Here are all of the posts tagged ‘TechCrunch’.

We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #47

by Adam Bernstein in News

MySpace relaunches with different focus

Over the past few years, MySpace has faced its fair share of challenges. A quick straw poll in our offices found that while most people still had a MySpace account, few had actively used it since registering on Facebook. Which is why it’s is worth noting MySpace’s relaunch as a ‘social entertainment destination’. According to MySpace CEO Mike Jones, the site lost $100 million last year  while external analyst David Bank put the figure closer to $350 million. Whatever way you look at it, they had to do something to try and turn their fortunes around. And according to Jones, that’s exactly what they did:

This is a full rethink. This is an entirely different product.

Time will tell that if by re-positioning itself, MySpace will reclaim it’s previous market share and glory. We’ll certainly be following its progress closely

Facebook page managing made easier
Facebook have launched a new Page Manager, designed to make managing Pages easier and quicker. At the centre of the new design is a single, left-hand navigation to access the different aspects of your Page, from applications to admins.

When is Facebook used most?

Facebook usage by time of day

An interesting study from Vitrue revealed that 3pm EST on weekdays is when Facebook users are most active. There were other noteworthy findings including the news that Sunday is the day when fans are least active. Perhaps this is because pages are only updated during the ‘working week’ but nonetheless it suggests that people use Facebook less at weekends.

These findings are important as they help brands to know when to target users. As the graph below shows, there is a huge disparity between when users are most active and when users are least active. What’s important for page managers is to maximise interactions with the page and to create more conversation. Statistics such as these should help them achieve this goal.

Highest and lowest conversation points across the week

From Russia with likes
According to comScore, Russia has the most engaged social networking audience worldwide. In August, 74.5 % of the Russian online population visited at least one social networking site.

But what makes the Russians such an important audience is that they spend on average 9.8 hours in the month on these social networking sites. This compares very favourably with the average of 4.5 hours and the next closest country with a relatively large online population is Turkey, which only averages 7.8 hours per visitor.

It should come as no surprise therefore, that Facebook is trying to expand in Russia. They’ve agreed a deal where they will provide page updates to Yandex in return for extra exposure in Russia. Currently, Facebook has only registered 1.1% of the Russian population so the partnership with Yandex marks a new way of gaining exposure to Russia’s 60 million internet users.

Nasza Klaza up for sale?
Moving further west, it’s rumoured that the top Polish social networking platform – Nasza Klazais up for sale for €130 million. At it’s height the service had over 27 million users, but with Facebook rapidly gaining on it’s market share, it would make sense for it’s current owners (Tiger Global) to sell while it’s still the premier social network in Poland.

German firms ban Facebook and Twitter
It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry at this story, but most of the 30 blue-chip firms listed in Germany’s DAX stock market are banning employee use of social networking sites. Porsche says it’s intended to protect the company from industrial espionage, while fellow car firm Daimler cited concerns about employee productivity. If it wasn’t so obvious, we’d make a joke about Germans desiring efficiency…

Digg’s massive hole
In August, Digg released a major new design which met with a user backlash. Since then, things have only gone downhill for the company: they’ve lost 70% of their page views and 30% of their unique visitors. The numbers for October are not yet out but compared to a year ago, they’ve lost 16 million visitors. No wonder the company has had to let go a third of its staff.

Drop in usage of Digg

Real-time analytics from Google
Last week Google released a new interface for Feedburner which provides real-time stats about where clicks are coming from. Rather than seeing a whole day’s updates at once, instead one can click on ‘last two hours’ and see updates come in instantly. PostRank have also taken advantage of this development to include Feedburner information in their own engagement dashboard.

WPP and Buddy Media working together
WPP, the world’s largest communications services group and Buddy Media, the Facebook management system of choice for many brands, are working together to help brands “more effectively scale their marketing efforts on Facebook”. It’s a huge vote of confidence for Buddy Media, as WPP are adding a further $5 million to the $23 million investment which was recently announced.

Disney’s Facebook fans
Disney has created an innovative leaderboard on all its pages which tracks how many fans it has over all its different brands. It’s clearly working because as well as having over 69 million fans, the Disney page itself gained 534,800 new likes last month, making it one of the top growers on Facebook.

Disney leaderboard

Check into billboards with Facebook Places
Facebook Places was only launched a couple of months ago and it continues to spark interesting ways of using Facebook. This week, brings news of a campaign on behalf of Cheryl Cole to win tickets to one of her concerts – all you have to do is check in (using Facebook places) to one of the billboards where her new album is advertised.

