Twitter revealed Thursday that a message acknowledging the death of “Glee” television show star Cory Monteith was the most reposted tweet on the globally popular messaging platform this year.
"Thank you all for helping me through this time with your enormous love & support. Cory will forever be in my heart," read the tweet by co-star Lea Michele (@msleamichele) about Monteith’s fatal drug overdose.
It was retweeted more than 408,000 times by users from 133 countries, making it the “Golden Tweet” of 2013, according to the San Francisco-based Internet company.
"Among the millions of affecting Tweets this year, there is something we call The Golden Tweet," Twitter spokesman Gabriel Stricker said in a blog post.
"It’s the most-retweeted Tweet of the year — the one that resonated most with millions of Twitter users around the world. In 2013."
A Twitter message announcing the death of “The Fast and The Furious” film celebrity Paul Walker in a car crash was second, having been retweeted 400,367 times, according to Stricker.
"It’s with a heavy heart that we must confirm Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident," read the tweet from @RealPaulWalker.
The third most retweeted message was fired off by One Direction band member Niall Horan rejoicing in having just turned 20 years old.
"Yesss ! I’m 20 ! Wohooo ! No more teens!" Horan chimed at the Twitter account @NiallOfficial.
Because this is a free country.
People do all kinds of annoying things, all the time, every day. It’s not the federal government’s job to use the force of law to stop people from being annoying.
Talking on your cell phone in a restaurant is widely agreed to be a rude, annoying behavior. Should we have a federal law against talking on the phone in restaurants? Of course not. The problem of cell phone chatter in restaurants is one that can be adequately addressed by restaurant owners deciding what to allow, and restaurant patrons deciding where to eat.
And yet, with the FAA finally realizing that cell phones don’t cause plane crashes, Congress is considering bipartisan proposals to ban in-flight phone conversations solely on grounds of annoyingness. CNN interviewed one of the sponsors of such a bill, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.):
Rep. Shuster told CNN that crying babies and snoozing adults cause enough commotion on flights, and cell phone calls will only make matters worse. "Tap, don’t talk," Shuster said.
Aren’t Republicans supposed to be against the government making those sorts of decisions? Perhaps, after this pressing issue is resolved, Rep. Shuster will turn his legislative attention to the issue of people texting in movie theaters.
If the flying public hates phone calls so much, airlines can be expected to prohibit them. The government does not need to get involved. But I think what’s going on here is that the phone-opponents realize they’re outnumbered among the flying public. They fear airlines will allow phone conversations because, secretly, flyers care more about being able to talk than about not hearing other people talk.
People tell pollsters they want phone conversations banned on airplanes. And yet, look at Amtrak’s Acela train service. These express trains have four business class cars, one of which is the “quiet car” where you can’t talk on the phone. The quiet car is lovely. I always ride in the quiet car. I do so partly because I like quiet, and partly because it tends to be the least crowded car on the train. Most riders are picking the loud cars, because they care more about the ability to be loud than about their neighbors being quiet.
We’re a loud country. Given the option, we’re likely to have loud phone conversations on airplanes. It’s unfortunate. But it’s not Congress’ job to fix. It’s ours.
The Federal Communications Commission has voted to consider lifting a ban on in-flight mobile phone calls, it announced in an open meeting this afternoon.
The current ban on in-flight calls was put in place in 1991 to avoid phones interfering with ground-based communications, according to USA Today.
Due to changes in technology, such interference is no longer considered a threat.
In a House hearing on Tuesday, FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler said “where the rationale for the rule doesn’t exist, the rule shouldn’t exist.”
Now that the safety-related rationale for banning calls seems outdated, the Department of Transportation announced it is considering issuing its own ban on in-flight calls as a consumer protection measure.
In a statement, Secretary Anthony Foxx told POLITICO his agency’s role, “as part of our Aviation Consumer Protection Authority, it to determine if allowing these phone calls is fair to consumers.”
Such a ban would likely find public support. In a statement, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said calls should not be allowed without “contemplating whether it improves the travel experience, and there are some strong indications that travelers themselves do not want it.
"Polls we have seen by Quinnipiac University, the Associated Press and others," he continued, "have concluded that the public opposed in-flight phone calls by very convincing margins."
Going forward, an FCC task force will set ground rules for how to determine if making calls in the air is safe and how to address legal and policy questions lifting the ban would raise.
At the end of October, the FAA announced it would allow passenger use of electronic devices during all phases of flight, provided phones be kept in “plane mode” — unable to make calls or send text messages.
