Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “AT&T To Launch Groupon Competitor”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “AT&T To Launch Groupon Competitor”


AT&T To Launch Groupon Competitor

Posted: 03 May 2011 04:32 AM PDT


Add another big player to the list of Groupon competitors: AT&T.

The telecom giant Monday began pre-registration to consumers in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas-Fort Worth for a service via the company's yp.com that will send daily deals to consumers. The company is offering $10 toward the first Deal of the Day for those who sign up through May 22. The service is expected to go live in a few weeks.

Spokeswoman Dawn Benton says that initially the deals will be sent to users via email, but over time they will be broadcast to mobile phones as well. Benton says that the move is a "natural evolution" for AT&T. "Our Yellow Pages is a trusted brands that millions already turn to," she says.

AT&T's not the first to eye Groupon's business, which has put the company on track for an IPO possibily in the $25 billion range. Google just got into the daily deals business itself with Google Offers and other major players, including Facebook and Groupon's biggest pure-play rival LivingSocial. AT&T's ShopAlert also texts information about nearby deals to consumers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

Image courtesy of Online MBA.com

More About: att, facebook, Google Offers, groupon, LivingSocial

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Sony Admits Another Hacker Attack, 24.6 Million User Accounts Compromised

Posted: 03 May 2011 02:08 AM PDT


After a recent hacker attack, which took down the Sony PlayStation Network for an extended period of time, Sony has admitted that hackers have broken into its servers on April 16th and 17th, 2011 and may have stolen personal user data.

This time, hackers targeted the accounts of Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) users; according to Sony, they may have stolen personal data from approximately 24.6 million SOE accounts, as well as some of the data from an outdated database from 2007. This database includes approximately “12,700 non-U.S. credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates (but not credit card security codes), and about 10,700 direct debit records of certain customers in Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Spain.”

The personal data from the SOE accounts includes name, address, e-mail address, birth date, gender, phone number, login name and hashed password. The data from the 10,700 debit card records that may have been stolen by hackers includes bank account number, customer name, account name and customer address.

While its investigating this newly discovered attacks, SOE has shut down all servers related to SOE services. Sony has apologized to its customers for any inconvenience and promised to send emails to all costumers whose data may have been stolen. The company will also compensate customers one day for each day its service has been down, and grant them 30 days of additional time on their subscriptions.

More About: data theft, hacker, hackers, sony, Sony Online Entertainment

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Long-Form Journalism on Post-Disaster Japan Published by Startup

Posted: 03 May 2011 12:42 AM PDT


In the space between long-form, nonfiction books and short-form magazine articles, a multitude of stories exist. All in the 10,000- to 35,000-word range, these stories are waiting to be told and published in a timely fashion.

These stories were the inspiration for Byliner, a modern-day publishing house and discovery aide concentrating in narrative journalism.

Tuesday, Byliner is releasing its second compelling and original work of non-fiction: Into the Forbidden Zone: A Trip Through Hell and High Water in Post-Earthquake Japan by National Book Award winner William T. Vollmann.


Byliner: Behind the Scenes


Byliner’s mission is to produce great stories by great writers, stories that can be read in a single sitting. Byliner Originals, the startup’s digitally published works of nonfiction, are available for $2.99 each as Amazon Singles and are readable on most tablets, ereaders and mobile devices.

Three Cups of Deceit, by esteemed author Jon Krakauer was Byliner’s inaugural story. It proved this unconventional publishing paradigm works. The story, a bonafide instant hit, exposes Three Cups of Tea author and self-professed humanitarian Greg Mortenson as a fraud who lied to his readers and misappropriated millions of dollars in donations for his own personal gain.

Krakauer’s research and article served as the basis for a recent 60 Minutes story on Mortenson. The subject matter of the work and the broadcast story resulted in more than 70,000 downloads of Krakauer’s narrative in the first 72 hours after its release. The title has since continued to become Amazon’s number one best-selling non-fiction title eleven days running.

Into the Forbidden Zone’s subject matter is equally relevant. In fact, timeliness is Byliner’s essential value. CEO John Tayman, a magazine editor, journalist and author by trade, describes Byliner Originals as purposefully not being weighed down by the cumbersome infrastructure of conventional publishing companies.

An editorial team develops ideas for narratives they believe should be told. They then work to secure the authors most appropriate for each story, provide them with competitive assignment fees, and (as was the case with Vollmann) send them on-location to draft a narrative. Upon publication, authors receive a 50-50 split of the proceeds.


Into the Forbidden Zone


Now, Byliner is ready to repeat history with the release its second Byliner Original. Into the Forbidden Zone, for sale Tuesday, is a 20,000 word narrative that chronicles life, survivor stories and radiation levels in a post-disaster Japan.

“It was obvious that what was occurring in Japan was going to be an important story for the year,” Tayman says of Byliner’s interest in the Japan narrative. “We wanted to get a writer on that story while it was still current.”

Vollmann was sent to Japan for a two-week period following the devastating earthquake and tsunami. The fruits of his first-hand experience were weaved into “an unbelievably powerful and crafted piece of reportage,” as Tayman describes it.


Non-Fiction & Narrative Discovery


Though quick to publish long-form journalism, Tayman insists that Byliner Originals are far from rushed. “The story goes through intensive and important editorial work,” he says. “We craft the story.”

The format even allows for up-to-the-last-minute reporting. Krakauer, for instance, was adding new material and fresh reporting just hours before Three Cups of Deceit was published, Tayman says.

Byliner’s nouveau publishing house, a remarkable undertaking of its own, is only half of this startup’s story. Byliner promises to find readers something good to read and it will do so with the pending release of Byliner.com.

Byliner.com will be dedicated to voracious and curious readers that hang on the words of their favorite authors or are in search of undiscovered gems from the past. On Byliner.com, readers will have access to the best 25,000 feature articles ever written, as curated by site editors, says Tayman.

“That might be a new article, a classic article or an article by a writer that a reader has not discovered,” he says.

The nonfiction discovery tool, launching in a few weeks’ time, will enable communities of readers to form around narratives and authors.

Altogether, Tayman sees Byliner Originals and Byliner.com as helping readers experience the sensation of reading a story in all its parts — beginning, middle and end. He likens the experience to the elation of leaving a movie theater after consuming an engaging film.

“There’s nothing like the spell that a good writer can cast,” he says.

More About: byliner, Into the Forbidden Zone, journalism, publishing, publishing platform, startup, Three Cups of Deceit

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Localmind Uses Foursquare & Facebook Checkins for Q&A Platform

Posted: 02 May 2011 11:39 PM PDT


The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: Localmind

Quick Pitch: Localmind gives you the ability to know what’s happening at any place you care about.

Genius Idea: Adding a Q&A layer on top of checkins.


While no single checkin application has seen truly mass adoption, the combined user base of these apps means at any given time, someone somewhere in the world is probably checked in at a venue you want to know more about. At least, that’s the premise behind Localmind.

Localmind, a startup with apps for web, iPhone and Android, is essentially a question-and-answer layer that sits on top of Foursquare, Facebook Places and Gowalla. Sign up with Localmind, connect to one or more services, and the next time you check in, you could be fed a question about that venue from another curious user.

“The basic idea of Localmind is to give you the ability to ask a question of someone checked in at any location,” explains co-founder Lenny Rachitsky.

For instance, imagine you want to know about the wait time at a nearby restaurant or get the scoop on the always-trendy bar downtown. Pop on to Localmind and ping a person checked in at the venue with your question. The individual will then receive your query via SMS or push notification and can clue you into what’s happening at that place it that moment.

“The power of Localmind,” says Rachitsky, “is you can get remote omniscience. You can see what’s happening anywhere in the world through other people’s eyes.”

While Localmind may have local inquisitors in mind, it caters to users in far-away places as well. After the Japan earthquake and tsunami, for instance, Localmind users were pinging those checked in to nearby areas with questions about conditions and about their well-being. App users even started sending questions to individuals checked in at Ground Zero following news of Osama Bin Laden’s death Sunday evening.

Localmind’s asking-questions-of-strangers approach is a bit more purposeful than the random location-based chat engineered by other startups like Yobongo.

After building Assisted Serendipity to alert Foursquare users about male-to-female ratios at venues, Rachitsky found himself thinking about more meaningful ways to use checkin data.

“I kept thinking about the power of the data available,” says Rachitsky. “I knew there was more we could do than to tell people when they should go pick up girls.”

This time around Rachitsky saw an opportunity to build a business around the checkin-based Q&A service idea. Rachitsky and his co-founder Beau Haugh took the concept to Montreal incubator Year One Labs. The pair launched Localmind in February, released an iPhone application at SXSW and followed up with a beta Anrdoid app just two weeks ago.

Localmind’s next adventure will be in fundraising. The startup also plans to help uncover more ways for people to connect around checkins.


Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark


Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

More About: bizspark, checkins, Localmind, questions, spark-of-genius, startup, year one labs

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Google Named Most Reputable Company in U.S.

Posted: 02 May 2011 11:07 PM PDT


Google has topped a list of the most reputable companies in the U.S., according to a Harris Interactive poll.

Harris Interactive asked more than 30,000 respondents to identify the 60 most visible companies in the U.S. and rate them based on 20 different attributes, including financial performance, emotional appearance, social responsibility and leadership.

Technology companies dominated the top of the list. At number one is Google, which Harris Interactive rates at an 84.05/100 on the reputation scale (80.0 and higher is consider “excellent”). Other notable tech companies making the top of the list were Apple (#5), Intel (#6), Amazon (#8), Sony (#14) and Microsoft (#16), all of whom received a rating higher than 80.

Rounding out the bottom of the list were insurance conglomerates, banks, and oil companies. AIG received the worst reputation ranking with a 47.77. BP, the company responsible for the worst oil spill in history, had the second-worst ranking. Other companies that made the bottom tier of Harris Interactive’s list include Comcast, Delta Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, ExxonMobile, General Motors, Bank of America, Chrysler, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

Despite government investigations and privacy concerns, the world’s largest search engine still enjoys a supremely positive image in the eyes of its millions of users. Do you think the company deserves it? Let us know in the comments.

More About: amazon, apple, Google, Harris Interactive, intel, microsoft, sony

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Adobe CS5.5 Available for Download Now

Posted: 02 May 2011 10:12 PM PDT


Adobe has just broken the seal on Creative Suite 5.5, the latest installment of its design and development software.

Of course, the new release brings the usual round-up of improvements and tweaks, but the fireworks in CS5.5 lie in the suite’s new HTML5 and mobile app-specific capabilities.

CS5.5 is the highly anticipated follow-up to the company’s CS5, which was released in April 2010. CS5.5 includes updated version of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Flash Builder Premium, Flash Catalyst, Flash Professional, Dreamweaver, Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects.

The new software has been hyped for its HTML5 and Flash authoring features, its video production and editing innovations, and its digital publishing capabilities. Adobe is touting this version of Creative Suite as the best it’s yet delivered for cross-platform web, mobile and tablet design and development.

Adobe has for some time been focused on relevance in a rapidly evolving mobile-development market. It’s positioned AIR and Flash as ideal tools for mobile devs and designers. The company is particularly excited about the implications for tablet development using the Folio Producer toolset, stating that publishers such as Condé Nast and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia have used Creative Suite 5.5 to “create beautiful interactive publications on the latest tablet platforms.”

Designers and devs, you know the drill: Go download your free trial and let us know what you think of CS5.5.

