Saturday, 19 May 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Ebay a Hassle? Check Out This Platform for Secondhand Fashion”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Ebay a Hassle? Check Out This Platform for Secondhand Fashion”


Ebay a Hassle? Check Out This Platform for Secondhand Fashion

Posted: 18 May 2012 06:55 PM PDT


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

Name: Threadflip

Quick Pitch: Buy and sell pre-owned clothing and accessories.

Genius Idea: More convenient and personal than selling on eBay.

Copious, 99dresses, Fashionlend, Nearly Newlywed, Poshmark: there’s been a proliferation of web and mobile-based channels for selling pre-owned clothing and accessories as of late. These businesses are aiming to carve a slice out of an area long dominated by the likes of eBay, Etsy and local consignment shops.

Threadflip, a San Francisco-based company that launched with $1.6 million in seed funding last month, is among the latest of these.

Like its competitors, Threadflip lets you buy and sell secondhand fashion goods. Where it differs is in its level of service. Threadflip provides an end-to-end shipping solution that saves sellers laborious trips to the post office. The company also offers a “white glove service” for sellers who want to be less involved: simply send your items, and the company will do the photographing, listing and shipping for you.

You’ll be charged a 15% transaction fee if you do your own listing. For white glove service, you’ll have to fork over between 40% and 50% of the selling price.

Threadflip has done a good job of making the site feel human and personal. Buyers and sellers are identified not by anonymous usernames, but by their Facebook profiles, which creates a greater sense of transparency and trust between parties. The site also profiles various sellers — many who are, seemingly, fashion bloggers — inviting you to explore their wares as if you were inside a boutique of their own design. That format also encourages users to spend more time browsing and exploring — rather than searching — for goods, making it more likely that they’ll buy something they didn’t know they wanted.

What’s next? Founder and CEO Manik Singh says the startup is focused on building out support for its white glove service, and preparing to release its iOS app. After iOS, Android is next on the road map.


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, ebay, fashion, threadflip

For more Business coverage:


English Premier League: The Social Media Season

Posted: 18 May 2012 06:40 PM PDT


The English Premier League is arguably the world’s most popular sports organization, and this season saw explosive growth off the pitch in the realm of social media.

Manchester City snagged its first English title in 44 years last weekend to cap off another dramatic EPL season. To recap how the league developed digitally this year, Mashable hunted down some stats. We also consulted Sean Walsh, whose blog Digital Football is a leading source on the intersection between English soccer and social media.

“EPL clubs have been criticized in the past for their out-of-date approach to social media in comparison to the youthful and creative tactics employed by U.S. franchises in the NBA and NFL,” Walsh, who’s interviewed the digital directors of several top European clubs over the past year, told Mashable in an email. “But the 2011-2012 season has seen the rise of social media in ‘the beautiful game,’ and Premier League clubs have finally begun to invest in it.”

Walsh says EPL clubs added a total of more than 17 million Facebook fans over the course of the season. In total, the league has almost 60 million Facebook likes — all the more impressive when you consider England’s total population is just over 50 million people.

So far, both the league and its individual teams have a much stronger presence on Facebook than on Twitter, where clubs count a combined following of less than 4.5 million. But the EPL’s presence is growing rapidly on Twitter as well as Facebook — Walsh counts a 126% increase in followers league-wide since last season.

SEE ALSO: How Social Media Is Changing Sports [INFOGRAPHIC]

Premier League side Chelsea was also involved in a piece of Twitter history recently. Its win over FC Barcelona in last month’s Champions League semifinal set a Twitter sports record of 13,684 tweets per second, eclipsing the previous record set by the most recent Super Bowl. Chelsea takes on Bayern Munich in the Champions League final this Saturday, so we’ll see if it can make Twitter history again.

Liverpool, meanwhile, became the first Premier League team to promote itself using Pinterest. The team stocked boards with historic photos, fan gear, old uniformas and memorabilia. Pinterest has become one of the newest ways sports teams around the world are seeking to leverage social media.

Among Walsh’s favorite individual digital EPL moments this year: Manchester City launching a YouTube partnership taking steps toward integrating fans’ in-person and social media experiences; Queens Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes using Twitter to ask fans which players they wanted the club to acquire; and midfielder Joey Barton using promoted tweets to apologize to fans for being thrown out of a match.

How do you think English soccer stacks up to other pro sports in leveraging social media? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy toksuede, Flickr.

More About: Facebook, sports, Twitter

For more Entertainment coverage:


Hey Space Geeks: Help This Guy Build a Real Starship Enterprise [VIDEO]

Posted: 18 May 2012 06:22 PM PDT

There are those who look up at the stars and decide to become astronomers, while others want to be astronauts. Then there are those who want to build the Starship Enterprise.

That’s right, a guy known only as BTE Dan (stands for Build the Enterprise) believes a replica of the iconic Star Trek spacecraft can be built to scale within the next 20 years. He’s even started a website — BuildTheEnterprise.org — to rally support for the cause.

“This Gen1 Enterprise can go on missions to key points of interest in our solar system, like Mars and Venus,” Dan writes. “It will be the biggest ship of any kind ever built by humans, and it will be larger than the tallest building in the world.

“It's possible to build the Enterprise, and it would be a monumental achievement for us humans who inhabit the planet earth.”

TBE Dan’s site covers pretty much all the bases, with detailed specs including size (3,150 feet), maximum capacity (1,000 people) and hull design (triple walls at all points). The site also presents a white paper on how the Enterprise could be used to help build bases on Mars and the moon, a process that would involve “laser diggers,” a modified gravity wheel and a nuclear reactor.

SEE ALSO: How One Actor Used an iPhone to Land a Role in the 'Star Trek' Sequel [VIDEO]

The Enterprise would be built entirely in space, Dan says, and “will cost no more than $1 trillion spent over twenty years.” A lengthy chart shows where that trillion bucks would go. He argues the United States should set aside 0.27% of its GDP each year to fund the project.

It would be easy to dismiss Dan as some Trekkie living in his mother’s basement. But you shouldn’t. According to his site bio, the man has spent the past 30 years working as a systems engineer and electrical engineer for a Fortune 500 tech company.

So how can you help in his quest to build a real Starship Enterprise?

“It's by simply doing this,” Dan writes. “Tell someone about the ideas on this website. This matters because the only hope for building the 1st generation USS Enterprise will ultimately depend on an enthusiastic core of people who are encouraging the undertaking.

“Enthusiasm for an idea can become contagious.”

Do you think it’s possible to build an actual Starship Enterprise within 20 years? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Star Trek, Startups

For more Startups coverage:


Facebook’s IPO: Who Got Rich

Posted: 18 May 2012 06:06 PM PDT


Mark Zuckerberg




Zuck, who owns 503.6 million shares, is now worth $19.14 billion, though his personal fortune surpassed the $20 billion mark several times.

Click here to view this gallery.

OK, so Facebook’s IPO may have seemed like a lot of sound and fury for 23 cents, but there will still doubtlessly be some celebrating in Menlo Park Friday night.

That’s because a lot of Facebookers got fabulously rich on Friday. True, it probably would have been an even more festive occasion if the stock had hit the $54 that Twitter had predicted, but Facebook’s measly gain on its first day of trading was still worth $115.7 million to Mark Zuckerberg.

