LiveJournal Saving Lives Down Under

Not content at watching disaster happen while doing nothing, it looks like the LiveJournal community has decided to help those in need in Australia who have been struggling to survive in the wake of the natural disaster affecting the region.

In response to your requests, we’re pleased to offer a charitable vgift to aid flood relief efforts in Australia. We hope you’ll show your support by sending this vgift to friends. One hundred percent of proceeds will be donated to the Australian Red Cross (we’ll cover the processing fees). We thank you for helping us make a difference. (LiveJournal News)

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‘Google Offers’ Launching As Groupon Competitor

Google Offers

Google Offers

If you can’t spend $6 billion dollars to buy the technology you want, the next logical step is to build your own. After being turned down in their pursuit of owning social buying website Groupon, Google has decided to build their own competitor to the program.

Social web company Mashable unearthed documents today that show in detail how Google plans to take on Groupon on their own turf. In the spec sheet for the new program, Google says the product, called “Google Offers” is “a new product to help potential customers and clientele find great deals in their area through a daily email.”

Just like competitors Groupon and LivingSocial, Google Offers gives customers a certain time limit for obtaining special offers from company’s in their area and through national deals. The offers, just like their competitors is only triggered when a certain number of customers agree to the deal. [Read more…]

Google Gives Blogger 77 Ways To Express Ones Text

It looks like BlogSpot fans will have something extra to boast about (aside from Blogger’s perfect uptime record) as the search engine giant has just blessed Blogger users with 77 total fonts for their blogs.

A couple of months back we introduced Web Fonts to Blogger in Draft. Today we’re excited to not only launch Web Fonts to ALL Blogger users, but also announce we’ve added an additional 35 fonts to the mix, for a grand total of 77 fonts! […]

Web Fonts, brought to you by our good friends at Google Fonts, let you spice up and further personalize your blog. Just have a look at what we’ve done with the post titles and text of this blog! And for those of you interested in fonts for non-latin alphabets such as Cyrillic, Greek and Khmer, we have those too! (Blogger Buzz)

At first glance the additional fonts seems trivial, although after messing around with the settings within my Blogger account the additional fonts does help spice up the appearance of ones BlogSpot blog.

The additional change should also help maintain the platform’s dominance as the king of publishing platforms especially in light of the ever popular Tumblr.

For those of you not upon Blogger, Google Fonts is fortunately available as a plugin, module or extension for WordPress, Drupal or Joomla fans, respectively (note: if anyone can locate a plugin for Movable Type fans, feel free to let us know below).

Facebook: Every Mobile Phone Will Be Connected To Us


Not satisfied at conquering iOS, Blackberry and even Windows Phone 7 devices, Facebook has now turned their sites upon a market seen as dead in the western world but still thriving in the east.

The Facebook for Feature Phones app works on more than 2,500 devices from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG and other manufacturers, and it was built in close cooperation with Snaptu. The app provides a better Facebook experience for our most popular features, including an easier-to-navigate home screen, contact synchronization, and fast scrolling of photos and friend updates.

We also wanted to make it available to as many people as possible. Similar to the site, we’ve worked with mobile operators from around the world to let you try this without paying for any data charges. (Official Facebook Blog)

This is a smart move for the social giant as there are still billions around the world lacking access to a decent computer, let alone a smartphone due to their expense (even with the hefty carrier subsidy).

Users will be able to test out the Facebook feature phone app free of charge for the first 90 days, after which carriers will then be able to bill users based upon standard data usage.

Embracing feature phones via Snaptu will also help Facebook compete against their frenemy Twitter, as the latter is already compatible with most (if not all) mobile devices globally.

If Facebook can find a way to expand their market beyond the western world, they could quickly swell past a billion users in order to become the pulse of the planet.

LivingSocial Offering 50% Off Amazon Gift Cards

LivingSocial Screenshot - Amazon Gift Card Deal

LivingSocial Screenshot - Amazon Gift Card Deal

After Amazon invested $175 million in startup LivingSocial just over one month ago, the social savings website is now offering Amazon customers 50% off their purchases.

