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Nov 8, 2008

Social Media Weekend

Ad.com alums forge new social networking venture
Bizjournals.com, NC - 1 hour ago
A band of Advertising.com alumni is translating that local success story’s concept to the latest fast-growing tech opportunity — social networking — and it ...

How Nike's Social Network Sells to Runners
BusinessWeek - 8 hours ago
Now the company is testing a social network to promote its basketball shoes. How Nike+ benefits the company's bottom line is harder to gauge. ...GM - VZ

Better Social Networking ...
InternetNews.com - Nov 7, 2008
At Web 2.0 Summit, the world's largest chipmaker demos enterprise social networking and a more "personal" Internet. By David Needle: More stories by this ...
Intel CEO Touts Collaboration, Mobile Translation Device at Web ... eWeek
Web 2.0 Summit: Intel Shows Off Secret Mobile Device InformationWeek
Otellini: Web 2.0 Opportunities Exist Despite Economy PC World
Barron's Blogs - CNET News
Facebook and MySpace lock horns for social networking future
guardian.co.uk, UK - Nov 7, 2008
In the past few years they have become synonymous with the social networkingphenomenon – rivals fighting each other for millions of users. ...
More Than 500 Corporate Social Networking and HR Leaders Set to ...
MarketWatch - Nov 6, 2008
SelectMinds CONNECT brings together SelectMinds clients, industry leaders and the foremost experts on corporate social networking and takes place November ...

Lime Wire Wants To Get More Social
InformationWeek, NY - 19 hours ago
But is adding social networking and become more feature rich the right fix? Peer-to-peernetworking is making a comeback of sorts thanks to software as a ...
LimeWire Announces Upcoming 5.0 Release Slyck
Lime Wire Introduces LimeWire 5.0; World's Most Popular File ...International Business Times
A fraud ring or social networking - it's the same thing
ZDNet - Nov 7, 2008
What about social networkingSocial networking isn't unstructured data. A telco might want to take all of the phone calls made from a cell phone and ...
Yahoo Buzz plugs into social network
CNET News, CA - 22 hours ago
"Yahoo is committed to creating the most relevant experience by enabling social interactions inside and outside of Yahoo's network," the company said in a ...YHOO

Tweet! Social Network A-Twitter Over Election
Hartford Courant, United States - Nov 6, 2008
I found these "tweets" (the term for any of social network Twitter's famously terse 140-character messages) by searching the service for "President Obama" ...
Obama's win means future elections must be fought online guardian.co.uk
Obama Election Ushering In First Internet Presidency InformationWeek
Election '08: The Internet Wins bMighty.com
Thaindian.com - AFP
Location-Based Mobile Social Networking Set for Rapid Growth
TMCnet - Nov 7, 2008
By Nitya Prashant ABI Research has released a new report on the recent emergence of location-based mobile social networking services. ...

Nov 7, 2008

What’s Your Favorite Photo Sharing Site?

What’s Your Favorite Photo Sharing Site?

This article is part of the Open Web Awards, an open, international contest for the best websites and services.

Recently, we all got some perspective on just how huge online photo sharing has become – Facebook announced that more than 10 billion photos have been uploaded on the social network, while Flickr soon after reported that it had passed the 3 billion mark. Even President-elect Obama posted behind-the-scenes photos from election night to Flickr.

In addition to the big photo sharing sites, there are also online photo editors like PicnikFotoflexer, and now Adobe Photoshop Express. Not sure which one should get your nomination? Check out our list of more than 90 different photography tools and then submit your pick in the widget below:

Make Your Nomination

Mashable Open Web Awards

Spread the Word

Feel free to elaborate on your nomination in the comments, or try to gain more support for your favorite service by copying the widget to your blog (click the “Grab This” link in the widget above)!

Microsoft's New Photo Sharing Service: Live Photos

live_services_logo_nov08.pngMicrosoft today announced a new photo sharing product, Microsoft Live Photos, which integrates very nicely with Microsoft's Windows Live Photo Gallery desktop photo application, and is yet another product in the long list of Windows Live services that Microsoft introduced today. In many respects, Live Photos clearly competes directly with Yahoo's Flickr, though while it has a lot of Flickr's features, its focus is more on sharing pictures with a small group of friends or family than with the whole Internet. We have been using Live Photos for about two months now, and our overall impression is extremely positive.