Here’s why Zuck and some other big Facebook investors still have cause to pop the Champagne.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, AUDINDesign

More About: bono, Facebook, facebook ipo, Greylock partners, mark zuckerberg, sean parker


How to Watch the SpaceX Launch Online

Posted: 18 May 2012 05:49 PM PDT

Private spaceflight company SpaceX is scheduled to fly its Dragon capsule toward the International Space Station early on Saturday, marking the first time ever a privately built spacecraft will dock at the habitable artificial satellite. But if you’re not near Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and don’t want to miss the launch, there are still a handful of ways you can watch the historic event live.

The Dragon capsule — which will be attached to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket — will lift off at 4:55 a.m. ET and take about 10 minutes to reach Earth’s lower orbit. It will then spend a few days in space, carrying out a series of tests, before making its way to the International Space Station to deliver and retrieve supplies.

SEE ALSO: 7 Things You Need to Know About Saturday’s SpaceX Launch

If you’re up to the challenge of waking up early or going to bed late, a livestream of the 4:55 a.m. launch will be available at SpaceX.com/Webcast. It will begin with pre-launch coverage at 4:15 a.m. ET.

NASA will be livestreaming the event as well, with a pre-show starting at 3:30 a.m. It will also be broadcast on NASA TV and is scheduled to play again at 5:25 a.m. A press conference is scheduled for a few hours after the launch, at 8:30 a.m.

To follow along with social media, SpaceX is encouraging fans to follow the company via Twitter at @SpaceX, with the hashtag #DragonLaunch. It will also post updates on its Facebook page.


In addition to looking for updates from NASA on Twitter by following @NASA, SpaceX founder Elon Musk (@ElonMusk) has been tweeting updates and pictures about the status of the rocket and capsule.

If there is another delay and the capsule doesn’t launch (possibly due to inclement weather) SpaceX will try again on Tuesday, May 22. (The original launch date was pushed back nearly four weeks after the capsule was originally scheduled to soar into space, but more time was needed to work on Dragon’s docking software). The good news is that the forecast is looking good for Saturday morning.

Will you be waking up (or staying up) to watch the event? How will you be following along? Let us know in the comments.

More About: elon musk, SpaceX


Top 10 GIFs of the Week

Posted: 18 May 2012 05:34 PM PDT


1. Ringing the Bell




It was a big week for Facebook, which rang in the Nasdaq bell from its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook shares started trading at $42 each on Nasdaq around 11:30 a.m. on Friday morning, under the symbol "FB."

Click here to view this gallery.

This week awarded us a colorful new collection of GIFs. Here’s a look at Mashable‘s picks for the top GIFs of the week, everything from the Facebook crew to a Donna Summer tribute to a dog/bunny combo.

SEE ALSO: Top GIFs of the Week — May 10

Which GIF is your favorite for the week? Let us know in the comments below if we missed any good ones.

More About: Facebook, features, GIFs, mark zuckerberg, tumblr


Get a Ride in the Synergy Airplane for Pledging $100 or More [VIDEO]

Posted: 18 May 2012 05:23 PM PDT

It’s been called sexy and jawdropping — and it’s also incredibly high-tech. It’s a new type of sleek airplane called Synergy Aircraft.

It’s true — airplanes are an essential mode of travel, but today’s planes are decades old and seriously need replacing. Not only are planes an uncomfortable way to travel, but they’re not doing the environment any favors either. The Synergy Aircraft Project thinks planes need some modern updating.

The origami-looking wings and newly designed “double box tail” make the craft more lightweight and drag less. They say travel time and cost will be decreased, plus it’s easy to operate and safe.

The man mainly responsible for creating the eco-friendly plane, John McGinnis of Montana, is currently seeking funds on Kickstarter. So far, the project’s reached $26,000 and has 16 days to go to reach its goal of $65,000. If you pledge $100 or more, you can fly in this craft.

“In this second century of flight, we believe that ordinary families should have fast options to travel where they want, when they want, in quiet safety, with better economy than a car. Without the exhausting airport hassle,” notes the Kickstarter page.

Would you take a ride in this plane? Tell us in the comments.

More About: aerospace, aircraft, kickstarter

For more Dev & Design coverage:


Facebook Is Worth More Than McDonald’s and 4 Other Giant Brands

Posted: 18 May 2012 05:10 PM PDT


Facebook closed its first day of public trading valued at $105.19 billion, making it worth almost exactly as much as PepsiCo, which is valued at $106.5 billion.

At more than $100 billion, Facebook doesn’t quite make it into the leagues of Coca-Cola, worth $167 billion, or Wal-Mart, worth $212 billion. Nor does it yet compete with tech giants Google, worth $196 billion; Microsoft, worth $246 billion; or Apple, worth $496 billion.

However, being the largest Internet IPO in history does get you somewhere. We’ve rounded up five companies you probably perceive to be enormous, which are now worth less than 8-year-old Facebook.

SEE ALSO: 6 Reasons Why the Facebook IPO Fell Flat

Take a look at these smaller-than-Facebook companies. Are you surprised by how big Facebook is compared to these other companies? Sound off in the comments.


McDonald's




Worth $91 billion

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, shaunl

Click here to view this gallery.


What Is an IPO?


What exactly is an IPO? What are the risks to a company in going public? What are the legal requirements?

If you find the business terms and market lingo confusing, check out our explainer video, which breaks down an IPO in plain language.


Image courtesy of iStockphoto, woraput

More About: brands, Facebook, facebook ipo, networth, valuation

For more Business coverage:


How to Open a Beer Bottle With a Chainsaw [VIDEO]

Posted: 18 May 2012 04:45 PM PDT

Friday night means party time. But you probably don’t party like the older gent in this video. He opens his beers like a real man — by using a chainsaw. Because that’s just how he rolls.

The video has gone viral on YouTube since being posted Thursday, with more than a quarter million views at time of this writing. I’ve accounted for at least 10 of those.

More About: viral videos, YouTube


Which TV Shows Are Getting the Most Social Buzz During Finales Week?

Posted: 18 May 2012 04:30 PM PDT


Mashable's mRank is presented by Samsung's SMART cameras. Simply shoot your image and share it instantly on your social sites, using built-in Wi-Fi. It's the camera for how we share pictures today.

How I Met Your Mother - 600CBS’s hit show How I Met Your Mother not only brought in strong ratings this week for its season finale, it also raked in significant social buzz online in the first half of the week, according to mRank, Mashable’s social media chatter-tracker. However, buzz at the end of the week belonged to American Idol, which trimmed its contestant pool to the final two on Thursday.

With many TV series wrapping up their seasons with explosive finales this week, viewers have been turning to the social web to post reactions and discuss the latest plot advancements. Leading the pack in social buzz is How I Met Your Mother, whose season finale not only welcomed a new baby but also gave more details as to who Barney (played by Neil Patrick Harris) will marry.

Other strong social buzz performers during the first half of the week included The Big Bang Theory, The Voice, Bones, Game of Thrones, WWE Raw and American Idol.

Mashable’s mRank leaderboards track the most buzzed-about TV shows across the social web. mRank’s technology analyzes certain terms — in this case TV show names or words associated with a certain title — and creates a leaderboard based on the volume of conversation around that show on Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Mashable has leaderboards for various events and topics — from movies to music — and more will pop up for events, such as the Olympics, in the future.

Although reality TV show The Voice dropped from first last week to the sixth most-discussed earlier this week, its finale was held a week prior to many other finales. Fans of the show took to social networks to react to the crowning of Jermaine Paul, Alicia Keys’ former back-up singer and the mentee of country star Blake Shelton, as “the Voice.”

