Saturday, 11 February 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ Turns 1 on a Friday: What’s Your Favorite Memory?”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ Turns 1 on a Friday: What’s Your Favorite Memory?”

Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ Turns 1 on a Friday: What’s Your Favorite Memory?

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 09:08 PM PST

A year ago, Rebecca Black’s unforgettable viral tune “Friday” first appeared on YouTube. Since then, the massively autotuned "Friday" music video has reached millions upon millions of eyes, spawned countless parodies and caught the attention of many celebrities.

To honor the jam, which eventually became Know Your Meme‘s top meme of 2011, we’re looking back at the high-profile musicians and famous tech personalities who have supported Black, covered the song or parodied it for its comedic glory (see list below).

Although released on Feb. 10, 2011, “Friday” exploded onto our radars in March as the song started attracting Justin Bieber-esque YouTube fame and much ridicule for its simple lyrics, low-budget music video and apparent autotuned vocals. Dust began to settle on the song as 2011 came to a close. However, in November, it returned for a reprieve in Kohl’s Black Friday ad.

Black acknowledged the 1-year anniversary Friday night in this tweet:

SEE ALSO: Rebecca Black's Second YouTube Single Gets 10 Million Views in 3 Days [VIDEO]

What has been your favorite “Friday” memory — whether that be an experience hearing it offline or a moment discovering a funny online spoof? I remember jamming out to it on a Saturday during a vacation in Phoenix and then again poolside the following day. Whomp.

5 Memorable Celebrity-Infused ‘Friday’ Moments

7 Marketing Lessons From RIM’s Failures

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 08:24 PM PST

Mashable OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

Alex Goldfayn is CEO of the Evangelist Marketing Institute. His new book is called Evangelist Marketing: What Apple, Amazon and Netflix Understand About Their Customers (That Your Company Probably Doesn’t).

You remember, don't you? The emails magically appeared while you weren't looking. That blinking light turned us into addicts. And that keyboard — copied often, but never matched.

It was the BlackBerry, the glorious, beloved, and life-changing BlackBerry. It made us feel good, and it never let us down.

Long before the iPhone the took the world by storm, and before Google even dreamed about getting into the phone business, Research in Motion was on top of the consumer electronics mountain.

Today, sadly, it is buried under it, and industry insiders everywhere wonder whether RIM will survive.

What happened? Harmful strategy. Unforced errors. And, mostly, really bad marketing. On this, RIM is in good company in the consumer electronics industry, where so many manufacturers market poorly. But few have made so many marketing mistakes so quickly.

Here are seven marketing lessons from RIM's dark and difficult journey.

1. Make Great Products

Consumer electronics success begins with excellent products. The BlackBerry was once perceived as the very best smartphone — or, at least, "emailing phone" — available. It was exciting, emotional and it made people feel good. RIM sold BlackBerries on the strength of word-of-mouth recommendations. BlackBerries were aspirational, and people wanted to own one because friends and colleagues were so passionate about them.

Now, fast-forward to today.

Consider the excitement and energy around the iPhone and all those Android handsets. RIM enjoys none of that today. Not one percent of it. In part, it’s because it stopped making good smartphones in favor of a poorly received tablet called the PlayBook.

Successful marketing begins with having a tremendous product or service to market. Nothing happens without this.

2. Build on Strengths Instead of Improving on Weaknesses

I'm constantly telling clients that they should build on strengths instead of trying to improve their weak areas. For RIM, the BlackBerry was a great strength, and they all but abandoned its development and marketing for a year or longer to create the tablet. RIM did this to try to prevent the world from passing it by in the tablet space — which it did anyway. Tragically, as a result of diverting talent, attention, resources, investment and innovation from the BlackBerry to the Playbook, the consumer smartphone world has also passed RIM by.

It doesn't matter what business you're in. If you focus on developing weaknesses, your strengths will atrophy due to neglect. If you want to market well, identify your strengths — products, services, techniques, approaches, relationships — and exploit them relentlessly. This technique overcomes nearly all weaknesses.

3. Gravity Pushes Backwards

If you've attained a measure of success, you must continue innovating your products, services and your marketing just to maintain your position. Because you can bet the competition is innovating aggressively, and they'll pass you by in three seconds if you stop doing the things that brought you success. RIM not only stopped releasing new BlackBerries while focusing on its PlayBook, it basically stopped talking to its customers about them for an extended period. We've seen this story before with Palm and many others. Gravity pushes backwards in business. Consistent and aggressive innovation is required not only to attain success, but to maintain it.

4. Know Precisely Who Your Customer Is

RIM's management famously disagreed on who their customer was. Then co-CEO Mike Lazaridis felt the customer was the corporation. Others, probably including his counterpart Jim Balsillie, wanted to aim BlackBerry products at consumers. If you don't know exactly who your customer is, it is impossible to market. Language, messaging, platforms, branding and public relations change completely depending on the customers you target. So identify your customers as precisely as possible, and aim all of your marketing efforts at them.

5. Executives Set the Marketing Tone

Consider the most successful companies in consumer electronics (and two of the most successful companies in all of business): Apple and Amazon. Their chief executives set their marketing tone, and everyone follows. If you haven't seen it yet, watch this YouTube video of Steve Jobs introducing the iPad, and listen to how everybody who followed him on stage used exactly the same words.

This is no accident. The next day, thousands of articles used the same words to describe the amazing, remarkable and awesome iPad. Amazon's Bezos is the same way. The best marketers have high-level executives setting the tone. They not only teach the rest of the company how to talk about their products and services, but the customers, the media, and the market itself. Obviously, RIM's co-CEOs did not set this tone. They couldn't even agree on who the customer was.

6. Avoid Unforced Errors

Most marketing problems are self-made and entirely avoidable. Consider the major developments from RIM's recent past:

  • It voluntarily stopped focusing on the BlackBerry to make a product it had no experience with.
  • It could not identify its customer.
  • It stopped marketing to consumers, allowing competition to roar past.

Not convinced? Consider Netflix's recently concluded horrible-terrible-no-good-very-bad year:

  • A dramatic price increase.
  • An extended period with no action to placate angry consumers.
  • Spinning off something called Qwikster and then spinning it back in.
  • A remarkably poor response to it all by the CEO, Reed Hastings.

None of these things happened to these companies. They did it to themselves. Don't try to outsmart yourself. Avoid unforced errors.

7. Keep Talking to Your Customers

My work with clients often involves conducting qualitative conversations with their customers to deeply understand how they feel about what the company is doing and what the company is thinking about doing. If RIM had talked to its customers like this, it would have quickly learned that they probably weren't particularly interested in a BlackBerry tablet without built-in email, messaging or contacts!

If you're not talking to your customers, you're just guessing from a conference room.

I believe RIM has enough of a corporate and government customer base to sustain it through this most difficult period. To recover, the company must precisely identify its customer, make terrific products for it, and orient all of its marketing and messaging toward it. In the meantime, we can all learn from the mistakes that brought the BlackBerry maker to this point.

You remember the Blackberry, don't you?

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, franckreporter

More About: blackberry, Business, contributor, features, Marketing, Mobile, RIM, Tech

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Saudi Journalist Arrested After Tweeting About Prophet Muhammad

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 08:01 PM PST

Twenty-three-year-old Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari has been arrested in Malaysia after sending out a series of controversial tweets about the Prophet Muhammed Saturday that caused some religious conservatives to call for his execution. He was detained Thursday morning at Kuala Lumpr International Airport, the Wall Street Journal has confirmed.

"On your birthday, I will say that I have loved the rebel in you, that you've always been a source of inspiration to me, and that I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you," were among the tweets sent by Kashgari during the Muslim prophet’s birthday last week.

"On your birthday, I find you wherever I turn. I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more," he wrote in a followup tweet.

"On your birthday, I shall not bow to you. I shall not kiss your hand. Rather, I shall shake it as equals do, and smile at you as you smile at me. I shall speak to you as a friend, no more," he concluded. His Twitter profile has since been deactivated.

