friday

It’s ‘unlocked’

Source: http://phys.org/news/2012-09-verizon-iphone-secret-feature.html

(AP)—The Verizon version of the iPhone 5, which went on sale Friday, comes with a secret and unexpected feature: it works on AT&T’s network as well.

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Sunday, September 23rd, 2012 news No Comments

Twitter Has A Big Problem With Fake User Accounts

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/twitter-has-a-big-problem-with-fake-user-accounts-2012-8

using twitter

Everyone knows there’s a sordid industry around selling Twitter followers.

But on Friday, Jason Ding, a researcher from security vendor Barracuda Networks, quantified how bad the problem is for Twitter and how these guys fly under the radar. 

For 75 days, Ding investigated the fake Twitter account business. He and his team fired up three Twitter accounts and then bought 20,000 or 70,000 Twitter followers for each.

Here’s what they discovered:

  • 20 eBay sellers and 58 websites sell Twitter followers, mostly fake accounts.
  • On average, these accounts follow 1,799 other Twitter accounts.
  • It costs about $18 per 1,000 followers.
  • Those selling the fake accounts can earn as much as $800/day.
  • They sell retweets, too. They charge between $2.50 and $55 per 1,000 retweets.
  • Those who buy fake Twitter followers had on average 48,885 followers.

Twitter suspends accounts it knows to be fake. But it’s pretty easy to fool Twitter, Ding’s research shows.

We asked Twitter to comment on the fake account problem in general and this research in particularly and will update the story when we here back.

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Monday, August 6th, 2012 news No Comments

Google’s gunning for web spammers, bans us from mentioning Bieber

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/26/google-targets-seo-spam/

Image

Google’s changing its search algorithm to punish sites that emphasize search-engine optimization over quality. Mountain View’s data centers will exclude sites that offer no useful content, have articles written in keyword-sprinkled gibberish or only link to sites within a cluster. If the computers find it, the site’s pagerank will be demoted, with the company expecting to affect around three percent of all English language queries when it goes live later this week. The company isn’t providing more details (lest it help those trying to game the system), so just get all of those gratuitous Justin Bieber references out of your system before Friday, okay?

Google’s gunning for web spammers, bans us from mentioning Bieber originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 26 Apr 2012 04:58:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Macworld  |  sourceGoogle Inside Search  | Email this | Comments

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Thursday, April 26th, 2012 news No Comments

Groupon’s Revenue Mysteriously Collapsed To Close Out November (GRPN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-2012-1

Ugly chart for Groupon from daily deals aggregator Yipit. According to its data, Groupon’s gross billings, or gross revenue, fell 46% in the last week of November. Yipit says November’s revenue was up 6% overall.

What happened to close the month? Yipit doesn’t say, but if we were to speculate, we’d say there’s a chance Groupon users found plenty of deals elsewhere on Black Friday and just skipped out on Groupon. Another explanation: Maybe people didn’t buy Groupons as presents because it would look cheap.

chart of the day, sai, groupon weekly billings, jan 4 2012

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Thursday, January 5th, 2012 news No Comments

Google Gets Serious About Youtube Royalties with Rightsflow Purchase [Google]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5867476/google-gets-serious-about-youtube-royalties-with-rightsflow-purchase

Google Gets Serious About Youtube Royalties with Rightsflow PurchaseGoogle announced on Friday that it has purchased the music licensing company RightsFlow for its detailed information about who should get paid when any of over 30 million songs get played.

Neither Google nor Rightsflow would comment on the deal beyond their official statements, but we have pieced together some of the reasons Google would purchase a music licensing company like RightsFlow, which deals with “mechanical” royalties owed to songwriters, publishers, and other copyright holders. They whenever a non-human thing – like a compact disc, website, or music app –plays music.

RightsFlow, pictured here, now belongs to Google, which will use it to simplify royalty accounting on YouTube and possibly other music services.

The big reason Google would do this is that YouTube continues to be such a massive free music destination. It simply made more sense to buy RightsFlow outright to help keep its administrative and legal costs down, than to continue to rely on its services alongside other RightsFlow clients such as Rhapsody.

To be clear, this doesn’t give Google any rights to this music; it just makes those rights easier to deal with.

The acquisition, announced on Friday (when companies typically announce stuff they don’t want people paying attention to) is more evidence that Google is serious about YouTube as a free music destination. It should now be able to add even more music without worrying as much about lawsuits or expensive accounting.

Once Google has identified songs uploaded to YouTube using its Content ID fingerprinting technology, it should be able to figure out more easily which publishers and songwriters to pay. This could also help Google deal with its Google music store or other Google stuff in the future, although for now, Google’s focus for this deal is squarely on YouTube.

