Monday, 5 March 2012

Mashable: Latest 14 News Updates - including “Gilt Picks Your Next Discount Amount Based On Your Klout Score”


Mashable: Latest 14 News Updates - including “Gilt Picks Your Next Discount Amount Based On Your Klout Score”

Gilt Picks Your Next Discount Amount Based On Your Klout Score

Posted: 05 Mar 2012 04:57 AM PST

Flash sales website Gilt Groupe this week will dish out discounts solely determined by its members’ Klout scores, with rollbacks as high as 100% off apparel and home decor.

Gilt has partnered with Klout — which measures a social media user’s online influence from 0 to 100 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Foursquare — to offer the unique discount on Klout’s Perks platform.

The discount begins Tuesday with people who have lower scores and opens up to others during the week:

  • March 6: 20% off for users with scores up to 20 (up to $50)
  • March 7: 40% off for users with scores between 21-40 (up to $50)
  • March 8: 60% off for users with scores between 41-60 (up to $75)
  • March 9: 80% off for users with scores between 61-80 (up to $100)
  • March 10: 100% for users off with scores between 81-100 (up to $100)

“Gilt is working with us in a way that brings significant value to our users, and has the foresight to see how important it is to connect to influencers at scale," says Klout CEO Joe Fernandez.

Both companies, which worked on the deal for three months, are keen on tapping into new avenues.

This year alone, Klout has been busy toying with perks to bring real-world benefits to its scoring system and Perks platform, which is an integral part of the San Francisco-based startup’s business model. And a recent acquisition of another startup shows Klout is taking steps toward releasing the first offcial Klout mobile app.

Meanwhile, Gilt continues to market its expanded properties through partnerships, including its most recent venture with Niche Media founder Jason Binn to launch a shoppable luxury magazine called Du Jour. Gilt, which just a few months ago began shipping outside of the U.S., also unleashed an application programming interface (API) in February that allows outside developers to infuse Gilt data into their apps or platforms.

Gilt also teamed up with influencers of specific Klout topics to curate special 36-hour sales that start March 7.

A Gilt rep told Mashable that all of the curators’ picks will be represented in one sale, allowing Gilt members to learn about curators and products from several Gilt properties in one place.

"Klout has the ability to identify influencers and Gilt has the platform to connect those influencers with brands and an engaged shopper audience," says Gilt Groupe President Andy Page.

SEE ALSO: U.S. Online Retail Sales to Hit $327 Billion by 2016? | Klout Confirms Mobile App

BONUS: What Else Does Klout Have in Store for 2012?

Looking ahead, Klout is still building scoring models for seven more services (YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogger,, and Flickr) that have already been integrated onto Klout users' dashboards. Klout also plans to add Quora, Yelp, Posterous, Livefyre, Disqus, and BranchOut.

Klout likely will continue improving its Topics feature (see screenshots below) and Klout Perks platform. The Topics feature, which rolled out in September and lets you gain insights on top influencers and +K recipients for specific content areas, got a visual update in December with a “sashes” and an “Add a Topic” button.

Clickable Topics on Your Dashboard

On your Klout dashboard, you can click on a topic to open its Topic Page.

In December 2011, Klout rolled out sashes and an "Add a Topic" button. A blue sash goes to users with the most +Ks for any topic, while a gold sash is given to influencers based on Klout's algorithm. People who fall into both categories receive a blue-and-gold sash.

Click here to view this gallery.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, Pgiam

More About: fashion, gilt groupe, klout, online shopping, Social Media

Mashable Weekend Recap: 31 Stories You Might Have Missed

Posted: 05 Mar 2012 04:25 AM PST

Spring is just around the corner, and this weekend at Mashable, there was another big event around the corner that proved itself to be a subtext for the entire weekend: the advent of the next edition iPad, which might be called the iPad 3, iPad HD, or something else altogether. Whatever it’s going to be called, we found stories about it, including one intriguing video purporting to show the new tablet’s screen, its thickness, and lots of other heretofore unseen details.

Beyond the anticipation of Apple’s next move, we’re still playing around with Windows 8, and presented a video of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview installed on a tablet. So it’s true: There are other companies making tablets these days, and some of those just might give the iPad a run for its money.