The top ten also featured Mad Men (despite its lack of a season finale), newcomer series The New Girl and perennial favorite Dancing with the Stars. Meanwhile, Saturday Night Live — which is the 14th most-discussed show online — received a lot of buzz earlier in the week when former cast member Will Ferrell re-joined the team to host the season wrap-up. In addition, a clip of celebrities from the show’s digital shorts returned on Saturday night to celebrate the series' 100th sketch, with the help of Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Natalie Portman and Michael Bolton. The video went viral and initiated a lot of online chatter.

Toward the end of the week, American Idol shot up to the top of the mRank list, pushing How I Met Your Mother down to the ninth spot. If early buzz for American Idol’s finale is any indication, we suspect it will be back on top yet again next week.

Other strong performers toward the end of the week include Bones, Criminal Minds, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family and Game of Thrones.

mRank 5/16/2012

mRank TV

mRank 5/18/2012

mRank TV - May 18


mRank presented by Samsung

Mashable's mRank is presented by Samsung's SMART cameras. Simply shoot your image and share it instantly on your social sites, using built-in Wi-Fi. It's the camera for how we share pictures today.

More About: features, mashable, mrank, social tv, the-voice

For more Social Media coverage:


The Best U.S. Cities for Tech Jobs Might Surprise You [VIDEO]

Posted: 18 May 2012 04:17 PM PDT

Are you a fan of lush, green surroundings and rain more than half the year? Seattle topped Forbes‘ list of places where tech jobs are growing. And not just tech jobs, but all of the STEM field — science, technology, engineering and math. Forbes tapped the Praxis Strategy Group to create a system to rank areas of the U.S. where the technology sector has experienced growth to provide a possible look into the future.

The Seattle, Tacoma and Bellevue, Wash., area witnessed 12% tech job growth in the past two years and 7.6% STEM growth. Longer term growth in the area was even more impressive, with Seattle “boasting a remarkable 43% increase in tech employment over the decade and an 18% expansion in STEM jobs,” the Forbes report noted. Not only that, but Seattle’s tech sector remained more stable in good times and bad, compared to other regions.

Runners-up include Washington, D.C., Alexandra and Arlington, Va. at number two; the San Diego, Carlsbad, San Marcos area at number three and Salt Lake City at number four. If you’re considering investing in a startup, stay tuned to the action going on in Jacksonville, Fla. (#6) and Nashville, Tenn. (#10), where a boom a tech employment might signal good things ahead.

SEE ALSO: Valley Still Beats Alley in Meetup Tech Groups

STEM jobs in cities such as New York City and Los Angeles have fallen to national averages, according to the study. But keep an eye on the technology sector in St. Louis, Chicago and Philadelphia, where large firms have hit losses.

Another thing to consider: Could Facebook’s IPO make operating a business in Silicon Valley even more costly for startups? San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, Calif. came in at #7 on the list. Although the Silicon Valley has the highest percentage of tech jobs in the country, obstacles such as limited space and high cost of living might cause new startups to look elsewhere to build their business.

Do you live in an area not on this list but think it should be? Tell us in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, PikeOnline

More About: employment, jobs, STEM

For more Business coverage:


The State of Windows 8: Cheap Upgrades, Better Apps [RUMORS]

Posted: 18 May 2012 04:04 PM PDT

windows-8-start-screen-600

While we haven’t heard much from Microsoft about Windows 8 lately other than the coming launch of the Release Preview in early June, a couple of leaks this week have revealed some tantalizing details.

Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley first reported that the company intends to provide cheap upgrades for new Windows customers over the summer. According to “contacts,” after the Release Preview arrives, customers who buy Windows 7 or a Windows 7 PC will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 when it’s released in the fall for just $14.99 — a price revealed to Windows Supersite by “sources.”

The best part of the deal is that those customers will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro, the “higher-end” version of the software that’s a step above the basic edition. (for more on how Microsoft intends to market Windows 8, see this summary).

The deal mirrors a similar one Microsoft gave Windows Vista customers before the release of Windows 7. In both cases, Microsoft wanted to ensure the imminent release of a new version of Windows didn’t lead new customers to hold off on purchasing a Windows-powered machine.

SEE ALSO: First Intel-Powered Windows 8 Tablets: Coming in November [REPORT]

Windows Supersite also got an early look at some updated apps for the Windows 8 Release Preview, and they are much improved. The photos app, for example, which we had problems integrating with Flickr, now has a cleaner interface and can connect to other PCs via SkyDrive.

The Mail, People and Messaging apps have all been given a makeover as well, introducing social-media connections and improved notifications. The Calendar and Reader apps were updated, too, but the changes there are almost purely cosmetic.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment on the reports.

Do the reports change how you feel about Windows 8? Have your say in the comments.


BONUS: A Tour of Windows 8



Start Menu




Here's what greets you every time you log into your Windows 8 machine. Yes, the tiles are customizable, though it's a little unwieldy in practice.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Metro, microsoft, Windows, Windows 8


Google Further Integrates Google+ Profiles Into Gmail [VIDEO]

Posted: 18 May 2012 03:51 PM PDT


Your Google email account is changing — it’s getting even more social.

A new Google update will make “people front and center in Gmail” — or rather the people you know who signed up for Google+.

These updates will further integrate Google+ — the search engine’s social network — into Gmail. Now when users search for an email address, contact information from Google+ profiles will show automatically. This means Google+ profiles are pushed to the forefront including profile pictures, emails, chat prompts and phone numbers. This could be a solution for Google+’s lackluster user engagement.

SEE ALSO: Google News Gets Deeper Ties to Google+

A company product manager Itamar Gilad described the new personalized changes in an official blog post.

“These updates are helping us to provide a more consistent, beautiful experience across all of our products,” he wrote. “Quick access to contact details will be rolling out to everyone today. To take advantage of circles and more in Gmail, you’ll need to join Google+.”

Google+ circles are also finding their way into your email. You’ll be able to filter messages by circles of friends. To see how, watch the video above.

Updates like these are a part of Google’s master plan to incorporate Google+ into all facets of the company’s products. Google unveiled Google Search Plus Your World in January.

Do you think Google+ is an effective directory? Tell us which social network you turn to for contact information — for friends or strangers.

Thumbnail courtesy of iStockphoto, franckreporter.

More About: gmail, Google, google search plus your world, Google+


Why Digital Accelerates Political Change

Posted: 18 May 2012 03:38 PM PDT


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

Ethan Riegelhaupt is senior vice president for corporate and public affairs at Edelman. Previously, he served as vice president for speech writing and internal communications at The New York Times Company. He was also a senior staff member for New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo. Follow him at @Ethanriegelhaup.

I recently wrote a column suggesting that people could use digital tools to help counteract the explosion of negative political advertising coming our way this fall. While readers were generally supportive of the idea, I also sensed a fatalism in their comments about what we could accomplish.

While this mindset is completely understandable, it seems we’ve forgotten the most important lesson from the past twenty years of Internet experience: Profound change is within our grasp if we are able to make the intellectual connection between the power digital provides us and our political aspirations as a community.

SEE ALSO: Forget 'Local' – Now, All Politics Are Social [INFOGRAPHIC]

Content is a great example of how this can play out. We are quite vocal online about what we want to see and hear. As a result, producers and programmers are responding with innovative new offerings for every imaginable medium. This should make us believe in the potential of our influence, but for too many, a pre-1960s political mentality prevails: What is will always be.

