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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

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Tuesday, October 09, 2012
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Is This The World's Most Interactive Print Ad?
4:33:26 AMTodd Wasserman

A Lexus 2013 ES changes colors, turns on its headlights and exposes its interior as throbbing music plays in this highly interactive print ad in the Oct. 15 Sports Illustrated.

How is this possible, you ask? Well, they sort of cheated. Using a Lexus-created technology called CinePrint, the ad comes to life only when you put an iPad behind the printed page that's displaying the iPad edition of SI.

As the release from Lexux notes, most traditionally "interactive" print ads direct users away from the page (think QR codes.) However, "CinePrint Technology flips that on its head, creating a tactile and visceral connection that brings one closer to the printed page with a multi-sensory experience that combines sight, sound, and touch."

Lexus and SI aren't the only ones trying to make the printed page more interactive. This month SI sister publication Entertainment Weekly included a small cellphone inside its Oct. 5 edition to display live tweets the CW, an advertiser.

Is this the future of print advertising? Let us know in the comments.

Zynga Poker Chief Calls it Quits [REPORT]
1:53:40 AMAnita Li

Struggling game maker Zynga received another blow Monday, with the exit of Laurence "Lo" Toney, an executive who oversaw the company's hugely popular online poker game.

Toney, who has been with Zynga since 2010, revealed that he left the company via his LinkedIn profile. He shows his current profession as "mentor at MuckerLab," a Los Angeles startup accelerator, and lists Zynga among his previous professions.

The general manager of Zynga Poker for two years, Toney also spent a year as a general manager in the company's mobile division, according to AllThingsD.

Toney's current "professional headline" on LinkedIn is: "Technology Leader. Internet Strategist. Startup Advisor." He did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Zynga Poker was the game maker's first ever game, and the world's largest free-to-play online poker game, according to its official site.

Toney is the latest in a string of top-level executives to leave Zynga. Chief technology officer Allan Leinwand, as well as chief marketing and revenue officer Jeff Karp resigned last month. In August, chief operating officer John Schappert and chief creative officer Mike Verdu left the company to found his own firm.

Zynga also lost two vice presidents, Bill Mooney and Brian Birtwistle, at the end of August.

The San Francisco-based firm, which went public last December, saw its stock plummet to an all-time low last Friday. Zynga had forecast a third quarter loss due to weak demand for its web-based games, the wire service adds.

Known for games such as FarmVille and Mafia Wars, the company has been losing popularity on Facebook -- its largest platform -- and is struggling to make the transition to mobile gaming.

These iPad Magazines Now Let Readers Share Content Directly to Pinterest
Monday, October 08, 2012 5:37 PMSeth Fiegerman

Have you ever wished you could clip a layout or picture from a digital magazine straight to Pinterest? Now, there's a way.

Maz, a startup that helps publishers design magazine apps for the iPad, recently launched a new feature to make it easier for readers to virtually cut out part of a page and share it to Pinterest, in addition to Twitter, Facebook and e-mail.

With the new feature, called Clippings, readers can pinch any part of the page to select part of a picture or a chunk of text and post it directly to one of their Pinterest boards, without ever having to leave the magazine app. Some publishing apps on the iPad do let users highlight text and share it to social networks like Twitter, but Maz is the first to seamlessly integrate with Pinterest.

"Cutting clips out of a physical magazine is ingrained so deeply in the culture of magazines, and until now that was completely lost when reading on the iPad," Paul Canetti, co-founder of Maz and a former Apple designer, told Mashable. Clippings essentially gives readers a chance to indulge that urge to scrapbook on Pinterest.

Maz launched in 2010 shortly after the iPad was released and has since partnered with more than 1,000 publications, including Inc, Bust and The New Criterion.

In recent months, other companies have tried a variety of ways to better integrate their content with Pinterest. House Beautiful, an interior design magazine, let readers pin photos from one article in its June print edition to Pinterest through a smartphone app, with plans to expand this option in the future. More recently, Gucci unveiled a new online banner ad with a "Pin" It button so users can post it to Pinterest with one click.

