Tag Archives: facebook

WTF Are You Thinking, Snapchat?

Snapchat founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged but I’m just a little outraged at the moment and I need to let it out.  Snapchat’s 23-year old co-founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel, gets offered $3 BILLION (with a B!!) in cash from Facebook, and the kid turns it down?  Who do these kids think they are?

I don’t even understand how this kid is eating and paying bills now.  Even with millions of users, Snapchat has yet to make a single dollar of revenue, and it has not shown any clear strategy of how they plan to be profitable.  The company’s founders are also in a controversy over whether they did or did not cheat a friend out of his fair share.

Spiegel’s obviously holding out for a bigger payday, as Snapchat has been getting some serious attention from other investors and potential acquirers, such as Chinese e-commerce company Tencent Holdings.  Tencent supposedly offered to lead an investment that would’ve valued Snapchat at $4 billion, but Spiegel might be waiting for something even bigger than that.  According to anonymous sources, “Evan Spiegel, will not likely consider an acquisition or an investment at least until early next year. … Spiegel is hoping Snapchat’s numbers … will grow enough by then to justify an even larger valuation.”

This isn’t the first time that Facebook has tried to acquire Snapchat.  Last year Facebook reportedly offered Snapchat a $1 billion buyout.  After they were denied, Facebook took a stab at creating its own ephemeral messaging app- anyone remember Poke?  Probably not, as it was a flop.

I certainly respect holding out for what you think you’re worth to a certain extent.  But when Mark Zuckerberg offers you a room full of cash-filled suitcases, you take the money, say thank you and move the fuck on!  Go travel the world, kid.  Buy your parents a nice house.  Start a new project.  What is $4 billion really going to buy you that $3 billion can’t?

Some people say that we shouldn’t be calling Spiegel and the guys at Snapchat crazy for turning down Facebook’s cash offer. A writer at CNN thinks the company was smart to hold out because it has something other social media services don’t: erasable messages.  So what?  Snapchat’s erasable messages are cool today, but next week something else will be the hot new thing. After all, it is the teens and young people who use the app, and we all know how fickle this age group is.  I think it’s a pretty big gamble for Spiegel to wait until next year, especially when this is $3 BILLION (again, with a B!!) at stake.

It might be possible for the guys at Snapchat to get more money from the competition between prospective investors and would-be acquirers, but I don’t think it’s worth the risk of overplaying their hand and crashing and burning.  Either way, it should be an interesting next few months for Snapchat and I can’t wait to see how this all plays out.

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Instagram Gets Videos!

Today is a rough day for Vine, as Instagram has finally caught up.  Instagram, owned by Facebook, announced today to its 130 million users that it has introduced a video functionality.

Vine, which is owned by Twitter, was great for a few months, but like many other short-video services, its video time is limited.  Instagram’s videos are limited as well, but at 15 seconds long they’re more than twice the time of Vine’s.  Unless Vine extends their video time to longer than 15 seconds and comes up with some cool new features, I don’t see a way that they could keep up.  But I do have faith in them.

According to Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, the 15-second limit was chosen after testing different times.   He called it the right balance “between not too short that it constrains your creativity” and not so long that you have to wait a while for a file to upload.

Instagram’s video-sharing feature was widely expected and has excited many users.  Described Systrom as “everything you love about Instagram — and it moves,” video is designed around three core principles:

  • Simplicity — It needs to be easy to use and edit
  • Beauty — “We need to do to video what we did to photos.”
  • Community — Instagram continues to look and work the same way when it comes to sharing and viewing content.

Here’s what else we know about Instagram Video so far:

  • The videos can be between three and 15 seconds long and include any number of individual video clips
  • It came to iOS and Android at the same time and supports 13 custom filters, created by an artist specifically for Instagram video
  • Users can edit the frames of their videos and remove segments of the footage
  • A mode named “Cinema” acts as a way to stabilize footage
  • Users can choose a cover photo for their videos, which will appear in the stream as a regular photo
  • For now, videos can only be shot from within the Instagram app.  There is not yet a way to upload existing video from your phone’s camera roll

To get the video function, update your existing Instagram app.

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Protect Your Online Reputation

The internet marketing agency that I work for has been looking to hire an SEO/PPC specialist for a few weeks now, but we’re having a hard time finding the right person.  We’ve been posting ads and getting a decent amount of responses, but not too many people are qualified enough for what we’re looking for.

