Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Spotify Launches iPod-Friendly Music Download Service in Europe”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Spotify Launches iPod-Friendly Music Download Service in Europe”

Spotify Launches iPod-Friendly Music Download Service in Europe

Posted: 04 May 2011 04:20 AM PDT

Spotify has launched a music download store for its users, added iPod syncing to its desktop application and opened up its mobile apps to non-subscribers.

Up until now, Spotify was a streaming-only service; while it was possible to upload your Spotify playlist on an iPod as audio files, it was not an easy task. Now, Spotify lets you manage your iPod classic, nano or shuffle in its desktop application, sync your playlists with these devices and download MP3s through Spotify’s new download service.

As far as pricing goes, you can buy 100 tracks for €60, 40 tracks for €30, 15 tracks for €12.99 or 10 tracks for €9.99. If you choose the biggest bundle, the price for the single track is just €0.60.

Finally, Spotify has opened its mobile apps to users of its free service (so far, they were only available to premium subscribers). Now, Spotiy Free users can download and install the Spotify iPhone and Android app, buy tracks and wirelessly sync their MP3 playlists from their computer to their phone or iPod touch.

With its 9 million users in Europe and these new features, Spotify has become a full-fledged competitor to iTunes, but it still hasn’t solved its biggest problem yet: licensing and availability in the U.S. Once Spotify manages to overcome that obstacle, it’ll be interesting to see Apple’s response.

The new features will begin being rolled out to users today as part of an automatic update.

More About: apple, ipod, music, music download, spotify

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HOW TO: Find Freelance Work On A Smartphone

Posted: 04 May 2011 03:59 AM PDT

Gigwalk wants to put your smartphone to work. On Wednesday the startup is launching its platform for on-demand, on-location task completion.

Businesses can use Gigwalk to post simple projects that can be completed by anyone who has a smartphone. A project might, for instance, ask users to take photos of a restaurant’s menu and answer a series of questions (i.e. “Is the establishment wheelchair friendly?”).

Using an iPhone app [iTunes link], Gigwalk members — or “Gigwalkers” — sign up to complete tasks near them in exchange for between $3 and $90 per task.

It’s not exactly a fulltime job, but it is an easy way to score some fast extra cash. The highest paid Gigwalker in the six-month long private beta earned $2,173 for 277 completed “gigs.”

“Every single iPhone or Android is a node in a network,” says co-founder and CEO Ariel Seidman. “We’re trying to activate that node and say that it actually contribute to a workforce.”

During the private beta period, GPS maker TomTom sent Gigwalkers to specific street corners to verify map factors like street names. It wouldn’t have had the funds to check the accuracy of their maps by driving every road themselves. Similarly, Motorola employed the Gigwalk workforce to scope out the positioning of its phones in Verizon stores after the carrier started selling iPhones. Local directories, consumer research firms and real estate companies have also signed on.

Before Gigwalk, Seidman says, many of his corporate customers had turned to Craigslist to fill these mini-positions.

Standard (and typically much cheaper) crowdsourcing platforms like Mechanical Turk often aren’t options because there’s no way to verify that the person completing an on-location task actually left his or her computer to complete it. A smartphone-based platform, on the other hand, has GPS.

There isn’t an extensive filtering process that determines who becomes Gigwalkers, but so far a “street cred” reputation score that rewards people who do consistently good work with more complex and higher-paying tasks has been sufficient. People who don’t meet a task’s stated standards don’t get paid for that task.

Seidman, the former director of product management at Yahoo Mobile Search, is betting that people are ready to use their phones to access “corporate-based networks” like Gigwalk in addition to using them to access social and entertainment networks. He has raised $1.7 million in seed funding from people who agree — including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and LiveOps co-founder Bill Trenchard.

More About: App, Gigwalk, smartphone, startup

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Google Chrome Commercial Lets Gay Teens Know “It Gets Better” [VIDEO]

Posted: 04 May 2011 01:10 AM PDT

The Google Chrome team has created a supportive video for gay teens as part of the “It Gets Better” campaign.

The video, which aired during prime time on Fox’s Glee Tuesday night, is a 91-second clip that compiles some of the most inspirational and helpful clips from the It Gets Better YouTube channel. The project was started by gay rights activist Dan Savage. In September last year, Savage decided to create a YouTube channel to solicit videos from anybody that wanted to send a positive message to bullied or struggling gay teens.

The result was a massive outpouring of support from celebrities and everyday people. Neil Patrick Harris, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Apple employees are just some of the many people to create videos for the project. Even President Obama has uploaded a video to let gay teens know that “there are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are.”

The Google Chrome video is an amazing compilation of the project. People will recognize Adam Lambert, Lady Gaga, Kathy Griffin and even Woody from Toy Story, but the commercial also contains messages from a wide variety of people of different ages and backgrounds. This isn’t Google’s first time contributing to the project, either; some of Google’s gay and lesbian employees created a video (embedded below) as well.

Check out the video for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments.

More About: Google, google chrome, it gets better, LGBT, video

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Pandora Adds 10,000 Comedy Clips to Its Archives

Posted: 03 May 2011 10:52 PM PDT

Pandora has expanded from music to jokes with the addition of 10,000 comedy clips from more than 700 comedians to its Internet radio service.

Like its Music Genome Project, Pandora’s Comedy Genome Project analyzes the content of each clip for style, content and deliver in order to figure out which comedians have similar delivers or joke about similar topics. It’s this analysis and recommendation system that has turned Pandora into a Internet music powerhouse.

“Adding comedians to the mix has been one of the top requests from our listeners,” Pandora said in a blog post, “so we’ve taken the same approach to comedy as we have to music: carefully and deliberately analyzing comedic ‘bits’ across a very large number of attributes to capture the style, delivery and content of each performance.”

Some of the comedians that are now available on Pandora include Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, George Carlin, Mitch Hedberg and John Rivers, according to The New York Times. And like its musical counterpart, comedy on Pandora will also come with audio advertisements. Unilever is Pandora’s first advertiser and will be promoting its Axe male body products and Klondike bars.

Once at the brink of destruction, Pandora has bounced back and is now preparing for an IPO that is expected to raise at least $100 million for the Internet radio company. Pandora has more than 80 million users and is essentially break even.

Will you be listening to comedy clips on Pandora?

Image courtesy of Flickr, Bonnie

More About: comedy, Comedy Genome Project, internet radio, pandora, pandora radio

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Photobucket Challenges Trendy Mobile Photo-Sharing Apps With Snapbucket

Posted: 03 May 2011 09:47 PM PDT

Veteran photo and video hosting company Photobucket is getting hip with the mobile photo-sharing and filter-ific times by releasing Snapbucket mobile apps for iPhone and Android Tuesday.

Snapbucket, a distinct application separate from Photobucket’s existing mobile apps for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7, encourages users to stylize and share their photos in much the same way they would with Instagram, Picplz, Path or Camera+.

Users can snap a photo and select from filters, vignettes, frames and effects to apply artistic elements to the photo. Then, just as with other mobile photo-sharing apps, Snapbucket users can quickly share the shot on Facebook and Twitter.

With Snapbucket, both the original capture and the stylized version of each snapshot are also saved to the user’s Photobucket account.

The new Photobucket offering, albeit late to market, is not without its unique features: Snapbucket lets users mix-and-match different filters, effects and frames into their own customized sets. The app will also reward active users with additional filters.

