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GM has announced that they will be pulling $10 million in ads from Facebook as they say they don't work. This comes at a bad time for Facebook as they are about to launch their IPO. GM's marketing executive have apparently been reviewing GM's advertising and found that the paid ads are worth the money. They will, however, continue to use the free advertising on Facebook.
GM currently spends somewhere in the neighborhood of $40million on Facebook advertising, though only $10 million of that goes to paid Facebook ads. (These are presumably annual figures) The other $30 million goes to upkeep on the company's Facebook page, along with paying for promotions and giveaways which don't appear to make Facebook any money.
This $10 million isn't much in terms of the $3.7 billion that Facebook brought in last year in advertising. However, GM is the third largest advertiser in the United States, so the fact of them pulling their advertising may cause other companies to reexamine their strategies to see if Facebook is really worth it.
Business Insider's Jim Edwards points out that Facebook has a much lower clickthrough rate than Google does. This could be due to the different medium that Google is compared to Facebook:
The photo sharing site Flickr is set to improve a major feature. Flickr is moving to something they are calling a "liquid layout" which will change the layout to match the size of the browser window viewing the site. The layout will focus on showing high-res images as large as it can on the main photo pages along with the usual information around the side.
The image above is what it used to look like. The image below is what the new "liquid layout" will look like for someone with a large monitor. The pictures were originally 500px wide as the site launched when 800x600 was the norm. In 2010, this was increase to 640px. Now they have selected a range of sizes so that images won't have to be upsampled.
This redesign is just one of many that the aging site is in need of. The site promises many more over the coming year. Next is speed: "Now that the algorithm is complete, we need to work on the performance," said Flickr developer Ross Harmes in a Flickr code blog post. "The first time you go to a liquid photo page, we have no choice but to adjust the page width on the fly. But every other photo page you visit will have the dimensions stored from the last page, and the page will be rendered with the correct width from the start."
YouTube is an empire like Google, one that is built on clicks and advertising. However, as of late, clicks have been falling, but YouTube isn't concerned. You see, this is all going perfectly according to plan. YouTube would rather have "engagement" than "views" as it will allow them to garner a more lucrative advertising market.
YouTube has invested $100 million in order to create content channels which should aid in getting users to more engagement and fewer clicks. Incidentally, this type of video, the engaging type, is more appealing to advertisers as users who are engaged are thought to be in a more receptive mind-set for brand advertising.
"Our goal is we want users to watch more and click less," said Cristos Goodrow, a former Google search executive who joined YouTube as director of engineering a year ago. "This is better for users because it takes less clicking to get to the video you want to watch." Eli Goodman, media evangelist at ComScore, said, "The effectiveness of advertising is enhanced when someone is in an engaged state."
Additionally, YouTube is struggling with when to show a user an ad. Previously, an ad was shown about every 7 minutes. Now, however, they are changing that to an equation that features hundreds of variables. This equation tries to decide when a user is engaged. At that point is when the ad should be shown. However, some people were worried that some people would never see ads. "There were some internal struggles; some people
I'm pretty sure Mark Zuckerberg is even more OCD about GUI layout and usage than even Steve Jobs was. The latest example of this is the new update that has been released for mobile users. The update aims to make better use of the limited screen real estate that is often a restriction on mobile design.
Facebook plans to make better use of the real estate by reducing the amount of white space, or blank space. Instead, some of the content will be more densely packed so that more fits onto the screen. Above is a before picture and below is an after. You can clearly see the change in the size of the 4 photos posted.
Starting today, we're rolling out an improved design for posts in news feed on your mobile phone. Now photos are up to 3x larger, and all posts will fill your mobile screen from edge to edge. The new design will be available on iOS, Android and m.facebook.com. Check out some before/after screenshots below.[above]
It is likely that if you go to use Facebook Mobile you will immediately see the change. Whether or not you like it, however, is another story. Part of the problem is that there are too many features to pack into a mobile experience. However, it seems as though what Facebook can fix, they will.
Programming bugs almost always make their way into production code through some inadvertent way. This time it is Kickstarter who has found a flaw in some of its code. This bug allowed access to 70,000 unpublished projects' project description, goal, duration, rewards, video, image, location, category, and user name.
On the Kickstarter Blog, they have made it abundantly clear that no financial data was ever publicly visible. Of the 70,000 "visible" projects, only 48 were viewed, and that includes views by the Kickstarter team trying to verify and patch the bug. The bug had been introduced into the code with the April 24 homepage redesign.
The bug was introduced when we launched the API in conjunction with our new homepage on April 24, and was live until it was discovered and fixed on Friday, May 11, at 1:42pm. The bug made accessible the project description, goal, duration, rewards, video, image, location, category, and user name for unlaunched projects. No account or financial data was made accessible.