Microsoft veteran Greg Nelson claims that the rumor about Microsoft leaving the ad business has spun out of control and couldn’t be less true. At least not anymore.
Nelson, general manager of display advertising for Microsoft’s online services division, addressed the issue in a blog post Monday. This comment may come as a surprise:
As someone who has worked at Microsoft for 15+ years, I can say this with unflinching confidence: our digital advertising business has never been more important to the company, more integral to our future, than it is today. Never.
There has been widespread speculation about the company’s role in advertising for the past two years.
Anonymous sources told Business Insider in July 2012 that the company’s decision to make the “do not track” cookie-blocking feature the default setting in Internet Explorer created tension with advertisers and within Microsoft’s ad division.
A slew of ad execs left the company, and by October, Adweek basically declared that Microsoft Advertising was heading to its grave.
Microsoft sold the Atlas ad server to Facebook in February of this year for a mere $30-50 million — a move that seemed to dovetail into this narrative. Atlas was a bit of a dinosaur, but it still represented 20 percent of the ad serving market. It led some observers, like Adweek’s Mike Shields, to suggest that Microsoft could be planning to outsource advertising to Facebook or Yahoo.
Nelson wrote that when an unnamed “veteran of the advertising media” asked him earlier this year if such a theory were true, he was taken aback. He said that the speculation was based on the “disconnected events” of the sale of their ad firm Razorfish to Publicis in 2009, the write-down of the ad-tech company aQuantive they acquired for $6.2 billion, and the sale of Atlas.
Nelson admits, however, that advertising was not a big priority for Microsoft in the “not-too-distant-past.” For him, he said it changed when the company’s outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer outlined a new strategy focused on devices and services this past July. Nelson wrote:
Our job as the leaders of the advertising business at Microsoft is, therefore, to help drive consumer preference for the Windows ecosystem (including Windows 8.1, Windows Phone, and Surface) as well as for Skype, Xbox, Office, and our other devices and services, by creating an environment for app developers to build rich, engaging experiences that consumers will want. In this construct, “advertising” becomes much more than slapping an ad on a piece of digital real estate, it becomes the connective tissue that brings marketers, developers and consumers together.
At the end of 2013, things are looking better for Microsoft Advertising.
Microsoft, Apple, and Google are creating their own cookie alternatives to track Internet users for advertisers, and Apple’s Safari browser and Mozilla’s Firefox browser followed Internet Explorer’s once-controversial decision to block cookies.
Microsoft’s strong third quarter earnings report showed that its revenue was $18.53 billion, topping the expected $17.79 billion.
Explosive app revenue growth is taking place in Japan, thanks mostly to revenue generated from freemium games.
At the end of October, Japan’s smartphone users had spent almost 2.5 times the amount of money on apps that smartphone users in the U.S. had spent during the month, according to App Annie. As recently as October of last year, U.S. app users were still spending nearly a third more on apps than users in Japan.
Japan’s app revenue growth also may not be close to its ceiling. Next year, 60% of Japan’s mobile population will be using smartphones, according to eMarketer, compared to only 40% this year.
Looking at the top-grossing apps charts on App Annie for both the Apple App Store and Google Play in Japan, it’s easy to see that the list of top forty highest-grossing apps is dominated by free apps.
Games are the biggest catalyst for this growth. Japan’s smartphone users spent 400% more on games in the past year, according to Quartz.
It seems mobile games have become the ultimate measure of the revenue potential behind the “freemium” app monetization strategy. Tero Kuittinen at Forbes claims freemium games are more sophisticated than ever in 2013 and that games that convince users to pay for more time, like Candy Crush Saga, are proving to be the most lucrative. (Quartz)
In other news…
The second-screen is becoming an important battleground for social networks while mobile users are watching TV. Twitter is adding a See It button, which takes users to a menu where they can watch the tweeted-about program on their device or record it on their DVR. (The Verge)
YouTube is massive, and it is only going to get bigger. eMarketer thinks YouTube’s total ad revenue will jump 51% for the year and will reach almost $5.6 billion. (The Guardian)
Investment firm Andreesen Horowitz has made its best move toward legitimizing Bitcoin as a digital currency. The firm leads a $25 million investment in Coinbase, a digital Bitcoin wallet. (All Things Digital)
The massive growth of web video, both online and on mobile, has made the analytics behind video viewership more crucial. Ooyala, a web video analytics company, has just raised $43 million in funding. (All Things Digital)
Square has acquired Evenly, a peer-to-peer digital payments platform, which may be used in enhancing Square Cash, the company’s e-mail payments system. (The Next Web)
Reports are surfacing that, in an effort to compete with Android, Microsoft may make its Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT platforms free. The idea behind this strategy would be to get device manufacturers more interested in using the software. (GigaOm)
What you may have missed this week on BI Intelligence…
Twenty-year-old Jay Machalani prefers Windows 8 over Macs or Linux, but has been frustrated by its quirks.
