Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Yelp’.

We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #32

by Jordan Stone in News Google+

Visits to MySpace UK have halved in 6 months say sources
UK visits to MySpace have dropped from a from a peak of just under 10 million at the start of the year to around 5m as of the end of June 2010, according to a TechCrunch Europe source.

MySpace maintains the figures “aren’t accurate,” however independent measurement service comScore shows a similar decline in MySpace UK’s traffic over the past 12 months. Interestingly, Facebook is the third biggest referrer of traffic to the site.

Orkut about to fall to Facebook in India
Google-owned social network Orkut’s fortunes in India may soon be changing, as Facebook narrows the gap with the country’s most popular social network:

In May, 2010, Facebook attracted 18 million unique visitors in India, compared to Orkut’s 19.7 million (comScore). In the past year, Facebook grew 177 percent from 6.5 million Indian visitors, compared to 35 percent growth for Orkut.

By contrast, Orkut remains dominant in Brazil, “with 29 million visitors a months versus only 8 million for Facebook”. ‘Western’ social networks can sometimes run into challenges in gaining a toehold against local competitors (e.g. Facebook vs. China’s RenRen, 51 and Kaixin001), but Facebook’s growing popularity in India and Twitter’s rapid adoption in Japan suggest that this is not always the case.

Foursquare launches location layers – this is Big
Two Foursquare ‘location layer’ campaigns announced last week from the Independent Film Channel and Huffington Post signal big moves for the location-based service. The campaigns allow users to ‘opt-in’ to get news/tips/content pushed to them whenever they check in near an annotated location.

The development is culmination of several other experiments by Foursquare with partners, such as the Canadian newspaper chain Metro’s review integration in January, and the Wall Street Journal’s location-based news in April.

Social media boosts Domino’s Pizza’s UK online sales by 61.4%
NMA reports that online sales for the Domino’s have increased by 61.4% in the first half of 2010, in part down to innovative social media marketing over the past year:

Our main Facebook site has in excess of 36,000 fans and there are numerous fans of individual store sites too. In addition, we have led the way with social media initiatives such as affiliate marketing, our superfans programme and the development of a link up with Foursquare, the location-based social media site.

BMI integrates live Twitter feed onsite for city destination pages
BMI destination landing pages for cities around the world now incorporate ‘the uncontrolled madness’ of Twitter, thorough a feed dedicated to Tweets about the city in question. The Feeds are moderated for “swearing, competitors and racial slurs,” and feature alongside travel-related content like maps, tips and things to do. BMI wants to demonstrate their belief in transparency by moderating the feed as little as possible, and note they rely on an automatic filter list to automate most of it, and manually monitor sensitive destinations.

UK Government to use Facebook for ideas on cuts

The UK Government is teaming up with Facebook in the hopes of using the social network to harness ‘civic spirit’ in the country, and allow people to submit ideas for where public money might be saved.  The UK is the second largest country on Facebook, with over 26 million UK users. Users will be able to get involved:

…via a ‘Spending Challenge Channel’ on its Democracy UK page. There will also be microsites specially tailored to focus on key issues open for discussion and debate among the voting public.

The move follows the previous week’s launch of the Your Freedom website which was aimed at allowing users to submit suggestions for legislation they would like to see repealed or modified.

Facebook unveils child safety ‘panic button’ (which is just an app)
Facebook has announced that it will incorporate a ‘panic button’ to the social networking site, aimed at children and teenagers to allow them to easily report abuse to the UK Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop).

Facebook had previously resisted adding a panic button, and its launch follows ‘months of negotiations’ between Facebook and CEOP. But as Techcrunch reports:

while a few media outlets are reporting today that it has launched [a panic button], the reality is somewhat different. What Facebook is launching is a tailor-made marketing application and campaign for a government body which till now had no presence at all on the social network. That’s quite a different thing altogether.

Bebo had previously announced adding a panic button last November (not that it did them much good).

