Archive for ‘Twitter’

March 24, 2011

Video Twitter

by Avinash Saxena
March 23, 2011

NYTimes Asks Twitter For disable PayWall Jumping Feed

by Avinash Saxena

Think you’re pretty smart, figuring out a way to get around that 20-article limit The New York Times will begin imposing in the U.S. next Monday (3/28)? Not so fast.

In the new paywall scheme, if you get to a Times article by following a link, it doesn’t count against the 20 articles you can read for free before you have to pay a monthly subscription fee. That’s whereTwitter feed @FreeNYTimes could come in handy, linking to every single New York Times article so people can use Twitter as a free jumping-off spot.

But the Gray Lady is having none of that. Today it asked Twitter to disable @FreeNYTimes because “it is a violation of our trademark,” according to a spokesperson for the Times. A Forbes reporter asked her about other ways to get around the paywall. For example, a simple browser app called NYTClean gives you admittance to any article with a single click. The Times said that’s to be expected. They will continue to monitor the situation and plan no changes, the spokesperson said.

Is it a trademark violation? Well, if you take a look at @FreeNYTimes (pictured above), you’ll notice that distinctive Gothic “T” of The New York Times prominently displayed. Perhaps that’s where the trademark violation takes place. Then there’s the term “NYTimes,” identical to the newspaper’s URL. Looks like the Times might have a point in this case, but what if someone starts up another Twitter feed — “@FreeNYSlimes”, say — that links to all the Times’ articles?

Here’s another idea: Make the price of admission cheaper, and maybe people will be willing to pay. The Times’ price of $35 per month to access the site on a computer, smartphone and iPad (or $15/month, computer-only) is likely to fan the flames of freeloaders. Why? Because $35 is roughly twice the monthly cost of the digital version of the Wall Street Journal, and almost four times that of The Economist, according to Silicon Alley Insider.


March 22, 2011

Twitter completed there 5th year on Internet

by Avinash Saxena

It’s officially been five years since the very first tweet was sent by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. The message, which read simply “just setting up my twttr,” has since been followed by some 30 billion 140-character-or-less musings as Twitter has catapulted into the upper echelon of consumer web companies.

With a valuation said to be approaching $10 billion, the Twitter of today is very different than the Twitter of five years ago (or even one year agofor that matter).

Once often criticized by the mainstream media for being mundane and trivial, the service often plays a major role in world events (and serves as a source for said media). It’s also gotten more than a few peoplefired.

Once questioned relentlessly about how it would make money, some estimates peg the company’s 2011 revenue at $150 million as its advertising platform continues to evolve.

And once the center of an ecosystem of hundreds of different clientsand third-party applications, Twitter now finds itself at odds with many of the developers that helped propel the feature-light startup in its early days, as it builds its own apps across platforms.

What does the next five years hold for the company? While rumors of an exit to the likes of Google or Microsoft persist, its executives maintain incredibly lofty ambitions, with recent sound bites including co-founder Evan Williams declaring that the service will get to one billion users, and CEO Dick Costolo comparing the service to anessential utility, like water.


March 17, 2011

Japan’s Prime Minister Launches English-Language Twitter Account for Quake Updates

by Avinash Saxena

The Japanese Prime Minister’s Office started an English-language Twitter account Wednesday, providing updates on the Tohoku-Pacific Ocean Earthquake situation.

The account, @JPN_PMO, will tweet translations from the Japanese disaster information account @Kantei_Saigai, which the Prime Minister’s Office created March 13, the day of the quake.

In its first four hours, the account gained more than 7,000 followers. Although the translation is faulty at times, the tweets provide information about evacuations, press conferences and the country’s overall welfare during this time of crisis.

Here’s the first tweet:




Since the 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit Japan Saturday, social media has played a vital role in reconnecting victims with loved ones and providing real-time information about the crisis.