While the dysfunction in Washington, D.C. adds to this dispirited attitude, substantial leaps forward are actually happening. Last week, President Barack Obama decided to come out in favor of same-sex marriage, the day after voters in North Carolina voted in favor of Amendment One, explicitly rejecting the legality of every imaginable relationship outside of the male-female union.

Moments after President Obama told Robin Roberts of ABC News that people of the same sex should be able to get married, social media platforms exploded in excitement. Everyone noticed, including Republicans, who have treated gays and lesbians as a wedge issue for years. The reason they noticed: It was suddenly unclear how this issue would play in the 2012 election cycle.

What made the President's same-sex marriage announcement even more prominent was a news story that recalled an unfortunate episode from Gov. Mitt Romney's school days, relating to how he and a gang of his friends went after another boy, who may have been gay, and cut off his hair. The details quickly spread across the web and the Governor immediately apologized. Although he added that he could not quite remember the incident.

What we learned from the President's announcement and the allegations against Gov. Romney is that the Internet is a useful social monitor. In many ways, the views and interests of the community are being expressed and reinforced by what happens on the web. As a result, historical evolution is being compressed. What used to take X amount of time has decreased.

What does this tell us?

If we believe something needs to change, we have the ability to make it happen. Social media is driving attitudes in the midst of a dramatic political moment in history. Because of this, we should be much more optimistic about what we can achieve and how quickly we can achieve it..

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, pagadesign

More About: 2012 election, contributor, features, political campaigns


Former Yahoo COO Who Almost Bought Facebook Shows Up on IPO Day

Posted: 18 May 2012 03:26 PM PDT


Back in 2006, Facebook was only a shadow of the company it would become, tech giant Yahoo was attempting to buy the social network for $1 billion — and Dan Rosenweig was the man who got Zuckerberg’s handshake on that offer.

Rosenweig the Chief Operating Officer of Yahoo from 2002 to 2007 — Facebook founder to acquire the company — an offer which Zuckerberg accepted at first, but declined after Yahoo lowered the price.

"I’d like to think I was way ahead of the curve of most people, because they only had four million users and zero revenue and I did offer them a billion dollars," Rosenweig said during a brief conversation with a group of journalists in the parking lot of Facebook HQ before heading off to a scheduled interview.

"I assure you as ahead of the curve I thought I might have been, I don’t think anybody would have imagined all of this," he said shortly after Facebook’s stock went up for sale Friday.

Zuckerberg reportedly accepted Yahoo’s $1 billion offer with a handshake. Yahoo’s stock tumbled shortly after, and the company lowered its offer to $850 million — an offer which Zuckerberg refused. Yahoo had reportedly separated into two camps on the issue, one that believed in the future of Facebook, and another that thought a $1 billion investment in a network that was currently making no money was unwise.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Opens at $42, Valued at $116.6 Billion

Rosenweig built a relationship with Zuckerberg during the time Yahoo was considering the acquisition, and impressed him with his forward-thinking. When most people were still thinking about building single applications, Zuckerberg was thinking about building a platform.

"He was talking about a platform before platform was cool," says Rosenweig. "He had a vision for connecting people of all kinds."

At the time, Facebook was only available to college students — and only allowed them to connect to students at their own school.

"He had pretty big ambitions, and I think it’s pretty clear he was way ahead of everybody –- and still is frankly."

Rosensweig described Facebook’s move to Menlo Park as representative of a rebirth in the area. "When I moved here 10 years ago this building was Sun Micro, and it’s sort of the changing of guard. Menlo went from Sun Micro, to being sold to Oracle, to now resurrecting it as Facebook."

SEE ALSO: The Early Hours of Facebook HQ on IPO Day

Would Facebook would be following in the footsteps of the building’s previous tenant 10 years from now and moving out? "My guess is only if they need a bigger building," Rosenweig said. The number of developers growing up today would only help grow companies like Facebook in the future, he added.

"It’s an absolutely wonderful time to be in Silicon Valley … A lot more of these companies are generating revenue. A lot more are generating profits. That wasn’t the case 10 years ago."

More About: Facebook, facebook ipo, ipo, Yahoo

For more Business coverage:


Facebook HQ on IPO Day, As Seen on Instagram [PICS]

Posted: 18 May 2012 03:01 PM PDT


firewheel





"Hacking NASDAQ"

Click here to view this gallery.

While the rest of the world was relegated to watching Mark Zuckerberg ring the NASDAQ opening bell online, Facebook staffers turned the late night and early morning event into an all-out party at their headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

Mimosas were flowing, house music playing, and just about every Facebook staffer was recording the occasion on their mobile devices — and not surprisingly, given the recent acquisition, they favored Instagram.

We’ve collected the best of them in the gallery above. How do you rate the Facebook staffers’ Instagram skills? Which snapshot is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

Facebook shares started trading at $42 a share on Nasdaq around 11:30 a.m. Friday morning under the symbol "FB." At the beginning of trading, Zuckerberg was worth $21 billion. Currently, the stock is trading less than a dollar above the IPO price of $38.

Thumbnail photo courtesy of Zef Zikolla, Facebook

More About: Facebook, facebook ipo, instagram


Improve Your Android Home Screen With This App [VIDEO]

Posted: 18 May 2012 02:48 PM PDT

Chameleon, an Android tablet enhancement that makes the home screen easier to use, started off as a company-wide design exercise. After receiving worldwide attention and purchase inquiries, the team took the Android Tablet app to Kickstarter.

The Chameleon team hopes to get the Android app into users’ hands by the end of summer — with the help of Kickstarter backers.

The sleek program lets users create custom home screens that change automatically depending on location, time and situation. Widgets are easy to move around and incorporate on the tablet’s screen. Users can adjust how much space items take up, and can easily launch apps directly from each dashboard.

In the morning, users can set the dashboard to show top headlines, weather, inbox and social accounts. Arriving in the office, the network-sensitive app can display a work screen. At home, the tablet would display entertainment from Netflix, favorite apps, music and social media. The different screens are always available for view — with a swipe from left or right.

On Kickstarter, with 27 days left before the funding deadline, Chamleon has reached $14,985 of its $50,000 goal.

What would you display on your tablet home screen first thing in the morning? Tell us in the comments.

More About: android, android tablet, Mobile, Video


Facebook IPO: No Sizzle, No Fizzle

Posted: 18 May 2012 02:36 PM PDT

Nasdaq Facebook IPO 600

On its first day as a public company, Facebook‘s stock closed at $38.23 a share.

That’s up $0.23 a share from its IPO price but down from the stock’s opening trading price of $42.

The stock, which trades on NASDAQ using the symbol “FB,” was supposed to enter the market at 11:00 a.m. ET. Instead, it was delayed by more than 30 minutes, reportedly due to overloaded demand on NASDAQ’s systems.

Some analysts have remarked that the trading delay ultimately hurt Facebook’s opening day.

SEE ALSO: 6 Reasons Why the Facebook IPO Fell Flat

While many are quick to point the finger at Facebook’s relatively flat performance as a sign that the company has “failed,” we think Twitter’s Director of Platform, Ryan Sarver put it best:


In the comments, let us know your thoughts on Facebook’s opening day performance.

Thumbnail photo courtesy of Zef Zikolla, Facebook

More About: Facebook, facebook ipo

For more Business coverage:


Facebook Acquires Gift-Giving App Karma

Posted: 18 May 2012 02:22 PM PDT


Fresh off its first day on the Nasdaq, Facebook has acquired another company: Karma. An app for "in-the-moment gifting," Karma lets you send everything from a bottle of wine to a fuzzy teddy bear to friends via SMS, email, and Facebook.

