Monthly Archives: April 2012

Spotify Moves Into New Territory With “Play Button”

If you’re on Facebook, then you’ve almost certainly seen Spotify, which is why the music service has been able to pick up some three million users since it launched in the U.S. last summer.

But not everyone is on Facebook (really!), and Spotify would like many more users. This should help: Spotify is rolling out a feature that will let the rest of the Web integrate the service, via a “play button” widget, onto their pages.

So everyone from the Huffington Post to Rolling Stone to your average Tumblr user — Tumblr is incorporating the feature right into its main dashboard, and you can see a sample of a Tumblr page at the bottom of this post — can incorporate free tunes onto their sites. And Spotify gets a whole new set of promotional partners.

In theory, that’s an unlimited set of partners, since Spotify will let anyone who knows how to embed HTML add the widgets, by heading to this page. So if this works correctly, you should see something very special right here:

The integrations echo the Spotify/Facebook partnership, where the widget works as a remote control for the Spotify software. But, just like the Spotify/Facebook link, it won’t do you any good if you don’t have the Spotify software on your machine.

So if you’ve already got Spotify up and running on your PC before you hit the “play” button on the song above (and you really should! It’s excellent.), then the music will start playing immediately. If not, you’ll have to go click a couple of buttons to open up the software, or even more to download the software.

Things would be a whole lot easier if you could just click a button and get Spotify streamed directly from the Web, and Spotify might end up there one day. For now, it can’t, because of both technical and biz-dev reasons.

But a few million people have already downloaded Spotify in the last nine months, and this move will help the company round up some more. It’s probably not nearly enough to make it a full-blown mainstream service, but they can take it one step at a time.


Draw Something scam targets players via Twitter

Draw Something

The Draw Something game is a soaraway success, with hundreds of millions of downloads onto iPhone and Android smartphones since it was launched early last month.

Everyone’s talking about it, and the hype became even huger when OMGPop, the New York software house that created the app, was sold for a cool $210 million to gaming goliath Zynga.

But with so much buzz and interest in the Pictionary-style game, it’s perhaps not a surprise to find scammers trying to make a quick buck by leaping on the bandwagon.

Here’s a Twitter account we found, that’s spamming users telling them that they have won a prize.

Draw Something survey scammer on Twitter. Click for larger version

From what we have seen, the account appears to be targeting Twitter users who have mentioned “Draw Something” in past tweets.

The Twitter account, which is not affiliated with OMGPop, claims it is giving away 5000 prizes to “lucky” Draw Something fans, and that players can claim their award by visiting a newly-created website called drawsomethingwinner.com.

If you visit the site you are asked a few simple questions, before being told that you are eligible to receive an award.

Draw Something scam survey

What you will discover, however, is that you are taken to an all-too-familiar survey scam. Your chances of ever receiving a prize are remote – chances are that you will either end up handing over personal information, or will be helping the original scammer earn commission.

Survey scam

We’ve reported the account as spam to Twitter, and hopefully they’ll shut it down soon. But it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more Draw Something-related scams both on Twitter and perhaps on Facebook also given its tremendous popularity.

Update:
Well, what do you know.. as soon I tweeted about this, I instantly got a response from a different Twitter scam account:

Scam tweet


Why Organizations should not block social sites.

You’re completely convinced that allowing your employees to get on Facebook and Twitter would pull the rug out from under your bottom line. Because of that, you block chat, tweets, and all other social networking to make sure your workers are doing only what you pay them for. I am here, however, to suggest that there can be a backlash from that approach. Social networking can actually help you in the long run, and I want to try to open your eyes to this fact. In the end, of course, it’s your business and your call. But let’s see if you can be swayed.

1: Morale

Back in the ’90s, people wanted to be hired by companies that were cool to work for. And when the employees actually enjoyed working for a company, they did their best work. Morale is a huge aspect of the business world, but few owners and managers seem to get it. Low morale among the workers breeds contempt, and contempt breeds disloyalty. Disloyalty, as you know, breeds attrition.

