In this update: Facebook’s 10-cent fans; Black Friday brands; and The Twoddler.
Next update: Friday. See you then!
ON FACEBOOK …
ON TWITTER …
BRANDS GET SOCIAL …
ON GOOGLE …
ON YOUTUBE …
ON MOBILE …
VIRTUAL AND GAMES …
Crikey. In August 2008 – that’s a mere 15 months ago – the ‘Book had 100 million users. That’s some rapid weight gain, sister (and in fact means that Facebook ranks just behind China and India in the ‘if-a-social-network-were-a-country’ game that I like to play with my little darlings on cold winter’s evenings like these).
The ‘Inside Facebook’ guys looked, well, inside Facebook this week, and in an all-round-enlightening analysis revealed that content-sharing has taken a massive leap, from 1 billion items per week, to 2 billion in September – and now 3.5 billion per week as of right now. But despite overall growth, status updates appear to be slowing down – it’s not clear whether or not this is due to Facebook’s recent redesign, or the cause of it.
The changeover – which split the feed into ‘News’, a rundown of the ‘most interesting’ stories of the day, and ‘Live’, which shows what’s going on at the time the user is logged in – is still inspiring disgruntlement. The ‘CHANGE FACEBOOK BACK TO NORMAL!!’ Facebook Group is now up to 1.2 million members.
They sound like quite a shouty lot, don’t they? Bagsy not me to tell them that there are more Facebook homepage changes on the way. Seems as though search might be the focus in this redesign – Mashable’s analysis breaks explains all.
Unsurprisingly, Facebook is not short of secret admirers – both Yahoo and Myspace have been trying to grab a little reflected glory this week, with the former announcing major Facebook integration, and the latter appearing to head the same way – beginning with allowing its users to use Facebook Connect to log in.
Ah, Synchronicity: hot on the heels of the news that 77% of Facebook Fan Pages have fewer than a 100 fans, comes word from a company called Viralee. It’s the first to come out of the shadows and publicly announce that it’s selling Facebook Fans for 10 cents a pop – and has sold over a million in the last week alone, as brands rush to boost their stats.
Which will all be as chaff in the wind to this lot: Yes it’s the cream of the crop, the tip of the top … The Big Money Facebook 50 lists the brands who are currently getting the best out of Facebook. The scores are a combo of fan numbers, page growth, fan engagement and creativity.
Psst! If your brand isn’t quite there yet, you might like to peruse these handy guides:
Not a great beginning for the week: Twitter Lists (the shiny new and much-touted feature for organizing your Twitter feed) were taken out of action last week, as Twitter scrambled to work out what, precisely, was causing the site to crash. As VentureBeat succinctly put it: $155 million in venture capital later, and the site still goes down?
Then, following the announcement that Facebook had passed the 350m milestone, a UK Facebook exec pointed out witheringly that there are fewer active users on the whole of Twitter than there are on Facebook app Farmville. Ouch.
Hmm. It’s true there’s no denying that the stats are sliding for the microblogging site – new Nielsen data finds that Twitter traffic dropped a galumphing 27.8% in October, and comScore reveals that uniques are down by 8.1%.
But Twitter may not yet be quaking in their birdy-boots: the figures don’t include those who’ve migrated to mobile-friendly third party apps: 43% of total users, according to Crowd Science.
And of course Twitter can also console itself with the fact that, according to The Global Language Monitor, it is the most popular word in the whole English language – is that even possible?
Finally – and I’m unsure whether this is a great leap forward towards a seamless human/tech interface, or an indication of just how close we are to atomisation, alienation, and despair – allow me to introduce Twoddler, ‘The Baby Toy That Twitters’.
Earlier this week, Google appeared to cave in to News Corp’s demands that it stop providing access to paywalled websites. But Rupert Murdoch appeared to have gone a step too far when he accused them of content ‘theft’ across the board. “It’s wrong to paint us as stealing content. We are like a virtual newsagent,” a mildly-peeved director of Google UK Matt Brittin told a Commons Select Committee.
In what sounds suspiciously like one of those nails in trad TV’s coffin that people are always on about these days, rumours are flying that YouTube might be about to offer streaming TV shows just one day after they first air – and for an eminently affordable $1.99.
Meanwhile, over in the UK, Five has inked a deal to hand over more than 3,000 hours of programming to YouTube, who will stream them on-demand and free of charge. The deal includes Neighbours, Home And Away, The Hotel Inspector and The Gadget Show – some of Five’s most popular content.
And the video-sharing site is sharpening its offer to marketers, too – now advertisers can control where their ads appear, right down to choosing the individual video (useful if you know your target audience is also passionate about, say, Susan Boyle pre-makeover). If that’s a little too specific, keywords, demographics, and interest-based categories are also available.
The Alternative Queen’s Speech: children’s charity Barnado’s is to broadcast a ‘Teens’ Speech’ on Christmas Day – exclusively on MySpace (disclosure: moderated by eModeration). The user-generated stream features young people talking about the issues which matter to them most. Barnardo’s will also encourage viewers to lobby their MPs, asking for vulnerable children to be remembered in each party’s election manifesto.
