Welcome to eModeration’s digest of all that is intriguing, alarming or odd in the world of social media. We’ll be posting bite-size morsels of nourishing news not once, but twice a week – so check back soon!
The Web 2.0 world was reeling this week, after Microsoft slapped it round the chops with a real-time search double-whammy.
Whammy one: Microsoft has inked deals with both Facebook and Twitter, allowing status updates to be integrated into the Bing Search engine.
Then, while the social world was rearranging its expression to read ‘not in the slightest bit surprised, saw it coming a mile off actually’, came whammy two: Google is about to do precisely the same thing.
The CIA has invested in social monitoring company Visible Technologies. Now the guy who manually checks through a zillion ‘u comin 2 mai partee?’ posts in the hope of one which reads ‘the quick coyote has met the cunning fox’ can finally go home to his wife and kids.
A Tory govt would jack the 50p tax which the present govt say will bring rural broadband up to urban speeds – in apparent contrast to the speech David Cameron gave in January. Oh dear – there’s nothing Middle England likes more than a snipe bid on a pair of BNWT driving-gloves – and you can’t do that on a 1meg connection, you know.
Meanwhile Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw confirmed that persistent file-sharers would not be ‘cut off willy-nilly’ – news which might reassure the British public, 70% of whom oppose an internet ban for file-sharers. Kudos also to Mr Bradshaw for a unilateral revival of ‘willy-nilly’ despite grave risk to his gubernatorial dignity.
Some companies do find this Woman thing so hard, don’t they? At a Yahoo-hosted hack weekend for developers in Taiwan, company-hired lap-dancers provided the entertainment. Really, What Were They Thinking? (We’re going to have to agree on an acronym for that, aren’t we? I like DERBRAIN – you?)
Quick, come and see Bill Clinton through X-ray Specs! A twitter bug left the former prez accidentally exposing his tweets – click here for the twitillating details.
Twitter is now the platform of choice for Slebs who are up for a ruck. “Giving some celebrities Twitter is like giving a kid a loaded gun,” says a PR firm chief. In the case of Perez Hilton, whose first tweet to Rumer Willis was “welcome to Twitter, Potatohead”, more like “a loaded gun and a kilo of Skittles”.
This is more like it. A gamer customized a Super Mario World level so that “Lisa will you marry me?” was spelled out in gold coins. See? Romance isn’t dead. It’s just not so good with, you know, face-to-face interaction these days.
According to Netimperative, 1 in 10 UK adults is ‘not interested in getting online’. Right… Got it… No, sorry, you’re going to have to run me through that again.
AND IN OTHER NEWS…
Interesting times for Yahoo. Though revenue dropped, net income is up by a whopping 225% due to fierce cost-cutting. What’s more, they’re launching a rival to the Huffington Post, which will use a combo of smart tech and smart humans to offer link excellence and tip-top writing.
Apple is still the people’s darling – the company saw a crunchy 47% rise in profits in the quarter to September – news of which bounced shares by 7.5% to an all-time high.
Amazon is also confounding the recession, with a Q3 profit surge of 68% year on year. Founder Jeff Bezos lays the laurels at the feet of Kindle, which is now at the heart of Amazon’s strategy.
Channel 4 is offering targeted ads around its YouTube programming; meanwhile speculation that Hulu may start charging for content next year is starting to look like concrete fact.
Microsoft and T-mobile now claim they have recovered most, if not all, of its Sidekick users’ missing data.
Finally: when display ads do badly, it could simply be that they are pug ugly. Aesthetic failure is often to blame for limp performance, according to Dynamic Logic.
The ‘Book’s deal with Bing, which will integrate status updates into search results, is expected to go live within two months. As the Telegraph points out, the thought of unseen millions reading “wooohooo – trolley’d!“ should give a sense of urgency to those who have yet to master Facebook’s privacy settings.
Facebook’s graph is so steep they need crampons: in the US, it now gets an astonishing 1 in every 4 page views. Market share is up 194% since last year, and there are now over 45 million updates a day.
It won’t come as a dreadful shock, then, to hear that MySpace’s new CEO has conceded defeat in its battle with the social colossus. Owen Van Natta says the company now aims to be a music hub.
Twitter, meanwhile, appears untroubled by Facebook anxiety: CEO Evan Williams nonchalantly declared last week that “the world is big enough for Facebook and Twitter”.
Despite flat-lining stats, Williams was pretty chipper about a near-future revenue stream – and indicated that mobile is looking very alluring to the microblogging service, which last week celebrated its 5 billionth tweet.