Kashgari’s tweets provoked charges of blasphemy, and some called for his death, disregarding his repeated public apologies. The address of the 23-year-old, who held a job as a columnist in his local newspaper, was posted on YouTube. Fearing for his safety, Kashgari fled Saudi Arabia “sometime Monday or Tuesday,” the Journal reports. A source close to Kashgari told The Daily Beast that Kashgari was on his way to seek asylum in New Zealand when he was arrested in Kuala Lumpr.

Kashgari was detained by request of the Saudi government, but his fate is not yet clear. According to the Journal, Kashgari’s statements could be considered capital offenses under Saudi Arabia’s Shariah law. The government did announce last week that Kashgari was subject to legal penalties and was banned from writing for publication.

In an interview with The Daily Beast before his arrest, Kashgari defended his actions, saying, “I was demanding my right to practice the most basic human rights — freedom of expression and thought — so nothing was done in vain.”

More About: Journalist, Media, Saudi Arabia, Twitter

‘This Message Will Self-Destruct’: One Erases Data After Transmission

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 07:36 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.


Quick Pitch: lets you send confidential data that automatically deletes after the recipient views it once.

Genius Idea: Allows your sensitive data from becoming one of the many “read” emails in a recipient’s inbox, which could potentially be accessed if his or her smartphone is lost or stolen.

Ever wonder if the private emails you send to trusted friends and acquaintances are deleted or if that information lingers in their inboxes? has a smart solution to safeguard sensitive information that’s very Mission Impossible.

The web tool allows people to easily share private information, whether its via your mobile device (apps for iOS and Android) or your browser window. The recipient has one chance to view the information and when he or she closes out, it self destructs.

“There's a lot of trust placed with people with whom we share private information,” says Jerry Thompson, co-founder and CTO. “Over time, this information is collected in people’s inboxes and with the amount of free space offered by Gmail and other services, there's little reason or incentive to actually delete these emails.”

Thompson give this example of how your email could easily be accessed: “On a desktop web browser, you'll need to enter your email address and password to access your Gmail,” he says. “With the vast majority of people having smartphones, most email apps do not require authorization once it’s been configured. If you lose your phone, whomever finds it can now check your email without any logins at all. If a bad guy were to find your phone, they have your email and everything in it.”

The lesson here: No one deletes email, so protect your information.

Here’s how it works: “The data you enter is encrypted from your browser to our servers and stored encrypted. Your private URL holds part of the key to unlock the content. This URL is sent to whoever needs access to it. Once its viewed, its permanently deleted. So while you may have the URL in your outbox and the recipient may have it in their inbox, it can never be retrieved again after being viewed.”

Security concerns about the protection of private and personal data have propelled sites like Dropbox and other file encryption tools into popularity. In 2009, computer scientists were working on software called Vanish that would make sensitive files self-destruct, but the project has since gone kaput.

What do you think about Will you use it? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Darwin Bell

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, data,, privacy

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Google to Get Scary With Anne Rice

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 07:04 PM PST

Google has been known to celebrate authors and encourage educators to write books. It even made finding authors of articles easier by improving the quality of search results for authors.

Now the search giant is playing host to legendary horror novelist Anne Rice.

Even if you’re not a Google employee you can tune in to author Anne Rice’s presentation at the company’s Mountain View, Calif. headquarters on Feb. 24 via live broadcast. Rice will be discussing her latest novel, The Wolf Gift. You can check it out on the Authors@Google YouTube channel on Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. PST.

The recording will be posted on YouTube in its entirety after it’s over.

Knopf describes Rice’s new book thus: “A whole new world—modern, sleek, high-tech—and at its center, a story as old and compelling as history: the making of a werewolf, reimagined and reinvented as only Anne Rice, teller of mesmerizing tales, conjurer extraordinaire of other realms, could create.”

The Authors@Google series hosts famous and of-the-moment writers of all genres at Google for informal chats about their works and recently published books. The series take place at Google’s Mountain View headquarters or one of its other locations in New York, Cambridge, or Ann Arbor, as well as other offices. The series is under the umbrella of @GoogleTalks, which brings in famous people, politicians, innovators and significant figures from all around the world.

Past writers and journalists who’ve participated include novelist Salman Rushdie, journalist Bob Woodward, Noam Chomsky and Neil Gaiman. Google has also hosted President Barack Obama, David Beckham, Tom Brokaw, Lady Gaga, Ron Paul, Tina Fey and many others.

Will you tune in to watch Anne Rice at Google? Have you watched @GoogleTalks in the past? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, RonBailey

More About: Anne Rice, authors, Google, YouTube

Where to Find Mashable at Social Media Week 2012

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 06:35 PM PST

Social Media Week

Social Media Week 2012 begins on Monday, Feb. 13 and extends to 12 cities worldwide. Mashable staff members will once again be taking part in various panels across New York City.

Now in its fourth year, Social Media Week continues to grow, with 60,000 people attending events annually. Just like last year, we here at Mashable are excited to participate. You’ll find Mashable staff discussing a variety of topics throughout the week including nonprofits, startups, photography and marketing.

Below is a list of all the panels that Mashable staff will be a part of. A complete schedule of events worldwide can be found on the Social Media Week calendar.


Mashable at New York Social Media Week 2012

Monday, Feb. 13

Tuesday, Feb. 14

Wednesday, Feb. 15

Thursday, Feb. 16

Friday, Feb. 17

Will you be attending Social Media Week?  Which panels interest you the most?


More About: mashable, new york, Social Media, social media week

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Why Google Shouldn’t Bother With a Home Entertainment Gadget

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 05:54 PM PST


Mashable OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

There’s a rumor going around that Google is planning some kind of home-entertainment device — possibly and answer to the (also rumored) Apple iTV. Apparently Google’s living-room product will be Google-branded, controlled via Android phone or tablet and may eventually expand to do things like control your room lights or kitchen gear. It really sounds like a wonder gadget.

It’s also not going to work. Google’s already tried playing this game and lost. Google TV, launched to much fanfare in 2010, ended up being a boondoggle for the company. Although it promised to properly bridge the web and the television, it hit the same roadblock that other devices, like Boxee, stumbled over much earlier: content providers.

After the first Google TV device, the Logitech Revue, was launched, sites belonging to NBCUniversal, Viacom and Fox quickly began blocking their content from the Revue’s special version of the Chrome web browser. As they see it, they’re the ones who get to decide which screens customers can watch their content on — not Google.

Reviews of the Revue were mixed, with many pointing out the inherent clunkiness of using a keyboard to “watch TV,” but even if the device were perfect, it wouldn’t have mattered. Without the right content there’s simply no compelling reason to own the device. No one buys the “hockey puck” Apple TV because of its design — the get it because they know iTunes has movies and TV shows they want on demand.

SEE ALSO: 4 Big Moves Google Should Make in 2012

This has often been Google’s problem: too much focus on the product (whether hardware or software) and not enough on the ecosystem of the customer experience. Think back to the first Nexus phone: Google actually believed it could actually re-invent the way people buy phones, offering it up online, contract-free, for $529. It turned out that, as good as the product was, people loved getting cheap phones more than they hated the carriers.

For Google’s foray into the living room to succeed, it needs to offer up some compelling reason (read: content) that a customer simply can’t get from Apple, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Sure, there’s YouTube, but it barely counts since it has virtually no studio content and is only just starting original programming. And if Google offers better YouTube through Google devices, what happens to all the YouTube widgets and apps, which are on everything?

Some have pointed out Motorola, which Google owns and is rumored to be building the device, could leverage its clout as a cable-box manufacturer to give this new system a boost. It obviously depends on what this mystery device ends up being, but if it’s something people need to actually buy, this isn’t going to work. Google and Motorola, though powerful brands, don’t have the same credibility Apple has in consumer products. Tons of people will line up for an Apple TV even before it’s even on sale — that would never happen with the other two.

