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Crowdsourced Commerce: The Stunning Simplicity of Fancy
July 11, 2013
Social commerce website Fancy has racked up $53 million in funding from investors including American Express and actor Will Smith, according to press reports citing a July 3 SEC filing. The company currently is valued at $600 million. Fancy reportedly brings in about $3 million per month, and its backers include Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey.
Digital Won't Kill the Book-Publishing Star
July 03, 2013
There's no question that books have gone digital. Sure, there are still paper books aplenty in a smattering of brick-and-mortar bookstores -- available through online outlets as well -- but there's no escaping the proverbial writing on the wall that book-selling behemoth Amazon.com now sells more electronic books than hardcover editions.
Local Firms Can Ignore Online Reviews at Their Peril
June 28, 2013
It's no secret that online reviews play a key role in consumers' purchase decisions, but that's increasingly true for local brands as well, according to a report published Tuesday by BrightLocal. More and more, consumers are using the Internet to find local businesses, according to the company's Local Consumer Review Survey 2013.
FTC Leans on Search Engines Over Ad Labeling
June 27, 2013
The Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection on Monday issued a letter to search engines including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, advising them to provide better labeling and notification of advertising that appears alongside search results. The letter is an update to guidelines issued in 2002. "We have observed a decline in compliance," the FTC explained.
Your Social Media Manager Needs to Know Your Business
June 20, 2013
We all know by now that social media is important for business success. It plays a role in sales, marketing and support. Then there's the idea of social CRM -- on a basic level, the inclusion of social media-generated data in the customer record -- which can help shift the way a business interacts with customers to a more intimate and effective level. That's common knowledge.
Instagram Video Could Be Facebook's Mobile Ace in the Hole
June 18, 2013
Buzz is building over Facebook's rumored plan to launch a mobile video app for Instagram at an event on Thursday. Video functionality in Instagram, the company Facebook purchased for $1 billion in April of last year, would be a direct challenge to Twitter's Vine app. Vine lets users take 6-second videos on iOS or Android devices and share them on Vine's own network, Twitter or Facebook.
Crowdsourcing Entertainment Marketing via Social Media
June 17, 2013
Movie studios and TV networks increasingly are turning to social media for help with generating buzz about their upcoming releases and programming. Communities are building around favorite movie franchises and TV shows. Have movie and show producers really been listening -- and if they have, has anything changed because of what they've heard? Yes -- and maybe.
Facebook Pushes Public Conversations with New Clickable Hashtags
June 13, 2013
Social media websites including Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr have all adopted the "clickable hashtag" widely popularized by Twitter, and on Wednesday Facebook joined the proverbial club. "To date, there has not been a simple way to see the larger view of what's happening or what people are talking about," explained Greg Lindley, a product manager at Facebook.
Facebook Pares Down Its Menu of Ad Options
June 08, 2013
Facebook will simplify its advertising structure in an effort to make it easier for marketers to determine which products will help them best reach consumers, the company announced this week. Advertisers currently face a choice of 27 different formats on the social network, but the streamlining effort will cut that back to fewer than half that number.
Twitter's Vine Climbs Over to Android
June 04, 2013
Twitter's Vine has sprouted on Android, allowing users to post 6-second videos with tweets. Vine became available for Apple's iOS months ago, but until now, Android users have been left out of the fun. Now they can get into the thick of it as well. "Android owners: Welcome to Vine," said Android engineer Sara Haider. "Starting today, you can begin to shoot, share and watch short looping videos."
Teens Starting to See Facebook as Old and Creepy
May 22, 2013
Facebook may have a budding problem on its hands with its teenagers, suggests a report released Tuesday by Pew Research Center. Teens expressed waning enthusiasm for Facebook in focus groups, according to Pew, saying they disliked the growing number of adults on the site, were annoyed by "inane" status updates, and viewed the drama commonly played out on Facebook as draining.
Pinterest Tacks On Brand-Friendly Features
May 20, 2013
Pinterest on Monday announced new features and relationships with brands that will bring more functionality to its pins. The features, according to the social bookmarking company, will make the pins more "useful." Pinterest introduced its new features in a Monday blog post. Pins now show more information, so users have more than photos to help them determine interest.
The End of Social Media Marketing's Wild West
May 01, 2013
The FTC recently updated its guidelines for online advertising to address the growth in mobile and social media marketing. Now a paid tweet has to begin with the word "ad," as obvious disclosure now must be included with all commercial speech. Is the link you're tweeting from an employer? A client? You have to mention that. The new rule: If money is changing hands, disclose it.
Salesforce Slips Social Ads Into Its Cloud Atlas
April 24, 2013
Salesforce.com expanded its advertising initiatives this week with the launch of Social.com, a platform designed to help brands tie ad campaigns to what's trending on social networks. The new platform bundles Salesforce.com features that resulted from the company's acquisitions of Buddy Media, a provider of Facebook ad software, and social media monitoring firm Radian6.
More A-List Brands Will Join the Tweet Chorus
April 23, 2013
Twitter will soon significantly expand its advertising reach after the social network agreed to a deal with Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Group, one of the world's largest advertising agencies. Starcom's top clients, which include Coca-Cola and Microsoft, will now win some of the premier advertising slots on Twitter. The two companies will also gain access to each other's demographic research and user data.
Cue the Video for Facebook's Maturing Ad Platform
April 18, 2013
Facebook may soon be adding video ads, a key step in the development of an advertising platform that needs to draw interest from brands that may have previously questioned its return on investment. Video ads could start to run on Facebook as early as June or July, according to published reports. Ad slots could be capped at 15 seconds.
Facebook Slices, Dices Consumers to Refine Ad Targeting
April 11, 2013
Facebook added another level of targeting to its advertising strategy Wednesday with the introduction of partner categories, a self-service feature that uses data collected from other channels to deliver ads on the social network. Partner categories will let advertisers target Facebook users based on browsing and purchase history, occupation, a wide range of specific interests, and location.
Boom Goes the Social Media Marketing Dynamite
April 09, 2013
Two-way social-media channels, like Twitter and Facebook, have changed forever the methods businesses use to communicate with their customers. Fading into the distance are the days of the one-sided official dispatch. Social media marketing has been welcomed with open arms into the fold, with corporations determined to make it an effective tool.
Facebook Home: Brilliant Stroke or Desperate Measure?
April 08, 2013
Political and economic news from around the globe may bombard us with annoying regularity here in the tech community, and as most of us know, the news is almost always bad. That, of course, is why it's such a good thing we have Facebook to filter out what we don't want to hear. It's also why we all waited in rapt attention for the Facebook Home announcement.
Marketo Winds Up for Risky IPO
April 03, 2013
Marketing automation company Marketo filed paperwork with the SEC on Tuesday to launch an initial public offering valued at $75 million. The company has not yet proposed a stock price. It does say in the filing that it is considered an "emerging growth company," and it plans to list on Nasdaq under the symbol "MKTO." The most telling portion of the filing was the company's description of risks.

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