Here’s Adobe’s whirlwind overview of CS5.5 if you need more convincing:

More About: adobe, Creative Suite, cs5.5

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XYDO Prioritizes & Organizes News Shared on Twitter & Facebook

Posted: 02 May 2011 09:11 PM PDT


Social news site XYDO, launching publicly Tuesday, aims to prioritize and organize online news based on each user’s social graph and interests.

“What we’re trying to do with XYDO is build a social network around news,” explains co-founder Cameron Brain. “We want to take what Digg and Reddit started and bring the idea into the modern generation.”

XYDO gathers news from tens of thousands of online sources, matches articles against what users are sharing and talking about on Facebook and Twitter, and then sorts pages by vote counts. Total vote count includes onsite upvotes as well as Facebook or Twitter shares. The user can view news made by popular by the entire XYDO network, see stories popular in their social graph or view trending news items by topic.

The site’s structure allows users to browse unlimited news items without ever having to submit stories manually. Instead, XYDO automatically considers the user’s social shares elsewhere on the web as news submissions, tallies the shares and then ranks and prioritizes them based on the user’s specified interests.

“It’s easy for people to find the best content in the world, organized by the subjects they care about,” co-founder and CEO Eric Roach says.

XYDO is equal parts automation and human curation. The founders describe it as Quora meets Digg, or rather Quora meets Techmeme. “XYDO has the social structure of a Quora; but from a content perspective, it’s about delivering the best human-curated content,” says Roach.

Brain and Roach will need to come up with a few not-so-tech-insider comparisons should they wish to sell the idea to a crowd outside the technology industry. Early adopters may recall that in 2008, Socialmedian, a site also trafficking in social news, was a favorite of the social media elite but faded into obscurity months later.

The social graph wasn’t around three years ago, the co-founders say, at least not in the way it exists today. “There’s a significant difference between the amount and type of data that you could use to build a social network for news then as opposed to now,” says Brain.

XYDO’s unique social sharing and news matching component, which the founders believe humanize the experience, is also noteworthy. “Nothing enters XYDO unless it touches a real person,” explains Brain.

XYDO’s launch may also get an accidental helping hand at Digg’s expense, especially since the new site could prove a powerful assistant for publishers looking to make up pageviews they once found via Digg. The co-founders report that most users are clicking through to the original source of the stories they discover.

XYDO has signed up more than 7,000 private beta users, mostly by way of friend-to-friend invitations. The audience translates to a combined social graph or “meta network” — considering each user’s Facebook and Twitter connections — of more than 1.1 million contributors adding to XYDO’s social network news.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, kyoshino

More About: social graph, social network, social news, startup, xydo

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The Hangover Sequel Launches SCVNGR Hunt at 7-Eleven

Posted: 02 May 2011 08:39 PM PDT


The Hangover Part II doesn't hit theaters until May 26, but consumers can start playing along Monday in a SCVNGR promotion at 7-Eleven.

The convenience store chain is hosting a mobile scavenger hunt based on the application. To play, consumers download the app and then amass points by checking in to stores and completing tasks for points, like taking a picture with a Super Big Gulp featuring a character from the movie. Fans can cash in points for prizes including temporary tattoos, T-shirts, 7-Eleven gift cards, movie tickets and a chance to win a Las Vegas trip.

Another component of the 7-Eleven tie-in includes a Get Well Card app on 7-Eleven's Facebook Page where fans can make and send a card by choosing a message and still from the movie.

The original Hangover, released in 2009, grossed more than $467 million, and there's a lot of interest in the sequel. The trailer for the film has gotten more than 3 million views on YouTube.

SCVNGR, which just completed a promotion with Reebok, helped publicize a movie opening before. It ran challenges based on Eat Pray Love last year.

Meanwhile, a brand that didn’t tie in with The Hangover or The Hangover Part II is attempting to get in on the action as well. Hotels.com has launched an online promotion called Trip Your Face that lets you superimpose your Facebook profile picture and those of up to three friends into a game that, like the movie, challenges you to piece together the events of the previous night.

More About: 7-Eleven, Hotels.com, MARKETING, scvngr, The Hangover

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How the Social Web Reflected on Bin Laden’s Death

Posted: 02 May 2011 07:59 PM PDT


What a difference ten years makes. In the past 24 hours, a resource we didn’t even have a decade ago has become a primary medium — not only for finding out about important news but also for sharing it and reacting to it.

News of terrorist Osama bin Laden’s death has been spreading across the social web with a speed and volume only seen in the most dramatic world events. In fact, many of you heard the news via Twitter or Facebook before turning to traditional news sources.

You might have even turned to such services to express your feelings about the news, as well.

We’ve written a lot about the social web’s reaction to bin Laden’s destruction. Here’s a round-up showing how various services were used over the past 24 hours to spread news, to connect people and to allow us to express our mixed emotions of elation, anger, and — for some — doubt over one of 2011′s biggest news stories.


Social Media's Reaction to Bin Laden's Death




In a Mashable poll of 20,000 readers, the majority of you said you found out about the death through Twitter or Facebook.


Social Media's Reaction to Bin Laden's Death




As news of bin Laden's death began to spread, Twitter usage swelled with links, rumors, and reports about the raid.


Social Media's Reaction to Bin Laden's Death




Sunday night, Foursquare users around the world began creating and checking into locations with names like "Osama bin Gonathon."


Social Media's Reaction to Bin Laden's Death




But not all social media users were jubilant. Sunday night, a Facebook page called "Osama bin Laden is DEAD" went viral -- but the page advocates the belief that bin Laden had been dead for a long time before the raid and presidential address.


Social Media's Reaction to Bin Laden's Death




We all wanted to be part of and take part in the news. Path told The New York Times that 20% of pics uploaded Sunday night were bin Laden-related, and Instagram said it saw a 35% increase in uploads.


Social Media's Reaction to Bin Laden's Death




Monday, the White House released photos of the President and other security staffers watching reports from the raid as it unfolded. The public, anxious for more proof of bin Laden's death, responded strongly.


Social Media's Reaction to Bin Laden's Death




Google Maps was updated with a (likely inaccurate) pinpoint for bin Laden's last hideout. Maps users begin posting "reviews" to the Place page.


Social Media's Reaction to Bin Laden's Death




YouTube ended up being an important destination for citizen and professional journalists, as well as an outlet for the crowds gathering to celebrate bin Laden's downfall. Organizations such as the Associated Press and ABC News were using YouTube to spread important news.


Social Media's Reaction to Bin Laden's Death




Some search engine stats aren't yet available, but Yahoo revealed that a news-hungry public was searching for bin Laden-related articles.


Social Media's Reaction to Bin Laden's Death




Between the event that sparked our decade-long search for bin Laden and the event that ended it, we've come to rely on the Internet as a trusted, timely and always-on news source. Bin Laden's demise cause a huge surge in web traffic overall.


More Stories About Osama Bin Laden’s Death


More About: bin laden, osama, osama bin laden, social media

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70+ Upcoming Social Media & Tech Events

Posted: 02 May 2011 07:19 PM PDT

social_media_events_guide1

Every week, Mashable puts together a calendar of upcoming social media and web events, parties and conferences.

Here are some tips on how to network, share your information and/or promote your event(s) using social media:

Mashable’s Weekly Social Media and Marketing Event Guide is proudly supported by Eventbrite, the Web’s Event Marketplace.

Upcoming Mashable Events

Mashable Connect — May 12-14, 2011, Orlando, FL:

Mashable Connect 2011 will be an intimate experience that brings together leaders from the digital world for a weekend away to share and connect offline. Set away from the distractions of traditional conferences, Mashable Connect will recreate the Mashable web experience on the grounds of Disney World, creating an environment where attendees can truly engage and build lasting connections. The invite-only conference will cover new territory, break news and feature special events, with a touch of Disney magic.


May 1-3, 2011, Washington, D.C.: Under the theme 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers, World Press Freedom Day will affirm fundamental principles of media freedom in the digital age—the ability of citizens to voice their opinions and access diverse, independent information sources—20 years after the original declaration was made. Professional and citizen journalists struggling to promote accountable governments and informed publics will look for support and inspiration, as the panels highlight innovative media platforms that are democratizing how people gain and share information – rights that now more than ever must be protected. For more information and to register, please click here.


May 2-4, 2011, Toronto, Canada: Now in its 10th year, FITC Toronto is one of the largest and longest running events of its kind in the world. With some of the most unique and engaging presenters from around the globe, FITC Toronto is a blitz of presentations, demonstrations, and panel discussions, sandwiched between the legendary FITC parties and abundant networking opportunities. Register with the promo code Mashable10 and save 10%!


May 2-3, 2011, Chicago, IL: At Technology Driven Market Research, the focus is on presenting ground-breaking tools and technologies that are being used NOW and those on the horizon. These technologies are enabling “in the moment” research to more clearly understand consumer behavior. Through real-world experienced based presentations, this event will look at brand-mind placement, eye tracking research in a virtual retail environment, social gaming as a research device, and social and mobile analysis plus much more. Register with the promo code TDMR11MASH and save 20% off the standard rate.


May 3-7, 2011, London, UK: Digital Shoreditch is the voice of everything happening in Shoreditch. The festival explores and celebrates digital technologies; unites the digital community; and provides a platform for sharing knowledge. The activity culminates in a series of exhibitions, parties, presentations, open studios and games.


May 4, 2011, New York, NY: Co-created by Jeff Pulver of the 140Conf organization and Fashion Snoops, Fashion140 is a brave collaborative inquiry into how the real time web and social media are reshaping the fashion and style-related industries, now!. With over 50 speakers from Facebook, Twitter, Google Boutiques, Gilt Group, Urban Outfitters, Bonobos, Hautelook, Kmart Fashion, Miss Universe, Time Inc and many others, our goal is to create together a unique global perspective of the fashion industry and its future. For more information and to register, please click here.


May 4, 2011, Washington, D.C.: ConAgra Foods, United Health Group, the IRS, the U.S. Navy, and more will share case studies in corporate social media at BlogWell Washington, D.C.: How Big Brands Use Social Media. You’ll learn how to get started, get past roadblocks, and make your social media program phenomenal — in one afternoon, for just $250. Get practical, how-to advice on creating great content, getting management buy-in, educating employees, keeping lawyers and regulators happy, simple and ethical disclosure, and engaging fans. Presented by GasPedal and SocialMedia.org. Register with promo code THANKSMASHABLE and save 10%!


May 5, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Social-Loco will convene thought leaders in social web, mobile and location-based commerce at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco. Leading pundits, executives and investors will dive into what the convergence of social and mobile web technologies means for SMB, big brands and consumers. Confirmed speakers include Emily White, Sr. Director of Local, Facebook; Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay and author of The Facebook Era; Robert Scoble, Managing Director at Rackspace; John Battelle, CEO of Federated Media and more. Register with the promo code mashable20 and save 20%!


May 5, 2011, New York, NY: DIGIDAY:TARGET will bring together the leading agency, brands, content and technology companies to examine and explore the innovations and the future of the audience targeting and measurement for media and marketing to consumers. The event will take a deep dive into the issues brands and agencies face as they enter this next frontier of advertising and marketing to improve their bottom line. Attendees will learn about the latest advances in cross platform technology, targeting, strategies, tactics that agencies, publishers, and brands can use to improve their communication and ROI among today’s consumers who spend more of their lives in the digital space.