March 17, 2011

Facebook “Likes” More Profitable Than Tweets

by Avinash Saxena

If event registration site Eventbrite’s experience is any indication, social media marketers looking for monetary returns on their efforts might get more value from Facebook than Twitter.

The company announced Wednesday that an average tweet about an event drove 80 cents in ticket sales during the past six months, whereas an average Facebook Like drove $1.34.

The study, which used in-house social analytics tools to track ticket sales on the site, was a continuation of asimilar analysis the company released in October after analyzing data from a 12-week period. That study also indicated Facebook drove more sales for Eventbrite than Twitter, although the difference between the two networks’ sales per post was greater at that point than throughout the entire six-month period (the “value” of tweets increased).

In addition to each individual Facebook Like driving more sales than an individual tweet, the study also revealed cumulative activity on Facebook was greater than activity on Twitter for Eventbrite. People shared Eventbrite events on Facebook almost four times as often as they did on Twitter. The company attributes this disparity to Facebook’s wider reach and greater emphasis on real-world ties.

It’s important to note that only a very small percentage of site visitors shared event pages on either network. Just 1% of people who landed on an event page shared it with their friends; 10% of people who had purchased a ticket did the same.

Obviously people are more likely to share events if they are attending. Their friends, according to Eventbrite’s data, are also more likely to buy tickets to an event shared on Facebook by a ticket holder than one shared by an uncommitted friend. But whether these trends, or any of Eventbrite’s findings, are relevant to other types of purchases is still a matter of speculation. But Eventbrite is betting they are.

“We carefully track sharing behavior in an effort to help event organizers tap into a new world of distribution for their event promotion,” wrote Tamara Mendelsohn, Eventbrite’s director of marketing and former senior analyst at Forrester Research, in a blog post about the study. “But the findings apply broadly to all e-commerce businesses, because the foundation


March 16, 2011

Only 58% of Tweets Come From Official Twitter Apps

by Avinash Saxena

Only 58% of tweets come from official Twitter clients, according to new data from Sysomos, shedding some light on Twitter platform chief Ryan Sarver’s assertion last week that “90% of all active Twitter users use official Twitter apps on a monthly basis.”

While that 90% figure might very well be true, it doesn’t accurately reflect the popularity of third-party Twitter clients. Of the 25 million tweets sampled since Twitter released its API on March 11, 42% came from non-official apps, Sysomos finds.





The most popular third-party apps were TweetDeck, accounting for 5.5% of all tweets and 13.1% of all tweets from non-official apps, followed by UberSocial and Echofone, all of which are owned by UberMedia.

TweetDeck founder Iain Dodsworth was unable to confirm the findings, as the startup “no longer tracks [its] ecosystem share by the number of tweets sent,” he explained over e-mail. “Instead we focus on our active user number and various levels of engagement within TweetDeck, all of which show strong growth especially over the past six months,” he said.





So while it may be true that Twitter users log on to or the official Twitter application for iPhone a few times per month, third-party clients are still very popular, especially, as tweet percentages suggest, among the service’s heaviest users.

Nevertheless, Twitter has made it clear that it does not want developers to make Twitter clients any longer, citing the importance of providing a consistent user experience across all platforms. Whether Twitter will be able to improve its apps enough to draw users away from third-party clients organically, or will have to take stricter measures to eliminate the competition, remains to be seen.


March 16, 2011

Twitter Adds Permanent HTTPS Setting to Improve Security

by Avinash Saxena

Twitter has taken a big step towards improving account security with a new setting that permanently enables HTTPS.

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) allows encrypted communication between networks and users. It creates a secure tunnel through the inherently chaotic web, decreasing the chance that somebody will access a user’s account information on an open Wi-Fi network, for example.

Twitter has offered HTTPS access for some time. But starting today, users can activate HTTPS permanently by going to their settings and selecting “Always use HTTPS.” These users will always be logged into Twitter via HTTPS rather than the traditional HTTP method.