Cheryl Cole billboard

This is interesting for advertisers insofar as it should provide good data about which billboards are effective and which aren’t. In other words, social media is now being used to help conventional advertisers work out where to market their product.

Busy week for Foursquare
Foursquare have created an ‘I Voted’ badge for the 2010 American Mid-Term elections tomorrow. This should be an interesting way of gauging turnout, akin to how The Guardian used #ukvote to create a map of where people had voted in the General Election in May.

They’ve also teamed up with Mazda for a cool campaign in America where there’s a Mazda 2 up for grabs. Mazda have created three badges which are quite hard to attain, and if you can get two of them, then the ‘Inner Driver’ badge will be unlocked and you’ll receive instructions on how to enter the draw for the Mazda.

Finally, they launched two new badges for Halloween. The first, was easy to unlock: it just required use of the word ‘Halloween’ as part of a check-in. The second was much harder, requiring swarms on the night of Halloween itself.

Orange ‘Balloonacy’ race returns

In 2008, Orange ran a Balloonacy campaign, in which 40,000 users flew balloons across a course of 1500 websites. This year they’re running the campaign again but making it more social: balloon owners will be able to boost their balloons by tweeting and posting status updates about it, and balloons will go faster if friends give them a boost. With a first prize of an eleven night trip to Kenya, don’t be surprised to see tweets about this in your Twitter feed.

Skittles spread everywhere
Skittles have opened a Rainbow Call Centre, manned by 15 staff, which will ‘rainbowfy’ status updates. According to NMA:

Status feeds will be converted into a “weird and wacky” video clip that will then be posted on the user’s profile page. The social media engagement campaign is running for the next two weeks, after which fans can vote on their favourite video from the library.

This marks the second stage of Skittles’ new social media campaign, after last week they submerged a fan in Skittles.

Election motivates internet pranksters
The Mid-Terms have been hotly contested in America, with Tea Party candidates coming to the fore. Internet pranksters have tried to combat this by changing their profile pictures in a practice called letter-bombing and then posting together on a page wall. They had great fun with Sarah Palin…

Letter-bombing of Sarah Palin's Facebook page

Corporate Twitter #fail
And finally, hat-tip to Malcolm Coles for spotting this tweet from Cheapflights.co.uk. Someone out there will be a lot more careful in future about which account they’re logged into…

Cheap Flights Twitter fail

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We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #6

by Jordan Stone in News Google+

Google launches real-time, social web search
You might have noticed that Google looks a bit different, since announcing last week a couple of very important developments in the area of real-time search.

Google search results now include breaking news headlines, live updates from popular social networks, and blog posts published just seconds before. And the move is fully supported by the ‘who’s who’ of social networking: Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku, Identi.ca and Twitter.

Forrester: Traditional agencies can’t do digital
A new study from Forrester last week highlighted the complexity of the interactive marketing landscape and the challenges this poses for marketers, and to traditional agencies:

Forrester interviewed about 100 global interactive marketers for the study. Only 23% thought their “traditional brand agency” could effectively plan and manage interactive marketing activities. About 46% thought they couldn’t do it, and the rest didn’t have an opinion either way.

Forrester expects the digital agency space to fragment even more with clients working with specialist agenices in areas such as mobile and social media.

Habbo Hotel launches conversation tracking tool
Habbo Hotel, the virtual world for teens with around 14 million monthly unique visitors, has launched a conversation measurement tool for the site called  ‘Habble’. This offers marketers a chance to understand what users are saying about their brands, slogans and key phrases over a defined period.

The tool has been developed to help brands advertising in the hotel and is used in conjunction with click-through rates, time spent and impressions. Brands not advertising within the virtual world can also use Habble to understand what type of conversations are taking place about them.

Germany’s StudiVZ adds support for 3rd party apps

Two and a half years after Facebook, its German clone StudiVZ follows the US social network’s most successful move by adding support for third-party applications.

Nine apps are available as of today and several hundreds are in development.

What sets this development apart is the emphasis that is being placed on privacy. Germany has some of the toughest online privacy laws in the world and CEO Markus Berger-de León has applied tight security policies to third-party apps “to avoid the type of scams that TechCrunch recently dug up on Facebook and MySpace.”