RightsFlow, recently named the #8 most desirable place to work in New York by Crain’s New York Business, owns information that is mostly publicly available. What makes it valuable is its ability to search all that data, making it easier to license lots of songs at once.

So, basically, Google just acquired a search engine, sort of like Google itself – except now, it could just have just one (admittedly very busy) user.

Google Gets Serious About Youtube Royalties with Rightsflow Purchase Evolver.fm observes, tracks and analyzes the music apps scene, with the belief that it’s crucial to how humans experience music, and how that experience is evolving.


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Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 news No Comments

Carrier IQ Admits Holding ‘Treasure Trove’ of Consumer Data, But No Keystrokes

Source: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/12/carrier-iq-data-vacuum/

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — An embattled phone-monitoring software maker said Friday that its wares, secretly installed on some 150 million phones, have the capacity to log web usage, and to chronicle where and when and to what numbers calls and text messages were sent and received. The Carrier IQ executives, speaking at their nondescript headquarters in a residential neighborhood in the heart of Silicon Valley, told Wired that the data they vacuum to their servers from handsets is vast — as the software also monitors apps deployment, battery life, phone CPU output and data and cell-site connectivity. But, they said, they are not logging every keystroke as a prominent critic claimed.



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Sunday, December 4th, 2011 news No Comments

Sports Fans Coalition intends to lobby against NFL blackouts

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/16/sports-fans-coalition-intends-to-lobby-against-nfl-blackouts/

We know how it is, you have a big HDTV and inexpensive adult beverages at home and you just don’t feel compelled to spend the bucks to go to the game in these tough economic times. We feel for you, but the NFL does not as your situation doesn’t exactly pay all those player’s salaries. Well, starting this Friday the Sports Fans Coalition, along with other organizations, plans to petition the FCC for change to the current blackout rule. The groups argue that since many of the stadiums are built with public funds, Joe Consumer has the right to watch those games at home. As is, we’re mostly just glad the old NFL blackout policy, prior to 1973 that made all home games unavailable to the home market, isn’t still in effect. Of course that doesn’t mean that we believe the current blackout policy actually helps sell those $100+ tickets and believe the NFL might realize more profits if it sought out more modern supplemental revenue strategies.

Sports Fans Coalition intends to lobby against NFL blackouts originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 16 Nov 2011 23:57:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Thursday, November 17th, 2011 news No Comments

Holiday 2009 Spending Comeback

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/9r_RubN-Bbk/youre-saving-the-economy-average-gadget-spending-up-from-160-to-190

Believe it or not, that’s what the latest data shows: The economy is bouncing back, or at least, retail spending is. The trend is clear especially in electronics, where spending has skyrocketed from a little above $160 to almost $190.

That figure is the average spending per user, post-Black friday. The main winners were Best Buy—with a 18.3% year-over-year growth—and Fry’s—with a 12.2%. No only that but, spending in the high end retail has also increased, reverting a negative trend.

Great. Now all those people without a single penny in the bank will be able to be rejoice. [Mint]


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Saturday, December 12th, 2009 digital No Comments

JetBlue All-You-Can-Jet Pass – how viral can be manufactured (easily)

http://bit.ly/13sF7E

Enjoy unlimited travel with our All-You-Can-Jet Pass! For just $599* you can take JetBlue anywhere you like, as often as you like, from September 8 to October 8, 2009. Use your All-You-Can-Jet Pass for business, for pleasure, to visit your favorite cities or to meet with a client. You might as well just do it all! With more than 50 cities to choose from, and for just $599, it’s a deal you can’t pass up.

About the Pass

  • $599 for a month of unlimited travel, any available seat
    • Domestic taxes and fees included
    • International and Puerto Rico taxes and fees not included
  • On sale through Friday, August 21, 2009, or while supplies last
  • Travel Dates: Tuesday, September 8, 2009 through Thursday, October 8, 2009
  • Each flight must be booked no later than 11:59 p.m. MDT three days prior to the flight’s scheduled departure.
  • Nonrefundable/nontransferable/no name changes permitted
  • Customers who already have a flight booked during the pass travel period can pay the difference to upgrade to the pass by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583), prompt 4.
  • Each All-You-Can-Jet Pass is eligible for 35 TrueBlue points. Flights booked on the pass are not available for additional TrueBlue points.

To purchase an All-You-Can-Jet Pass:

Call 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583), option 4. You do not have to be a TrueBlue member at the time of purchase, but a TrueBlue number is required to book all flights.To join TrueBlue, click here; it’s free.