Photobucket has 100 million site users, and is adding 1 million new users a month, says CEO Tom Munro. The company has 15 million Photobucket Mobile users, and uploads via mobile apps are said to have increased 600% year-over-year, which equates to users adding more than 20 million photos and videos uploads each month.

More About: mobile photo sharing, photobucket, snapbucket

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U.S. Carriers Begin Blocking Android Tethering Apps

Posted: 03 May 2011 09:42 PM PDT

Some Google Android users are reporting that they can no longer download Internet tethering apps from the Android Marketplace, especially those with AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile service.

The mobile applications in question give Android devices owners the ability to access the Internet on their laptops using the wireless connections on their phones. These apps, most of which are free, include PDAnet, Wireless Tether and MyWi. Most of the big American carriers offer Internet tethering, but it typically costs $15-$25 per month, depending on data usage and carrier.

Reports say that Internet tethering apps have disappeared for AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile customers. Sprint seems to be the lone exception in the U.S. Our own testing shows that many Internet tethering apps have simply disappeared, at least on the Verizon and AT&T networks. This doesn’t mean users can’t run them, though — they simply can’t download them from the Android Marketplace. Anyone can still download the apps directly from the web or install them on a rooted phone.

Google told ZDNet that it isn’t officially blocking tethering apps. However, Google does say that Android users on specific carriers may not be able to find the app in the Android Marketplace. In other words, Google isn’t denying that certain apps are being blocked by the carriers.

It’s no surprise that the carriers want to crack down on unauthorized tethering. AT&T even started sending letters to certain customers asking them to stop tethering or pay for AT&T’s tethering feature. It’s not clear how involved Google is in blocking these apps. Pressure from the carriers may have forced Google’s hand, or perhaps the carriers found a way to block tethering apps on their own.

Have you seen tethering apps get blocked by your carrier? Let us know in the comments.

Via Droid Life and PCWorld

More About: android, att, Google, T-Mobile, Tethering, verizon

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Startup Aims to Make Loving Art Easier

Posted: 03 May 2011 09:01 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: Artfinder

Quick Pitch: Artfinder helps users discover and share art.

Genius Idea: Offering art prints beyond the “greatest hits.”

After a stroll through the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, art lovers (or aspiring art lovers) might pass any number of works that they’d like to become more acquainted with. But if MOMA’s gift shop displays are any indication, most of them walk out the door with a print of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night, a painting that qualifies as what Artfinder co-founder Chris Thorpe refers to as a “greatest hit.”

Discovering and acquiring printed copies of art outside this category can be a bit challenging. Even if an art enthusiast were to remember the name of one of Van Gough’s less famous paintings after leaving MOMA, he’d have a hard time finding a source that sells official prints.

Artfinder has launched a three-prong attack on this problem that involves a website, an artwork identifying smartphone app and countless iPad apps.

Its website, which launched in March, is a searchable database of about 500,000 works of art. It allows users to search art from about 6,000 galleries by factors such as their home gallery. The UK-based startup has partnerships with galleries and other sources that provide the metadata needed to power its search engine. This allows Artfinder’s algorithms to pull off feats like recommending a favorite artist’s contemporaries in the startup’s “magic tour” art discovery feature.

Users can also pull together their favorite works into a personal virtual collection and share them to the usual social networks. It’s much like what does for music by keeping a record of all the songs a user has played. Its similarities to aren’t surprising — Artfinder co-founder Spencer Hymann was once’s COO.

Artfinder users can buy a print of most artwork that they find on the website, no matter how unlikely they are to find those prints in a poster store. Along with the metadata, the galleries have also given permission to print posters on demand in exchange for a portion of the profits — an agreement that all art printers are supposed to operate under, but many ignore.

An impending mobile app will further connect Artfinder’s virtual library and the galleries where the art is actually hanging. When a user comes across a piece of unfamiliar art in a gallery (or anywhere else), he can snap a photo of it with the app, which will recognize the work and direct the user to its Artfinder page.

This will provide Artfinder with a method for essentially selling art prints inside of galleries and give its members a way to easily identify and keep track of the art they spot. It’s also a technology that the startup plans to sell to other businesses that need to identify and artwork in order to credit it properly.

Artfinder’s iPad app — or apps, rather — take an entirely different approach. Instead of transferring its catalog of artwork from the web to the iPad, the startup decided to create a platform on which artists and galleries could easily build apps that show off their own images. If the gallery or artist sells an app on the iTunes store, Artfinder takes a cut of each sale. If it uses the app as a free marketing tool, Artfinder charges a nominal fee for using its platform.

Thorpe says the mission of the business, which has accepted an undisclosed amount of funding from Wellington Partners and Greylock Partners, is to “make it easier to find great art.” Or, at the least, give the average-budget art shopper options beyond what happens to be in stock at IKEA.

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: art, Artfinder, startups

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You Can Now Shop Express’s Entire Catalog on Facebook

Posted: 03 May 2011 07:15 PM PDT

Express began selling its entire catalog of merchandise on Facebook Tuesday, becoming one of the first major fashion retailers in the U.S. to do so.

Users can now visit the Shop Express tab on Express’s Facebook page to browse, search save and purchase Express’s inventory of apparel and accessories for me and women. The publicly traded company has also baked in many social features, including the ability to “Like,” pieces, post comments, recommend items to friends and post their purchases to their Facebook Walls. One needn’t even “Like” the page to have access to all of this functionality.

Inventory, pricing, wishlists and comments are automatically synced across Express’s other web and mobile sites, creating a seamless shopping experience across platforms and devices.

The goal, Jim Wright, senior vice president of Express’s CRM and ecommerce team says, is to make shopping for Express merchandise as convenient as possible. “We continue to look for ways that the customer can interact with the brand on their own schedule and at their convenience, so that we bring down as many barriers as possible,” he says.

Thus far, U.S. retailers have lagged behind their UK counterparts in offering full ecommerce on their Facebook Pages. UK apparel retailer ASOS made its entire 150,000-product catalog shippable on Facebook in January, complete with product search and secure checkout, followed shortly by another UK fashion retailer, Young British Designers.

We expect many other retailers, both large and small, will quickly follow suit.

More About: ecommerce, Express, facebook, fashion, thumbnail

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Ben Folds Covers Ke$ha’s “Sleazy” [VIDEO]

Posted: 03 May 2011 05:34 PM PDT

Musician and not-Merton Ben Folds recently recorded this cover of Ke$ha’s “Sleazy,” giving us an intriguing glimpse into what the world would be like if all pop songs were sung by people who could actually sing.

This may be just what we need to tilt the world back on its axis following Miley Cyrus’s performance of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Or maybe it’s just another tumble down the rabbit hole. Either/or.

(via Buzzfeed)

More About: ben folds, ke$ha, music, video, youtube

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‘Bin Laden’ Google Searches Up 1 Million Percent Sunday Evening

Posted: 03 May 2011 04:19 PM PDT

Google saw a 1 million percent increase in searches for “bin laden” during a one-hour period from 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. ET Sunday evening.

The peak search traffic began roughly as news of Osama bin Laden’s death started to spread on Twitter, and roughly one hour before President Obama made the official announcement that bin Laden had been killed by U.S. forces during a raid on the Abbottabad, Pakistan compound where he was hiding.

“On May 1 between 7:30-8:30 pm PST, we saw a 1 million percent increase in searches for [bin laden],” reads a statement Google posted to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.

The tweet also included an attached photo, seen below, highlighting the huge spike in “bin laden” search queries Sunday evening.

