Monthly Archives: November 2010

The New Thing: Kik Messenger

Written by: Digitally Approved
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If you’ve been on Facebook at all these past few weeks, you might have noticed many of your friends’ status updates asking you to “kik” them. For the uninitiated, Kik is the recently re-launched cross-platform messenger service for smartphone users – free real-time texting for all. The platform is similar in a lot of ways to the popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service – allowing for easy text message-like communications between your contacts. Within the first two weeks of its re-launch, Kik already has about 600,000 new users.

The application’s concept is simple. Once you’ve created your account, the application checks your address book and suggests friends that you may know who have already downloaded it. Like instant messaging, the service is asynchronous, which means that Kik lets you see messages almost instantly, as well as notifying you when the person is typing a message. Much like BBM, Kik also lets you know when the message was sent, delivered, and read by showing an S, D, or R next to the message you just typed.

The one thing that BBM users have come to love so much about the BlackBerry service, no extra cost in using it. It’s a free text messaging platform if you will. This is the biggest advantage (so far) with Kik – it’s free and smartphone agnostic. What this really means is that Kik has the potential to replace text messaging plans – saving the end user a few bucks a month and possibly hundreds of dollars a year depending on the users particular text messaging plan.  Shhh, don’t let your mobile carrier know about it

We did say so far. Provided that Kik can build out its community, the possibilities of the program are endless. Lead developers have indicated that later versions of the viral messaging app could contain features such as streaming music or videos from one phone to another, or taping into your phones camera and allowing other users to see what your camera sees.

As the community grows we’ll start to see some of the aforementioned enhancements. In the meantime, what are you waiting for? Get Kik-ing!

Social Shopping For The Holidays

Written by: Digitally Approved
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In 2009, e-commerce sales on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) increased 35% over 2008. Meanwhile the following Monday, also known as Cyber Monday, saw nearly $900 Million in online sales in one day.

Accounting and consulting firm, Deloitte, reports in its 25th Annual Holiday Survey that, 72% of respondents said they would utilize the internet this holiday shopping season and 17% of them would use their smartphones in the process. An additional 12% said they would use social media sites such as Facebook to aid them in their purchasing decisions. Of those consumers that said they would utilize social media sites, the reasons they gave included: gift ideas, coupons, discounts and promotional information; which should prove very useful to retailers as the clock ticks closer to Black Friday.

Web analytics firm, Coremetrics, found that social media will be among the top five most effective ways to attract new visitors to stores and websites. “The thing that is really interesting is that the second best channel for getting new visitors has turned out to be Facebook,” says John Squire, Coremetrics’ chief strategy officer.  The result, retailers should see more people in their stores, both brick and mortar and online, and consumers are primed to save a tremendous amount of time and money.

Who is Doing What?

Retailers are already jumping on the geo-location bandwagon and using notable platforms such as Foursquare and Facebook Places to drive people into stores.  Facebook is opening up its 500 Million-plus subscriber base to retailers in the hopes of taking on the geo-location industry leader, Foursquare. Merchants like Starbucks, McDonalds, and H&M have already created promotions, and earlier this month The Gap used Facebook Places to give away 10,000 pairs of jeans across 900 of their participating US stores.

JCPenney is no stranger to online promotions and boasts nearly 1.2 million Facebook fans.  The company is wrapping a Black Friday sweepstakes that offers 15 lucky Facebook fans a shopping spree where JCPenney shopping experts will be their personal escorts. The company has also partnered with The Salvation Army for a holiday season-long Angel Giving Tree campaign that helps children and seniors in need. Additionally, rather than let shoppers leave Facebook, they have integrated an online shopping experience directly into their Facebook page.

Lowes, the home improvement retailer, launched a Black Friday campaign called “Lowe’s Black Friday Sneak Peek Party on Facebook”.  Fans RSVP’d to the event by Friday, November 5th which gave them early access to tremendous deals.  Customers were given coupon codes of up to 90% off products on their website. The event was so popular that Lowe’s actually extended the event from Friday through the entire weekend.