May 9-11, 2001, Chicago, IL: School of WOM is the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s annual spring conference. School of WOM will provide marketers with in-depth practical knowledge on the arts and sciences of Word of Mouth and Social Media marketing. School of WOM attendees learn the techniques, methods, and processes that are being implemented into your business practices today that they can bring back and implement tomorrow. At School of WOM, you’ll learn to stay ahead of the competition and ensure your company remains talkable for all the right reasons. Go to www.womma.org for more information. Register and use code the promo code WOMMASOWMASH when registering for the event.


May 9-11, 2011, Minneapolis, MN: Content strategy is the next big thing. Is it your thing, too? Whether you’re a content strategy veteran or curious about where to start, Confab: The Content Strategy Conference is for you. Real-world case studies from major companies like Disney, eBay, Facebook and Merck. Hands-on workshops. All the experts. Mix and mingle with other content strategists. Share your insights. Hear the insights of others. Plus, there will be some fantastic parties. Get ahead of the curve in your business and career … come to Confab: The Content Strategy Conference. Register with the promo code MASHABLE and save $150.


May 9, 2011, San Francisco, CA: The SF MusicTech Summit brings together 800+ visionaries in the music and technology space, along with the brightest developers, entrepreneurs, investors, musicians, service providers, and journalists who work with them at the convergence of culture and commerce. We meet to discuss the evolving music/business/technology ecosystem in a proactive environment. Mashable readers can receive an exclusive 10% discount when they register and use the promo code Mashable. For more information and to register, please visit http://sfmusictech.com.


May 9, 2011, New York, NY: TEDxEast, the largest independently organized TEDx event in NYC is now accepting applications for its next day-long conference themed "Tinker, Noodle, Obsess," to be held at The Times Center in the NY Times building. An inspiring group of influential thoughts leaders and innovators will explore the things that capture our attention and get stuck in our heads or under our skin. The speakers come from diverse backgrounds, each representing the point of view of someone who "tinkers," "noodles" or "obsesses" with a particular topic or idea. Pre-event parties and networking opportunities are part of registration. For more information and to register, please click here.


May 10-12, 2011, London, UK: Internet World 2011 is the industry event for digital marketing and online business. With unrivalled Keynotes, including speakers from Facebook, Google, Nike, eBay and many more, it's the only place to get exclusive insight… all for free! With over 300 solution providers and more than 100 seminars, Internet World attracts over 12,000 visitors, combining five shows in one event for your one-stop-shop covering all things new media. Register now to help formulate the future digital agenda.


May 10-11, 2011, Hollywood, FL: Following an incredible inaugural year in 2010, the annual Social Media Customer Response Summit is back with more excitement and even better sessions addressing the industry's key issues. This year’s theme will focus on ideas surrounding how corporate America is responding to emerging ‘Customer Response’ channels through social media, web 2.0, video streaming and mobile applications. During this two-day seminar, attendees will be able to listen, learn and collaborate with prominent industry leaders such as Bob Simmonds of Disney, David Thornton of Bank of America, Robert Lamb of AT&T, and Jim Moloney of General Motors on the challenges/benefits with using an ‘interactive social media customer response strategy,’ and what technological developments will continue to affect the industry, plus much more. C-Level executives interested in attending can find more information about the Summit’s Agenda & Registration at customerresponsesummit.com.


May 11-12, 2011, Amsterdam: iStrategy is an inspirational, 2-day, digital media conference for senior executives who believe that the success of their business requires a sound digital strategy. iStrategy has recruited keynote speakers, panelists, workshop facilitators and attendees with expertise in the online channels that drive successful outcomes and tools that provide ongoing measurement including: Social Media, Mobile Marketing and Applications, Display Advertising, SEO/SEM, Email Marketing, Database Marketing, Web Analytics, E-commerce and Content Strategy. Register with the promo code MASHEU10 to receive a 10% discount.


May 12-14, 2011, Chicago, IL: unGeeked Elite Retreats brings together 24 speakers over the course of three days. The format is “open discussion”. The topics focus on enhancing, positioning and leveraging both the internal and external brand. PPTs and Prezi’s are strongly discouraged and instead, on-going and intimate discussions among keynotes, regional speakers and attendees are encouraged. Speakers include: Amanda Hite, Jason Falls, Oliver Blanchard, Spike Jones, and Anita Campbell. Register with the promo code unGeekedChicago and save 5% off regular ticket price. Tickets includes the latest book from Olivier Blanchard and entry into the Chris Brogan Roast.


May 12-14, 2011, Chicago, IL: unGeeked Elite Retreats will be held at the SYNCUBATOR and brings together 24 speakers over the course of three days. The format is styled as an “open discussion” with topics centered around enhancing, positioning and leveraging boththe internal and external brand. PPTs and Prezi’s are strongly discouraged and instead, on-going and intimate discussions among keynotes, regional speakers and attendees are encouraged. Speakers include Julian Smith, Jason Falls, Spike Jones, Amanda Hite and more. Register with promo code unGeekedChi and save 5% off regular ticket price.


May 12-13, 2011, Seattle, WA: As companies like Netflix, Zynga, AT&T and Disney Gaming start embracing HTML5 for their native and web based games and apps on platforms as diverse as Playstation, iOS and Google TV, then whether you’re a web, mobile, or casual game developer, it’s time to start taking HTML5 seriously. This is what Unplugged is all about. So, to keep up to date with this increasingly indispensable technology, come to Seattle in May, and learn from world leading experts in mobile and app design and development. Mashable readers can save $100 when registering with the promo code Mashable – just $695 before April 31st!


May 16-19, 2011, Prague, Czech Republic: The TERENA Networking Conference (TNC) is the largest and most prestigious European research networking conference – over 500 participants, including decision makers, networking specialists and managers from all major European networking and research organisations, universities, worldwide sister institutions and industry representatives attend. Through keynote speeches by renowned specialists and many parallel sessions, TNC presents an overview of the latest developments in research networking, both in the technical field and in the areas of application and management. For more information, click here.


May 16-18, 2011, London, UK: The Future of Web Design (FOWD) hits London again this May! Following on from the success of last year, we’re bringing you 3 full days of essential web learning: a day of in-depth workshops, followed up by a two day conference, covering all of the hottest topics across two stages. Big names, rising stars, great networking opportunities and some fabulous catering thrown in for good measure. Hope you can join us!


May 16-17, 2011, Atlanta, GA: Digital Summit 2011 will feature over 100 speakers and an audience of over 1,000 internet execs, entrepreneurs and senior marketers. Join dozens of industry leaders and innovators in the conversation on topics such as Social Media, Mobile, Cloud Computing, Online Advertising, Analytics, Search, Video, Ecommerce and more. Top brands and thought leaders converge on one of America’s Most Wired Cities. Register and use the promo code MASH for 20% off.


May 17-19, 2011, Boston, MA: In the ever changing world of social media and mobile marketing organizations are finding it difficult to navigate the complicated legal waters. At the 2011 Social Media Legal Risks and Strategies Summit, attendee's will have the opportunity to learn practical strategies for staying compliant with regulations and safeguarding against legal risks. During this 3 day summit attendee's will learn, first hand, from top legal minds from such brands as, The Walt Disney Company, General Mills, General Electric and The Better Business Bureau. Register and use the promo code MikeSM to receive a discount. http://socialmedialegalrisks.com


May 17-19, 2011, London, UK: The World E-Reading Congress brings together digital and print publishers with e-reading platforms and device manufacturers to discuss the business models and opportunities provided by the growth of the e-reading industry. Publishers must be prepared for this dramatic industry upheaval. They must learn how to embrace this disruptive technology and the World E-Reading Congress will enable them to discover how they can profit from the E-Reading revolution. Visit our website for more information and register before January to save 10%!


May 17-18, 2011, Sydney, Australia: With an estimated 200,000 loyalty programs currently operating in Australia, it is vital for businesses to understand how to make their brand stand out from the crowd. More than ever, your success hinges on your ability to gain a greater understanding of your customers’ wants and needs.Traditional modes of marketing have evolved and it is necessary to embrace more personalised communications across numerous channels. The Customer Loyalty 2011 Conference is a case-study driven program that will explore different strategies to add the value that your customers want from your loyalty initiative. It will discuss evolving definitions of best practice in loyalty marketing and help you make your mark in this evolving multichannel landscape. Register with the promo code CC*MASHABLE and save 10%!


May 18-19, 2011, Boston, MA: Text analytics has grown from an interesting but little known software application into an invaluable commercial tool being used by businesses worldwide. Forward thinking executives across a myriad of industries are using text analytics solutions to increase efficiency and unlock essential information that they never had access to before. Whether you are a software developer, an experienced analytics user, or new to the text analytics industry, the Text Analytics Summit is the only place to get the information that you need to stay ahead of the competition and profit from text mining. Register and use the promo code mashable to save 10%.


May 18, 2011, London, UK: The International Search Summit is partnering with SMX to run its global search and social media program at SMX Advanced in London. Focusing specifically on international and multilingual topics, the summit will run on 18th May and give delegates the opportunity to attend both events in just one trip and on one pass. Topics at the Summit will include international link building, managing global content, international SEO case studies and emerging markers. The agenda will be regularly updated with confirmed speakers. Combo or Summit only tickets are available. Early Bird rates apply and Mashable readers can get a 15% discount on the booking price with the discount code MASHABLE011. For more information and to register, please click here.


May 19-20, 2011, Miami, FL: Following the success of the 2010 edition, LBS LATAM returns in 2011 to continue the discussions and thought provoking market topics of interest. Responding to industry demands, the conference will be held for two days in Miami, Florida. For more information, please click here.


May 20-22, 2011, Ft. Lauderdale, FL: SheCon’s 2011 New Media Expo is the industry’s first free, three-day social media event that is bringing together some of the industry’s most renowned experts to condense a four-year journalism school experience into three days of new media sessions, with sessions and panels ranging from general to specific, niche market discussions. Combined with the educational sessions, the expo will bring together a diverse group of exhibitors that will be focusing on a brand integration, rather than forced brand interaction, concept for engaging and building relationships with attendees.


May 23-24, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Produced by Mediabistro and SocialTimes, Socialize Media Optimization Conference (SMOC) is a two-day event dedicated to social media optimization and social advertising. Boost search engine visibility, increase linkability, and fuel your readers' desire to share your content. Industry leaders will also show you how to get results whenadvertising on the social web in terms of strategy, targeting, privacy, and metrics. Our experts include Brian Solis (author, Engage), Rohit Bhargava (SVP, Digital, Strategy & Planning Group), Gary Ware (Covario), and many more. Register and use the promo code MASH to save 15%.


May 23, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Hosted by Our Social Times, Social Media Marketing & Monitoring 2011 will bring together leading marketing and PR experts, brands, agencies and journalists for an intensive one-day conference. Following this sell-out event last year, join us for an update on the latest strategies, tools and techniques in social media marketing. Topics include: community management; blogger outreach; influencer analysis and engagement; Twitter marketing; geo-location marketing; social gaming; social media monitoring and Social CRM. Register and use the promo code Mash1 to save 10%.


May 24-26, 2011, New York, NY: BlogWorld & New Media Expo is the first and only industry-wide conference, tradeshow and media event dedicated to blogging, podcasting, social media, social networking, online video, music, Internet TV and radio. BlogWorld conference attendees enjoy more than 120 cutting-edge educational sessions presented by industry leaders, while New Media Expo provides the only industry-wide new media marketplace for networking, online business and marketing resources. Social Media Business Summit, exclusive to BlogWorld, is the world's largest social media business conference where business owners, marketing executives and global brands learn strategies, tools and technologies to grow their businesses with social media. Register at blogworldexpo.com with the promo code MASH20 to save 20% off the ticket price!


