What’s the most uncool word in social media?
Just look at the pains the top social networking companies take to avoid uttering the dreaded term.
Twitter started the trend when it rolled out its advertising products in 2010, which it dubbed “promoted Tweets.” Chief Executive Dick Costolo (who was COO at the time) insisted that the marketing pitches coming to Twitter were not ads at all – they were simply standard Twitter messages that companies could pay to promote.
Now Facebook, which derived 85 percent of its revenue from advertising last year, has developed a similar aversion to the A word.
From firing off angry tweets to writing nasty Yelp reviews, there are many ways to vent about bad customer service in the age of social media.
But while it feels good to blow off steam, it doesn’t always produce results for companies or customers.
Tello, a year-old mobile app that lets consumers rate the employees who served them at restaurants, shops and other businesses, is looking to make all that online griping more productive for both consumers and businesses.
Sony, in a bout of bad timing, is hosting an event on March 7 in San Francisco for tech reporters at the same time as Apple’s reported iPad 3 unveiling and the Japanese conglomerate wants to make sure it won’t get ditched.
Sony, which some people consider to be the “Apple of the ’80s”, sent out a helpful e-mail on Tuesday informing invited members of the press of the scheduling conflict without mentioning the world’s most valuable tech company.
Lately Internet users in the U.S. have been worried about censorship, copyright legalities and data privacy. Between Twitter’s new censorship policy, the global protests over SOPA/PIPA and ACTA and the outrage over Apple’s iOS allowing apps like Path to access the address book without prior approval, these fears have certainly seemed warranted. But we should also remember that Internet users around the world face far more insidious limitations and intrusions on their Internet usage -- practices, in fact, that would horrify the average American.
Sadly, most of the rest of the world has come to accept censorship as a necessary evil. Although I recently argued that Twitter’s censorship policy at least had the benefit of transparency, it’s still an unfortunate cost of doing global business for a company born and bred with the freedoms of the United States, and founded by tech pioneers whose opportunities and creativity stem directly from our Constitution. Yet by the standards of dictatorial regimes, Internet users in countries like China, Syria and Iran should consider themselves lucky if Twitter’s relatively modest censorship program actually keeps those countries’ governments from shutting down the service. As we are seeing around the world, chances are, unfortunately, it won’t.
Consider the freedoms -- or lack thereof -- Internet users have in Iran. Since this past week, some 30 million Iranian users have been without Internet service thanks to that country’s blocking of the SSL protocol, right at the time of its parliamentary elections. SSL is what turns “http” -- the basic way we access the Web -- into “https”, which Gmail, your bank, your credit card company and thousands of other services use to secure data. SSL provides data encryption so that only each end point -- your browser and the Web server you’re logging into -- can decrypt and access the data contained therein.
Some executives quote philosophers like Plato or legendary coaches such as Vince Lombardi. But not Charlie Ergen; that’s far too high-brow for him. The Dish Network chairman seems to get his theories on management from television and movie comedies.
Just a few quarters after he described Dish’s wireless situation as a “Seinfeld Strategy” (it may not seem clear now but it’ll make sense in the end), the Dish chairman gave a shout out to the Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels 1994 classic comedy “Dumb and Dumber” on Thursday. When asked by an analyst whether Dish would receive government approval to use its wireless assets, Ergen said:
“I’m hoping. You know that Dumb and Dumber line? I think there is a chance.”
Google got its hand caught in the cookie jar last week — and this time it really does have some explaining to do.
The search giant, which derives some 97 percent of its revenues from advertising, thought it would be all right to circumvent some protections incorporated into Apple’s Safari browser so that it could better target its ads. By intentionally bypassing the default privacy settings of Apple’s Safari browser — and, as Microsoft has now asserted, Internet Explorer — Google has decided for all of us that our Web activity will be more closely tracked. They opted us in, without asking. And without a way for us to opt out. (We didn’t even know about it until the Wall Street Journal blew the lid off this last Thursday.)
On the merits, this is a pretty big deal. A class action has already been filed, and an FTC probe is almost certain. That the no-tracking settings were circumvented (and secretly) makes it easier to infer that even Google worried it might be touching a third rail. It says it wasn’t, that its intent was only to discern whether Google users were logged into Google services and that the enabling of advertising cookies was inadvertent.
If Adele was a stock you would definitely go long. The young lady from north London, England has been breath of fresh air for the music industry as an artist and a person but especially for being the one truly bright spot of music sales over the last year.
After picking up six Grammy awards on Feb 12, Adele’s album ’21′, already the year’s biggest seller, has sold 730,000 albums in its 52nd week of release (the week ending 2/19/2012). This surpassed its previous biggest sales week when 399,000 albums were sold in the all important Christmas holiday week last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan data.
Nielsen SoundScan said sales of ’21′ were already up right after the Grammys thanks to the immediacy of digital albums selling 238,000 units in the week ending 2/12/2012. This was up from 122,000 in the previous week.
“Safe House” took in $28.4 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters from Friday through Monday, according to studio estimates compiled by Reuters. That lifted the movie to No. 1 from its second-place finish when it opened a week earlier.
“The Vow,” last weekend’s winner, slipped to second place with $26.6 million over the four days.
Three new movies compete for filmgoers over the long President’s Day weekend in the United States. Nicolas Cage is expected to lead the pack of newcomers with Sony’s 3D action sequel “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.”
Box-office watchers project Friday-through-Monday sales in the United States and Canada could roar to $30 million for the follow-up to the original “Ghost Rider,” released over the same weekend in 2007.
Reese Witherspoon also battles for audiences with 20th Century Fox romantic comedy “This Means War.” Fox sees the story about two CIA agents (Tom Hardy and Chris Pine) trying to win over the same woman bringing in around $14 million over four days. Outside forecasters say it could go a few million higher. The movie pulled in about $1.7 million from Valentine’s Day showings.