But all that’s just a tiny sampling, among a sea of posts about social media, tips and techniques, tantalizing Twitter pics and digital media resources galore. So we invite you to take a close look at our Weekend Recap list, where you might find something that feels like it was personally written just for you:

News & Opinion Essentials

Is This the iPad 3? [VIDEO]

Windows 8 on a Tablet: First Impressions [VIDEO]

Evidence of iPad 3 and iOS 6? Server Logs Tell the Tale

Facebook Briefly Incorporates 'Interest Lists' [VIDEO]

Top 10 Tech This Week [PICS]

Apple's App Store Hits 25 Billion Downloads

Mercedes Rolls Out Invisible Car [VIDEO]

Movable Ink Serves Live Content in Your Email

YouTube's Learning Quiz Asks, 'Are You A Brainiac?' [VIDEO]

Instagram Tops 25M Users [REPORT]

Lytro: Shooting Matrix-Style 'Bullet Time' Video Isn't Far Away

Apple Tops Fortune's 'Most Admired' List for Fifth Year in a Row [VIDEO]

Foursquare Users, Despite Badge, Do Not Love the Windows Phone

QR Code Condoms Let You Check In Before Getting It On [VIDEO]

Helpful Resources

48 New Digital Media Resources You Might Have Missed

The Pitfalls of Freelancing [INFOGRAPHIC]

Top 6 Mashable Comments of the Week

SnappSchool Connects Parents With Classrooms

Top 10 Twitter Pics of the Week

How Employers Are Paying in 2012 [INFOGRAPHIC]

How to Take Your PR Pitches to the Next Level

How to Maintain Traditional Customer Service in the Social Media Age

10 Strategies for Non-Profits on Pinterest

Weekend Leisure

The Best Instagram Photos Ever Taken [PICS]

10 Funniest QR Code Fails

SNL Lindsay Lohan Appearance Goes Viral [VIDEOS]

March Madness: 16 Sweet Must-Follows on Twitter

iPad 3: Who's the Boss Now, iPad 2? [COMIC]

Lady Gaga the First to Hit 20 Million Twitter Followers

Top 10 Most Amazing iPhone Puzzle Games

13 Products You Can Make From Your Instagram Snapshots [PICS]

More About: Weekend recap

Android Robot Now World’s Most Popular Mobile Browser [REPORT]

Posted: 05 Mar 2012 02:30 AM PST


Android‘s web browser Robot has overtaken Opera to become the top mobile browser, according to StatCounter’s data.

In February 2012, Android Robot had 22.67% market share, followed by Opera with 21.7% and iPhone‘s Safari with 21.06% share.

Nokia and BlackBerry remain distant fourth and fifth, with 11.24% and 6.53% share, respectively.

If you trust StatCounter’s data, Opera – which has been the top dog throughout the last 12 months – has started losing market share quite quickly in January 2012, while both iPhone Safari and Android Robot did very well in that two-month period.

The graph above might look quite different in a year’s time, though, as we expect both Windows Phone’s IE and Google’s recently launched mobile Chrome to enter the picture. Also, note that Apple’s iPod touch is counted as a separate entity on this graph, and its 4.3% market share isn’t negligible.

[via StatCounter]

For more Mobile coverage:

48 New Digital Media Resources You Might Have Missed

Posted: 04 Mar 2012 03:03 PM PST

iPhone Social Media Icons

Been away from Mashable for a few days? Maybe you were sorting through hundreds of Oscar memes. Perhaps you’ve been busy working on integrating your brand with Facebook Timeline. Or have you been trying to figure out what the iPad 3 will look like?

For whatever reason you’ve missed our new digital media resources this week, let us catch you up in a flash with our features roundup.

This week we have the marketer’s guide to Pinterest, a list of YouTube‘s most shared ads in February and everything you wanted to know about 3D printing but were too afraid to ask. We’ve also covered the new socially inclined Lytro camera, tips for better Facebook parenting and an explanation of how startups can establish relationships with journalists. And look at all the infographics!

Editor’s Picks

Social Media

For more social media news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s social media channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Business & Marketing

For more business news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s business channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Tech & Mobile

For more tech news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s tech channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, sd619.

