Daily Archives: September 27, 2012

Hunger Reads: Obama\’s Mind Games and How To Succeed When You\’re Running for Office: Death Race 2012: GQ on Politics: GQ

Hunger Reads: Obama’s Mind Games and How To Succeed When You’re Running for Office: Death Race 2012: GQ on Politics: GQ.

Hunger Reads: Obama’s Mind Games and How To Succeed When You’re Running for Office

So you’re stuck in line at Chipotle, bored, behind on your news-reading—yet not exactly jonesing for another rehash of the headlines. Enter the Hunger Reads, our daily compendium of the political stories we think you’ll actually enjoy reading. (At least more than reading the take-out menu over and over.)

Was this email in your inbox?Why Obama Is Obsessed With Your Name, Zeke Miller, Buzzfeed

The semi-stalkerish emails may be prompting exclamations across Twitter, but they’re part of a calculated effort to drive voter registration and turnout, rooted in a new science of politics.

Sasha Issenberg, the author of The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns explained to BuzzFeed that the campaign is trying an old trick from behavioral psychology research.

The theory: You’re more likely to take an action if you think other people like you are also doing it.

Toss Morals and Ethics AsideHow To Measure a President: Why a successful president must understand his political moment, John Dickerson, Slate

If a president misreads his moment, it can throw his presidency off course. Franklin Roosevelt’s attempt to pack the court is perhaps the most famous example of a serious political blunder. But many trip right out of the gate. Bill Clinton pushed to allow gays to serve in the military at the beginning of his first term, ending his political honeymoon about as soon as it started. In the first months of George W. Bush’s presidency, either due to a lack of attention or respect, Vermont Republican Sen. Jim Jeffords abandoned the Republican Party, handing control of the Senate to the Democrats. Obama continued to back the former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle for a Cabinet post despite the controversy over his unpaid taxes. Later Obama admitted he was blind to the conflict between his promise to run a White House with no special-interest influence and the loophole he was creating for his friend Daschle.

A president who sees the possibilities of the moment can rack up achievements that seemed foreclosed. According to Robert Caro’s account in The Path to Power, Johnson knew instinctively after John F. Kennedy’s assassination that he could use the slain president’s memory to pile up successes in Congress. Caro quotes Johnson discussing the mechanics of his strategy: “I had to take the dead man’s program and turn it into a martyr’s cause.” When Johnson addressed Congress days after Kennedy’s death, he did just that: “[No] eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy’s memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long.”

Voters need to appreciate these currents almost as much as presidents in order to accurately assess a president’s political performance or a challenger’s promises. How steep was the opposition that a president faced? How boxed in was his agenda by the unexpected emergencies of the day? Did these fire alarms increase his political capital or drain it? Is the challenger offering pie-in-the-sky promises? Will his proposals face public fatigue, or are people hungry for sweeping change?

Source: GQ.com

Four Game Ban For John Terry – Video


An Enterprising Look At Social And Business – Infographic

Once there was just “Social”, which, by its nature, implied “marketing” But now, as Social has grown more established and complex, it’s branching out into a variety of growth areas including, Social Marketing, Social Business, Social Enterprise and Social Brand. How are these facets of social media unfolding and where are each focused in their growth? To find out, we partnered with Netbase to take at look at Social conversations during 2012. Which approach is taking the lead? What we found was a split electorate. Different camps appear to use different phrases and none yet clearly dominates. Perhaps that’s why Salesforce recently decided it didn’t need to trademark Social Enterprise, after all.

Source: Pivot Conference


The Economics of Electric Vehicles – Infographic

The Economics of Electric Vehicles [INFOGRAPHIC].

For the past few decades, hopeful automobile owners made decisions based on gas mileage, vehicle size and leather interior. Now, a projected 62,400 Americans will choose to purchase an electric vehicle in 2012.

The cheapest highway-legal EV starts around $30,000 for the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, but competitors such as Ford, Chevrolet and Nissan are all vying for a higher range and lower cost.

SEE ALSO: From Model T to Electric: The Evolution of the Car [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Obama administration’s target of 1 million electric vehicle sales in 2015 is aided by the more than $1 billion in government spending for installing charging locations, improving and building lithium-ion battery plants and supporting developing systems.

Take a gander at the graphic below, provided by VroomVroomVroom, for more detailed information on electric vehicles.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr, MSVG

Source: Mashable.com


Gaming In The Classroom, Game Based Learning Improves Student Engagement – Infographic

Gaming gets a bad rap a lot of the time. It rots kids’ brains, turns them into vegetables; it makes kids’ socially isolated and neglect their studies — those are the most common charges, and are certainly based in reality.

