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HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s biggest social network and gaming firm Tencent Holdings, which last week reported forecast-beating quarterly results, is close to making Malaysia the first foreign country to roll out its WeChat ecosystem, an executive told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Tencent’s booth is pictured at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) 2017 in Beijing, China April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
If you’re using a messaging app in China, chances are it’s owned by Tencent – a leading provider of web-based services in China that owns WeChat, as well as a whole host of social media platforms, entertainment subsidiaries and payment services. With an increasing amount of global brand awareness, the time had come for Tencent to expand its corporate typographic voice in line with its ambitions. The company approached Monotype to design a bespoke typeface, based on its existing logo, that could convey its vision of “innovation, responsibility and enablement”.

Tencent has made a “breakthrough” in gaining an e-payment license in Malaysia for local transactions, and plans a launch early next year, senior vice president S.Y. Lau said in an interview.

The move pits Shenzhen-based Tencent against rival Alibaba Group as they scramble for new growth opportunities outside China. Tencent this week became the first Asian firm to enter the club of companies worth more than $500 billion, and on Tuesday surpassed Facebook in market value.

“Malaysia is actually quite large in the sense that we have 20 million WeChat users, huge potential, and the market is quite warm towards internet products from China,” Lau said.

Southeast Asia, home to more than 600 million people and some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, has been a key battleground for China’s tech titans fighting for deals. Ethnic Chinese make up more than a fifth of Malaysia’s population.

WeChat Pay and Alibaba’s Alipay, which dominate China’s digital payment market, have sought to expand their global footprint, although that push has so far been limited to payment services for Chinese outbound tourists. They can scan-and-pay for purchases in 34 countries or regions via Alipay and 13 via WeChat Pay, according to the companies.

Alipay’s parent company Ant Financial has joint ventures in seven markets for local digital payments services, which operate independently under the partnerships’ brand names.

Alibaba is looking to build a global payment system, while Tencent is more interested in generating traffic for WeChat – two different strategies, some bankers and investors say.

WeChat has more users, but Alipay’s aggregate transaction volume is higher, according to JP Morgan’s John Hall, though other investors note that WeChat Pay can also process large transactions if it’s used on e-commerce platforms.

GLOBAL EXPANSION

One challenge for Tencent, say analysts, is that its success in China cannot be easily exported to other markets.

Tencent is “not in a hurry” to speed up its overseas expansion or increase the monetization rate of its digital assets, Lau said.

“We walk our own path at our own pace … and, to be honest, there is really quite a lot to do in China,” he said.

WeChat, which has ballooned from a messaging app to an all-in-one platform with 980 million monthly active users, could be the “killer product” to spearhead expansion abroad, Lau said, as its embedded payment function draws more services.

WeChat, with an open platform of mini-programs, was a key revenue contributor for Tencent in the third quarter. Social and other advertising revenue rose 63 percent, while payment and cloud helped “other business” post a 143 percent jump

“Honour of Kings”, Tencent’s top-grossing battle game that led an 84 percent increase in quarterly smartphone gaming revenue, also owes its success to the network help of WeChat, and is expected to find it tougher to crack Western markets, analysts say.

Tencent this month delayed the launch of the game’s U.S. edition, “Arena of Valor”, to next year to “further polish additional gameplay and social features”.

After games and social media, most of Tencent’s other businesses are in digital content, including Spotify equivalent Tencent Music and YouTube equivalent Tencent Video, which also makes its own dramas.

CULTURE CHALLENGE

Lau said the ultimate aim was to export culture from China to the rest of the world, rather than the other way round, which he acknowledged was challenging.

“What we’re aiming to create is ‘super IPs’ (intellectual property) that leverage our different businesses from upstream to downstream,” Lau said, citing Disneyland and the James Bond movies as successful practices in the West.

A big business for Tencent’s recently listed publishing arm, China Literature, is to sell its popular novels and have them turned into dramas and video games by Tencent’s other business lines.

Tencent this month announced a plan involving 10 billion yuan ($1.51 billion) of investment to boost its creative content ecosystem, though it gave no time frame for the investment.