To book flights with your All-You-Can-Jet Pass:

  • Before calling to reserve your flight, please visit jetblue.com to check availability and select flight times.
  • Call 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583), prompt 4.
  • Provide your pass number which is your original reservation number.
  • Provide your TrueBlue number.
  • You may only book one flight per city per day; if a violation of this policy is found, JetBlue will honor only the last booking made and cancel the customer’s other bookings from that city on that day.
  • Each flight must be booked no later than 11:59 p.m. MDT three days prior to the flight’s scheduled departure.
  • You can change/cancel flights for no fee with three (3) or more days notice; changes or cancellations to flight bookings made after 11:59 p.m. MDT three days prior to the flight’s scheduled departure will be charged standard JetBlue change/cancel fees.

To change or cancel All-You-Can-Jet Pass travel:

  • Greater than three (3) days before a flight: $0 change/cancellation fees
  • Less than three (3) days before a flight: JetBlue’s standard change/cancel fees apply

In the case of a no-show, the customer’s pass will be placed on hold, any reserved pass flights will be canceled, and no new flight segments wil be able to be booked until the customer pays a $100 no-show penalty.

*Other important restrictions apply. For complete details, please read the Full Terms and Conditions.

18,000+ clicks in 4 hours

jetblue-all-you-can-jet

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Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 digital 1 Comment

The JKWeddingDance video was real; the viral effect was MANUFACTURED – Post 1 of 2

originally investigated and reported on Friday July 31, 2009 by Augustine Fou, with Tugce Esener @tesener

Several friends and colleagues had the same reaction when they found out about this video — that it was at such a high view count already and we were late to the party of finding out.  Then we did some more digging — digital forensics  🙂  And this is a case where a viral hit was indeed successfully manufactured.  There’s something to be learned from all this — how to successfully manufacture a viral video sensation and make viral profits.

Related: How to manufacture a viral video sensation and make viral profits – Post 2 of 2

Chris Brown is successfully tapping into the viral halo of a funny video that coincidentally used his song.

ReadWriteWeb article on how rights owners (Sony, Chris Brown) can make viral profits on other people using their work instead of suing them – http://bit.ly/KA3HI

The video was real. But promotional activities (possibly/likely paid) created the initial viral effect (led to the tipping point of the viral effect) which then got carried a further by people thinking they were simply late to the party, including myself (e.g. 440k bit.ly clicks and 3k detectable retweets out of the 13M views). The numbers don’t jive.

The viral halo has added 1 million more views to the video from August 1 – August 2.  (13.1 M to 14.5 M)


Ten ELEVEN TWELVE THIRTEEN proof points to follow, each with screen shot to illustrate.

1a. anyone notice that the “Forever” soundtrack is remarkably consistent throughout the video as if it were dubbed or added in after the original footage was shot. The sound is too consistent in volume and loudness to have come from a built-in, on-camera microphone. At the very end of the video, once it cuts back to the couple at the altar the sound quality goes back to the echo-y, tinny sound of an on-camera mic.

1b. The “TheKHeinz” user on YouTube was registered on July 19, 2009, the day the video was posted. We usually look for clues like this to detect “plants” by PR agencies.  This is an issue of trust — a user “CmdrTaco” on Slashdot has been around the forums for years, made hundreds of posts, and was rated by the community very highly. PR agencies trying to seed stories have to create new user accounts during the PR campaign (recent registration date) and have made no other posts or uploads before (no history).

thekheinz-user-info-on-youtube

2. The social intensity detected in all of the top social venues like Technorai, Delicious, Reddit, Digg, etc. indicate there was not enough organic sharing to support a view count of 13 million views in 11 days (updated: 14.6 million today August 2, 2009).

a) Bit.ly shows only 447k clicks on the shortened URL

bitly-statistics-on-jkwedding-video

“At Fortune’s Brainstorm:Tech conference Ashton Kutcher effectively took credit for boosting the views from – in his words – 12,500 views before he tweeted the link – to some 1.2 million views 12 hours later…”

Well, unfortunately he used a bit.ly link which provides public analytics on how many people clicked. Most tweets result in immediate traffic, which then tails off immediately after the tweet falls off the first page. In his case, look at the following bit.ly stats URL and click “past month” to see the peak clicks on July 23. All he can actually claim is that his tweet drove a peak of about 100,000 clicks on that day not 1.2 million 🙁

http://bit.ly/info/Z7vMw

too bad Ashton. next time you make a BMOC claim, be sure to use a non trackable method, so analytics won’t “out” you so easily.

august-21-bitly-intensity-update

after only 3.5 days of retweets the twitter intensity died off to next-to-nothing; if this were a truly viral video, carried forth by real people (and not by paid PR support and paid media) the retweet intensity would remain high. As of August 21, there are over 21M views on the video and the 505k retweets does not show actual organic support for that number.

ashton-kutcher-promote-viral-video


b) Twitturly shows only 3 thousand retweets on the YouTube URL itself

updated-twitturly-stats-for-video

c) Delicious shows only 447 bookmarks of the video itself

delicious-bookmarks-jkwedding

delicious-bookmarks-jkweddingdance

d) Reddit only shows 673 thumbs up for the video itself

reddit-results-for-jkweddingvideo

e) Technorati shows only 277 blog mentions of the video itself — this could be undercounting if blogs used URL shorteners. But if you look at the blog intensity results (below) sorted by blogs with most authority the blogs have very little authority (i.e. influence or size of audience).

technorati-blog-posts-on-jkwedding

— these are real indications of interest by real people. The social intensity of the passalong for this video does not substantiate the huge number of views in 11 days.

