Social Media & Mobile Post Turkey Round-up

December 12, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Mobile, Social Media
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I took a blogging break for Turkey, so this social media and mobile round-up includes the most interesting news in mobile and social media since November 21: (more…)

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Widget Developers: 1st 100 Widget Submissions Win $250 Amazon Gift Card from Motorola!

December 11, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Consulting, Contest, Mobile
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I’m helping get the word out about a contest that the MOTODEV team at Motorola (one of my clients) is running.

If you’re a widget developer, give mobile a whirl and join the MOTODEV Widget Developer Challenge for the opportunity to win up to $200,000 in great prizes and gain unprecedented global exposure.

SUBMIT your widget NOW –  Be one of the first 100 unique submissions received by December 18, 2008, and win a $250 gift card to Amazon.com.  Click here to learn more.

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Nov 21, 2008: Weekly Social Media & Mobile News Summary

November 21, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Mobile, Social Media
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Apple:

  • iPhone 2.2 Firmware was released. MobileCrunch’s review is here.  Excerpted summary of the article: “Safari’s address bar/search … tweaked a bit, apps now request a rating upon deletion, over-the-air podcast downloads …, various video and audio quality tweaks, and assorted bug fixes throughout… Google Maps has been upgraded to include Street View and directions for public transit and walking – if you have an iPhone rather than an iPod Touch…According to early reports, 2.2 for the iPod Touch brings everything but the Google Maps upgrade.”

Google:

  • Google Mobile: John Gruber reports that Google seems to be using an undocumented API for the voice search feature in its recently updated Google Mobile iPhone application.  (more…)

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Nov 14: Weekly Social Media & Mobile News Summary

November 14, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Mobile, Social Media
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Apple

  • Apple is now the #2 smartphone manufacturer. Nokia remains #1, RIM is now#3, and Motorola is #4. More here.
  • The iPhone surpassed the Motorola Razr as the top selling consumer phone.

Facebook

  • TechCrunch reports that Facebook violated its own privacy policy to give Microsoft access to user emails: “Microsoft’s Invite2Messenger appears to violate that policy. Messenger users are asked to log in to Facebook, and then the names and email addresses of all that user’s Facebook friends are then sent to Microsoft and displayed in clear text on a page they control (Facebook itself only shows friend’s emails as images to prevent scraping). You check off which friends you want to invite to use Messenger, and then Microsoft sends each of them an email to install the client and become friends with you. Screenshots of the process (with emails removed) are below.“
  • Facebook launched an app that allows users to vote for their favorite FBFund apps.  There are 25 finalists, five of which will receive $225,000 FBfund grants. Add the app here.

Google

  • YouTube launched a “new advertising program that enables all video creators — from the everyday user to a Fortune 500 advertiser — to reach people who are interested in their content, products, or services, with relevant videos.”

Motorola

Nokia

  • Nokia cut its 4th quarter outlook on handset sales from the 1.26 billion it forecast in October to 1.24 billion handsets. It also forecast a decrease in the global market for fixed and mobile network infrastructure. More here.

Sony Ericsson

Twitter

  • Twitter surpassed its 1 Billionth tweet this week.

Misc:

  • Recent Layoffs:
    • TechCrunch reports 58,709 tech layoffs over the past two and a half months. Check out the TechCrunch Layoff Tracker to see the latest Layoff news.
  • Technology announcements:
    • Loopt:
      • Loopt has become more popular than the MySpace and Facebook mobile apps on iPhone.
      • Loopt has reportedly hired Allen&Co to represent them in a financing transaction or sale
      • To cut costs, Loopt is partnering with a Qualcomm subsidiary, SnapTrack, which provides GPS data for a monthly fee.
    • OpenSocial celebrates its one-year anniversary. You can see the presentation from the press and developer event here.
    • Soocial launched its public beta.  They say that they “aim to link all currently disconnected address books to each other. A change in one of these address books will result in a change in all your connected devices.”  It’s getting good reviews. Check it out.
    • European events search engine Happener just launched after a year in development. Check it out.
    • You can now make your own customized guide book at Offbeatguides.com, which was founded by Technorati founder Dave Sifry.