Company president Martin Lau – no relation to S.Y. – said on an earnings call last week that Tencent would keep investing in digital content, especially online video, to draw more time from more paying customers.

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Overseas acquisitions will remain a key way of enhancing Tencent’s global access and competitiveness, S.Y. Lau said.

Independent technology analyst Richard Windsor said Tencent’s 2016 acquisition of Supercell gave it a strong position in gaming, while the move to buy a stake in social media firm Snapchat is another piece in the jigsaw.

“It increasingly looks as if Tencent is embarking on a circumnavigation of the digital life pie in order to build an ecosystem to challenge the Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook dominance of consumer digital services,” he said, noting it’s at a “super early stage” in that process.

Tencent will likely seek more overseas acquisitions, Windsor added, which, beyond being expensive, could challenge Tencent in integrating all its digital assets at home and abroad.

Tencent has struggled to monetize its dominance over the Chinese digital life, he said, adding that’s why he sees more upside in Tencent’s market valuation, and prefers it to Alibaba.

Henry Sapiecha

peaches social site logo image www.socialselect.net

The new Peach social network app lets friends share anything from doodles to animated GIFs to micro-blogs. Photo: Peach

Peach! It’s a new emoji-themed social network for iPhone that has probably already ridden its headline-driven hype wave to the ground. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting.

For real, I’m not even going to entertain the idea that Peach has a chance of taking off. It’s not particularly intuitive, it doesn’t offer a killer new feature that is easily explained, and social networks aren’t where the world is heading — messaging apps are. That’s why it was never actually downloaded by that many of us.

If a serious amount of people — more than say, Ello — are using it in six months, I will eat a newspaper.

Yet, even without users, Peach is worth looking at seriously. Indeed, I hope some of the people at Facebook Messenger — an app that does have serious numbers — are watching closely.

Some of the "magic words" you can use to post in Peach.Some of the “magic words” you can use to post in Peach.

Why? “Magic words”. Let me explain

Peach’s only real innovation is the use of certain trigger words which add content or context to your update. You type “song” and it listens to hear what music you’re listening to, then posts that. You type “weather” and it pulls in the weather with a nice little emoji. You type “battery” and it posts your battery percentage (again with an emoji). You type “draw” and it brings up a pad for you to draw on. You get it.

These magic words make use of all the ambient information your iPhone is already collecting on you — if you type “move” it will show how many kilometres or steps you have walked that day. The process of discovering what all the things you can type do is a lot of fun.

These kind of typed triggers are in no way new. As Brian Feldman writes in New York magazine, they actually harken back to the command line interfaces of old, which many programmers still swear by for productivity.

“The text field is key. It’s partly the solution to a problem that has long plagued mobile developers: Less screen real estate means less space to present interaction options to the users. But it’s also that, for the first time, engineers and developers are creating products for a population that’s truly digital native — for whom typing comes naturally and for whom digital actions don’t need to be metaphorised,” Feldman writes.

Essentially, we don’t need to be coddled by a world of icons and metaphors like we used to be. Typing out what we want is intuitive. It’s already how a lot of us get around our Macs (command-space-type-what-you-want), and has proven immensely popular on business-messaging platform Slack, where there are apps that let you order food by typing a number.

Facebook have been trying to make Messenger a “platform” for a long while, following the example of Chinese messaging giant WeChat. They’ve built in gifs, location sharing, and even Uber ordering. Yet these options are mostly hidden behind an ever increasing array of tiny tappable buttons — they’re not quite intuitive yet.

There’s a lot of ambient information your phone is already collecting.

You could type “location” to show someone where you are, “battery” to convey the urgency of a situation, and “weather” to make them jealous.

Contextual data is already used for “filters” on Snapchat. Why not add it in as typeable on Messenger?

There’s a very good chance Facebook are already well on the way to implementing this kind of thing themselves. Their AI service “M”,which should be able to do pretty much anything and everything for you, including book plane tickets, is interacted with by typing.

Bots have been taking over our interactions for a long while now, just as people have been predicting for years. Where they got it wrong is how we interact with them — using your voice is fun, but slow.