So it really doesn’t matter if this new Google gadget connects to all your devices, lets you seamlessly control it with your phone and transforms into a jet. It really even doesn’t matter if it integrates with Google’s Android ecosystem better than any device. Google needs to get credibility in content before it can make a big splash in your living room.

It may be 2012, but content is still king, and another high-tech device that doesn’t put it front and center will just make Google look like the court jester. Again.

More About: apple, Apple TV, Google, google tv, hulu, Motorola, netflix, trending

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15 Fascinating Twitter Employees You Should Follow

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 04:58 PM PST

1. Kris

We're intrigued by the tweets of someone that labels themselves as being "unnecessarily coy" and knows that they will someday live in Paris once their days of working with the "Twitter dudes" are through.

Click here to view this gallery.

You may follow lots of interesting people on Twitter, but do you follow any Twitter employees?

We’ve scanned the grid of Twitter’s current staff of 833 and pulled out a few that caught our eye. From the insightful to the ridiculous, these 15 are definitely follow-worthy.

SEE ALSO: 10 Must-Follow Spoof Tech & Social Media Twitter Accounts

Which Twitter minions keep your feed fresh? Share your favorites in the comments.

More About: features, List, Social Media, Twitter

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First Photos of Beyonce’s and Jay-Z’s Baby Emerge on Tumblr [PICS]

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 04:48 PM PST

Blue Ivy Carter on Tumblr

More than a month after Beyonce and Jay-Z welcomed their first child to the world, pictures of the newborn, Blue Ivy Carter, have emerged. A Tumblr blog titled "HelloBlueIvyCarter" popped up on Friday night, displaying five photos of the baby.

Blue Ivy was born sometime on Jan. 7. The text on the new Tumblr blog reads, "We welcome you to share in our joy. Thank you for respecting our privacy during this this beautiful time in our lives. The Carter Family."

She is reportedly named after two album titles: Jay-Z's The Blueprint and Beyonce's 4, which is IV in Roman numerals.

Click here to view this gallery.

More than a month after Beyonce and Jay-Z welcomed their first child to the world, pictures of the newborn, Blue Ivy Carter, have emerged. A Tumblr blog titled “HelloBlueIvyCarter” popped up on Friday night, displaying five photographs of the baby.

Blue Ivy was born sometime on Jan. 7. The text on the new Tumblr blog reads, “We welcome you to share in our joy. Thank you for respecting our privacy during this this beautiful time in our lives. The Carter Family.”

She is reportedly named after two album titles: Jay-Z’s The Blueprint and Beyonce’s 4, which is IV in Roman numerals. Tumblr could not be reached for comment by press time.

The photos likely will spark significant traffic on Tumblr, which after an explosive 2011 started this year by revealing impressive numbers that highlight the microblogging platform’s continue growth: 15 billion monthly pageviews and 120 million monthly unique visitors.

SEE ALSO: Tumblr Numbers — The Rapid Rise of Social Blogging [INFOGRAPHIC]

Tumblr launched in 2007 and wants to give a “much more deliberate international effort” in reaching the audience outside of the U.S. in 2012.

BONUS: Blue Ivy’s Brief History So Far

Two days after Blue Ivy was born, her parents revealed an audio recording of the infant for the first time. The Jay-Z song “Glory” (listen below) features Blue Ivy at the end of the track after the proud poppa raps, “Words can’t describe what I’m feeling for real. Baby, I paint the sky blue. My greatest creation was you.” Jay-Z announced the song Jan. 9 via a tweet, which includes a link to the track on his web site Life + Times.

Blue Ivy made a name for herself before she even had a name or was born. At the end of a performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, Beyonce confirmed her pregnancy by dropping her mic, unbuttoning her top and rubbing her baby bump. The “bump” moment broke Twitter’s tweets-per-second record at the time with 8,868 tweets per second. (Four unrelated events have since surpassed the “bump” in the record books.)

SEE ALSO: The Top 15 Tweets-Per-Second Records

While the weekend birth didn’t reach the buzz level the bump did at the VMAs, Twitter did experience a significant spike. Social analytics firm Simply Measured told Mashable in January that tweets per minute peaked at 2,379 tweets at 11:15 p.m. PT on Jan. 7, which is a “healthy number for a non-televised, rumor driven event.” The chart below shows the rise in the mentions of “baby,” “Blue” and “birth.”

Hip hop pioneer Russell Simmons was the first celebrity to congratulate Beyonce and Jay-Z via a tweet, according to Simply Measured. Other big-name Twitter users followed suit. Here is a list of some of the most-followed Twitter users who mentioned “Beyonce” during the time period measured above.

More About: beyonce, blogging, celebrities, Entertainment, jay-z, Music, photography, tumblr

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Revealed: Google Wallet Security Flaw on Android Phones [VIDEO]

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 04:20 PM PST

Don’t give up your wallet and plastic cards just yet — at least, not until Google Wallet gets a security update.

The Android-only service, which lets you pay with your smartphone, turns out to have a major security flaw. If someone gets hold of your phone, they can effectively hit the reset button on Google Wallet — and get themselves sent a new PIN number.

The flaw, uncovered by, wasn’t the first vulnerability uncovered in Google Wallet this week. Zvelo, a malicious software detection service, found that Google Wallet could be hacked and the owner’s pin number obtained using an app. But that hack required a phone to be rooted.

The video below shows just how easy it is to access credit card information from Google Wallet. One major concern: Google Wallet is connected to your phone, not your Google account, so you can’t change your password online if your phone is lost or stolen.

Google said a fix would be available soon. "We strongly encourage anyone who loses or wants to sell their phone to call Google Wallet support toll-free at 855-492-5538 to disable the prepaid card,” said a spokesperson.

“We are currently working on an automated fix as well that will be available soon. We also advise all Wallet users to set up a screen lock as an additional layer of protection for their phone."

The Google Wallet app was introduced in May 2011 and went live in September. It’s marketed as a paper-free way to store credit cards and pay for items with a tap on a PayPass pad using NFC technology. Shortly after its release, security concerns prompted Verizon to block the app from its Galaxy Nexus smartphone.

AT&T didn’t allow Google Wallet until recently. As Zvelo pointed out, that could have been due to the fact that AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon had a network joint venture in ISIS — a direct competitor to Google Wallet.

By 2015, the value of all mobile money transactions is expected to reach $670 billion. Other companies, such as PayPal and Visa, have invested in their own mobile wallet technologies.

The Google Wallet website FAQ’s section says information stored on the app is protected by a chip called the Secure Element that operates separately from the phone’s main operating system.

Do you use Google Wallet? Are you concerned about someone stealing your information? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, oonal

More About: Google, google wallet, hack, mobile security, Secure Element, security

On Facebook, Millennials Friend an Average of 16 Co-Workers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 03:18 PM PST

Generation Y isn’t afraid to mix work and play.

According to a new study, 18-29 year olds have no problem using their Facebook profiles for professional and personal use. Millennials friend an average of 16 co-workers — although 64% do not list where they work on their Timeline.

"Gen Y needs to be aware that what they publish online can come back to haunt them in the workplace,” said Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, the company that conducted the “Gen Y & Facebook Study”. “Gen Y managers and co-workers have insight into their social lives, which could create an awkward workplace setting or even result in a termination."

Most of Gen Y stays at their first job for about two years. The study looked at the most popular job titles and workplaces among millennials, who are known for their entrepreneurial spirit. About 4.4% of millennials work in the technology industry, which is the fourth highest work industry.

In today’s economy, with startups are booming, only 7% of Gen Y works for a Fortune 500 company. Being an owner of a business was the fifth most popular job title among Gen Y.

“If large corporations want to remain competitive, they need to aggressively recruit Gen Y workers,” Millennial Branding wrote in its report. “Gen Y will form 75% of the workforce by 2025 (according to the Business and Professional Women Foundation) and are actively shaping corporate culture and expectations. Big corporations can't afford to be left behind.”