Google is the latest to release data of its increased activity around news Osama bin Laden’s death. Yahoo revealed Monday that searches for "Osama Bin Laden" spiked 98,550% Sunday evening when compared to Saturday. Akamai also noted a 24% increase in global web traffic, registering 4. 1 million page views to top news sites at 11:30 p.m. ET Sunday.

More Stories About Osama Bin Laden’s Death

More About: Google, osama bin laden, trending

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Beyond the Kindle: An Amazon Tablet Rumor Roundup

Posted: 03 May 2011 03:48 PM PDT

Is Amazon readying a tablet? Rumors of such a device are making the rounds and the idea of an Amazon tablet is plausible, considering that the company already has an ereader — a kind of tablet lite — in the Kindle. Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble’s recent expansion of the Nook Color’s capabilities, taking it from ereader to tablet, suggests Amazon could do the same.

Among the rumors circulating in the blogosphere:

  • Samsung is building the tablet. This idea was posited by Peter Rojas of Gdgt, who notes that he’s “not 100% certain” about it. However, Rojas does seem certain that the device will be Android-powered — but like the Nook Color, it may use that OS “as a base upon which to build a totally customized experience that tightly integrates Amazon services.”
  • Quanta Computer is the manufacturer. This notion, put forth by DigiTimes on Tuesday, cites Taiwanese sources who say Quanta has received OEM orders from Amazon for a tablet. Quanta is expected to start shipping as soon as the second half of 2011, according to the report. Amazon’s motivation, the report says, is to capture more of the international market. Having a tablet will let Amazon cut the Kindle’s price and use the cheaper device to pursue foreign markets. Meanwhile, the new tablet will vie with the iPad 2 in the U.S.

Rumors aside, would a tablet make sense for Amazon? Writing in her blog back in March, Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps made a compelling case for an Amazon tablet. Rotman Epps cited research showing more consumers would consider buying a tablet from Amazon (24%) than Motorola (18%). Plus, Amazon could take advantage of the fact that Apple has alienated publishers with its stringent rules regarding ebooks.

Finally, Amazon might be able to sell the device for below cost in the hopes of making it up by selling content, as it does with the Kindle, giving the device price parity or perhaps an advantage over iPad 2 pricing. “We see a market that’s ripe for disruption by Amazon in particular,” wrote Rotman Epps.

What do you think? Would you buy an Amazon tablet? Does it make sense for the company? Let us know in the comments.

More About: amazon, apple, ipad2, Motorola, samsung, Tablet

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HOW TO: Sustain a Social Movement After Initial Success

Posted: 03 May 2011 03:14 PM PDT

Susannah Vila directs content and outreach at, an organization dedicated to identifying, connecting and supporting activists using technology to organize for social change. Connect with her on Twitter @susannahvila.

Egyptians' effective use of Facebook has given life to a slew of hopeful pages and groups throughout the region. This makes sense: Facebook, if combined with the right message, the right environment and the right people can indeed help to spark massive crowds. New technologies make it easier to get more information out to more people, more quickly. The result? Town squares and plazas teeming with protesters. Two ousted dictators and two more on the brink.

Unfortunately, the quicker you mobilize, the less time there is to plan. The less the need for a traditional organization, the bigger the vacuum left after an initial big success. Whether it's a huge protest, a victorious election, an ousted dictator or a momentous piece of breaking news, it's more important than ever for movement builders and members to prepare for day two.

Build on Success

While it's essential to reach goals, it's even more important to build on that success and regroup. Act fast, capitalizing on increasing visibility and heightened awareness to get more resources for your campaign. Solicit strategic advice from outsiders with more experience and bring in new members and volunteers. If you need funding, now is the time to get it.

Get More Organized

You activated lots of people that were not formerly activated, but that doesn't mean they're organized. It's up to you to organize them. How can you get in touch with your new members today and, if need be, weeks down the line? Whenever possible, collect emails, mobile phone numbers, Twitter handles and Facebook URLs and store them in a document that's saved in a few different places.

Of course, always make sure this data is secured, and that you’re abiding by all applicable privacy regulations when you start to utilize it.

Adapt Your Vision

Why'd you start this thing, anyway? Reconcile your original goal with recent events and identify a new long-term vision for change. Your new plan should include an understanding not simply of what you want to achieve but also how you will achieve it. Articulate a clear and defined timeline that includes your upcoming actions — for example, weekly protests — and how they will take you closer to your long-term goal.

Get Feedback

Your campaign didn't succeed only because of the most involved people but rather because of everyone. That's why it's so important to ask the people who got involved what the next step should be. Don't decide anything as one person or one small group of more involved participants.

Take a cue from Wael Ghonim, one of the administrators of the We Are All Khaled Said Facebook Page, who, when asked what was next for a post-Mubarak Egypt, said: "Ask Facebook." This is easier said than done, but the sentiment is spot-on. When identifying a new vision for your campaign, make it as easy as possible for members to decide.

Go Public With Your New Vision

Asking Facebook is meaningless if no one knows what the response was. Draw up an internal document to circulate amongst organizers with the feedback that you've received. Share it with everyone involved. The process of sorting through feedback can be as transparent and public as any other aspect of your campaign.

When a decision has been made, post it everywhere — on Facebook, on your website, your Twitter feed and in an email blast — so that everyone can hold you to it.

(Re)define Leadership

Everyone can be a leader as long as they are all coordinated and operating with a shared purpose and strategy. Now that you have a new long-term goal, offer a toolkit for organizers throughout the country to take this vision of change and work toward it on their own.

As Egypt demonstrates, it's a lot easier to complete the first day of a revolution than the second. Holding together a large coalition is simpler when everyone is on board and the goal, be it an election or an ouster, is obvious. It's not as easy to come up with a new vision, especially when the changed landscape is marked by infighting, confusion and the same entrenched interests as before. But, if you support your movement building with strong strategy and long-term thinking, then the chances are a lot higher that all of your demands will be met — and will stay met.

Interested in more Social Good resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

Image courtesy of Flickr, nebedaay.

More About: causes, Egypt, List, Lists, non-profit, politics, protests, social good, social media

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Too Soon? Osama Bin Laden Memes Abound

Posted: 03 May 2011 02:21 PM PDT

As per usual after a big event (or even a day of the week), meme-makers have been on a tear pumping out Photoshopped pictures and graphics depicting Osama bin Laden’s death and U.S. President Barack Obama’s hand in it.

The reception of such content has undoubtedly set many a mind whirring about whether laughing at death and tragedy is appropriate. The Huffington Post recently ran a piece on humor in the wake of solemn events, for one, and every late-night host seemed to have a joke up his or her sleeve after the news of bin Laden’s death.

A case can be made for laughing in the face of darkness as a way to overcome obstacles, for sure, but there do seem to be some cases where the revelry can go too far.

For example, Next Media Animation released a characteristically bizarre video Monday depicting bin Laden’s gruesome death, soldiers urinating on his body, and, finally, his spirit being gang-raped by pigs. That video has since been taken down. We’ve reached out to NMA for comment.

Those who feel we shouldn’t laugh at or celebrate a death can go too far, too. Witness the partly mangled, partly fabricated Martin Luther King Jr. quote that spread across the web in a bid to urge others not to succumb to hate.

What do you think? Are these memes a way to release tension after a monumental and cathartic event? Or are some of them beyond the pale? We’ve included a small sampling below. In the comments, please share others you’ve seen.

