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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

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

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Henry Sapiecha
black diamonds on white line

Jake Munday’s internet business is based on a simple idea: people love dogs.

Jack-Munday-and-DJ-image www.socialselect.net

But that idea has garnered his Facebook page, Dog Lovers, more than three million followers, which Munday says is earning him about $40,000 a month.

These are impressive figures by any measure but even more so, considering that Munday is 24 years old and Dog Lovers is only a part-time exercise for him. His full-time job is selling phone plans in a Telstra business dealership.

Having decided he wanted to start a business based on people’s love of dogs, Munday thought he’d start a Facebook page and decided that rather than start from scratch he’d acquire one. So he acquired the Dog Lovers page when it had an already impressive 430,000 fans.

“We saw an opportunity there to set up a little business and sell dog collars and dog products to the audience,” says Munday, who lives in Geelong in Victoria. But he quickly discovered the business model was not workable. A lot of the Facebook page’s fans were overseas and it was impossible to make a profit by selling a dog collar that cost $8 wholesale for $12 and paying foreign postage.

In the meantime, he set about securing more fans for the Facebook page and, the way that Munday tells it, getting the next 2.5 million “likes” in the 12 months since was pretty simple.

Indeed, his strategy for attracting viewers is much like his original business idea. “Animals are very emotional to people; they’re like family, they’re like their kids,” he says. “We can make it sound like a special formula but at the end of the day some [posts] work and some don’t.”

They posted a picture of a cute little girl holding up a handwritten sign saying, “my daddy said I can get a puppy only if I can get 1 million likes”. The post went viral and within 72 hours had picked up 1.3 million clicks.

The picture had already been posted on Facebook. Munday simply picked it up and put it on his own page. He has no idea who the girl is or whether she ultimately got her puppy.

The site continues to pick up more traffic with its mix of cute and funny dog pictures and videos. Munday has employed a friend part time to produce content for the site but most of it is posted by fans, free of charge.

With the original idea of selling dog products not working out, Munday looked for other sources of revenue. He turned the Facebook page into an advertising vehicle.

The page earns its revenue through advertising – pet businesses pay to place ads on the site – and through affiliate marketing – where companies pay Munday when people click on their site from the Facebook page.

For instance, he promotes products for the pet-related group buying site coupaw.com and, when people click on the ads, they’re taken to the site where they have to fill out their email details and Munday earns $1 per email address. Others pay a commission on the sales Dog Lovers generates.

Promoted products include doggles (goggles for dogs), booties to keep puppies’ paws warm and dry, and dog-themed jewellery for owners.

The site initially earned $4000 a month in revenue, and has grown each month, to about $40,000 now, Munday says.

For several months, Munday ran his own non-Facebook website, with his videos and pictures, which earned revenue from the Google advertising service AdSense, where the search giant places ads on sites.

That site proved popular and profitable, bringing in revenue of several thousand dollars a week. But he was blocked by Google for not complying with its guidelines about how and where ads could be placed, such as places that created accidental clicks.

Munday plans to relaunch the site on a more professional basis. His next task is to work out how to derive revenue from his database of three million followers and the Dog Lovers brand.

“It is hard when you have a worldwide audience. It’s hard to create my own products,” he says. He could continue to sell ads on the new site but might also license the brand.

Munday expects the site to keep attracting likes but wants to sell out in the longer term.

“Ideally someone comes in and pays me out for the right price,” says Munday. “This is fantastic but it can’t last forever. The reality is that it’s always changing.”

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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

Fantasy Lingerie
Henry Sapiecha

The billion dollar deal in under 2 years

App Instagram success team


AppsWiz - Mobile Apps For Every Business.

California has been famous since the gold rush for creating fortunes overnight. The Golden State was a dream factory for get-rich-quick schemes from pioneers with pickaxes to beautiful people aiming to be Hollywood stars.

But only in Silicon Valley can a couple of 20-somethings turn 551 days, or 78 weeks, of work into a $US1 billion fortune.

Kevin Systrom, 28, joined the long line of technocrats turned plutocrats on Monday in the US when he sold Instagram, a profitless photo-sharing app that’s less than two years old, for $US1 billion.

