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Facebook ‘experiment’ lets select users pay to have messages routed directly to a stranger’s inbox

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/20/facebook-experiment-pay-messages-routing-email/

Facebook 'experiment' lets select users pay to have messages routed directly to a stranger's inbox

Get ready to have your preconceived notions of email destroyed. In a Facebook blog post today, the company has gone to great lengths to bury the lede — which, essentially, says that it’s experimenting with the idea of letting non-connected users pay in order to have a message routed to one’s inbox instead of that ill-fated “Other” folder. According to the company, it’s being dubbed a “small experiment” to “test the usefulness of economic signals to determine relevance.” As an excuse, Facebook has evidently consulted with “several commentators and researchers,” which “have noted that imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful.”

Bitterness aside, there is some value in being able to directly ping a stranger you heard speak at an event, or you want to really show your interest in a job opportunity, but it still destroys the level playing field that we’ve all come to know and respect as it relates to digital communication. This message routing feature is only for personal messages between individuals in the United States, and if there’s a silver lining to be found, we’re told that the number of messages a person can have routed from their Other folder to their Inbox will be limited to a maximum of one per week. It’s unclear how the service will evolve once the testing ends, but perhaps it depends on how much blowback occurs compared to the whole Instagate thi! ng.< /p>

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Thursday, December 20th, 2012 news No Comments

How China’s Web Censorship Is Driving Traffic to a Miami Pet Spa Website

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5964199/how-chinas-web-censorship-is-driving-traffic-to-a-miami-pet-spa-website

How China's Web Censorship Is Driving Traffic to a Miami Pet Spa WebsiteChina’s well-known for its long and illustrious history of censoring the web. But rather than just blocking sites, it’s employing some rather strange techniques—which means the online home of a small pet spa in Miami is receiving an insane number of hits every day.

New Scientist has taken a peek inside the sinister world of Chinese web censoring, and it makes for fascinating reading. Richard Fisher explains that, far from simply blocking websites, Chinese authorities are employing all kinds of techniques to prevent their population from seeing the real web.

Often that involves subtle tricks, like giving the appearance of a slow internet connection. But sometimes the country uses DNS poisoning, which uses cheeky redirection to throw up a website that wasn’t requested. In particular, a Miami pet spa, known as The Pet Club, is one of the chosen sites. New Scientist explains:

[W]hen people in China try to access torproject.org – a tool that prevents online tracking – they instead often get the IP address of thepetclubfl.net

No one knows why the censors picked The Pet Club’s website. Until now, Dennis Bost of Universal Merchant Solutions in Hollywood, Florida, who set up the website for the salon owners, had been puzzled by the web traffic he’d been seeing. “I’m amazed at the number of hits they get from China,” he says. “They’re a grooming salon. No one is popping over from Beijing to have their Shar Pei groomed.”

Sounds likes a good idea, if you’re a Chinese official hell-bent on censoring the web without generating too much suspicion. Or at least, it used to seem like a good idea: let’s hope, for the sake of China’s online community, that Gizmodo and New Scientist aren’t routed to The Pet Club, too. [New Scientist]

Image by Shutterstock / Andersphoto

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Thursday, November 29th, 2012 news No Comments

Here’s How We Sold 100 Million Doritos Locos Tacos In 10 Weeks (YUM)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/taco-bell-doritos-locos-tacos-2012-11

dorito taco 11

Taco Bell sold a whopping 100 million Doritos Locos Tacos in 10 weeks — the biggest launch in the history of the fast food chain. The item has since passed 200 million in sales.

Fast Company’s J.J. McCorvey interviewed Taco Bell CMO Brian Niccol who described what it took to make the Doritos Locos Tacos successful.

It wasn’t enough to tell customers, hey, these taco shells taste like Doritos and you should eat them, he said.

Instead, it was about allowing the customers to tell the brand’s story, and having them run with it. 

Niccol explained to Fast Company:

“Once the idea is no longer just a Taco Bell idea and becomes the customer’s thing, it’s almost like they’re going to socialize for us. They own it. They get convicted about it. The next thing you know, they’re telling their friends they gotta go try it. So the second you can get it to move from, we’re telling you should go try this, to consumers actually advocating for it, that’s when the brand moves into an experience that is worth you repeating.”

Taco Bell let the customers have control, and it did it through social, mobile and even had a national TV ad that featured a customer’s story. It worked.