The actual deal is simple, visit the website and purchase a $20 gift card for just $10.

LivingSocial members in all 170 markets the site serves can take part in the deal which will last until 8 a.m. ET on Thursday, January 20. [Read more…]

WordPress: Akismet Ditches Flash For Something Better


After teasing us with a secret update, it looks like Akismet (an anti-spam service by Auttomattic) has revealed that they are forsaking flash dashboards to the joy of millions of iOS users everywhere.

We’ve redesigned the Akismet stats page to bring it in line visually with the rest of the WordPress admin. There are new view options: the last two months, the last six months, the last year, or all time.

Not only does the page look better, it also loads faster thanks to flot.js.  Flot is a great little open source chart library for jQuery.  Flot give us complete flexibility over how we display stats, and it allows you to view stats on any device that supports JS. (Official Akismet Blog)

Previously Automattic made a similar move regarding their Stats feature which embraced Flot in September of 2010.

Users can quickly view not only how many spam messages were caught by Akismet each day, but also false positives as well (which the company humerously refers to as “ham”).

The new layout should also be much friendlier for iOS devices, although users may want to view their Akismet stats on the iPad instead of the iPhone (due to the latter’s tiny screen).

Facebook Having Second Thoughts About Sharing Personal Data?

Facebook Phone Number Approval ScreenAfter revealing plans to share users personal information and phone numbers to developers, Facebook is now sending the idea back to the drawing board in order to avoid another privacy fiasco.

Over the weekend, we got some useful feedback that we could make people more clearly aware of when they are granting access to this data. We agree, and we are making changes to help ensure you only share this information when you intend to do so. We’ll be working to launch these updates as soon as possible, and will be temporarily disabling this feature until those changes are ready. We look forward to re-enabling this improved feature in the next few weeks. (Facebook Developer Blog)

While receiving millions of mobile numbers from potential customers is something every marketer dreams of, the last thing many users want is a flood of spam via SMS or voicemail from companies they encountered upon Facebook.

Although Facebook is still insisting at making this information available to developers, it might be wiser for the social juggernaut to find a way for marketers to contact users without directly exposing their mobile numbers to various corporations (sort of like how Google Voice hides your mobile number when someone calls).

Truth be told this move is a huge gamble for Facebook, who could not only face backlash from users (who may simply remove their personal numbers off of the site), but also once again become the whipping boy of Congress.

(hat tip: GigaOm)

Facebook Giving App Developers More Access To Your Personal Data

Facebook Phone Number Approval Screen

Facebook Phone Number Approval Screen

The next time you find yourself staring down a “request for permission” screen on your Facebook account you might want to think twice, then three or four more times before you choose”Allow” for your new application.

Facebook has announced that they are now allowing developers to grab extra personal data from users, including their address and mobile phone number.

In the past Facebook privacy settings has barred sending phone numbers and address information to developers, relying instead on the users name, gender, a list of their friends and other already available public information.

Facebook is rushing to ease user fears, stating that developers can only access information when users explicitly give them permission and that all data use is governed by Facebook’s Platform Policies, which in most cases hold absolutely no guarantees to users and instead rely on app developers to properly use data they have received.

On the one hand, users have to choose whether or not to allow for their data to be mined, on the other hand, many users have “programmed” themselves to simply click “Allow” when signing up for new third party programs.

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4 SEO Predictions for 2011


2010 provided a rocky ride for SEO Experts, particularly the latter part as Google made numerous sweeping changes to its algorithm that left search marketers all at sea. While SEOs will see these changes as an effort by Google to derail their efforts, it seems that the search giant is fully focused on delivering a more personalized, localized experience for the user.  This is evident through its places service which organizes results according to proximity, rather than relevance defined by any other means.

2011 is set provide engineers with another big challenge as new and uncharted ranking signals begin to be taken into account. Those that cannot see past Google might also be in for a shock, other players in the search market are making waves at the moment and in the world of the Web, things don’t stand still for very long. Here are my predictions for the world of search in 2011… [Read more…]