Today I received the resume of a person who seemed to have just the right amount of work experience and knowledge.  Before I attempted to schedule an interview I decided to Google his name and see what comes up.  There was the usual- links to his LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest accounts (which always rank high), his blog, a popular SEO site that he’s probably mentioned on and his mug shot.  Wait, mug shot?

Guess who just missed out on a job opportunity.  Especially being a search marketing professional and all, the least I expected from the guy was to have a clean online reputation.

At least once in your life, someone important will look you up on Google.  There’s a good chance it’s already happened, as search insiders estimate that that non-celebrity people searches account for more than 10% of Google’s search volume.

Admit it; you’ve Googled yourself at least once just to see what came up. But who else has?  Recruiters and hiring managers will likely look you up on search engines before offering you an interview or job. Colleges have been known to look up students before accepting them.  In my single days I wouldn’t go on a date without Googling the guy first.

Having a person Google your name is something that’s going to happen (again) in your life. If there’s something negative that might come up and hurt you, it’s up to you to fix it.  Here are four easy things you can do to manage your online reputation.

Google Yourself

If you haven’t done this already, start by going to Google and typing in your name.  Make sure you’re logged out of Google so you see standard results rather than personalized ones. Consider the first page of search results for your name your own personal home page. Studies show that about 75% of search engine users never click past the first page, so it’s extremely important to use that real estate to your full advantage.  If you have a common name and share it with some scandalous characters, I would start using a middle name or initial on job applications, your resume and social media sites.

Own Your Name

The term “own your name” refers to “owning” all of the domains that come up in the search results.  I’m lucky- there are no other Casey Kurlanders in the world that I know of, so I don’t have any competition.  But if you look, every search result on the first page for my name is something that I created and pretty much have control over.

SERP

Here are some tips on how to own the first page of results for your name:

  • Get your Linkedin profile to show up first by making sure you have a custom URL with your name.  For example, my LinkedIn URL is www.linkedin.com/in/caseykurlander/ and it always ranks high because the URL matches the keyword searched and LinkedIn has high SEO authority.  To create your own custom LinkedIn URL, go to the “edit profile” section and it’s right there.
  • Google-owned properties like Picasa, YouTube and Google+ often rank high, so make sure to utilize them using your name.  Google+ is great because it’s free and it offers lots of options for providing links, photos, and information you may want to highlight
  • Start a blog and make your name the title.  Also make sure that your name is in the URL.  I recommend using WordPress, as it’s the blogging platform that seems to rank the highest.  It’s also free and extremely easy to use.
  • Be mindful of what you use as your default photos on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn- those also rank high and are often one of the first to show up in Google Images. This also applies to photos that you post on your blog, as many of them will come up.

Fight back!

Depending on the website, the instructions for removing or hiding results vary.  However, information that’s been indexed in Google’s database cannot be extracted from Google search results.  Google has ownership of its database and will not act on negative publicity.  Even if the offending article is removed by the publisher, the content still exists in Google’s database and could be found in a search.

One of the places that you can fight back is Facebook.  There you can mark specific content as public or with varying levels of privacy. To protect yourself, it is best to keep Facebook content limited to friends only. If your online reputation is really bad, you can always give us a call at BMI Elite to remove negative or undesired content associated with your name.

Prevention

The best defense is a great offense- don’t wait until there’s something negative in the search results to improve your online reputation.  A great defense strategy is to have an abundance of positive content on the first page of results.  Go ahead and tweet, post, comment and blog!

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Mark Zuckerberg is Glassdoor’s Highest Rated CEO

It’s been a bit of a rough year for Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, following the social network’s disastrous IPO last May.  The company’s stocks have dropped and Zuckerberg has had to deal with some harsh critics.  But he must be doing something right, as he has defeated Apple’s Tim Cook as the highest rated CEO.

According to Glassdoor’s 2013 Highest Rated CEOs index, Zuckerberg received a 99% approval rating from his employees, which is a 14% increase from last year.  While Zuckerberg’s approval rating went up this year, Cook’s went down 4%, from 97% to 93%.  This was enough to not only push Cook out of the top 10, but all the way down to the 18thslot.  Cook’s decline comes about a year and a half after the death of former CEO Steve Jobs and as the Apple’s stock has tumbled almost 40% from all-time highs.