Instagram co-founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom.
Instagram co-founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom. Photo: codypickens.com

He sold it to that other wunderkind, Mark Zuckerberg, 27, the Facebook founder whose social network is now worth an estimated $US100 billion.

Systrom, a former Google employee, is understood to own about 40 per cent of Instagram, which is now worth $US400 million.
happylifebalance

His co-founder Mike Krieger, 25, is believed to have about 10 per cent, worth $US100 million. The rest will be shared with investors and the company’s other employees – all 11 of them.

Even by Silicon Valley standards, it’s a remarkable haul for a company that has been around for less than two years.

If Facebook had been paying Instagram from the start it would work out that Instagram was making roughly $US1.8 million a day from the social networking giant, or $US12.7 million a week.

Instagram was not the first, or the only, mobile app offering people a way to share their photos on Twitter, Facebook or Flickr. Nor was its use of filters to add visual effects to those shots a new idea. But what made it stand out was its success.

Last week Instagram raised $US50 million from venture capital firms, valuing Systrom and Krieger’s baby at $US500 million. Zuckerberg had reportedly already approached Systrom and asked to buy the firm but, after the funding, he came back with an offer that could not be refused: double the price.
Hogarth Associates - Businesses For Sale

Instagram might not make a cent but it is the hottest mobile app in the world and Facebook is preparing for the biggest IPO in tech history.

To date people have questioned Facebook’s mobile strategy. Zuckerberg started his social network in the days when PCs and browsers ruled the internet. Even 20-somethings can look a bit dated in these fast moving days. And $US1 billion is a small price to pay for new school cool, if you are worth $US100 billion.

Systrom, a Stanford University graduate like so many Silicon Valley multimillionaires, grew up in Boston but was an early witness to the dotcom boom. His mother, Diane Systrom, worked at Monster.com during the first internet era and is now an executive at Zipcar, the online car rental business.

The history of the billion-dollar deal goes back to his university days where he was studying for an engineering degree. Systrom, a big photography fan, started looking at ways to share photos online. His interest subsided as he looked for a job, ending up at Google, where he spent two years in product and corporate development.

Systrom’s next job was at Nextstop, a trip-recommendation site that Facebook bought for a rather measly $US2.5 million.
Marketing with no money

Systrom then started Burbn, named after his favourite liquor, a company that focused on the super-hot area of mobile but whose basket of services seemed to lack any clear identity. It had photos but also check-in capabilities, such as Foursquare, and other apps.

Along came Krieger, another Stanford graduate, and the two started talking about narrowing their focus.

On the Q&A site Quora, Systrom explained the genesis of Instagram: “We decided that if we were going to build a company, we wanted to focus on being really good at one thing.

“We saw mobile photos as an awesome opportunity to try out some new ideas. We spent one week prototyping a version that focused solely on photos. It was pretty awful. So we went back to … Burbn. We actually got an entire version of Burbn done as an iPhone app, but it felt cluttered, and overrun with features.

“It was really difficult to decide to start from scratch, but we went out on a limb, and basically cut everything in the Burbn app except for its photo, comment, and like capabilities. What remained was Instagram. (We renamed because we felt it better captured what you were doing – an instant telegram of sorts. It also sounded camera-y.)”

The rest is Silicon Valley history. Launched in October 2010, Instagram was an instant hit. More than 30 million people have downloaded the app now. When the firm launched an Android version this month, it attracted 1 million downloads in 12 hours. People love sharing their photos online and making them look like their dad took them in 1980 with a camera he borrowed from his dad.

And the app they want to do it with is Instagram.
Gold Company

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

F-Commerce has not delivered expectations.


Last April, Gamestop opened a store on Facebook to generate sales among the 3.5 million-plus customers who’d declared themselves “fans” of the video game retailer. Six months later, the store was quietly shuttered.

Gamestop has company. Over the past year, Gap, JC Penney and Nordstrom have all opened and closed storefronts on Facebook’s social networking site.