The U.S. Military, Walmart, Starbucks and Target employ the most millennials who identified their workplace on Facebook. Among corporate companies, Deloitte is the largest employer of millennials. Many millennials work as bartenders and waitstaff during their college years because paid internships are hard to land.

Millennial Branding collected the data for the infographic below by evaluating 4 million Gen Y Facebook profiles, mostly from the U.S., via’s database.’s database logs more than 50 million Facebook users’ work history, education and demographic data.

Are you Facebook friends with your co-workers or boss? Tell us in the comments below.

More About: Facebook, facebook privacy, generation y, infographic, millenials, study, trending

Kim Jong-Un Death Rumor Sparks Twitter Frenzy

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 02:58 PM PST

Rumors of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s death took Twitter by storm Friday.

The report, which originated on the Chinese microblogging service Weibo, has not been substantiated by any formal press. But that didn’t stop it from going viral on the Internet. “Kim Jong-Un” is currently trending on Twitter and ranks sixth among Friday’s top 10 Google searches.

The unconfirmed report suggests that Jong-Un, son of the late “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-Il, was assassinated in a military coup while in Beijing, China. News of an “unusually high” number of cars outside North Korea’s embassy in China contributed to the rumor’s staying power.

The rumor really blew up when a fake Twitter account appearing to represent the BBC “confirmed” the news.

The fake BBC tweet was picked up and retweeted by many users, causing more confusion about Jong-un’s status. But a closer look revealed the account’s lack of authenticity, and the warning bells were sounded.

Late Friday afternoon, all of the faux BBC account’s previous tweets were deleted, leaving only an admission that the account was a fake.

According to Matthew Keys, deputy social media editor at Reuters, access to Twitter accounts that are “engaged in non-parody impersonation” can be revoked and given to the brand being impersonated.

Reliable news about North Korea is notoriously difficult to find, as the government is secretive and disallows access to foreign press. However, a senior U.S. official told NBC News Friday that the Jong-un death rumor runs toward “the false end of the spectrum.”

Mashable cannot confirm the accuracy of the rumors, but this isn’t the first time that Twitter has “killed” someone. Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy and Fidel Castro are just a few celebrities who have been able to paraphrase Mark Twain and declare that the Twitter-based rumors of their deaths were greatly exaggerated.

What do you think the Kim Jong-Un death rumor says about the nature of breaking news on Twitter? Sound off in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Flickr, zennie62

More About: china, North Korea, Twitter, weibo

5 Ways to Market Your Brand on LinkedIn

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 02:44 PM PST

Linda Coles is the author of the book Learn Marketing with Social Media in 7 Days (Wiley) and is a social media speaker and consultant at Blue Banana.

LinkedIn provides plenty of marketing opportunities, but lets take a look at some of the lesser-known tools. Although not all are free, try making room in your budget for a few simple and effective marketing strategies.

Whether you’re looking to raise marketing awareness or drive sales, look for guidance from the LinkedIn team. Where else can you specify your target audience based on job title, industry, functional area and much more?

Try these five LinkedIn tools for better marketing.

1. LinkedIn Ads

Start off with self-serve LinkedIn ads. You can target your ad by geography, job function, industry, company size, seniority, age and gender, as well as company name, LinkedIn group and job title. There’e plenty of scope to define your audience.

Your ad will display either along the top, bottom or right-hand side of a member's home or profile page, and can contain both text and an image. Link your ad to either your own website, your LinkedIn company page, your group or anywhere else you might want to send your visitor for further information. Or consider sending your visitor to your company Facebook page where you can possibly convert her into a Like.

In terms of cost, LinkedIn ads run very much the same as other text ad systems, on an auction or bid basis. You can pay either for CPC (cost per click) or CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions).

As with any advertising platform, consider LinkedIn’s advertising best practices.

2. LinkedIn Display Ads

Purchase display ads through the LinkedIn field sales team. They are IAB standard unit sizes.

The ad space to the right of everyone's home and profile page is a prime piece of real estate for ad property. The space can be used in several ways, and is not just reserved static images. You can add video, a blog feed or even a Twitter feed.

Word-of-mouth advertising is incredibly powerful, so consider creating a recommendation ad: If anyone within your network has recommended your product or service, his recommendation would display as an ad on other people's profiles within that person’s network. LinkedIn members can recommend the product directly from the ad.

Try these further ideas for display ads.

  • Display your company ad on your LinkedIn company page to help with brand awareness and online consistency.
  • Show your ad on every one of your employees’ profile pages. Turn each team member into a brand ambassador.
  • Advertise your LinkedIn group to a targeted audience via a display ad.

The cost of these ads is dependent on the audience you plan to target. LinkedIn will bill you on a CPM basis. Talk to a LinkedIn sales representative for further information.

3. Company Page Upgrades

By now, every business should have completed its LinkedIn company page, but consider purchasing some extras to make your visitor experience even better.

  • Overview tab: Provides LinkedIn members with a network-aware snapshot of your company.
  • Products and services tab: Showcases your best products and services and allows your company to solicit and display product recommendations.
  • Analytics tab: Allows page admins to get insights about the company followers.
  • Career page: Advertise your vacancies and provide a place to interact with job seekers. Take a look at Dell’s Career page.

By investing in a Silver or Gold Careers page, you can feature additional content, such as videos, insights into your company culture, and employee accomplishments.

Interestingly, there are more than 2 million company pages on LinkedIn but only around 200,000 have actually added their products and services, according to LinkedIn. Have you added yours?

4. Custom Groups

A custom group is very similar to a regular group, except you’ll earn ample space to customize a space on the right side of the page. You can add video, integrate a blog, Twitter feeds or other RSS feeds. Or try adding a poll, from which you can ask your group members questions quickly and easily.

5. Partner Messages

One of the options available with a premium account is the ability to send InMails, or private emails through the LinkedIn network. InMail allow you to contact anyone on the LinkedIn network, whether you know him or not, but there is a small charge.

Partner messages work along the same principle, but are designed to be sent as a bulk mailer. They allow businesses to send notes to a targeted audience, include a co-branded landing page, an ad unit and a call-to-action button. These messages can even be shared across LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Note, however, that a partner message can only be sent every 60 days.

For many, LinkedIn really is still an untapped gold mine, but but companies can take advantage of incredibly useful marketing tools that suit every budget.

Have you used and of these services? What results have you seen?

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, franckreporter

More About: Advertising, contributor, features, linkedin, Marketing

How to Crowdfund Your Next Big Idea

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 02:19 PM PST

Scott Steinberg is a small business expert, professional keynote speaker, noted strategic consultant, and creator of The Business Expert's Guidebook series and video show Business Expert: Small Business Tips, Trends and Advice. Entrepreneurs and startups can download and share free guides, tip sheets and inside advice from his website.

Cult favorite video game developer Double Fine recently shocked investors by raising over $1 million in 24 hours on Kickstarter for its new adventure game, despite the genre's supposed death. This has led critics to speculate that crowdsourcing isn't just the hottest new thing to happen to startups and small business owners since Apple's App Store; it may also present tomorrow's most promising new source of venture capital and angel investment.

From both research and ROI perspectives, the model makes sense. Why spend years building a better widget when you can instead find and fund tomorrow's next million-dollar idea simply by asking potential customers? Crazy? Not so much. Wasting thousands on research and development up-front, then manufacturing thousands of unproven goods, hoping that they'll actually align with market needs years hence is now an unnecessary approach. Through crowdsourcing fundamentals — requesting feedback or recruiting help from public donors via open calls for assistance — you can gauge demand for and create bankable products from day one. That's what entrepreneurs call risk mitigation.

Under current business models, creators can only make educated guesses as to what consumers will buy and how much. By letting shoppers fund only ideas they like best, you know exactly what to create, and in what quantities. Repositioning up-front spends more heavily around development vs. marketing, crowdsourcing allows you to deliver a high-quality product that essentially sells itself. Better still, pre-orders provide working capital to fuel production, and donors feel more emotionally invested in the end result.