As one would expect, Live Photos integrates directly with Microsoft's Photo Gallery. This integration is similar to Google's combination of Picasa Web Albums and the Picasa desktop application. You can upload photos, manage your galleries, and keep albums in sync. Live Photos will also be directly integrated into the new Live Toolbar, which will display previews of pictures that you and your friends have shared on the service.



The web interface lets you see your photos as thumbnails, thumbnails with additional information, or as very small icons. The overall interface is similar to Flickr's, with a photo-strip for navigating your album at the top right of the screen. Underneath the strip is the general information about the photo you are currently looking at, as well as the individual web address for this photo.

One of the niftier features of Live Photos is the Slideshow function, which changes its background color depending on the dominant color of the current photo. This is a subtle effect, but it shows that Microsoft spent a lot of time on getting the details of this new product right.

You can share your albums with very granular permissions, and also share individual photos. Every photo can be tagged and your visitors can also leave comments.

Very Few Negatives

Overall, the Live Photos team did a great job in developing a product that would appeal to most mainstream users. We did not run into any real problems during our tests, but we came across a few functions that were still missing from the product.

windows_live_photos_sshot.pngIt would, for example, be nice if you could choose the picture to represent your album on the front page. Currently, the first picture in every album is automatically set to represent this album across Windows Live.

Also, it would be nice to see how much space you have left on your SkyDrive account while uploading your pictures.


These negatives, however, are indeed minor and the combination of the Windows Live Photo Gallery with the Live Photo service looks like a winner to us, especially in combination with SkyDrive, which now features 25GB of online storage.

In combination with the new Live Profiles and Live Groups, Microsoft has created a very comprehensive suite of social online sharing tools and matching desktop applications.

Obama's Social Media Advantage, Act II

How Obama Really Did It - it was the network

Obama's Social Media Advantage, Act II

Barack ObamaMuch has been said about the masterful use of social media by the Obama campaign. The people working for the President-Elect were by far the more active - and the more savvy - of the two US Presidential candidates in terms of understanding and effectively employing social media as a way of engaging and motivating voters. Regardless of your political leanings, the numbers speak for themselves.

But was it just a means to an end? Or is this personal engagement - embracing social media as a new way of communicating with the masses - something we should expect Obama to use throughout his presidency?

If change.gov - the new site for the President-Elect - is any indication, the second act of Obama's social media strategy may have even more impact on the United States than the impressive - and historic - first act.

Given the rich history of politicians using a variety of means to attain office and - upon election - rapidly changing their respective tunes, the end of the campaign and the beginning of presidency held with it a certain amount of trepidation. Would the people's candidate - one who had been engaged and engaging - suddenly revert to the guise and personality of the classic politician?

Despite the overwhelming prevalence of "hope," an air of political cynicism - one formed by decades, if not centuries of experience - still festered below the surface. But that cynicism may have been dealt another blow. And the Obama campaign may have found another way to continue the conversation that they started.

With the launch of change.gov, Obama appears to be staying the course. He's not avoiding the conversation; he's embracing it. And while there's not much to the change.gov site currently, it's the fragments that tell the story. And it's a story of a continued commitment to interact with the people on a very personal basis:

"The story of the campaign and this historic moment has been your story. It is about the great things we can do when we come together around a common purpose. The story of bringing this country together as a healed and united nation will be led by President-Elect Obama, but written by you. The millions of you who built this campaign from the ground up, and echoed your call for the change you wanted to see implemented by the Obama Administration - this process of setting up that new government is about you."

As part of continuing that story, the Obama organization is asking the people of the US to share their stories and to share their goals.

In short, Obama has begun crowdsourcing the political agenda. And when it comes right down to it, isn't that what democracy is supposed to be about anyway? A government of the people, by the people, for the people?

A few weeks ago when Gartner hypothesized that "social networks will complement, and may replace, some government functions," it seemed almost laughable. But today, in the wake of what has occurred this week, it seems all the more accurate and attainable.