The company notes that its mobile website still can’t force HTTPS permanently. So users currently need to make sure they are logged into rather than if they want a secure connection. Twitter says it is working on a solution that will make the permanent HTTPS feature work on both its mobile website and


March 15, 2011

Foursquare Broadens API & Kicks Off Venue Project To Unify Place Databases

by Avinash Saxena

Foursquare co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley is taking the stage atSXSW this afternoon in an interview with Mashable founder and CEO Pete Cashmore. Crowley is announcing that the startup is broadening its API and kicking off the “Venue Project” to unify disparate place databases.

“Right now, there’s no Rosetta Stone for location allowing you to link information about a real-world place from one database to any other,” reads the Foursquare announcement on the Venue Project.

The problem, Crowley explained in an interview with Mashable, is that everyone has their own place database, and that means that Foursquare’s venue IDs — it now has 14 million places in its database — don’t match Google’s or Twitter’s venue IDs. “The Venue Harmonization Map aims to solve that, by translating those numbers so that you only have to look up the ID once,” according to the post.

Foursquare is launching the project with four partners: The New York TimesThrillist, MenuPages and New York Magazine. New Foursquare venue APIs will provide access to this communal database so partners can find and search places by third-party IDs and URLs.

It’s an aggressive endeavor that’s sure to ruffle a few feathers, as place databases are considered proprietary data by the companies who have spent years amassing them. Still, Crowley would love to eventually see bothGoogle and Twitter join the project.

During the keynote address, Crowley will also talk about how Foursquare is broadening its venues API. The startup is removing previous rate limits, releasing an API endpoint for trending venues and now allowing developers to use the API to tag photos as on Instagram, drinks via Untappd or any other data. Soon, Foursquare will also make APIs available for recommendations and the leaderboard.

The API and Venue Project news comes as the last piece of SXSW news for Foursquare. The startup has kicked off an automatic credit card swipe loyalty reward with American Express, launched version 3.0 of the app with recommendations and will be hosting a Big Boi concert later Monday evening.


March 14, 2011

Apple & Microsoft Take Different Approaches to Japan Relief

by Avinash Saxena
If you were trying to solicit donations for earthquake victims in Japan, what approach would you take? Take a look at how technology rivals Microsoft and Apple decided to handle this delicate situation.
First up, Microsoft. The company tweeted a plea on its Bing search engine Twitter account, offering to donate up to $100,000 for earthquake victims, but under one condition: that users would retweet the message, which would result in Microsoft increasing its donations by one dollar per retweet:
It’s straightforward enough, and sounds a lot like an offer we told you about yesterday from the nonprofit, offering to contribute $1 for each Facebook “Like” of its “Dog Bless You” Facebook fundraising page received. That seemed to go smoothly yesterday, where we heard a few complaints but overall the reaction was positive.
Microsoft’s idea was not so well-received. Shortly after the company initiated its fundraiser, a backlash began, where some called the scheme a crass marketing attempt, and comedian Michael Ian Black told his 1.6 million Twitter followers in no uncertain terms that Microsoft should “stop using tragedy as a f***ing marketing opportunity.” The company soon withdrew the deal, offering instead to simply donate the $100K:
Next up, Apple. Instead of offering to contribute anything to the earthquake victims, Apple set up a special place(iTunes link) in its iTunes store, promising to deliver 100% of any donations to the Red Cross to benefit Japan. Apple’s iTunes donation page makes it as easy to help earthquake victims as it is to buy iTunes music, where as you can see, the suggested donations are in amounts of $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 and $200:
So that’s Apple’s technique — not to actually donate money, but to encourage everyone else to stop by the iTunes Store (and perhaps buy something else while they’re there), and help the poor souls laid low by the tragic quake and its ominous nuclear aftermath. Of course, Apple is donating something with this deal, because it’s not free to move boatloads of cash from one place to another.
March 13, 2011


by Avinash Saxena

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