Used responsibly, however, gaming can become a force that actually helps mold young minds for the better. The use of electronic games in education is on the rise, and many teachers are finding that it helps students not only retain information, but remain engaged and motivated as well.

How? According to University of Bristol neuroscientist Paul Howard-Jones, there’s some serious science behind the theory. Electronic games, the thinking goes, stimulate the brain to produce the chemical, dopamine. Dopamine plays a number of important roles in the brain, not least among them aiding cognition. Moreover, smartly deployed gaming helps kids because it lets them maintain an active role in their learning processes, and explore and experiment on their own.

To explore the growing role of electronic games in schools, the Internet education portal OnlineSchools.com recently surveyed a number of sources, including Education Week, Ed.gov and the NEA Foundation.

Among their more notable findings, 3,500 Chinese students used an online learning course that included digital games to help them learn English. In a survey of their teachers, 95% said the digital program increased motivation among the students. Similarly, another study found that students who used a computer-learning program that included game-like elements scored 5.5 points higher in regional percentile rankings.

Check out the infographic for the fuller picture, then let us know in the comments: What kind of role do you think gaming can play in education?

Source: Mashable.com, OnlineSchools.com

Facebook’s $4.5 billion secret weapon – MarketWatch

Facebook’s $4.5 billion secret weapon – MarketWatch.

By Jake Mann and Meena Krishnamsetty

Facebook Inc. FB +0.63%  has been criticized quite heavily since its IPO debacle earlier this year. Whether it is calls for the company to hire another head honcho to replace Mark Zuckerberg, or claims that it isn’t doing enough to protect the privacy of its users , it seems like every armchair analyst has something to say about the social network.

From an investment standpoint, most of bear concerns over buying into shares of Facebook have to do with revenue diversification, or lack thereof.

Current estimates place around 85% of the company’s revenue as dependent on advertising, and we all know how certain their foothold in that arena looks right now .

While competitors like LinkedIn Corp. LNKD +0.34%  andGoogle Inc. GOOG +0.84%  have taken steps to limit their social networks’ dependence on third-party ads, it seems like the best Facebook can do is ponder how they can improve the functionality of their mobile app.

What if we told you there is another way for the social network to make millions, even billions of dollars? Even more so, what if this technology had been laying under investors’ noses since 2008?

Ladies and gentleman, we’d like you to put your hands together for…(drum roll please)…Facebook Connect.

Facebook Connect is the oft-used program that lets users sign into their favorite third-party websites with their Facebook login, and is on every domain name under the sun, from e-analytics site Alexa, to real estate information site Zillow.

Released four years ago to relatively little fanfare, Facebook Connect is the bastard son of the company’s API and platform programs, which were introduced in 2006 and 2007, respectively.

On the official Facebook blog, the company states that Connect allows its users “to take their identity and friends with them around the Web, while being able to trust that their information is always up-to-date and always protected by their privacy settings.”

Besides being a convenience for web surfers, Facebook Connect is also boon to websites that integrate the platform into their login systems. Take music streaming database Spotify, which is a Napster-ish version ofPandora , as an example of how Connect integration can be taken to the nth degree. Since making it a requirement for users to login to its system through Facebook last September, Spotify has added roughly 5 million users — a total representative of 25% of its user base.

Other third-party sites implement a less extensive version of Connect, though its biggest benefit is that it is free. In its first year of operation, Facebook reported that roughly 80,000 sites had integrated with the service; this total had grown to 2 million by the end of 2010.

In the 20-plus months since, Zuckerberg and Co. have estimated that 10,000 sites a day are syncing their login systems with Connect. Doing a few back of the envelope calculations, this means that Facebook Connect must have upward of 8 million partner sites currently, with this total expected to reach 12 million by the end of next year.

Though there are no perfect comparisons for Facebook Connect, we can make a few indirect conclusions about the potential of the service, if Facebook decided to start charging third-party sites.

LinkedIn Premium currently charges subscribers $24.99 a month; it is notable that this premium pricing program experienced similar, but lesser growth than what is expected of Facebook Connect.

As of its most recent annual report, LinkedIn reported having close to 25 million premium subscribers. LinkedIn Premium has been in existence since 2003, and it is worth noting that in its seventh year (2010), the service garnered a little over 10 million subscribers. In Facebook Connect’s seventh year (2015), it is projected to have 15 million integrated sites.

Google’s social network, Google+, allows users to remain logged into its bevy of sites, ranging from Gmail to YouTube, though this integrated functionality only exists under the company’s banner, so to speak.