Harry Potter

With the recent release of the trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, comparisons between Osama bin Laden and Lord Voldemort abound.

via sistersa1vation

Celebrity Photoshops

Because what's a meme without a Kanye cameo?

via imyourbroda

Situation Room Remixes

Pictures from the White House Situation Room during the night of bin Laden's death have been the subject of much remixing. Some reference gaming, as well as the recent Sony PlayStation outage.

via amosharper

Trump Trumps

A lot of memes also reference the recent feud between Obama and Donald Trump, who claimed that he was responsible for the president's long-form birth certificate reveal. Obama recently roasted Trump at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, and then, by happenstance, the announcement of bin Laden's death interrupted Trump's show, Celebrity Apprentice.

via Recapturing The Vibe

Twitter Accounts

Immediately after bin Laden's death, "Ghost" Osama Twitter accounts started cropping up. This one has 41,687 followers.

More About: Meme, obama, osama bin laden, pop culture, trending

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Startup Investor Makes a Deal: Engineers for Equity

Posted: 03 May 2011 01:55 PM PDT

Startup founders regularly fork over chunks of their companies in exchange for venture capital. But a new angel fund is hoping that they’ll do the same in exchange for engineering talent.

“Most of that money [from venture capitalists and angels] is used to build a product,” explains Haig Kayserian, the CEO of Kayweb Angels. “Once that product is built, you will probably have given away a lot of equity.”

Kayserian sees what he calls “angel developing” as a way for entrepreneurs to accomplish the same end — a product — without giving up control of their companies in the process.

Kayweb is named for its majority owner, the design and development firm Kayserian founded in Australia seven years ago. That company, which now has a client list of more than 200 companies and additional offices in the Philippines and New York, takes on the startup projects that Kayweb Angels selects. Like a traditional capital fund, Kayweb Angels also has a board of directors that provides its startups with connections, guidance and help securing further funding.

Since getting started in October, the board has already invested work in three startups (all in stealth mode):, and In exchange for $150,000 to $300,000 of work, each startup has given Kayweb 14% to 40% equity. As a rule, Kayserian says that Kayweb will take no more than 40% of a company in exchange for development work.

The shortage of startup technical talent, especially in New York City, has been well-documented. But will startups give up a substantial portion of their companies in exchange for that talent?

Kayserian believes they will. “We’re doing the work for free, sharing the risk, and you can keep control of your company,” he says. “It’s not been a difficult sell.”

More About: angel investors, engineers, funding, Kayweb, startups, venture capital

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Top 10 Free Android Photo Apps [PICS]

Posted: 03 May 2011 01:37 PM PDT

Eat your heart out, Instagram.

If you’re a devoted Android user but feel a bit left out when it comes to snapping those grainy, vintage-looking pics that all the kids are sharing on The Twitter, never fear. The Android Market has certainly matured over the last few months, and the sheer volume of new users and phones has spurred a glut of new apps — especially in the photo department.

We took these 10 freebies for a spin on an Android 2.2 device. Here are our impressions, along with where to grab each one.

What’s your go-to photo app for Android? Let us know in the comments.

1. Pudding Camera

Pudding Camera has a wonderful visual interface. Scroll through little thumbnails and camera icons (rather than text lists) to find the filters and effects you're looking for.

This visual UI is helpful, since the app itself is not entirely in English. The output resolution is full, so you'll be downloading and sharing nice big images after you're done snapping and filtering.

2. FxCamera

FxCamera has been my go-to Android photo app for a while now. The filter options get very granular, which is great if you're a control freak - not so much if you're hoping to whip out your phone and capture a fleeting moment. Still, the array of choices is impressive for a freebie.

3. Vignette Demo

Vignette's framing options and clean UI make it a standout app. You can combine the filter and frame choices for a variety of permutations. The downside is that the output resolution is small, at least with the settings we tried. That's convenient for sharing online, but you may not want to document your entire life with these tiny pics.

4. Little Photo

Little Photo packs a surprising UI punch. Take a pic and you start with the raw image. A translucent menu then floats over the snap, and you can scroll through your effect choices and preview them on the fly. Mix your effects, hit apply, and share at will. The image processing and output are impressive.

5. Retro Camera

Retro Camera is fun, slick, and has a very "Hipstamatic" feel. You're not scrolling through lists of effects, but selecting the vintage film camera you'd like to shoot with. The UI then becomes the camera (with various additional options appearing as buttons and switches), and you look down into the view finder as you snap away. Photos are then "developed" in the preview gallery where you can scroll through your attempts in a handheld dark room and share them out via Twitter, Facebook, and "Electronic Mail" - whatever that is.

In our testing, we had a few crashes, but not enough to detract from the fun value.

There's also a paid version with more cameras and features to choose from.

6. Action Snap

Action Snap is a bit different from the others on our list. It has a handful of filters, but the selling point here is the ability to grab a sequence of images and stitch them together automagically. This is great for objects or people in motion.

Set the automatic shutter interval anywhere between .01 and 5 seconds (or a custom speed that you can control manually) and start snapping your moving target. The app arranges the photos sequentially into panels or a grid. The dead-simple interface and lack of bells and whistles means you can focus on your subject in motion.

7. A World of Photo (Free)

A World of Photo is not your traditional box of digital filters. It's a social photo game with the potential to be a lot of fun and/or super creepy. Think of it as a mobile, photo-centric version of Chatroulette.

You can jump right in as a guest user or sign up for an account if you plan to play often. Wait to be "located" by another user (who will appear on the map in relation to you). Then it's up to you to snap a photo of anything (within the terms of use and common decency) and send it off to that user. The nice thing is that when you're ready to take a photo, it allows you to use Android's camera, or other photo apps you've already installed. I used Vignette to snap a photo of my coffee cup and send it out to "Guest 8244." I assume he or she enjoyed it immensely.

The recipient can comment or send feedback. When the exchange is done, the app locates someone else, and tasks them to send a pic to you. I received a horrifying photo of a giant insect crawling on someone's foot. Fun!

The interface is still a little rough. I attempted to email the bug-foot photo to myself, but the message came through without an attachment, and the horror was lost to the aether. Still, it's easy to see how a little time spent playing with this app could lead to a lot of time spent playing with this app.

8. Photo Illusion

This app doesn't actually take photos on its own - you'll need to access snaps from your gallery. Once you load them in, there are multitudes of effects you can apply. Some of them are a little goofy, but there's entertainment to be had with fisheyes and fun house-type mirrors. The above example uses a lomo filter and a mosaic pattern.

9. Roidizer

Want Polaroid-style pics without fuss? Grab this free app. The user experience could not be simpler, and the results are impressive.

Take your photo through the Polaroid viewfinder, watch it develop, and write the caption at the bottom in a variety of fonts. You can change the "film type" before or after you shoot, but the variations are simple and clean. Your pics are easy to save and share. The final resolution is decent, but not huge.

10. Camera360 Free

Last but certainly not least, Camera360 Free has a full buffet of effects, filters and styles to choose from, including a great tilt-shift option that is often lacking in other Android offerings. The UI has nice big buttons, and once you get into picture-taking mode, there are even more granular options to play with.

Sharing is a little buggy, but if you're looking for a wealth of photo options to experiment with, Camera360 (or its paid version) is a great choice.