May 24-26, 2011, San Francisco, CA: All About the Cloud — Save $100 with the promo code PRMMASH to attend the software industry's leading ISV conference on Cloud Computing. (Note: discount valid off the individual non-member rate only and does apply to current attendees.) You'll join an anticipated audience of more than 500 senior executives from ISVs, resellers, and platform / technology providers, as well as the industry's leading analysts, bankers, venture capitalists and the media. Key networking events include: a Golf Tournament, a Speed Networking Event, a Mardi Gras-themed Welcome Reception and an offsite Networking Reception featuring the Microsoft Rock Band Challenge. For details, including registration information, please visit AllAbouttheCloud.net.


May 24-26 2011, Gateshead, UK: Thinking Digital is an annual conference where the world’s greatest thinkers and innovators discuss the latest ideas, innovations and technologies. The conference provides an experience like no other, stimulating new thinking and new ideas. It's about what you'll learn, and who you'll meet. Our eclectic schedule means you'll listen to world-class authorities, meet amazing people, be entertained and outrageously inspired! When you leave Thinking Digital you'll know about things that you previously didn't even realise existed and have become part of our unique community. Register with the promo code TDCMASH and save 10%.


May 25-27, 2011, Portland, OR: WebVisions explores the future of web design, technology, user experience and business strategy in a punchy, new format! The all-star lineup of speakers includes author Douglas Rushkoff, design strategist David Armano, mobile researcher Rachel Hinman, usability expert Jared Spool, design ethnographer Kelly Goto and many more. Take advantage of package deals for workshops and conference passes, discounts on hotels, and networking events and after hour parties. Register here and save up to 30% off the Standard Admission rates! rates.


May 25, 2011, London, UK: The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards aim to showcase genuine innovation in corporate sustainability and reward those who take sustainability to the very heart of their business. Enter the awards today at guardian.co.uk/gsb-awards to get the recognition you deserve. Winners will be invited to a ceremony held in London in May and will feature in a supplement published on guardian.co.uk. All entries meeting the criteria will be added to the new Guardian Sustainable Business best practice exchange – an online database allowing sustainability professionals to share their learning. Enter before February 7th at guardian.co.uk/gsb-awards.


May 29-30, 2011, Dubai, UAE: Social Media Marketing – The Way Forward – It is undeniable that social media has fundamentally transformed and evolved the architecture of business, communications, and the dissemination of information and influence. In July 2010, Facebook announced it had over 500 million users worldwide,of which at least 15 million were in Middle East.Survey findings also indicated that one out of five Facebook users is from Asia or Middle East. Participants at this two-day conference will be exposed to the intricacies of corporate social media strategies tailored for your industry. Participants would gain insights to maximizing the usage of social and establishing and maintaining a good relationship with consumers, thus effectively introducing their brands online and engaging long-term relationship with the audience. For more information, please click here.


June 3-4, 2011, Victoria, BC, Canada: Last year’s event was the largest social media event in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. This year’s Social Media Camp will feature more time, more sessions, more speakers, more exhibitors and more sunshine! This year’s keynote speakers are the critically acclaimed authors of “The Now Revolution”, Jay Baer and Amber Naslund. Whether you are an avid Facebook user, interested in learning about Twitter, or you're trying to grow your business by leveraging social media tools – there is something for everyone at this event! Register and use the promo code MASHABLE to save $50!


June 5-9, 2011, San Francisco, CA: The 2011 Semantic Technology Conference (SemTech) is the world's largest educational conference for the community of executives, technologists, researchers, investors and customers who are involved with semantic technologies. The SemTech conference draws together more than 1,000 forward-thinking technology and business leaders from around the world, representing the entire marketplace of vendors, developers, researchers, start-ups, investors and customers. SemTech 2011 features five days of presentations, panels, tutorials, announcements, new company/product launches, and conversations. It’s a place for new learning, professional networking, and business development. For details and registration, visit the site. Register and use the promo code MASH to save 15%.!


June 6-8, 2011, Boston, MA: The Art & Science of Integrating Traditional & Social Media Marketing – Measure Up, is the world's most comprehensive cross-dimensional view of marketing measurement best practices. With a focus on return on investment (ROI) as it relates to the integration of traditional, online and mobile activities; specifically, social media, this event explores analytics across the entire marketing mix and incorporates those results into marketing strategies and tactics to drive higher revenue, profit and brand share. Register and use the promo code XU2308MASH and save 10%!


June 6, 2011, New York, NY: It’s time to make plans for Realtime NY 11, a full-day immersion entirely about business on the mobile, social and realtime web. Learn how innovative executives from brands like McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Delta, Citibank, IBM, and the NHL are using realtime tools to listen and respond to customers, create new opportunities and build bottom-line value. Realtime, mobile and social technologies fundamentally change how consumers and businesses interact. At The Realtime Conference you’ll see real case studies about real brands and meet the social media business pioneers who are driving real value. 10 hours of hardcore learning and networking. Plus wi-fi, power, breakfast, lunch and cocktails. Register with the promo code MASHABLE to save 20%


June 6-7,2011, New York, NY: Federated Media presents The Conversational Marketing Summit: Leading agencies, marketers, platforms and entrepreneurs come together for our industry’s most rigorous and thought-provoking annual 2-day gathering, the Conversational Marketing Summit, to benefit from a discussion about what we've learned so far and get a jump on what the future has to offer. We aim to bridge the innovations of the internet with the practice of marketing.  Please join us More information and registration details at http://www.federatedmedia.net/events – Register with promo code CmMash to save 15%!


June 7-8, 2011, Munich, Germany: a4uexpo Europe is the largest pan European Affiliate and Performance Marketing Conference. With over 1000 delegates, a diverse conference programme, a focus on quality, knowledge transfer and unparalleled networking opportunities with delegates and key industry figures from around the world, a4uexpo Europe is a must attend educational and networking event. Whether a new or established affiliate, agency, entrepreneur, search specialist, merchant or network – a4uexpo is the conference for those serious about making an impact in Affiliate and Performance Marketing. Register with the promo code MASHABLE25 and save €25 on a full conference pass for a4uexpo Europe.


June 7-8, 2011, Seattle, WA: Join the most accomplished search marketers in the world – Search Marketing Expo – SMX Advanced Seattle. Check out the full agenda, featuring two days of experts-only sessions, keynotes and the highest-level networking anywhere. Don't wait – SMX Advanced has sold out 4 years running. Register with partner code smx100mashable and you'll save $100 and secure your spot.


June 8, 2011, Singapore: With the phenomenal growth of apps worldwide, Asia is the next big market to watch out for. Planet of the Apps Asia is the leading event dedicated to mobile applications in Asia. The two day conference plus a dedicated masterclass day brings together the mobile application ecosystem in one location. The event will shine on a light on the latest innovations and showcase the latest solutions in the world of mobile applications. Be part of this definitive event and network with professionals from all around the globe.


June 14, 2011, London, UK: 20 social media experts will be speaking at the Social Media Results Conference – From Engagement To ROI. Procter & Gamble, Barclaycard, Nokia, Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd, MTV Networks UK & Ireland, Mothercare, Lonely Planet, American Airlines, Kodak Ltd, Comic Relief, Vue Entertainment, Cisco Europe, Phones 4u Limited and many more will be discussing their real-world, actionable social media insights on how to drive the customer journey with consistently genuine interaction and fully integrated, targeted social media campaigns. Click here to download/view the conference program.


June 15-18, 2011, Nairobi, Kenya: The spotlight in AfriTech Kenya 2011 will be on "Brand building using a digital platform". It’s projected to be the largest gathering of digital media gurus and industry shapers in the African continent. The conference will be held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) on June 15-18, 2011. Outstanding business luminaries, philanthropists, government decision-makers and investors will be participating during this four day historic summit. For more information and to register, please visit afri-tech.com.


June 15-16, 2011, New York, NY: “Exploring the State of NOW” – The 140 Characters Conference: New York City (#140conf) will be taking place June 15-16, 2011 at the 92nd Street Y, where we will continue to explore the effects of the real-time web on both business and on people. This event is expected to be the largest worldwide gathering of people interested in the effects of the real-time Internet on both business and "we" the people. #140conf exposes you to the power the Internet has to disrupt businesses, change lives and create serendipity. You will leave with a fresh outlook on how the real time web can be used in your business or personal life to actually do something meaningful. Register TODAY and take advantage of the "Early Bird" prices.


June 16, 2011, London, UK: The Augmented Reality Summit is designed to explore this new dynamic reality and provide delegates with the perfect opportunity to uncover Augmented Reality in full and explore the opportunity's AR brings any brand or company. The AR Summit is positioned at the forefront of this exciting continually developing new industry. Whether you are a Brand, Advertiser or Agency, Technology provider or Developer looking to meet key industry figures, keep up with the latest developments, technology's & tools or simply to network with other from the world of AR – Register and use the promo code ARMASH to save 25%!


June 20-21, New York, NY: At the new ALL FOR ONE Marketing Show presented by DM Days, you'll learn how Domino's, FreshDirect, Grey New York and other top companies maximize ROI by leveraging customer insight and data to successfully integrate marketing channels. You'll walk away with concrete examples of successful campaigns from marketing experts and thought leaders. Register with the promo code DM730 and save $200!


June 20, 2011, New York, NY: Games for Change is the leading global advocate for supporting and making games for social impact. The Games for Change Festival is the largest gaming event in New York City and the only international event uniting "games for change" creators, the public, civil society, academia, the gaming industry and media. Register before April 15th and save 30%!


June 21-22, 2011, New York, NY: The Second Annual Corporate Social Media Summit is 'the' event for big business using social media. This year we have speakers from Dell, Best Buy, Kodak, Coca-Cola, Southwest Airlines and many more. They will share best practice to help your company leverage the power of social media for better marketing, customer engagement and enhance profitability. The conference is designed for corporates like you – and our agenda is based on three months of research with your peers. Download a brochure here for all the info you need. Register and use the promo code MASH11 to save 10%.


June 21-22, 2011, Los Angeles, CA: Digital Content Monitization West 2011 is a unique opportunity to find out how to drive revenue and profitability from different content and formats across a wide variety of channels. 60+ senior level speakers from will help you sort out the best short and medium term strategies for delivering revenue through digital content. With its focus on west coast industries, you’ll dig deep into how the film, music and games sectors are driving new sources of revenue. Plus the publishing, sports, TV and news sectors will provide detailed information about how to monetize rich media content. Register online at dcm-west.com and use the promo code DCM MASH for early booking discounts.


June 27-29, 2011, Las Vegas, NV: The Future of Web Apps (FOWA) is coming to Vegas. After successfully running shows in Miami and London, the conference hits Vegas for the first time in June. A conference for web developers and entrepreneurs, there are 3 days of jam packed web fun including a day of workshops and 2 conference days of two tracks. As well as App Clinics and Expo Area, you can learn and network with people who have passion for the web! Register with the code FOWA_MASHABLE and receive 10% off our 2 day conference passes.


July 14-16, 2011, Dallas, TX: The Big Design Conference is an intense day of learning within the scope of Strategy, Social Media, User Experience, Gaming, Mobile, Usability, Design, and Code Development. Experts from across the country will gather to present theories, research, experiences, and best practices to students, professionals, and executives looking to stay on the bleeding edge. Experts include Beverly Robertson (President, National Civil Rights Museum), Russ Unger (Director of UX, Happy Cog), Jeremy Johnson (Director of UX, Game Stop), Brian Sullivan (Usability Principal, Sabre), Joshua Clark (author of Tapworthy), Jared Spool (Founder, User Interface Engineering), and many more. Mashable readers receive 20% off conference registration by using the code MASHABLE during the checkout process.