The way Karma works is pretty simple. Using the app, you can browse through a virtual storefront to pick out a gift. Karma has partnered with companies including with Hulu, Gund, MoMa and Spotify –- so there’s a pretty decent selection of gifts.

Once you’re found the perfect gift, you can create a virtual card and send your present to your recipient via text, email, or a message on his or her Facebook wall. As the person receiving the gift, you can choose to accept it -– and provide Karma with an address where you would like your gift shipped -– or you can trade the gift in for something else in Karma’s store. You can even choose to give the monetary value of the gift to charity.

Mashable met with Karma CEO Lee Linden in March. At the time, Linden said that the majority of the gifts sent from the app were actually done via SMS.

"The average response rate for an SMS gift is less than 60 seconds," said Linden. "Email is four to five hours. On Facebook, it's a day."

SEE ALSO: Need to Send a Gift But Don’t Know the Address? Karma App Can Help

One interesting aspect of the app is its Facebook integration. Karma reads through messages on your Facebook wall, and alerts you to specific events where you might want to send a gift. For instance, if a friend was receiving several "Congratulations!" messages on his or her wall due to the birth of a new child, Karma will let you know so you can send a gift. Karma also stays on top of things like birthdays and new jobs.

"We're thrilled to announce that Karma has been acquired by Facebook." Karma execs said in a blog post. "The service that Karma provides will continue to operate in full force. By combining the incredible passion of our community with Facebook's platform we can delight users in new and meaningful ways. As we say…only good things will follow."

More About: App, Facebook, facebook ipo, karma


Twitter Announces NASCAR Partnership; More Deals to Come?

Posted: 18 May 2012 02:09 PM PDT


Longtime informal social media buddies Twitter and NASCAR are making things official for next month’s Pocono 400 race. It’s Twitter’s first official partnership with a sports league, and may hint at a larger shift to come for the microblogging platform that has become a hit with sports fans in particular.

The Pocono 400 partnership will revolve around the #NASCAR hashtag, according to a joint press conference Twitter and NASCAR held Friday.

“During the race, we’ll curate accounts from the NASCAR universe and surface the best Tweets and photos from the drivers, their families, commentators, celebrities and other fans when you search #NASCAR on Twitter.com,” reads a post to the official company blog.

Omid Ashtari of Twitter’s business development team called the arrangement “part search algorithm and part editorial,” during Friday’s press conference.

More details about the partnership are expected to be revealed before Pocono happens on June 10.

Why NASCAR? Ashtari said one reason is races draw fans of dozens of drivers at a time, as opposed to just a couple teams, which will give Twitter a chance to experiment and learn rapidly about how to curate tweets and step into a more editorial role.

NASCAR fans are very active on Twitter and the league promotes social media use among its drivers. Driver Brad Keselowski made a classic Twitter sports moment earlier this year when he tweeted photos from inside his car on the Daytona 500 racetrack during a fire delay, gaining more than 100,000 followers in about two hours.

It’s hard not to see the NASCAR partnership as a harbinger of future official deals with other sports leagues, as well as a more general shift toward an editorial emphasis by Twitter. The company is looking for at least one sports fan to take on a new editorial role.

Sports are a natural starting point if Twitter wants to become more of a media company across the board. Pro sports moments dominate the tweets-per-second record book, and the network has become a go-to destination for breaking news and fan discussion. The company’s famous avian logo is even named after an NBA Hall of Famer.

Would you welcome editorial input from Twitter for major events? Let us know in the comments.

More About: NASCAR, sports, Twitter

For more Entertainment coverage:


Why Verizon Phasing Out Unlimited Data Is a Step Backwards

Posted: 18 May 2012 01:52 PM PDT

verizon-sign-600

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

A Verizon executive said at a trade show this week the company would begin transitioning its 3G customers with unlimited data plans to the limited tiered-pricing plans it introduced last year.

Verizon has since clarified his comments, but it’s clear from the policy that, going forward, the carrier plans to get those customers grandfathered in on unlimited plans toward abandoning them.

Speaking to attendees at the JP Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom conference, as first reported by Fierce Wireless, CFO Fran Shammo said, “A lot of our 3G base is unlimited. As they start to migrate into 4G, they will have to come off of unlimited and go into the data share plan.

“And that is beneficial for us for many reasons, obviously.”

Obviously. After Shammo’s comments were widely publicized, Verizon backtracked — but only a little. It said customers who are on an unlimited data plan will only be forced to drop their unlimited plans if they buy a subsidized phone with a two-year contract.

If they buy the phone at full price (typically hundreds of dollars more), then they can keep unlimited — even if they upgrade a 3G phone to a model that runs on Verizon’s speedy 4G LTE network.

Make no mistake, though, this is bad news for the majority of Verizon’s unlimited customers. Yes, it’s been apparent for a while that the days of unlimited data — on every major carrier — were numbered.

When Verizon introduced tiered pricing last year, it ended unlimited data for new customers, but those who already had it were grandfathered in, and could even keep it if they upgraded.

Once Verizon’s new policy is in place — when the carrier introduces shared-data plans this summer — that will change. The genius of this policy, from Verizon’s perspective, is that U.S. customers have been trained to buy phones at low prices.

Seeing that the shiny new Droid RAZR Maxx costs $650 contract-free, compared with $200 with a contract, I suspect very few upgraders will opt for the former.

SEE ALSO: Why the iPad Can't Use FaceTime Over LTE: It's Apple's Call

Which is a shame, because that might not be in their best interests. As the carriers argue, only a miniscule portion of their customers actually go over their data limits, so limited or tiered pricing is just fine for most.

But LTE is a new technology, and customer are still forming their habits in using it. The promise of 4G tech like LTE was to allow phones to do things remotely that they couldn’t before — video conferencing, live streaming, HD movies.

Now that promise is looking emptier and emptier as unlimited plans disappear (or are “throttled” in some way).

For those lucky enough to still have unlimited data on Verizon, you should think long and hard before giving it up simply to get a cheaper phone. In the case of the RAZR Maxx, keeping unlimited data adds up to an extra $18.75 per month.

Now, overage charges on Verizon are $10 for every gigabyte you go over, and the top plan you can get is 20GB a month (for $80).

The question you have to ask yourself is: Am I getting this LTE phone for a simple speed upgrade for the things I’m doing already, or am I getting it to enable those video-related abilities that 4G always promised? If it’s the latter, it could well be worth the expense.

It’s too bad customers typically don’t think that way before they buy a phone. The sad truth is that most will probably abandon their unlimited plans for a cheap phone, inadvertently buying into a policy designed to encourage them to use LTE in the most limited way possible.

That may be good for Verizon, but it’s bad for anyone who ever thought advanced networks would free us from hunting for the closest Wi-Fi signal. Progress it isn’t.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, sshepard

More About: 4G, droid razr maxx, LTE, verizon

For more Mobile coverage:


7 Things You Need to Know About Saturday’s SpaceX Launch

Posted: 18 May 2012 01:38 PM PDT


Following a series of delays, private spaceflight company SpaceX is set to finally launch its Dragon capsule toward the International Space Station on Saturday. The event will be historic — if the mission is carried out, it will be the first time ever a privately-built spacecraft will dock at the habitable artificial satellite.