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SXSW Interactive Highlights

by Nathan McDonald in News Google+

SXSW Interactive: debate, discussion, frenetic networking, Twitter saturation, internet celebs, and happy chaos as technology and culture intersected in Austin, Texas.

At SXSW, as Mike Butcher noted in TechCrunch UK, “everybody knows your Twitter name”, and Twitter was essential to find anyone or anything.

On literally thousands of laptops and iPhones, everyone seemed to have their Twitter app of choice (mostly Tweetdeck from my observations) running constantly. In fact the vast swarms of geeks with iPhones overloaded the AT&T network until complaints prompted them to add network capacity.

The #sxsw hashtag became useless, so Digital Mission attendees kept track of each other using #digitalmission. At the unofficial “unpanel” we spontaneously convened, we “crowd sauced” the hashtag #kebab, with a live Twitter backchannel projected on screen.

Six to Start (who picked up a couple of awards for We Tell Stories – congrats guys!) ran an excellent panel on ARG’s and bringing TV to the web with the BBC, which also projected a Twitter backchannel, though this was overshadowed by Clay Shirky asking one of the first questions.

Twitter monetisation became an ongoing topic/joke amongst panel members from start to finish, with Guy Kawasaki opening the closing keynote interview by asking “free” advocate and Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson what he would do if he were Twitter. Anderson was long on philosophy, short on detail: “How do you create the version of the product that people will pay for without crippling the base product?… Charge companies somehow, and build from there.”

Some of the more interesting points came in the session afterwards, moderated by Doc Searls. Anderson observed that “catalysing and curating conversation is a big part of my job. My card says Editor-in-Chief but I’m really a Community Manager.”

The irrepressible Gary Vaynerchuk was equal parts entertaining and inspiring, and although it felt more like therapy than a keynote, I agree with everything he said.

Of the more practical sessions, Kathy Sierra and Cliff Atkinson impressed in Presenting Straight to the Brain. Learning how to “seduce the brain” involves recognising that our brains are wired from caveman days, and  are usually in epic battle with our minds. In Designing for the Wisdom of Crowds, Flickr and Threadless were looked at in depth, as great examples of successful crowdsourcing businesses.

The Mobile Social Networking panel was, bizarrely, missing anyone from Fire Eagle, and seemed to get distracted by definitions and privacy issues until Martin May from Brightkite announced that “Monetisation is kind of boring,” and finally started talking about mobile social networking!

Despite my plans the most interesting conversations have been serendipitous. It’s amazing who you bump into randomly in the hallways and parties – here are a few snaps of some of the people I hung out with, bumped into or tracked down via Twitter…

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We’re on a Digital Mission to SXSWi

by Nathan McDonald in News Google+

Digital Mission

We’re off to Texas! Along with 34 other innovative UK companies, we’re really proud to be selected from over 100 entries as part of the Digital Mission to the SXSWi Conference in Austin, Texas.

As Mike Butcher (also one of the judges) puts it in Techcrunch, the Digital Mission is “a kind of trade mission, but with more sex appeal” to SXSWi, “now a byword for emerging media.”

Chinwag are organising the Digital Mission for UK Trade & Investment, with the support of sponsors Sun Startup Essentials, Winston & Strawn and Core Objects. Thanks to them, and the judges: Mike Butcher, Techcrunch UK Editor; Herb Kim, Codeworks CEO; and Sarbjit Bakhshi, Head of Information & Technology Group, UKTI.

It’s great news to start the year with – we’re already looking forward to heading to SXSWi and making the most of this great opportunity. See y’all in Texas!

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Happy Christmas from We Are Social

by Sandrine Plasseraud in News Google+

I can’t believe it’s already Christmas, but here it is so as we’re wrapping up for a few days, we thought we’d take the opportunity to wish you all an amazing Xmas… And so here is Robin and I in a little ‘Christmassy’ video:

The app we used for the message is actually something we’ve been busy over the last few days helping Skype launch in time for Christmas, with a small influencer campaign covering the US, UK, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

We’ve had a great response so far, with stories from TechCrunch, TechCrunch UK, Girly Gadget, Geekissimo, Pixel y Dixel, Frankwatching and many others.

The video messaging application is available via Skypevideocards.com and also via a dedicated Facebook app.

If, like me, you still haven’t had the time to send some real Christmas cards to your friends and family, why not send them your wishes via a Skype video card.

Happy Christmas everyone!

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