For magazine publishers -- and particularly women's magazine publishers -- Pinterest is becoming an increasingly powerful tool to spread their content around. Pinterest is a top traffic driver for several magazines, including Country Living, Elle Decor and Self.

Intel's Romantic Social Video Nabs 55 Million Views
Monday, October 08, 2012 4:18 PMClickZ

While online ad content is inundated with "action, intensity and humor, what you don't see very much is love," says PJ Pereira, co-founder of integrated agency Pereira & O'Dell. So when Intel and Toshiba turned to the agency to craft a fan-centric social film to promote Toshiba's Portégé Ultrabook and Intel software, they decided to make it an online coming-of-age love story.

The twist is that the lead character Alex, wakes up every day in a different body. That way dozens of ordinary people could be portray Alex in the film's six weekly episodes which ran Aug. 16-Sept. 20.

Going romantic turned out to be a good bet. The film attracted 55 million views and 94,000 Facebook "likes" by early October, said a Pereira & O'Dell rep. For three weeks in August, it remained the top viral video ad, according to Visible Measures.

Dubbed "The Beauty Inside" to tie to the iconic "Intel Inside" tag, the project attracted more than 4,000 people to audition to portray Alex, if only for a second. Using a Facebook app, they recorded themselves reading a script. Then they asked friends to like their audition videos, which helped their chances of getting chosen and built buzz for the film. Director Drake Doremus made the final selection of 26 people who appeared in The Beauty Inside. An additional 50 were featured on the film's branded Facebook timeline via photos and videos. Auditions were held right up to the day before the last episode.

Paid digital ads promoting the auditions and the series ran from mid-July to the end of September. The ads appeared on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, as well as on tech, entertainment, gaming and pop culture media, said Justin Cox, Pereira & O'Dell's brand strategist.

The project targeted 18-34-year-olds and Pereira said the audience seemed equally divided among men and women. "Females commented a lot about how cute the actor Topher Grace is while the guys seemed intrigued by the idea of someone inhabiting different bodies," he said.

On Facebook, agency writers had the Alex character post comments related to the plot, and staffers were surprised to see how many young men asked him for relationship advice, even though they knew he was fictional.

The Facebook page also had a tab for "Alex's computer" that featured product information about the new Ultrabook. "The goal was not to sell units, but to increase favorability about the two brands among younger consumers," said Pereira.

This was the agency's second social film for Toshiba and Intel. In the summer of 2011, they debuted a dark thriller, "The Inside Experience," about a desperate young woman trapped in a room with only a Toshiba laptop. The audience was asked to send her ideas on how to escape. Those ideas and her reactions were shown in real time and episodes aired based on audience input. It ran 11 days compared to the six weeks of the second film and garnered 15 million views in the United States and 35 million in China.

"The first film got more comments but the second film got more shares and a greater number of profound conversations," said Pereira. "What we've learned is that viewers will come for the innovation of a project like this, but they will stay for the story. The story matters a lot."

6 Ways to Add Twitter to Your WordPress Site
Monday, October 08, 2012 4:03 PMBrian Casel

Brian Casel is the founder of Restaurant Engine, a niche web design service built on WordPress. Ask about the White Label Partner Program. Connect with Brian on Twitter @CasJam.

Do you have a blog? Chances are you have a Twitter account, too. Twitter and blogging (or running any type of business website) go hand-in-hand.

We use Twitter to drive traffic to our websites. We invite our website visitors to follow and engage with us on Twitter. One feeds the other and vice versa.

Many experts agree that WordPress is the best way to power your website, especially if you operate a blog. I can go on and on about what makes WordPress great, but let's stick with its one outstanding benefit: There are so many great ways to integrate Twitter with your WordPress website.

This article will cover various ways to merge your Twitter presence with your website, and thus, maximize opportunities to relate to your web audience.

After all, that's what really matters: your relationship with your audience. By closely aligning your website and your blog with your presence on Twitter, you're inviting visitors to take their online relationship with you to the next level. It's how you build trust online, increase engagement, and if you're a business, increase the likelihood your audience will buy from you.