Glassdoor is a free jobs and career community online that offers an inside look at jobs and companies.  The site features “employee generated content” – anonymous salaries, company reviews, interview questions, and more – all posted by employees, job seekers, and sometimes the companies themselves.

To compile its list of Highest Rated CEOs, Glassdoor surveyed hundreds of thousands of employees across many industries.  CEO approval ratings are calculated much the same as presidential approval ratings.  Employees were asked questions such as “Do you approve or disapprove of the way your CEO is leading the company?”

One unnamed Facebook employee told Glassdoor that Facebook possesses “an open community from Zuck on down.” There is “mutual trust companywide and a sense of community and drive, instilled by our CEO who we all truly respect.”

After Zuckerberg, the rest of the top 10 included, in order:

  • Bill McDermott & Jim Hagemann Snabe, SAP (99%)
  • Dominic Barton, McKinsey & Co. (97%)
  • Jim Turley, Ernst & Young (96%)
  • John E. Schlifske, Northwestern Mutual (96%)
  • Frank D’Souza, Cognizant Technology Solutions (96%)
  • Joe Tucci, EMC (96%)
  • Paul E. Jacobs, Qualcomm (95%)
  • Richard K. Davis, U.S. Bank (95%)
  • Pierre Nanterme, Accenture (95%)

Click here to see the full list of Glassdoor’s 2013 Highest Rated CEOs.

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Interesting Internet Facts

  • If the Internet were a country, its population would be greater than North America, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East combined.
  • There are more devices connected to the Internet than people on Earth.
  • In one month on Facebook, 30 billion pieces of content are shared.
  • After Usama Bin Laden was killed, a computer programmer in Pakistan tweeted the military raid on his compound hours before any news sites reported it.
  • After an earthquake hit the east coast people in New York City read tweets about the quake 30 seconds before they felt it.
  • North America is the continent with the highest percentage of Internet users, followed by Australia and Europe.
  • The average American spends 66 hours a month on a computer- NOT including computer time spent at work.
  • 20 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  • 210 billion emails are sent daily.
  • China is the country with the most Internet users.  Barbados has the fewest.
  • There are more internet users in China than there are people in the U.S.
  • A number of countries, including Estonia, Finland and Spain have declared access to the Internet as a legal right for citizens.
  • The global number of users doubled from 2005 to 2010.
  • China, Taiwan and Korea recently accepted Internet Addiction Disorder as a psychological diagnosis.  In 2013, the U.S. will mark it as a real disorder too.
  • Apple’s sales in 2011 were $128 billion
  • About 50% percent of consumers think a brand’s Facebook page is more useful than a brand’s website.
  • Since 2003 Google has answered over 450 billion new unique queries.
  • Instant previews on Google load in 1/10th of a second on average.
  • The 29 poorest countries in the world must combine their revenue in 2010 to equal the $29.3 billion dollars that Google earned from advertising that year.
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Instagram Gets Web Profiles

Today, as most social media companies like Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn work to improve their mobile interfaces, Instagram has done just the opposite.  The popular mobile application recently introduced web profiles to give users a chance to share photos and find friends on the web.

The photo sharing website looks a lot like the Facebook timeline, which is a good thing because 14 million Instagram users also use Facebook. This is most likely due to Facebook acquiring Instagram for about $1 billion in April. Since Facebook is one of the largest photo-sharing outlets in the world, they have not allowed Instagram to upload any pictures on the web.

This remains true for now, but users are now able to like and comment on other users’ photos, in addition to being able to browse your own and other users’ photos on the web.  It’s so nice to be able to finally view photos on something larger than an iPhone or tablet screen!  Users can also change their name, bio and profile picture via the web.

A lot of marketers are happy to have Instagram on the web because they have wanted to expand their mobile followers to the web. The social network is now a more effective place for brands to boast their services and products.  Instagram did not function before like some of the other more prominent networks did because it was solely a mobile service. When I visited the site before, all that was there was a simple page which welcomed users and some information on how to download the mobile app.  All of Instagram’s traffic so far has come from mobile platforms. This has been the main setback that marketers have faced in seeing their full potential with a photo sharing social media platform. Imagine what brands can do now that it is on the web.