Goretex, the outdoorsy all-weather brand, launched a new online community this week, called MyExperienceMore.com. The site offers hardy types a forum to communicate with one another, sharing their outdoor experiences via photos, videos and message boards.
Youth clothing brand Boy Meets Girl has teamed with virtual world Fashion Fantasy Game, offering members a free, virtual Boy Meets Girl “Coco Hoodie” to wear. The offer coincides with the mail-out of Bloomingdale’s holiday catalogue, which features the real-life version for $78.
Last week Fox teamed up with MTV.com and Facebook to bring a live webcast roundtable discussion of James Cameron’s Avatar – featuring the director and stars – with fans submitting their own questions via the official Avatar Facebook Page.
Britvic’s spring water brand Drench revealed its hamster jazz viral online, before its official TV launch on Saturday. The hamster-dudes were apparently chosen after a nationwide search.
Sony Ericsson has launched the next phase of its “Spark Something” space-hopper campaign – users ‘inflate’ real-life space hoppers via Twitter, and watch the event unfold via a live video feed.
Ikea scored dix points with their Facebook photos of their new Malmo showroom – fans were then encouraged to go into the photos and tag products with their own names, for a chance at winning the item.
Clothing brand Esprit has launched an interactive installation in its flagship Regent Street store. A fairy godmother calls to customers from a mirror, which takes a photograph of the customer and superimposes it on a mannequin. Customers can then dress themselves in various virtual outfits and send images to Facebook and to a mobile campaign site.
Toys R Us whipped up Black Friday Frenzy by giving its Facebook fans a full preview of discounts, and exclusive access to “Mystery Deals” – making it the fastest growing brand on the social network.
And here’s Mashable’s look at how 5 other brands approached Black Friday (the traditional kick-off for holiday-season spending in the States) on Facebook – including Best Buy and Sears.
London Mayor Boris Johnson wants mobile companies to come up with platforms to let Olympic visitors to watch 3D video clips of the Games on their handsets. The blonde bombshell also wants micropayments via handsets – handy for paying for snacks and merchandise – to be ready in time for the Olympics.
Mobile and the internet are now essentials not extras, as far as we Brits are concerned. We spend nearly 3 days online per month, with another 7 hours spent on mobiles, and many of us would struggle to organise life without them, according to moneysupermarket.com.
Women like their networks to be truly social – Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Bebo have a user base that’s 50%+ female. Whereas men like to save, organize and collect – networks like Reddit and Digg attract more male users.
Facebook’s Beacon nightmare grinds to a bitter close: there’s a settlement on the table to the class-action suit, which was brought by users outraged at misuse of their personal data. But claimants will not be receiving personal compensation – Facebook will instead use $9.5 million to establish a non-profit organization to fund online privacy-related projects.
Talking of legal minefields – here’s a very generous white paper from law firm Reed Smith which takes brands through the possible pitfalls of using social networks – including those that might arise when running competitions, providing customer services, and making use of user-generated content.
A British man has been cautioned after he hacked the login details for users of RuneScape, and then stole their virtual characters and goods. The crime is on the rise globally – according to the Telegraph, a Chinese player of the online game Legends of Mir 3 was killed four years ago, after he sold a dragon sabre which didn’t belong to him.
Moshi Monsters, the free-to-play online pet-monster game has passed the golden 10 million registered player milestone, owners Mind Candy announced last week. CEO Michael Smith is thinking about intriguing new formats – including a print-on-demand service which would turn kids’ monsters into plush toys or trading cards – which in turn would connect back into the game.
And if that’s got you thinking, you’ll want to know more about virtual worlds for Kids, Tweens and Teens. Luckily Kzero have just produced this illuminating paper which breaks down three good reasons why branded worlds are set to be major growth areas in 2010.
Taking as their starting point teen virtual world IMVU’s $2m monthly sales, Kzero have also put some thought into the subject of virtual goods. With estimates putting Facebook’s virtual goods earnings at $40m, it’s worth a read.
Facebook, by the way, is currently weighing up how to monetize the vast rivers of virtual currency sloshing around third-party apps. They already have their own official currency – credits – but developers aren’t required to use them – yet.
50% of US women play online games – though they don’t self-identify as gamers – and 41% of them have bought virtual currency, with most avoiding offers for points. Keeping it in the family, nearly 60 million of their kids are gamers – with kids as young as 2 included in the stats. 12 to 14s rack up the most time online – an average of 10.6 hours weekly – which drops off between 15 and 17, the point at which stiffer competition for time and pocket-money kicks in.
FishVille continues its piscine journey to the top of the charts, with upwards of 20 million monthly active users and weekly growth of 4.68 million. It’s now the 8th largest app on Facebook – snapping at the heels of CrowdStar’s Happy Aquarium, which led the way in fish-based entertainment.
And flushed with success, Zynga have launched PetVille (if a theme ain’t broke…). So just what is it with social gaming? Here, PaidContent examine the reasons for the genre’s vertical trajectory over the last year – and for the relative success of startups over established developers. They cite three key factors: development, distribution and discovery.
That’s all folks!