To start the process, create just enough design samples, documents and drawings of your product or service to convey its unique selling points. Then, build short two- to five-minute videos that highlight key features and introduce team members and mission statements. Doing so promotes viewer empathy, attractively showcases core concepts and provides a user-friendly platform for sharing your elevator pitch on social media.

When summarizing your product or service, discuss no more than three to four main benefits. Include short, bulleted text descriptions, screenshots, photos and 90-second maximum film clips to dive deeper into supporting topics. And don't forget to dress for success. Regardless of available capital, always double down on visual presentation: People tend to judge on first impressions, and a picture's worth a thousand words.

Also worth noting: From an investor's perspective, working prototypes and vertical slices are far more convincing showpieces than tech demos, sketches and sunny PowerPoint presentations. Therefore, when possible, always use text, mock-ups and prototypes to showcase proposals before public announcement.

Equally important as pre-production and marketing is defining required funding levels, broken into tiers to attract spenders of all budgets. Also, assign associated rewards to each. Payouts can be physical ($50 nets a copy of the DVD and signed poster) or personal ($500 earns you an executive producer credit and thank you call from the director). It’s important to remember that current regulations prohibit startups from raising money via crowdsourcing. Therefore, payouts for crowdfunded, non-qualified investors must be tangible returns, like the aforementioned DVDs. In other words, money donated must essentially amount to pre-ordering future products or services.

Either way, the more value-adds, the merrier. Lest you feel stingy here, remember: They're ultimately cheaper than giving up a piece of your company.

After building presentation materials, you can introduce your designs to the world through your website, or via the following services:

Such online hubs act as both product showroom and public forum, where everyday buyers greenlight projects by voting with their wallets. The beauty: You own the end-product, minus any optional payments or royalties awarded to collaborators or contributors who've submitted original designs for inclusion. Profits from every sale, starting with the first one, help keep the lights on and new ideas flowing.

Win or lose, you not only retain all rights to your creations – you've also begun generating buzz for them and connecting with potential backers and fans.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ramihalim

More About: Business, contributor, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, features, kickstarter, trending, venture capital

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Mystery: Apple Secretive About Ongoing iTunes Store Hacks [VIDEO]

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 02:04 PM PST

iTunes Store users have long reported curious problems with Apple‘s digital store — mysterious purchases, gift card money disappearing, changes to account information. And recent reports have revealed that those complaints account for more than 70 pages on an Apple forum.

These problems, which some sources such as The Global Mail say is the work of hackers, range from funds disappearing completely from PayPal accounts to purchases being made for songs or apps.

When The Global Mail asked Apple for a statement on the issues, it responded with a blanket statement.

“Apple takes precautions to safeguard your personal information against loss, theft and misuse, as well as against unauthorised access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. Apple online services such as the Apple Online Store and iTunes Store use Secure Sockets Layer encryption on all web pages where personal information is collected,” according to The Global Mail.

Check out the video above to learn more, and tell us in the comments: Have you experienced these kinds of problems with your iTunes account?

More About: apple, itunes, iTunes Store, mashable video

Iran Reportedly Blocking Internet

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 01:53 PM PST

Internet users in Iran are reporting error messages when trying to access major websites from inside the country Friday.

Gmail, Google Reader and Facebook are just some of the blocked sites, according to The Washington Post.

Some Iranians are guessing their connectivity woes are being caused by the Iranian government. The country celebrates the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution from mid-February until March every year. The government may be restricting Internet access during this politically charged event to prevent anti-government demonstrations from forming online.

All the websites being plagued by error messages use HTTPS, a more secure version of the HTTP protocol that helps keep Internet users’ information private.

Other encrypted sites are also being blocked, including that of proxy servers, which some Iranians use to circumvent government blocks of Western websites, according to The Verge. Some are fearing this mass block is the first stage of Iran’s “national Internet,” a government plan to isolate digitally savvy Iranians from the rest of the Internet.

The Internet has played a vital role in Iranian political rallies in the recent past. Mass protests after a disputed election in 2009 were dubbed the “Twitter revolution” because protesters used the social network to organize themselves. The Internet slowed to a crawl during 2010′s anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. And Iranian protesters used the Internet again last year to coordinate solidarity marches with Arab Spring demonstrations in the Middle East.

Do you think governments should shut off encrypted websites before potentially explosive events? Sound off in the comments below.

More About: censorship, internet, iran, Twitter

Curse You Pinterest, I’m Hooked

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 01:43 PM PST

Lance View on Pinterest

Mashable OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

What the hell is going on with Pinterest? It's suddenly on the tip of everyone's tongue, influencing countless web designs, and has infiltrated most of my other social networks. Even I have fallen under its spell, and I am not necessarily happier for it.

The site, which is ostensibly still in closed beta (you need an invite, but current users have unlimited invites to give out), has actually be around for three years, but it didn't really take off until 2011. Last year it secured $37 million in funding and earned rave reviews from much of the media, including a spot on Time's 50 best Websites of 2011.

If you haven't tried it out yet, Pinterest is an exceedingly simple site. You just use the site’s browser bookmarklet, website buttons or iPhone app to "Pin" sites and content that interest you to your topic-organized boards. Pins appear on those boards as images culled from the content you Pin.

Your Pinterest followers can Like, Re-Pin and Comment on anything you've pinned. Pinboards are especially interesting since you can use them for collaborating on ideas and events. Some people even use Pinterest to Pin Wedding Planning ideas.

Mashable started seriously covering Pinterest late last year. I'd previously taken a look at the site and even joined, but wasn't quite getting it. As with other social networks I'm on, people started following me on Pinterest. This raised my guilt level to a point where I felt compelled to more actively participate on the platform. To do so, however, I needed to spend time on Pinterest, getting to know how the site is organized, what people Pin and why.

Here's the first thing I noticed: Pinterest has a decidedly feminine slant. There are tons of fashion items, crafts, hairstyles, shoes and ideas targeting women (moisturizers, print-covered luggage, home decorating tips). Obviously, there are men who would be interested in some of this stuff, but it is telling that there is at least one Pinterest competitor, Gentlemint, that is dedicated to men's interests.

SEE ALSO: 7 Pinterest Clones: Can You Tell the Difference?

Things started to appeal to me more when I focused on who I’m following or, better yet, chose one of the Pinterest subcategories under "Everything." I often end up on photography and then can't stop scrolling. The People category is like that too, though it’s primarily filled with great images of celebrities: If you like Ryan Gosling, you've come to the right place. Geeks is a fun category, but not all that geeky. The pins are still a lot of drawings, quotes, pictures of people, fashions and some movie posters (oh, and Ryan Gosling). If you promise me Geek, I expect to see a lot more gadgets.

The gifts category is much like the other main boards, but with the added benefit of price ranges right on top of the pics. Apparently Pinterest and partners may be making some money from this page thanks to affiliate deals.

The weird thing about Pinterest is that it's so magnetic. I guess we all just love looking at images, especially when they're as interesting and varied as those found in Pinterest. Yet, what's stranger still is Pinterest’s quick growth.

I'm seeing more and more Pinterest links on Twitter. That’s good news for Pinterest, but kind of a bummer for me. By using the Pinterest Pin, Tweeters have essentially added another social layer to dig through before reaching the real content. The Pinterest Pin is somewhat constraining. You can't always tell what the Pin is all about just by looking at Pinterest. In other words, you click on the link in the Tweet, are taken to Pinterest and then click another link on Pinterest to find out what the original Tweet was all about. It’s kind of a pain, but not one that seems to be slowing the startup down.

SEE ALSO: How Pinterest Is Changing Website Design Forever

If I were ask my wife, who wouldn’t describe herself as a tech enthusiast, about Google+, she would just stare at me. On the other hand, she asked me about Pinterest (she'd seen links to and posts about it on Facebook) and told me she wanted to join.