So he embarked on a three-month project to fix it.
"I love Windows 8 and it is my favorite OS to date, but that thing is filled with massive flaws," he wrote on his blog.
Many of the things he dislikes have been well documented by others: the two sides of Windows 8 don’t talk to each other: the “desktop” mode (the side of Windows that looks like Windows 7 and runs Windows 7 apps) and “modern” mode (the touchscreen side of Windows 8). Plus, the touch commands are clunky, particularly when using a mouse, and so on.
Recent reports suggest Microsoft is planning to bring back the Start menu, along with improvements to its traditional desktop mode to allow new Windows 8-style applications to “float” and run in separate windows. Machalani’s concepts — which were completed long before the recent rumors — imagine how that might work in reality.
Machalani created this short video to show off his concept of a fixed Windows 8:
Google took a major step toward pleasing its advertisers Thursday by announcing it will now sell display ads based on viewability, a metric that will allow marketers to pay only for ad slots users are likely to see.
As we’ve mentioned in the past, it’s estimated that nearly half of all online advertisements are placed in spots where users aren’t able to see them, meaning that brands were often paying for ad impressions that were either too far down on a page to be seen by a human being or fraudulently hidden behind other content.
In a post on its AdWords blog, Google said its customers will now be able to make real-time display ad purchases that only include impressions that meet the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s viewability standard. The IAB designates a viewable ad as any impression where at least of half of the ad is viewable on the page for one second or more.
Viewability has been a major initiative of Google’s for some time. In April, the company excitedly announced that it would sell reservable inventory — specific ad spaces companies can purchase before anyone visits a webpage — on a viewable basis.
The news today makes Google the first major online ad network to offer viewable impressions to its customers who purchase display ads via an automated real-time auction that begins when a user visits a webpage. There are more than 2 million websites using Google technology to sell ads as part of the Google Display Network.
As a result, Google will be able to charge customers higher prices because its Active View technology can guarantee that every impression a customer pays for will be visible to the user. Even at a higher cost, marketers could be compelled to shift ad budgets from safer mediums like print and television given the added degree of assurance provided by viewable impression buys. According to a recent survey, 88 percent of marketers think viewability will be a major issue in the coming year.
The news also gives the Google Display Network a boost against rivals like Twitter and Facebook, whose newsfeed ads are strategically placed where customers are most likely to look, anyway.
Viewability has been a controversial topic in online advertising circles, with the Media Rating Council advising marketers to use a different metric until it has determined an industry-wide standard as to what constitutes a viewable impression. In spite of this warning, some individual publishers have been selling ads on a viewable basis, with companies like Spider.io and RealVu advising marketers on which spaces to buy.
Google’s announcement of widespread viewability sales could encourage other ad networks and publishers to follow suit, which could then eliminate the need for smaller companies to provide advice on the subject.
Yahoo Mail has been down for some people since Monday.
Yahoo had previously said that it expected to have everything fixed by 3 p.m. PT yesterday. But that clearly didn’t happen.
"@Kidsonthekorner Hi Beth, we’re working on this right now and we expect all emails to be delivered by tomorrow afternoon," Yahoo Mail recently tweeted.
Late last night, some forms of Yahoo Mail were restored, but the company is still working on a format called IMAP, which lets Yahoo Mail sync better with other email apps. At the time, Yahoo said the best way to access email on mobile is through the official Yahoo Mail app.
There’s a mountain of money at stake as online and offline video consumption shifts to smartphones and tablets.
The pay and broadcast TV industries, music labels, Hollywood studios, big tech companies, and major advertisers all have to keep a close eye on this trend.
We explained in a recent report that thanks to ultra-fast 4G networks and dazzling HD screens, mobile video has proven to be far more popular than anyone might have guessed.
In a new report from BI Intelligence, we break down the extent to which the mobile video boom has changed what people watch, and how. Being able to track the shift to mobile video and predict the type of content that thrives on tablet and phone screens is the key to any long-term media or advertising strategy. The report also spotlights the most significant statistics that show just how many eyeballs are at stake on tablet and smartphone screens.
Here are some of our surprising findings:
The report is full of charts and data that can be downloaded and put to use.