More About: Business, COMMUNICATIONS, Features Week In Review, Social Media, Tech

The Best Instagram Photos Ever Taken [PICS]

Posted: 04 Mar 2012 02:40 PM PST

1. Maura Grace (@folkfibers)

Josh Riedel: "I love the way you can travel through photos. Maura (@folkfibers) travels the USA in her VW van, and her photos take you along for the ride. I like to imagine Maura pulling to the side of the road and leaning out her window to snap this shot as she's leaving the park."

Click here to view this gallery.

As Instagram’s popularity continues to grow, millions of people around the world are sharing details from their daily lives via the iPhone app.

While we’ve previously brought you the most followed Instagram photographers, we thought it would be interesting to see which Instagram images are the favorites of the team behind the popular app.

We got in touch with Instagram’s community team, made up of Josh Riedel (@josh on Instagram) and Jessica Zollman (@jayzombie) to get their take on the app’s phenomenal success.

“Since we launched in October 2010, it’s been both rewarding and humbling to see people around the world embrace Instagram as a way of sharing small moments of life through gorgeous mobile photos,” Josh told Mashable.

“Every day, we get the chance to discover what’s happening around the world and in our friends’ lives by scrolling through our Instagram feeds, and we’re excited for the many beautiful photos we’re bound to see as the community continues to grow.”

SEE ALSO: 10 Amazing Hipstamatic iPhone Photos

Take a look through the gallery above for Josh and Jessica’s selections. Link us in the comments to your fave Instagram imagery — snapped by you or others.

More About: features, gallery, instagram, iphone, iphone apps, Mobile, mobile apps, photography, Social Media, trending

10 Funniest QR Code Fails

Posted: 04 Mar 2012 01:59 PM PST

It’s become nearly impossible to leave your house without seeing QR codes scattered everywhere. They’re on billboards, in your newspaper, even on your cereal box — enticing you to scan them with your smartphone, and then leading you to who-knows-where on the Web.

Where will the QR code madness end?!

Two designers set out to find the craziest usage of QR (Quick Response) codes and poke fun at them. The result is a new Tumblr called WTF QR Codes

“I started taking pictures of them just to capture the ridiculousness,” says Brad Frost, a mobile web strategist and front-end designer at digital ad agency R/GA. “I started scanning them because many should go to worthwhile mobile-optimized web experiences, and as a web designer I was curious to see if that actually happens — it almost always doesn’t.”

The site is a side project for Frost and Craig Villamor, who is the director of mobile user experience at Salesforce.

“Using QR codes to drive people to the very TV spots they skip over with DVR isn’t just bad user experience, it’s insulting,” says Frost.

Although Frost says there are most certainly good opportunities for QR Codes, such as paying bills or playing web games between various screens, this form of technology is being misused by marketers.

“With augmented reality, NFC and photo recognition all on the cusp of becoming mainstream, I think we’ll see a drop in QR codes — but until then we have some great fodder to work with,” says Frost.

The creators of WTF QR Codes have selected the most “WTF,” hilarious picks of the website. Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

1. Flying QR Codes

"Look! In the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's the dumbest thing I've ever seen in my life!"

Click here to view this gallery.

Image courtesy of WTF QR Codes

More About: features, humor, QR Codes, trending, tumblr

For more Entertainment coverage:

The Pitfalls of Freelancing [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 04 Mar 2012 01:06 PM PST

Let’s get one thing straight: Freelancing is not easy. While it offers fantastic benefits — flexible hours, more control and creative independence — there are still plenty of risks involved with striking out on your own and running your own business. And while the economy struggles to recover, freelancing poses pitfalls.

According to the infographic below, compiled with information from, a surprising 80% of freelancers have dealt with a client who ultimately didn’t pay for work that was completed. Average losses totaled $6,000 — quite a hefty chunk of change to lose.

Have freelancing gigs become less plentiful (or lower-paying) in the current economy? Have you gotten a dream freelancing gig, or have you gone through a freelancing nightmare? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Social Media Job Listings

Every week we post a list of social media and web job opportunities. While we publish a huge range of job listings, we’ve selected some of the top social media job opportunities from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!

Infographic provided by Greg Voakes

More About: features, freelance work, freelancers, infographic, job search series, mashable, trending

For more Business coverage:

March Madness: 16 Sweet Must-Follows on Twitter

Posted: 04 Mar 2012 12:43 PM PST

1. @GoodmanCBS

Jeff Goodman is a writer. His SiriusXM show, Inside College Basketball, regularly has interesting and timely guests as well. Follow his Twitter feed to find out who's on when.