This is a rather remarkable turn of events. Pinterest is effortlessly bleeding right into the social Zeitgeist. News of its existence is traveling on an invisible network of feminine social interest. Meanwhile Google+ is growing, but only because it is part of a vast network of online services (Gmail, YouTube, Google Search). Join any of them and I think, though I don't know for sure, Google puts you on the Google+ list — even if you’re not actively using the network. Google+ is a pretty active network, but it's super geeky and fairly niche. Meanwhile, Pinterest is a broad-based phenomenon that reminds consumers of their refrigerator doors and poster boards. This social network is winning, effortlessly.

1. Hands

Pinterest via Edris Kim.

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Help Perez Hilton Bring Muppets and Music Back to the Oscars

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 01:28 PM PST

The Muppets

Muppets fans are not happy. Following news that musical performances at this year’s Oscars were canceled, Hollywood blogger Perez Hilton launched a petition to give The Muppets the opportunity to perform on stage as part of the awards show’s tradition.

The petition — which already has 24,000 signatures in a little more than a day — is asking the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to reinstate the musical performances this year to let the Muppets sing its nominated song, “Muppet or a Man,” from the film The Muppets. Only two songs were selected for the Best Original Song category this year, which also includes “Real in Rio” from the animated movie Rio.

“When Eddie Murphy dropped out of the Oscars, I encouraged the Academy to have the Muppets host the awards — it would have been such a fresh and fun choice,” Hilton told Mashable, noting that Billy Crystal will be hosting instead. “But when I heard they weren’t even going to let them perform, I was outraged. Why change tradition? If you are going to have Best Original Song as a category, you should celebrate it.”

In the Oscars’s 76 years of award shows, this is the first time the category only has two nominees, which is why many suspect the performances were eliminated. Voters had to rate the songs from 1 through 10 and only those with an average of 8.25 were nominated. Only two met that limit this year. Last year, four songs were nominated for Best Original Song.

Hilton hopes to get 100,000 signatures for the petition, which is posted on free petition site Care2, by Feb. 25 and ultimately, get the Muppets to perform on stage at the Oscars.

“We hope the petition will go viral and that the Academy will reconsider,” Hilton said. “There’s no real explanation for why they canceled the performances and we’re upset. If we get 100,000 signatures, that’s 100,000 people that will likely be tuning in to watch the Muppets perform.”

SEE ALSO: How Social Media Revived The Muppets | Muppets Star in Google Ad

Celebrities are also getting on board to support the cause: “SAVE THE MUPPETS!!! They should be performing at the Oscars!!! Help our fuzzy little icons get their due!!!” tweeted Adam Levine, Maroon 5′s singer and judge on The Voice.

The Muppets star Jason Segel — who is also featured in the “Man or Muppet” song — and producer Judd Apatow also tweeted news about the petition.

Do you want the Muppets to perform at the Oscars? If so, sign the petition here — and forward it to fellow fans.

More About: muppets, Oscars, oscars 2012

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CIA Website Down, Anonymous Taking Credit

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 01:15 PM PST

Anonymous, continuing an unusually active run of activity, took credit for bringing down the Central Intelligence Agency’s website Friday afternoon. As of 3:50 p.m. ET, the site remains inaccessible.

“CIA TANGO DOWN:,” reads a tweet from an Anonymous-affiliated account.

The CIA takedown is only the latest digital assault in a recent wave of Anonymous activity.

Late last week, Anonymous went on an all-day hack-and-leakathon, targeting the FBI, Scotland Yard, the Boston Police Department, the Greek Ministry of Justice and the law firm that defended a U.S. Marine who was involved in a 2005 massacre of Iraqi civilians. The group released files from that law firm along with an audio recording of a conversation between the FBI and Scotland Yard about a joint cybercrime investigation.

Tuesday, Anonymous struck again, posting the sensitive data of city officials from Oakland, Calif., in response to the city’s handling of Occupy Oakland protesters.

In January, Anonymous announced a major SOPA and PIPA-related boycott of music, films and other media throughout the month of March:

What Is Anonymous?

Images courtesy of Flickr, gaelx

More About: anonymous, CIA

15 Best Super Bowl Memes You Sent Us

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 12:57 PM PST

"Patriot or not ... "

For the Super Bowl, we challenged you to turn Patriots coach Bill Belichick into a meme using the cropped image of him we provided.

This photobomb featuring U.S. President Barack Obama is our favorite submission. Congrats to James Valentine, who will receive some sweet Mashable swag.

Everyone else, thanks for participating! Flip through this gallery to see our other favorite creations.

Click here to view this gallery.

For the Super Bowl, we challenged you to turn Patriots coach Bill Belichick into a meme using the cropped image of him we provided.

Y’all responded in full force, sending us impressive creations that include zombie Belichick, Project Runway Belichick and Casually Pepper Spray Everything Belichick. And how about Belichick photobombing Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore, U.S. President Barack Obama, Sad Keanu and Tebow fanatics? Yup, got those, too.

We distributed your hilarious submissions throughout our newsroom and put them up for a vote. The gallery above reveals the ones we liked best. To see the memes that didn’t make our Best Of list, click here.

SEE ALSO: 20 Best (or Most Annoying) Animated Super Bowl GIFs | Every Super Bowl Ad

Congrats to James Valentine, who whipped together the witty Belichick photobomb involving Obama. He wins sweet Mashable swag. Also, hat tip to Reuters photographer Jim Young, whose image of Belichick we used.

Which meme is your favorite? Do you think we picked the right winner? Sound off in the comments.

More About: football, humor, memes, nfl, sports, Super Bowl, trending

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The White MacBook Is Dead [VIDEO]

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 12:46 PM PST

If you own a white MacBook, it’s now vintage. Apple officially ended its waning existence, pronouncing the product as “End of Life.”

For consumers, this is kind of déjà vu. Apple actually discontinued the white MacBook from its lineup last summer, when the MacBook Air line was refreshed and took over the honors as Apple’s entry-level notebook. However, the company kept the white MacBook around in its education channel, offering it to students and schools.

All of that is over now. We haven’t heard back from Apple as to why the white MacBook is no longer available, but MacRumors, which originally reported the missing Mac, speculates that production of the white model probably ceased some time ago, and Apple chose to slowly sell off the remaining inventory in its education channel.

SEE ALSO: Gold and Diamond MacBook Pro Will Make You Apple Royalty

Now if you want an Apple laptop, it’s all aluminum, all the time. The move to a purely Air and Pro product line hasn’t hurt Apple’s bottom line, with the company posting big gains in laptop sales since the new Airs were launched in July 2011.

The white MacBook was the first model in the MacBook consumer line, introduced in July 2006. Although it was preceded by the MacBook Pro a few months earlier, the white MacBook design was notable for making widescreen displays and “chiclet” style keys the norm for Apple’s consumer laptops, features absent on it predecessor, the iBook. It was also the first consumer Apple notebook to use Intel processors.

Do you own a white MacBook? How do you feel about Apple fully discontinuing it? Let us know in the comments.

More About: apple, laptops, macbook, macbook air, Macbook Pro, trending

8 Powerful Tips for Marketing Your Business With Ebooks

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 12:36 PM PST

Scott Gerber is the founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council, a nonprofit organization that promotes youth entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemployment. The YEC provides young entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business’s development and growth.

Your company’s Twitter handle has a healthy amount of interaction, your status on Skype is set to chat with customers, and your email marketing strategies are always segmented and split-tested. Though you adopted every niche social media platform early and your website’s editorial calendar is full, you still may be missing out on a huge opportunity to expand your audience and rake in revenue.

Make room on virtual bookshelves for your next ebook — those (often free) PDFs a few dozen pages long that people from all over the world are reading from their iPads and Kindles. The file has a low production cost and a high conversion rate and can quickly turn passive clickers into paying customers, and retain them in the long run as well.

I asked a panel of successful young entrepreneurs how to seize the ebook opportunity to not only grow your business, but also to establish yourself and your company as an up-and-coming industry authority.

1. Dangle the Bait

They should just be the bait: Ebooks provide a lot of value up front, but also entice customers to want more from you. Position your ebook in a way that it builds value and desire for your backend products/services. Seventy-percent of your revenue will come from back-end sales after a customer purchases an ebook from you. Treat it like a worm…a big, juicy worm.

