends at Trendrr, who measure specific TV show activity (mentions, likes, checkins) across Twitter, Facebook, GetGlue and Miso. To see daily rankings, check out Trendrr.TV

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, narvikk

More About: features, Social Media, social tv, social tv charts, Trendrr, TV

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Google Updates Chromebook OS and Lowers Prices

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 01:31 PM PST

Everyone’s busy trying to figure out which tablet they’ll buy this holiday season, but there are other options. At least Google sees it that way, as it commences a fresh Google Chromebook push with an updated interface and some more attractive prices.

For those unfamiliar with the Chromebook, it’s essentially a low-powered laptop running Google’s Chrome OS. Chrome Operating System is a lot like the Chrome browser, but without access to the Microsoft Windows Desktop underneath. That’s because there is no Windows underneath. Chrome OS is all Google and it has been slowly growing and changing to become a more full-featured platform that can compete with the likes of Windows laptops and the ultra-popular and user-friendly iOS-based Apple iPad.

Just last May, Google introduced a file system and laptops with working SD card slots. This is progress for a platform that on its initial launch was entirely limited to working with the cloud. Chrome OS and Chromebooks still rely heavily on the cloud, but now you can side-load files and even download them to an easily accessible file area on the system.

Chrome OS Sign In

Unlike Windows systems, but somewhat like Apple’s iPad and the new Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet, Chromebooks have virtually no setup beyond signing into your Gmail account. Once that’s done, whatever you have access to on your Windows desktop-based Gmail account (and any other Chromebook you sign into) is on your Chromebook. The latest Chrome OS update doesn’t change any of that. Instead, it just simplifies log-in and the log-in screen a bit more (the biggest change might be the color: the background is now light gray instead of dark blue).

Chrome OS relies on tabs to manage multiple windows for web pages, as well as your cloud-based apps and files. The latest OS update brings some order to the new tab page and, more importantly, adds shortcuts to the file manager, music apps and games.

A typical Chromebook is not a particularly powerful computer. Most offer an Intel Atom processor, 16 GB of SSD storage and just 2 GB of RAM. Yet, some cost as much as $429. Now the entry-level model, which pretty much matches those specs, but drops 3G support (Wi-Fi is an obvious must on all cloud-craving Chromebooks), is $299. This still makes the baseline Chromebook $100 more expensive than the Amazon Kindle Fire ($199) and $50 than the Barnes & Noble Nook ($249). A baseline iPad still runs $499.

Are these changes and the price adjustment enough for you to consider buying a Chromebook this holiday season? Perhaps you’ve tried one out on Virgin America Airways and fell in love, but are you ready to bring one home? Share in the comments below.

More About: chromebook, Google, google chrome os

Facebook Canada Hosts Youth Focused Hack-a-thon

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 01:17 PM PST

hack image

Hack-a-thons are becoming popular ways to get a massive group of hackers together for a manic, usually overnight blitz to code something cool. Hack for a Cause is one of the newest to apply that Red Bull-fueled creativity to social and charity causes.

In just 12 hours (6 p.m. on Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday, EST), 60 coders created 12 products that were ready to ship. The event, hosted at Facebook Canada’s Toronto headquarters, was organized by Free the Children, a Canadian charity that empowers youths across North America to create positive change.

The rules of the hackathon were pretty simple: Come up with some product that will help Free the Children get kids engaged in positive actions. In response, Hack for a Cause turned out Facebook apps to help log and share volunteerism, a mobile app that accepts and displays donation pledges, an interactive map that allows users to see local philanthropic meet ups, educational mobile games and more.

Even though Hack for a Cause is relatively single-minded, as far as hack-a-thons go, providing Free the Children with new technology will hopefully have widespread impact as well. Besides, it’s not such a bad idea to host a group of uber-talented coders and get some awesome new products in return. It’s a smart move by Free the Children that may help some kids get more involved in social change.

Are hack-a-thons like Hack for a Cause a great new philanthropic tool? Let us know in the comments.

More About: charity, coding, Dev & Design, hacking, Social Good

For more Social Good coverage:

How 5 Top Brands Crafted Their Social Media Voices

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 01:06 PM PST

The Digital Marketing Series is supported by HubSpot, an inbound marketing software company based in Cambridge, MA, that makes a full platform of marketing software, including tools for better B2B lead nurturing.

Social networks are platforms for personal connection and dialogue, a reality that has proved challenging for many companies that are not used to speaking to their customers in conversational tones. As companies have established profiles on Facebook, Twitter and other social channels, many have had to develop their brand voices anew.

Mashable spoke with the figures behind some of the most compelling voices on Twitter. (Since I primarily follow media and fashion brands and their teams, my sample is a bit skewed — forgive me.) Each has taken a different path to identifying and relaying the brand voice on social networks. Some, like fashion designer and CEO Tory Burch, speak directly on behalf of their brands. Others, like DKNY and Kate Spade, have developed semi-fictional personalities that speak to the best of their brands’ traits, while still others, including Esquire and Lucky magazines, have adapted their existing, “all-encompassing” editorial tones to social channels.

Here’s how they’ve accomplished it.

