There’s A New Internet Sheriff In Town

I Think Facebook Just Seized Control Of The Internet: “

The opening keynote at Facebook’s f8 conference today in San Francisco was short and sweet. But don’t let that fool you. It contained some huge announcements pertaining to how the service will interact with the broader web going forward. The three big ones: social plugins, Open Graph, and Open Graph API, make Facebook’s intentions very clear: they want to be the fabric of the web.

Erick already outlined Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s perspective on this from his keynote, but perhaps more interesting was some of what Platform Lead Bret Taylor had to say. The most interesting thing Taylor said was that Facebook’s stance is that social connections are going to be just as important going forward as hyperlinks have been for the web. Obviously, as the largest social network, Facebook to some degree has to believe (or at least say) that. But today, and really over the past several months of huge growth, Facebook has given us all a reason to believe that may be the case.

And if that’s so, Google had better watch out. There may be a new sheriff in web town.

Right off the bat, Zuckerberg rattled off some impressive numbers. While we all know that Facebook has over 400 million users (and it appears to be approaching 500 million rapidly), he also said that the service is growing at a faster rate than ever before. That’s fairly insane. He also noted that while it took the service 5 years to get to 100 million users, it took only 3 years to reach the same total in terms of mobile users. And in the past year, they seen that number grow 3x. Perhaps most impressive of all is that in just one year, Facebook got 100 million people using Facebook Connect. And that’s why everything they announced today has a real shot at completely transforming the web. Because everything they’ve announced (and specifically, Open Graph) seems to be like Facebook Connect on steroids.

All of this may sound grandiose and a bit frightening, but that’s why it’s ingenious the way Facebook is using Taylor. As he explained on stage today, Taylor used to work on a “small social network called FriendFeed” (which, of course, Facebook acquired last year). While he’s now a key member of Facebook’s team leading this new strategy, he used some of his keynote today to talk about his experience working on a startup with Facebook Connect.

He noted that at FriendFeed they found that the key to getting users to stick around and keep them using the site was that they had to connect with five friends. Unfortunately, when you’re a startup with not very many users, that’s extremely hard to do (yes, even just five). So FriendFeed implemented all types of logins and email contact lookups to try and help users find friends. The key to FriendFeed’s growth was Facebook Connect, as users were four times more likely to become engaged users if they signed up through that service, he said. In fact, if FriendFeed has continued on as an independent service, “we would have removed all those other signup buttons,” Taylor said. Yes, that includes Twitter and Google.

And lest you think his experience with Connect was all peachy, Taylor went on to explain that FriendFeed was constantly frustrated with how difficult Facebook Connect was to implement into their site. This is something that many developers have echoed over the past year. But with the new social plugins announced today, that all changes, Taylor promised. “I didn’t think the platform needed to be this complex,” he said. And now, apparently, it isn’t.

So that’s Taylor selling Facebook’s Open Graph to thousands of startups out there. And many are likely to bite. There’s no denying that social graphs are the key to a service being sticky, and there is no better social graph than Facebook’s.

Companies will have to choose whether to fight against this, and attempt to launch their own graph, or get in line. “When we connect our graphs together, the web is gonna get a whole lot better,” Zuckerberg promised.

Facebook launched some of this social plugin and Open Graph integration with several (30) large partners today. Just clicking around the web earlier, I ran into the new “like” button on CNN. It’s excellent; much better than the current share buttons which are slow and clunky in comparison.

In my opinion, Facebook still has a ways to go towards improving its actual site if it’s really going to be the long-term center of the web. (As in, the place you go to rather than But its claws for pulling in outside content are now razor-sharp. It’s going to be very hard for anyone to escape.

Over the next several days and weeks, we’ll undoubtedly hear why that’s a bad thing. Maybe it is. But maybe, if Facebook plays its cards right, the web will be a bit better because it will be more connected. Of course, that’s a lot of power for a still-private company to have. Let’s hope they know what they’re doing, and aren’t evil.

[photos: flickr/ingridtaylar and flickr/alan vernon]

Chris Cox Discusses Facebook’s Recipe For Success

Facebook VP Chris Cox On The Company’s Past, Future, And Recipe For Success: ”

Today to close out its f8 developer conference, Facebook VP of Product Chris Cox took the stage to talk about the evolution of Facebook over the last six years, and how the company’s core principles have largely remained the same.