What we are seeing now is the additional viral halo, as the momentum is sustained by large media outlets reporting on the story — even Google Blog blogged about it (boasting about the success of YouTube advertising in driving revenues). Of course TechCrunch is right that viral videos can be monetized: http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/30/youtube-viral-wedding-videos-are-great-for-advertising/ )


3. Twitter shows nothing in the top “trending topics” related to this video – indicating few people are actually tweeting about it — if this video is SO viral (13M views in 11 days) then it has GOT to show up on a scan of social intensity. (see screen capture below)

July 31 (Friday)                 August 2 (Sunday)

twitter-trending-topics-455pm-july-31-2009August-2-trending-twitter-topics

4. The original video was posted July 19, 2009. The people from the video appeared on NBC’s Today Show and danced around Rockerfeller Center on July 25th (6 calendar days after posting). Today Show staff may be great at spotting news, but to get all the wedding party from the wedding to re-enact the dance on the Today Show in 6 calendar days — too good to be true?  Hmm…

today-show-appearance


5. Out of all the wedding videos on YouTube, how did Chris Brown detect this particular one that used his song. @glenngabe noted that there are song detection mechanisms  – ContentID – which detect the pattern of the copyrighted song and report that to the rights owners. We know there are hundreds, if not thousaands, or really funny wedding home videos — America’s Funniest Videos has been running for years and years on TV showing funny wedding blooper videos that people submitted to them.


6. ALL TEN of the top viral videos on AdAge’s Viral Video Chart took around 3 – 6 months to achieve full viral effect — not 6 days.  See all 10 videos’ stats, as reported by YouTube at the following link. This video has not shown up at all on the list of Adage viral videos.

AdAge Top Viral Videos all take 3 – 6 months to reach full viral effect



7. From @RedW0rm – YouTube Declares Wedding Video a Financial Success http://bit.ly/9ZUtu


8. also check the velocity of this http://twitter.com/#search?q=jkwedding or this http://twitter.com/#search?q=jkweddingdance notice the tweets are not seconds apart but hours apart. Something that achieved 13M views in the 11 days since posting would show far higher velocity or twitter intensity.

twitter-1-jkwedding

twitter-1-jkwedding

9.  For a top-trending topic on twitter, there is usually correspondingly high search volume that is detectable.  At first glance, terms related to this viral video like “jkwedding” or “jk wedding dance” all seem to spike.  But if you put it against even “Corazon Aquino” (one of the top trending topics NOW on Twitter) those JK wedding search volumes are dwarfed.  (see chart below).

corazon-aquino-search-volume

10.  Google only reports 366 links to the video and most of them are not even important websites (see Alexa blue bar)

google-in-links-for-jkwedding-video

11.  The video itself has no honors and no stats (yet); YouTube stats are conveniently turned off. Other videos have their stats graphs publicly available.

no-honors-for-jk-wedding-video

12. see the fine print in the YouTube description — For more information or to make a donation towards violence prevention please visit our website: http://www.jkweddingdance.com/ — why would a normal wedding video ask people to make a donation towards violence prevention? (see screen capture below), the WHOIS record shows the domain jkweddingdance.com was created 29-Jul-09 — today is 31-Jul-09

Updated: This was circumstantial evidence. A source confirmed that Jill is studying patterns of violence propagation for her PhD. Their choice of charity was their own choice. And the site was set up to help that cause.

violence-prevention-chris-brown

whois-jkweddingdance-part1

whois-jkweddingdance-part2

Conclusion?  The video itself is real, made by those nice people in the wedding. They may not even realize why or how their wedding video went viral (and the tens of thousands of other wedding videos on YouTube did not). On the Today Show, “The couple told Lauer they were surprised at the video’s popularity” (also see NY Daily News article – http://bit.ly/OA3iG )

Related articles:

ReadWriteWeb – Build Profit Not DMCA Suits

WSJ – YouTube Declares Wedding Video a Financial Success

PSFK – Co-opting Viral Hits to Sell More Music

TechCrunch – YouTube: Viral Wedding Videos Are Great For Advertising

Huffington Post – Viral Wedding on YouTube Drives Buyers to Chris Brown Music

ClickZ –http://blog.clickz.com/090805-160921.html

What Viral Videos Look Like

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Friday, July 31st, 2009 analytics, viral videos 40 Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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