1. Tory Burch


Fashion designer Tory Burch is one of the few designers to speak on behalf of her brand on social networks — namely, Twitter. She discovered early on that social networks were not best used as “a conduit to [the brand's] marketing messages,” but rather a place for “of the moment, off-the-cuff comments that are the most compelling … [and] for sharing personal experiences, whether that’s fishing with her three sons or building relationships,” notes Miki Berardelli, chief marketing officer of Tory Burch. It is through Twitter conversations that Burch identified demand for fashionable travel socks, and struck up a friendship with comedian Mindy Kaling, for whom Burch hosted a book signing event at her flagship store earlier this month.

The rest of Burch’s social media efforts are managed by an in-house team of two, says Berardelli. Although the content varies across platforms — “on Tumblr we do one strong image and a letter, and on Facebook we do more behind-the-scenes content,” Berardelli says — the team works carefully to make sure that all content stays true to Burch’s voice and inspired personal vision.

2. DKNY PR Girl


Brands who haven’t been able to leverage the voice of their chief creatives have had to develop other tactics.

One of the most unique personalities I’ve encountered online is DKNY PR GIRL, which is run not by a lackey in the PR department — as the account name might first lead one to suspect — but by Donna Karan International’s SVP of global communications, Aliza Licht.

The account is one of the most prolific and responsive I’ve seen, not only on Twitter, but on Tumblr as well. Nary a question, compliment or complaint goes unanswered. It gives real insight into not only the day-to-day workings at Donna Karan headquarters, but also into the PR business itself. Licht is frequently solicited for career advice and resume reviews, a surprising number of which she responds to. It’s also fun and in tune with DKNY’s young, urban-leaning demographic: DKNY PR GIRL (and by proxy, Licht) has gained something of a reputation for live-tweeting episodes of Gossip Girl.

When asked why Licht chose the name “DKNY PR GIRL” and not “DKNY GIRL,” Licht explained that it was best way to give followers broad insight into the brand and its operations. “PR touches every area of the company,” she explains. “Sharing the behind the scenes of public relations makes everyone a fly on the Donna Karan wall.”

“Originally the idea was that DKNY PR GIRL was a ‘character,’ hence the sketch,” Licht adds, referring to her illustrated Twitter avatar. “But as soon as I started tweeting, I realized that Twitter was a conversation and the voice needed to be consistent. Naturally, people started to realize DKNY PR GIRL was in fact, one girl, but yet it never really mattered ‘who’ the person was — it was the personality and content that mattered.”

Because the voice is always Licht’s, she doesn’t encounter any inherent challenges in crossing platforms. “Tumblr is an extension of Twitter … [for] when 140 characters isn’t enough,” she explains. Facebook, however, is run by the company’s marketing team and carries the voice of the DKNY brand, she says. Although it’s very responsive to fans, the voice is far less personal.

Her advice to other brands? “Keep the ‘social’ in media.”

3. Kate Spade


Like DKNY, fashion brand Kate Spade developed a persona for the brand on social networks, but one with a more anonymous aspect.

“We took a lot of different approaches [at Kate Spade] in the beginning,” recalls John Jannuzzi, who formerly administered social media for the fashion label, and now manages Lucky magazine’s social channels. At first, tweets from the @katespadeny account were written by visitors who came to the brand’s Fifth Avenue store and wrote short messages on a typewriter, or, as they affectionately called it, “the tweetwriter.”

“It was a great idea and tied in-store to social nicely, but we couldn’t rely on it for 100% of the content,” says Jannuzzi. He and his colleagues began to draft, edit and schedule their tweets, but found that that strategy wasn’t timely enough to be effective.

“It was the day-to-day that customers responded to most,” Jannuzzi discovered, and so he began thinking of the “Kate Spade woman” and how he would bring her — and her New York City agenda — to life. Soon, @katespadeny began checking in to the MoMA in the afternoon and at Mercury Lounge in the evening; on the weekends, “she” snapped Instagram photos of Central Park and the facade of the Plaza Hotel.

She was and remains witty, cheerful and conversational — and her followers on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr have responded. The brand has more than 135,000 followers on Twitter and more than 370,000 on Facebook, and a “true reach” of nearly 20,000 people, according to Klout.

4. Lucky Magazine


Lucky required the development of a different voice, Jannuzzi says. “Lucky‘s brand is all about shopping. Our editors are market experts and our writers know everything about where to buy what and at what times … so we position ourselves as an authority on shopping and we try to bring our shopping-obsessive nature through in social as much as possible.”

The result is a feed that balances traffic-driving links to luckymag.com with images and posts about window displays and where editors are shopping for deals. Jannuzzi also posts shopping-focused questions designed to get followers engaged in a dialogue.

“Just like Kate Spade, I’ve seen that the followers really enjoy the day-to-day more than anything else,” Jannuzzi remarks. “It’s not that they don’t appreciate the content that drives to our site, it’s just that people want to feel a connection, they went their authorities to be approachable now. They have no problem sharing their dislikes with us either, which is very valuable when used appropriately.”