Each one of which will now be accessible through Bing and Google: According to Venturebeat, Bing’s Twitter search will have tag clouds and organize results according to both age and popularity. Retweets will move an entry up, as will embedded links – the most popular of which will be sortable too.
It’s not yet entirely clear what Google’s Twitter/Facebook search will look like – but news of the deal tops a great week for the search powerhouse.
It reported an 8% revenue increase for Q3, and announced plans to spend heavily on long-term growth. The first pennies go on a six-nation roll-out of its enterprise-aimed ‘Gone Google’ marketing campaign.
Google is also dipping a toe into the smartphone market, with a branded Android phone of its own – and launching a music service, which according to Wired will offer streaming, and enhanced search.
As if there weren’t enough real-time excitement turning our pretty heads, YouTube announced Comments Search, which will allow real time search of conversation topics on the network.
It’s also testing a new advertising model, which melds AdWords with YouTube videos and allows advertisers to target video ads via keywords.
BRANDS GET SOCIAL…
Run, kitty, run! Petco has launched a ‘Howl-O-Ween’ comp, which allows owners to upload photos and videos of their Halloween-bedecked pets.
Ask.com launches a Facebook-integrated microsite, which asks users to celebrate their greatest deal.
Cheez Doodles wants to expand its share of the teen-market, and is offering them the chance to “Rock the Cheez” by creating virtual bands online.
Honda’s ‘social experiment’ – its ‘Everybody Knows Somebody Who Loves a Honda’ Facebook page – has been a roaring success. The page, which allows owners to connect with Honda-lovin’ friends and strangers globally, has topped 2 million fans.
ArmyStrongStories.com, a blogging system that lets anyone in the service make a post, is letting soldiers’ voices be heard and driving recruitment for the US Army.
Ford’s latest wheeze is the Fusion 41 social media campaign, which is seeking 8 socially-savvy fans of the Ford Fusion to compete in a relay race – the winner gets their vehicle paid for.
Lonely Planet is testing an App which uses Google Wave to give independent-minded travelers recommendations and reviews, which they can transform into content-rich itineraries.
Coca-Cola has sent a team of young Happiness ambassadors to visit each of the 206 countries where Coke is sold, and share the secret of each nation’s happiness, via social media.
Procter & Gamble’s marketing team is flushed with success: they’ve launched a search for 5 people who, for the not-at-all-bad salary of $10k for a month’s work, will man their ‘Charmin Restroom’ in Times Square.
Arsenal and Spain midfielder Fabregas took over Nike’s Football Page on Facebook last Thursday, answering questions and posting behind-the-scenes photos.
UNDER THE GAVEL…
A judge in California has provisionally okay’d Facebook’s settlement of the class suit arising from its Beacon ad programme.
Another in New York has ruled that Facebook is protected by the Communications Decency Act, in a teenager’s defamation suit.
conix Brand Group has settled – to the tune of $250,000 – the FTC’s complaint that they illegally collected children’s data.
And two former Yale students have settled the suit they brought against anonymous posters whom they allege defamed them on law-grad site AutoAdmit. They weren’t able to sue the board itself, but managed to identify some 8 or 9 of the bloggers.
SOME SOCIAL STATS…
The numbers who post or read status updates on social sites has shot from 11% to 19% – that’s almost a fifth of us – in under a year, according to Pew’s new report.
63% of online mothers regularly use socnets, against 11% three years ago – and 44% look for recommendations – and complaints – before buying.
UK e-commerce growth slowed to a snail’s pace this year, up only 7.6% against last year’s 15%.
US ad-spend figures were even less perky, with a predicted 2.9 % drop from last year – the first since 2002.
The rate at which Africans are buying mobile phones is breaking world records with a rise of 550% in 5 years – changing lives across the planet.
Volkswagen is marketing their new GTI via an iPhone app, and nothing else. In 2006 they spent $60m introducing the marque – the new app will cost $500,000.
Out of the lab and into the market – smartphones will help grow augmented reality from a $6m to a $350m industry by 2014, says new research.
VIRTUAL AND GAMES…
Virtual goods sales in the US and Europe could expand by as much as 150% this year, with more growth to come, says Business Insider.
Pocoyo, the Spanish preschooler cartoon series, is launching a virtual world, with some free zones and premium content by subscription.
Civilization – one of the all-time Gamer Greats – will next year get a Facebook version, under the name Civilization Network.
Open virtual world Meez Nation is to integrate with the MySpace platform – reaching even further into its teen user base.
That’s all folks!
These social media updates are painstakingly put together by our research consultant Kate Williams. If you’d like to listen at the horse’s month (so to speak), she’s @emodkate on Twitter.