The Obama organization continues to turn the political machine on its ear and continues to shake the conventional wisdom of "political strategy." If change.gov is any indication, the use of social media appears to have been much more than a gimmick for Obama. It appears to have truly been a means of embracing change.

Whatever happens next, it will be incredibly interesting to see how this next act plays out. And what acts - or actions - follow.

The 22 Step Social Media Marketing Plan

Peter Kim is a Senior Partner at Dachis Corporation.  He blogs about social computing and marketing at Being Peter Kim.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been curating a list of social media marketing examples.  The list started with 100 examples (including 35+ from Mashable) and has since tripled in size with the participation of over a hundred contributors with examples from companies around the world.

We could probably come up with 3,000 examples instead of 300 - but the current set already gives us a pretty good sample to think about.  One takeaway: for now, those neurotic about missing “what’s next” can relax a bit.  Consumers still use a broader set of social tools than corporations, but new categories of tools aren’t emerging rapidly today, giving brands a chance to catch up.  It’s time to master the last big thingwhile you have a chance to catch a breath.

As corporate adoption emerges, there’s nothing wrong with learning lessons from others and making them your own.  Start by making sure you have all of your bases covered with the major tools.  In other words, copy and paste the items below, then fill in the blanks with your own company-driven effort.

Here’s a framework of 22 tools to consider with notable brand examples:

1. Blogs (Johnson & JohnsonDelta Air Lines)
2. Bookmarking/Tagging (AdobeKodak)
3. Brand monitoring (DellMINI)
4. Content aggregation (AlltopEMC)
5. Crowdsourcing/Voting (OracleStarbucks)
6. Discussion boards and forums (IBMMountain Dew)
7. Events and meetups (MolsonPampers)
8. Mashups (Fidelity InvestmentsNike)
9. Microblogging (methodWhole Foods)
10. Online video (EukanubaHome Depot)
11. Organization and staffing (FordPepsi)
12. Outreach programs (NokiaYum Brands)
13. Photosharing (RubbermaidUK Government)
14. Podcasting (EricssonMcDonalds)
15. Presentation sharing (CapGeminiDaimler AG)
16. Public Relations - social media releases (AvonIntel)
17. Ratings and reviews (LoblawsTurboTax)
18. Social networks: applications, fan pages, groups, and personalities (British AirwaysSaturn)
19. Sponsorships (Coca-ColaWhirlpool)
20. Virtual worlds (National GeographicToyota)
21. Widgets (Southwest AirlinesTarget)
22. Wikis (Second LifeT-Mobile Sidekick)

And use this username check tool to see if your brands/preferred handles are still available.

I haven’t found a single company doing all of these today. Forget divining a big, meaningful business objective before getting started - you’ll end up in analysis paralysis. Just make sure you’re making an existing business function better and get started.  Today.

MySpace’s Chris DeWolfe And Warner Music’s Edgar Bronfman At Web2.0: Music, Music, Music

Ed: Content (starving artists at Myspace), Distribution (Bronfman), Wholesale/Retail (iTune)

LiveBlogging MySpace’s Chris DeWolfe And Warner Music’s Edgar Bronfman At Web2.0: Music, Music, Music (And Money)

MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe and Warner Music Group’s Edgar Bronfman take the stage with John Battelle at the Web 2.0 Summit this evening. The topic: The Future Of Music.

The time is ripe. MySpace has launched it’s new MySpace Music initiative; Facebook continues to explore its options.

Our live notes are below:

John Battelle starts things off by noting that MySpace Music continues to not have a CEO (they’ll announce it shortly). DeWolfe says they’ll make an announcement shortly - it isn’t coming this evening.

Bronfman on how Warner Music is different than the other labels: Says he came to Warner at the beginning of 2004, and it was clear that they had to innovate to grow, not litigate. Until MySpace Music came along, he says, there was no online ecosystem for music (MySpace Music sells songs, streams songs, sells ringtones and will eventually sell concert tickets and other merchandise).

He says there is no one channel that will replace CD revenues. It will take a whole series of business models, he says, adding that the music industry will look very different in five years. Even download revenue won’t be the most important revenue source.