In full, the report:
Care.com, a company that connects you to service providers like nannies, babysitters, and pet sitters, filed for its IPO today. It’s trying to raise $80 million.
Here are the most important numbers from its IPO filing:
As we previously reported, Dell is trying an unusual tactic to trim expenses without resorting to an actual layoff. It is asking certain employees to volunteer to quit.
There aren’t many details about how many people are being targeted.
But Dell did confirm to us that its happening, calling this a “voluntary separation program” (VSP). Employees that are deemed “eligible” lose their jobs and get a chunk of money and other services to help them until they find a new gig.
This isn’t the same as an early retirement program, as it’s being offered to all kinds of employees, not just ones that are eligible for retirement.
We’ve since heard from a few Dell employees and, to a one, they say the program makes them nervous.
Here’s what we’ve learned:
Dell declined to comment on any of the above details. It reiterated the statement it gave to us previously:
has announced an optional, global and voluntary separation program for eligible team members who choose to leave the company in exchange for the offer of a separation package to support their transition. Would note that we’ve taken steps to optimize our business, streamline operations and improve efficiency over the past few years. And we been consistent in saying that a critical element of our strategy has been, and always will be, about improving our cost structure and freeing up capital to make the investments in growth areas that matter to our customers.
In some ways, this kind of buyout makes more sense than the traditional way to do a layoff, where people show up one day and find out they are out of a job.
On the other hand, asking employees to tell their employer that they want to leave, then making them hang around for a few weeks to find out if they get “approval” can be stressful: It might be a good way to put an X on your back if traditional layoffs do come along later.
LA-based comedian Randy Liedtke regretted using cookies to trick cops into pulling him over this week after he realized there was a warrant out for his arrest.
On Wednesday, Liedtke drove around pretending to talk on an iPhone-shaped cookie, hoping to lure cops into trying to give him a ticket.
The plan, he tweeted, was to “just take a bite and ask if cookies are against the law.”
According to Liedtke’s Twitter account, he did get a police officer to pull him over, who was “confused and angry” when he realized the “iPhone” was in fact a cookie.
But the comedian’s plan was derailed when the officer discovered there was a warrant out to arrest Liedtke for unpaid parking tickets. About ten hours after being pulled over, Liedtke admitted defeat:
Tesla’s cheaper electric car is coming.
In an interview with AutoBild, chief designer Franz von Holzhausen says Tesla will “probably” reveal its more affordable car at the 2015 Detroit auto show.
That car is said to be named the Model E.
Today, Tesla sells a Model S, which has a base price of ~$60,000. It has the Model X, which is more of a SUV, set to roll out next year. The X will probably cost as much as the S, if not a little more.
The Model E is supposed to cost half the price. Initially people were speculating that the E would be a smaller version of the S, but in this interview Holzhausen says it will be about the same size.
No word on when production will start, but people have guessed it would be on the market in 2016.
A couple weeks ago, I flew to Beijing on a Saturday to speak at conference.
I’d never been to China or even Asia before, so I decided to use the opportunity to see some other parts of the other side of the world.
So, Monday morning, I woke up at 4:30 A.M. and headed to Beijing Capital airport (PEK) for an early morning flight 800 miles south to a city near Shanghai called Hangzhou.
To get there, I flew Hainan Airlines – a domestic carrier.
In many ways, the experience was just like flying a US carrier from New York to Chicago, also an 800 mile flight. But there were some key differences.
Tumblr doesn’t have as many monthly users as some of the other social networks. But those it does have are extremely valuable to brands. Tumblr users are young, and they are incredibly engaged.
According to survey data released earlier this year by GlobalWebIndex, 34 million Internet users globally say they contribute to or use Tumblr on a monthly basis. Nearly half, or 46% of these users were between the ages of 16 and 24 (always a difficult-to-reach demographic).
And unlike networks that encourage quick messaging and brief glances at the feed, Tumblr’s emphasis on multimedia blog posts means users spend a fair amount of time creating and digesting what’s on the site. More total time is spent on Tumblr than on bigger social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, according to December 2012 numbers from comScore.
In a recent report from BI Intelligence, we break down the demographics of each major social media platform, including Tumblr, to help brands and businesses decide which networks they should prioritize. Being able to identify the demographics of social media audiences at a granular level is the basis for all targeted marketing and messaging. The report also spotlights the opportunities that lie ahead for each social network, how demographics affect usage patterns, and why some platforms are better for brands than others.
Here are some of our surprising findings:
In full, the special report: