Author: strategisadmin

Facebook Credits Gift Cards

According to an article on USAtoday.com, Facebook is coming to a Target store near you!

Starting on Sunday, Facebook Credits gift cards will be available in values of $15, $25 and $50 at all Target stores and at their website, Target.com. Rumor has it that two or three other major retailers will soon carry the gift cards as well.

The “social-network giant” will take its first step into the retail space. It anticipates a large portion of its 500 million members will purchase the cards and use them on their favorite social games, applications and virtual goods.

According to Facebook,  more than 200 million users play free social games on Facebook each month.  And many of them are beginning to spend money on premium goods and services associated with those games.

Will Facebook’s venture into the growing prepaid gift card market prove to be profitable? What do you think?

Facebook Officially Launches “Places”

As previously documented, Facebook has released its first ever location based service, Places, according to Mashable. This application is directly available on the iPhone only at the moment, though other smartphone users can access Places by using the touch.facebook.com site. Android and Blackberry editions will eventually be released though no set dates have been announced.

Facebook users will be able to share their location with friends, locate where other friends using Places are, and find new locations near them. Specifically, capabilities will include: adding places, checking in to existing locations, and tagging friends who you are with.

This service will be launched across the entire United States within a few days, though international launch dates have yet to be determined. Facebook plans on making data available for developers. Gowalla, Foursquare, and Booyah have been sited as applications who will load data back into Places.

Businesses have much to gain from this new feature by adding their location. Places may be claimed by official representatives only and will require and official document (business license or accreditation).

In terms of privacy, always a Facebook concern, CEO Mark Zuckerberg assured naysayers that it is designed to share places with friends, not the entire Facebook world. However, checkins will be displayed on your profile by default. Additionally, similar to being tagged in photos, friends have the capability to tag you without your permission. This can be disabled by adjustment within the “Customize settings” option. As with all profile content, users can decide who views their check ins.

The capability to report false information, abusive behavior, duplicate content or a closed business is also available through flagging content, though it will not be removed immediately.

Users should be sure to revisit their privacy settings before engaging in this new feature. Overall, Places will certainly provide a new outlook on how we can utilize this social network in the future.

More Newspapers to Charge for Online Content

Do you still pick up the paper in the morning? Read the headlines while sipping your morning coffee? Or do you scroll through the news on your ipad or blackberry on your way into the office? Well if you’re like a lot of people these days then you probably get your news online.

Once for free but now… you might have to start paying for it.

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette joins a small but growing list of newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and Newsday that already charge for some access to their websites. According to the Boston Globe, “the Worcester T&G will begin charging some online readers for locally produced news content on its website, www.telegram.com.”

Currently, all online content is available for free to T&G newspaper subscribers however nonsubscribers are only allowed to read as many as 10 staff-produced articles a month. If nonsubscribers wish to exceed that number, they must pay a fee. Only stories written by T&G staff will be subject to fees. All other content will remain free to all users, such as stories from news services, photo galleries, and videos.

How will these changes affect your readership? Will you pay for online content or go back to reading the newspaper the “old fashion” way?

Facebook Delving into Geolocation with Places

As it continues to subscribe to the philosophy of “anything you can do, I can do better” Facebook will soon roll out its own location based program “Places” to rival services like FourSquare and Gowalla. Since establishing its base, now 500 million strong, the ultimate social network has not been shy in modeling itself after external offerings such as Twitter, AIM, and Yahoo! Answers. This newest service, similar to FourSquare will educate the user on physically close businesses based on their interests and their friends’ experiences.

The idea has been met with some disconcert as anything pertaining to privacy, especially something as personal as location, has never been a strong point for Facebook. Additionally, some believe the engagement level of players within these location based services will one day cause the demise of traditional media.

Regardless of speculation, this latest endeavor definitely has the potential to greatly increase Facebook’s overall goal of interconnectedness.

On another note, page owners may have observed that Facebook is trimming down for their new layout to be released in late August. Custom tabs for Fan Pages will now be limited to 520 pixels (previously 755 pixels). Also, the boxes and boxes tab will soon be gone for good.

This will definitely impact the user’s visual experience and enable Facebook to provide larger advertising. Most impacted by this alteration will be page owners who have already invested time and money into elaborate applications for their pages.

100 million Facebook user’s personal information made public

The personal information of over 100 million Facebook users has been gathered and published online, according to MSNBC. Ron Bowes, an online security consultant, used code to scan the 500 million existing Facebook profiles and gathered all the information that was not protected by privacy settings. Bowes then create a downloadable file and posted it to the Internet site The Pirate Bay, where it has already been downloaded by several thousand people.

This is raising concern as millions of Facebook users realize that their information is now on display to the public and readily available to anyone with internet access. And yet, that leads to Facebook’s main angle of defense – the information that has been compiled in this file and is now available to the public has always been just that – personal information that was always available to the public.

Bowes was able to gather this information because privacy settings were not set in the first place; his major feat was that he managed to compile them all into one document. The information collected was already made available through a normal search using Google, Bing, or Facebook itself. While it is shocking and disturbing to learn that 100 million people’s personal information has been compiled and published, it seems more disturbing that these Facebook users allowed it to be available to the public to begin with.