Typing is exact, quick, and takes far less power to process than voice. It makes sense to take advantage of that.

Stuff.co.nz

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Henry Sapiecha

russian social site image www.socialselect.net

Russia’s leading social network VK has beaten the country’s biggest television channel in the battle for viewers’ attention, data from media research firm TNS Russia showed.

VK, previously known as VKontakte, had 13.2 million daily users in March this year, while state-owned giant Channel One had an audience of only 10.9 million, according to TNS Russia.

Their weekly audiences were roughly on par, with VK leading by about 10,000 weekly users.

VK remains by far the most popular social network in Russia, with more than eight times the daily users of leading international social network Facebook, the data showed.

The comparison between television channels and social networks is approximate, as statistics for the two platforms cannot be calculated in the same way, a TNS Russia spokeswoman told The Moscow Times. The daily audience of social networks was estimated according to the number of people who viewed any part of the website at least once a day. The daily reach of television channels, on the other hand, is the number of people who watched at least 1 minute of a channel’s broadcasts daily.

Internet companies have gained quickly on traditional media in Russia in recent years, receiving an extra boost from an acceleration in advertising revenues that has continued this year despite the economic crisis.

The only segment of the advertising market that grew in the first quarter of this year was contextual advertising, or targeted online ads, which grew 16 percent to a total of about 15 billion rubles ($300 million), according to the Association of Communication Agencies of Russia (AKAR).

This growth indicates that companies are reorienting toward the Internet as advertising budgets shrink. Television advertising fell 22 percent to about 30 billion rubles ($600 million) in the same period, while the market as a whole shrank 17 percent to about 64 billion rubles ($1.3 billion), AKAR found.

TNS Russia’s Web Index and TV Index were calculated in March this year based on viewers between the ages of 12 and 44 living in cities of 100,000 or more residents.

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Henry Sapiecha

black diamonds on white line

FACEBOOK IS DONE & DUSTED SAY SOME USERS

LIKE & DISLIKE STAMP SIGNS image www.socialselect.com

A study of how older teenagers use social media has found Facebook is “not just on the slide, it is basically dead and buried” and is being replaced by simpler social networks such as Twitter and Snapchat, an expert has claimed.

Young people now see the site as “uncool” and keep their profiles live purely to stay in touch with older relations, among whom it remains popular.

Professor Daniel Miller of University College London, an anthropologist who worked on the European Union-funded research, wrote in an article for the academic news website The Conversation: “Mostly they feel embarrassed even to be associated with it.

“This year marked the start of what looks likely to be a sustained decline of what had been the most pervasive of all social networking sites.

“Young people are turning away in their droves and adopting other social networks instead, while the worst people of all, their parents, continue to use the service.

“Where once parents worried about their children joining Facebook, the children now say it is their family that insists they stay there to post about their lives. Parents have worked out how to use the site and see it as a way for the family to remain connected.

“In response, the young are moving on to cooler things.

“What appears to be the most seminal moment in a young person’s decision to leave Facebook was surely that dreaded day your mum sends you a friend request.”

The Global Social Media Impact Study observed those aged 16 to 18 in eight countries for 15 months and found Facebook use was in sharp decline.

It found young people were turning to simpler services such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp, which professor Miller conceded were “no match” for Facebook in terms of functionality.

“Most of the schoolchildren in our survey recognised that in many ways, Facebook is technically better than Twitter or Instagram. It is more integrated, better for photo albums, organising parties and more effective for observing people’s relationships,” said professor Miller, adding that “slick isn’t always best” in attracting young users.

WhatsApp has overtaken Facebook as the number one way to send messages, said the researchers, while Snapchat has gained in popularity in recent months by allowing users to send images which “self-destruct” after a short period on the recipient’s phone in order to maintain privacy.

Snapchat claims 350 million images are sent every day, and reportedly recently turned down a $3.2 billion acquisition offer from Facebook. Evan Spiegel, the co-founder, who lives at home with his father despite an estimated net worth of $3.4 billion, last month said “deleting should be the default”.