Click here to view this gallery.

It’s March, and that means one thing for basketball fans — madness. March Madness officially starts with Selection Sunday on March 11. But the fun really begins now, as the conference hoops season winds down and league tournaments set Cinderella hopefuls on their way.

From historic first-round upsets (can a 16-seed finally break through this year?) to the always-emotional “One Shining Moment” final recap, the NCAA Tournament is one of the sporting world’s grandest annual events.

But the tournament does come with some built-in problems. Many of the best games happen in the middle of the day, when work or class get in the way. There have always been ways to keep up with the action, of course — a tiny TV tucked away on your desk, radio broadcasts, and live score updates online, for example.

These days, however, the best way to follow along is on Twitter. But who should you follow?

Luckily, Mashable has you covered with a Sweet 16 list of March Madness must-follows. Need action updates during working hours? We’ve got national correspondents who will relay scores and big moments all day. Want the hometown scoop on the heavy favorites? We’ve got beat writers to give you fresh angles. Need a passionate perpective? We’ve got the best bloggers around. Want to get nerdy with it? We’ve got you covered there, too.

Scroll through the slideshow above to see who hoop-heads and casual fans alike should follow for the next month — but don't stop there, because we're sure we've missed a few. Who would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, adamkaz

More About: march madness, sports, Twitter

For more Social Media coverage:

iPad 3: Who’s the Boss Now, iPad 2? [COMIC]

Posted: 04 Mar 2012 12:10 PM PST

As the reign of the iPad 2 as the world’s top tablet comes to a close, it’s time for the iPad 3 to take its seat at the top.

Now those haughty iPad 2 owners won’t be able to brag about their superior purchase over lesser tablets, as they’ve been doing for the past year.

Keeping that in mind, Mashable‘s editor-in-chief and chairman of cartoons Lance Ulanoff (@LanceUlanoff) shows us which tablet will be the new boss in his latest exclusive illustration, “One iPad Leads to Another”.

More About: comics, ipad 3

SNL Lindsay Lohan Appearance Goes Viral [VIDEOS]

Posted: 04 Mar 2012 11:37 AM PST

Lindsay Lohan’s return to Saturday Night Live last night has turned viral, with many fans and detractors taking to social media sites to discuss the highs and lows of the pop starlet’s performance.

On Sunday afternoon, “SNL Lindsay Lohan” was the second most-searched term on Google and the sketch “The Real Housewives of Disney” was trending nationwide on Twitter.

Lohan’s poke-fun-at-herself monologue, which featured various SNL cast members questioning whether or not the star would be able to handle hosting duties in light of her recently-troubled past, was among the most discussed topics of the night. Cast members Kenan Thompson pretended to check her eyes for clarity and Kristen Wiig patted her down.

The other sketch — a parody of Bravo’s wildly-popular The Real Housewives series that featured Disney princesses such as Snow White, Cinderella and Rapunzel acting catty toward one another at a dinner party — was also shared around the Internet on Sunday.

She also gave a shout-out to the site where so many people were discussing her performance in real time. During a jail scene sketch, while describing what her law-enforcement capabilities include, she replied: “I’m big on Twitter.”

But her overall performance was met with mixed reviews.

Many Twitter users, including @drunkenough, tweeted about Lohan’s attempt to read cue cards. Meanwhile, others praised her comeback, noting that she looked healthier and happier than she has in recent years.

What did you think of her performance? Are you surprised it went viral? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Facebook, saturday night live, snl, Social Media, trending, TV, Twitter

For more Entertainment coverage:

Is This the iPad 3? [VIDEO]

Posted: 04 Mar 2012 10:35 AM PST

Itching to see what the iPad 3 looks like and don’t want to wait until Wednesday?

Tech blog MIC Gadget has reportedly obtained parts of the next-generation iPad. If this is real, it’s the closest look yet at the new tablet from Apple.

In line with industry speculation, the clip reveals that the iPad 3 touts a larger camera lens and a slightly thicker shell. In addition, it will once again include a home button, disputing rumors that the touchscreen itself could serve as the home button.