Interested in more Android resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, g2710

More About: android, List, Lists, Photos, pics

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“Facebook of China” Set for $5 Billion IPO

Posted: 03 May 2011 01:20 PM PDT

Renren, China’s leading and most-trafficked real-name social network, could raise up to $734.4 million when it lists its shares on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday.

Renren is offering shares at $12 to $14, a 30% increase over its suggested offering of $9 to $11 per share just one week ago.

At the $13 mid-point price and private placement to investors, the company could have a market value of $5.1 billion after its offering, Business Week reports. That’s a fraction of Facebook’s latest valuation, but hardly a shabby performance by IPO standards.

Founded in 2005, the Beijing-based social network has a reported 117 million users — compare that to Facebook’s more than 600 million members — though only 31 million are said to use the service at least once per month.

In a post on China’s top social networks, Mashable contributor Kai Lukoff said Renren is essentially a Facebook copycat. “Renren is like a miniature Facebook with a mean streak and a quest for monetization … Anything Facebook releases, Renren immediately copies: Connect, Like, Places, Groups, etc. To be fair, a few features are localized: brand advertising, a game layer and emoticons,” Lukoff wrote.

Renren, unlike Facebook, charges brands a minimum of 600,000 yuan (roughly $90,000) to create their own fan pages, which are more like mini-sites. The company, however, is not yet profitable.

“The appetite for Renren shares is there because this is the first major social networking site from anywhere to list,” Mark Natkin, founder of Marbridge Consulting, told the BBC.

Even though investors are expected to buy up Renren shares, the company is far from a safe bet. Renren’s audit committee chair Derek Palaschuk formally resigned his post over the weekend “to protect the Chinese social networking company from any possible fallout from accusations of accounting fraud at another company where he is an executive,” Reuters reports.

Plus, Renren will face additional scrutiny from the SEC, which is investigating the accounting practices of hundreds of Chinese companies on the exchange, according to BBC News.

More About: facebook, ipo, renren, social network

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EA Snaps Up Studio Behind Hit Games on iPhone, iPad

Posted: 03 May 2011 01:03 PM PDT

Electronic Arts (EA) announced Tuesday that it will be acquiring mobile development studio Firemint. Firemint is best known for its popular mobile games Flight Control and Real Racing.

The Australia-based game studio was founded in 1999. However, it wasn’t until 2009 that the company started to garner widespread attention. In March 2009, Firemint released Flight Control for the iPhone and the game went on to become an instant smash. To date, more than 4.5 million copies of the game have been sold and it is available on the iPhone, iPad, Mac OS X, Nintendo DS, Android, PC and PlayStation 3.

Firemint has also made a splash with its Real Racing series of games. Real Racing 2 HD is one of my favorite games to show off the power of the iPad 2′s new features. Nearly 2 million copies of the Real Racing series have been sold to date.

The Firemint acquisition is just the latest in a series of moves that have EA aiming more at the social and mobile gaming markets. EA recently announced that it had bought Mobile Post Production (MPP), a company that focuses on cross-platform mobile development and porting mobile games to other platforms.

In October 2010, EA purchased popular mobile publisher Chillingo and in November 2009, the company acquired social gaming company Playfish.

We can’t help but comment on the irony of EA acquiring Firemint, if only because Real Racing shares lots of similarities with the Need for Speed racing series that EA pioneered more than fifteen years ago. (In my opinion, on the iOS side, Firemint does a better job with the racing controls, physics and graphics.)

More About: EA, electronic arts, firemint, flight control

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Why 5 Big Brand Marketing Campaigns Are Betting Big on Social Gaming

Posted: 03 May 2011 12:43 PM PDT

The Digital Marketing Series is supported by HubSpot, which offers inbound marketing software that helps small and medium sized businesses get found on the Internet by the right prospects and converts more of them into leads and customers. Learn more.

Skeptics of social gaming for business purposes exist, but that’s not stopping some big brands from disproving those critics' misconceptions.

Big brands are finding ways to leverage the enormous social gaming population (which is expected to reach 68.7 million players by the end of 2012). They’re jumping into the game — so to speak — with branded virtual goods, integrated ads and offers as well as games that combine digital and real-world incentives.

For example, marketers like Century 21 have started using branded virtual goods — inexpensive, non-tangible items people buy to use in digital games — in order to gain brand recognition and tap into the profitable social gaming trend. In 2011, U.S. gamers will spark $653 million in revenue solely from purchasing virtual items, predicts research aggregator eMarketer. That figure is expected to reach $792 million in 2012.

Here are five brands that are successfully using social gaming in their marketing campaigns. If you know of any other stellar campaigns, please share them in the comments section.

1. Century 21

To try to make its 40-year-old brand appeal to the age group that buys the most homes — people who are 25 to 34 — residential real estate organization Century 21 launched its first social gaming campaign in early April.

Century 21 partnered with mobile gaming company ngmoco to create branded virtual goods that players could use in ngmoco’s We City [iTunes link], a game in which players build cities. The Century 21-branded virtual goods comprised of skyscrapers, homes and other buildings that players added to progress through the game, which was compatible with the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

The social gaming campaign ended April 26, and it has paid off. Century 21 Chief Marketing Officer Bev Thorne says 92% of We City players have incorporated Century 21-branded structures into their virtual cities. “That’s quite the engagement rate,” she adds. “We’ll also be basing our success on brand survey results, video views and app downloads.”

Appssavvy, a company that focuses on connecting brands to people through digital social activities, developed the strategy and design for Century 21′s first attempt at leveraging social gaming for marketing. Appssavvy is no stranger to the online social realm, as it already has planned similar campaigns for big brands such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Nestle and Frito-Lay.

2. MasterCard

GamesThatGive is one company helping brands take advantage of the social gaming boom via Facebook.

“Games on Facebook are a special and powerful marketing tool that can easily bring a brand virality, deep brand engagement and sales growth,” says Adam Archer, CEO of GamesThatGive (GTG).

GTG makes custom-branded Facebook games with charitable twist. For example, its You Play, We Give campaign for MasterCard donates as much as 10 cents to Junior Achievement Hudson Valley for every minute a person plays the game, which has more than 30,000 Likes and gets more than 80% of visits from returning visitors. On average, gamers spend 45 minutes on the game page each visit.

The concept and execution are the same for GTG’s other big-name clients — Pepsi, Propel, Starbucks and Quaker. A user can play those companies' custom-branded games on Facebook for a short amount a time until a pop-up box appears requesting that the user "like" the company in order to "double your donation."

“Not only are thousands of dollars going to charity as a result of people playing games, but large companies are successfully using branded social games to turn Facebook fans into customers,” Archer says.

3. Psych

USA Network’s TV show Psych has a game-heavy website for its fans called Club Psych, where users earn rewards for consuming and sharing content, as well as interacting with fellow fans and content. The rewards range from virtual items (badges, wallpapers, digital music) to physical ones (posters, DVD sets).

“After the launch, users' time on the Psych website increased from an average of 14 minutes to 22 minutes; pageviews were up to 16 million from 9 million in the previous season; and average site visits increased from 2 times per month to around 4.5 times month,” says Rajat Paharia, founder and chief product officer for BunchBall, which “gamified” the Psych experience.

“USA Networks also saw viewership of the show — in the 18 to 34 demographic — rise 40%, and it was awarded an AdAge Media Vanguard award for Best Social-Media Loyalty program,” he says.

4. New York Public Library

In early April, the New York Public Library revealed a digital campaign called Find the Future: The Game, which goes live to the public on May 21.