Keeping the voice consistent across channels is difficult, Jannuzzi admits. He finds Twitter easier than the other channels because it is “short and conversational,” mimicking the conversational patterns that exist between friends in online and offline environment. Facebook is trickier because the volume of posts has to be moderated, and although a tweet will sometimes work perfectly for Facebook, “you [generally] have to provide a little more information about what you’re saying,” Jannuzzi says. “Still, we speak like a friend would speak. At all times, we want Lucky to be the friend you never knew you had or needed on Facebook.”

On Tumblr, Jannuzzi says the magazine has been most successful reblogging and liking others’ content, and replying with animated GIFs and images. “We don’t do it often, but that’s a common practice among the community so it makes sense,” he says. On Foursquare, where the brand enjoys “most popular fashion magazine” status thanks to its following of more than 100,000, Lucky adapts its monthly city guides into tips and checks into its staff’s favorite shopping destinations daily.

5. Esquire Magazine


Like Lucky, Esquire has adapted its existing editorial focus and tone to social media environments. Although web director Matt Sullivan is behind most of Esquire‘s communications on Twitter — some of which is cross-posted to Facebook — he says he aims for an “all-encompassing” voice. “We like to have it speak for all of us,” he says, adding that it’s important to assign a real editor to manage an institution’s voice on social networks, and not an intern or someone in the marketing department.

Esquire‘s voice on Twitter is in perfect keeping with the magazine — it’s intelligent and authoritative, and yet it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Articles aren’t delivered in a “[headline] – [link]” format; they tend to be descriptive and, where appropriate, humorous. One-liners, etiquette “rules” and links to articles from other publications are interspersed with Esquire‘s own web content.

“Traffic is nice, but conversation with the reader is nicer,” says Sullivan. “A glorified RSS feed is a waste of time.”

Series supported by HubSpot


The Digital Marketing Series is supported by HubSpot, an inbound marketing software company based in Cambridge, MA, that makes a full platform of marketing software, including tools for better B2B lead nurturing.

More About: digital marketing, Digital Marketing Series, dkny, esquire, features, kate spade, lucky, Marketing, mashable, Social Media, tory burch

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How to Enable the New YouTube Design Now

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 12:56 PM PST

Word on the street is that YouTube has a slick new design. It’s a revamped homepage with some pretty tight Google+ social integration and content discovery features.

But if you’ve fired up your trusty Internet machine and the new YouTube hasn’t yet appeared for you, don’t fret. Our friends at The Verge have figured out an easy way (via Google+ user Mortiz Tolxdorff) to turn on the new features right the heck now.

At present, the trick only seems to work in Firefox and Chrome. Open up your browser’s development tools:

In Firefox: Ctrl + Shift + K (Win) | Cmd + Shift + K (Mac)

In Chrome: Ctrl + Shift + J (Win) | or Cmd + Alt + J (Mac)

Then add this string of delicious and nutritious code to the console:


Close your development tools, then reload The YouTubes. Voila! A fresh homepage for videos. Here’s what’s new:

1. Welcome

Once you get the new design, a message will pop up, prompting you to take a tour.

Click here to view this gallery.

Via The Verge.

More About: design, features, How-To, Social Media, trending, Video, YouTube

For more Dev & Design coverage:

Google Street View Now Shows Ski Slopes [VIDEO]

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 12:50 PM PST

The Google Street View snowmobile has apparently been busy. Google has added imagery for a number of ski resorts using the specially-equipped snowmobile that made its debut during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Check out the video above to find out where and how you can access the new imagery.

More About: Google, google street view, skiing

Domino’s Lets You Make a Pizza On Your iPad and Then Order it in Real Life

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 12:43 PM PST

Domino’s Pizza has found a novel way to engage iPad users and maybe sell a few more pizzas along the way. The pizza chain has created an app that lets you make a pizza onscreen and then order it in real life.

Domino’s Pizza Hero is a game/app that simulates the experience of kneading dough, spreading sauce, sprinkling cheese, placing toppings and cutting slices all while a timer ticks away. The object is to make the pizza as quickly as possible and to closely mimic the experience of real Domino’s workers. For instance, levels one through five of the game are called “Pizza School,” just like the real program at Domino’s. When you get to level six, your scores are based on reviews from in-game customers much like a fake version of the Domino’s Tracker, the company’s real-time feed of consumer comments.

Players can compete against each other on a leaderboard and share their scores on Facebook and Twitter. Players can also hit the "Make An Order" tab within the app to order their creations via Dominos.com. A rep for the ad agency behind the app, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, says that there are parameters regarding the type of pizza you can make. You can’t, for instance, knead the dough into the shape of Florida or have a pizza that’s got sauce only on one half.

The app is likely the first iPad game from a pizza purveyor, but it is not the first iPad pizza app. Pizza Hut paved the way in May with an app that lets you order a pizza from your iPad. Domino’s, meanwhile, released a similar app for the U.K. market in August. The app is clever. Though, if it ever crashes, you could just use your iPad’s browser to visit Dominos.com and order a pie.

More About: apps, Domino's Pizza, ipad, Marketing, trending

Anybeat, a Social Network for Taboo Topics, Now Open to All [EXCLUSIVE]

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 12:35 PM PST


Does the requirement that you must use your real name on Facebook and Google+ make you shy away from saying anything risqué on those networks?