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11/7/08: Weekly Round-up of Social Media & Mobile News

November 7, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Mobile, Social Media
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AOL:

  • AOL announced its earnings this week.  The most interesting part of the report: “Revenues decreased 17% ($207 million) to $1.0 billion, due to a 26% decline ($165 million) in Subscription revenues and a 6% decrease ($33 million) in Advertising revenues. The decline in Subscription revenues reflects mainly a decrease in domestic AOL brand subscribers, related primarily to AOL’s strategy to offer its e-mail and other products free of charge to Internet consumers. Driving the decrease in Advertising revenues were declines in display advertising on AOL Network sites and sales of advertising on third-party Internet sites, offset partially by an increase in paid-search advertising.”

Apple:

  • According to a recent report by SquareTrade, The iPhone is more reliable than Blackberry and Treo after one year of ownership.  This doesn’t surprise me since there are less externally moving parts on the iPhone than a Blackberry or Treo.  The study is summarized by MobileCrunch here.

Facebook:

Google:

LinkedIn:

  • According to an Anderson Analytics’ study, LinkedIn users are high income.  You can see a good summary of the review here.  Among the findings: LinkedIn users that make between $200,000 and $350,000 were around seven times to have more than 150 LinkedIn connections than those who made less money. 66% of LinkedIn users are identified as “decision makers”.
    • TechCrunch reports that LinkedIn cut 10% of its staff, some of which will be re-assigned to other roles:

MySpace:

  • MySpace launched with Auditude, an online video tracking platform.  Auditude fingerprints user posted videos to determine who the “content owner” is. It then inserts advertising into the video and tells the user whose content they’re watching.
  • TechCrunch reports that  less than 1 month after it’s launch, MySpace MyAds is making a load of money: “Demand for the product was immediate and significant, we’ve heard from multiple sources close to the company. Average daily revenue, say our sources, is $140,000 – $180,000, which means MyAds is at least a $50 million/year business for MySpace already.”

Nokia:

  • Nokia laid off around 600 workers in “follow-up” to its earlier 2008 layoffs.  Nokia Research Center is also going to “sharpen its focus on fewer but stronger research areas.” You can read the announcement here.
  • Nokia launched the beta of “FriendView”, “a location and micro-blogging service that helps you stay in touch with your close friends. It let’s you share where you are and how you feel from home, work, or on the go. With Friend View it is easy to meet up at only a moment’s notice. “

RIM:

Samsung:

  • Samsung reportedly surpassed Motorola in US Mobile market.

Twitter:

  • Twitter is contemplating corporate accounts as a way to make money.
  • Twitter is now hiring a Director of Strategic Partnerships. This is the company’s first business development hire… At last, the answer to “How do those guys plan to make money?!” question will likely soon be answered.
  • TechCrunch reports that “Digital Garage, Twitter’s partner with Twitter Japan, launched Twicco, a site that lets Twitter users create groups and then subscribe to them.”
  • <Repeated from above> Rumors are swirling… Will Facebook buy Twitter?

Yahoo:

  • Flickr: The 3 Billionth photo was uploaded to Flickr this week.

Misc:

  • Rumor has it…
  • Recent Layoffs:
    • <repeat from above> LinkedIn 10% layoff
  • M&A:
    • Wink & Reunion.com are merging and will launch a new site next year: “Through this merger, we’re redefining the people search space by bridging existing social networks and providing consumers with the tools they need to find, be found, and stay connected,” said Michael Tanne, chief executive officer of Wink. “We’re aiming to create an entirely new online experience that simplifies people’s lives by making it easy to find and keep up with everyone they know. There will be exciting developments in the coming months as we integrate our strengths and push our business forward.”
  • Technology announcements:
    • PerfSpot: Perfspot will be rolling out “Friendvouch” to its 25M members in 3 million member segments over the coming months.  Friendvouch enables users to sign up for advertising offers, which they can send to heir friends.  When those friends indicate interest, Perfspot then sells those details back to advertisers and rewards the referring user.   Here’s how the Friendvouch website describes it: “Make great recommendations and earn cash with friendvouch. friendvouch is a community of people created to connect you directly to your favorite brands. Become a brand ambassador while earning money in the process.”
    • Barak Obama & Joe Biden: The office of the President Elect launched a transition website, where people can learn about what they’re planning. There’s a blog, newsroom, job application submission, agenda information, and more. Citizens are encouraged to submit their ideas to the future administration on all agenda items including technology.
    • MobileCrunch did a nice summary of the “Mobile Market View” study by The Kelsey Group.  The most interesting point from my perspective: “18.9% of mobile consumers in the United States are now toting smartphones, with 49.2% planning to pick one up within the next two years.”
    • Though not released this week, I learned about the Pico Pocket Projector by Optoma, which is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while.  For all of you mobile geeks, this pocket-sized projector seems to solve the problem of needing an Elmo to showcase the latest and greatest app on your phone AND makes it easy to project the videos you store on your ipod or mobile phone on a wall… Very cool.