Using a mobile app, players will complete tasks at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street. The tasks encourage players to explore the library and "40 miles of books." For example, a player might be tasked to scan a QR code located at the Declaration of Independence and then respond to a creative essay prompt.

"There is something to be said for being in the presence of rare, historic objects," Caro Llewellyn, producer of the Library's Centennial celebration, told Mashable in April. "Wikipedia and Google are fantastic, but to see objects like these in the flesh has enormous power and can truly inspire creativity."

Five hundred pre-selected people will participate in the game's launch on May 20, one day before the game goes live to the public.

5. Expedia

The FriendTrips game from travel website Expedia at first glance appears to be a simple travel sweepstakes. For the user, it is — as all he or she has to do is "like" the Page, choose one of 13 destinations and invite five friends to do the same.

But for Expedia, it's much more because a user's five friends must also become fans of the page in order for the initial user to be entered into the drawing for a free trip. The friends are entered in the drawing upon “liking” the Expedia Page, which has more than 870,000 fans.

“Like Expedia, which is forcing six ‘likes’ to enter its game instead of one, brands must find ways to empower … their existing community to recruit new members," says Oxford Communications communication strategist Christopher Stemborowski, who doesn't represent Expedia but keeps his pulse on social gaming for brands.

Participants can enter the game more than once with the chance to double (by inviting 25 friends) or triple (by inviting 50 friends) their chances. Every day of the competition, which ends mid-May, Expedia also awards $250 to four players who submit pictures and share stories of why they want to visit a particular featured destination.

"Expedia is building a powerful online community where people can share their travel experiences with one another and with all of our travelers," Scott Durchslag, president of Expedia Worldwide, said in a statement when the game launched in March. "I believe a million dollars’ worth of free travel will be a magnificent experience for our friends on Facebook."


Marketers have to meet consumers where they are already active, Stemborowski advises.

“People who currently use feature phones are not likely to purchase a smartphone just to take part in Find the Future, and someone not on Facebook is not likely to join just to take part in FriendTrip,” he says. “Decide, as specifically as possible, in which social spaces the audience you want to reach is spending their time. Then design a game that reaches them there and allows them to behave the way they do naturally.

“Great social games begin with an obsessive understanding of how people are socializing. The marketers’ task is to translate everyday socializing behaviors into meaningful actions for their brands.”

Series Supported by HubSpot

The Digital Marketing Series is supported by HubSpot, which offers inbound marketing software that helps small and medium sized businesses get found on the Internet by the right prospects and converts more of them into leads and customers. HubSpot’s software platform includes tools that allow professional marketers and small business owners to manage SEO, blogging, social media, landing pages, e-mail, lead intelligence and marketing analytics. Learn more.

More Marketing Resources from Mashable:

- The Pros and Cons Of Tumblr For Small Business
- 4 Innovative Ways to Use Web Video for Small Business
- Top 5 Web Design Mistakes Small Businesses Make
- What to Look For When Hiring a Community Manager
- 3 Ways Companies Can Reach Generation Z

More About: brands, business, century 21, Digital Marketing Series, Expedia, facebook, MARKETING, marketing campaigns, mastercard, new york library, social gaming

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TV Ownership Drops for the First Time Since 1992 [REPORT]

Posted: 03 May 2011 12:27 PM PDT

The economy and digital alternatives have caused more Americans to tune out their TV sets, The Nielsen Co. reports.

In a report released Tuesday, Nielsen estimated the number of U.S. households with TVs to be 114.7 million, down from 115.9 million in 2010 — a decline to 96.7% from 98.9%. That may not seem like much, but the last such dip came 19 years ago.

Nielsen attributed the trend to a few factors, including:

  • The digital transition in summer 2009, which meant consumers needed a new TV set, one with a built-in tuner or one with a digital-to-analog converter box.
  • Economics: Low-income, rural homes were most affected, Nielsen reports.
  • Multiple Platforms: A “small subset of younger, urban consumers are going without paid TV subscriptions,” Nielsen reports. The researcher was unsure if this is part of a larger trend or if it’s also related to the economy.
  • The report comes after the Consumer Electronics Association reported in January that digital TV sales fell 1% in 2010. Internet-connected TVs, however, grew 151%, in units, in 2010.

    While this is the first drop in TV ownership since 1992, the decrease is relatively slight, especially in light of emerging alternatives for viewing TV content. If anything, Nielsen’s report shows that the TV is not going the way of the typewriter just yet — and so far, cord cutters haven’t had much impact.

    Image courtesy of Flickr, schmiblick

    More About: cord cutters, Nielsen, TVs

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Xobni Opens App Store for Outlook

Posted: 03 May 2011 12:00 PM PDT

Xobni for Outlook, an inbox plugin offering social intelligence and relationship management inside email messages, is opening an app store to users and developers Tuesday.

The Xobni Gadget Store allows users to pick and choose from nearly 20 free and paid applications to add to their Outlook experience.

At launch, the store includes gadgets from notable productivity, CRM, social media and collaborative-focused companies including Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Salesforce CRM, Chatter and Yammer.

Gadgets are meant to add an additional, more contextual layer to the inbox experience. The Evernote gadget, for instance, lets Outlook users view their Evernote notes related to each of their email contacts in the right-hand sidebar.

The release of the Xobni Gadget Store is part of a larger push by the startup to recruit third-party developers to build applications for their email platform. The Xobni Gadget Platform is based on the OpenSocial Platform and is also accessible to enterprises that wish to create sidebar or message body applications for internal deployment.

Xobni’s offering is competitive with the lesser known RedCritter for Outlook, which also features an app store for Outlook and an API for developers.

Xobni Gadget Store applications are said to be mostly free of charge, but paid gadgets will cost the user $9.99 a year.

The full arsenal of available Outlook gadgets is listed below:

  • Productivity Gadgets: Dropbox, Evernote, GoldMail, Google Translate, JIRA, WebEx
  • Collaboration Gadgets: Huddle, Microsoft SharePoint, Salesforce Chatter, Yammer
  • Content Gadgets: Facebook, Flickr, Hoover's, Klout, LinkedIn, Twitter, Xing, YouTube, Yelp
  • CRM Gadgets: Salesforce CRM

More About: app store, email, Outlook, Outlook plugin, xobni

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Want Answers? Formspring Lets You See All Responses at Once

Posted: 03 May 2011 12:00 PM PDT

Formspring, the popular web app for anonymous or social Q&A, is making its massively multi-player features a lot more useful Tuesday with a tool called All Responses.

For some time, users have been able to ask one question of all their followers simultaneously, but users haven’t been able to see all the responses at the same time. All Responses is exactly what it sounds like: a way to see all the responses to a single question in one page.

Here’s how the feature works. When you ask a question to which multiple friends respond, you’ll see a number representing the responses the question has gotten. Click on the number, and you’ll be able to read and compare all the responses in a single page.

If another Formspring user recycles your question with his or her friends and followers, a new list of responses will be generated; your All Responses pages will only contain replies from the people in your own networks.

You’ll also be able to see All Responses for your Formspring friends. “It’s a great way to discover interesting content you might not see otherwise,” said Formspring CEO Ade Olonoh.

The feature won’t be completely retroactive, but you’ll be able to see All Responses buttons for questions from the past week or so.

In the past couple months, the startup has been rolling out a steady stream of much-requested new features and UI improvements. The app got Smile buttons, Formspring’s take on the upvote, at the beginning of the year. And at the beginning of April, the whole web app got a complete redesign with improvements to look, feel and functionality.