Researchers found close friends used Snapchat to communicate, while WhatsApp was used with acquaintances and Twitter broadcasted to anyone who chose to follow that person.

The study found Facebook, which will be a decade old next year, was now used by teenagers as a way to stay in touch with older members of their family and siblings who have left for university and has “evolved into a very different animal” from its early days as a social network focusing on young users at university.

Telegraph, London

AAA
Henry Sapiecha
black diamonds on white line

After months of speculation, Twitter has finally set its initial public offering in motion.

twitter logo  blue on black image www.socialselect.net

A few minutes ago, Twitter sent out a tweet on its own Twitter account saying that it had “confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO.”

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the news to CNET but didn’t elaborate.

AAA

By saying that the filing was “confidentially” submitted to the SEC, Twitter was taking advantage of a provision under the 2012 JOBS Act which allows companies to file a registration with the SEC and then get feedback from the SEC on the filing. This is a JOBS Act benefit allowed companies with annual revenue of under $1 billion in their most recent fiscal year. “Only after that give and take,” said Jay Ritter, a professor of finance at the University of Florida, “if they still want to go public…is it required to file a public registration that the world can see.”

The seven-year-old Twitter, which to date has raised $1.16 billion in venture capital, and which employs more than 2,000 people, currently has more than 200 million monthly active users. It was recently forecasted by eMarketer to come close to $1 billion in advertising revenue in 2014. EMarketer also anticipated that Twitter will net 1.85 percent — or roughly $308 million — of the $16.65 billion worldwide mobile ad market this year.

By going through the confidential process, Ritter said, Twitter was indicating that it is highly confident it will go ahead with its IPO. That’s because otherwise, it risks the embarrassment of having the IPO fall apart, something that would not be the case if it hadn’t said anything. However, it’s also likely that Twitter was trying to get out in front of speculation that it was preparing its IPO.

According to Ritter, the timing of Twitter’s announcement today suggests that it is roughly three months from going public. About a month from now, he added, Twitter will likely file its formal registration statement.

Twitter’s announcement comes at a time when the climate for Internet IPOs has markedly improved. In the first months after Facebook’s initially disastrous IPO, most thought that Twitter’s hopes for going public had sunk with Facebook’s stock. But just yesterday, Facebook’s stock, on the strength of dramatically improved mobile revenues, hit its all-time high. Indeed, in an interview at TechCrunch Disrupt yesterday, Facebook CEO said Twitter should not be afraid of going public.

Twitter’s IPO fortunes have generally been tied to that of Facebook because of the similarities of the two companies. In a recent report, Pew found that as of May 2013, 72 percent of online U.S. adults use social networking sites, up from 67 percent in late 2012. Clearly, then, the market for companies like Facebook and Twitter is growing.

Twitter, too, has been preparing for its IPO for quite some time, acquiring companies and making feature decisions geared towards maximizing revenues

AAA

Henry Sapiecha

black diamonds on white line

HEARSAY SOCIAL TO EXPAND WORLDWIDE AFTER RAISING $30M CAPITAL

money community

(Reuters) – Internet company Hearsay Social has raised $30 million in funding which it said would help accelerate product development and international expansion.

San Francisco-based Hearsay said on Thursday that its latest round of funding came from venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and NEA, which have both previously invested in the company.

Hearsay, whose tools help businesses use social networks such as Facebook Inc, LinkedIn Corp and Twitter to generate sales, said it has more than doubled its number of customers during the last twelve months, adding financial services firms such as Raymond James, Bank of the West and Nationwide Insurance among others.

With roughly 100 employees, Hearsay expects to increase its work force and its product capabilities to better target customers in various industries and geographic regions, Chief Executive Clara Shih told Reuters. Shih said that Hearsay would also be more aggressive in acquiring other companies.

Founded in 2009, Hearsay has raised $51 million to date.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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Henry Sapiecha

black diamonds on white line

Part of the warning message LivingSocial sent to subscribers.

LivingSocial, the second-largest daily deal company behind Groupon, said it was hit by a cyber attack that may have affected more than 50 million customers.