Kmart is using Facebook and Twitter to promote their extended Black Friday sales and a Christmas trip sweepstakes while Urban Outfitters and Levi’s have integrated the Facebook “Like” button into their online stores, allowing customers to sort products based on the ones “Liked” most frequently – making it real easy for you to buy for someone who loves those brands.

Social shopping is also playing a much larger role this year than in years past. Sites like LivingSocial and Groupon offer great daily deals to subscribers and the latter has branched out to working with national chains like The Gap and The Body Shop.

The Gap recently offered $50 gift cards at half price through Groupon while The Body Shop offered $40 worth of merchandise for $20. Many thousands of customers participated in these Groupon deals and we expect to see many more retailers participating in similar offerings as we get closer to the holidays. LivingSocial plans on launching a promotion called the 12 Days of Gifting, a program that will offer 12 days of giftable deals, ranging from fine dining to retail stores.

This season, both the retailer and the consumer are benefiting greatly from technology.  As a retailer, the opportunity to drive people into your stores has never been better.  As a consumer the chance to save money, time and aggravation is equally as exciting. Hopefully the end result of your social shopping experience will make you, well… more social!

Social Shopping Tools

Written by: Digitally Approved
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If you’ve got a smart phone, an iPad or love to shop online, you’ll be happy to know that technology has made this crazy time of year just a little easier to tackle.  Fanscape did some research and found some great resources to help make this holiday shopping season a little more manageable.

GIFTS HD App – $4.99 (iPad)

Gifts HD is an all-inclusive iPad application that helps you track, budget, and compare prices for your holiday shopping. One of the most outstanding features is the ability to shop within the Gifts HD application.  Simply tap on a gift that you have on your shopping list, and the app will launch a built-in browser and open up Google Shopper. You can add an unlimited amount of people to your list and assign multiple gifts and budgets for each person.

HOLIDAY GIFT LIST App – $1.99 (iPhone/iTouch)

If the idea of a holiday gift list app is what you’re looking for but don’t own an iPad, check out Holiday Gift List for iPhone and iPod touch. It’s a wonderfully simple application that helps you keep track of the gift purchases and even has password protection to keep prying eyes out!

GOOGLE SHOPPER App – Free (Android)

The Google Shopper application for the Android smart phone has neat features such as the ability to scan book or CD covers, scan barcodes, search by voice, check online prices, find local store locations, and receive detailed product information. When it comes to shopping on the go, the Google Shopper application has just about everything you’ll need in one convenient place.

CHRISTMAS LIST PRO App – $1.99 (Android)

Christmas List Pro is a great looking and well-designed application that helps easily maintain shopping lists and keep track of what you bought for whom. There is also a non-pro version of this app with a few less features.

SHOPSAVVY App – Free (Android/iPhone)

ShopSavvy is a great little tool that you will find yourself using everywhere you go. Using the camera on your phone to scan barcodes, the ShopSavvy application will locate the item online or even find it in a nearby store. See the perfect gift?  All you have to do is scan the barcode and the application will instantly show you where to buy it and who has the lowest price!

MOBIQPONS App – Free (Android/iPhone/BlackBerry)

You’ve created your shopping list of who you’re buying gifts for and you’ve picked out the best stores out there, there’s only one thing left to ask: Can I get a deal? The MobiQpons application helps you find out. Type in the store name you’re going to and see if any coupons are available. If there are, you can either print them out or simply display your phone to the cashier to redeem!

MACY’S FACEBOOK

The Macy’s Facebook page is your one stop place for everything Macy’s related this holiday season. Not only does the retailer actively engage customers through their page and post many different deals and sales on their wall, but they have also incorporated product reviews and a fashion trend video right into their Facebook page.

BEST BUY FACEBOOK

On the Best Buy Facebook page, they make it easy to begin your holiday shopping. Key features include a store locator and the ability to share particular items of interest with your friends via Facebook postings.  Want to place some strategic hints about that plasma you’ve been eyeing, this is the place to do it.

SEARS FACEBOOK AND SOCIAL SHOPPING SITE

“Like” Sears on Facebook and you’ll be entered to win one of their weekly gift card drawings. Click on their “Wish Book” tab to play their Wish Book game for a chance to win one of 24 prizes! Also, Sears just launched their “social shopping site” which is one part product catalogue and one part social media network.