July 27-29, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Join us at the premiere of ePharma Summit West, the sister event to The ePharma Summit, the largest, longest running and most respected digital marketing event for the Life Sciences Industry. Network and join the conversation with hundreds of fellow thought leaders from top Pharma, Biotech, Device and Health Science companies. Register as a Mashable reader with the promo code XP1656MASH and save 10%.


August 1-3, 2011, San Antonio, TX: The eduWeb Conference is the event for you to meet, share, explore, and learn from your higher education peers on topics including mobile apps, branding, web site analytics, social media strategic planning, and web development. eduWeb offers four tracks: marketing communications; design and development; social media; and information architecture. Register with the promo code 11Mash and save $50!


September 6-8, 2011, Cleveland, OH: At Content Marketing World, you'll learn how to transform your marketing department into a storytelling factory, engaging your prospects and customers in all the right channels with the right messages– including social, mobile, email, online and even print and in-person strategies. Through 24+ breakout sessions and amazing keynotes led by worldwide experts, you'll get the tools you need to be a successful content marketer. Plus, you'll experience the best of what Cleveland has to offer, starting with our opening night reception at the infamous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Register and use the promo code mash to receive $100 off the current price of a ticket.


September 11-14, 2011, Denver, CO: Come join the best and brightest of the iOS development community at 360|iDev, the first iOS developer event to be held by the developer community! Speakers include many leading community members, and app store success stories. With over 40 sessions, including hands-on training the sunday before the conference, 360|iDev offers more content than any other iOS developer event in the world. Register and use the promo code iosmash to save 20% of the ticket price.


September 12-13, 2011, Renaissance Glendale, Phoenix, AZ: The third Social Media Optimization Summit event, presented by Multifamilypro, brings together small to mid-sized business owners with an interest in putting social media to work successfully within their organizations in ways that are proven to generate results. The event offers two full days of intensive, hands-on workshops from the intermediate to advanced level, led by top social media experts. The unique "See it. Hear it. Do it." approach allows attendees to learn by doing, and begin immediately applying newly-acquired skills and knowledge while the event is underway. See what others are saying about the event and register now at optimizationsummits.com and use discount code Mashable to save $100!


September 20, 2011, Chicago, IL: Federated Media presents Signal Chicago: The Marketing in Real Time Conversation. We will be focusing on the theme of “Marketing in Real Time.” From “real time bidding” on new demand-side and exchange platforms to “real time messaging” of location-based services, marketing has time-shifted into the present tense. A new suite of tools and services have evolved which enable the marketer to have conversations with customers in real time, creating both challenges and opportunities.Please join us More information and registration details at http://www.federatedmedia.net/events – Register with promo code SIGMash to save 15%


Sept 21-22, 2011, London, UK: ad:tech London is the UK’s essential free to attend event for professionals seeking to stay ahead of the latest interactive media, advertising and marketing trends. The event unites advertisers, media owners and agencies to harness the power of digital and deliver real marketing ROI. Alongside the exhibition, there is also a conference featuring 100+ international speakers for serious digital innovators and marketers. Mashable readers can take 20% off their conference ticket price. Register online now with the promo code MASH11 at www.ad-techlondon.co.uk.


September 26-29, 2011, Kaua’i, HI: Search and Social Hawaii is an elite conference unlike any other that will provide you with the strategies and complete know how to thrive in this ever changing environment. Each day begins with morning sessions around the hottest topics. With Keynote Bruce Clay of Bruce Clay, Inc. and speakers from corporations such as Real Networks, Network Solutions, AT&T, Microsoft Bing and Logitech. Afternoons are spent in a relaxed environment including planned activities in which individual attendees can get to know speakers and each other on a more personal level continuing the discussion and building long lasting relationships. Register and use the promo code SSWootMash to save 10%.


September 29-October 1, 2011, Atlanta, GA: As pet owners, bloggers, consumer brands and those connected to the industry – including veterinarians – continue to build upon social media & marketing, pet social media education & networking is an extremely important aspect to mobilizing efforts and to address the challenges faced by pet owners. Whether you use YouTube, Twitter, Dog/Catbook or online forums to gather & share information about pets, it's increasingly important for this community to have a face-to-face forum. Established in 2009, the BarkWorld Conference & Expo is the only pet social media conference covering ALL facets of social media & pet education. Our 2011 annual conference will focus on many topics, including: how to take great photos your pet & use it online, how to build/design a blog & monetize, mobile applications, metrics/SEO, pet food demonstrations, promoting your pet/business via social media and using online forums. Join us for this 2 ½ day conference. You'll be amazed with the information you'll walk away with and the new connections you'll make; your well-trained, leashed, pet is welcome. Register with the promo code MASH2011 to receive a 25% discount.


October 1-6, Boston, MA: At DMA2011, you – and 10,000 marketing peers from around the world – will find everything you need to develop and execute the real-time integrated marketing campaigns that drive measurable bottomline results for your brand. Listen to 300+ marketing experts and gurus talk about social, mobile, mail, search, data, attribution, and more. Plus, you'll find hundreds of technologies in the Exhibit Hall, the only one of its kind in the world! Register now with the promo code AN504 and SAVE $250!


October 5-6, 2011, Seattle, WA: The first annual Seattle Interactive Conference is a two-day event celebrating the convergence of online technology, creativity, and emerging trends in one of the world’s most innovative cities. SIC brings together entrepreneurs, developers and online business professionals from throughout the U.S. and beyond for a powerful combination of in-depth presentations, networking opportunities, and uniquely Seattle social events. Attendees have the rare opportunity to explore disruptive technologies and business models with visionary thinkers and peers in areas ranging from online commerce and social media to gaming, interactive advertising, entertainment, and much more.


October 9-11, 2011, Scottsdale, AZ: Join 200 of your advertising and PR agency friends at BOLO 2011. This event champions the marketing stalwarts, showing you how to leverage today’s digital marketing trends and technologies for economic advantage. Hear from industry thought leaders such as Scott Stratton, President of UnMarketing, and Jay Baer, author of The Now Revolution. From analytics and targeting to social media and agency management, the topics are cutting-edge and chosen to help your agency stay ahead of the curve in digital. Register now with the promo code MASHABLE for 10% off.


October 17-18, 2011, New York, NY: Pivot is the only conference focused purely on how major brands, agencies, marketers and content creators can succeed by understanding, accessing and influencing the emerging Social Consumer. Hosted by Brian Solis, a noted social marketing consultant to major brands worldwide and author of Engage, the self-help handbook for winning the new marketing game, Pivot delivers two full days of unique content and experiences that illuminate the altered marketing landscape, delivered by transformational thinkers, technologists, entrepreneurs and entertainers. Register with the promo code MASH20 and save 20%!


October 26-27, 2011, Sofia, Bulgaria: The only digital industry event for Central and Eastern Europe and one of industry’s premier events in Europe. At the Webit Expo & Conference, more than 6000 people from the CE Europe’ digital ecosystem gather together. Amazing line up of world renowned international and local speakers in the conference programme and some of the top service and technology providers among the exhibitors. Webit Conference programme includes The Main Stage (inspiring keynotes from the leading digital companies in the world), Webit Dev Camp (where platform owners meet the developers of CEE), eGov Summit (regional government officials and world CEOs in discussion on e-gov, e-health, etc), The Creative Lounge (the world’s creative minds gathered together). Register with the promo code WEBMASH and save 10%!


November 3-5, 2011, Los Angeles, CA: BlogWorld & New Media is the first and only industry-wide conference, tradeshow and media event dedicated to blogging, podcasting, social media, social networking, online video, music, Internet TV and radio. BlogWorld conference attendees enjoy more than 120 cutting-edge educational sessions presented by industry leaders, while New Media Expo provides the only industry-wide new media marketplace for networking, online business and marketing resources. Social Media Business Summit, exclusive to BlogWorld, is the world's largest social media business conference where business owners, marketing executives and global brands learn strategies, tools and technologies to grow their businesses with social media. Register at blogworldexpo.com with the promo code MASH20 to save 20% off the ticket price!


November 16-18, 2011, Las Vegas, NV: The WOMMA Summit is the only word of mouth marketing conference where research and measurement integrate with online social media and offline conversations. The Summit is a year-end review of BEST and NEXT practices in word or mouth and social media marketing in addition to future trends. WOMMA Summit showcases through leadership from some of the innovative and forward thinking. Go to www.womma.org to learn more about the event and use code WOMMASummitMASH when registering for the event.


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YouTube Video of the Day: Crowds Celebrate at Ground Zero

Posted: 02 May 2011 06:12 PM PDT

After Sunday night’s announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, crowds flooded Ground Zero in New York City to celebrate the al-Qaeda founder’s demise. As you can see in the above embed, the event was widely captured on video.

In fact, videos of celebrations across the country have been cropping up on YouTube all day, and video searches, which included the words “osama bin laden dead,” were burgeoning on YouTube last night. Other big searches were for songs like Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue,” “God Bless America,” and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.”

What do you think of the celebrations? Let us know in the comments.


More Stories About Osama Bin Laden’s Death


More About: osama bin laden, video, viral-video-of-day, youtube

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Voice Search Being Tested on Google.com [SCREENSHOTS]

Posted: 02 May 2011 05:20 PM PDT


Google has begun testing an integration of voice search with the Google.com search engine.

Helpful tipster Matt Schlicht first spotted the feature earlier Monday afternoon. Voice search detects your computer’s microphone settings and can open up a “Speak now” widget to detect your words and transcribe them into a search query.

Android phone owners should be familiar with Google Voice Search; it’s available in the Google Search widget. Google Voice Search on Android even translates voice commands into actions. For example, “Directions to Empire State Building New York” will get you instant driving directions to Manhattan’s famous landmark.

Google has been working hard on improving the accuracy of its voice search product. It now recognizes Chinese and learns from your speech patterns. Perhaps now Google believes it’s accurate enough to begin testing with the general populace.

Right now, voice search seems to be in a limited testing period. We’ve reached out to Google for comment.

While searching by voice may be easier than typing in some cases, we don’t think you’re suddenly going to see an uptick in people shouting out their search queries. As our tipster pointed out on Twitter today, Google Voice Search “works surprisingly well but is very awkward to use in the office.”

What do you think of Google Voice Search? Should Google roll it out on its homepage?

Update: Google’s experiment is confirmed. “Google is constantly experimenting with new features,” was the only thing a Google spokesperson would tell us officially, though.


The Google Voice Search Icon




Google.com users with access to the experiment might see this page the next time they visit Google.com


Google Voice Search Widget




Talking into the mic activates the Google Voice Search widget.


Google Voice Search Results




This is the result. Notice the shade of purple that distinguishes a voice search.

Lead image courtesy of iStockphoto, berekin

More About: Google, google search, google voice search, google.com

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Twitter’s TweetDeck Acquisition Announcement May Be Days Away [REPORT]

Posted: 02 May 2011 04:36 PM PDT


We’ve known for a couple weeks that Twitter may have acquired TweetDeck; we’re now hearing that acquisition may be confirmed this week.

TechCrunch is reporting the deal will be officially announced within “the next few days.” The Wall Street Journal originally reported on rumors of the acquisition, saying sources pinned the sale price at around $50 million.

