Facebook to trademark the word "face"

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FacebookFacebook has moved one step closer in its efforts to trademark the word "face", after receiving the green light from the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The Office has issued a notice of allowance to the social networking juggernaut, allowing the company to own the word after paying a fee, the NY Post reported.

The trademark will allow Facebook to challenge any of the 89,000 websites using the word "face" in their domain name.

The trademark would cover "telecommunication services, namely providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users in the field of general interest and concerning social and entertainment subject matter, none primarily featuring or relating to motoring or to cars".

A Facebook spokesperson would not reveal why an exemption was given to cars.

Several companies are considered to be in the sights of Facebook’s legal department, including Apple over its video conferencing service Facetime and a pornography website called Faceporn.

Facebook has also sued websites Teachbook, Placebook and Lamebook in order to protect the social network’s identity.

Facebook has already been successful in trademarking the words "Like" and "Wall".

Source: ninemsn.com.au

Auto Thank You Messages & Twitter

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Thank YouSearching the web recently keeping up with the goings on with social media, I came across an article by a self proclaimed social media guru on the subject of auto thank you messages on Twitter.

These are messages that you can send out automatically to thank someone who decides to follow you. I’ve had them programmed on my Twitter accounts for ages now and what surprised me was this guru stating in his article that if he receives one of these auto thank you messages he automatically un-follows the company or person. He says it annoys him, oh really you poor dear, I think you’re forgetting that the whole concept of social media is being social.

In my mind, it is just a polite way of acknowledging the follow and as long as the message does not contain a blatant add or sales pitch, I have no problem with these messages at all.

This guru’s belief is that common courtesy rules, apparently don’t apply to social media marketing, well he’s wrong, because I think they do and I will continue to send out my messages to those that do decide to follow me, and by chance if this social media expert is offended by this, then goodbye.

Being social and communicating and connecting with your followers is the essence of social media and I won’t decide to follow or un-follow someone because they sent me an auto thank you message.

That’s just too ridiculous for words, and I wonder if this guy is consulting to companies on social media strategy, what he is advising his clients to do, I just hope he’s not working for you.

There are a lot of instant social media experts around today, and most of them don’t really have a clue.

Decide who you are going to follow by the quality of information they are providing, how interesting and unique it is and if it is informative and relevant.

Oh and if they happen to send you a thank you message for the follow, then that’s good manners.

Remember, Focus on being social not doing social.

Does Social Media Marketing Make Sense for the Smallest Businesses?

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eMarketer estimates that 127 million people in the US, or 57.5% of internet users, will use social networks at least monthly this year. Facebook alone has over half a billion active users worldwide. Still, many of the smallest businesses don’t believe their customers can be marketed to on such sites, according to an August 2010 survey from customer review platform RatePoint.

Respondents, the majority of whom were business owners with just one to five employees, were split on whether social media was a quick way to connect with current or future customers, but sentiment was largely negative. When asked if they thought customers wanted to hear from them on social sites, only a quarter of businesses thought they did.

In addition, 20% of small businesses did not think their customers spent time on social networking sites; another 27% were undecided. And nearly a quarter did not believe their customers did research online before doing business with their company.

With a majority of US internet users on social networks, chances are the customers of even small local businesses are there. According to BIA/Kelsey and ConStat, 97% of US internet users used online media to look for local products and services in Q1 2010, and 90% used search engines. Research from comScore and TMP Directional Marketing shows that, looking for local businesses, searchers are much more likely to use a search engine than a social networking site as their primary resource, but both are used, especially among young people.

“Social media use is no longer limited to one demographic; everyone is adopting,” said Neal Creighton, CEO and co-founder of RatePoint, in a statement. “While many small-business owners are uncertain, big brands are investing heavily in social media. Social media can be a great equalizer for small businesses to compete alongside larger brands and SMBs are missing out if they are not involved.”

tt twitter micro3 Does Social Media Marketing Make Sense for the Smallest Businesses?


View the original article here

Google admits to accidentally collecting e-mails, URLs, passwords

Google admitted in a blog post Friday that external regulators have discovered that e-mails, URLs and passwords were collected and stored in a technical mishap, while the vehicles for Google’s Street View service were out documenting roadway locations.

According to Google, data was mistakenly collected in more than 30 countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, some of Europe, and parts of Asia.

In the blog, posted by Alan Eustace, senior vice president of engineering and research, he noted "we failed badly here" and added that Google has spent months analyzing how to strengthen their internal privacy and security practices.

"We want to delete this data as soon as possible, and I would like to apologize again for the fact that we collected it in the first place," Eustace wrote.