Apple announced last week it will be holding a press event on Wednesday, March 7 in San Francisco to unveil something to “see” and “touch.” Flurries of speculation have since circulated the Web with many looking for clues about the highly-anticipated launch of the iPad 3.

According to MIC Gadget, the iPad 3 will be introduced with its standard set of memory sizes, including 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. Although various reports have indicated there could be a jump in price, the iPad 3 could remain the same if the super-fast long-term evolution (LTE) network is not integrated. MIC Gadget also cited sources that LTE — which is more costly to build into devices — is unlikely for the next-generation Apple device since the market may still be too premature for it.

SEE ALSO: Clues in Apple's iPad Invite [OPEN THREAD] | Apple TV Announced Next Week? [RUMOR]

The specs revealed in the video show that the exterior design updates are slight, so iPad 2 covers are still be able to fit the new version. Voice-assistant software Siri is also likely to be included.

Meanwhile, Gizmodo is reporting that the device could be called the “iPad HD,” as it will likely feature a HD retina display, and boost a major update to iOS.

The Internet is never shy about Apple rumors. There are even claims that a 7.85-inch model could be introduced in the third quarter of this year, with the same resolution as the conventional iPad 2 with 1024×768 pixels and no retina display.

What do you think will be unveiled at the event? Which features do you want to see most? Let us know in the comments.

Apple Invite Sparks iPad 3 Frenzy on Twitter


Twitter was abuzz Tuesday after Apple revealed the invite to a March 7 event in San Francisco. The invite — teasing what will likely be a new iteration of the iPad — featured an image emblazoned with 10 words, "We have something you really have to see. And touch."

As if cued by a director, Twitter users immediately reacted in droves, catapulting "iPad 3" into Twitter's worldwide trending topics. People chimed in with jokes and more never-ending speculation.

Click here to view this gallery.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ymgerman

More About: apple, ipad, ipad 3, tablets, trending

Top 6 Mashable Comments of the Week

Posted: 04 Mar 2012 10:22 AM PST

We’re back with our weekly top comments from the Mashable community.

In this column, we showcase the week’s best comments on our site and from our Facebook page. We’re always looking for insightful comments that spark discussion, add unique perspective, or simply make us laugh.

This week, one of the most-discussed topics among our community was Apple’s invite to a more-than-likely iPad 3 announcement on March 7. They also discussed the implications of the recent announcement of Timeline for Facebook brand pages.

iPad 2 Buyers Remorse

Ashley Galore shares her reaction when she heard Apple would announce the iPad 3 next week, when she just got the iPad 2 as a gift. This week Mashable received an invite for an Apple event in San Francisco on March 7. This event will most likely be the announcement of the iPad 3.


Original comment posted on:
Forget the iPad 3 — I'd Still Buy an iPad 2

Click here to view this gallery.

If you haven’t commented on a Mashable article before, check out Mashable Follow, our content curation and social tool, as well as our comment guidelines to learn more. We’d love for you to join the conversation.

Remember to comment on next week’s articles for a chance to be in the top comments roundup.

More About: comments, community, mashable follow, top comments

For more Social Media coverage:

Lady Gaga the First to Hit 20 Million Twitter Followers

Posted: 04 Mar 2012 09:44 AM PST

Lady Gaga has become the first person to attract 20 million followers on Twitter, blasting through that landmark number on Saturday.

Gaga topped fellow pop icon Britney Spears in August of 2010 to become the most-followed person on Twitter.  Currently, Spears has 13.5 million Twitter followers — roughly 6.5 million less than Gaga.

While Spears occasionally posts personal tweets, her account is largely maintained by her management team.  Gaga has claimed to personally maintain her Twitter account and regularly uses it to interact with fans, share original pictures and make announcements. After passing Spears, Gaga then dubbed herself the “Queen of Twitter,” and has retained the title ever since.

The top 5 most-followed people on Twitter are all musicians.  Lady Gaga (20 million followers), Justin Bieber (18 million followers), Katy Perry (15.7 million followers), Shakira (14.5 million followers) and Rihanna (14.4 million followers) top the Twitter charts.

While Bieber tweets much more often than Gaga does, statistics from suggest Gaga’s Twitter crown isn’t in any immediate danger of being overtaken by Bieber. Gaga’s daily Twitter growth rate is consistently higher than Bieber’s — keeping her lead safe.