The company said the attack on its computer systems resulted in unauthorised access to customer data, including names, email addresses, date of birth for some users and “encrypted” passwords.

LivingSocial stressed customer credit card and merchants’ financial and banking information were not affected or accessed. It also does not store passwords in plain text.

“We are actively working with law enforcement to investigate this issue,” the company, part-owned by Amazon.com, wrote in an email to employees.

LivingSocial does not disclose how many customers it has. However, spokesman Andrew Weinstein said “a substantial portion” of the company’s customer base was affected. LivingSocial is also contacting customers who closed accounts, because it still has their information stored in databases, he added.

The attack hit customers in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Southern Europe and Latin America. Customers in South Korea, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand were not affected, Weinstein said.

“In light of recent successful widespread attacks against major social networking sites, it’s obvious that these providers are simply not doing enough to protect their customers’ information,” said George Tubin, senior security strategist at Trusteer, a computer security company.

The attack comes as LivingSocial struggles to handle a decline in consumer and merchant demand for daily deals. The company raised $US110 million from investors, including Amazon earlier this year, but was forced to make large concessions to get the new money.

Amazon invested $US56 million in LivingSocial in the first quarter, according to a regulatory filing on Friday, which also revealed the company had a first-quarter operating loss of $US44 million on revenue of $US135 million.

LivingSocial said on Friday it was beginning to contact more than 50 million customers whose data may have been affected by the cyber attack.

LivingSocial told customers in an email that they should log on to LivingSocial.com to create a new password for their accounts.

“We also encourage you, for your own personal data security, to consider changing password(s) on any other sites on which you use the same or similar password(s),” LivingSocial Chief Executive Tim O’Shaughnessy wrote in the email.

“We are sorry this incident occurred.”

Reuters

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Henry Sapiecha

Good or bad, this will go down as the year that Facebook really put a dollar sign before its users to maintain its services & ensure survival.

The technology company has been under immense pressure from investors to come up with ways to make money from its product, which has led to a fundamental shift in how it operates. When the company first filed to go public in February, CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated very clearly that profit is not his or the company’s first priority. “Simply put: we don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services,” he wrote in the public filing. Eight months and plenty of bad stock trading days later, Zuckerberg revealed in an earnings call that every team at Facebook is now responsible for coming up with a revenue strategy for their product.

In the past year, we’ve seen Facebook try out a range of tactics to make money from its users, whether it’s inserting more advertising into the News Feed or the recently announced option that lets people you don’t know message your inbox for $US1. Some of these efforts, like the messaging option, have been met with heavy criticism from users while others have largely been accepted as par for the course.

What matters now to Facebook from an investor standpoint is how much it can increase the money it makes from each user. Facebook generated about $US1.25 per user on average in the third quarter, up from about $US1.19 in the same quarter last year.

To put that another way, right now you’re worth about $US5 a year to Facebook and the company would really like to see that number go up.

For that reason, don’t hold your breath for Facebook to stop trying out new ways to make money off you in the new year. Brian Wieser, senior research analyst at Pivotal Research Group, says that some features introduced this year like Sponsored Stories for mobile will likely stick around, while the company continues to test out others to see what works and what doesn’t.

“I think you should expect just an ongoing testing and learning from an ad sales perspective about what balances near-term revenue growth with durability,” Wieser said. With that in mind, here’s a look back at all the ways Facebook tried to make money from you this year, as well as a glimpse at what they might do next year.
SocialNetAdd

Putting sponsored stories in your News Feed

Image courtesy of Facebook

Facebook launched Sponsored Stories in the beginning of 2011, in an early effort to monetise activity on the desktop website by turning users into quasi-brand promoters. This year, Facebook took that effort a step farther by placing these promotions in the user’s News Feed, where they are more visible and presumably generate a higher click-through rate. This has been a big money maker for the site, bringing in more than $US1 million a day, but it has also proven to be a bit of a headache. Users filed a class-action lawsuit against the company earlier this year, objecting to the having their names and pictures used in the ads.