Google announced in May that it had collected unencrypted WiFi data by mistake through its Street View service, but the severity of the situation was unknown.

According to a Google spokesperson, the company first became aware of the problem when the Data Protection Authority in Germany asked Google to review all of the data collected through its Street View cars as part of a routine check. The spokesperson added that in addition to street locations, Street View cars also collect WiFi data about hot spots in order to improve the location database for things such as Google Maps for mobile.

When Google went back and looked at the data, it turned out that in addition to WiFi hot spots, they were mistakenly collecting information that was being sent across unencrypted networks.

For the information to have been collected by Google, a person had to have been sending something over an unencrypted network at the same time that a Street View car was collecting data in that same location.

According to Google, the vast majority of the data is in fragments, but in the past week several countries have issued reports that they have found entire emails and passwords.

The data has since been segregated and secured, and WiFi data is no longer being collected from Street View cars.

Google has deleted the data collected from Ireland, Austria, Denmark and Hong Kong, but other countries have opened their own investigations, and Google has not been given permission from authorities to delete the data.

In a statement, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said, "This alarming admission that Google collected entire e-mails and passwords validates and heightens our significant concerns. Our multistate investigation, led by Connecticut, into Google’s alleged invasion of privacy through wireless networks is continuing."

In the blog post, Eustace outlined the steps that Google is taking to strengthen its internal privacy and security practices including appointing a director of privacy across both engineering and product management and enhancing the core training that engineers and employees responsible for data collection receive.

"We are mortified by what happened, but confident that these changes to our processes and structure will significantly improve our internal privacy and security practices for the benefit of all our users," Eustace wrote.

Story by Marina Landis, CNN – www.cnn.com

Good Experiences Motivate Women to Share Product Info

Females care more about relating positive vs. negative word-of-mouth

Marketers looking to spur brand advocacy among women—or those worried about the possibility of negative brand buzz facilitated by social media—have another piece of evidence that good experiences are a key motivator of brand discussions.

A survey of online women in North America by female-focused marketing and communications firm Harbinger found that 92% of them turn to friends and family for product information, making word-of-mouth their top source. They consider it important to seek and share information on a variety of product categories, with appliances, restaurants, automobiles and entertainment leading the list.

In the food and beverage category, which more than two-thirds of female internet users said they were likely to share information about, 58% said they would do so because of a good experience. A bad experience would motivate 46% of respondents to speak up.

Top 5 Reasons Female Internet Users in North America Seek and Share Information on Food and Beverages, Spring 2010 (% of respondents)

Experiences with appliances—which 80% of women surveyed said they would spread the word about—were even stronger motivators. Four in five respondents reported they would share good experiences with others, while just under three-quarters said the same of bad experiences.

Top 5 Reasons Female Internet Users in North America Seek and Share Information on Appliances, Spring 2010 (% of respondents)

In every product category studied, sharing good experiences, and often a desire to help other consumers make smart purchases, came ahead of sharing bad experiences as a word-of-mouth generator. A truly negative brand experience may still garner negative buzz online or offline, but the women surveyed were more inspired by the positive.

And despite the popularity of social media among women—and marketers’ propensity to target them there and turn them into online brand advocates—those studied preferred to share information with friends and family face-to-face (92%). They were also more likely to share info in person with strangers or acquaintances (36%) than via a website (32%) or social networking site (27%).

Corporate Blogging Goes Mainstream

Becoming fully incorporated into media and marketing

Blogging has been around for well over a decade—an eternity in internet time. Whereas blogs used to be a thorn in the side of traditional journalism, today they’re an essential ingredient in the media mix. Hardly a news organization exists that does not have a blog where its journalists post updates to breaking stories, offer personal commentary and engage in a dialogue with readers and viewers.

Similarly, blogging has grown into a vital marketing tool for all types of companies, including Fortune 500 marketers and mom-and-pop retailers. eMarketer estimates that 34% of US companies will use a blog for marketing purposes this year, a proportion that will continue to grow to 43% by 2012.

“Businesses are increasingly using the blogosphere to further a variety of corporate functions, such as communications, lead generation, customer service and brand marketing,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Corporate Blogging: Media and Marketing Firms Drive Growth.”

US Companies Using Blogs for Marketing Purposes, 2007-2012 (% of total)

While blogging still tends not to rate such high usage as newer forms of social media like Facebook and Twitter, it still has many strengths, including full control over branding and advertising, integration with all corporate web properties, no limits on post length and the existence of a full, easily searchable repository of information. And studies have noted blogging’s usefulness for lead generation.

