A little while ago I wrote up Nintendo's "Everybody Votes" channel, a small Wii application that lets users pit themselves against the masses in a multiple-choice voting system. One of the things it did so brilliantly was let you see how your answers stacked up against others after the polls had closed. Along similar lines comes Tapatap, a new contest service that lets you go up against others in contests that use an "A-or-B"-style voting system.
The application for the release candidate requires filling out a simple survey that was only 10 questions for me. The beta-testing program has apparently been quite popular, so I'm not sure how much longer the application process will be open. According to the program information for Windows Home Server RC on the Microsoft Connect site, the "(b)road Public Beta RC is setup to track all of the people … Read more
I admit it. I was skeptical when I got a pitch about the umpteenth social-networking site, one that also serves as a question-and-answer site, especially when I learned the target age demographic is 22 to 28 and the site is--not ironically--called Wis.dm. After learning more, I'm thinking they may be on to something interesting. But it's probably going to be more about market research and advertising than community.
Basically, people ask questions that can be answered with a "yes" or a "no," and other people answer. You have to register to ask and … Read more
SECOND UPDATE: Check the end of this post for some more information from Facebook and ViddYou.
I think most of the Web has reached the consensus that Facebook Platform, the social networking site's new initiative to open up its service to third-party companies' specially-designed applications, has been a resounding success. Anecdotally, I can say that "techy" people I know, who had originally dismissed Facebook as a glorified address book, are now starting to think that it has a whole lot more street cred. And I know some people who are more or less addicted to some of the new features (throw a sheep at me, will ya?)
But whispers have been spreading that perhaps Facebook--generally known for being methodical and well-organized, choosing to roll out features incrementally rather than going for huge revamps--might not have predicted just how popular the new Platform would be, and wasn't ready for the onslaught of bandwidth activity. Yesterday, there were some rumors going around that Facebook had had to sell a full 10 percent of its shares in order to purchase enough hardware to handle its rapid user increase. Looks like the original story was reported on the Web site of the U.K. newspaper The Times and was then pulled. (Conspiracy theorists may point out the fact that The Times is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which also owns Facebook's chief rival MySpace. Personally, I think it's more likely just a case of some reporting that turned out to be based on unsubstantiated rumor.)
If true, basically, it would indicate that Facebook, often singled out as a red-hot potential acquisition target, wasn't as financially stable as the tech community would have thought. Tough to believe, since we've had every indication that the company is extremely well-funded, financially efficient, and has pulled in adequate advertising revenues. So, like most others following the social networking scene, I dismissed it as speculative gossip.
And I still think the original claims in The Times were untrue, but some more concrete signs have indeed indicated that Facebook wasn't fully ready for the whirlwind success of the Platform. While logged onto Facebook this morning in an attempt to engage in a SuperPoke war with one of my friends, I saw this:… Read more
The U.K.-based EMI Group continues its campaign to provide its digital music library free of DRM restrictions: it just announced that it has licensed the entire catalog to PassAlong Networks, which operates the StoreBlocks music retail technology used in online stores like F.Y.E. and BreakthruRadio.
The songs will be sold in MP3 format at a 320 kilobit rate--more than typical digital music bitrates of 128 to 192kb, and more than the 256kb premium songs offered by Apple's iTunes Store--but pricing has not yet been determined.
The service already allows you to create your own custom news portal based on your specific areas of interest. You can then share that portal with friends, or opt to have a daily news briefing sent to your inbox. We're not talking just "Business" or "Entertainment"; Congoo's options are much more niche-oriented than the likes of Google News, from "Nanotechnology" to "Internet Telephony.&… Read more
The Financial Times reported Tuesday that Apple is poised to announce a deal in which it will sell iTunes store tracks through social-networking site Bebo. At first, it appears that this applies only to Bebo's 8.8 million users in the U.K. and Ireland, where the service is most popular, but the story hinted that it may expand to the rest of Bebo's 33 million-strong user base if successful.
According to the Financial Times article, any band or artist with a Bebo profile--there are approximately 500,000 of them--that's already part of the iTunes catalog will … Read more
The New York-based blog network Gawker Media--parent company of blogs like Wonkette, Valleywag, and Defamer--is better known for salacious gossip and snarky social commentary than geek fandom (even its gadget blog Gizmodo and gaming hub Kotaku aren't the nerdiest titles in their genres). But the company, according to rumors overheard by the Huffington Post on Tuesday, may be very close to launching a science fiction blog.
The Huffington Post suggested that Gawker Media may have nabbed (or be in the process of nabbing) a Wired writer to helm the new blog, but it's unclear whether this means … Read more
TechCrunch reported late on Friday about a hot new rumor in the social media space. The Germany-based business networking site Xing, according to TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, may be in talks to acquire online address book management company Plaxo. The deal is rumored to be in the $250 million range--a significant buy indeed.
Plaxo, for some background, was founded in 2002 by Napster co-founder Sean Parker. Since then, the company claims to have hit 15 million members (as of September 2006). It synchronizes primarily with Microsoft Outlook address books, but has also formed deals with companies like Yahoo and AOL'… Read more
Parents of teens already dread getting their monthly cell phone bill, and it could get even worse. The reason comes from an unlikely source: soda pop.
In the coming weeks, Coca-Cola will bring "Sprite Yard" to the U.S. market, a social-networking site that targets cell-phone-toting teens (is that redundant?), with such features as personal profiles, photo sharing and online chat, according to the New York Times.
Jonathan Sackett, the head digital officer at Arnold Worldwide, makes this observation in the report: "Coke could see trouble if teenagers run up high data charges on their phones using … Read more