Based on our research, the overwhelming majority of the private API access was by a computer programmer/Wall Street Journal reporter who contacted us. Outside of that person's use, our research shows that a total of 48 unlaunched projects were accessed during the three weeks this bug was live (this number includes a number of views by Kickstarter's developers working on the API itself).
It has been a while since there has been news surrounding the upcoming top-level domains that ICANN was accepting applications for. Once again ICANN has had to push back the deadline for applications due to technical issues. The system had to be shut down lost month after receiving "a report of unusual behavior."
ICANN was originally going to reopen the application process yesterday and require applications to be submitted by the middle of next week. After which, ICANN has to go through the applications and decide who gets what names and which names will have to go up for auction. Before the bug that shut the system down, ICANN has reportedly accepted 2,091 applications and collected about $350 million in fees.
The system was originally shut down "following a technical glitch that may have allowed some users to see some file names and user names of other users." This latest delay is due to ICANN's continuing need "to review the extensive database of system logs and system traffic." ICANN continues by saying:
We have seen no evidence that any TAS user intentionally did anything wrong in order to be able to see other users' information...The large majority of users are unaffected by the glitch. We continue to review the extensive database of system logs and system traffic, and any new and relevant information that emerges from this analysis will be shared with applicants in a timely way.
With all of the new smartphones and tablets being released, it's not unexpected that mobile traffic has increased its contribution to the overall amount of global web traffic. Incredibly mobile traffic now accounts for 10.01% of all global web traffic. In 2010, that number was a tiny 3.81%, according to Pingdom.
Asia has the largest contribution to this mobile data traffic as it contributes 18%, but other countries are also increasing to create the massive upswing in mobile traffic. Incredibly, in India mobile traffic will overtake fixed-line traffic by the end of 2012. Smartphone sales have increased 40% year-over-year to 144.9 million during the first three months of the year.
Regionally, 48.87% of India's traffic comes from mobile devices. Worldwide, Africa is just behind Asia in mobile data usage at 14.85%. The reasons that developing countries and continents have higher usage of mobile data are pretty clear. Often PCs are too expensive or the infrastructure to provide internet to them is expensive and unreliable. Hence, mobile is the clear choice. These findings increase the evidence that websites need to provide a viable mobile website for users.
In the wake of a UK court ordering UK ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay, many sites have popped up as proxies to allow access to the site. The site is actually happy that sites are helping people access The Pirate Bay even when the sites copy its index. However, they aren't so happy when the copy charges users for access.
The idea of charging for access to The Pirate Bay is in direct contradiction to what they stand for. As such, when these copy sites use their index and charge for access, they aren't the happiest website on Earth. "We've noticed at least 3 sites that are tricking users to buying access or similar. We do not condone this behaviour, The Pirate Bay is a free service!" says an official blog post.
So, there are a couple of messages to take away from this. One, beware of illegal torrent sites that are illegally copying blocked illegal torrent sites. Two, if you are behind the blockers, make sure you are using a good proxy to access a free service. "Take care and don't get tricked. There's a war going on. It's the mafiaa against the people. Let's make sure that the people win."
Social networks really do take up a lot of a user's time as they try to read and respond to everyone. I'm not saying I don't spend my fair share of time of Facebook; I probably spend more than average. However, I mostly access Facebook from a computer. A new study shows that users spend more time accessing Facebook from their cell phone than they do the computer.
The study says that the average user spent more than seven hours pursuing Facebook via their cell phone, while only spending six doing the same from a computer. This is based off of data for the month of March. "Social networking proved to be a particularly popular activity on smartphones with several brands demonstrating exceptionally high engagement, in some cases higher than the corresponding time spent by users via traditional Web access," ComScore's report says.
It's not just Facebook that is doing well, either. Twitter users spent quite a bit more time on the site via cell phone. Whereas they only spent 20 minutes on Twitter from a computer, they spent on average just about two hours. Wow! Once again, this data is for the month of March. ComScore was able to collect this data using a new mobile behavioral measurement service called Mobile Metrix 2.0.
We all know it's coming, but Apple and their secrecy shuns us from the truth, constantly. We don't know if the next-generation iPhone will be called just 'iPhone', or 'iPhone 5', or something completely different.
But, Fusible has reported that Apple have filed a claim with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) where they seek to gain control of the iPhone5.com domain. WIPO authorities are currently assessing compliance of Apple's claim with the agency's regulations, and proceedings are likely to be initiated in the near future.
Right now, the iPhone5.com domain hosts a small discussion forum dedicated to the, well, discussion of the 'iPhone 5'. The forum was launched in October 2010, hot on the heels of the iPhone 4 release earlier on in the year. This should be interesting to most people, as Apple didn't even try to gain control of the iPhone4.com domain until over twelve months after the iPhone 4 itself launched.