In addition to marketing, blogs have also become more fully integrated into the world of communications. In the early days of blogging, the established media showed a definite distrust of such nontraditional publishing. By October 2009, according to a Cision-led study, nearly two-thirds of US journalists reported they used blogs to publish, promote and distribute what they wrote. And according to PRWeek and PR Newswire, about a third of journalists used corporate blogs as research sources in 2010, up from a quarter last year.

Research Tools Used by US Journalists When Conducting Research for a Story, 2009 & 2010 (% of respondents)

“This confluence between established and emerging media is making blogging an integral part of the news cycle,” said Verna. “As consumers assimilate blogs into their media consumption, they are less likely to distinguish between a blog and a traditional news outlet.”


Email Still Tops Facebook for Keeping in Touch

Only 18- to 24-year-olds use the social networking site more than email for passing items on

Content-sharing has become a staple of internet usage for most online adults. Research from Chadwick Martin Bailey found that three-quarters of web users are likely to share content with friends and family, and nearly half do so at least once a week. But while much social networking content is built around such shared items, most people still prefer to use email to pass along items of interest.

Overall, 86% of survey respondents said they used email to share content, while just 49% said they used Facebook. Broken down by age, the preference for email is more pronounced as users get older. And only the youngest group polled, those ages 18 to 24, reverses the trend, with 76% sharing via Facebook, compared with 70% via email.

Ways US Internet Users Share Content, by Age, Aug 2010 (% of respondents)

Earlier research from StrongMail and ShareThis also found email was still on top for content-sharing. Other studies have shown that, when limited to sharing on social sites, Facebook is No. 1.

Asked what gets them to share content online, web users polled by Chadwick Martin Bailey revealed selfish motivations. Rather than focusing on sharing content they thought the recipients would find helpful or relevant (58%), most respondents cared more about what they thought was interesting or amusing (72%). Asked to select the single biggest reason they shared content, the greatest percentage of respondents (45%) again said it was because they enjoyed it. Men and women reported similar reasons for sharing, but motivations varied by age. The oldest respondents cared more about the value of content to recipients: 67% of those ages 55 and older said they shared items because they would be useful to recipients, compared with just 45% of 18- to 24-year-olds.

Primary Reason US Internet Users Share Content Online, Aug 2010 (% of respondents)

This difference in sharing motivation could have a relationship to the method of sharing. Email is a more targeted form of sending content; while content-sharers may shoot off mass emails to large distribution lists, most email shares are likely sent to a person or small group selected based on the specific content being shared.

Sharing via social networks like Facebook, by contrast, typically involves feeding items to an entire friends list. The youngest users, who care the least about whether the recipients of their content actually want to see it, are also most likely to disseminate the information to the widest group. And the seniors and older boomers who find the recipients’ needs more important dramatically favor email for sharing, suggesting they are sending relevant items to only those who will want them.

When Eyeballs and Dollars Don’t Match Up

No one can be faulted for thinking that the size of someone’s Facebook friends list is a proxy for that person’s level of influence. After all, people who are influential are often also popular, and in a Facebook and Twitter world popularity is measured in friends and followers.

But a new report from Vocus and FutureWorks principal Brian Solis throws a healthy dose of skepticism on the supposed correlation between popularity and influence. The report—provocatively titled “Influencer Grudge Match: Lady Gaga versus Bono”—surveyed 739 marketing and communications professionals who work with influencers to gauge their perceptions of what makes an influencer.

A surprising 90% of respondents answered “yes” when asked whether there’s a big difference between popularity and influence.

Marketers Worldwide Who Think There Is a Difference Between Popularity and Influence in the Social Media Space, Sep 2010 (% of respondents)

Nearly the same percentage, 84%, believed that there was a correlation between an influencer’s reach and his or her ability to drive action. This indicates that respondents made a clear distinction between popularity and reach, and regarded the latter as the key that determines a person’s influence.

The survey did not define any of these terms, so it was up to the respondents to interpret them. From the results, it’s apparent that respondents regarded popularity as the sheer number of contacts on a social network and reach as the ability to actually communicate meaningfully with some number of those contacts. As one respondent put it, “A person can have only a few contacts and greatly influence just those few.”

Asked which type of social network participant would have the most measurable effect on an outcome, 57% picked someone who has “a handful of fans/friends/followers that are tightly connected,” versus 8% who picked someone with “millions of fans/friends/followers with little or no connection.” Quality over quantity.

