Selasa, 26 Mei 2009

Facebook’s Redesigned Application Directory Goes Live

facebook platformFacebook has rolled out the updated look for its application directory that we told you about last week, as well as the more Facebook Page-like interface for individual applications.

The changes are mostly as expected – the apps directory now prominently includes “Featured by Facebook” apps – in other words, those that have made it through the company’s verified apps process. Additionally, you can now browse not only applications on Facebook, but those developed on external websites, mobile, and desktop using Facebook Connect and the Open Stream API.

Also interesting is the “Recent Activity from Friends” area you now see on the homepage of the apps directory. This is essentially a filter of the updates you see on your homepage, but with just application-related activity, like a friend registering for an event or playing a game.

What’s missing at this point seems to be categories for apps outside of those living on Facebook (Facebook reviews). For example, while you can drill down to see “Sports” applications on Facebook, you can’t do the same for Facebook Connect or mobile apps. Granted, there are still far fewer apps off Facebook than on, but some categorization would be nice.

Another Facebook Phishing Scam [WARNING]

areps.atIt’s getting a bit repetitive, but scammers continue to exploit Facebook (Facebook reviews) with very formulaic phishing scams that more or less do the same thing.

Today’s is from a site called “,” and like other scams before it (see,, etc), it simply asks for you to input your Facebook username and password, with a design that looks similar to that of Facebook.

Don’t give this site your information. If you do, it will proceed to send all of your friends a message telling them to go to, and hence, the scam will continue to spread like wildfire.

Create Branded Promotions on Facebook [500 FREE Invites]

Wildfire LogoYou cannot expect your brand to gain traction in social media by simply setting up a blog or a Facebook (Facebook reviews) page. You have engage your audience by participating in the conversation, providing value, and reaching out to potential customers. On Facebook, this is especially true - a good campaign push can take your brand a long way.

With that in mind, Wildfire has created a web tool and Facebook application that can do just that. With a few simple steps, Wildfire will help you create a comprehensive promotional campaign for your brand on Facebook, Ning, MySpace (MySpace reviews), and your website involving sweepstakes or a user contest.

Building a sweepstakes

Wildfire campaigns just require entering basic information - when does the promotion start, how long does it run for, the name of the campaign, and the prizes. You can choose to build either a sweepstakes, a design contest, a video competition, a challenge based around essays, and a coupon offering. Obviously which one you choose depends on what your goal is.

The customization features are impressive. You can build a professional-looking entry form in almost every way you’d want via drag-and-drop fields, uploading your own images and banners, and establishing your own rules. Even after the initial set-up, you have control over the look and feel of each section on the campaign. Specifically, you can create custom designs for Facebook, Ning, and your website.

Worth the price?

Wildfire’s services do not come free - the standard campaign costs about $0.99 to $2.99 each day the contest runs. To be perfectly honest, this is a reasonable price for a company to run a major social media campaign, and Wildfire’s toolset is nothing short of impressive. If you want a completely white label user-generated contest though, you have to really dish it out - $14.99 per day with a $3000 branding fee.

The reason Wildfire can charge is the quality of the result - a clean, well-executed promotional application that you can embed onto your company’s Facebook page, MySpace profile, Ning social network, or company website. It makes it very easy for users to upload videos, images, or essays as part of their submissions, or to just distribute a 20% off discount to loyal Facebook fans. With a good promotional push, viral hooks, social media, and Wildfire, it really feels like you can create on hell of a contest.

So is it worth the price? If you don’t have at least a moderate presence on Facebook, Ning, Twitter (Twitter reviews), or other social media destinations, then you may not get enough people to sign up for the contest. But if you’ve worked on your web presence and have a core user base, you’re probably going to get more than your 3 dollars a day back.

Invites to Wildfire

Wildfire is currently in beta and invite-only, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try out Wildfire and make your own judgment on this new tool. Wildfire has agreed to give invites out to the first 500 Mashable (Mashable reviews) readers that sign up for an invite code - just enter “Mashable” in the “Where did you hear about us” box.

When you get your code, try it out, come back, and let us know what you think about it in the comments.

Twitter to Facebook: 5 Ways to Post to Both new

There once was a time when our FacebookFacebook reviewsFacebook reviews friends wanted nothing to do with our TwitterTwitter reviewsTwitter reviews updates. Now that Twitter is growing at an astounding rate and rounding the mainstream bend, more of our Facebook friends have developed a fancy for Twitter themselves, and it’s becoming commonplace to highlight our tweets on our Facebook walls.