Perhaps most interesting, though, was the startup’s foray into SMS features, which prompted us to ponder, is an official mobile app in Formspring’s future?

Olonoh can’t completely divulge his startup’s roadmap, but he says, “Mobile is something we’re working on that’s important to us.” He said to expect official Formspring apps in the next few months and definitely by the end of the year.

Other features to roll out this year will also focus on content discovery from beyond your individual social graph — perhaps even content organized around topics. These types of features will also be aimed squarely at the 18-and-older market; Formspring is white-hot among high school kids but less so among mainstream adults.

Olonoh did give us clues about what we won’t see any time soon on Formspring. Threaded responses are “not on the horizon. … We’re trying to keep things pretty simple.” And polling or multiple choice questions are not part of the roadmap at all. “We want to encourage video embeds, witty responses. We’ll probably stay away from multiple choice in the foreseeable future,” said Olonoh.

As for monetization, Olonoh revealed, “We’re not making any money yet, but we’re actively building out our plan. We’ll announce more about that later this year.”

Ask All Your Friends...

...& See All Their Answers

Formspring's All Responses Feature

Top image based on a photo from iStockphoto user urbancow

More About: all responses, formspring,, q&a

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YouTube Video of the Day: Look, a Talking Dog!

Posted: 03 May 2011 11:43 AM PDT

We figured you all could use a little levity today, so we’ve chosen to post this effortlessly entertaining YouTube Video of the Day featuring a “talking” dog.

Try not to drool on your desk with delight.

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Celebrate Social Media Day 2011 With a Mashable Meetup

Posted: 03 May 2011 11:24 AM PDT

We’re thrilled to announce our second annual Social Media Day will be held Thursday, June 30, 2011. The global event is a celebration of the technological advancements that enable everyone to connect with real-time information, communicate from miles apart and have their voices be heard.

We invite you to connect with fellow web enthusiasts by hosting a Social Media Day Meetup in your area. There’s no better way to celebrate the revolution of media becoming a social dialogue than by socializing with your online community offline.

A Mashable Meetup can take just about any shape you'd like depending on what best suits your social community. For planning tips, check out our how-to guide. For updates and to find out what other organizers are cooking up, follow our @mashsmday Twitter account and like our Social Media Day Facebook Page.

Ways You Can Participate

  • Sign up to attend or organize your own event on the Mashable Meetup Everywhere page.
  • Share what you’re doing for your Mashable Meetup or leave suggestions for others in the comments below.
  • Use the #smday hashtag on Twitter.
  • Find a Mashable Meetup community in your area:

Social Media Day 2010 Highlights

    Wondering what a Social Media Day Meetup will look like? Last year there were more than 600 Meetups in 93 countries with nearly 12,000 attendees. Here are some of our favorite moments:

    • Vancouver and Victoria, B.C. declared Social Media Day an official holiday.
    • 30,000 tweets with hashtag #SMDay.
    • Thousands of photos and videos on Flickr, YouTube and Facebook.
    • Live streams throughout the world.
    • Seeds planted for ongoing monthly Mashable Meetups.
    • An alpaca in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Antwerp, Belgium

    This event got organized fairly late, but grew very quickly with strong organizers. It included an introduction and of course a party with a DJ.

    Sao Paulo, Brazil

    The Sao Paulo meetup was the second largest in the world, and included speakers, networking and more. Check out the rest of the photos here.

    Chennai, India

    Chennai, India meetup had games, networking and charity all tied into the social event. To see more photos from the event, check out the stream of Flickr.

    Athens, Greece

    The Mashable and social media fans in Athens joined together to celebrate Social Media Day at a local cafe. See more photos here.

    Vancouver, BC

    The Vancouver meetup included the official proclamation from the city naming June 30th Social Media Day. Here is Pete Cashmore, who was in attendance, holding up the proclamation.

    Dubrovnik, Croatia

    The social enthusiasts in Croatia got together for drinks and networking. Photo by Ivana Urošević.


    The Atlanta event was one of the largest, and included this OMGbooth, which has our very own reporter Christina Warren pictured on the right. For the full album, check it out on Facebook.

    Mashable NYC Team

    The New York City meetup was hosted by the Mashable team with help from Girls in Tech. With more than 300 in attendance, we snapped this shot just before the festivities began. Top: Matt Silverman, Vadim Lavrusik, Erica Swallow, Lauren Indvik, Zach Sniderman, Brett Petersel, Adam Ostrow, Adam Hirsch. Bottom: Stefanie Rennert, Stephanie Marcus, Brenna Ehrlich, Sharon Hirsch. To see the rest of the photos from the NYC event, go to the Mashable Flickr stream.

    New York City

    The New York meetup brought more than 350 people for some big-city networking and an overall good time.

    Miami, Florida

    The Miami meetup celebrated in true social media fashion by offering complimentary champagne to those that checked in on Foursquare, tweet out #SMday or update their status on Facebook. To see the full photos from the meetup, you can checkout this slideshow.

    Tempe, Arizona

    The Social Media Day meetup in Tempe had more than 100 in attendance and included a Skype call to connect with a Tucson meetup who was also celebrating Social Media Day in Arizona.

    Brisbane, Australia

    The Brisbane meetup included an "Alpaca Wall," which included facts about the most social farm animal. You can view the rest of the images here.

    San Francisco

    The San Francisco meetup was one of the largest Social Media Day events, and put on by our Mashable team in San Francisco. Here is Mashable's Ben Parr with a group of attendees.


    The meetup in Silom, Thailand, had a good turnout for people to come together and network around social media. To see the full album, see the Flickr stream.


    The Boston meetup included a great panel and turnout of social enthusiasts. Pictured here is Dan Zarrella. To see the rest of the photos by Steve Garfield, check out the Flickr stream.

    More About: community, international, mashable meetup, meetup everywhere, smday, social media day

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Social Media Ad Spending To Hit $8.3B in 2015 [STUDY]

Posted: 03 May 2011 11:02 AM PDT

Social media ad spending will hit $8.3 billion in 2015, up from $2.1 billion last year, according to a new report.

BIA/Kelsey, a media consultancy, predicts that display ads will retain the lion’s share of the business, but innovations like Twitter‘s Promoted Tweets will make inroads as well.

By 2015, $7.7 billion of that $8.3 billion will be from display ads, the firm predicts, and most of that will belong to Facebook, though the report didn’t break out Facebook’s exact share. A rep for BIA/Kelsey says the figures were determined by “third-party and public company reports” as well as BIA/Kelsey’s knowledge of the social media advertising market.

BIA/Kelsey‘s definition of social media advertising doesn’t include virtual goods and rewards, social gaming, social commerce or social marketing.

These estimates are more or less in line with those of eMarketer, which pegged social media ad spending at $2 billion in 2010 and predicts the segment will hit $3 billion in 2011 and $3.93 billion in 2012. The Internet Advertising Bureau, meanwhile, reported that U.S. online advertising as a whole hit $26 billion in 2010. The IAB doesn’t break out social media advertising revenues.

To put the forecast in perspective, the IAB estimated [PDF link] that TV ad spending totaled $68.7 billion in 2010 while newspapers and radio took in $22.8 billion and $15.3 billion, respectively.