During his presentation, Cox recounted Facebook’s early days, when the site’s profile photos were often of keg stands, and there weren’t Events, Facebook Chat, or even Photos (though you could see if your friends were logging in from a campus dorm — remember that?).

Cox detailed how the then-small group of around ten engineers would watch how users were abusing existing features — like creating a personal profile for a fraternity, or, later, a Group for an Event — and implemented new features accordingly. Through it all, he says Facebook’s recipe for success was the same:

  • The products were simple
  • They’re people-centric
  • The products were Hacks. In other words, the engineers took systems that weren’t built for what people were doing, observed what users were trying to do, and built the features from there.

Cox also discussed the future outlook of Facebook and the web. He described how Facebook’s social recommendations could be used to suggest TV shows your friends had recently watched (and your DVR had recorded automatically for you). He also described how the future of news could be more social, with stories presented not just with the editorial of newspapers, but the commentary of your peers. Cox finished his talk with a call to developers, urging them to help turn the web from a place where anonymity reigns to one of real identities.

If you’d like to watch Cox’s talk for yourself, click here, then hit the ‘Keynote Recording’ tab on the right side of the widget, then click on ‘Closing Remarks’ (there doesn’t seem to be a way to embed it or post a direct link).

Information provided by CrunchBase

Why Facebook, Twitter & The Little Guy Should Be Scared: Google Wave

Have you ever tried getting in contact with Google customer service? I’ve thought about it, but have never actually tried. If you have been successful, please let me know how your experience was with them in the comments below this article. I simply never had the ambition to even try. Someone once likened their customer service to that of a visit to the doctors office where you have to wait 45 minutes to get in, the incompetence of the bureau of motor vehicles and the worst service you’ve ever received from a phone company…..times 500. Basically, if you are able to get through, they simply direct you to their back website where you may then email them–lucky you! Hold onto that luck because you’ll need it to get any worthwhile response…if any.

But I must say, what I’ve seen with their demonstration with Google Wave, I am impressed. You can view their demo of the wave here. But that’s what actually scares me. It scares the crap out of me actually. Why? Well, look at Google Search, Adwords, & Adsense. Can you say monopoly? That’s changing a bit with other ad networks popping up, but they’ve managed to Dominate paid search–all while having THE WORST customer service in the world. How do they do that??? Well, they obviously have a great product in high demand. That’s the scary part. It’s like a mean monster having the power to create water on a deserted Pacific island. If you make that big monster mad, well, forget it, you’re screwed. It’s like in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king. In the land of paid internet search, Google is king…there is no other.

Ever heard of a Google slap? Did you see what Twitter did to all those marketers that added or deleted friends too quickly? Ever sent out a bunch of emails on Facebook asking a lot of people to be friends? They don’t like that sort of thing–it’s kind of spammy. Google already has enough power and control and this Wave thing will only consolidate power even further?

Think I’m joking? While Google likes to say it wants the Wave to be open, it only invited 100,000 people to test it. Want to get into the network? You have to be invited. How waspy is that? Some remember that that is how gmail was introduced and people were willing to pay money for it. Think you can buy your way in? Nope. People have already tried so Google is no longer allowing anymore user invites. So much for openness.

So I am giving Google credit for their Wave, even though I’ve never personally used it. Heck, it only took them 2 years to develop it. But at least Google is in the black making money which is more than Facebook and Twitter can say.

I just hope Yahoo or MSN come out with something similar to rival the colorful  jolly  G giant. If not, where are all the little guys to go when Google gives them the boot for spamming or inviting too many friends? I don’t care for spam as much as the next person. But when a small publisher that’s just new and starting out tries to get into Adwords and can’t because they don’t get 100k views per month…well, that’s just not very open to me. Call me silly.

So Google will deserve all the credit they get for this little Wave app–and they do deserve it. I just hope and pray that there are alternatives being developed because it just doesn’t seem fair when the new guy gets shut out just because he can’t generate traffic like some of the big dogs.

So what do you think? What impact do you think Google Wave will have on online marketing and other services like Twitter and Facebook? Leave your comments below…

Facebook Is The MVP Of Traffic

Facebook Is the Most Valuable Source of Traffic [Stats]: “

facebookBetween search engines and social media, there are a lot of different ways that people can get to your website. But which of these sources provides loyal users that come back to your site multiple times?