If you’re new to Twitter, or just haven’t followed the Twitter to Facebook trend in recent months, we’ve found a few quick and easy ways to turn your tweets into status updates. From auto-updating your Facebook status, to more calculated updates, we think these five ways to share Twitter updates with Facebook will satisfy those of us with a predilection for maintaining dual social presences.

1. Auto-Update with a Facebook Application


If you’re looking to automatically post your Twitter updates straight to Facebook, the Twitter application (by Twitter) is your best bet. It’s pretty darn simple to use as well: just install the application and then click to allow Twitter to update your Facebook status. The Tweeterapp is of the same variety and includes a few additional features related to viewing and engaging with tweets while using Facebook, though there are some known issues.

Those of us who are loquacious Twitterers might opt instead for the Selective Twitter Status application, which will only update your wall with tweets that include the #fb hashtag. TweetSync provides a similar function, though it’s keyword based, and also includes an option to sync all your tweets unless a particular keyword is included in a tweet.

Facebook Page admins have a few additional options. One such option is Involver, which is actually a suite of Facebook applications for Pages. The Twitter for Pages app essentially just adds a Twitter tab with a collection of tweets to a Facebook Page. It’s a nice alternative for brands and companies who want to showcase their Twitter presence without over-updating their Page’s wall with an influx of tweets.

2. Use a Twitter Client


We’re starting to see more and more Twitter apps moonlight as Facebook-friendly apps, due in part to the recent launch of Facebook’s Open Stream API.

Two such applications are TweetDeckTweetDeck reviewsTweetDeck reviews, a desktop client (rivaling Seesmic Desktop), and PeopleBrowsr, a multi-purpose web-based application. Both applications have integrated Facebook features and simply require selecting an additional checkbox to send tweets to Facebook (or vice versa). There’s also Tweet3 for web-based multiple account support, link tracking, and posting to Facebook.

BlackBerry owners can turn to SocialScope, currently in private beta, for simultaneously updating Twitter and Facebook while on the run. When it comes to the iPhone, users can purchase the pricey Tweetion (which didn’t fare so well in our 29 Twitter Apps for the iPhone Compared post) to turn Facebook status updates on and off per tweet.

3. Via Facebook Connect


Facebook Connect offers site developers and website owners an immediate way to let new users log in to their sites using their Facebook accounts. We’ve seen 10 really great implementations, but Twitterers will love how takes advantage of Facebook Connect for a variety of Twitter to Facebook goodness. is a doozy of an application for the obsessive Twitterer with an affinity for more meaningful Facebook updates. Once you connect with Facebook, you can do the obvious and post your tweets as status updates, but also selectively update, include rich-media links on your wall, convert Twitter names in @replies to real names, and track link performance using Awesome.

4. Just Speak It


There are times when we’d really like to phone in our Twitter and Facebook updates with little to no effort. Vlingo’s mobile application for Nokia, BlackBerry, and iPhone does speech recognition for a variety of functions, but we love it for status updates.

Once your Facebook and Twitter accounts are configured, you can hit the “press + speak” button and say the “status update” command to start verbalizing your update. Vlingo will then transcribe your audio to text and update your status on Facebook and Twitter. We also really like the fact that you can double check the speech to text translation before you update your social presence.

5. Ping Your Page or Profile

Sometimes you want your status update to hit all of your social profiles, not just Twitter and Facebook. So, for mass distribution of your status updates, you can either turn to HelloTxt or Ping.fmPing.Fm reviewsPing.Fm reviews.

You can use and HootSuite together to disseminate your tweets everywhere. Plus, there’s also a convenient way for admins to link their Facebook Pages with to seamlessly post updates. HelloTxt works in a similar fashion to and provides a simple way for a single to many status update, and also supports the ability to auto-update Facebook Pages.

The great thing about these services is that they’re starting to get integrated with more and more Twitter applications and desktop clients, so you can have the option to ping Facebook and the rest during the course of your normal Twittering activities.

Selasa, 19 Mei 2009

New Facebook Attacks: In Context

facebookwormFor news and advice on today’s Facebook scam, please see the article WARNING: Do Not Click Facebook Links to

It seems that Facebook scams have been in the news a great deal recently: from the password-stealing phishing attack in April to the FBAction scam the following day to the “justfuns” scam early this month and the “ponbon” scam today. Twitter hasn’t been immune to attack either: numerous variants of the “mikeyy” worm took over user accounts last month, posting unwanted Tweets in user streams.

Are these attacks anything new? Not at all, and you could make the case that this new generation of social networks is somewhat more secure than what went before them.