DeWolfe on iTunes v. MySpace Music: says there has been a lot of friction between labels, artists and users. MySpace wanted to bring everyone together, he says. He talks about how great Napster was for the user, but the artist didn’t get paid. He wanted a service that paid the labels and artists, and gave users a great experience. Says now is the time - 20% of Warner’s revenues are from digital sales.

He says the biggest difference with MySpace Music is the community - that the MySpace community can help users choose what to consume.

Bronfman on Apple: gives them credit, they pulled off a sexy device combined with a great service.

Bronfman on evolving from packaged goods model to multi-channel digital world: Says they’ve reorganized the company to move from a few large distributor customers and now have 500 or more customer agreements. They also have hundreds of SKUs every time they release a single, whereas they only had 3 per song before.

Distribution is a commodity, he says. The key is owning the master recordings and focusing on editorial and marketing.

DeWolfe on the month since launch: over 1 billion streams in first few days. Over 80 million playlists created. 5 million bands uploading music.

Battelle asks Bronfman how the industry got comfortable with DRM-free music. He says DRM is great in theory but doesn’t work in practice. They are facing reality and adapting to a “very different world than any content industry has ever faced.” Says they are guinea pigs but they are finding their way through it.

DeWolfe says MySpace likely won’t create a device, but will focus on backing original music, live events, etc.

DeWolfe says MySpace Music isn’t competitive with iTunes; rather that MySpace Music will help Apple sell more iPods.

Bronfman says MySpace Music is great way to filter and develop talent. It’s expensive to develop talent, he says, to bring them to their full potential. Says that it takes much more effort to break an artist than it ever did before because people’s attention is so split.

Bronfman on Radiohead’s experiments with their new album this year: he was disappointed that so many users chose to take it for free. Battelle suggests many of the downloads were sampling. Bronfman says it’s important to work with an artist over their career to sometimes give music away to sell tickets, sometimes sell music to promote events, etc.

Bronfman says that every new artist they sign they take rights in every revenue stream. Calls these 360 rights, and that over 1/3 of their artists are under these contracts. He says that they can’t make the investment they need to make unless they have these rights, and their incentives won’t be aligned.

Discussion of Facebook. Battelle says that Facebook overtook MySpace in U.S. traffic this year - DeWolfe corrects him and says MySpace is still much larger than Facebook. He also says 70% of Facebook users are on MySpace too. Says he isn’t worried about Facebook music, they have no artists and there are massive barriers to entry. MySpace has passionate music lovers and a deep sales team.

Mary Meeker’s View Of The World In 50 Slides

Ed: Good analysis, but simplistic and superficial with respect to online advertising. As an econometrician of world markets, it's always been difficult to simplify multivariate, multi-equation, dynamic models so that Wall Street pundits depend on stochastic input-output models. Wall Street looks at historic results. Analysts poorly model the process of cause, effect, stimulus, and temporal impacts. 

Every year at the Web 2.0 Summit, Morgan Stanley Internet analyst Mary Meeker gives her view of the world, the Web, and the technology industry by quickly going through about 50 slides that illustrate the major trends she is tracking. Last year, she zeroed in on the China Bubble. This year, she talks about the root causes of the current economic downturn, the outlook for Web businesses, and where she still sees major growth (mobile and emerging markets).

She singles out the mobile industry as the one where both the most opportunity will be found and disruption will occur over the next five years. Moreover, she suggests that the U.S. is poised to lead the transition in mobile to a Web-centric model. (I totally agree). Interestingly, she points to the introduction of the first Android phone by T-Mobile, not the launch of the iPhone, as the key inflection point for the coming era of the mobile web.

Meeker’s full presentation, which she gave yesterday, is in the video embedded above and her full slide deck is below (thank you, Henry Blodget, for uploading them). The slides are also available here.

A few slides in particular stuck out for me. First, the growth rates for both e-commerce sales and Internet advertising are normalizing much faster than anyone expected they would compared to offline growth rates for retail sales and advertising. No doubt, this steep slowdown in growth is being compounded by the overall economic situation. ...