2: Reputation

Your reputation is everything in business. And in this day of instant gratification and notification, finding yourself with a reputation going down the drain is little more than a disgruntled employee away. That does not mean you must cater to every whim and folly of your employees. But giving them tiny crumbs (like social media access) will go a long way toward keeping your reputation healthy.

3: Communication

Communication — whether it’s internal or external — is key to business success. One of the fastest means of communication today is social networking. In fact, it’s just about the most immediate form of communication you can find. Your employees may be communicating with the outside world, but many of those people on the outside are consumers and possible clients.

4: Advertising

Dare I say “free advertising”? I dare and I do. Social networking brings to businesses a boon of free advertising. You can’t afford not to hop onto this bandwagon. And getting on board early shows the public that you are an agile, aware company. Allowing your employees to take advantage of social networking also shows you care about them. In this society, caring goes a long way. All of that makes for some seriously powerful advertising.

5: Collaboration

Social networking facilitates collaboration internally, but it also lets users collaborate with the entire world. I have done this countless times. When I’ve been stuck on an idea, I call out to my followers on Twitter or Facebook to get a deluge of answers. It’s free and it’s fast.

6: Social research

You need your finger on the pulse of society. You can get this with your employees on social networking sites. In fact, you’ll have instant access to the court of public opinion even as it evolves in front of you. This is another (free) way to expand your company’s reach.

7: Skill building

Your company and its employees need to know how to use social networking effectively. Why? Because our society is on a collision course with an even further embedding of social media into our lives. You want your company and your employees at the forefront of that trend. At some point, your employees may have to use social networking to market and sell your product. Allowing them to use it on a daily basis now will ensure that they’re social media savvy, without the need for training.

8: Transparency

The world wants transparency. We’ve seen it from every level of business and government. Allowing your employees to participate in social networking illustrates to your employees’ social circle that you mean business when it comes to employee retention and happiness. Today’s consumers and society eat that up. But if they see a company deliberately squelching the employee voice and hiding behind the walls of security and information blocking, there will be a backlash. Transparency can go a long way toward boosting customer loyalty as well as your customers’ faith in you as a business within the community.

9: PR

Blocking social media may unleash PR problems. The effects of blocking social media will trickle down to the public — quickly. And although you might not think so, this can quickly snowball into a PR nightmare, especially as more and more young employees — who depend upon social networking — join the workforce.

10: Networking

You want your company to network. You want your employees to network. You want your employees to know what other companies are doing and to be in touch with the heartbeat of your market. What better way to accomplish this than with social networking? Yes, they can network with email, but not on as grand a scale.

Worth a try?

For most managers and executives, the bottom line will yank the rug out from under these reasons. But times are changing and it’s certainly best to keep up rather than scramble to bridge gaps and fill holes. I would highly recommend allowing social networking in your company — even if only experimentally. See how it affects performance and morale and then decide whether it’s a perk worth keeping.


[Infographic] How Much is That Tweet Really Worth?

ImageThe good folks at Backupify.com have put together this interesting infographic this week that attempts to calculate what an individual Tweet, Facebook user and other social media elements are actually worth in dollars and cents. And perhaps to no one’s surprise, the most expensive item is an individual review on Yelp. This was done by dividing total company revenue by the amount of pieces of content. Given that many of us are paid per blog post, there is some method to this metric.

Also not surprisingly, given its anticipated valuation, each Facebook user is worth more than $100, the most of the nine services examined.

Backupify-Social-Data-Infographic-.png
While you can certainly take issue with the specific calculations, it is an interesting way to look at these nine social media sites and what they are worth.


Unexpected Google+ update.

Unexpected but pleasant Google+ update.

Toward a simpler, more beautiful Google

More than 170 million people have upgraded to Google+, enjoying new ways to share in Search, Gmail, YouTube and lots of other places. It’s still early days, and there’s plenty left to do, but we’re more excited than ever to build a seamless social experience, all across Google.

A critical piece of this social layer is a design that grows alongside our aspirations. So today we’re introducing a more functional and flexible version of Google+. We think you’ll find it easier to use and nicer to look at, but most importantly, it accelerates our efforts to create a simpler, more beautiful Google.