In addition to her 20 million Twitter followers, Lady Gaga has 48.8 million fans on Facebook and is in approximately 830,000 circles on Google+.

Most recently, she unveiled her new social network, Little Monsters, which gives her fans an outlet to create or share Gaga-related content, interact with fellow “Little Monsters” and publicly show whether they like what other users post.

Do you think Gaga will retain her self-styled title as “Queen of Twitter?”

BONUS: How Lady Gaga Used the Web to Propel Her Last Album

In the months leading up to the May 23, 2011, Born This Way album release — and even now — Gaga has paved a path for stars and brands to get inventive with the ways they use digital and social media to promote themselves and connect with fans. Gaga is no stranger to success on the web. The promotional juggernaut in 2011 ramped up her all-encompassing web presence, fostering partnerships with Zynga for the FarmVille-inspired GagaVille, Starbucks for a massive scavenger hunt, VEVO for exclusive premieres, HBO for a concert special, Rdio for free lifetime subscriptions, iTunes for a promotional countdown, Best Buy and Livestream for an album signing and Gilt Groupe and Amazon Cloud Player for deals.

Below, we've compiled a huge swathe of the digital and social media initiatives behind Gaga's Born This Way, which was nominated for three Grammy awards, including her third-straight nod for Album of the Year.

Zynga's GagaVille

On May 17, Zynga launched the Farmville-style GagaVille, which garnered much ridicule from Gaga haters and laughs from even the most devoted Little Monsters.

Jokes aside, Lady Gaga like other big brands this year found a way to leverage the enormous social gaming population, which is expected to reach 68.7 million players by the end of 2012.

Gamers were able to unlock and stream unreleased tracks from Born This Way and bonus remixes. The game incorporated Gaga's style and personality with users having access to crystals, unicorns and sheep on motorcycles. The GagaVille campaign also incorporated Zynga game cards (buy a $25 card and receive the Born This Way album and bonus tracks for free); Words With Friends (use a Gaga word of the day and be entered for concert tickets); and RewardVille (win virtual goods to use in other Zynga games).

Click here to view this gallery.

Image courtesy of Interscope Records/YouTube

More About: celebrities, Entertainment, Lady Gaga, Music, Twitter

Top 10 Most Amazing iPhone Puzzle Games

Posted: 04 Mar 2012 07:25 AM PST

Since the days of Tetris on the original Game Boy, puzzle games and handheld devices have gone hand in hand. With the App Store encouraging creative developers to come up with their own ideas for addicting brain-teasers, there are plenty of quality puzzle games out there for the iPhone and iPad. But these puzzlers are the cream of the crop. From new takes on familiar ideas to unique hybrids — these are the ten best puzzle games for iOS.

1. Bejeweled Blitz

PopCap's high-speed take on the Bejeweled formula is perfectly represented on iOS. One minute to match as many gems as possible means a lot of luck is required, but it's just crazy enough to stay exciting and interesting. The game uses Facebook to connect with the browser version of the game, bringing together achievements and friend leaderboards from across various platforms.

Click here to view this gallery.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, youngvet.

More About: apps, games, iOS, ipad, iphone, trending

Movable Ink Serves Live Content in Your Email

Posted: 02 Mar 2012 08:59 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: Movable Ink

Quick Pitch: Insert live-updating and device-specific content into your emails.

Genius Idea: Improves the relevance and timeliness of your email marketing.

Movable ink is an application system that allows you to insert “containers” of live content into your email. You could, for instance, place a countdown timer that notifies recipients how many hours are left before a special offer expires, or how much time is left before your New Year’s Eve bash starts.

Other features include maps tailored to a recipient’s location and widgets that display live tweets. A device detector lets you target messages based on a recipient’s device. If someone opened up your email on an iPad, for example, you could display an ad touting your iPad app.

Movable Ink’s products are designed for professional use — particularly for retail and events businesses — but some features are available for free, non-commercial use as well. The company has a three-tier pricing structure offering various levels of customization and support.

The New York-based startup raised a $1.3 million financing round led by Contour Ventures in October 2011.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, chezzzers

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, email marketing, Marketing, movable ink, spark-of-genius, startup

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