‘One third of young women check Facebook when they first wake up’
A recent study polled the habits of 1,605 adults using social media between May and June 2010, and uncovered some interesting online habits from both men and women on Facebook. Chief among them:

  • One third of women aged 18 to 34 check Facebook when they first wake up
  • 21% of women aged between 18 to 34 check Facebook in the middle of the night
  • 50% are happy being Facebook ‘friends’ with complete strangers

Facebook’s OpenGraph, Three Months Later
Three month’s after the announcement of OpenGraph at the Facebook F8 conference, fbLike has compiled a list of six OpenGraph use cases including CNN, Yelp, IMDB, Fandango, Levis and themselves.

In particular, the simplicity of the ‘like’ button comes into it own for Yelp, IMDB, Levis and Fandago, which allows for easy recommendations to be shared directly across a users’ new feed.

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We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #30

by Jordan Stone in News Google+

Social media helps drive purchases by 10x
Recent research reveals that customers visiting an online store via social media are 10x more like to by something than other users: “whereas 7% of all visitors to an online store make a purchase, a significantly higher 71% of visitors initiated via social media will click their way to the transaction section.” The study showed that while many online stores are good at attracting visitors, a small amount will be converted to customers. But “reassurance from a positive review” and “social media marketing” can be highly effective in closing sales.

Sorrell questions commercialisation of social web
WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell likened social media to letter writing at one of the closing sessions of the 57th Cannes Lions Advertising Festival, and said that it could be “polluted” by attempts to monetise it. On the same panel, Keith Weed, the global chief marketing officer of Unilever, likened social media instead to the modern day equivalent of a pub or bar chat, and that social networking sites “will and they must” find ways to monetise their offerings.

…companies like ours can develop with companies like Facebook or Microsoft. So I think ‘yes’, they will monetise. How they do it, I think [Sorrell is], right they have to be clever.

Facebook commits to UK support
King Mark Zuckerberg was in London last week at the first official London Facebook Developers’ Garage event, and he committed to increasing support for UK brands and content providers. Zuckerberg also “stressed the importance of the UK to the company, and highlighted personalisation and its virtual currency Facebook Credits as key themes for the year ahead.”

Statistics update reveals that more than one million websites are using Facebook’s platform
Facebook has updated their official Statistics page, and announced in the process that more than one million websites have integrated with its developer platform, up from about 80,000 websites.

This difference is due, in a large part, to Facebook’s launch of the Like Box and other social plugins in late April; the company said this week that more than 300,000 sites have already implemented the plugins, and the number appear to still be climbing.

Elsewhere, it was reported in a study by Experian Simmons that half of US web users visit Facebook each month.

Twitter makes it easier to find friends and colleagues, Facebook ‘blocks’ Twitter friend finder
Last week Twitter announced that it was making it easier to find friends on Facebook and connections on LinkedIn, by improving their Find Friends section and tweaking their LinkedIn and Facebook applications.

The Tweets application by LinkedIn allows users to see which of your LinkedIn connections are on Twitter and follow the ones you choose right from the app. Meanwhile the Facebook app was meant to show which of your Facebook friends are on Twitter, but this was blocked by Facebook disallowing people to see which of their friends on the social network also have Twitter accounts.

A whole new way of experiencing LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn groups received their first major overhaul since August 2008, which is one of many that are expected in the coming months. In addition to improving the look and feel and ease of use of groups, LinkedIn has also:

  • Made it easier to receive email updates from select group members
  • Made it possible to vote up or down content and discussions
  • Introduced a way to highlight the most active members/contributors to a group

We expect that these changes could go a long way to changing the way that users interact in groups for the better.

Foursquare hits 1.7 million users, and the threat from spammers looms
Foursquare announced that it had passed the 1.7 million user mark, after having added 100,000 in a mere 10 days. At that rate, the location-based service should hit 2 million users before August.