If so, you might want to sign up for Anybeat, a social network that aims to become a hub of conversation about controversial subjects. The site is officially out of beta as of Monday.

Founded by Dmitry Shapiro, the former CTO of MySpace Music, Anybeat separates itself from other social networks by encouraging its members to use pseudonyms. The hope is that not using their real names will embolden users to participate in conversations they'd never have on Facebook.

“We, as humans, have different needs when it comes to socializing,” says Shapiro. “One is to communicate with people we know, and that's Facebook. But we need a place to get away from family and friends, and a place to get away from work, a place to socialize with people we don't know. We want to create an open social place that's inclusive."

That sounds good in theory, though anyone who's ever skimmed the comments on a YouTube video is familiar with how anonymous discussions can get ugly quickly. Shapiro emphasizes that what Anybeat is really offering is "pseudonymity," which is subtly different from anonymity.

While a user's real name is hidden, his or her profile name stays consistent, and reputations are created over time.

"YouTube is less of a social network," Shapiro says. "A lot of it is culture. If [ignorant comments] are what you see, then that's what it becomes. For us, every profile has ‘Cred’–it's like a Klout score, or feedback on eBay. And we have moderation tools in place, like you'd find in the old BBS days.”

What sort of content would be off limits to a social network that prides itself on controversy? Shapiro says hate speech, threats, and porn would all make the list.

As Facebook and Google+ have risen in popularity, so have their real-name policies, leading the Web to move away from the anything-goes anonymity of decades past. Shapiro believes a total loss of online anonymity would be a bad thing.

"I think pseudonimity, using the Internet for casual conversations and not just formal ones, is critical." he says. "It was the reason I fell in love with the Web: AOL chatrooms. I found the conversations I had there to be extremely meaningful. If you ever had a conversation with a stranger and you found that the stranger might have understood you in a way that your closest friends didn't, that's what we're trying to facilitate."

More About: Anybeat, Facebook, myspace, online anonymity, social networking, Top Stories, YouTube

Announcing the 2011 Mashable Awards Finalists

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 12:14 PM PST

From Oct. 11 to Nov. 18, the Mashable community submitted hundreds of thousands of nominations for the 2011 Mashable Awards, the fifth annual community-focused competition rewarding the best of digital and social media.

The 2011 Mashable Awards will honor nominees and winners in 28 categories, covering four of Mashable‘s core content areas: Social Media, Tech, Business and Entertainment.

For the past month, readers have nominated their favorite companies, people, sites and gadgets once a day for each category, and from those submissions, Mashable editors chose seven finalists in each categories.

Final voting is now open and will close on Dec. 16. Winners will be announced on Mashable Dec. 19, and will be honored at MashBash CES Jan. 11, 2012, during the 2012 International CES convention at 1OAK, the hot new nightclub at the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas.

Mashable is thrilled to announce the 2011 Mashable Awards Finalists:

Social Media

Best Social Network

This category honors the reader's choice for the best social network.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Badoo
  • Diaspora*
  • Google+
  • Tumblr
  • Livejournal

Up-and-Coming Social Media Service

This category honors the reader's choice for the social media service that is currently experiencing major growth but has not yet received massive mainstream attention. Services nominated for this category are not necessarily full-fledged social networks but must include social media as a core feature.

  • Crowdtap
  • Empire Avenue
  • Banjo
  • Trakt
  • Chime.in
  • Summify
  • Paper.li

Must-Follow Actor or Actress on Social Media

This category honors the reader's choice for the actor or actress who best uses Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr or other mainstream social networking sites.

  • Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson
  • Ashley Tisdale
  • David Boreanaz
  • Alyssa Milano
  • Sophia Bush
  • Misha Collins
  • Maite Perroni

Must-Follow Musician or Band on Social Media

This category honors the reader's choice for the musician or band that best uses Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr or other mainstream social networking sites.

  • Super Junior
  • Girls' Generation
  • Adam Lambert
  • Ricky Martin
  • Kris Allen
  • Snoop Dogg
  • Lady Gaga

Must-Follow Athlete on Social Media

This category honors the reader's choice for the athlete who best uses Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr or other mainstream social networking sites.

  • Rafael Nadal
  • Yuna Kim
  • CM Punk
  • Johnny Weir
  • Shannon McIntosh
  • Zack Ryder
  • John Cena

Must-Follow Media Personality on Social Media

This category honors the reader's choice for the journalist, author or TV news anchor who best uses Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr or other mainstream social networking sites.

  • Andy Cohen
  • Anderson Cooper
  • Ellen DeGeneres
  • Jimmy Fallon
  • Rachel Maddow
  • Salman Rushdie
  • Brian Stelter

Must-Follow Business Personality on Social Media

This category honors the reader's choice for the business personality or executive who best uses Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr or other mainstream social networking sites.

  • Dave Kerpen
  • John Heald
  • Clara Shih
  • Sonny Ganguly
  • Avi Savar
  • Bill Gates
  • Kathy Ireland

Must-Follow Non-Profit on Social Media

This category honors the reader's choice for the non-profit organization that most deserves to be followed on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr or other mainstream social networking sites.