NOW SEE: 13 Fast Food Menu Items With Fanatical Cult Followings >

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Monday, November 26th, 2012 news No Comments

Gamers Chipping Away At Digital Cube Are Promised ‘Life-Changing’ Secret

Source: http://www.popsci.com/gadgets/article/2012-11/gamers-not-taking-amazing-social-experiment-seriously

This is how the just-released game Curiosity: What’s Inside The Cube? works: Anyone with an iPhone or iPad can download the iOS app. With the app, the players connect on the Internet, furiously tapping on their screens to remove pixely chunks of a single, gigantic cube. The one player lucky enough to remove the final pixel from the cube gets to see what creator Peter Molyneux calls a “life-changing” secret. So naturally, the gamers have already worked together to chip out pixels that form swear words. But still. Pretty neat game idea. [Kotaku]

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Friday, November 9th, 2012 news No Comments

Staples Is Getting Amazon Lockers

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5958020/staples-is-getting-amazon-lockers

Amazon lockers are a great new idea, allowing people to pick up their parcels when it suits them. Now, Amazon has announced that it’s rolling out the scheme across the Staples chain, too.

Reuters reports that the office supply stores will be the latest string of locations to feature Amazon’s ultra-convenient pick-up system. When we tried them out last month, we were convinced:

The lockers are stupidly simple. You can even have your locker code texted to you when your order arrives. It doesn’t cost anything-standard, one-, and two-day shipping is available for free if you’re on Prime. If you have the need for a surrogate mailbox, using Lockers is pretty much a no-brainer.

Amazon has already partnered with other stores in the US— including 7-Eleven, Rite-Aid, Safeway, and Walgreen’s—but Staples is a biggy. Just don’t mention that Amazon is stealing custom from right under its nose, because that would be rude—and at any rate, you can be sure some serious cash is changing hands to set this scheme up. [Reuters]

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Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 news No Comments

We Had Our Best Day Of Kindle Fire HD Sales After Apple Announced The iPad Mini (AAPL, AMZN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-kindle-fire-sales-after-ipad-mini-2012-10

jeff bezos

Amazon has another chest-thumping, but detail free, proclamation about Kindle sales.

It tells All Things D, “Wednesday was the $199 Kindle Fire HD’s biggest day of sales since launch and up 3x week over week.”

Apple announced the iPad mini on Tuesday, so the clear suggestion is that people waited to see what Apple was releasing. Once they saw it, they opted for Amazon’s less expensive option.

With Amazon, though, we really have no idea what that statement means. It doesn’t provide any details on Kindle unit sales. For all we know, the company sold 200 Kindle Fire HDs on Wednesday.

 

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Saturday, October 27th, 2012 digital No Comments

Here’s The Spaceship That Will Fly Rich People From NYC To Tokyo In 90 Minutes

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/xcor-reveals-full-scale-model-of-lynx-2012-10

xcor aerorspace lynx

Since the last flight of the Concorde in 2003, supersonic travel has been the province of jet fighter pilots and Felix Baumgartner.

XCOR Aerospace wants to change that. Out of a group of outfits looking to bring back travel faster than the speed of sound, it has an especially intriguing idea: flying from one airport to another, via outer space.

It’s no pipe dream: XCOR is busy building the Lynx, its suborbital commercial spacecraft, which will take off and land like a conventional plane, but offer a cruising speed of Mach 3.5, 62 miles above the ground.

As it moves toward its first test flights in early 2013, XCOR has built a full-scale mockup of the Lynx, which it brought to last week’s International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight, in New Mexico.

The design is not final yet, COO Andrew Nelson says. But it’s the best look yet at the craft that could make point to point travel in space a reality, and send passengers from New York to Tokyo in an hour and a half.

This is the rendering XCOR created of the Lynx.

XCOR is already booking ‘up and down’ flights, for $95,000 a pop.

Last week, it successfully fired the Lynx’s engine.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Monday, October 22nd, 2012 news No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5953044/the-new-megaupload-has-a-super-clever-way-to-avoid-copyright-infringement-and-getting-raided-again

The New Megaupload Has a Super Clever Way to Avoid Getting Raided AgainFrom the ashes of Megaupload, Kim Dotcom is launching a new file-sharing service: Mega. Mega is like Megaupload but will be safe from raids and government interference because it has “ironclad safe harbors” in place to protect Mega. How does it work?

Though Mega is just like Megaupload once was in that it allows users to store, access and share files, files uploaded to Mega will be encrypted and only the user will have the unique key to decrypt the file. According to Wired:

It will be up to users, and third-party app developers, to control access to any given uploaded file, be it a song, movie, videogame, book, or simple text document. Internet libertarians will surely embrace this new capability.

And because the decryption key is not stored with Mega, the company would have no means to view the uploaded file on its server. It would, Ortmann explains, be impossible for Mega to know, or be responsible for, its users’ uploaded content – a state of affairs engineered to create an ironclad “safe harbor” from liability for Mega, and added piece of mind for the user.