Type of Person Who Is Most Influential in the Social Media Space, Sep 2010 (% of marketers worldwide)

Despite this data, many marketers are on a seemingly relentless quest to beef up their own social network profiles and reach users with lots of friends and followers. In the Vocus-Solis study, 57% of respondents said they’d be willing to pay for an influencer to help them “drive actions or outcomes.”

Further, Twitter recently unveiled its Promoted Accounts platform, which allows marketers to essentially pay for access to users based on the sizes of those users’ networks. Quantity over quality.

And an eROI study of social metrics tracked by US marketers found that two-thirds tracked changes in the numbers of friends, followers and fans. More qualitative measures such as reach of messaging were much lower on the scale. Again, quantity over quality.

Social Media Metrics Tracked, Apr 2010 (% of US marketers)

Story by Paul Verna, Senior Analyst

Small Businesses Change Social Media Expectations

About a quarter of small businesses now marketing via social media

After climbing steeply, according to research from Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, small-business adoption of social media marketing has plateaued at 24%.

The study of US small business found that those that do market via social media primarily use Facebook (82%), and that the most common activities are maintaining a company page on a social network and posting status updates or links to interesting content. About half of businesses that used social media also monitored brand chatter on social networks.

As small businesses have gained experience with social media, some have realized their expectations for the channel did not line up with the reality of the social web. As the wider marketing world begins to look at social as more of a loyalty channel than one for acquisition, small businesses are also finding that their hopes for spreading brand awareness and attracting new customers have not been fully met. By contrast, somewhat fewer small businesses had expected to use social media as an engagement channel, but nearly two-thirds have had success in that area.

Performance of Social Media Tactics, June 2010 (% of US small businesses)

The most common business objectives small businesses have achieved through social media marketing tell a similar story: Customers are connecting with companies through sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, but relatively few sales leads have been received through the sites.

Business Objectives Achieved via Social Media, June 2010 (% of US small businesses*)

Small businesses have found other frustrations as well. Many say their efforts take up more time than they had expected, although that percentage dropped from 50% to 43% between December 2009 and June 2010, suggesting companies are being more realistic about what’s involved in social campaigns. At the same time, however, the percentage saying their business had been criticized online nearly doubled, reaching 29%. Still, just a tiny 1% of small businesses said their image was hurt more than it was helped by social media—a number that’s also down, from 6% in December.

iPad Owners Valuable to Advertisers

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iPad owners demonstrate a number of demographic trends that make them valuable to advertisers, according to research from The Nielsen Company.

iPad Owners Skew Younger, Male
iPad owners skew younger and more male than owners of many other portable computing devices. Sixty-five percent of them are male and 63% of them are younger than the age of 35.

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In terms of likelihood to be male, the only device researched by Nielsen that even approaches the iPad is the Sony Playstation Portable (PSP), with 62% male ownership. In terms of age, iPad owners skew slightly older than iPod Touch owners (66% younger than 35) and PSP owners (68% younger than 35).

iPad Owners Open to Ads
iPad owners show rates of advertising receptiveness that are favorable compared to iPhone owners and overall connected device owners. In particular, iPad owners have positive response rates roughly double those of iPhone and overall connected device owners in the areas of clicking on ads that incorporate multimedia events, enjoying ads with interactive features, clicking on simple text ads, finding ads on their connected device new and interesting, liking to see what connected device ads can do, and enjoying viewing connected device ads.

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iPad Owners More Likely to Make Ad-related Purchases
Compared to overall connected device owners, after viewing a connected device ad, iPad owners are more likely to make a purchase via PC (36% compared to 27%), make a store purchase (24% compared to 10%), make a telephone purchase (12% compared to 7%) and make a direct purchase via connected device (8% compared to 5%).

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40% of iOS Device Users Make $75K-plus
In other good news for advertisers, about 50% of both iPad and iPhone users earn $75,000 or more annually, according to other recent Nielsen research. Within this income bracket, slightly more iPad users than iPhone users earn more than $100,000 annually.

In contrast, about 30% of all mobile subscribers earn more than $75,000 annually, with a much smaller proportion earning $100,000 or more than the proportion of iOS device users. Divided into featurephone and smartphone users, the income demographics of featurephone users are similar to those of overall mobile subscribers. However, about 45% of smartphone users (which includes iOS device users) earn $75,000 or more annually, with roughly the same proportion earning more than $100,000 annually as iOS device users.

About the Data: Nielsen’s new Connected Devices Playbook surveys more than 5,000 consumers who already own a tablet computer, eReader, netbook, media player or smartphone, including 400 iPad owners.