In the second slide, the top green line is Internet advertising growth. At least it is still above all the other kinds of advertising and not yet in negative territory, but the trend does not look good.

In fact, as ad budgets decline and Web pages keep growing, the bigger problem is that the supply of ad slots on the Web is becoming greater than the demand to fill them. The only way to fill those slots is to lower the price of each spot. As the slide below illustrates, ad impressions keep growing, but the cost per thousand (CPM) keeps dropping (on average, to about $1.50 for banner ads and to just above $20 for rich media ads):

On the bright side, compared to the overall spending on other forms of advertising such as TV, print, and direct mail, Internet advertising still has a lot of share to gain, and will likely continue to do so.

Mary Meeker Web 2.0 Presentation
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: advertising web)

Nov 6, 2008

A Tale of Two Silicon Valley Giants - Yahoo and Apple

Rumor: Internal Yahoo memo suggests CEO Jerry Yang may be out

Updated: Yahoo is vehemently denying the rumor.

Here’s a rumor (printed below) that we got and which has apparently been making the rounds. It’s important to note that the NYT has since written a story saying that Yahoo has denied the rumor, and that both Yahoo and Microsoft say rumors of a merger deal are also false. Apparently, the Microsoft merger deal first gained credibility when a Bloomberg story mentioned it this morning (link to updated version).

[Update: I just got off the phone with Boomtown's Kara Swisher, who is convinced the rumors are being driven by stock manipulators, trying to manipulate Yahoo's stock. What is interesting is that despite the denial by Yahoo and Microsoft of a deal between them, Yahoo's stock is still up markedly. So if this is being driven by manipulators, they are having their way.]

[Update II: I'm told by a very good Yahoo source that the rumors are complete baloney. It's now 10:15am. We should see the stock drop soon, as Yahoo gets the message out. Yahoo is not talking on the record, however.]

Employees at Yahoo are said to have just received an internal memo, time-stamped at 8:00 PST, to expect a “major & historical announcement” today some time after 2pm PST. Sources are saying that Yahoo chief executive [Jerry] “Yang has agreed to leave his post effective today and that Yahoo is again in late-stage talks to sell the whole company to Microsoft.” The deal is imminent and could be done by tonight, they say. The price being mentioned is $17~$19 per share.

Here’s the big caveat. On the one hand, this rumor is entirely consistent with the latest developments: Jerry Yang has failed entirely in his effort to give direction to Yahoo, and is under increasing pressure from shareholders to either do something or leave, and it’s widely known that Microsoft continues to mull a possible acquistion of Yahoo. However, on the other, there is so much speculation about this company that it could be that traders are trying to manipulate the stock. We’re trying to get more details on this one, and will update when possible.

Yahoo: Poor, Alone and Sad

Six months ago Jerry Yang took the stage at the D Conference to talk about the state of his business. His painted a picture of a Yahoo that was spinning in circles with no clear future.

Fast forward six months and nothing has changed.

Except Yahoo has been left at the altar as Google walks away from their Yahoo search marketing deal.

Except that Yahoo’s share price has eroded another $13, destroying $18 billion in shareholder value

Except that most of Yahoo’s top managers have left the company...

iWork ‘08 indeed: Apple bucks the layoff trend so far

Here’s my routine the last several weeks: Wake up, open my feed reader, read story after story about layoffs at FILL-IN-THE-BLANK tech company — it’s depressing. So it’s nice today to be able to report about one that has seen huge job growth this year: Apple.

The computer, iPod and iPhone maker saw its number of employees grow almost 50 percent in the past year, the company’s annual 10-K SEC filing revealed. By the end of September, the company had 32,000 full-time employees, compared to last year when it had just 26,100 (plus addition temporary workers). Its employment numbers are nearly double what they were just two years ago, as TechFlash notes.

Business has been booming the past few years for Apple thanks to a mixture of strong computer sales (particularly laptops), iPods and most recently the iPhone (the new 3G version has seen especially strong sales). But, with layoffs hitting companies like Dell, Yahoo and AMD and hiring freezes even in place at Google, Apple, like every other company, will have to be cautious of the way it controls its business over the next several months. (Though it has plenty of cash on hand.)