But with growing popularity, comes a greater threat from spammers. The Next Web notes that while spam is still a minor problem, it is becoming more prevalent as people ‘innovate’ by changing their profile name to a company name in order to raise awareness atop local leaderboards, or by leaving advertising messages as ‘tips’.

Foursquare, Starbucks need better blend of offers
When Starbucks and Foursquare announced their joint loyalty program last month in the US, it generated quite a bit of positive publicity. The offer, $1 discount on Frappuccinos to the mayors of individual Starbucks stores, has since come under criticism from Forrester analyst Augie Ray who laid out five reasons that it has become both ‘noisy and bothersome’, and potentially damaging in the long term.  Fair play to Starbucks for being amongst the first to implement a nationwide Foursquare promotion, but there are certainly some lessons to be learned with respect to offering better targeted and easier to redeem Foursquare offers.

Virgin America Offers Free Flights to Twitter Influencers
Virgin America has partnered with Klout, an analytics service that tracks users’ influence on Twitter, to offer free flights (plus tax) to influencers in Toronto:

The offer includes free round-trip airfare (Wi-Fi included) between Toronto and San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles (LAX) between June 23 and August 23. Those who received invitations for the offer — whether or not they decide to accept the flight that comes with it — were also invited to Virgin America’s Toronto Launch Event on June 29.

Interestingly, ‘influencers’ who have been offered the free flight aren’t require to blog or Tweet about the experience, though Klout has requested that users who do accept the offer and chose to write something,  disclose the promotion. Handing out free flights to those with Twitter ‘influence’ is not without its critics however, and some question the validity of ranking people based on an algorithm alone.

JD Sports campaign turns 900,000 visitors into 180,000 sign-ups
A recent campaign for the JD Sports-owned fashion label Bank managed to generate 900,000 unique users and 180,000 sign ups for a competition to become the face of Bank and model the Autumn/Winter 2010 range.

It used Facebook Open Graph – only two clicks to connect with a site and then sending info that they’d signed up or voted for someone into the user’s Facebook profile, which meant that their friends (on average 150 people) also saw it.

LOFT ansers the Facebook call for ‘real women’
Meanwhile, LOFT, a US fashion retailer, received interaction of an entirely different nature on its Facebook Fan Page. The company  posted images to Facebook of a tall, blonde model wearing the brand’s new silk cargo pants, and received a number of complaints that the trousers were not universally flatterig unless you’re a “stick like model”. LOFT quickly responded to calls for ‘real women in photos’ the next day by posting pictures of its own staff – ranged from size 2 to 12, and from 5′3″ to 5′10″ – posing in the cargo pants. In so doing they managed to turn things around, address the negative sentiment head-one and show that they were indeed ‘listening’ to their customers.

Digg redesign takes the fight to Twitter, Facebook
Digg has also recently announced a redesign, and “aims to directly challenge Twitter and Facebook by redefining the way Diggers share, view, and submit content.” Chief among the changes, are the ability to follow friends, publishers, and “taste-makers”; as well as  view content shared/promoted by their friends.

The idea seems to be that Digg will become much more of a true social networking site, but still based around links and news so as to cut out miscellaneous status updates so common to Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, it will now be easier to submit stories to the site, as well as become easier for Top News to spread amongst friends.

Meanwhile, a rumour has been spreading, in part by Digg founder Kevin Rose, that Google is readying ‘Google Me’, a social service intended to go head-to-head with Facebook.

FourWhere now combines Gowalla, Yelp and Foursquare
FourWhere, free service developed by Toronto-based social media monitoring and analytics company Sysomos, now integrates information from the three leading location-based servicesGowalla, Yelp and Foursquare.

If you’re not familiar with Fourwhere, it integrates data from Foursquare, Gowalla and Yelp, and displays it using Google Maps API in order to provided users with “ an easy way to discover places and comments for thousands of restaurants, bars, cafes, stores, tourist attractions and other venues.”