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Weekly Round-up of Social Media and Mobile News of Interest

October 31, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Mobile, Social Media
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I’m starting do to a quick weekly round-up of the Social Media and Mobile news that I find most interesting.  Enjoy

AOL:

  • AOL Journals and AOL Hometown are shutting down (joining Xdrive and BlueString)

Apple:

  • Apple announces retroactive improvements to “MobileMe”. The following improvements were silently launched in Sept. : http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3182
  • iPhone users in the US now get free wi-fi at all AT&T hotspots.
  • Ralph Lauren launched an iPhone app.  I agree with TechCrunch… They’re better off focusing their mobile marketing dollars and efforts elsewhere…Like ShoZu. 😉 (more…)

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Doubting Yelp. Defecting to Rummble Beta.

September 25, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Mobile, Social Media
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Yelp burned a bridge with me this week, and I’m defecting to the Rummble beta.  Rummble is London-based mobile + web 2.0 start-up that provides geographically relevant recommendations and reviews from likeminded people.

My frustration with Yelp started when I got an email from my dentists’ office… Earlier this year, I wrote a glowing review of my dentists, a fantastic couple who took over the practice from my former dentist when he retired.  Noticing that mine was the first Yelp review anyone had written of the new practice, I emailed my dentists to thank them for their great work and let them know about my review.  They replied thanking me for my review.  After my latest visit, I got an email from one of my dentists, checking in to make sure that I was happy because they noticed that my positive Yelp review was no longer posted on Yelp.com.  I went online to look, and sure enough, while I could see the review on my page, it didn’t appear in the public view.  There was only one other review listed – also a 5 star positive review.

Bewildered by why my review was removed, I re-posted it again, and it appeared in public view. I then emailed Yelp to ask what happened.  In the note, I explained that I wasn’t a spammer, but rather a social media blogger with a positive track record of contributing to online communities.  I received the following response:

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for contacting Yelp about your reviews.

Yelp has a system that automatically determines which reviews show for a given business. Just as your Yahoo or Gmail email account doesn’t deliver every email (spam, etc.), we don’t show every review. This protects both business owners (by suppressing reviews that may have been written by a malicious competitor, for example) and consumers (by suppressing reviews that may have a definitive bias, having been written by owners or their friends). It’s important to note that these reviews are not deleted (they are always shown on the user’s public profile) and may reappear on the business-listing page in the future.


I wondered how my review could have been “automatically” removed by Yelp. I am not a spammer.  I have only written a handful of carefully written Yelp reviews, and none of them feature spam-worthy words like “lumberjack”, “rolex”, or “viagra”.  If someone like me (thoughtful reviewer with a track record of social media involvement) was ‘automatically’ screened out by their system, I couldn’t help but wonder what sort of reviews I was missing out on when I used Yelp to discover new places.  I was also frustrated because I took the time to write a review to help the ‘Yelp’ community, and yet, no one in the community could see it.   The worst part is that I felt like my relationship with one of my favorite service providers was compromised by Yelp’s “automatic” screening system, when my dentist was left wondering whether I’d removed the review on purpose.

I wanted to keep liking and using Yelp, so I replied asking what would have ‘flagged’ my reviews to their spam filter.   I asked if was possible to get my review re-instated to Yelp at large.  Here’s their response:

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for taking the time to write us again.

While we can’t evaluate individual cases or re-instate specific reviews, we certainly appreciate your feedback and are continually striving to improve the user experience.

We recognize that this explanation may prove frustrating, but we hope you understand that our efforts and actions are geared toward increasing the overall trustworthiness of Yelp as a place for people to share local knowledge.