It’s really clever, if the government comes a knockin’ on a data center or if someone hacks it, they’ll get nothing. Dotcom says, “whatever is uploaded to the site, it is going to be remain closed and private without the key.” Basically, the idea is that the law doesn’t have a centralized entity to go after because they can’t come after Mega because Mega has no idea what’s on their servers. Dotcom believes that the only way that this could be illegal would be if the law made encryption illegal.

Check out the full report at Wired. If Mega really works the way Dotcom want it to, Megaupload is going to come back bigger, better and more impossible to take down than ever. [Wired via Torrent Freak]

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Thursday, October 18th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

The Mobile Browser Landscape Is Fragmented

Source: https://intelligence.businessinsider.com/welcome

The mobile Web browser market is a mess. Most platforms have a default Web browser installed, often a customize one, and unlike desktop PCs, it’s hard to change that browser.

So platform market share gives you a good proxy for mobile browser market share. But  according to StatCounter, no mobile platform commands more than 25 percent of the global market.

The platform data is not as clean as one might like for understanding the mobile-browser landscape. For example, you should combine iPhone and iPod Touch data to get an idea of Apple’s mobile Safari market share. And some Android smartphones have a custom Android Web browser, while newer ones have Google Chrome preinstalled. Nokia is likewise a mess: It used to support Opera, it then featured its own Nokia Web browser for the Symbian smartphone operating system, and its newest Windows phones have mobile Internet Explorer.

Nonetheless, it is clear that the market is fragmented across platforms. As we’ve discussed before, this is a big problem for the development of HTML5 because these browsers do not supports a consistent feature set. As long as mo! bile bro wsers remain fragmented and no standards for HTML5 are ratified, native apps will still be king.

Mobile Browser Market Share

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Friday, September 14th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner Just Revealed A Lot Of Amazing Facts About LinkedIn’s Growth (LNKD)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/linkedin-ceo-jeff-weiner-enterprise-growth-2012-9

jeff weiner linkedin

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner just offered an amazing level of detail about LinkedIn’s business in an interview at the Citi Technology Conference.

LinkedIn is really targeting enterprises. Weiner wants to grow revenue by getting more customers, instead of raising prices for existing customers, at least for his flagship Recruiter product, he said.

That’s a more than reasonable idea, given that LinkedIn gave itself a pretty good price hike over a year ago.

But the company is also expanding its breath in every other way possible, so it can roll out new products to the enterprise too (plus other new users, like students).

LinkedIn is trying to grab the lion’s share of a $27 billion market for recruiting tools. Here’s how Weiner said it is doing so far:

  • Its flagship product, Recruiter, sells for $8,000/year per seat (per recruiter using it). That price was raised from rom $6,000 per seat and he’s not thinking of raising it again anytime soon (though he left the door open).
  • LinkedIn currently has 12,000 enterprise customers.
  • Some companies, like Citi and IBM, have over half a million followers of their company profiles on LinkedIn. (These might be employees, competitors, job seekers, or anyone else interested in the company.)
  • Its biggest enterprise customers, Weiner says, “are spending on the order of millions of dollars” a year with LinkedIn. On the other end, small companies might spend $25 a month.
  • LinkedIn now has 175 million members, worldwide and is seeing two new signups every second. There are over 600 million white-collar workers worldwide, so it still has a way to grow.
  • LinkedIn has more than 1 million groups, ranging in size from two people to more than a quarter of a million.
  • Over 75,000 developers are building applications for LinkedIn through its application programming interface (API), and they came on board within the last year.
  • It now has sales offices in 25 cities around the world, in countries like Singapore, its Asia-Pacific hub; Brazil; and India. It has multiple offices in Europe, its biggest region beyond the U.S.
  • It is running on 17 languages and will add more.
  • Mobile is growing fast in terms of engagement, though not so much in direct revenues. Last year 10% of unique visitors came to the site from its mobile apps. This year its 23%. (Last LinkedIn rolled out a new iPhone app, too). But because LinkedIn makes money primarily from subscriptions, it doesn’t really matter how users access the service.
  • Although 62% of its membership is international and growing faster than the U.S. yet, only about a third of the company’s revenue is coming from international sources. Ultimately he wants to see those numbers match better.

The biggest opportunity for growth, he says, is to get people more engaged in the site on a daily basis.

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“Peop le view the site more as a digital Rolodex or way to get a job,” Weiner says. “But its not just a way to find your dream job, but a way to be better at the job you are already in.”

Don’t miss: The 50 Most Powerful People In Enterprise Tech >

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Thursday, September 6th, 2012 news No 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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