  • The Trevor Project
  • Teach for America
  • HRC
  • Glaad
  • Joyful Heart Foundation
  • One Campaign
  • Fuck Cancer

Must-Follow Politician on Social Media

This category honors the reader's choice for the politician who best uses Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr or other mainstream social networking sites.

  • Barack Obama
  • Cory Booker
  • Ron Paul
  • Buddy Roemer
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Herman Cain
  • Narendra Modi


Best Smartphone

This category honors the reader's choice for the best current-generation smartphone model.

  • iPhone 4S
  • Samsung Galaxy SII
  • HTC Thunderbolt
  • HTC Sensation
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus Prime
  • BlackBerry Bold 9900
  • Motorola Droid Razr

Best Mobile Game

This category honors the reader's choice for the best game designed for play on either a smartphone or tablet.

  • Super Junior Shake
  • Angry Birds
  • Parallel Kingdom
  • The Adventures of Timmy: Run Kitty Run
  • Cut the Rope
  • Pocket Legends
  • Cows vs Aliens

Most Useful Mobile App

This category honors the reader's choice for the most useful app designed for use on either a smartphone or tablet.

  • IMO Instant Messenger
  • Zocdoc
  • eBuddy Xms
  • Trapster
  • Waze
  • Mobile Inspector
  • Wunderlist

Most Innovative Mobile App

This category honors the reader's choice for the most innovative app designed for use on either a smartphone or tablet.

  • TagWhat
  • Mobile Inspector
  • Shopkick
  • Zaarly
  • Vlingo
  • #Gravity Social Client for Symbian
  • Gigwalk

Most Useful Tablet-Based App

This category honors the reader's choice for the best app designed for use on a tablet.

  • IMO Instant Messenger
  • Trulia
  • Slideshark
  • Quickoffice
  • Tripadvisor
  • Houzz
  • Flipboard

Best New Gadget

This category honors the reader's choice for the best electronic gadget launched in 2011.

  • iPad 2
  • Nintendo 3DS
  • Sonos Play:3
  • Kindle Fire
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
  • Sifteo
  • Logitech Fold Up Keyboard


Viral Campaign of the Year

This category honors the reader's choice for their favorite viral advertising campaign launched in 2011.

  • Eventful.com/AlanJackson
  • Coca-Cola Where Will Happiness Strike Next
  • NoH8 Campaign
  • Occupy Wall Street
  • Old Spice
  • Kraft macaroni & cheese Twitter campaign
  • Diesel Facebook/QR Code campaign

Most Innovative Use of Social Media for Marketing

This category honors the reader's choice for the most innovative social media marketing campaign launched in 2011.

  • Orabrush
  • Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange
  • @Ifeelgoods Heist It Back
  • RadioShack #Kindofabigdeal
  • Dominos Pizza
  • Diesel
  • Coke

Must-Follow Brand on Social Media

This category honors the reader's choice for the brand that best uses Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr or other mainstream social networking sites.

  • WWE
  • The Young Turks
  • Cirque Du Soleil
  • Sega
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • DKNY
  • CharityBuzz

Best Branded Mobile App

This category honors the reader's choice for the best mobile app created specifically by a brand for consumer use on either a smartphone or tablet.

  • Robbie Williams App
  • Super 8
  • Domino’s Pizza USA
  • KRAFT iFood Assistant
  • Titan HTSE
  • GEICO BroStache
  • Glee by Smule

Best Social Good Cause Campaign

This category honors the reader's choice for the best use of digital or social media in a non-profit, philanthropic, cause-focused or corporate social responsibility campaign.

  • WWE Be a Star Campaign
  • Joplin Tornado Info
  • Feed it Forward by Restaurant.com
  • Your Man Reminder
  • The Trevor Project
  • AT&T Texting While Driving
  • It Gets Better

Digital Company of the Year

Editor's Note: Originally, we had defined this category "the top traditional (non-digital) company that has excelled in the digital space in 2011." After considering the nature of the nominations, we broadened the category to include traditional, non-digital companies as well as agencies that are heavily utilizing digital in their operations.

  • Progressive Insurance
  • WWE
  • Dominos Pizza
  • engage121
  • Likeable Media
  • Possible Worldwide
  • Big Fuel

Breakout Startup of the Year

This category honors the reader's choice for the top startup company in the digital space that has experienced impressive growth or mainstream attention in 2011.

  • Manilla
  • Punchtab
  • GetGlue
  • Twilio
  • Taskrabbit
  • Zaarly
  • Codecademy


Game of the Year

This category honors the reader's choice for the best game that has a social component launched in 2011.

  • WWE '12
  • Zombie Lane
  • FIFA Soccer 12
  • Battlefield 3
  • Uncharted 3
  • Batman Arkham City
  • Modern Warfare 3

Viral Video of the Year

This category honors the reader's choice for the best or most-memorable viral web video launched in 2011.