Of course, Twitter itself is mum on the situation. Giving a tongue-in-cheek turn to the typical boilerplate “no comment” reply, a Twitter rep told us via email, “We don’t comment on rumors. We don’t provide off-the-record background on rumors. We don’t wink twice or release puffs of smoke about rumors.”

The acquisition would be an agreeable end to a somewhat testy relationship between TweetDeck and Twitter. Around 40% of tweets come from third-party apps, and TweetDeck is leading the pack.

However, Twitter has been hinting to developers that creating pure-play Twitter clients will quickly put any startup on Twitter’s bad side.

We’ll continue to update you on this story as details become available.

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White House Releases Situation Room Images From Bin Laden Raid [PICS]

Posted: 02 May 2011 03:53 PM PDT


The White House posted several images of President Obama and staffers planning and reviewing updates from the military raid that ended in the death of Osama bin Laden.

The White House Flickr account has been used extensively during the Obama administration, showing us candid and behind-the-scenes images from the First Family’s daily lives as well as President Obama’s diplomatic work. In fact, the administration’s overall use of social media has been impressive.

However, few pics from the account will ever get the attention garnered by this historic string of photos. These images show the palpable tension in the Situation Room the night of bin Laden’s death.

UPDATE: Flickr tells us the world’s response to these pictures is “skyrocketing … some [have] over 600,000 views already.” And some of these images are also seeing as many as 13,000 views per minute.

In these photos, we see Obama and other high-ranking U.S. government and security officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in one of a series of meetings. In these talks, the President and advisors planned and saw executed a successful raid on the bin Laden compound, a high-walled mansion in the northern Pakistani town of Abbottabad.


Obama in the Situation Room




President Barack Obama makes a point during one in a series of meetings in the Situation Room of the White House discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon is pictured at right. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.


Obama in the Situation Room




President Barack Obama listens during one in a series of meetings discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden, in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.


Preparing to Address the Nation




President Barack Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office before making a statement to the media about the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011. The President made a series of calls, including to Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and others, to inform them of the successful mission. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.


Preparing to Address the Nation




President Barack Obama edits his remarks in the Oval Office prior to making a televised statement detailing the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.


Obama and Staff in the Situation Room




President Barack Obama talks with members of the national security team at the conclusion of one in a series of meetings discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden, in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.


Obama and Staff in the Situation Room




Staffers get a key update on the progress of the bin Laden compound raid. A confidential document has been pixelated in the foreground.


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HOW TO: Get Your Employees On Board With Your Social Media Policy

Posted: 02 May 2011 03:11 PM PDT

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Maria Ogneva is the Head of Community at Yammer, where she is in charge of social media, community programs, internal education and engagement. You can follow her on Twitter, her blog, and via Yammer’s Twitter account and company blog.

As more businesses become social and move past the initial excitement of adoption, they need to tackle the nitty gritty of executing a social media strategy. It will involve cultural alignment, training, and building a solid process so that the necessary parts of the organization can participate. A truly social organization is active both internally and externally. This is where things get complicated.

When we think of major corporate PR blunders, we think of those committed by careless employees and interns tweeting from branded accounts. The solution is obvious: Don't put anyone on the branded account whom you don't trust with the brand voice. But what about employees' communication from their own accounts? The solution here is a bit more nuanced, because there are two contradictory impulses at play:

  • "This is my account! Why does anyone care what I say? Freedom of speech!" Everyone is justified to feel this way, especially if he or she isn't in a customer-facing part of the organization.
  • Your employees' personal accounts are faces of the company, especially if they identify their employer in their bio, share work-related stuff, or they are on Twitter lists associated with the company.

It's not an easy job to help people reconcile their public and private lives, and it all comes down to training, ongoing mentorship, and establishing guidelines and best practices. It can be daunting, at best, to ensure compliance without overbearing rules that stifle self-expression and dialogue.

The best way to ensure buy-in to your social media policy is not through threat of disciplinary action. Rather, it's by providing education and resources, and building the right processes. When writing a policy, make sure you are clear about what constitutes a major infraction and what the consequences are. Here are some tips for setting your social media policies on the right track.


Tips and Advice


  • Understand. Before you do anything else, you have to spend time understanding your internal culture and your employees' facility with social tools. Understand your organizational objectives and map your goals of social media engagement to that.
  • Educate. Most people fall down due to lack of education. One training session does not qualify as “education.” Commit to ongoing workshops and extend the conversation.
  • Extend the conversation. Make sure to create a space where people can find you and ask questions. It can be an internal blog, wiki, or an internal discussion group.
  • Empower. Highlight the "Dos" over the “Don’ts” from your policy. Make sure to focus the discussion on positive behaviors in your governance. What do you want people to do to drive their careers and the company forward?
  • Create a solid process. This is the part that takes the most time, so don't despair if it doesn't work on the first try. For example, how do you ensure that your sales team adequately covers social media without replying to one person from more than one sales account? How do your systems talk to each other? Make sure that every part of the organization is looped in. Find a way of sharing information and collaborate around it.
  • Tune into “WIIFM”. People always want to know “What’s In It For Me.” Make sure to address how proper social media training is good for employees' individual careers. When talking to sales people, for example, recognize that Twitter can augment the sales process from lead discovery to post-sales, and give your team the tools necessary to be successful.
  • Address problems proactively and gently. There will be things that go awry. It's always better to politely point out the problematic tweet or blog comment in private. Most people want to do the right thing even if they make mistakes. Identify problem areas for your organization and create additional guidance around them.
  • Address internal social too. Make sure that your governance extends to your internal collaboration groups and networks. At my company, we advise our customers to create a usage policy that outlines the Dos and Don'ts of behaviors in their networks. One of these behaviors, for example, is to not repost private discussions into public forums.
  • "These thoughts are my own." Encourage people to speak for themselves, not the brand, even when they are talking about the space and the company. Make sure that your employees as well as official spokespeople have access to brand documents and Q&As.

Creating a Policy


Post your policy in a place that's easily found, in a format that easily digestible. While you should also have a text version of it available, create a set of slides, an ebook or a video that employees can refer to. For example, Australia's Department of Justice created the great video above. When appropriate, share your policy with the world, so that your customer community can see what's important to your brand.

  • When creating policy, make it part of a larger organization-wide effort to adapt to the realities of today's marketplace. Make sure that legal, CIO/ IT and HR are also involved and consulted.
  • In addition to protecting your brand and company assets, a social media policy and governance should also educate best practices around creating passwords and using OAuth with social media sites. It's not a good idea to put sensitive information in an unsecure channel, like a Twitter direct message.
  • Your policy should clearly set guidelines for public discourse and outline consequences of not following these guidelines. Make sure people know which ones constitute a minor vs. a major infraction.
  • If you think that blocking social media at the office is the answer, think again. With smartphone adoption on the rise, your employees will simply get their social fix on a smaller screen during work hours.

Remember: educate and empower — then you won't have to resort to disciplinary action. What are some ways in which you have approached governance and social media policy? Let us know in the comments below.


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Name Fail: The Media’s Most Embarrassing Obama/Osama Gaffes

Posted: 02 May 2011 02:54 PM PDT


Politicians and publications have been wrestling with the unfortunate similarities between the names “Obama” and “Osama” since at least 2007. But journalists around the world hadn’t been forced to repeatedly mention both names in the same sentence — until Sunday night, when Obama announced that Osama had been killed.

The result was a day full of Osama/Obama gaffes. The U.S. president was reported dead, said to be the star of an upcoming raid movie, and otherwise momentarily mixed up with the terrorist that he had given the order to kill.

We’ve collected a blooper reel of the day’s name mixups below.


On Fox News, Geraldo Rivera said Obama is dead — and instantly realized his mistake.


NPR’s Peter Sagal, who once hosted a segment on the Osama/Obama word similarity, apologized after he made the mistake in a tweet himself.


The BBC declared Obama dead when the news of Osama’s death was breaking, according to the Daily Mail.


MSNBC chief Washington correspondent Norah O’Donnell accidentally declared Obama dead in a tweet.


CNN.com announced that there had been “no indication Obama tried to surrender.”


CBS News White House correspondent, Mark Knoller, made the mistake not just once on Twitter (above), but twice.



Speaking of double offenses, another Fox news anchor also declared Obama dead (his co-anchor quickly corrected him).

Image courtesy of Flickr, JamesReaFotos

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BlackBerry Announces Latest OS, Thinnest Smartphones Yet

Posted: 02 May 2011 02:29 PM PDT


Research in Motion (RIM) unveiled two new BlackBerry Bold smartphones and BlackBerry 7 OS on Monday, in addition to announcing new Facebook and video chat apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook.

On paper, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 smartphones look like the most competitive offerings RIM has had in years. RIM has upgraded the aging processor on existing Torch and Bold phones to 1.2 Ghz, added 8 GB of onboard memory, support for 720p HD video recording and support for 4G HSPA+ networks.

The 9900 and 9930 phones are also the thinnest BlackBerry smartphones yet — each measuring just 10.5mm thick. RIM has also added bells and whistles like dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC support, and the classic BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard in addition to a touch LCD screen.

This is the most competitive offering that RIM has produced since at least 2008. The design, while still classic BlackBerry, is thinner than in the past and the processor and onboard memory requirements are no longer embarrassingly passe.

As for the new BlackBerry 7 OS, RIM says that it features a better browser (with better HTML5 support), the ability to keep personal and corporate content separate and built-in productivity apps. We expect to see more at BlackBerry World later this week.

Sight unseen, we’re still not convinced RIM can compete against the latest crop of Android and Windows Phone devices — not to mention the next iPhone. Still, the newest BlackBerry Bold at least looks like a step in the right direction.

RIM says the BlackBerry 9900 and 9930 will be available later this summer.

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3 Traits of the Most Compelling Internet Companies

Posted: 02 May 2011 02:17 PM PDT

three trophies image

Alex Taussig is a principal at Highland Capital Partners, where he invests in early stage technology companies. He blogs frequently at infinitetoventure, and you can find him on Twitter at @ataussig.

I probably spend too much time on the Internet. And because I work in venture capital, I get to see Internet products in their rawest form.

The primordial ooze of a consumer Internet product can be a beautiful thing. With the window dressing stripped away, one can often see the core aspects of what will make that product successful. Over time, I've begun to see a few patterns emerge.

Here are three key characteristics of those that often do become a success.


1. Photos: The Root of Online Ego


I didn't think Facebook was a big deal — that is, until photos became more prominent. Facebook photos became the outlet for the ego of a college student. “Look at this cool Halloween costume!” “No way, you were at that party too?” “OMG, I can't believe you did THAT in the dining hall!”

I've gotten older, and so have my friends, but not much has changed. Fred Wilson recently called Facebook "a photo sharing site with some chat attached." Photos — the most ego-expressive form of media — still dominate my personal usage of Facebook. And, besides social gaming (yes, your farm is an expression of your ego), no other feature has really caught on in the same way.

Perhaps we're seeing the second turn of the photo-ego phenomenon with Instagram, Picplz, Pixable, Path and now Color. The human desire to share mementos of life with close friends (or, in Color's case, complete strangers) is powerful and will always be the low hanging fruit for Internet products to pick.


2. Immediate and Unexpected Value


When was the last time you really got that “OMG, yes!” feeling from an Internet product? It doesn't happen that often. Decent products do exactly what they promise they'll do. Great products give you something you couldn't otherwise anticipate.