Likewise, Microsoft’s MSFT -0.38%   new social network “So.cl” allows its users to integrate their Bing search history into its platform, but offers little else at the moment.

Thus the question remains: Is it reasonable for Facebook to charge third-party websites for the usage of its Connect service?

When answering this question, it is important to keep in mind that most sites are now developing their platforms to seamlessly integrate with Connect, making login quick, smooth, and easy for users.

If the social media company did choose to slap a price tag of, let’s say $24.99 a month, on the service, third-party sites would have little choice but to comply. Any site bold enough to resist this charge would risk losing the fraction of their user base that was signed up exclusively through Connect. In today’s rough-and-tumble e-marketplace, we’re willing to bet that this is a setback that no site, large or small, could afford.

If Facebook does choose to start charging for Connect, it would realize an additional $4.5 billion in annual revenues by the end of 2015. Considering the fact that current estimates from Wedbush Securities and eMarketer expect the company to finish 2012 with close to $5 billion in revenues, we can immediately see that any monetization of Facebook Connect would be material to the company’s bottom line.

Staying consistent with a price tag of $24.99 a month, we can then estimate that Connect monetization would add close to 50 cents to Facebook’s 2015 EPS, which current estimates place in the range of $1.50 a share. When taking this forward-looking estimate into account, Facebook’s Forward P/E drops to 26.5X, while its earnings multiple without Connect monetization rests at 35.2X.

This differential is important, because if Facebook does choose to start charging third-party websites for Connect, its valuation suddenly looks more attractive in comparison to tech peers like LinkedIn (111.8X), Google (16.0X), and Microsoft (9.2X).

While it remains to be seen if Facebook will explore the scenario discussed in this article, it is clear that investors might at least want to consider the possibility. Facebook Connect appears to be a perfect “secret weapon” for the company’s woes related to revenue diversification. After all, it is not unreasonable to expect the company to monetize a service that permeates the online environment in its entirety.

Many of the hedge fund industry’s most prominent managers are closet Facebook bulls, including Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global Management Robert Karr , and “the Man Who Broke the Bank of England,” George Soros (see George Soros’ new stock picks ). Even financial guru Cliff Asness reported having a tiny piece of the action in his second quarter 13F filing with the SEC. For a complete list of hedge funds with Facebook, check outInsider Monkey .

Disclosure: This article is written by Jake Mann and edited by Meena Krishnamsetty. Meena has long positions in Google and Microsoft. 

Source: MarketWatch.com

Facebook Begins Eliminating Fake Likes

Facebook Begins Eliminating Fake Likes.

Facebook has begun eliminating fake Likes on brand Pages, after pledging to ramp up security in August.

On Wednesday, the social network started weeding out bogus Likes caused by compromised accounts, deceived users, malware or purchased bulk Likes, it confirmed to TechCrunch.

Less than 1% of Likes on a page would be removed, “providing they and their affiliates have been abiding by our terms,” Facebook said in a blog post.

The percentage is consistent with data provided by PageData, an independent Facebook Page tracking service.

Among Pages with the most total Likes, Texas HoldEm Poker saw a loss of more than 96,000 Likes in the past day, according to the service. That clocks in around 0.15% of its 65.3 million total Likes.

Other top offenders included singers Rihanna who lost 28,000 Likes, Shakira who shed 26,000 and Lady Gagawho dropped 34,000.

Zynga‘s Farmville game was another big loser with 45,000 Likes gone.

Facebook previously said it had “dedicated protections” against threats that result in fake Likes, but emphasized that these improved systems to safeguard the network’s integrity “have been specially configured to identify and take action against suspicious Likes.”

“Users will continue to connect to the Pages and Profiles they authentically want to subscribe to, and Pages will have a more accurate measurement of fan count and demographics,” Facebook wrote in its August post. “This improvement will allow Pages to produce ever more relevant and interesting content, and brands will see an increase in true engagement around their content.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Do you subscribe to any Pages on the fake Likes offenders’ list? Tell us in the comments below.

Source: Mashable.com

How Apple is Boosting iAd With seamless Twitter, Passbook Integration

How Apple is Boosting iAd With seamless Twitter, Passbook Integration.

Launching last week, Apple’s new iOS 6 software has been very well received; of the 400 million iOS devices in the wild, over a quarter of them have already updated to the new firmware and enjoyed many of the 200 new features present in the OS (just don’t mention Maps).

While many of the features iOS 6 are customer facing, Apple has worked hard to make it easy for developers to integrate its new services into their websites and existing platforms.