That’s the subject of a new study by ad network Chitika, who analyzed the browsing habits of 33 million unique users over the course of September.

According to their findings, Facebook provides the most loyal visitors, with 20% of those that originate from the social network in turn visiting the site they landed upon four or more times in a week. Among other social media sites, Digg traffic produced loyal users 16% of the time, while Twitter traffic was only good for 11% loyalty.

In the realm of search engines, Yahoo provides the most loyal visitors at 15%, followed by Google and Bing with around 12% each.

The finding that social sites provide stickier traffic isn’t surprising, but what implications do the loyalty rankings for Facebook, Digg, and Twitter have, if any? Perhaps that in the long-run, encouraging your visitors to share on Facebook might have the most value, even if it doesn’t provide the most short-term traffic.

That said, it’s easy enough to provide sharing options for a multitude of social media sites (case in point, this post!), so you can probably file this under the “nice to know” category of statistics and use your own analytics to gauge what is and isn’t working.

Reviews: Bing, Digg, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo!

Tags: bing, digg, facebook, Google, statistics, twitter, Yahoo

Employers Blocking Facebook, Twitter & Myspace

More Than Half of Employers Now Block Twitter, Facebook, MySpace: “

Can’t check Facebook or Twitter from the office? You’re not alone. In fact, you might be in the majority.

According to a new survey of 1,400 CIOs of companies with 100 or more employees, 54% now completely block employees from accessing social networking sites at work.

Only 10% of those surveyed let employees use social networks however they please, while the remainder all impose at least some restrictions on usage, like limiting it to business purposes only.

The survey, which was developed by Robert Half Technology, is consistent with other recent reports that show companies are quickly moving to block social media in the workplace. Of course, even when companies allow social media, it doesn’t always end well for employees. Another recent report indicated that 8% of companies in the US have fired staff over social media misuse.

It seems we’re still in the early days of employers trying to find a policy that works – perhaps being over restrictive in the interim – and employees learning from the mistakes of others.

What restrictions does your employer place on social media usage? Share your experience in the comments.

Tags: facebook, myspace, social media, twitter

Should High School Admins Be Sued For Forcing Cheerleader To Turnover Facebook Password?

Abuse of Power: High School Admins Coerce Cheerleader for Facebook Password: “

facebook logoEarlier in the year Tony La Russa got sue happy with Twitter, only later to drop the charges, and yesterday we learned that a woman was sued over a defamatory tweet (though there does seem to be some cause). It appears as if social media is making people uncomfortable enough to sue.

In a strange twist of social media lawsuits, a cheerleader at Mississippi’s Pearl High School may have had her first amendment rights (and then some) violated by her cheer coach. Along with her parents, she’s now suing the school district, its Superintendant, the school’s Principal, and her coaches for their involvement in coercing her to hand over her Facebook login credentials, and then exposing the sensitive information they found.

The suit claims that the 16 year-old cheerleader, Miranda Jackson, was forced to hand over her Facebook password to a coach during school hours on September 10, 2007, even though she had never used Facebook at school. Tommie Hill, a cheer teacher and sponsor, allegedly used that info to log in to Jackson’s account and, “disseminated the information within Jackson’s Facebook account to fellow Pearl High School teacher, dance and cheer sponsor Tiffany Durr, cheer trainer Corey Byrd, Principal Ray Morgigno, Superintendant John Ladner, and other unknown individuals.”

That offline spread of Jackson’s private Facebook information reportedly led to some pretty negative side effects with the girl being “punished and humiliated.” The lawsuit goes on to claim that Jackson was barred from cheer practices and participating in school sponsored events.

An NBC affiliate in Mississippi spoke to the girl regarding the incident, and she told them, “I want it all to get out. I don’t want anybody else to go through what I went through. I mean it is brutal, especially high school. It’s brutal.”

If the facts of the suit are true, it sounds like Jackson and her family certainly have a valid claim to suggest that the girl’s freedom of speech, right of free association, and right to privacy were knowingly violated. One of the counts in the lawsuit is also the intentional infliction of emotional distress, which seems to be pretty plausible given Jackson’s age.

We’re pretty disturbed that adults felt they were justified in not only requesting the password, and viewing the private contents of Jackson’s Facebook page — who is a minor — but taking actions to publicize private communications. From an outsider’s perspective, this just seems like an absurd abuse of power at the expense of a young and impressionable girl. We do hope, however, that now that this lawsuit has hit the web, that we won’t see other school officials repeat similar offenses.