WISHLIST.COM

At a loss on what to get the person who has everything? What about helping out the people who are shopping for you?  Check out WishList.com. It’s pretty simple really – sign up and start creating your gifting wish list, then share with your friends, family, co-workers or anyone who might be thinking of getting you a gift.  WishList offers a mobile version as well, so anyone with a web-enabled smartphone can access the site while on the go.

Fanscape Holiday Wishes

Written by: Digitally Approved
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It’s that time of year again and Fanscapers are never short on their holiday wishes. Whether it’s the latest gadget to keep us über-connected, a kitchen appliance, a video game or straight up cash, we’ve got our lists. When asked what one thing we want for the holidays, here is what Fanscape staffers said:

CEO, Larry Weintraub

I have been dropping hints for an Ice Cream Maker.

President, Terry Dry

I am really hoping for new Formula 1 Racing Game for the Wii.

CTO, Kevin Glickmann

I don’t want anything. I have everything I need.

COO, Greg Boles


I couldn’t limit it to one. I want a Netbook and a good pair of earbuds for my iPod.

VP, Account Management, Melissa Taylor

I wish that someone would pay off my mortgage.

Social Media Strategist, Christy Wise

I am wishing for a fancy-schmancy iPad.

Sr. Account Executive, Liza Patriana

I want iPad and/or a Kindle because I have neither. I would love if a Prius would fall into my lap and a duplex in Los Filez. Can you tall I want it all?

Sr. Manager, Social Media Marketing, Ben Arnold

I want a bike!

Manager, Corporate Communications, Natalie Svider

I wish for a 2010 AFC West title for my Oakland Raiders and an iPad. Not that much to ask for really.

Manager, Social Media Marketing, Allie Wester

I am wising for the IKEA PS Maskros Pendant Lamp!

Manager, Social Media Strategy, Andrew Germer

Wishes that someone gets him Rock Band 3

Account Executive, Sherry Globman

I’m wishing for a new iPod. And an all-expenses paid vacation to Hawaii

Office Manager, Heather Overton

Only one wish? Ok, the Kindle, but what I REALLY want is the iPad

Community Manager, Charles Ryan

I want, I want I want. A Louis Vuitton iPad Case, and an otter costume for next year’s Halloween (yo, they’re pricey)

Facebook Credits

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Facebook is already the leader in social networking. With the popularity of the Facebook gaming content and the boom of virtual goods, Facebook credits was created as a way to bring  a universal currency into the social gaming space.

The credits are now making their way from the virtual world into some of the more popular brick-and-mortar stores across the country. Target, for example, began carrying Facebook Credit gift cards in multiple denominations back in September, and more recently, Walmart and Best Buy have also began to sell the cards. The cards, which commonly come in $15, $25, and $50 versions, should help Facebook to capitalize on the huge popularity of social gaming.

Social gaming and their virtual goods are a booming business. It is expected that revenue for online virtual goods is to surpass 6 billion by the year 2013. Not only that, Facebook Credits are already accepted by over 200 Facebook games, and 42% of online buyers are social gamers. By adding the Facebook cards into brick-and-mortar stores across the country, Facebook hopes to garner more support for the virtual currency by adding a tangible product sold in an offline environment.

“The physical representation of a brand…adds more validity,” said Rob Goldberg, the founder of GMG Lifestyle Entertainment Inc., the company responsible for creating the Facebook Credit cards. The company is also responsible for the iTunes cards that are sold in retailers throughout the world.

Facebook Credits have the opportunity to become so successful due largely to the fact they have a very active ecosystem in which to operate. Although Facebook Credits isn’t the first online currency to attempt to unify online monetization,  Facebook’s vast  network  provides the currency with an efficient platform on which to thrive. The popularity of the site itself, as well as countless of other sites which feature Facebook integration, make the concept of Facebook Credits even more ingenious and useable.