Take Passbook as an example, if the brand or business understands the feature correctly, passes can be automatically added to a user’s Passbook wallet, deliver notifications, remain location aware and increase the brightness of a device’s screen to ensure passes can be scanned easily.

Apple has also begun making the new features in its iOS 6 platform directly available to advertisers. As part of its iAd refresh, Apple has enabled a number of iOS 6 specific features in its advertising platform, taking its service beyond the normal ‘click and visit’ banner ads that you may see delivered on mobile websites.

Yesterday, Apple updated its ad creation tool: iAd Producer. Updating it to version 3.1, Apple included the following new features:

  • Follow on Twitter
  • Save a Reminder
  • Save a pass in Passbook
  • Creating messages with SMS attachments
  • Support for building ads that access an advertiser’s web site.
  • Medium banners available for iAd projects delivered to iPads running iOS 6.
  • iAd JS updated to version 1.6.1.

While some of the new features are platform-specific, most of them directly impact how an iOS device owner interacts with the iAds they come upon in supporting apps.

Take ‘Follow on Twitter’ as an example; Apple has integrated both Twitter and Facebook into its core operating system, meaning that if an advertiser chooses, they can include a ‘Follow’ call to action and allow users to follow their brands or businesses on the social network.

Note, if it wasn’t for Apple implementing a single sign-on for Twitter, the process would be troublesome for the user. Without this feature, users would be required to authorise their accounts using Twitters oAuth, adding friction to the process. More friction equals less conversions.

The same goes for Reminders. Advertisers were already able to bundle calendar events, send emails, place calls, take screenshots, set wallpaper, save images and take photos. Now, Reminders can be added for a certain date and time, but also include support for a specific location.


Perhaps the biggest addition to the list is the inclusion of Passbook support. For advertisers, this could be a very interesting development.

Often, an advertiser will choose to run a promotion, perhaps choosing a small banner ad that will run at the top or bottom of the screen and alert users to a “Buy two cheeseburgers and get one free” offer. As it works now, the user clicks that banner, visits the retailers website, enters his/her details and then receives a coupon via email.

With Passbook, it’s a case of discovering the user’s location, pinging its database for the relevant coupon and then serving it to the user. The coupon will display the retailer’s branding, offer details and other relevant information to the user and all they have to do is hit ‘Add’ and it is saved to their Passbook.

If that offer isn’t time sensitive, it could reside in a user’s Passbook until they are physically passing the participating store. Passbook’s location-aware features kick in and BOOM, a notification is served, pass displayed on the user’s lockscreen and someone has the chance to redeem their “Buy two cheeseburgers and get one free” offer when they might otherwise have forgotten about it.

Screen Shot 2012 09 27 at 08.26.02 520x394 How Apple is boosting its iAd platform with seamless Twitter and Passbook integration

A boost for iAd?

Apple’s doesn’t often comment on its iAd platform, making it hard to determine whether it is a successful division within the company.

Apple’s VP of Mobile Advertising, Andy Miller has jumped ship to VC firm Highland Capital and been replaced in an interim fashion by Apple’s VP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue. Then in January, Apple hired on a full-timer in ex-Adobe executive Todd Teresi to head it up.

In April, Apple sent out a notice to participants in its iAd program that it would give 70% (up from 60%) of the revenue earned from an ad displayed in an app to the developer. The change was seen as a continuation of Apple’s efforts to jumpstart the adoption and use of its iAd service.

On its website, Apple offers some usage statistics, many of which are of the wider iOS ecosystem, but it does note that users engage with iAd ads for an “average of 60 seconds per visit.”

Apple prides itself on its iAd technology, highlighting that it is built into its iOS software. This enables advertisers to push app or iTunes downloads, compose SMS and email messages and have them delivered to a targeted address, deliver 3D graphical interfaces, load video and audio within an app and share content.

Facebook has already shown that if you don’t focus on mobile first, it’s a long process trying to adapt your existing products and services to work on mobile and resonate with mobile audiences. In this sense, Apple has been quietly collecting advertising data and tuning its service since it launched iAd in 2010.

With the inclusion of Passbook support, Apple has removed a number of barriers that have traditionally stopped users from interacting with mobile advertisements. Press, add and redeem is a lot easier than having to complete a web form and then find and redeem it when it hits your email.

Apple put a lot of effort into making its Passbook feature operate silently, it’s not an app that requires direct interaction. Instead, it waits and captures any supported coupons or tickets and throws out reminders, based not only on time but also location.

Reminding users they have a ticket or coupon is half the battle, advertisers will surely be interested in pursuing campaigns a platform that will deliver dates, times, locations, offers and lots of other information with little or no interaction on their part.

Image Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: The Next Web