Is BIA/Kelsey’s report credible? Facebook’s ad revenues were believed to have hit $1.68 billion last year, and this year the company’s ad prices are on the rise. Its business is growing faster than previously predicted. Taking that information into account (and assuming that Facebook will continue to dominate the segment), $8.3 billion seems plausible, even conservative.

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

More About: advertising, BIA/Kelsey, emarketer, facebook, IAB, social media, trending, twitter

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NFL Star Rashard Mendenhall’s Osama Bin Laden Tweets Spark Controversy

Posted: 03 May 2011 10:30 AM PDT

NFL star Rashard Mendenhall has found himself in hot water over comments posted to his Twitter account on Monday in the wake of Osama Bin Laden's death.

The Pittsburgh Steelers running back tweeted, among other things: "What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…" In another tweet in response to University of Illinois basketball player Dominique Keller, Mendenhall implied a 9/11 conspiracy, writing: "I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style."

The Steelers have moved quickly to distance themselves from Mendenhall's comments by posting a statement on its website. President Art Rooney II writes, "I have not spoken with Rashard so it is hard to explain or even comprehend what he meant with his recent Twitter comments. The entire Steelers' organization is very proud of the job our military personnel have done and we can only hope this leads to our troops coming home soon."

While Mendenhall is yet to be punished by his team for the remarks, he wouldn’t be the first NFL player to get in trouble over tweets. Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson was suspended for a game (which cost him $213,000) and released by his team following a gay slur made on Twitter.

More Stories About Osama Bin Laden’s Death

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Scott Pelley To Replace Katie Couric on CBS Evening News

Posted: 03 May 2011 08:45 AM PDT

CBS has announced that Scott Pelley, corespondent for 60 Minutes, will replace Katie Couric as the new anchor of the CBS Evening News. Pelley will get his spot in the anchor chair on June 6, in a show that will be titled CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley.

Couric announced her departure last week. She joined CBS in 2006 and was the first sole female news anchor on a major American broadcast network. She is reportedly shopping around a syndicated program that would be more like her previous gig at NBC’s Today show.

Scott Pelley has been with CBS News since 1989. From 1997 to 1999, Pelley was the chief White House correspondent for CBS News. In 1999, he joined 60 Minutes II and joined 60 Minutes proper in 2004.

In its official statement, CBS News notes that half of all the major awards won by 60 Minutes since 2004 have been for stories reported by Pelley.

Photo courtesy of CBS

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Altered Martin Luther King Jr. Quote Goes Viral After Osama Bin Laden’s Death

Posted: 03 May 2011 08:44 AM PDT

On Monday, a quote supposedly penned by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was making its way across the web, warning U.S. citizens not to “return hate for hate” following Osama bin Laden’s death. Now we’re learning that the quote is not quite accurate.

For those of you whose Facebook friends didn’t share the quote, it goes something like this:

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

The Atlantic wrote that the quote was, indeed, fabricated — saying: “It’s a bit too a propos. What ‘thousands’ would King have been talking about? In which enemy’s death was he supposed to be rejoicing?”

The article then goes on to ask: “Someone made up a quote, attributed it to MLK Jr., and disseminated it widely, all within 24 hours. Why? What do you get out of saying something pithy, and getting no credit for it?”

That’s not exactly how it went down. A good portion of the quote is, in fact, real — it comes from King’s book Strength to Love (keep reading before and after the words in question — it’s a good read).

Salon reported earlier that the quote came from magician Penn Jillette (yes, of Penn & Teller fame), who tweeted the quote around 20 hours ago. Upon receiving heat from followers about its validity, Jillette responded: “I checked a long quote from MLK’s ‘Strength to love’ 1963 that spoke to some of my feelings, then I cut and pasted an altered hunk. Sorry.”

This morning however, the Detroit Free Press reported that the first sentence — the part referencing “thousands” supposedly comes from Twitter user Jessica Dovey, who tweeted this morning at Jillette: “I am the original author of the ‘MLK’ quote. Somewhere my words got mixed with his.” Jillette then retweeted her tweet containing the admission.

Dovey also sent him the following screenshot:

As you can see, Dovey apparently posted the quote on Facebook around 2:15 p.m. ET Monday (her Twitter profile says she lives in Pennsylvania), which means that she posted it before Jillette — if we can trust Twitter and Facebook timelines, which we really can’t. Consequently, we’ve reached out to Dovey and Jillette for comment.

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Bing Will Power BlackBerry Search & Maps

Posted: 03 May 2011 08:09 AM PDT

Microsoft and RIM announced at BlackBerry World 2011 a new partnership that will make Bing the default search engine and Bing Maps the default location and mapping service on BlackBerry devices.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a surprise appearance during RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis’s keynote. The Financial Post quotes Ballmer as saying, “This goes way beyond a search box,” when discussing the new partnership.

According to Financial Post, the Bing/BlackBerry integration will take place at an OS level and Microsoft will be working to support RIM technology in its cloud offerings.

When Mashable reviewed the BlackBerry PlayBook earlier this month, the unit shipped with Bing as the default search engine and with a stand-alone Bing Maps application. In hindsight, that should have been our first big tip that a more formal announcement between the two companies was coming.

Since launching Bing nearly two years ago, Microsoft has worked to build more partnerships with mobile handset operators. Select Verizon phones powered by Google’s Android OS shipped with Bing as the default search engine. With iOS 4, Microsoft added Bing as a search engine option (Google is still the default and powers the Apple Maps app).

The long-term impact of a Microsoft/RIM deal for search might be minimal, but it is always possible that it could open up future collaboration points between the two companies.

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PCs & Thumb Drives Captured in Osama Bin Laden Raid

Posted: 03 May 2011 07:54 AM PDT

The Navy SEAL assault force that took out Osama bin Laden managed to captured personal computers, thumb drives and other electronic equipment during the raid, according to reports.

According to Politico, which cites unnamed officials familiar with the matter, hundreds of intelligence operatives are currently examining the data, which one official called "the mother lode of intelligence." Needless to say, operatives in Washington are excited to find out the contents of captured data, which might turn out to be a victory nearly as important as the demise of bin Laden. "They cleaned it out. Can you imagine what's on Osama bin Laden's hard drive?" an official said.

We don’t know if the data is encrypted or not, but even if it is, it’s probably just a matter of time until it’s decrypted with the help of the supercomputers which are at U.S. intelligence agencies’ disposal. Still, the more time it takes to decipher the data, the less usable it will be.

“It’s going to be great even if only 10 percent of it is actionable,” one official said.

More Stories About Osama Bin Laden's Death

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Amazon Launches Membership-Only Fashion Site

Posted: 03 May 2011 07:39 AM PDT

Amazon is tossing its hat into the high-fashion discounts game. The eretailer giant announced Tuesday that it’s launching a membership-only shopping site that will offer up to 60% off on fashion items., which goes live with its first sale at noon ET, will feature curated women’s, men’s and children’s departments. Some of the first brands to participate include Doo.Ri, Elizabeth and James, Halston and Vera Wang.

“Membership only” doesn’t necessarily mean exclusive. Signing up is free and instant — no need to wait for someone to invite you. In fact, if you have an Amazon login, you are already a member.

Four-day shipping is free. So are returns, but they receive credit that can be used at, and instead of cash.

The site’s concept is similar to the private sale models of startups like Gilt Groupe, Hautelook and RueLaLa.

Amazon is one of several large web companies looking to infiltrate the personalized fashion space. Google launched its personalized online fashion shop,, in November, and eBay launched a Gilt Groupe-like site called Fashion Vault last year.

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