Thanks again for caring enough to contact us and for trying to make Yelp better for everyone.


I was disappointed by Yelp’s refusal to evaluate individual cases or explain their filtering criteria.  Yelp acknowledged using an unreliable system to screen out ‘spam’.  Yet, they wouldn’t explain how their filtering ‘system’ worked.  At the end of the day, I was more annoyed by Yelp’s explanation than their removal of my review.

Isn’t the whole point of an online community to allow every user to provide their input and have others flag abuses of the system?!  Wikipedia has a vibrant community and manages to keep its users relatively honest through community policing.

Reading Yelp’s response, I couldn’t help but imagine the customer service agent shrugging her shoulders, sticking out her tongue and making a facetious “I dunno” face.  The image inspired me to do a little research about other’s experiences with Yelp.  So, I Googled “Yelp complaints” to see what came up.  Here are a couple of  interesting articles on the subject:

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said recently in the NY Times, “We put the community first, the consumer second and businesses third.” Their goal is clearly to make businesses need Yelp, but not to expect a lot of help when it comes to disputes. Complain all you want, you’re just proving that you need Yelp more than they need you.


My recent experience makes me doubt Yelp’s assertion that it puts community first.  Until I have a reason to change my mind, I’m boycotting Yelp.  Instead, I’ll be using Rummble, and encouraging others to turn it into a vibrant and unfettered online community that allows users to share geographically relevant recommendations from likeminded people.  One of the coolest parts is that it allows you to get not only local recommendations but national and international recommendations from your network – a useful bonus for frequent travellers.  If you want to join in, add me as a friend on Rummble (username: “socialmedia”, email: socialmediablog@gmail.com).

I’m curious to hear about your experiences with Yelp.  If you’re not a Vox member, feel free to email me your comments, and I’ll post them manually.

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68% of Online Americans Visit Communities, Blogs, Social Networks… What Do The Rest Do?

September 23, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media
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According to the August/September 2008 Insight Report from MarketTools, 68% of Americans who spend time online regularly visit blogs, online communities or social networks.  That’s staggering, especially when you consider that the number of online Americans that engage in product research online to help them make purchase decisions is just 33%.

Check out the demographic breakouts and more details on the study here.

One thing the study doesn’t cover, but I’d like to know: What is the percentage is of online Americans who have received a product recommendation through a social network (like Facebook, etc.) have gone on to purchase that product?

Also, if only 68% access social and/or community sites and just 33% are do research on products, what do 100% of online Americans do on the internet? General research? Access email? Search for news?

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Top 10 Reasons Why I Haven’t Bought an iPhone 3G