- Trevor Mauch, Automize, LLC.

2. Answer Your Audience

What does your audience need help with? What topics do they most often ask about? Take these pain points and turn them into a useful piece of content to share as an incentive for Liking your Facebook page, signing up for your e-newsletter, etc. It's a win-win for both parties – you receive new leads and/or contact information, and your audience receives the information they need.

- Heather Huhman, Come Recommended.

3. Build a Database

Use an ebook as a very easy and inexpensive way to build your database. An ebook can be very easy to produce and very easy to get out to many people. Consider writing one to give to people for free or for a very low fee in order to get your message out to people and introduce them to your services. The ebook can be passed around and posted all over the Internet.

- Louis Lautman, Young Entrepreneur Society.

4. Boost Awareness through Bookstores

There are ways to code any digital publication for the many ebook marketplaces online. Having your ebook listed in these marketplaces creates a great deal of opportunities when readers are looking for information in your field. The goal with this tactic isn’t necessarily more sales, but rather more awareness of you, your name and your business.

- Logan Lenz, Endagon.

5. Trigger a Domino Effect

The purpose of one media is to get them interested in the next, while delivering the value, resources and answers they expected. If your goal is to use ebooks to increase your consulting business, then your book should build the case that they need a consultant. Everything you do is marketing. Use callouts, make references to clients throughout the text and always have a call-to-action.

- Greg Rollett, The ProductPros.

6. Establish an Authority

Building a business is the same as building a following. Growth revolves around content. Share a solid ebook with useful information, covering the area in which your business lies with your audience. Your audience can begin to recognize you as the categorical authority (depending on the quality of the content) and, subsequently, as the go-to company when they need a product or service.

- Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk.

7. Enter New Economies

Since there are no printing or shipping costs to publish an ebook, price your ebook at a low enough cost so that customers worldwide can purchase them. As a result, you’ll have a wider and more engaged potential audience of customers who will already know you and your products.

- Warren Jolly, Affiliate Media Inc..

8. Adapt to All Screens

These days, it’s extremely easy to publish an ebook in PDF, ePub or Kindle formats. Your goal is to get your ideas and message in as many hands as possible, and by adapting your ebook for all digital screens, you have the potential to get more eyes on it. This also increases the possibility for sharing, and leads to more profitable ebooks or products in the future.

- Sean Ogle, Location 180, LLC.

Image courtesy of Flickr, tim_d

More About: ebooks, entrepreneurship, features, Marketing

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Now You Can Fit the Entire Pirate Bay Site On a USB Stick [VIDEO]

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 12:22 PM PST

One Pirate Bay user successfully ported the whole of The Pirate Bay onto a USB drive. This is made possible now that the site has transitioned to magnet links to save on bandwidth and likely because it leaves behind less potentially incriminating evidence on The Pirate Bay’s own servers.

“Somewhere on TorrentFreak, I found out a simple comment, that with the magnet links, the whole Pirate Bay fits on USB stick. So, I thought, why not test it out?” the user wrote.

Check out the video above to learn more.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr, Le ciel azurÃ

More About: mashable video, Pirate Bay, USB drives

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Europeans Plan Widespread Protests Against Internet Censorship

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 12:08 PM PST

Protests against Internet censorship will blanket Europe this weekend, while Germany and Latvia announced Friday they would put the brakes on signing a copyright treaty that has sparked controversy across the continent.

More than 200,000 people have committed to attending rallies in 200 cities to protest the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or “ACTA.”

“The map of planned protests is just breathtaking,” said Holmes Wilson, co-founder of anti-ACTA group Fight for the Future. “You’ve got tens of thousands of people taking to the streets in small cities, in countries where large street protests are not common.”

Proponents of ACTA say that the treaty will help fight global copyright theft. Opponents, fresh off the SOPA and PIPA battlefields, argue that ACTA will harm free speech on the Internet. They also accuse the treaty’s architects of holding negotiations away from the public eye.

“This is truly the Internet’s Arab Spring,” said Fight for the Future co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng. “People are rising up against anti-democratic laws that stifle individual freedoms. And they’re organizing spontaneously, without leaders, using tools available to everyone.”

SEE ALSO: What is ACTA? | ACTA ‘Is More Dangerous Than SOPA’

Public opposition to the treaty has already struck Europe. Last month, thousands of people in Poland took to the streets in protest while the European rapporteur for ACTA resigned after calling the negotiation process a “charade.”

It appears some European leaders have been listening to ACTA’s naysayers. Germany and Latvia’s decision to delay signing ACTA puts them in league with Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, who have also halted the process.

A German foreign ministry spokesperson said that the country needed “time to carry out further discussions” about the treaty, the BBC reported.

ACTA was signed by the U.S. and Japan in 2006. Australia, Canada, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea signed on last year and the European Union signed last month, but no country’s legislature has yet ratified the treaty. ACTA will go into force when ratified by at least six countries.

Would you hit the streets to protest ACTA? Is ACTA just as bad as SOPA and PIPA? Let us know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, richterfoto

More About: ACTA, europe, PIPA, protests, SOPA, trending

Why iPad Textbooks Are Still Too Expensive for Schools [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 11:51 AM PST

When Apple announced its initiative to bring iPads into schools and provide textbooks in digital format, the reaction among many was enthusiastic. iPad textbooks are more interactive, they can be easily updated and they can’t be easily vandalized. The price Apple announced at their launch event — $14.99 per textbook — also sounded like a steal, certainly far cheaper than traditional textbooks. But when you dig into the fixed costs associated with digital textbooks vs. their paper counterparts, there are some major reasons to believe that iPad textbooks might not be coming to a school near you any time soon.

The biggest is that the textbooks themselves don’t turn out to be cheaper. A representative of textbook publisher McGraw-Hill made clear to Mashable shortly after Apple’s announcement that the functional cost of a digital textbook for a school will actually be the same as the paper version, despite the much lower sticker price. Because of the way iBooks will be linked to specific user accounts, reuse from year-to-year isn’t possible; a freshman algebra textbook purchased in 2012 will need to be repurchased for new incoming freshman in 2013. If you use the standard cost and lifespan estimates for paper textbooks of $75 and five years, the digital versions end up costing the same as the paper editions.

SEE ALSO: Why the iPad Won't Transform Education — Yet

So if textbooks cost the same, then going with iPads actually ends up costing schools much more, because of course, the schools need to purchase iPad hardware on top of the textbook software. And that’s not a one-time cost — iPads don’t last forever. Apple tends to refresh the device every year, and judging by how poorly my heavily-used, three-year-old iPhone was functioning when I finally upgraded in January, a four-year lifespan is probably a good estimate (if not a little generous). Further, iPads can and do break. Which will cost more to replace, this or this?

The infographic below, created by our friends at Online Teaching Degree, details the costs associated with iPad textbooks versus traditional paper editions. Of course, it is important to note that iPad versions come with numerous tangible benefits that can’t be matched by paper books — they’re interactive, they can access the web, they’re better for a student’s health (carrying one iPad instead of multiple heavy books) and they can be kept up-to-date in real time. However, unless Apple and textbook publishers can come up with ways to greatly reduce the cost — via things like drastically cheaper iPad hardware, innovative trade-in programs and discount volume licensing for textbooks — it is unlikely that many schools will be able to absorb the sizable cost increase necessary to get iPads in the classroom.

Infographic via Online Teaching Degree, grab the embed here

Thumbnail image via Flickr, mortsan

More About: apple, education, electronic textbooks, iBooks, infographics, ipad, textbooks, trending

French Prez Nicolas Sarkozy Turns On, Fills Up His Facebook Timeline

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 11:36 AM PST

Facebook users have a love-hate relationship with Facebook Timeline, which encourages users to share their life story in photos and milestones. So where does French President Nicolas Sarkozy fall on the amour-haine spectrum? J’adore, it seems, as Sarkozy has enabled Timeline on his profile.