SocialNetAdd

Mobile ads in Facebook’s app

Image courtesy of Facebook

From the perspective of investors, nothing was more important for Facebook than proving it could monetise on mobile. It did just that starting in the middle of this year by introducing Sponsored Stories, app install ads and Offers into the mobile feeds of its users. In the third quarter – just a few months after Facebook launched these mobile ads – it generated $US139 million from mobile ads, or 14 per cent of its total ad revenue.

Facebook now makes $US3 million a day inserting promotional content into your mobile News Feed and, as Zuckerberg noted during a conference call with analysts, “We’re just getting started.

SocialNetAdd

Mobile ads in third-party apps

Image courtesy of Flickr, Jason A. Howie

Even after you leave Facebook, the company can still find ways to make money off you. In September, Facebook began testing placing mobile ads in third-party applications. The ad exchange allowed certain websites and apps to use Facebook information to better target users with ads promoting a website or providing a link to download an app. Facebook recently put this ad product on hold, but that doesn’t mean it’s going away for good. As a Facebook rep told Mashable, “We have learned a lot from this test that will be useful in the future.”
SocialNetAdd

Promoted posts

Image courtesy of Facebook

As the social network gets more crowded with posts from users and advertisers, some of your updates may get lost in the clutter. So Facebook decided to give users a new option in October to ensure that their posts are seen by more people. For the low, low price of just $US7, Facebook allows users to “promote” their posts in their friends News Feeds. As Mashable‘s Matt Silverman wrote at the time, Facebook is now applying the “freemium” model for its service.
SocialNetAdd

Facebook gifts

Image courtesy of Facebook

After trying and failing to operate a gift shop two years ago, Facebook decided to give the gifts idea another shot. In September, the company launched Facebook Gifts, helped by its acquisition of the gift-giving app Karma earlier in the year, in an effort to create another revenue stream. As mentioned, Facebook currently makes just $US5 on average per user per year. If every user makes just one small purchase through Gifts, that amount will skyrocket in the coming year. That’s why you’ve likely seen more than a few prompts on the site to buy someone a gift for a particular occasion.

SocialNetAdd

Paid Messages

Image courtesy of Facebook

Facebook decided to squeeze in one more money-making attempt before the end of the year, announcing last week that it is testing a new option that lets users pay $US1 to ensure that a message is delivered to someone’s inbox, even if it’s not someone he or she is connected to on the network. Until now, messages are only delivered to your Facebook inbox if it is sent by someone you are friends with, or who you share mutual connections with. Otherwise, the message goes to a subsection of your inbox called Other, which essentially serves as a spam folder.

Facebook is billing the option as an effort to crack down on spam by seeing if imposing a financial cost on users stops them from messaging people they don’t know. But it seems just as likely that this could lead to an influx of spam from marketers and others who may be eager to get access to your Facebook inbox. While the plan is subject to change, a Facebook rep told Mashable that as of right now, a user could pay a one-time fee of $US1 to message your inbox an unlimited number of times until you decide to mark it as spam.
Get into the social sites here where everything is accessable to you. (ie) Click Here To Enter Merchant Website And View Products.

Video ads in the News Feed

The next big attempt from Facebook to make money may be placing video ads in News Feed. Advertising Age recently reported hearing from “several industry executives” that Facebook is planning to let advertisers place 15-second ads in users’ News Feeds on desktop and mobile by April, 2013. Worse still, the ads will reportedly be on autoplay, meaning they will start playing once you open up the page, whether you want them to or not.

Welcome to the new era of Facebook.

Mashable is the largest independent news source covering digital culture, social media and technology.
SocialNetAdd

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Pinterest Blogger captures stardom by pinning 5700 images on site.

Christine Martinez spent the past week frolicking on the Caribbean island of St Barts after becoming a star by sharing her sense of style at Pinterest.com.

Pinterest has become the web’s hottest young website, particularly among women, by giving people virtual bulletin boards that they decorate with pictures showcasing interests in anything from food to sports, fashion or travel.