  • "eHarmony Video Bio" starring Debbie
  • "Friday" starring Rebecca Black
  • "Nyan Cat" starring Nyan Cat
  • "Mr. Simple" starring Super Junior
  • "Super Bass" starring Sophia Grace Brownlee
  • "Talking Twin Babies" starring Ren and Sam
  • "Webcam 101 for Seniors" starring Bruce and Esther Huffman

Best Music Service or App

This category honors the reader's choice for the best online music service or app.

  • Tracksfor.com
  • Fit Radio
  • Rhapsody
  • Spotify
  • Pandora
  • Grooveshark
  • Rdio

Best Online Video Streaming Service or App

This category honors the reader's choice for the best service or app for consuming streaming of commercial media and entertainment.

  • YouTube
  • Boxee
  • NHL Gamecenter Live
  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Vevo
  • HBO Go

Most Social TV Show

This category honors the reader's choice for the best broadcast or cable television show that utilizes social media in an innovative, memorable or integral way.

  • WWE Raw
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • MTV Roadies
  • Attack of the Show
  • Supernatural
  • Bones
  • The Glee Project

Best Social Movie Campaign

This category honors the reader's choice for the best digital media campaign for a major or independent motion picture launched in 2011.

  • The Muppets
  • Harry Potter And the Deathly Hallows
  • Red State
  • The Big Lebowski Anniversary Release / Milyoni
  • Rise & Shine: The Jay Demerit Story
  • Senna
  • The Inside Experience

Thank you for your nominations. Congratulations to all the finalists!

Voting is now open! You have until Dec 16 to vote for your favorite finalists to win. Good luck!

Click here to vote!

The 2011 Mashable Awards Are Presented by Buddy Media


Buddy Media is the social enterprise software of choice for eight of the world’s top ten global advertisers, empowering them to build and maintain relationships with their consumers in a connections-based world. The Buddy Media social marketing suite helps brands build powerful connections globally with its scalable, secure architecture and data-driven customer insights from initial point of contact through point of purchase.

More About: mashable awards, mashable awards 2011

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World’s Largest Apple Store Set to Open in NYC’s Grand Central [VIDEO]

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 12:10 PM PST

Apple’s long rumored store in New York City’s Grand Central terminal could open in time for Black Friday according to a report published by 9to5 Mac. The store would be Apple’s largest and reportedly cost the company more than $1 million per year in rent to reach the 750,000 people that pass through the venue each day. For more about the store and some shots of the construction, check out the video above.

More About: apple, Apple Store, new york city

Which Tablet Do You Want This Holiday Season? [POLL]

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 12:05 PM PST

When gift-giving happens this year, tablets are going to be all the rage. Seventy-nine percent of consumers would prefer them to a new laptop. New alternatives to the Apple iPad 2 are hitting store shelves just in time for the gift-buying bonanza that is Black Friday.

Have you been trying to decide which tablet to include on your holiday wishlist? Here’s a rundown of our recent tablet coverage including technical highlights.

Apple iPad 2

Charlie White wrote this review of the iPad 2 when it was released this past March.

  • iOS5 & App Store
  • Downloaded content
  • 1GHz dual-core processor
  • 9.7-inch display
  • 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models
  • Built-in Wi-Fi, 3G optional
  • 2 cameras and microphone
  • $500+

Amazon Kindle Fire

Lance Ulanoff wrote our review of the Kindle Fire, and Christina Warren sized up the Fire’s media consumption abilities with those of the iPad 2.

  • Modified Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS
  • Streaming access to Amazon’s film, TV and book library
  • 7-inch display
  • 1GHz processor
  • 6GB storage
  • Wi-Fi only
  • No camera or microphone
  • $199

Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet

Lance Ulanoff has our review of Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet, as well as a head-to-head between the Nook and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

  • Modified Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS
  • Streaming access to Barnes and Noble library
  • 7-inch display
  • 1GHz processor
  • 16GB storage
  • Wi-Fi only
  • Microphone, but no camera
  • $250

Samsung Galaxy 8.9 Tab

As Todd Wasserman reported, Samsung’s Galaxy 8.9 tab is finally arriving.

  • Android 3.1 Honeycomb OS
  • 8.9-inch display
  • 1GHz dual-core processor
  • 16GB
  • Built-in Wi-Fi, 4G LTE optional
  • 2 cameras and microphone
  • $449

Which tablet does your heart desire this holiday season? Answer our poll below, and let us know in the comments why you made your choice.

More About: Christmas, Hannukah, Holidays 2011, Kwanzaa, Tablet, tablets

Why You Shouldn’t Take Your Kindle Fire Out of Your Bag at TSA Checkpoints

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 11:28 AM PST

The Kindle Fire (and Nook Tablet, for that matter) are perfect travel companions. They store your books, movies, music, and apps, and run on the plane’s WiFi so you could even browse the web at 30,000 feet.

But a few users are reporting that their new Kindle Fires are being damaged after going through X-ray machines at airport TSA checkpoints. While the X-ray machine isn’t exactly to blame, according to an expert, it can be a factor.