The MySpace Days

MySpace LogoFacebook is increasingly taking the place of two forms of communication: MySpace (MySpace reviews) and email. MySpace in its day was a security nightmare: the feature that allowed you to embed code into your page created a hacker’s paradise, opening up the ability to execute cross-site scripting (XSS attacks) that grabbed a user’s credentials just by visiting a MySpace profile - no need to click a link or enter any details.

Even without malicious scripts, this was easily done: just create a fake MySpace login form and place it on a MySpace page, then wait for a few hundred users to enter their details and add the form to their pages too. MySpace had to severely limit this “custom code” feature to prevent these attacks, which destroyed the functionality of many MySpace add-ons, and thus the ecosystem around MySpace.

Facebook and Twitter Attacks

Facebook (Facebook reviews) isn’t nearly as vulnerable to XSS attacks since embedding code in your page is not a major part of the experience. The biggest Facebook attack so far - the Koobface worm (artist’s impression above) - instead relied on users clicking a link in a Facebook message and visiting a site to download a file. Other attacks relied upon users entering their Facebook login details on third party sites.

Twitter (Twitter reviews), however, was vulnerable to XSS attacks because hackers realized that you could place rogue code into the “location” field of a profile - this was a major security hole since it required nothing more than visiting a page to get your account compromised. In addition, Twitter’s viral nature dramatically increased the speed the attack was able to spread at. However, Twitter now claims to have closed this hole.

Facebook is also much safer than email: when a phishing link is found, Facebook can disable it centrally, removing it from all messages across the site. The difference is that we’ve learned to be cautious about links in emails, while we’ve learned to be very trusting of links in Facebook messages from friends. The Facebook threat is a trust issue, not a technical one with the Facebook site.

So while Facebook attacks might seem unpleasant, take comfort in the fact that Facebook is much more secure than what came before it.

New fbFund Finalist List Shows the Future of Facebook is Facebook Connect

We already knew that this year’s fbFund – Facebook’s incubator program that invests in startups building apps on the platform – would be focused on companies using Facebook Connect.

Today, as Facebook (Facebook reviews) revealed the first 25 of 50 finalists for the program, we see further evidence that the future of Facebook as far as developers are concerned lies mostly in that of Facebook Connect as opposed to apps that run inside of the social networking site.

In all, 17 of the 25 finalists announced today are either third-party websites or iPhone applications that use Facebook’s platform for letting users login to third-party applications using their Facebook credentials.

Sure, Facebook Connect might be more attractive right now to developers because there is a bit less competition (Facebook recently revealed that there are more than 50,000 apps running inside its site on the original platform) and building apps on your own site has its advantages, but I think Facebook is also signaling – with their wallet – that Connect is where the company’s ultimate vision is headed.

As it should be. Facebook Connect is seeing competition in the portable identity arena from both Google (Google reviews) and MySpace (MySpace reviews), though so far, they would appear to be out to the early lead in terms of adoption. Recent numbers indicate that Facebook Connect might already reach 60 million users, while mega partners like Digg (Digg reviews) are just starting to bring their implementations online.

Now, with Facebook investing directly in companies building promising apps for Connect, they stand to extend their lead and attract developers to their program as opposed to the competitors. There’s also the nagging rumor that Facebook will eventually launch a behaviorally targeted ad network based on Connect, which could be a huge revenue source for the company in the long-term.

We’ll see if Facebook continues to favor Connect investments when the other 25 finalists are announced, and more importantly, when money is actually handed out to the winners. Everything we’ve seen so far though suggests that there is clearly a shift to Facebook Connect underway in the world of Facebook development.

Sprout Gets Your Business Facebook-Ready … For $50K 2009

There is an abundance of opportunity when it comes to marketing on FacebookFacebook reviewsFacebook reviews. With 200+ million users to reach, a strong campaign on the world’s social network is almost a requirement for major brands, which is why companies like Target have built campaigns on it.

But what if you’re a company that doesn’t have the knowledge, time, or resources to build a following and presence on Facebook? Sprout, the service for quickly building and deploying social networking apps and widgets (which also recently pulled the plug on free accounts), is hoping to serve that audience offering an interesting program called F3, which builds a complete presence on Facebook for brands.

The F3 bundle provides three primary services: a fully-customized Facebook page, a branded Facebook application, and website integration with Facebook Connect. This allows the user, from start to finish, to interact with a company’s products via their Facebook account, while the company has a virtual presence on the social network.

One of the key points of Sprout’s F3 program is their promise to have the F3 bundle complete in two weeks, which is, by almost any standard, really, really fast.