Here are six ways to tightly integrate your Twitter presence with your WordPress-powered website and take your online social presence to the next level.

1. Embedded Tweets

An embedded tweet is a single tweet, embedded within any webpage or blog post. This tweet comes packaged with Twitter functionality, including the retweet, reply and favorite buttons, as well as the timestamp. See below for an example of an embedded tweet:

New avatar.It was time.— Brian Casel (@CasJam) October 6, 2012

Luckily, WordPress makes this incredibly easy to do. Simply paste the URL of that tweet within the body of any page or post, and WordPress takes care of the rest.

2. Twitter Follow Button

If you're very active on Twitter and want to align your website audience with your Twitter followers, you'll want to make it easy for your website visitors to follow you on Twitter.

Include a Twitter follow button on your website. Unlike a simple, linked Twitter icon, the Twitter follow button allows visitors to follow you on Twitter with one click, without having to leave your website.

The Twitter follow button should be displayed on your website "globally," which means it should be visible in the same place on every page of your website. I'd recommend placing it in the header or footer of your website.

Twitter provides a very easy tool to generate the embed code for the Twitter follow button. It even gives you several options, such as button size and display text.

You can paste that embed code in any website. If you're able to edit your WordPress theme files, you can place this in the header.php or footer.php file.

But not everybody is comfortable with editing code and modifying his WordPress theme. Luckily, several plugins make it easy to embed a Twitter follow button without touching any code.

Twitter Follow Button

WPLOOK Twitter Follow Button

Twitter Follow Button Shortcode and Widget

3. Tweet Button

The tweet button very effectively helps spread your content. When your blog post, article, video or podcast resonates with a visitor, the tweet button gives her a quick way to spread that piece of content to others.

Like the Twitter follow button, you can use Twitter's easy tool to generate the embed code for a tweet button, which you can then place on each of your article pages.

When adding the tweet button to a WordPress website, you'll want to add the code to in the appropriate location within your themes single.php file. This is the template file that controls all your blog post pages.

But once again, if you're not comfortable with editing code, several WordPress plugins can add a tweet button for you:

Easy Twitter Button

WP Tweet Button


One additional tool that I find particularly useful is Click to Tweet. This makes it easy to generate a text link that triggers a tweet pre-populated with the 140-character text of your choosing. You can then place that link anywhere in your articles and pages.

4. Tweets Timeline Widget

Use your website to attract more Twitter followers by showcasing your recent Twitter activity in the sidebar of your website. This gives your visitors a glimpse into what you've been tweeting about in the last day or so.

It's a great way to keep your website fresh with new content, even during periods when you're not publishing new blog posts. But more importantly, it gives visitors a taste of the types of things you commonly tweet about. If your tweets consistently provide value and stay on-topic (relevant to your audience, your business, your industry, etc.), then it makes sense to spotlight them on your website.

First, let's look at how to generate one using an official Twitter timeline widget. Log in to your Twitter account, then go to "Settings" and click on "Widgets." Here you can create a new widget that displays a timeline of your recent tweets, along with a built-in follow button.

When placing this on a WordPress website, you'll probably want to edit the sidebar.php file in your theme. That file often controls the sidebar shown on all pages of your website.

But for those lacking dev skills, it's best to stick with easier solutions, like plugins. Here are a few WordPress plugins that make it easy to add a Twitter timeline widget to your website sidebar:

Recent Tweets

Rotating Tweets

MP Tweet List

5. Twitter Comments

Simultaneously increase engagement on your site and on Twitter by allowing visitors to tweet their comments on your blog.

When someone feels compelled to leave a comment on one of your articles, he'll have the option to tweet that comment as well, which could potentially attract his followers into the conversation.

There are a few ways we can integrate WordPress blog comments with Twitter. The Disqus commenting system is perhaps the most popular tool; it can be installed on your WordPress blog, replacing the default commenting system built into WordPress. Disqus allows visitors to sign in using Twitter (or a variety of other social networks) and optionally broadcast their comments to Twitter.