Professor Daping Chu, chairman of the University of Cambridge centre for Advanced Photonics, says that static electricity is likely the culprit . He says:

“I don't think the radiation used in an airport scanner would ever be strong enough to damage an electronic ink display. . . . But you can get a buildup of static inside these machines, caused by the rubber belt rubbing. If that charge were to pass through a Kindle, it's conceivable that it could damage the screen. . . . A static charge from an airport scanner could be 100 volts or more. That could permanently stick the particles to the screen."

Kindles, tablets, laptops, cameras and thousands of other devices pass through airport X-ray machines every day, but one way to be totally sure your new Kindle Fire won’t be damaged due to static electricity is to leave it in your bag when going through TSA checkpoints. Any electronic items smaller than a 13-inch laptop don’t need to be removed from your bag when going through the X-ray machine anyway, so this should make your trip move that much smoother.

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Spotify Hints at ‘New Direction’

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 11:25 AM PST

Spotify Press Invite

Just four months after music streaming service Spotify debuted in the U.S., it's gearing up for a "new direction."

The company sent out an invitation on Monday for its first-ever U.S. press event on Nov. 30 in New York City, announcing that it has "exciting news" to share.

The news comes as Spotify faces new competitive pressures. Just last week, Google's unveiled its free Google Music service, which allows users to upload, share and browse songs, and then listen to them on the go via cloud storage on Android devices. Plus, there’s growing concern among music partners about the impact of streaming on their business. More than 200 labels and publishers pulled out of various streaming services, from Spotify to Napster and Rdio, after a study claimed streaming music was hurting record sales. Heavy hitter labels like Sony, though, were not among those pulling out.

“At Spotify, we continually strive to innovate and deliver exciting new experiences for our users," Spotify said in an email statement to Mashable. "In New York on November 30th, we are holding our first press conference to unveil the latest major development from Spotify – and a new direction for the company."

The event dubbed "What's next for Spotify?" is being touted as a global press conference that will also stream online. CEO Daniel Ek will serve as master of ceremonies and there should also be a special guest or two.

The invitation is otherwise slim on details, but since this is Spotify's first U.S. press conference and it's not typical for Ek to address the press in this manner, we're expecting some big news.

Some speculate that Spotify may launch a new music store where members can purchase songs directly from the service. European Spotify members can already buy songs. However, does bringing this capability to the U.S. warrant its press conference?

The event will kick off at 11:30 a.m. EST next Wednesday and Mashable will be there to deliver the full report.

Are you excited about potential changes in the Spotify service? Do you use it now? Let us know you thoughts in the comments below.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr, cjsveningsson

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Zynga’s CastleVille Storms Facebook With 5 Million Users Less Than a Week

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 11:12 AM PST

Zynga‘s latest addition to the “-Ville” franchise, CastleVille, has had a solid opening. In just under a week, the game has garnered 5 million daily active users — meaning it’s growing faster than any other Zynga game did at this stage.

Castleville crossed the 5 million active user threshold Sunday night, just six days after its release. By hitting that milestone, CastleVille‘s growth has outshined other recent introductions from the company, including FrontierVille, which got 2.6 million DAUs in its first six days and CityVille, which received 3.2 million.

The 5 million figure isn’t the only stat to come out of CastleVille so far. Others include:

  • 135,176,035 quests completed
  • 4,594,750 expansions into the Gloom
  • 23,845,983 beasties banished from the kingdom
  • 182,360 Bubbly Grogs crafted
  • 8,262,768 baby cows raised

CastleVille still has its work cut out for it, though. CityVille, which launched last November, hit 100 million users within 40 days. CityVille is still the most popular game on Facebook with 51 million daily active users, according to AppData.

The well-received launch of CastleVille couldn’t have come at a better time for Zynga: The company is said to be planning to announce its IPO any day now. Sources say it’s likely to happen between next week and the end of the year.


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New Meme Alert: OWS’s ‘Casually Pepper Spray Everything Cop’ [PICS]

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 10:57 AM PST

The web has given the meme treatment to the police officer who doused students with pepper spray at the University of California, Davis, during a local Occupy Wall Street protest.

Over the weekend, a video showing the Nov. 18 incident enraged many viewers. Since then, the school’s faculty association called for the resignation of the chancellor, and the campus police chief as well as two unidentified police officers were put on leave pending an investigation.

Now that Internet users have laid off meme-ifying Rick Perry’s brain fart, they’re focusing their time on the chemical can-wielding police officer. The web’s newest meme is known as “Casually Pepper Spray Everything Cop” on KnowYourMeme, popping up in familiar photos and popular works of art such as Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” (see image number two below).

SEE ALSO: "Le Internet Medley" References 40+ Memes in One Music Video

You can also see him making appearances on WeKnowMemes and these three Tumblr blogs: JockoHomo, Pepper Spraying Cop and OWS Pepper Spray.

Which cop meme is your favorite? Flip through our gallery to help you decide. Or sound off in the comments if you’re disgusted by this type of online humor.


Photo from KnowYourMeme

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Image from KnowYourMeme

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Why Can’t Newspapers Make Money Online?

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 10:52 AM PST

Why can’t newspapers seem to make any money online?