To gear up for the big launch, which will soar from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 4:55 a.m. ET and make its way to the international space station over the next few days, here are a few key things you should know about the capsule and the company behind it.


1. SpaceX’s Mission


Run by PayPal founder and billionaire Elon Musk. SpaceX has been working on building space boosters since the company’s debut in 2004. SpaceX’s Dragon missile already set records in 2010 when it successfully orbited Earth twice, but this mission is part of an effort to test Dragon's reliability to transfer supplies to the station. By 2015, SpaceX aims to have a certified commercial spacecraft to send passengers to Earth’s low orbit.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk: Secrets of a Highly Effective Entrepreneur


2. The Delays


Although the launch date was pushed back nearly four weeks after the capsule was originally scheduled to soar into space, it’s not unusual for spacecrafts to be delayed. Not only is weather an important factor, but all of the hardware and software has to be in order, as well. In this case, time was needed to work on Dragon’s docking software. Note: The forecast is looking good for Saturday.



3. The Launch Into Orbit


The company will be sending the unmanned robotic Dragon capsule, attached to its Falcon 9 rocket, into orbit on a test mission. After launch, it will begin its journey to the space station and reach the Earth’s preliminary orbit in just 10 minutes. Upon arrival, it will “deploy its solar arrays and begin a carefully choreographed series of engine firings to reach the station," according to NASA. These firings are a part of a series of what NASA is calling “complicated tests.”


4. The Tests


The test missions, which will involve Dragon’s sensors and flight systems, are set to determine whether the Dragon capsule will be ready to dock at the station. But a lot will go into its arrival. On day-four, two NASA astronauts already at the international space station will decide whether the Dragon is ready to berth with the station. But since the space station orbits the earth every 90 minutes, soaring at about 17,000 miles an hour, it will take intense precision to align the capsule for docking.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk: Why I'm a Space Junkie [VIDEO]


5. Attaching to the Space Station


When the Dragon is ready to attach to the facility, the space station’s robotic arm will reach out and attach the capsule. The astronauts will eventually open the Dragon's hatch and unload the supplies. It will then fill the Dragon with return cargo.


6. Capsule Homecoming


After staying two weeks at the international space station, the Dragon will be detached and sent back to earth. It is expected to land in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles west of southern California. Retrieving the capsule will require a 185-foot working barge, equipped with a crane and pulled by a tugboat and two 25-foot inflatable boats. About a dozen SpaceX engineers and technicians will be on board, as well as a four-person dive team, according to SpaceX.


7. How to Watch


For those willing to wake up early on Saturday — or go to bed late — a livestream of the 4:55 a.m. launch will be available, starting with pre-launch coverage at 3:30 a.m. ET. The event will also be broadcast on NASA TV. It is scheduled to play again at 5:25 a.m. and a press conference is scheduled for a few hours after the launch, at 8:30 a.m.

If anything pops up on Saturday and there isn’t liftoff, SpaceX will try again on Tuesday, May 22.

Image via SpaceX

More About: elon musk, features, space, SpaceX

For more Tech coverage:


6 Reasons Why the Facebook IPO Fell Flat

Posted: 18 May 2012 01:25 PM PDT


Well, that was anticlimactic.

After all the hullabaloo about Facebook’s IPO, this is how it ends, with a mere $0.23 jump in share price? That kind of movement is what happens after Procter & Gamble announces a more absorbent type of Pampers.

Yet it shouldn’t be all that surprising that Facebook’s opening day on the NASDAQ had all the excitement of a Matlock rerun. While no one knows exactly why Facebook landed with such a thud, there are a handful of good reasons that the company got poked by Wall Street. Among them:


1. It Was Priced Just Right


Call it the Goldilocks theory. This assumes that a lot of thought went into that $38 price, and the reason that the stock didn’t double is that the esteemed underwriters at Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs did their job right and accurately priced the stock.

That, however, depends on what your definition of “accurately” is. James Brau, professor of finance at Brigham Young University, says that over the past 40 years of IPOs, the average first-day pop is 18%.

So, if Facebook was looking to perform along those lines, it should have priced its shares in the low 30s.

In addition, underwriters don’t aim for a flat performance on the first day because of a practice called “leaving money on the table,” which rewards institutional investors for getting on board. Though that looks like a kickback of sorts, Brau says there’s no clear-cut reason why IPOs always factor leaving money on the table in.

“There are at least 50 different academic studies I know of that that have 35 different theories,” Brau says.

One popular theory is that it’s a way of rewarding such investors for honesty. The argument goes like this: During an IPO road show, the company and bankers are looking for an accurate read on what investors plan to spend.

If such investors didn’t know that they would be rewarded for telling the truth, then they would intentionally low-ball the amount they intend to buy at. If an institutional investor thought that the stock should be worth $10, say, then they might say they’ll spend $8 to enjoy the ride on the opening day.


2. It’s NASDAQ’s Fault


NASDAQ bungled Facebook’s opening, not offering the stock until 11:30 am EST, 30 minutes later than planned. In addition, the stock exchange didn’t finish filling orders for the stock for about two-and-a-half hours. Kevin Pleines, an equity market analyst with Birinyi Associates, says the resulting confusion didn’t do Facebook’s stock any favors.

“It threw it a bit of a curve,” Pleines says. “It may have held it back a little bit.”


3. Investors Are Wary of Social Media Stocks


The media may love the story of the scrappy twenty-something building a $100 billion company from his Harvard dorm, but investors have seen this movie before. Of the 19 social media IPOs of 2011, 82.4% were trading below their opening-day prices by year’s end. Only three were above their opening price.


4. It’s GM’s Fault


General Motors landed a well-timed blow against Facebook on Tuesday, when reports surfaced that the company planned to pull all its advertising from Facebook because it wasn’t working.

Though no other advertisers appear to have followed suit, the move didn’t reassure investors who were already nervous about Facebook’s first-quarter revenue slide and its admitted inability to transition its ad model to mobile.


5. It’s Overvalued


Facebook’s valuation of $100 billion-plus, like most valuations, is based on expectations of future performance. In Facebook’s case, these expectations are wildly optimistic. After all, at its current valuation, Facebook is worth more than McDonald’s.

The Golden Arches, with restaurants all over the globe, close-to 100% brand recognition and a proven business model, posted $27 billion in revenues last year and a $5.5 billion profit. Facebook made $1 billion on $3.7 billion in revenues.

Not surprisingly, 79% of investors in a recent Bloomberg poll thought that Facebook was overvalued. As Espen Robak, the president of Pluris Valuation Advisors, told The Atlantic, Facebook’s valuation is plausible because of the company’s tremendous reach.

But, as Robak told the publication, no one knows how Facebook will be able to monetize that reach.

“Think of it this way,” said Robak. “Google has a pretty standard price-earnings ratio right now — around 15 to 20. That’s where Facebook will ultimately have to get. They need vastly larger profit.

“How many more ads can they sell? Four times more in the next year? I don’t think so. They have to get revenues from somewhere else.”

Robak thinks that maybe — just maybe — Facebook will be able to tap into its user data to provide a new solution to advertisers.


6. Retail Investors Are Taking a Wait-And-See Attitude


If you’re an average joe, you probably couldn’t get your hands on a share of pre-IPO Facebook stock. So, the logical thing to do is wait until the hype dies down and then assess the stock. Pleines’ research shows that waiting at least a month is a good idea.

According to Pleines’ data, no matter how well the recent social media IPOs did on opening day, their stocks were still down — across the board — after the first month.