Simple Twitter Connect is a collection of WordPress plugins aimed at integrating Twitter functionality with your WordPress blog. Simple Twitter Connect allows lets visitors use their Twitter credentials to comment, then shares their comments on Twitter. It's a more lightweight solution than Disqus, but less feature-packed.

Finally, Twitter Mentions as Comments aims to flip the comments system upside down. Instead of letting visitors turn their blog comments into tweets, this plugin turns tweets into comments on your blog. It scours Twitter to find mentions of your blog, then automatically inserts those mentions as comments under the blog post. It's a great way to organize and tie in ongoing conversation all in one place - on your blog. It also increases your comment count, which can encourage even more conversation around your content.

6. Auto-Tweet New Blog Posts

Many website owners wish to automatically connect their blogs and their Twitter streams. One popular way to do this is to set up automatic tweets whenever you publish a new blog post.

Before I go into how we can set this up, let me address one common concern with auto-tweeting. Many see automated tweeting as impersonal and lacking authenticity, akin to spam. Most Twitter users are turned off by Twitter accounts that lack a human touch. That simply means you'll see less engagement, lower following counts and reduced trust from your audience.

But keeping a healthy balance between automated tweeting and authentic, manually created tweets can be an effective strategy. After all, many longtime users of RSS have increasingly turned to Twitter to stay updated on their favorite blogs. Automatic tweeting of your blog posts can easily keep your regular followers informed of your latest activity.

Twitter Feed allows you to set up automatic tweets for your blog posts. After creating your free account with TwitterFeed, you can enter the RSS feed for your blog to trigger new tweets every time a new post is published.

Finding your RSS feed for your WordPress blog is easy. Just add "/feed" to the end of your blog or website URL. For example, Mashable's RSS feed URL would be

Integrating Twitter with WordPress can help drive engagement for your company or organization. Remember, the key is to produce valuable, compelling content - both on Twitter and on your blog - then leverage the tips provided here to help spread that content, increase your audience and tie your Twitter and website presence together.

How do you integrate Twitter with your website? Share your advice with us in the comments.

Get Your Tickets to Mashable Media Summit

The Mashable Media Summit 2012 will explore the impact that technology is having on media, and how digital media is affecting our lives and changing the world. This one-day conference will bring together the brightest minds in media, including content creators, technology leaders, entrepreneurs, social media executives and journalists.

Date: Friday, Nov. 2, 2012

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Location: The TimesCenter, 242 West 41st Street, New York, NY 10036

Tickets: Purchase early bird tickets on Eventbrite.

A Look Back at Last Year's Mashable Media Summit

3 Compelling Sessions You Can't Miss at Mashable's Media Summit
Monday, October 08, 2012 1:05 PMJennifer Diamond

There's a whole lot to learn from this year's Mashable Media Summit, from the new direction of social media to the future of HTML5 web apps. The event will also anticipate the biggest digital media trends for 2013. Check out the online agenda for the latest lineup of speakers and topics to take place this Nov. 2 at the TimesCenter in New York City.

Here are three sessions you won't want to miss:

Co-founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian, will sit down with Mashable features editor, Matt Sliverman, to talk about the art of monetization for a big online community.

Independent journalist Tim Pool, who was a central voice in Occupy Wall Street and a huge proponent of citizen journalism, will talk about the growing popularity of drone journalism, and what we can expect from this controversial form of reporting.

John Keefe, senior editor at WNYC, and Emily Bell, professor at Columbia School of Journalism, will take the stage with Mashable's managing editor, Emily Banks, to discuss the rising prevalence of digital data across the media industry.

In addition to a dynamic lineup of content sessions, you'll have the opportunity to connect with high-level media professionals across advertising, journalism and technology. And like all our conferences, the Mashable team will be in full force, so you'll be able to hang out with our company crew. Get your tickets now!