This is something a lot of people wished Instagram did a long time ago.  Websites like Webstagram allows users to surf profiles on the web, but it isn’t the same experience. It is kind of like buying bootleg DVD’s on Canal Street instead of watching it in IMAX theaters. I am really happy with this Instagram launch and I cannot wait to see what they do in the future.  Instagram founder Kevin Systrom has already hinted at more stuff in the works, saying “It’s not the last thing you’re seeing from us on the web.”

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Did You Unfriend Anyone During This Election?

For the last few months, I have been waiting for the election to end.  Not so much because I was eager to know the outcome (I wasn’t particularly crazy about either candidate), but more for the ads, phone calls, and social media rants to end.

In elections past, before the days of Facebook, I couldn’t tell you where most of my friends stood on the political spectrum.  There were no “like” buttons and I didn’t have to listen to a political rant unless I tuned into a talk radio station or was in the presence of someone speaking about a candidate.  But now thanks to social media, I now know how hundreds of my friends feel about Obamacare, abortion, gay marriage, Big Bird, the Middle East, horses and bayonets, marijuana legalization and more.

Sometimes I read and saw a lot more than I would’ve liked to.  If I see one more person threaten to leave the country or post another Sesame Street meme I’m going to scream.  My news feeds were constantly filled with political chatter, and it was negative more often than not.

During this election I realized how politically fired up some of the people I care about really are.  Before social media I had no idea that they were total right or left-wing whack-jobs who had so much to say that they felt compelled to write a 400-word Facebook status every single day.

Many times I wanted to add to my “Most Annoying People on Facebook” list, and a few times I even considered unfriending.  I didn’t, reminding myself that everyone is entitled to their opinion and that it’ll be over soon.

I was not alone in considering to unfriend people.  According to a Mashable poll of 2,772 people, the majority of voters (46%) couldn’t take it anymore and unfriended someone during this election.  Like me, 32% thought about it but didn’t, and 22% didn’t even consider it.

Mashable poll results of who unfriended someone on social media sites during the 2012 election.

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Facebook Shares Drop Below $20 Again

So much for a big comeback from Facebook’s stock.

After Facebook stock hit an all-time low of $17.55 a share at the beginning of this month, Mr. Zuckerberg came forward and promised not to sell any of his stock for at least a year.  It was a move that was set to reassure investors and staff who were nervous about Facebook’s stock decline since its IPO in May.  It seemed to work at first, with the stock rising back up to more than $23.

But now the stock has fallen back down below $20 a share in early trading today for the first time in two weeks.  Facebook’s stock has declined this week following a particularly damaging report in Barron’s, which claims that Facebook’s stock is still extremely overvalued and should only be priced around $15 a share.  Another report from IDC also found that the majority of developers surveyed believe that a mobile-first startup would be “likely to very likely” to take away market share from Facebook.

Even though Zuckerberg assured investors that he and the company take mobile seriously, it seems like they have gotten nervous once again.  What is Mark Zuckerberg going to do to try and save the day this time?

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Shazam Can Now Tag TV Shows!

Shazam has been an awesome companion to the radio for almost a decade, tagging songs so that anyone can find out what they are listening to at any time and giving users the option to download tagged songs instantly.

Now Shazam is reinventing itself by breaking into the TV market.  The app has launched a significant update that will enable its 80 million users in the U.S. to tag any TV show on over 160 channels, with the exception of some local-only shows such as news broadcasts.

Here’s how it works: if a viewer is watching “Dexter,” they can tag the show to identify not only what the show is, but access cast information and celebrity gossip, play trivia, engage with other viewers on social media and identify the music being played.  If it’s a sports event, the app will show schedules, scores and statistics.  TV shows are tagged the same way you’d tag a song, by opening the Shazam app and tapping the big button.

In addition to expanding the TV functionality of its app, Shazam is also becoming more social.  Users will now be able to see what their Facebook friends are tagging, and to comment on and discuss those tags.  Users will also be able to socialize over Twitter and Google+. These features will be launched in the coming weeks.

With this update announcement also came the news that Shazam has been used (not just downloaded, but actually used to tag content) by over 250 million people worldwide.  Time will tell whether these millions of users are as interested in tagging TV shows as music.

The app is available free on all major platforms including iOS, Android and Windows Phone.  How do you feel about using it to tag TV shows to get information?

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Casey Kurlander, Search marketing Specialist, BMI Elite