More recently, startup Ifeelgoods got the brilliant idea to offer Facebook Credits as a way to persuade customers to sign up for a website, share a favorite product, or even purchase something else online. The concept is interesting, but the company promises Facebook Credit promotions to be more effective and less expensive by using these virtual goods and currencies in place of tradition promotions.

Some critics suggest Facebook should provide ways for users to spend Facebook Credits that don’t just include virtual goods inside their social games. They could do so by utilizing their already enormously popular social networking system, much like Pay-Pal took advantage of the partnership between them and the eBay site.

Facebook Credits are still a fairly new concept, and Facebook has been keeping quiet on the actual direction in which the company intends to take. It is apparent, however, that Facebook wants to create an effective currency system for online social gaming, and hopes to eliminate the issues of international currency conversion fees charged by other companies. One thing is certain though, if Facebook plans to have their credit system become the only major online currency, it’s not going to be without making some key decisions.

Getting Your News On An iPad

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Apple’s iPad has been heralded as the tablet that is going to save the world’s declining interest physical newspapers and print journalism. Now, six months after the world was turned on to the iPad, we here at Fanscape are taking a look at how we’re getting our news on the go.

Since the increased use of the Internet, newspapers and magazines have struggled to maintain subscriptions. With the total number of active Internet users expected to surpass 2 billion by the end of 2010, publishers are constantly trying to find ways to turn online news into a profitable franchise. Is it possible that the iPad can revive and revolutionize print media the way it did with music and iTunes back when the first iPod hit the streets? Possibly.

In a recent CNN report, iPad sales are around 8 million and have over 35,000 different apps.  With so many iPads being sold, news and magazine apps have a legitimate chance of monetizing its product.

The number of applications on the iPad that are dedicated solely for the purpose of reading news is relatively small right now, but are sure to grow. In the United States, users have a number of options to choose from. USA Today and the Wall Street Journal are the two most popular choices, but the new New York Times app could give the other two a run for their money. A few of the United Kingdom’s premier print publications have entered the app market as well, including The Financial Times and The Times of London.

The question still remains, however, if the apps themselves will boost enough user interest to turn a significant profit. The concept of paying for online news still seems crazy when there is an abundance of free news sites on the Internet. Although that maybe true, users who subscribe to the iPad apps are literally paying for a digital version of the newspaper, and not simply paying to browse articles online. It could be this very concept that revolutionizes the idea of digital news, and gives print journalism an outlet to create a modern, digital newspaper.

Here’s a little bit more about some of our favorite news apps for the iPad.

USA TODAY – FREE

The app is free, and provides you with tons of news right at your fingertips. It features all sections of USA Today, from spots, money, life, and top stories. You can do crossword puzzles, thumb through newspaper photos, and easily browse the news on the application as it makes excellent use of the space provided.

WALL STREET JOURNAL – FREE (for print subscribers)

The WSJ application is one of the best on the iPad. The application  has already been downloaded more than 650,000 times. The application does a great job of literally putting the paper into a digital format, maintaining the same look and feel of the actual paper. If you’re looking for a great way to browse financial news on the go, look into getting a subscription or downloading this app – it’s a must.

THE NEW YORK TIMES – FREE (until early 2011)

Not many papers can compare to the New York Times, and the same is true when it comes to iPad news applications. The New York Times app just released a new version and it’s nicer and cleaner than ever before. In a similar fashion to the WSJ app, the NYTimes application maintains that very same real-newspaper feel. The application features over 25 different sections, as well as picture and video streaming making it wonderful for reading AND watching news on the go!

FINANCIAL TIMES – FREE (for print subscribers)

One of the best publications for financial news has one of the best apps for it as well. .  Sleek and fast operating , the Financial Times app offers the ability to download the paper to read elsewhere when an internet connection is not available. You also have the ability to customize the articles and watch award-winning video coverage.

THE TIMES OF LONDON – FREE (for print subscribers –  free 30 day preview!)

Much like The New York Times application here in the US, The Times of London application looks beautiful and delivers news to the user in a way that is formatted well and easy to read. After the trial, users can subscribe to the £9.95 ($15.95) monthly subscription fee to still receive news.

No matter what your news preference, there’s likely an iPad app for you. We’ve listed the ones we like best, what are your faves?