That’s the question I asked myself the other day as I ran smack up against The Baltimore Sun’s paywall after having reached my 15 page per month (free) limit. I’m not a big reader of the Sun, but I was curious about what people were saying about Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” visit to one of our local eateries. I clicked a link on Facebook that was supposed to lead me to a post on the Sun’s food blog when I smacked right into the wall.

Oh well. As much as I liked reading the Sun’s blogs (and their food blog – Baltimore Diner – was by far my favorite), it didn’t take much to find another local foodie blog with the dirt on Chef Ramsay’s “Nightmare”-ish tirades. Curiosity slaked, I surfed on to somewhere else… all the while muttering to myself under my breath about how I was done with the Sun.

And I am. I’d long ago moved on to other venues for my world and national news and the only thing that’d kept me coming back to the online edition of my local paper was its collection of blogs. But now that the paywall was up, what was the point? It wasn’t worth $2.50/week to me to read the Sun blogs when there were plenty of other local (and free) alternatives. Besides, the comments on the posts were half the reason I read them – Baltimoreans can be a contentious and entertaining lot when it comes to debating local issues – and I was sure that now that the wall was up the local commenters I’d love to spar with would move on to free-er pastures. And with many laid-off local reporters moving on to new (and better) local sites such as the excellent Baltimore Brew, what was left for me to read?

Of course, the Sun’s not the only paper to throw up paywalls over the past year. The New York Times re-implemented its paywall in March after an earlier failed attempt, but kept it “porous” to readers following links from social media sites. It’s been a fairly successful model, netting almost a quarter of a million paid subscribers in the first three months along with 750,000 print subscribers registering for access and about 57,000 tablet users signing up to read the Times. Others such as London’s Times haven’t fared so well .

But what really interested me was why newspapers have had to put paywalls up in the first place. After all, there are plenty of sites making a pretty good living through an advertising-supported model, and according to a recent report from Econsultancy, more than half of online publishers have seen increased revenue since last year. Clearly it’s possible to make money publishing online without charging a subscription fee. So why can’t newspapers with their built-in local audiences, brand recognition, and long-established publishing (and ad sales) infrastructures do the same?

Clearly there are a lot of factors to the problem. Chinese demand for recycled newsprint has caused paper prices to rise more than 20%. Gas prices continue to rise, increasing the costs of distribution. Papers around the country continue to lay off workers. And — no big surprise to any of us in the online advertising biz — the share of dollars going to digital media continues to rise.

But shouldn’t the shift to digital be good for the online editions of newspapers? At first glance it seems like it should: online newspaper readership seems to be increasing. But even though readership may be increasing, a University of Missouri study found that 50% of newspapers derive only 9% of their revenue from online editions. What the heck’s the problem?

The answer, it turns out, may just be that newspaper advertising costs too darn much.

According to this analysis by comScore, the average CPM for online advertising is $2.52. Social media — by far the hottest and one of the most effective and targetable categories — CPM rates come in at $0.56. Newspapers on the other hand had an average CPM of $6.99… 277% greater than the national average!

If you look at CPM rates across media (a notoriously-difficult comparison), print newspapers look even worse. According to these 2008 figures from Borrell Associates, which compare local ad costs across all major media, newspaper CPMs come in over $60… almost three times more than primetime broadcast TV, almost six times more than non-premium cable, and around 20 times more than online advertising.

Even if you want to argue about effectiveness, time spent with any one particular medium, response rates, etc., it still seems pretty obvious that the problem with newspapers is that they’ve priced themselves out of the market. Is a newspaper ad 20 times more effective than an online ad? Is it 100 times more effective than an ad placed in social media? Considering the hyper-targeting ability of social media platforms such as Facebook, it seems pretty tough to make the case that it’s worth spending about 100 times more on a newspaper print ad that can’t even tell you whether it’s been read or not.

The bottom line is this: the reason that newspapers can’t make money is because they’re pricing themselves out of the market. It’s true that newspaper circulation has declined due to competition of various new media (check out Newspaper Death Watch if you really want to get depressed), and newspaper ad expenditures have declined along with them since 2001. But the real problem seems to be that newspapers have been way too slow in responding to competitive pressures by lowering their ad rates to a competitive level. Lulled into complacency by decades (if not centuries) of dominating the advertising industry, they’ve failed to recognize that when it comes to advertiser value, they’ve long since fallen from the top spot. The advantages they once had based on geographic exclusivity, readership, and exclusive content have been eliminated by the rise of the web. Today you can get your news from a huge number of sources other than the local bundle of papers tossed on your doorstep; and you (as a consumer) can get it for free. Craigslist and Facebook and Yelp and blogs and job listing sites and myriad other sources of local content have drained away readership and, more importantly, have all but negated the exclusive lock that newspapers used to have on local content. Advertisers who want to reach local audiences now have a huge amount of options and don’t have to be held hostage to the rates newspapers got used to charging.

“News” has now become a commodity, yet the papers continue to charge premium prices. Unless they can figure out how to pare down costs, price themselves competitively, and, more importantly, offer content that’s worth paying for (see The Wall Street Journal), desperation tactics such as paywalls are only going to hasten the inevitable decline.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, fotosipsak and via Flickr, Thomas Hawk

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