Facebook, which this month filed for an initial public offering, has sought to be a top shopping destination for its 845 million members. The stores’ quick failure shows that the California-based social network doesn’t drive commerce and casts doubt on its value for retailers, said Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Closed: Gamestop shut its F-store.Closed: Gamestop no longer sells directly on Facebook.

“There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop,” Mulpuru said in a telephone interview. “But it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”

A year ago, investors hailed so-called F-commerce as the next big thing, speculating that the company had potential to threaten Amazon.com and PayPal. Facebook is the most-visited website in the world. Some people thought that persuading visitors to shop would be easy, Mulpuru said.

David Fisch, Facebook’s director of business development, said in June that the site would make shopping online, previously a solitary experience, more social.

Hanging out

“This is where people are hanging out,” Fisch said at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in San Diego.

Facebook planned to profit from retailers buying ads to drive traffic to their on-site stores. Business consultant Booz & Co. predicted in January 2011 that physical goods sold through social commerce would balloon to $US30 billion from $US5 billion by 2015, with Facebook contributing a majority of sales.

Even as some businesses shut storefronts, many companies continue to devote advertising dollars to the social network. Facebook’s sales surged 55 per cent to $US1.13 billion in the fourth quarter. The company aims to use e-commerce more as a way of getting users to stay longer than as a way to boost revenue, said Krista Garcia, an analyst at EMarketer in New York.

Chris Kraeuter, a Facebook spokesman, declined to comment.

Customers had no incentive to shop at Gamestop’s Facebook store rather than the company’s regular website because purchasing online is already convenient, said Ashley Sheetz, who is the Grapevine, Texas-based company’s vice president of marketing and strategy.

Shut quickly

“We just didn’t get the return on investment we needed from the Facebook market, so we shut it down pretty quickly,” Sheetz said in a telephone interview. “For us, it’s been a way we communicate with customers on deals, not a place to sell.”

Gap, which has 5.6 million Facebook fans from its namesake, Banana Republic and Old Navy pages, opened and discontinued a storefront last year, said Liz Nunan, a company spokeswoman. The San Francisco-based company also discovered customers preferred shopping on its own sites, she said.

“We will continue to evaluate if this is something we want to bring back in the future,” Nunan said in an emailed statement.

Nordstrom tested ways to make shopping “seamless through Facebook” and decided on a broader social media focus, Colin Johnson, a spokesman, said.

JC Penney featured assortments in a Facebook “shop” tab beginning in 2010, and took it down in December 2011, Kate Coultas, a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Other advertisers, such as Procter & Gamble, have kept their F-stores running, including Olay, Tide and Cover Girl.

An Australian online business, however, had a re-think about selling its goods through a Facebook store, after considering the costs.

Eugene Tan, director of Aquabumps, a business selling daily photographs of Bondi and other beaches, has a meaningful fan page on Facebook but declined the offer to create a new e-commerce engine or merge his current one on the social network.

“I had a look at some of the guys providing the service to create a shop and I thought (the site) was slow. A lot of apps that run on Facebook are slow. And I can’t control it. I’d rather people come to me (from Facebook).”

Tan said he also didn’t like to put a “hard sell” on his Facebook page. “We’re very subtle on the sell. My buyers would switch off.”

Tan stores about 1000 images on his site and offers 12 permutations in framing and sizing options.

“It’d be very difficult to have two stores, and expensive too. They (third party) wanted a monthly fee and a percentage of sales. With my own site I can control the costs – I paid a one-off fee to create it and pay the credit card transaction fees; that’s nothing,” Tan said.

Cracks in model

Wade Gerten, chief executive officer of social media developer 8thBridge, previously known as Alvenda, opened a Facebook store for the florist 1-800-FLOWERS. Minneapolis-based Gerten went on to develop commerce strategies for Delta Air Lines, Diane Von Furstenberg Studio and denim-maker Seven for all Mankind.

Cracks in the model showed quickly, Gerten said in a telephone interview. Clients “have taken a different approach,” shutting stores or scaling back their offerings.

“It was basically just another place to shop for all the stuff already available on the retailer websites,” Gerten said. “I give so-called F-commerce an ‘F’.”

Sourced & 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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