Take Quora as an example. I answered the question, "As a co-founder and CEO of a startup, should I hedge my position? If so, how?" Almost instantly, I had 25 up-votes and four comments. The engagement itself wasn't unexpected, but its immediacy was. The fervent, yet qualified pace of information curation on Quora was like nothing I'd ever experienced. It made the process of answering questions addictive, as I knew a good answer would become visible quickly.

This kind of added value works in ecommerce as well. While I'll personally never know the joys of RentTheRunway, I know many women "get it" when they realize they can order multiple dress sizes send back whatever doesn’t fit, all with free shipping both ways. In the early days of Zipcar, I remember moving to a new apartment and “magically” finding that there was a car in the parking lot next door via their online map tool. Very cool.


3. Familiarity Fosters Engagement


An old biblical phrase also rings true for technology: "There is nothing new under the sun." The Internet of the 1990s attempted to bring the physical world online, and mostly failed, in my opinion. The 2000s focused on making Internet products easy to use for everyone, not just early adopters and "digital natives." The 2010s will continue to improve those products by making them social, mobile and location-aware.

The essence of what these products do, however, will remain similar to their predecessors. And that's OK. Novelty is great for early adopters, but the masses want familiarity. They want to find something they already know in a product.

The best example of a new product with undeniable familiarity is the iPad. In the iPad's original TV campaign, Apple coined a brilliant marketing line: "You already know how to use it."

Dropbox is another great example. It's a folder that sits on your desktop and acts like every other folder you already know how to use. Never once mentioned is the word "cloud" or any other jargon used by the tech in-crowd.

You can usually find a hint of ego, serendipity and familiarity if you dig around a bit in the primordial ooze of a compelling Internet product. True success requires hundreds of other things to go right, but at least you’re on your way!

Disclosure: The author is an investor in Pixable and RentTheRunway.


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Facebook Relaunches Page for Musicians & Fans

Posted: 02 May 2011 02:02 PM PDT


A newly relaunched Music on Facebook Page is lending credence to the claims of music pundits — that the social network is now the best place for bands to reach fans and promote themselves.

Music on Facebook first launched in 2008 during SXSW as a way to get bands started on Facebook. The Page dwindled over time and updates lagged until its existence was as unknown as your cousin’s ironic jug band. But now, as many folks in the music industry have been asking the social network how to best leverage its features, the Page has relaunched.

The new Page is focused on helping musicians and other members of the music industry get the most out of Facebook, as well as exposing Facebookers to new acts. As you can see, the Page has already liked a few artists. Some, like Katy Perry, were chosen for being previously affiliated with the site (she did a Facebook Live appearance); others for having huge followings, like Lady Gaga; and still more for being bands to watch, like Wavves.

Facebook also has Pages of this sort for films and, most recently, journalists. Still, Facebook acknowledging that it has become a launch pad for bands is telling.

“Music has always been a part of Facebook,” says Facebook rep Meredith Chin, referring to how many users identify themselves by their musical tastes. “Now musicians are tapping into that; they’re going where the people are. We want to get better and better at helping people in the music industry connect with each other and their fans in a meaningful way.”

Meanwhile, Facebook Fan Page tools have been ramping up in a big way to help musicians reach their followers as easily as possible. We’ll be interested to see how this new Page, along with these tools, will serve to make Facebook the next big destination for music.

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Big Data: How New Technology Is Helping Marketers Create Better Consumer Experiences

Posted: 02 May 2011 01:35 PM PDT


Ray Velez is the CTO at Razorfish, and the editor of new technology report, Razorfish 5: Five Technologies That Will Transform Your Business.

In this era of constant connectivity and tracking, we are creating huge amounts of data every second. Just like consumers, marketers are facing information overload. The big question is: How can we use this data to produce better, more relevant customer experiences?

The data that consumers are creating is allowing marketers to listen and respond to their customers in ways never before possible. This data set resides in huge clusters of information that paint a picture about what is relevant to users. Data coming from media and advertising, including ad servers like Doubleclick and Microsoft Atlas, will tell us what creative and messages users have been exposed to, how many times, where have they have seen it and if they have clicked to find out more. Site analytics data, coming from web analytics tools such as Google, Omniture and Webtrends, tell us everything from how long people spent viewing content (in more detail than number of pageviews), how often they visit the content, and even what they are searching for and not finding. Finally, social data from Facebook and Twitter can tell us who is in a consumer's social graph and what brands and content they and their friends like.

However, putting all of this data into a usable and effective format for brands takes some time. Fortunately, there is an industry-proven process that allows us do just that.


Organizing Big Data


Marketers can break down and manage this information:

  • Distinguish the unique identifier across all the data sources.
  • Connect ad cookie data with web analytics cookie data to build the profile of each unique identifier.
  • Connect that profile with data already logged in from other sources, including profiles with Facebook Twitter IDs.
  • Continue to build on this basic profile, adding new data from sources like Foursquare as they become available.

After completing this process, we have access to trillions of rows and petabytes of data that traditional tools can't interpret. So what do we do now? Fortunately, we have new amazing technologies and tools at our disposal, thanks to some of the major technology companies.

A few years back, Google shared its design for dealing with huge volumes of data in a paper called "Big Table." Yahoo took this paper and wrote an open source implementation of it called Hadoop. Amazon Web Services customized Hadoop and called it Elastic MapReduce.

As a result, any marketer can rent the same technologies that these big companies use on an as-needed basis to churn through huge amounts of data without a huge investment. This has dramatically increased a company's ability to personalize their experiences.

While Hadoop and Elastic MapReduce have set the standard on how to scale and aggregate large data, there are still a couple of steps required to actually make sense of the data. At the highest level there are two approaches.

One is to take the data and put it into a traditional data warehouse, which enables us to slice and dice data across facts (i.e., brand engagement) and dimensions (i.e., time). While this work is great and has been around for a while, it is often rigid and difficult to perform new types of analysis. Fortunately, there are new and exciting technologies enabling us to do warehouse-style analysis on raw data without the time and infrastructure the old model required. Technologies like Netezza and Aster Data enable working directly with the raw de-normalized Elastic MapReduce data without having to predefine and build traditional data warehousing cubes.

When we applied this approach to one of our retail client's data, we got amazing results. We created about 36 personalization segments, and these segments were able to drive close to 2 million personalized messages. We would import about .5 trillion rows of data into a 100 machine cluster on Amazon Web Services to personalize our experiences. This all happened in about eight hours and culminated in about a 500% return on advertising spend. If we had used traditional technologies and methods, this would likely have been cost prohibitive, not to mention it would have taken weeks or months just to get all the servers up and ready. But since the cloud uses vast resources much more efficiently, we were able to only use what we needed.


Making Big Data Work for You


Working with these vast new troves of information and translating them to actionable profiles requires a data scientist — someone who is comfortable with the data constructs like cubes, pivot tables, etc., and can map them to the profiles or personas that are being defined by the marketing team. It’s not only about mapping the data to the marketing personas but helping to define those personas.

So, how do marketers use this data and persona information to develop better web design experiences? A single view of any page on your brand's website assumes every visitor looks at your message or transaction the same way. Marketers must start thinking of homepages and websites as something that should be tailored for any number of profiles or segments.

Lastly, your company's web development team needs to think about how to connect external data sources with the ability to personalize and tailor your sites. Should different segments have different search relevancy or be served different navigation? Leveraging tools such as FAST, Endeca, Google and others enable the creation of different search collections. Commerce engines such as ATG or Demandware or personalization tools from content management system products like Adobe, Tridion, or Autonomy can also be used to create more personalized experiences.

In conclusion, there is a huge opportunity to listen to your customers and create relevant experiences on a scale never before possible. The data is there, and with new thinking and cloud technologies, we can use it to drive richer experiences and better return on investment.


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Yahoo Searches for Bin Laden Spiked 98,550% on Sunday [STATS]

Posted: 02 May 2011 01:24 PM PDT


The death of Osama bin Laden has sparked interest not only in the details of his demise, but also Pakistan, September 11 and American flags, search traffic on Yahoo suggests.

Yahoo reports that searches for “Osama Bin Laden” spiked 98,550% Sunday evening, compared to Saturday (see the bar all the way on the right border of the graph), while searches for “September 11th” spiked 1,009% and searches for “Pakistan Map” spiked 2,594%.

For comparison’s sake, consider that Pippa Middleton’s royal wedding debut caused a meager 303% spike in Yahoo search queries for her name.

Some other interesting tidbits from Yahoo’s search data:

Facebook’s Valuation Approaching $100 Billion [REPORT]

Posted: 02 May 2011 01:09 PM PDT


Facebook's business is growing faster than the company had predicted a few months ago, leading to speculation that its IPO could be in the $100 billion range, according to a report.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people who’ve seen Facebook's recent financial information, reports [subscription required] that the IPO could happen as early as spring 2012.

One source says the company is on track to earn $2 billion before taxes, depreciation and amortization this year. That figure is higher than the numbers Facebook presented to Goldman Sachs Group and Russian investor Digital Sky Technologies when they invested in Facebook in January.

At that time, Facebook's shares were at a price that implied a $50 billion valuation. Now, that number could be twice as much, according to this newest report. If that scenario comes to pass, Facebook’s valuation will be higher than the current figures for Hewlett-Packard, Amazon and Cisco Systems.

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Take Two: Amateur Producer Relaunches YouTube Reality Dating Show

Posted: 02 May 2011 12:58 PM PDT

Twenty-four year-old Brandon Fletcher is the amateur executive producer behind YouTube reality dating show Date Unknown, a four-year-old show looking to graduate from YouTube obscurity to small screen fame.

The show, relaunching Monday after a modestly received 16-episode run generating upwards of 5 million views, films the first dates of people who meet online, and now includes benefactors in the form of sponsors such as online dating site Plentyoffish.

In episode 17, as seen above, the first episode after a relaunch retooling period, Date Unknown follows Lexie and John, two very tall vegetarians who bond over hookah.

The format has changed little over the years, but the relaunch represents Fletcher’s recommitment to the show. Previously a self-funded and self-produced endeavor — Fletcher was one of the first to join YouTube’s Partner Program in 2007 — Date Unknown has signed on show sponsors and new hires to help finance production and improve the overall quality.

This time around, Fletcher says Date Unknown is also expanding beyond a show with a companion website that serves up comedic content related to online dating. Users can choose to submit their own online dating stories or pay $10 to view all of the past episodes that were too wild too air on YouTube, he says.

“I created it [the show] for people who are in the online dating subculture,” explains Fletcher.

Three years later, the concept, albeit a copy of the once popular Blind Date series, is now more appropriate than ever for a society that continues to grow ever more accustomed to searching for soul mates online.

The show’s greatest shortcoming prior to relaunch was its highly irregular production schedule, a problem that Fletcher can easily fix with the structure of a full-time staff. Plus, with online dating graduating from the taboo to the commonplace, Fletcher may have an opportunity to reach a larger audience.

And Fletcher’s quest to generate network interest isn’t completely a stretch. YouTube has proved a promising discovery vehicle for individuals of varying degrees of talent. Consider Justin Bieber, Lucas Cruikshank of Fred fame and the now infamous Rebecca Black.

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Bin Laden’s Death Sparks Record 12.4 Million Tweets Per Hour [STATS]

Posted: 02 May 2011 12:41 PM PDT


The death of Osama Bin Laden was one of the most tweeted events in history — and generated the highest sustained rate of tweets ever.

Twitter has released updated statistics on the usage of its platform last night. Previously, the social media company reported that more than 4,000 tweets were sent per second during the beginning and the end of Obama’s speech. It now says the real number of tweets was about 25% higher.