But it’s not just a social media thing: We may not remember it well, but Google’s stock languished for a month or more after its debut. “While Google did not trade lower in its first month of trading, it did trade back its original open price of $100,” Pleines wrote in a recent note to clients. “But after that it never looked back, trading as high as $196 over the next three months.”

In other words, the question of Facebook’s true value wasn’t answered on Friday. In all likelihood, we won’t know for a few months at least.

What do you think Facebook is really worth? Let us know in the comments.

SEE ALSO: Facebook’s IPO Roadshow: We Give You the Video Highlights

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, EdStock

More About: Facebook, facebook ipo

For more Business coverage:


What Kind of ‘Mansome’ Mustache Are You?

Posted: 18 May 2012 01:10 PM PDT

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Facebook-IPO programming to ask a very special question: What kind of mustache are you?

Fortunately, the folks behind the new documentary Mansome have created a Facebook app that answers that exact question.

Mansome is a new documentary from Morgan Spurlock and executive producers Will Arnett and Jason Bateman. It offers a humorous look at the changing nature of masculinity, men’s grooming habits and overall image. It’s opening today in 15 cities across the U.S. — including New York and Los Angeles.


To help promote the film, the marketing team put together a very funny Facebook application called “What’s Your ‘Stache”.

After taking a picture with your webcam, users are asked a variety of questions about their “manliness” — such as choice of footwear, favorite meal and hygiene habits.

After completing the questionnaire, users are given an awesome mustache to affix on their faces and share with their friends.

As you can see, I’m a full-beard kind of gal.

What kind of ‘stache do you have? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Facebook, Jason Bateman, Mansome, morgan-spurlock, Will Arnett

For more Entertainment coverage:


Obama Campaign Posts Everything You Need to Know About Voting

Posted: 18 May 2012 12:52 PM PDT

One key to running a successful political campaign is voter registration. Campaign staff on both sides of the aisle run voter registration drives at all sorts of real-world events — county fairs, baseball games and town festivals, just to name a few.

The more citizens a campaign can sign up to vote, the logic goes, the bigger the pool of potential voters for that campaign’s candidate.

Now, President Obama’s re-election campaign is looking to bring information about voter registration online via a new portal called “GottaVote,” billed as a one-stop shop for everything visitors need to know in preparation for Election Day.


Upon arrival, the site automatically detects the U.S. state where a visitor lives, as voter registration laws can differ widely between states. GottaVote then provides four options: “get registered,” “what to bring,” “get reminders” and “vote.”

Users can explore the site to find voter registration forms and instructions on filling them out, browse information about what they’ll need to bring to a polling place on Election Day and learn how to find the location of their local polling place. Online-only voting is not yet possible in the United States, so the best that GottaVote can do is help users print out a voter registration form and give them an address for mailing it to the proper local office.

“Voting should be easy for every eligible voter. Simply put, that's why today we're launching GottaVote.org,” reads a blog post on the site. “When you have the information you need, no matter where you live, you can take the steps to make sure your vote is counted and your voice is heard come election day.”

GottaVote users can also ask the Obama campaign their voting-related questions or submit a story about voting, giving the site an element of social interaction.

The platform comes in a Spanish-language version as well — likely an acknowledgement of the importance of the Spanish-speaking community in this year’s presidential election.

Many states have strict regulations around voter registration. Campaign staff aren’t allowed, for example, to ask a potential registrant about their political ideology before signing them up to vote. However, GottaVote is not without its partisan calls to action.

A “Take Action” page encourages visitors to attend a voter registration “weekend of action,” a favorite event of the Obama campaign wherein thousands of voter registration drives are held simultaneously across the country. The site also asks lawyers to join the “victory council,” an all-volunteer legal team designed to “ensure that every eligible voter can vote on Election Day,” the site says.

Obama campaign staff have derided some states’ efforts to create voter identification laws, which they say are an attempt to disenfranchise Democratic blocs of voters — and GottaVote is likely a response to those laws. Proponents of tighter voter identification rules argue that they’re needed to prevent voter fraud.

Do you think more Americans would register to vote if they could do it all online? Sound off in the comments below.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, plherrera

More About: 2012 presidential campaign, barack obama, Politics, US


Is Your Side Business Legal?

Posted: 18 May 2012 12:37 PM PDT


Nellie Akalp is the CEO of CorpNet.com, an online legal document filing service, where she helps entrepreneurs incorporate or form an LLC for their new businesses. Connect with Nellie on Twitter or visit her free resource center.

From blogging to handling a one-off PR project for a former client, today's digital economy offers new opportunities for bringing in a little extra income. But when does a casual project turn into a business, and how do you keep that business legal?

According to the IRS, an activity is considered a "business" if it has made a profit in three of the past five years. Since you're supposed to report all income, the IRS defines gross income as income "from whatever source derived." This means that if you're making money doing anything — whether that's selling ads on your blog or selling items on eBay — the tax authorities will want their cut.

SEE ALSO: What Every Small Business Needs to Know About Liability

The hobby versus business debate really comes into play when the activity loses money. If developing a mobile app lost you money when you factor in related expenses, the IRS will let you deduct that loss from other income, such as the income from your day job. However, that’s only if the venture is considered a business. You wouldn't be able to deduct that loss if your mobile app is considered a hobby.

If you're just starting out and are likely to lose money this year, your project can still count as a business if you can show that the primary goal is to make a profit. Here the IRS will apply a subjective standard to determine if you have a profit motive, by looking at things like:

  • Do you keep financial records for your business?
  • Do you have a separate bank account for your business?
  • Do you have a separate name for your business, or a business structure?
  • Do you invest in advertising and marketing?
  • Are you able to devote substantial time and effort to the business?

In short, if you can demonstrate that you are involved in the activity with the expectation of making money from it, the IRS will consider it a business. And this means you'll be able to deduct expenses directly from your income, as well as deduct overall business losses from your total income for those years that you don't turn a profit. Beyond your tax deductions, there are other administrative aspects you need to consider for your side business. Here are the four key ones.


1. Form an LLC or Incorporate


Forming an LLC or corporation for your side business will protect your personal assets, such as your savings and personal property, from any liabilities of the company. Each business structure has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on your specific circumstances, but the LLC protects your personal assets, with a minimum of paperwork and legal red tape.


2. Register a Fictitious Business Name or DBA


A DBA, also known as a fictitious name, allows you to run a company under a name that is not your legal name. For example, if you've got a sole proprietorship/general partnership, you’ll need a DBA if you’re using a name for your business that's different from your own name. For an LLC or Corporation, a DBA must be filed to conduct business using a name that's different than the official Corporation or LLC name you filed. For example, my company is officially incorporated as CorpNet, Inc., so we needed to file DBAs for the variations CorpNet.com and CorpNet. These are typically filed at the state and/or county level.


3. Get a Federal Tax ID Number


To distinguish your business as a separate legal entity, you’ll need to obtain a Federal Tax Identification Number, also referred to as an Employer Identification Number (EIN). The tax ID number is issued by the IRS and is similar to your personal social security number. It basically allows the IRS to track your company’s transactions. If you're a sole proprietor, you're not required to get a Tax ID number, but it's still good practice as you won't have to provide your personal social security number for business matters.


4. Obtain the Necessary Business Permits and Licenses


Depending on your business type and physical location, you may be required to have one or more business licenses and/or permits from the state, local, or even federal level. These licenses can include: A general business operation license, zoning and land use permits, sales tax license, health department permits, and occupational or professional licenses.