The Mashable Media Summit is a one-day conference that explores how new forms of technology are redefining media. The brightest minds in the industry will come together Nov. 2 at the TimesCenter in New York City to explore the latest innovations in the space and the future of journalism.

Mashable Media Summit Information

Date: Friday, Nov. 2, 2012

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Location: The TimesCenter, 242 West 41st Street, New York, NY 10036

Tickets: Purchase tickets on Eventbrite.

Supporting Sponsor

Sponsorship Opportunities

A limited number of sponsor opportunities are available for the Mashable Media Summit. This is an excellent opportunity to get in front of Mashable's passionate and influential audience. Contact for opportunities.

Facebook Is Also Like Toilet Paper and Heroin [VIDEO]
Monday, October 08, 2012 12:54 PMTodd Wasserman

Less than a week after Facebook's big announcement about hitting 1 billion users, all anyone can remember are the chairs. Facebook celebrated hitting the milestone with its first ad campaign, an inspired effort that compared the social network to chairs.

The Internet's response has been swift. Mashable has tried its hand at lampooning the ad and the Tumblr Are Like Facebook has had some fun comparing Facebook to bananas and boxes, among other things.

This latest parody takes things a bit further into NSFW territory as well as bizarro territory. ("The universe is a big place full of things that have names. And people you can connect with. People that have a hook for a hand...")

Is it funny? We'll let you decide. Sound off in the comments.

Where'd You Get That Cool Shirt? This Software Knows
Monday, October 08, 2012 10:23 AMTechnology Review

In the arms race to deliver ever more relevant and effective online advertising, a startup called Graymatics has a formidable new weapon.

The company has developed software that can automatically identify specific products in visual media -- a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses in a music video, say, or the Banana Republic shirt your friend is wearing in a holiday photo. As a way to drive online purchases, it could be a revenue booster for both content publishers and content platforms like Facebook and YouTube, which are serving up an exploding number of images and video online.

Online videos, especially, haven't lived up to their potential for driving revenues, even with those annoying ads before a clip. Improving video advertisements is a niche that several young startups, including Graymatics, are looking to fill.

On stage at the Demo startup conference in Santa Clara, Calif., last week, the company's executives showed off software that can quickly identify items in videos and photos and then match these with the same or a similar product for sale through various online retailers and marketplaces.

As one example, the software matched the sunglasses worn by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in an image accompanying a news article about the movie stars to similar pairs available on Amazon. A reader online who hovered a cursor over the object would see the tagged link for the product.

At least two other companies offer similar product-recognition services, but Graymatics' business development director, Michael Scolari, says they require humans to input some data and can handle only still images, not video. His company's software, which relies on computer-vision and machine-learning techniques developed by researchers in Singapore, is the first to be fully automated, he says.

The software learns by scanning product images available on the Web. It then recognizes objects in images or videos and uses algorithms to break them down into almost two dozen attributes like color, shape, and even texture. Finally, it finds the closest matches in a database of products, such as a feed of Amazon or eBay's stock, or on specific retailers' sites.

David Hagan, CEO of Boingo Wireless, who was on a judging panel at the conference, was impressed by the technology's potential. But he felt its success would hinge on the accuracy of its identifications and matches.

There is reason to be optimistic. J.K. Aggarwal, a computer vision researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, says that the scope of the problem the Graymatics software is tackling is similar to the problem of facial recognition, for which there is already technology in wide use, and that product recognition is, if anything, easier, not harder, to accomplish with current technology.

Founded in 2010, Graymatics is now pitching its software to major online media companies, advertising networks, and platforms for user content, says Scolari, and it is in some preliminary trials. So far, it has signed one deal with the site Metatube, a primarily Spanish-language alternative to YouTube, the results of which will go live soon, he says.

The company isn't focused solely on advertising. It is also developing options to help companies automatically screen for objectionable content or copyrighted material uploaded by users, among several other applications.

So far, Graymatics has raised seed investments from the office of Singapore's prime minister and the company Citrix Systems, through its Silicon Valley accelerator program.

Image courtesy of Flickr, bobby-james

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