“Gawd I love Pinterest,” fashion blogger Martinez said in a Twitter message fired off between flights on Friday as she made her way back to her home in the Californian city of Oakland

Nearly a million people have signed up to follow Martinez at Pinterest where people “pin” pictures they have taken or, in most cases, plucked from elsewhere on the internet.

“I have a penchant for pretty,” Martinez said in her Pinterest profile, which had a picture of her with her cherished dog ‘Miles.’

As of Saturday, she had 43 Pinterest boards with more than 5700 images reflecting her taste in jewellery, swimsuits, and more.

Pinterest is such an influential fashion venue that chic beachwear label Calypso St Barts took her to the French island territory for a week to “live pin” the label’s swimsuit photo shoot.

“Pinterest is the latest procrastination tool of the masses,” Avery Spofford of fashion website shefinds.com wrote in an online post citing Martinez’s adventure as evidence of Pinterest’s clout.

“Mostly, people just like to look at photos of puppies and cake and interior design,” Spofford continued. “Us, too!”

Pinterest was launched in early 2010 and has been growing at a dizzying rate in the past six months despite being invitation-only. The website reportedly has more than 13 million users.

Pinterest is driving more online traffic to retail websites than social networks LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ combined, according to a January report from Shareaholic.

The first investor to back in the venture, Brian Cohen, is delighted with its results so far.

“Pinterest’s traffic charts aren’t hockey sticks – they’re rocket ships,” internet tracker RJ Metrics said in an analysis released last month.

“Pinterest is the hottest young site on the internet.”

Brands are leaping onto Pinterest, setting up pages to appeal to prime shopping demographics or forming collaborations such as the one between Martinez’s MilestoStyle.com blog and Calypso.

“The amount of free advertising a brand gets on Pinterest is ridiculous,” blogger Kerry Sauriol wrote at WomenInBizNetwork.com.

“Without even having their own Pinterest boards, clothing companies, furniture designers, tech companies, and on and on have their products pinned and adored,” she continued.

“Think of the marketing power of a brand that does have a board.”

Other websites have begun adding “pin it” buttons inviting visitors to decorate Pinterest pages with images using a single click, according to co-founder Ben Silbermann.

“The last few months have been a whirlwind here at Pinterest,” Silbermann said in a recent blog post. “It’s humbling, and exciting.”

The small Pinterest team works in box of an office in single-story building in downtown Palo Alto in Silicon Valley.

About a dozen engineers were working at rows of desks in an undecorated room when an AFP correspondent visited.

Pinterest said it was too swamped with attention from users and media for interviews.

Rampant pinning of images snagged from the internet has raised concerns about copyright violations at Pinterest.

The website follows procedures set out in US copyright law and has a form at the site for reporting violations, Silbermann explained. Each “pin” has a flag icon for marking pirated content.

“We care about respecting the rights of copyright holders,” Silbermann said.

“Copyright is a complicated and nuanced issue and we have knowledgeable people who are providing lots of guidance.”

Pinterest fans include Dave Morin, a longtime member of the Facebook team who left the leading social network to start Path.

Morin sees Pinterest as part of a trend for people in “the world’s biggest club” Facebook to form sub-groups based on interests or close relationships.

“Now that the world understands how to be social through the internet people want unique experiences in different contexts,” Morin said, noting that Path lets people intimately share with family and close friends.

“Pinterest has a space where you can talk about your deep interests,” he continued. “In my case, deep interests in ski gear or photography gear.”

Sourcd & published by Henry Sapiecha

BRISBANE AUSTRALIA SPAWNS A NEW FACEBOOK LIKE CONCEPT USING LIVE VIDEOS AS THE COMMUNICATION MEDIUM

A first name isn’t the only thing Mark Cracknell has in common with Mark Zuckerberg.

Like the Facebook founder, Cracknell is a young man with big dreams and a background in computing. He also has a website, Kondoot, which, like Zuckerberg’s famous social network, enables users to share their lives online.

Mark C may not have emulated Mark Z’s stratospheric success just yet, but the comparison is already being drawn – by no less than the Wall Street Journal – after the 21-year-old Brisbane-based entrepreneur and partner Nathan Hoad returned from the US with $3.2 million in funding for their site.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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