August 1, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Mobile, Review
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  1. The line: I spent 4 years living in England, the rumored birthplace of queuing.  I know the rules of standing in a line, and I respect a good queue.  It avoids people trampling on each other, and that’s a good thing.  But, when a line is 1/4 mile and 3+ hours long, count me out.  I can’t think of a single reason why I’d wait in a line for anything longer than 30 minutes, except for maybe medical care or food, following a major disaster.  A week after the iPhone 3G came out, I stood the line in front of the Apple Store very briefly with a friend before discovering that it was still hours long, and the chances of getting a 16GB model were slim to none.  We left in favor of brunch. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to play with friends’ iPhone 3Gs, and I’m happy I didn’t wait longer in line.
  2. You can only use one app at a time: As if the queues in front of the Apple store weren’t enough, once you get the iPhone home, you’ve got to line up your apps too.  That’s right, you can only use one 3rd party application on your phone at a time.  I gave up on PalmOS because it is a single threaded operating system that only allows you to use one application on the phone at a time.  I was excited for the iPhone 3G because I assumed that with the launch of the App Store, Apple would launch a device that enabled several apps to run at the same time.  Unfortunately, it’s one at a time.  Until this changes, some of the coolest mobile apps out there won’t work as well on the iphone as they do on other phones.  Being able to keep one app open while checking another app is a valuable feature, especially when you’re cutting and pasting information between applications.
  3. No copy and paste: Speaking of cutting and pasting, you can’t copy and paste on the iphone.  TechCrunch reports that Proximi has an app called MagicPad, which is awaiting approval to launch from the App Store.  But, MagicPad won’t enable you to copy and paste from one application to the next.  The main ways I want to use copy and paste on a phone is to copy from my browser or email and paste into my calendar or contacts.
  4. Built-in battery and abysmal battery life: 3G speeds, massive data streaming, and multimedia applications are a battery suck for mobile phones.  That’s why so many “smart phones” are still huge… They’ve got big batteries.  The iPhone 3G looks much more elegant than any of the other mobile phones on the market, but the battery life leaves something to be desired.  Most mobile phones have a removable battery, which means that if you’re a power user, you can swap in a spare battery if your phone goes dead. iPhone 3G has a built in battery.  So, if your battery goes dead, you need to find an outlet and wait for the phone to re-charge.  That’s especially inconvenient if you’re a road warrior or want to use your iPhone for all of it’s features – phone, music, applications, GPS, etc.  Also – anyone who has had a laptop for a couple of years knows that battery life decreases over time. The same is true with mobile phones.  I worry that after a year or so, battery life on the iPhone 3G will dwindle and replacing that battery (which requires monkeying with the hardware) will likely be expensive and time consuming.
  5. Reported performance problems switching between many apps: I’ve heard reports from friends that when you download a large number of apps from the App Store (say 15) and open and close them throughout the day, the iPhone 3G goes a little nuts – blanking out parts of the screen, showing jumbled lines of text, etc.  To correct this, you’ve got to soft reset the phone.  This really only impacts power users, but it sounds like enough of an issue that I’d like to wait for a fix.
  6. No turn by turn directions: iPhone 3G has integrated GPS but no turn by turn directions, which means that you can’t use it as a GPS while you’re driving.
  7. I have a Love/Hate Relationship with Multi-Touch: Multi-Touch is cool, but sometimes, I just need a keyboard… In bright daylight, it’s tough to see an LCD screen.  The iPhone 3G’s “Multi-Touch” technology does not provide sensory input that allows you to feel what keys you’re pressing.  It requires you to actually see the keys.  I much prefer a QWERTY keyboard, though I would rather have a screen the size of the iPhone.  I’d love to see someone come up with a jelly case that incorporates a real keyboard on the back of the iPhone – so that I can look at the big, beautiful screen as I touch type.
  8. Tethering isn’t possible: Most 3G smart phones allow you to ‘tether’ your phone to your PC – using your phone as a modem.  iPhone 3G does not.  This means, that you’ve got to buy a separate card for your Mac or PC to enable it to connect to AT&T’s network.  Wireless cards are cumbersome… I’d rather use my phone.  Apparently, I’m not the only one. Yesterday, TechCrunch reported that “tempers flared” when a tethering application that was briefly being sold on the iPhone App store was quickly taken down.
  9. Removing the SIM card voids your iPhone 3G warranty: I work in the mobile industry and am constantly trying new phones.  To do this, I swap my SIM card out of one phone and into another.  Apple says that taking your SIM out of your iPhone voids your iPhone warranty.  Frankly, swapping my SIM should be my prerogative.  If I own several phones, I should be able to use whichever one I want – depending on the circumstances…. If I’m at my client site (Motorola), I may want to use my Motorola Q9H (smart phone), but if I’m going out for a night on the town, I might want to swap to a smaller, more portable phone that fits easily in my pocket.
  10. The iPhone 3G is locked to AT&T: You must use your iPhone with an AT&T SIM card.  I’d like the option of paying more for an iPhone to unlock it so that I can use it with a pay as you go SIM card when I’m overseas (to avoid overseas roaming rates).  I still use my AT&T SIM to check messages when I’m abroad, but it seems silly to pay $2/Minute to make a local call when I’m visiting London.

P.S.  8/4/08: #11 (which should actually be #1): The Daily Mail (authority on all things tabloid-worthy) just published the following article which claims: “Apple to launch the iPhone ‘nano’ in time for Christmas.”

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You Can Now Follow ShoZu on Twitter

June 26, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Consulting, Mobile, Social Media
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If you’re a fan of ShoZu, in addition to keeping up with the ShoZu blog, you can now follow ShoZu on Twitter (when Twitter is working!).  ShoZu is sending out regular updates at: www.twitter.com/shozu.  Be one of the first to find out when new destinations are added, how famous people are using ShoZu, what new features are available, and more.

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