Sarkozy’s Timeline page has has just under 5,000 followers. It lists his occupation as “President of France” and his cover photo shows the president grinning widely with others at a public event. In French, the photo reads “I’ve had from an early age the pride of belonging to a great, ancient and beautiful nation: France.”

In Timeline, users can mark life “milestones.” For most, milestones are a baby’s birth or college graduation. But Sarkozy is using milestones to prominently show achievements he’s made in office, including reconciliation with Rwanda or helping earthquake-ravaged Haiti. He also marks celebration of French holidays or national achievements, such as France’s selection as host of the UEFA Euro soccer tournament.

Sarkozy’s team capitalized on Timeline’s photo-friendly design. Scrolling through the president’s Timeline reveals pictures of Sarkozy at a nuclear power plant, a classroom, a diplomatic meeting and other public events. All of Sarkozy’s milestones have images attached, allowing visitors an eye-pleasing romp through his nearly five-year term.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Timeline Roll Out: Everything You Need to Know

Facebook is glad to have Sarkozy using Timeline.

“Anyone can create a presence on Facebook and we are always pleased to see prominent figures including politicians use our platform to connect with people,” says Andrew Noyes, manager of Facebook’s public policy communications.

Sarkozy joins an increasing list of public figures using Timeline, including media mogul Arianna Huffington and Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. In case you were wondering, President Obama doesn’t use Timeline.

What do you think of President Sarkozy’s Facebook Timeline? Sound off in the comments below.

BONUS: How To Fill In Your Facebook Timeline

1. The Timeline Menu Bar

As you scroll down your new Timeline, a floating menu bar will appear at the top of your screen. Use it to add new events.

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Image courtesy of the Government of France

More About: Facebook, facebook timeline, france

Breakthrough: Organic Computer Could Change Everything [VIDEO]

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 11:21 AM PST

Scientists have created a biological computer capable of extracting hidden images on a DNA chip.

There’s nothing new about a computer reading images encrypted on DNA chips, but this is the first computer made only of biomolecules. The scientists behind the research in California and Israel say they don’t expect biological computers to compete with electronic computers.

The biological computer isn’t pretty and doesn’t look like a normal computer since it was created in a test tube by mixing chemicals in a solution that appears clear, said Ehud Keinan, the professor who led the research.

Scientists don’t know what impact their findings will have on technological advancement, but biomolecular computing devices could redefine what a computer is. A computer is defined “as a machine made of four components — hardware, software, input and output,” Keinan said in a statement.

“In contrast to electronic computers, there are computing machines in which all four components are nothing but molecules,” said lead researcher Keinan. “For example, all biological systems and even entire living organisms are such computers. Every one of us is a biomolecular computer, a machine in which all four components are molecules that ‘talk’ to one another logically.”

SEE ALSO: From Fantasy to Reality: Scientists Create Time Invisibility Cloak

Keinan explains how the biological molecules were created: "The molecules start interacting upon one another, and we step back and watch what happens," Keinian said. “And by tinkering with the type of DNA and enzymes in the mix, scientists can fine-tune the process to a desired result.”

The computing device can extract images similar to the way computer software does. The 100% biological computer may be useful for long-term storage.

Watch the video to see how the biological computer works.

Thumbnail photo courtesy of Flickr, Passive Income

More About: computer, DNA, mashable video, Science

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7 Epic Videos of Gadget Destruction

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 11:09 AM PST

1. Kid Breaks iPad Outside the Store

Here's a video of a group of teenagers who buy an iPad at Best Buy, then smash it with a bat in front of all the people in line waiting to buy their own. Some sense of humor they have.

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On Thursday, a video of a father shooting his daughter’s laptop hit a nerve across the web, gaining more than a million views in 24 hours. His fury at his daughter — and her laptop — had people talking.

Unfortunately, destruction of the technology we love (and sometimes love to hate) has been the subject of plenty of videos and pop culture references in the past. From the frustrated protagonists in Office Space smashing a monstrous printer, or testing the “blendability” of a brand new iPhone, people like seeing fancy tech toys eviscerated.

See our gallery of videos above, and tell us if we missed one of your favorites in the comments.

More About: Facebook, features, iphone, Tech, videos, will it blend, YouTube

Coca-Cola to Host Google+ Hangout Next Week

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 10:54 AM PST

In another vote of confidence from Corporate America for Google+, Coca-Cola is planning to launch a Hangout on the network next week.

Coke’s Hangout, scheduled for 2 p.m. EST on Feb. 16, will feature company archivists Ted Ryan and Jamal Booker taking questions from the Coca-Cola Archives. The Archives have been featured on CNBC and Bloomberg TV as well as in Coke’s Virtual Online Museum, but it is not open to the public and the company has never hosted an event there.

Ryan says the talk, scheduled to run 30 to 45 minutes, will include a look at some Olympics memorabilia and a document showing Coca-Cola’s original patent award in 1887. It will not, however, be scripted. Content will be mostly determined by participants’ questions.

Coke announced the Hangout on its Google+ Page as well as via its Coca-Cola Archives Facebook Page and Twitter feed. The first eight people to log onto the talk will each be one of the nine people others see in the Hangout. (As with all Google+ Hangouts, only nine feeds at a time can be seen; the rest of the people who participate watch the action.)

Google opened Google+ up to brand pages in early November. Since then, more than 3.5 million users have put brands in their circles, according to researcher Simply Measured. Coke, meanwhile, has the sixth largest brand page, in terms of “circlers,” according to the researcher, with about 326,000. Though that’s a far cry from Coke’s Facebook fan base, which numbers close to 39 million.

Michael Donnelly, director of worldwide interactive marketing for Coca-Cola, says he’s optimistic about Google+’s growth. “From a social perspective, we want to be where our consumers are,” he says. Donnelly says that other ideas for Hangouts are analyst talks with investor relations and panels with teens.

Though Cadbury U.K. claims to have been the first brand to host a Google+ Hangout, on Feb. 9, lots of other brands have including Dell and Macy’s, have in addition to politicians like President Obama and entertainment properties like the Muppets..

Image courtesy of Flickr, Steve Snodgrass

More About: Coke, Google, Google Hangouts

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Want to Add a Share Bar to Your Site? Buffer Makes It Easy

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 10:37 AM PST

Like the sharing bar to the left of this article? Tweet-timing app Buffer wants your site to have one just like it — but with a Buffer button.

The startup, which spaces out users’ tweets to hit feeds at optimal times, has acquired a WordPress add-on called Digg Digg (no affiliation to the content ranking site) that makes it easy to insert share button docks on WordPress blogs.

Digg Digg had more than 300,000 users when Buffer acquired it and included buttons for social sites such as Twitter, Google Plus, Facebok, Digg and LinkedIn. Now it will also include a button that adds a tweet to the clicker’s Buffer queue.

Buffer’s sharing tool has 120,000 registered users (about 30% of whom are monthly active users), and it’s hard to argue that giving people a way to spread their tweets throughout the day — even when they’re not online — isn’t a good idea. The startup’s problem, however, is that it’s also a very simple idea and would be easy for a larger Twitter client to imitate.

To mitigate this risk, Buffer aims to integrate with as many other tools as possible. It’s already integrated with iPhone and iPad Twitter client Tweetings and social media dashboard SocialBro, and its buttons have been installed on about 3,000 sites.

“We initially developed Buffer as a smart sharing tool,” Buffer co-founder Leonhard Widrich tells Mashable. “Whilst this has been very successful, we want to move beyond that and Buffer into a new sharing standard and create a completely new way of how content is shared on the web.”

The Digg Digg acquisition, which came with new Buffer buttons on 300,000 sites, fits well with the startup’s strategy of becoming ubiquitous on the web.

Widrich says Buffer plans to eventually extend the functionality of the social sharing dock to Typepad and Blogger. The plugin can be downloaded here.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, flyparade

More About: Buffer, Digg Digg, Twitter

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