If you want more facts on the case, you can view the full lawsuit embedded below:

Reviews: Facebook, Twitter

Tags: facebook, lawsuit, privacy

Facebook Makes It Easy To Connect

Facebook Just Made It Super Easy To Put Connect On Your Site: “

Facebook Connect launched to the public less than a year ago, and already it’s seen an incredible amount of traction. Unfortunately, for those people with little to no coding experience, implementing Facebook Connect has seemed like more trouble that it was worth. Today, Facebook has an answer: Facebook Connect Wizard and Playground.

Facebook writes that “you can now incorporate Facebook Connect into your site in 3 easy steps.” The process is simple. First, you enter the name of your site and its URL. Then Facebook asks you to download and then upload a special file to your site’s main directory. And.. that’s about it. Once you’ve done that, Facebook will present you with its Playground — a list of code snippets you can embed on your site to round out the functionality, including Login buttons, profile photos, publishing items to News Feeds, and rendering photos of a user’s friends.

Deciding to put their little wizard to the test, I tried to implement Connect on one of my personal sites (note that I’ve never tried to implement Connect before so I really didn’t know what I was doing). And to my surprise, it worked: I managed to have a very basic form of Connect up and running on my site within all of two minutes. It will obviously take longer to make sure the new icons and buttons play nicely with your site’s design, but it’s really surprisingly easy.

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

TechCrunch50 Conference 2009: September 14-15, 2009, San Francisco

FundRazr: Great Payment Collections Service For Facebook

FundRazr: A Simple, Social, Payments Collection Service for Facebook: “

ConnectionPoint recently launched FundRazr, a new way to collect money through Facebook for everything from sports team dues to charity donations. The application is the company’s first, utilizing the PayPal X platform to make the payment process more interactive and innovative, as well as offering a few extra features for connecting through social media.

Facebook itself has not focused on enabling this sort of payments service. One result seems to be that many organizations use both Facebook and other services for things like event ticket sales. Facebook lets them easily get the word out to a lot of people, but because it doesn’t offer payments, the organizers instead direct people to purchase tickets on third-party sites like Eventbrite. both a Facebook events page, for e as well as a page on an event-management site like Upcoming; they use Facebook to drive interest, but have to use an outside site to actually sell tickets.


At the heart of the application, FundRazr allows any individual or organization to easily collect online payments. But there are several built-in features that expand this application functionality beyond money collection; analytic and reporting tools give users the ability to track results, and there’s even help when creating a campaign. The application can be tailored to take on unique appearances and functions, as it is designed for social sites and has no set template.

FundRazr is intended for easy money collection for a variety of purposes, such as charity events, sports teams, school clubs, social groups and more. It’s interactive, social focus makes it an excellent way to spread word of causes and campaigns through Facebook, getting out a viral message with a built-in method for collecting donations and payments.

The application is available now in Beta on Facebook; all that’s needed to sign up is a free access code. It should be beneficial to smaller businesses non-profits, school and church groups and anyone operating on a fixed budget without the funds or time to track down donations and payments.

Top 20 Up & Coming Facebook Apps

Top 20 Up and Coming Facebook Apps: Eid, Rosh Hashana, Football and More: “

Kartu Lebaran on FacebookBy taking a look at the fastest-growing Facebook apps with between 10,000 and 100,000 monthly active users, we can sometimes spot hits early, before they hit major growth spurts. However, this past week we saw a few apps that told us something else. People are using Facebook apps for religious and social celebrations around the world. While these apps aren’t likely to stay popular once the celebrating ends, they do show the diverse interests of Facebook’s growing user base — and perhaps the apps’ developers can figure out how to build a longer-term user base from the people they’re getting now.

Indeed, it appears that almost all of the apps below were created through a white-label app called “Gift Creator,” which itself has more than half a million users.

At the top of the list is “Kartu Lebaran,” an Indonesian virtual card-giving app that has grown by 54,000 users over the past week to reach 63,000 monthly active users. The app means “Lebaran card” in the Indonesian language — “Lebaran” is a term used by some Muslims in Southeast Asia for Eid ul-Fitr, a celebration held at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Eid occurred on the 20th and 21st of this past week, depending on what part of the world you were in. At third place was “حــلـــويـات الـعـيــد” or “Eid sweets” in Arabic. Similar to the Lebaran app, you can give virtual sweets to celebrate Eid with loved ones. The app has grown by 26,000 people over the course of Eid to level off at 34,000 earlier this week.