At 11:00 p.m. ET, just before Obama’s speech, users generated 5,106 tweets per second, the highest single volume of tweets during the night. At 11:45 p.m., just when he finished his speech, Twitter users were sending 5,008 tweets per second.

“Last night saw the highest sustained rate of Tweets ever,” Twitter announced in a tweet. “From 10:45 – 2:20am ET, there was an average of 3,000 Tweets per second.” That equates to a whopping 27,900,000 tweets in just two hours and 35 minutes.

Between 10:45 p.m. ET and 12:30 a.m. ET, the company says its users averaged 3,440 tweets per second. At its peak, Twitter delivered an average of 12,384,000 tweets per hour.

The new numbers offer a glimpse into just how momentous Osama Bin Laden’s demise was. The event surpasses the 3,283 tweets sent per second during Japan’s victory over Denmark in the World Cup, and the 4,064 tweets sent per second during one of the final moments of this year’s Super Bowl.

However, the record for most tweets sent in the same second is still 6,939 — which happened during the most recent New Year in Japan..

Update: Twitter has released a graph depicting Twitter activity last night:


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Raise Money for Oxfam by Following Ra Ra Riot’s Songza Station

Posted: 02 May 2011 12:23 PM PDT


If you’re looking for some music to liven up your Monday, head to Ra Ra Riot’s Songza station. Every person who “fans” the station will earn $0.50 for Oxfam America.

Streaming music service Songza has partnered with Oxfam before, organizing listening parties and creating benefit-media playlists. Ra Ra Riot member Rebecca Zeller’s playlist features songs such as “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers, “Feel Flows” by the Beach Boys and Beck’s “Lonesome Tears.”

“With all the turmoil, conflict and devastating natural disasters occurring all over the world right now what better a time to support an organization like Oxfam,” Zeller says in a statement.

Yes, the effort is small in the grand scheme of things, but it’s heartening to know there’s a listening option out there today that benefits those in need.

Image courtesy Flickr, Amanda M Hatfield

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After Bin Laden’s Death, Newspapers Brace for Big Sales

Posted: 02 May 2011 11:33 AM PDT


Don’t be surprised to find extra copies — or even extra editions — of newspapers this Monday, as media outlets continue providing coverage of Osama bin Laden’s death.

The New York Times and The Washington Post were among those newspapers that produced extra copies Monday. A tweet from @NYTimesComm noted that an additional 165,000 copies of the Times had been printed: 125,000 issues — 2.5 times the normal order — were distributed in the New York market. An additional tweet from the company said 40,000 extra newsstand copies were available in Washington D.C., Boston, Albany, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Meanwhile, the Post printed 35,000 extra copies of Monday’s paper.

Even publications with smaller audiences churned out some extras to mark the occasion. In New Jersey, The Star-Ledger announced that an extra edition would be printed, along with its regular morning edition, which already features a front page dedicated to the story. And The Poughkeepsie Journal — based in Poughkeepsie, New York — also announced that an extra edition of Monday’s paper would be available on newstands throughout the mid-Hudson Valley.

Many of these papers had to scrap their deadlines and adjust printing schedules when the news initially broke late Sunday night. The Washington Post didn’t close its final edition until 2 a.m., as Melissa Bell points out on its website’s BlogPost. And Eileen Murphy — VP of corporate communications at The New York Times — told MediaBistro it might have been the first time the Times actually stopped the presses since the Gulf War.

Image courtesy of Flickr, johnthurm


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White House Holding Press Briefing on Osama Bin Laden [VIDEO]

Posted: 02 May 2011 11:07 AM PDT

The White House is streaming a briefing with Press Secretary Jay Carney and members of the president’s national security team.

Details have been slowly leaking out about the operation that took out Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. While we now know a little about the Navy Seal mission and the president’s involvement in the events that transpired this weekend, there are still a lot of gaps.


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Osama Bin Laden’s Death: Newspaper Front Pages Tell the Story [PICS]

Posted: 02 May 2011 10:59 AM PDT


Newspapers around the country are covered with full color photos and enormous headlines for the news of Osama bin Laden’s death.

And the demand to see Monday’s front pages is high — so high that the Newseum’s gallery of front pages crashed Monday morning, according to the Washington Post.

Here’s a slideshow of some of today’s front pages.


Anchorage Daily News





Chicago Tribune





Los Angeles Times





New Jersey Star Ledger





New York Daily News





New York Times





Poughkeepsie Journal





San Francisco Chronicle





St. Petersburg Times





Washington Post





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Photo by Brian Dresher

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5 Best Practices for Travel & Tourism Brands on Facebook

Posted: 02 May 2011 10:38 AM PDT


The Facebook Marketing Series is supported by Buddy Media. Eight of the world’s top ten brands use the Buddy Media Platform to power their social marketing on Facebook. Find out why here.

I spend a lot of time browsing travel sites for vacations I’d love to take if I had time (well, and the funds) to do so. As Facebook Pages become more widespread, many of these hotels and airlines are actively luring me and other wayfarers to check out their Pages, win free flights and enjoy complimentary perks at trendy hotels.

Here are some best practices for travel and tourism brands on Facebook — borrowed from the big players in the industry — that will help you attract gadling jetsetters and secure more reservations.


1. Brag About Your Brand


Facebook offers engaging ways to play up your brand’s strengths. Custom landing pages enable brands to let users know what’s new with the company. For example, Delta’s landing page is essentially a glorified press release — it’s a visually pleasing panache of Delta news and developments. It lets fans know that more jets are getting Wi-Fi, more routes will be available, and first class is coming to regional jets — and it allows users to “like” each piece of news.


2. Host Contests and Giveaways


Everyone loves #winning, so give your fans something to win. Whether it’s a free flight, a free night at a hotel, a discount or free miles on an airline or hotel credit card, contests are a great way to engage your community. Asking fans to submit things as part of a contest entry — photos, video, feedback — are even better, as they generate content and weed out the lazy people who might only be there for the prize.

For Kimpton‘s 30th anniversary, it’s running a “Write Here, Right Now” contest. Fans can share a memory of their favorite birthday with Kimpton — via haiku, poem or sonnet and a photo — and the top 30 submissions will win a free night at a Kimpton hotel.

Virgin America‘s Chicago Contest is hosted through a special tab where viewers can upload a video in which they “put the smackdown on ordinary.” The winner wins a flight from Chicago to California on a competitor airline, and then a free California getaway and a trip back to Chicago on Virgin America’s inaugural flight to the Windy City. Virgin’s banking on the hope that one leg on a cramped “other guy” flight followed by the Virgin experience will convert a few fans.


3. Diversify Your Content


Status updates are great, but you should also provide a mix of content to keep your audience engaged. Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, posts videos from the weddings that have happened on the beachfront property, which shows that the resort is an ideal wedding site and a perfect spot for a West Coast getaway. The video above was provided by a happy couple, while this one was produced by Terranea and includes footage of several weddings that have happened there. Try mixing it up with videos, photos, reviews of the hotel and of restaurants within the hotel (from sites like Yelp), as well as travel tips and exciting updates from the brand.


4. Offer Booking On Facebook


Consumers want travel planning to be easy — make it that way by letting them book vacations without having to leave Facebook. Travel brands like W Hotels and Delta Airlines do it, and the booking module is usually located on the main landing page. The most effective marketing happens at point-of-sale, so if you can make a hard sell on a decked out Page, you’ll want your consumers to be able to make their reservation without batting an eye. Embedding a booking widget can make that happen.


5. Have Killer Photography


Whether people are traveling for work or play, it’s nice to be around beautiful scenery. Show consumers what a stay at your hotel would offer — spa rooms, pools, beaches, wildlife, local sights, fancy restaurants — and use excellent photographers to make it irresistible. Great photography is also effective for airlines, which can highlight the scenery in various destinations.

Travel deal site Jetsetter always has amazing photography, and it is using those photos to the fullest on its Facebook Page. It’s hard to imagine that giraffe photo not making someone want to go on safari.

What other Facebook tips do you have for travel brands? Let us know in the comments.


Series Supported by Buddy Media

The Facebook Marketing Series is supported by Buddy Media. Eight of the world’s top ten brands use the Buddy Media Platform to power their social marketing on Facebook. Find out why here.


More Facebook Marketing Resources from Mashable:


- 4 Ways to Set Up a Storefront on Facebook
- HOW TO: Add Social Sharing Buttons to Your Website
- The Future of Social Search
- 5 Creative Facebook Places Marketing Campaigns
- Dog: Man’s Best Facebook Friend, Too? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Disclosure: W Hotels is a Buddy Media client.

More About: facebook, facebook marketing, Facebook Marketing Series, travel, virgin america

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Can a $300 House Save 2 Billion People Living in Poverty? [PICS]

Posted: 02 May 2011 10:13 AM PDT


Can the world's business leaders apply their creativity and financial acumen to help pull 2 billion people out of poverty? That's the challenge put forth by a Dartmouth professor and a veteran marketer, who are soliciting designs for a $300 house.

The professor, Vijay Govindarajan, and the marketer, Christian Sarkar, laid down the gauntlet on a Harvard Business Review blog entry last August.

Govindarajan's goal, which he outlines here, is to provide affordable housing to people who are living in shacks made of unstable materials like cardboard. Doing so, Govindarajan believes, will "regentrify slums on a massive scale." The professor adds that only corporations can tackle the problem. However, he admits that $300 is a somewhat arbitrary figure, but will help aspirants narrow their efforts.

What began as a blog post has now become a contest. On April 20, Govindarajan launched a competition on 300house.com for prototypes and is offering a $25,000 prize (provided by sponsor Ingersoll Rand.) There are a few guidelines: The houses have to be made of tough, mass-produced materials and include water filters and solar panels. The owners should also be able to improve the houses if their circumstances get better. That’s about it, though.

By employing crowdsourcing, which has been used for other living space conundrums in the past, the pair hope to find a solution.

So far, 300house.com has received dozens of responses, some of which are featured in the gallery below. With 30 days left in the contest, the best may yet to come. What do you think? Is this a workable idea or is it too utopian for serious consideration? Let us know in the comments.


4-Square




This design, from svpribyl, relies on "rammed-earth construction," which mixes soil and concrete. He says the walls will easily last 50 years. Roofs are made from local materials like metal, tile, thatch or wood.


Decadome




Decadomes are made from of identical, connected panels that can be made from plywood, plastic, jute straw, rice husk and resin.


Ship Shape Housing




This idea, from pclind, proposes using millions of discarded shipping containers to house the poor. But the writer acknowledges it might not be a $300 idea.


Inaduro




This shed-like structure employs a "lightweight composite panel-building system" that "eliminates traditional building stick, masonry, bolt and screw methods." The elevated design will also protect inhabitants from floods.


Wigwam




This familiar design, from EarthArchitect, proposes using bamboo and waterproof Native American cloth with Kevlar woven in. Critics, however, say the price of the cloth will exceed $300.


Woody-Hoody




The designer, estonia, says the materials for the house would cost less than $300 because "the cost of the required materials are not comparable with ours and also because it would be bulk buying..." But critics point out the glass door alone would cost around $200.


Adobe Houses




This design employs adobe bricks made of natural materials like dirt, water and manure. The design, argues tyb82, will be extremely durable and will stay warm when the weather is cold and cool when it's hot outside.


Moladi




Moladi uses Lego-like plastic bricks as a foundation for affordable housing.

More About: crowdsourcing, housing, social good

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