Navigation you can make your own
One of the first things you’ll notice is a new way to get around the stream. Instead of static icons at the top, there’s a dynamic ribbon of applications on the left. This approach comes with lots of perks, but some of our favorites include:

  • You can drag apps up or down to create the order you want
  • You can hover over certain apps to reveal a set of quick actions

More on Google+>>>


Foursquare: Keep up with friends

If you’re a regular user of services like Twitter orFoursquare, you’ve undoubtedly been met with skeptics and naysayers who wonder aloud, “Why would I want to tell anyone what I’m having for lunch?” or “Why would I care if someone is having a ham sandwich?”
Fair enough, but the inquisitors fail to take into account the all-important factor in any conversation, whether it’s in person or online: context.Context is what allows us to make sense of much of the world around us. “He’s so bad!” could have two very different meanings, depending on the the rest of the conversation surrounding it. With that in mind, a ham sandwich may be more than just a ham sandwich.What if it’s the best ham sandwich you’ve ever had? Or if it’s at a restaurant that’s offering a discount of 50% off all sandwich orders?

This new video helps to put Foursquare’s services into perspective for people who wonder “What’s the value of  ‘checking in’?” As if 15 million of them didn’t already know…

As you can see, specials, discounts and a potential connection with those around us all converge within Foursquare to give a much more contextual purpose – one that over time, will be customized to your tastes and interests.Now that’s something worth sharing.

Easter Week’s Most Colorful Social Stories

What was hot on the web this week? Get up to speed on the latest trends, news and services with some of our favorite new stories.

Google’s ‘Project Glass’ Augmented Reality Glasses Are Real And In Testing

After weeks of rumors, Google has officially revealed what they have come to call Project Glass — a pair of augmented reality glasses provide users real-time information right in front of their eyes.

They don’t really look like glasses, though. The demo images on Project Glass’ Google+ pagedepict a thin metal band that runs across the brow line with a small heads-up display mounted on the right side.

Watch a brief demo to explore the functionality of the Project Glass specs, which includes (but not limited to): real time information like weather and transit, the ability to send messages using your voice, instructing the glasses to take a picture, and displaying the location of nearby friends.

Read more here.

Prismatic Hopes To Create A New Category Of Social News

Prismatic, a new social news discovery site, hopes to help users discover news they want to read by allowing them to delve into topics through algorithms that read the content being shared on social media.

Prismatic Chief Executive Bradford Cross said Prismatic works by monitoring all the links that are shared on Twitter, then sifting through your own personal Twitter feed and the people you follow to determine the best content to show you.

For example, say you move from New York to San Francisco and want to start reading up on San Francisco news. If most of the people you follow on Twitter are New Yorkers, you can do a Prismatic search for San Francisco, and it’ll surface the most interesting and relevant news in the area. It will also narrow the results down by people you do happen to follow in the San Francisco area.

Read more here.

Pinterest Introduces Customizable Board Covers

Pinterest (which is now the third most popular social network, behind Facebook and Twitter)introduced a new feature that allows you to be more self-expressive. Now you can choose which pin you want to be the cover of each of your boards.

The new feature, which is live now, is incredibly simple yet came highly requested by users. When users mouse over their boards, they’ll see an “Edit board cover” button, which will allow them to choose a pin to highlight as their board cover.

Read more here.

Twitter Attacks The Source, Sues ‘Most Aggressive’ Spammers And Spam Tool Builders In Federal Court

Sick of Twitter spammers? So is Twitter. The company announced Thursday that it has brought suit in a San Francisco federal court against five of the ‘most aggressive’ spammers and tool builders who facilitate distributing spam on its platform.

But Twitter isn’t stopping there. The company is also launching a new anti-spam measure against @mention spam. It also uses its t.co URL shortener to analyze link traffic to see which links are leading to malicious content.

The five ‘major’ offenders are TweetAttacks, TweetAdder, TweetBuddy, James Lucero and Garland Harris.

Read more here.


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