The one caveat is that F3 Bundle costs around $50,000. It costs nothing to create a Facebook Page, so this is covering the cost of creating the application, integration with Facebook Connect, and gettting the ball rolling on building a Facebook following through a social media campaign.

This price tag places Sprout’s offering well outside the range of most startups, who probably can do all of this on their own for much cheaper. However, it could be a useful solution for large companies that lack in-house social media expertise.

That said, we want to remind major brands that you cannot buy your way into social media. It requires joining the conversation and interacting with customers in order for a social media presence to be truly successful.

Senin, 11 Mei 2009

Robot Comes to NEW Facebook; Everyone Yawns

robot_facebookThere’s nothing wrong with hooking up a robot with a Facebook (Facebook reviews) account. IRC channels have had ELISA-style bots who have answered your questions in a seemingly intelligent manner for decades. Plants are tweeting, asking for more sunlight and water; babies are sending messages from the womb.

However, the high tone and far-reaching assumptions of the BBC article, discussing how Dr Nikolaus Mavridis will give his robot a Facebook page, make for a particularly funny read.

First, it says that the good doctor and co-researchers are doing this because they want to “look into ways of overcoming the reluctance of people to stay in touch with robots.”

Well, this may come as a surprise, but I’ve been reluctant to stay in touch with robots for several reasons other than the lack of their Facebook profile. First, there aren’t that many of them; and those that do exist aren’t really all that intelligent. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge science fiction fan and have a keen interest in robotics and AI, but however you feel about the subject it’s a bit too early to “stay in touch” with robots.

The article also says that embedding the robot in a social web - Facebook, that is - will “give rise to a sustainable friendship can grow up between man and machine.” Erm, nope. It’s a fun stunt to raise some awareness about the project, and it’s cool for Facebook to have a robot among its 200 million users, but it will not give rise to friendship between man and machine; just like those IRC bots haven’t really improved human-robotic relationships over the years. Maybe the fact that we’re mostly ignoring robots as far as social activities go will come back and haunt us in some Matrix-like fashion, but I’ll take my chances and skip this particular Facebook friend.

Facebook Amps Up its Music Ambitions With The Jonas Brothers Live

facebookFacebook may finally be making a power play into a world where they are not the market leaders: online music. How, do you ask? By partnering with one of the world’s most popular bands, The Jonas Brothers, to launch their new single via a live video stream.

The pop band will be using their Facebook Page and the live video service Ustream (ustream reviews) on Thursday to chat live with fans and then debut “Paranoid,” their new song. Although many other bands have used social media to debut their music, not many have used Facebook (Facebook reviews) as the platform. In turn, this could represent the start of a major shake-up in online music.

First, how it will work: The Jonas Brothers will appear tomorrow at 5 PM PST on their Facebook page using an embedded live stream powered by Ustream. This not only includes the live stream, but a chatroom as well. It will not get a Twitter (Twitter reviews) chat, unlike most videos on Ustream, but apparently a Facebook chat. If it was anything like the Facebook/CNN partnership for the Obama inauguration, there could be a lot of Jonas Brothers status updates tomorrow.

Since the page is public, the video should be available to everyone, even if you’re not a fan of the group. Updates will be sent to the homepages of their more than one million Facebook page fans. If successful, it will be the first of four Jonas Brothers videocasts on Facebook.

Facebook Moving Into Online Music?

This is a big move by Facebook into the music space, a place where they are currently lagging behind competitors. While other bands have done launches using Imeem (imeem reviews), iLike, or MySpace Music, Facebook has never been the ideal platform for music media.

By partnering and promoting a band as large as The Jonas Brothers, Facebook may attract other artists to conduct similar launches in the future. This is also a loss for MySpace Music; The Jonas Brothers were a big face of the MySpace Music launch last year.

The Jonas Brothers have demonstrated their tech savvy and understand the role that social media plays in the lives of their young audience. They not only have a huge presence on Facebook, but have been a trending topic on Twitter multiple times in the last week (via their hashtag #jonaslive). Clearly, The Jonas Brothers understand that their technologically-oriented fans are huge users of social media.

Overall, Facebook, Ustream, and the Jonas Brothers will probably all end up winners. If this live event succeeds, you can expect Facebook to continue a big push into music.

SocialScope Combines Twitter and Facebook on BlackBerry

socialscopeLike a lot of BlackBerry users, I have TwitterBerry for keeping up with Twitter (Twitter reviews) and Facebook’s native BlackBerry application for checking my friends’ statuses, uploading photos, and making wall posts on the social network.