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We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #27

by Jordan Stone in News Google+

Gov websites ‘should be hubs for debate’
Simon Dickson has drawn our attention to a statement made by new Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, in response to a parliamentary question raised by Tom Watson concerning the government’s future plans for the Number 10 and Cabinet Office websites.  Maude’s short answer has some big implications on the form and function for future UK e-government sites:

The Government believe that departmental websites should be hubs for debate as well as information-where people come together to discuss issues and address challenges…

Enabling the government’s websites to facilitate debate and dialogue would be a most welcome development.

Yelp goes head-to-head with Foursquare, adds badges & Royal hierarchy
Yelp has announced an updated iPhone app, placing itself in direct competition with location-based social network Foursquare. Having previously added the ability to ‘check-in’ at locations, Yelp has now updated its app with other Foursquare-inspired features such as ‘Yelp badges’ and the opportunity for users to attain a ‘Royal’ status at locations.

As for crowning royalty, Yelp is taking a medieval approach to Foursquare’s mayorship feature. If a user has the most check-ins at a business, they are bestowed with the title of Duke or Duchess. If a user racks up enough of these titles in a specific neighborhood, they become the Baron of that area, or the King at the city level.

Social networking heats up on ‘browsing phones’, according to ComScore
According to a new study from ComScore, social networking is the fastest growing activity among people with smartphones / feature phones that offer Web browsing.

ComScore estimate that approximately 20 percent of mobile users are now accessing social networking sites via their phone, either with a dedicated app or through the mobile browser.

Yahoo! and Facebook announce site tie-up
Yahoo! struck a deal with Facebook to make it easier for users who maintain presences on both sites to share what they do across them. So what does it all mean?

The deal means that people who maintain profiles on Yahoo and Facebook can link the two pages and cross-pollinate both with one update.  It will also mean that those who use Flickr, Yahoo Answers or the social site’s video and music services can pipe any media or data they create to friends who use only Facebook.

Twitter rolls out “You both follow” feature
About 10% of Twitter users have been given the chance to play with a new ‘You both follow ‘ feature when accessing the site via their web browser. “When you click on another user’s profile, you are now given a list of people you both follow.”

Over on The Wall Blog, Jennifer Whitehead notes another (perhaps more useful) use of the feature is to click on people whose profiles you DON’T follow already, so that you can see if you have friends in common: “not a mind-blowing development but useful if you see Twitter as a way to do a bit of marketing for yourself or to start conversations with people you’d like to know.”

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We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #20

by Jordan Stone in News Google+

Tuenti switches on local for a location-based future
Spanish social networking site Tuenti, often referred to as the Facebook of Spain, has introduced a location-based feature called Tuenti Places (reads “Tuenti Sitios” in Spanish) allowing users to “add any local place, interact with it, share it with friends, upload images and write reviews.” Each Tuenti place (e.g. bars, clubs, restaurants) will have it’s own unique space for user interaction so unlike Facebook pages, there won’t be any duplicates.

According to TechCrunch, this is a very different strategy from the likes of Gowalla, Yelp, Foursquare or Spain’s 11870 who’ve built a community on top of local:

Tuenti first built a massive and incredibly segmented community and now they’re introducing local, which in itself is social by nature, but they can build in local by crowdsourcing their 8 million active users who are already sharing places…. Overnight Tuenti promises to get thousands of very dynamic local business pages and will shortly introduce new features such as Foursquare-like check-ins.

With everyone expecting Facebook to introduce location very soon, it will be interesting to see how Tuenti’s location-based feature fares.

Middle-aged travellers leading travel social media revolution
The Social Travel Report by independent media agency Total Media, claims that the holiday industry is facing a social media revolution and that middle age travellers are shaping consumer views of the best hotels and holiday destinations. Based on a sample of 1,375 people, the report found what many people have long suspected:

Holiday reviews written by strangers on independent websites such as TripAdvisor, search results on Google and word-of-mouth advice from family and colleagues are more influential than brochures, advertising, media reviews and advice from travel agents.