You may think of your activity as a side project, but if you're making money from it, it's time to take your legal obligations seriously. Getting your legal ducks in a row right from the start will help you avoid any pitfalls down the road and ensure you can take whatever deductions are available to you. And who knows, it just may help you scale more successfully if your business morphs from side project to full-time career.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ariwasabi

More About: business plans, contributor, features, small business tips

For more Business coverage:


Sick of PowerPoint? Prezi Puts Your Presentation on One Page

Posted: 18 May 2012 11:56 AM PDT


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

Name: Prezi

Quick Pitch: Prezi creates presentations on a single zoomable canvas.

Genius Idea: The cloud-based software allows you to zoom in and out of your presentation, helping to explain your ideas.


Prezi, a cloud-based presentation software, is an alternative to the PowerPoint presentation. It helps you create visually engaging presentations using a single zoomable canvas. Instead of separating your ideas into different slides, you can instead add them to one space.

When it comes time to present, you can either show the big picture or zoom into the small details.

Users can import and edit text, shapes, drawings, images, PDFs, YouTube videos and PowerPoint slides onto their Prezi canvases. They can also group similar items or add layers to prevent clutter.

Once a path is created to connect ideas, the canvas is ready to be presented online or offline, from a computer or iPad.

"Prezi is about giving people the ability to think creatively and outside the box," Peter Arvai, CEO of Prezi, told Mashable. "Arranging your ideas into one single space helps you and your audience realize the connection and relationships between your ideas."



Prezi's collaboration feature makes it easy to edit presentations with other users in real-time.

Presentations made with the startup’s free service will also be available on Prezi's website for anyone to reuse. To make presentations private, users must purchase the "Enjoy" package for $59 a year, or the "Pro" package for $159 a year. The Pro package also lets them edit Prezis offline.

Prezi was launched in 2009 and now has more than 10 million users. The company has raised $15.5 million in funding, with investments from TED Conferences and Sunstone Capital.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ferrantraite


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, presentations, Prezi

For more Business coverage:


10 Funniest Tweets of the Week

Posted: 18 May 2012 11:41 AM PDT


1. @ThePatrickWalsh




"Hashtags are a 'spice,' to be used sparingly. Master chef Patrick Walsh knows how to use spice."

Click here to view this gallery.

It’s Friday, and what better way to start the weekend than to forget about how rich everyone is getting at Facebook? Instead, let’s laugh at a few hilarious tweets.

Twitter comedy connoisseur Rob Delaney has selected his favorite tweets of the week.

“There is little I enjoy more than sharing jokes I’ve found with others,” says Delaney. “I enjoy it almost as much as writing jokes myself.”


Above are the 10 tweets that made Delaney laugh over the past week. To him, the things that aren’t exactly set up as jokes are often the funniest on Twitter.

“If a tweet evokes a certain funny mood or really puts me in a scenario that I immediately can feel and relate to, I’ll usually laugh harder than I would at a classic joke,” says Delaney. “That said, please read and PLEASE retweet these jokes that made me laugh until I peed all over myself and my family.”

(Note: no family members were harmed in the making of this post.)

More About: comedy, features, humor, Tweets of the Week, Twitter


6 Adorable Webcams of Endangered Species [VIDEOS]

Posted: 18 May 2012 11:31 AM PDT

Today is Endangered Species Day, an opportunity for people to learn about the significance of environmental protection. Experience the fascinating activities of endangered animals live with these six video feeds from explore.org cameras from around the world.

“Endangered Species Day is not a day to take concern and turn it into despair,” said Charlie Annenberg Weingarten, founder of explore.org. “The best way we can help our fellow species on earth is to fall in love with them.”

Endangered Species Day, celebrated the third Friday of May, was started by the U.S. Senate and has been historically celebrated in zoos, nature preserves, aquariums and botanical gardens. Thanks to these exciting projects, you can observe the real-world happenings from your computer.

SEE ALSO: Panda Live Stream Hopes You'll Fall in Love With the Planet

Have you seen any other digital efforts to make people fall in love with the planet? Let us know in the comments.


Polar Bear


Siku, the polar bear named for “sea ice” in many Eskimo and Inuit languages, are entirely dependent on sea ices for survival, which are melting due to climate change.


Gorillas


Their are only an estimated 680 wild mountain gorillas still living in the wild.


Orcas


Orcas, not currently on the endangered species list, are on the decline due to environmental factors.


Baby Beluga Whales


Beluga whales face extinction due to pollution and unregulated hunting.


Pandas


Giant pandas, which have dwindled to less than 2,000 in the wild, risk extinction due to restricted habitats. This video shows for panda toddlers — Zhichun, Qingshan, Zhaoyang and Ao’Ao — at the Bifengxia Panda Reserve in China.


Elephants


African elephants are threatened by climate change, poaching for ivory and habitat loss.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, SondraP.

More About: animals, environment, live streaming

For more Social Good coverage:


White House Replaces Cybersecurity Chief

Posted: 18 May 2012 11:26 AM PDT


President Obama has picked a new cybersecurity officer amid furious debate between the White House and both chambers of Congress around the future of American cyber defense, the White House announced on Thursday.

Michael Daniel, a longtime member of the Office of Management and Budget’s national security squad, will fill the gap left by Howard Schmidt, who announced his departure earlier this week.

Daniel has been working with securities issues for 10 years and watched over multiple Defense Department programs, as well as the budgets for the federal government’s various cybersecurity programs. He has been involved with “virtually every major issue affecting the Intelligence Community,” according to a White House statement.

"I am very honored to be asked to take on such an important role, especially at a time when cybersecurity issues are so prominent,” said Daniel in a statement.

“The challenges in this area are real and serious, but I have the benefit of building on the progress Howard has made through his leadership and I look forward to continuing my career in public service in a new way."

Schmidt, the exiting chief who worked in security at eBay and Microsoft prior to his two-year White House tenure, said he would be leaving the White House to retire, settle down with his family and begin a teaching career.

According to Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council, Schmidt’s accomplishments as cybersecurity chief include improving the security of government networks, delivering the Obama administration’s cybersecurity proposals to Congress and launching the first International Strategy for Cyberspace.

“It has been a tremendous honor for me to have served in this role and to have worked with such dedicated and professional colleagues both in the government and private sector,” said Schmidt in a statement.

“We have made real progress in our efforts to better deal with the risks in cyberspace so, around the world, we can all realize the full benefits that cyberspace brings us.”

SEE ALSO: CISPA Cybersecurity Bill Passes House, With Some Amendments

Daniel’s new role puts him right in the middle of a contentious debate about cybersecurity in the U.S. between both chambers of Congress and the White House. Multiple cybersecurity bills which take very different approaches have been introduced to Congress over the past few months.

The White House and many congressional Democrats want a cybersecurity plan which sets a standard that privately firms deemed vital to national security must meet. Congressional Republicans, however, argue such standard-setting would impose excessive regulation on those businesses.

Instead, they favor giving private firms and the government the ability to share information about cyberattacks.

The White House has expressed interest in information sharing, but has said that such sharing must not violate Americans’ right to privacy online. Accordingly, the White House issued a veto threat on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act — better known as CISPA — because it felt the bill violated that principle.

CISPA passed the Republican-controlled House last month despite the threat of presidential veto.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, lillisphotography

More About: barack obama, cybersecurity, Politics, US, White House



Back to the top