While both of these applications are fairly good at keeping up with these two sites from your mobile, what I’ve longed for is an application that combines both in one interface – much like TweetDeck (TweetDeck reviews) and Seesmic Desktop (Seesmic Desktop reviews) do on the desktop. Enter SocialScope, a new BlackBerry application (in private beta) that looks to deliver this, and does a fairly impressive job.

Twitter and Facebook On The Same Screen

After setting up both your Facebook (Facebook reviews) and Twitter accounts, you’ll be able to see the latest status updates from your friends on both services, on the same screen, when you login to the application. From here, you can also update your status on both services simultaneously, like you can do in the aforementioned Twitter desktop clients. Also cool – when a Tweet includes a TwitPic (Twitpic reviews), you see a thumbnail of the image. Moreover, SocialScope supports Groups, so you can track updates from only specific people – even more useful when on the small screen and not your desktop.

Link Sharing

After installing SocialScope, you’ll notice that when you’re browsing the Web, you now get an option to “Send to SocialScope” any page that you’re viewing. When clicked, it automatically shrinks the URL (using and prompts the update form so you can share the link on Twitter and Facebook. This is a huge time saver versus the current process of sharing a link on Twitter via BlackBerry, which, I frankly rarely have done to-date because it’s so cumbersome.

Built In Retweeting

When browsing Twitter, either on the home screen or on the separate tab for Twitter (you can separate out Facebook and Twitter if you wish), there is a built-in retweet option. Highlight the tweet that you want to retweet, select retweet, and you find yourself on the “Update” screen with the original tweet, the option to add your own text, and the ability to push it to both Facebook and Twitter.

Other Goodies

Some other cool features of SocialScope include URL expansion, so you can see where a short URL points, notifications on the BlackBerry home screen so you know when there are fresh updates (which, is basically all the time if you follow a significant number of people), hash tag search, and the ability to create a new tab for any user to quickly see their profile.

Conclusion: It’s As Close to the Desktop As You’ll Get On BlackBerry

Look, BlackBerry is still no iPhone when it comes to applications. The interface is not nearly as elegant, and there are still often serious performance issues when running apps. But SocialScope is about as close as you’ll get to a full-featured Twitter client on BlackBerry. The Facebook features still need to evolve a bit – and that’s likely to happen soon through the recently released Open Stream API.

Unfortunately, the app is still in private beta (though you can request an invite from their homepage), so it will be a while until you can try it for yourself, but it’s one to watch if you’re one of the increasing number of social networking users that’s also addicted to BlackBerry.

Twitter and Facebook Shine, MySpace Stagnates

Facebook’s growth, both in terms of the number of users, as well as visitors, has to slow down one day. Well, it is slowing down now, but it’s still huge given how big Facebook already is. Compete’s numbers for April show that Facebook (Facebook reviews) has grown from 91,000,000 to 104,000,000 unique visitors, a healthy 14.35% increase from March.

What’s the secret, you ask? Facebook Connect. Facebook tracking blog Inside Facebook has noticed that unique visits to the actual Facebook site have grown by mere 4.6% - a respectable number, but nowhere near last month’s 11% growth rate. Facebook Connect, on the other hand, has grown a staggering 40.9% to 60 million unique visitors. As it gets implemented on more and more sites, it’ll likely sustain Facebook’s overall growth even as the main site’s growth inevitably slows down.


Where is MySpace (MySpace reviews) in all this? Stagnating. As you can see in the graph above, the number of unique visitors are slowly dwindling, having fallen a 0.06% in March and 8.61% in a year. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what MySpace has been doing wrong; I’d say that users have simply outgrown it, and switched to other more innovative social networks like Facebook and Twitter, while they were unable - or unwilling - to change enough to keep up. It’s still a huge social network, but unless they do something radical, I don’t see their numbers going anywhere but down in the following months.

Twitter (Twitter reviews), on the other hand, has looked tiny compared to these services mere months ago. Now it can definitely be put on the same graph, but to show its stellar growth I’ve given it a graph of its own. The growth has slowed down somewhat; the number of unique visitors has grown from 14,000,000 to 19,000,000, which is 38,56% growth. It looks bad compared to last month’s 76.8% increase, but at this level it’s probably impossible to keep growing at such a rate. On an annual basis, it’s still an unbelievable 1,192.13 percent. It’s worth noting that the service has been very stable lately, despite this enormous influx of new users; hopefully the frequent visits from the old fail whale are now a thing of the past.


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