Some of the highlights:

  • Almost half of travellers over 45 are using websites to recommend or warn fellow travellers by posting a review
  • 25% of British travellers say that online reviews by strangers help determine their travel plans
  • Almost 70% of consumers use the internet to book their holidays
  • Expedia was the leading online resource for consumers planning long trips (more than five nights) with 25%, followed by Tripadvisor and with 22%

The Social Media Bubble
Last week Umair Haque, Director of the Havas Media Lab, advanced a hypothesis in the Harvard Business Review:

Despite all the excitement surrounding social media, the Internet isn’t connecting us as much as we think it is. It’s largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships.

It makes for an interesting read, and he goes supports his hypothesis by arguing that hate, exclusion and disempowerment are flourishing online, whereas there is no greater trust or a rise in value of relationships.

This created quite a stir, and invited about 188 comments from readers and almost 50 blogs in response.  Two noteworthy blog posts responses came from Bud Caddell over on What Consumes Me and a lengthy post on Stowe Boyd and the /messengers.

In all, Umair’s argument about the devaluation of relationships because of social media is fairly grand one not necessarily supported empirically anywhere within his post.  That said, it’s certainly refreshing (and desirable) to have the social media industry’s thinking about online relationships tested every now and again.

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We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #10

by Jordan Stone in News Google+

Recruitment consultants find digital skills in short supply within PR industry
PR recruitment agency Major Players last week told PRWeek that there is a shortfall in candidates with a general understanding of social media. After analyzing a sample of 4,500 CVs from the past two years, only:

  • 6% referenced social media
  • 9% mentioned Twitter
  • 2% talked about blogging
  • 13% included ‘Facebook’ – although in some this was merely highlighted in the ‘interests’ section

This stands in fairly stark contrast to the current need for digital skills in the industry “with around 33 per cent of recruitment searches by employers being for digital and social media expertise, while a further 28 per cent require a general understanding of social media, generally in consumer roles.”

Privacy no longer a social norm, says Facebook founder
The rise of social networking online means that people no longer have an expectation of privacy, according to Facebook founder and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg.

Speaking at the Crunchie awards in San Francisco recently, he suggested that the rise of social media reflected the changing attitudes of ordinary people online. Though a great number of people are choosing to share more information online, the degree to which ‘privacy is no longer a social norm’ is debatable.  Check out the full article in the Guardian, which sums up Facebook’s moves in recent to bring more information into the public domain, and the adverse reactions that followed.

Social Media and the Haiti crisis
Following last week’s tragic earthquake in Haiti, social media played a significant role in raising awareness and getting aid donations from individuals across the world. Below are a few impressive ways in which web and mobile technology have been deployed in the past week to bring the tragedy to light.

If you haven’t already done so, you can donate to relief efforts via UNICEF or the International Committee of the Red Cross.

PostRank Top Blogs of 2009
PostRank last week announced their list of the most engaged, most influential and ‘biggest mover and shaker’ blogs of the last year.

To create the list, they gathered and analyzed over 2 billion individual engagement activities on 20 social hubs, (e.g. Twitter, Digg, Delicious) and ranked 15,725 blogs in 491 topics. Check out the Top Blogs of 2009 here. Each topic contains a ranked list of blogs, along with each blog’s engagement profile and top posts for all of 2009.

Yelp takes on Foursquare with new iPhone check-ins
In the latest version of its iPhone App, Yelp has added the ability for users to “check-in” and share their location with friends, similar to what you can do on services like Foursquare. Unlike Foursquare though, users don’t compete to become the only mayor of a single location, but can become ‘regulars.’ We wonder whether removing the ‘game’ element will affect user uptake and the incentive to check in. That said, Yelp have an existing userbase of about 1.25 million people per month. Some key features include:

  • Friends can see a list of all of your check-ins
  • You can bring up a map of nearby check-ins
  • Post your check-ins on Twitter
  • Businesses can offer promotions and discounts to their regulars

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