Top Gainers This Week
Name MAU Gain↓ Gain, % Developer
1. Kartu Lebaran 62,978 +54,430 +636.8
2. What is your Euro-persona? 65,872 +28,946 +78.4 Mark Burnash
3. حــلـــويـات الـعـيــد 34,177 +26,523 +346.5
4. Shana Tova! Rosh HaShana 5770 45,932 +24,745 +116.8
5. Amici Secrets 18,977 +16,872 +801.5 Super Apps
6. My Babybook 49,771 +16,767 +50.8 Poolhouse
7. CampusBuddy 95,118 +16,465 +20.9
8. Kisses & Erotic 34,814 +14,819 +74.1
9. Friendship Appreciation 52,965 +13,636 +34.7
10. Fiestas Patrias 49,375 +13,560 +37.9 Claudio Campis Torres
11. Vérité ou Mensonge 21,272 +13,133 +161.4 Bien
12. Friend of the Day 44,887 +12,911 +40.4 Team Moulin
13. (Lil) Eco Racer 87,725 +12,198 +16.2 Green Patch, Inc.
14. The Fortune Teller 83,703 +11,936 +16.6
15. Power of Prayer 74,749 +11,431 +18.1
16. Angel Fun 82,489 +11,422 +16.1 Paul Thomas
17. Pittsburgh Steelers Swag 72,075 +11,386 +18.8 Andrea Massari
18. SportsButter Football 38,770 +11,245 +40.9 SportsButter
19. GroupCard 65,563 +11,176 +20.6
20. Animated pets 15,646 +10,987 +235.8

Meanwhile, many celebrating the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana made use of the “Shana Tova! Rosh HaShana 5770” app — putting it at fourth place on the list. Rosh Hashana, celebrated between the 18th and 20th of the month this year, is the Jewish-calendar new year; “Shana Tova” means something like “happy new year.” 5770 is this year in the Jewish calendar. As with the Eid apps, this one lets you give virtual gifts to people.

Fiestas Patrias on FacebookThis past week saw ongoing celebrations for Chilean independence day Fiestas Patrias, via the continued growth of an app of the same name. The Fiestas Patrias app grew by nearly 14,000 users over the course of the week to reach nearly 50,000 people total. It’s another gifting app, albeit with national symbols like the Chilean flag instead of Eid cards or whatever, and came in at tenth place on the list.

And for some people, this part of the year marks the start of another, not quite as holy period: Football season. While there are much larger football applications made by companies like Watercooler and Citizen Sports, a couple showed up on this list made by smaller developers. One is Pittsburgh Steelers Swag, an app for giving virtual Steelers gear to your friends — the basic gift-giving app design style. It has been growing slowly and steadily since early August, seeing a stronger uptick this past week: It gained 11,000 people to reach 72,000 monthly active users.

Another football app also appears on the list: “SportsButter Football,” a fantasy football game made by SportsButter. It grew by 11,000 people to reach 38,000 by the end of the week. The two football apps came in at number 17 and 18 on the list, respectively.

In conclusion, now is a good time to be a seasonal app builder, but we don’t expect any of these apps to gain serious long-term traction. However, perhaps we’ll be proven wrong. Perhaps some of these small-time developers will figure out how to leverage their small audiences now into something bigger, later. That would be quite a story.

Facebook Has Highest User Penetration In Cold Places

Facebook Used by the Most People within Iceland, Norway, Canada, Other Cold Places: “

Monthly and percentage facebookAmong the 12 countries in the world with the highest penetration of Facebook users, a surprising number are in cold parts of the world. Iceland is in first place, with 49.5 percent of its 300,000-some population on the site in August, or nearly 159,000 people, according to Facebook’s advertiser data.

It is followed by Norway, Canada and Denmark, and the slightly-warmer United Kingdom in sixth place — the UK’s penetration is notable because it has a population of 61 million people, far more than any of the other countries on the list.

Starting with Hong Kong in number four, though, the correlation with cold weather breaks down. The cold doesn’t seem to necessarily drive people indoors and on to Facebook. So… islands? Proximity to oceans? Large governments? Other ideas?