Also a good sign for the company is that a lot of the new employees are likely workers at Apple’s retail stores, and probably not highly paid engineers, as Silicon Alley Insider notes.

Apple’s Fadell gets one heck of a (Fa)deal to advise Jobs

Departing Apple executive Tony Fadell is getting a pretty nice deal to stay on as an advisor and not go to any other company, an SEC filing reveals. Specifically, he’ll be getting a $300,000 annual salary and restricted stock options that are potentially worth millions.

Apple confirmed yesterday that Fadell, its senior vice president of the iPod Division, was stepping down. The reason the company gave for the departure is that Fadell wanted to spend more time with his young family. His wife, who also worked for Apple, is leaving as well. But Apple also announced that Fadell would remain affiliated with the company as an advisor to chief executive Steve Jobs, a gig which apparently pays very well.

Of course, “restricted” is the key word for the stock options. Fadell’s 77,500 options won’t vest until March 24, 2010, which means that if he were to leave, he’d forfeit the right to those millions of dollars. That means that Microsoft or whoever else might want to get their hands on the man who has been hailed as the “father of the iPod” won’t be getting access to him anytime soon.

This key part of the filing:

On November 3, 2008, Tony Fadell, Senior Vice President, iPod Division of the Company became Special Advisor to the Company’s Chief Executive Officer. In this new position, Mr. Fadell no longer will be an executive officer of the Company. In connection therewith, Mr. Fadell and the Company have entered into a Transition Agreement and a Settlement Agreement and Release (the “Transition Agreement” and the “Settlement Agreement,” respectively), under which Mr. Fadell will receive a salary of three hundred thousand dollars annually, and will be entitled to bonus and other health and welfare benefits generally available to other senior managers for the duration of the Transition Agreement, which remains in effect until March 24, 2010. The Transition Agreement also provides for the cancellation of outstanding and unvested 155,000 restricted stock units held by Mr. Fadell. Upon approval by the Compensation Committee of the Company’s Board of Directors, Mr. Fadell will be granted 77,500 restricted stock units that will vest in full on March 24, 2010, subject to his continued employment with the Company through the vesting date and further subject to accelerated vesting if the Company terminates his employment without cause. The restricted stock units are payable upon vesting in shares of the Company’s common stock on a one-for-one basis. The Settlement Agreement includes Mr. Fadell’s release of claims against the Company and agreement not to solicit the Company’s employees for one year following the termination of his employment.

The Final Chapter: Yahoo Now Wants to Be Acquired by Microsoft


Talk about a 180. Yahoo’s CEO Jerry Yang spoke at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco; he and his company are tired, battered and bruised. But his message is now - suddenly, and amazingly - clear: Yahoo wants to be bought by Microsoft.

His exact words?

“To this day, I have to say that the best thing for Microsoft to do is to buy Yahoo. I don’t think that is a bad idea at all…at the right price, whatever the price is, we are willing to sell the company. We were ready to negotiate, we wanted to negotiate a deal, and we felt that we weren’t that far apart. But at the end of the day, they withdrew and they since have been very clear about not wanting to buy the company.”

Perhaps I have a bad memory, but Yahoo did not want Microsoft to acquire them following their initial offer which, in the light of perhaps inevitable economic recession and current Yahoo share price, now seems generous...

Yahoo Says It Is Looking At Acquisitions Again

By Tom Foremski - November 7, 2008

Yahoo says that the distractions of Microsoft's hostile bid are over and that it will resume making acquisitions especially in advertising related sectors.

Jonathan Dillon, VP of Strategic Partnerships & Acquisition Integration at Yahoo said that the company had suspended its acquisitions because the board was distracted by the Microsoft bid.

"We are resuming acquisitions and we will be looking to shore up our leading position in display advertising and other advertising related areas," said Mr Dillon.

He was speaking on a panel Thursday evening organized by the Irish Network of San Francisco and Enterprise Ireland. Other panelists included Richard Alfonsi, Director Online Sales and Operations at Google, Tom Costello, CEO ofCuil, Jason Devitt, CEO of Skydeck, and Ivan MacDonald, CEO of Dial 2 Do.

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