Archive for February, 2011

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‘Hacked’ boy’s Facebook page: 4000 respond to open house party

Facebook thumb1 Hacked boys Facebook page: 4000 respond to open house partyQueensland Police have issued a warning about social network security after a teenager’s Facebook site was hacked and thousands of people responded to an open house party.

Police were told about the situation by Twitter and contacted the South Brisbane family who said they were not holding a party this weekend and were unaware their teenage son’s Facebook site had been tampered with.

The boy’s father said it was a warning to them about internet security.

He said his son panicked and told him his Facebook site had been hacked when the number of people saying they were coming to the party started to climb, eventually reaching around 4,000.

“The first thing I thought of was, ‘how am I going to be able to control this’, because the numbers of people coming just kept climbing, it was crazy,” the father said in a statement.

“I told my son that he better tell everyone that the party wasn’t happening and no-one was coming in the front gate.”

“This is a real eye-opener for us. We immediately posted online that the party has been cancelled and the account had been hacked,” the father said.

Police said they would be on hand at the weekend to make sure would-be partygoers did not disturb the people living at the address.

Story source: http://www.smh.com.au/

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Google, Facebook Users Skew Young, Affluent, and Educated

 Google, Facebook Users Skew Young, Affluent, and EducatedBoth Google and Facebook attract young, affluent, and educated Americans in large numbers, according to results of a new USA Today/Gallup poll. Each counts more than half of those under 50, those with college degrees, and those making more than $90,000 a year among their users.

Gallup data indicates men (42%) are about as likely as women (45%) to have a Facebook page. However, men (63%) are 12.5% more likely than women (56%) to say they visit Google in a given week. Overall, 40% more US adults say they use Google in a typical week (60%) than have a Facebook page (43%).

However, as mentioned above, both sites have substantially higher usage rates with younger, wealthier and educated Americans. For example, among 18-to-29-year-olds, 83% use Google in a typical week and 73% have a Facebook page. Those respective figures drop to 34% and 17% among Americans age 65 and older.

Similar trends can be observed when looking at disparities in income and education. Among Americans earning $90,000 or more annually, 85% use Google in a typical week and 55% have a Facebook page. Those respective figures are 56% and 41% for Americans earning less than $90,000 annually.

Usage rates among postgraduates (87% for Google and 53% for Facebook) and college graduates (85% and 58%, respectively) do not greatly differ. However, among those with a high school degree or less, the respective figures drop to 35% and 28%.

All Demographics More Likely to Use Google

Currently, US adults in all key demographic groups are more likely to visit Google in a given week than to say they have a Facebook page. Google attracts a significantly larger share of college graduates, postgraduates, and those making at least $90,000 per year. Both sites have yet to reach a majority of those with a high school education or less, or those who are at least 65 years old.

 Google, Facebook Users Skew Young, Affluent, and EducatedThe majority of users of both sites say they are very or somewhat concerned about invasion of privacy and internet viruses, and about half are concerned about spam e-mail. Facebook users about 20% more likely than Google users to say they are concerned about invasion of privacy and internet viruses, and about 10% more likely to say they are concerned about spam.

Gallup data indicates older and less affluent users of these sites are in some cases more concerned about these issues than other groups, but Gallup says the patterns are not uniform and because of small sample sizes, the results by group are too small to report.

Social networking category leader Facebook continued its momentum as it amassed millions of new users and people spent more and more of their time on the site, according to a new white paper from comScore. “The 2010 US Digital Year in Review” indicates that Facebook accounted for 10% of US page views in 2010, while three out of every 10 US internet sessions included a visit to the site.

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Who Gives the Most Trusted Recommendations?

Social media has put power in the hands of the consumer, giving everyone a publishing platform to push out their thoughts and feelings to the world at large. This has given great power to word-of-mouth, typically considered the most trustworthy form of marketing. But social behavior is changing as it matures.

The GlobalWebIndex “Annual Report 2011,” which includes data from Trendstream and Lightspeed Research, outlines a shift in consumer behavior on social media. As usage of social sites increases around the world, the landscape is maturing.

According to the report, usage is shifting to focus on distributing content rather than creating it. Social media users disseminate and share professionally created content more often on microblogs, social networks and video-sharing platforms.

But the human element remains key to engendering trust. Internet users worldwide reported a nearly 50% increase in their trust of social network contacts giving product recommendations, and a 21% increase for microblog contacts.

Even though many of those contacts are likely sharing some professional content with or alongside their personal recommendations, professional sources of information like newspapers and TV barely gained any trust over the same period.

But Edelman’s “Trust Barometer” report for 2011 shows, for the second year in a row, an apparent decline in trust of a “person like me” (from 47% in 2009 to 43% in 2011) and a concomitant rise in trust for experts.

That survey polled college-educated consumers ages 25 to 64 who are in the top 25% of household income relative to age group in their home country and who follow business news and public policy. The opinions of such an affluent, highly educated, highly informed group cannot be extended to the general population.

Further, Edelman asked about trust in “information about a company,” a different query than product or brand recommendations. The inclusion of answer choices like “a financial or industry analyst” or “government official” orients the question more toward investor than consumer issues.

Other research tends to support the traditional view that word-of-mouth from friends, family and other peers is still the most trustworthy way of getting information about products and services. Teen influencers told Ketchum in May that friends with their top source of information. The importance and trustworthiness of customer reviews has grown, especially when shoppers feel they are authentic peer opinions. And social media users say dialogue and comment quality are key to trust on social sites.

They’re also even more likely than the average consumer to place trust in friend and family product recommendations.

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Targeting Boosts Low Facebook Click Rates

eMarketer estimates marketers around the world will spend $6 billion advertising on social networks this year, and the return on that investment will be a bigger question than ever. Many ad performance metrics have long been low on social networking sites, suggesting internet users simply do not want to click on ads while they’re socializing with friends and family. But how useful are measures of average performance to real-world marketers when so many variables can affect ad performance?

According to a widely reported Webtrends study, Facebook ad performance metrics are dismally low—and getting worse. Between 2009 and 2010, worldwide clickthrough rates dropped while costs per click and per thousand increased. What that means is that Facebook users are clicking less, and costing marketers more money to put ads in front of them.

Clickthrough rates for ads targeted to the US were lower than for other countries: Webtrends reported US-targeted ads were clicked on just 0.065% of the time, compared to 0.087% for ads targeted to other countries. Both rates are higher than the overall average, which includes ads not targeted by geography.

A Chitika study compared clicks on Facebook to those on Google and found the social network’s rates were significantly lower. The ad network reported clickthrough rates of 0.08% on Facebook for January 2011, substantially higher than those reported by Webtrends for the US.

That difference points to one significant problem when discussing clickthrough rates and similar performance metrics for ads on any site: The idea of an “average” clickthrough rate might be meaningless. Marketers crave this type of statistic, but the confounding variables are numerous.

For example, different advertisers can have vastly different click rates and costs per click. The Webtrends study found that ads for tabloids and blogs had an average click rate of 0.165%, the highest of any industry, vs. 0.011% for healthcare ads—the worst-performing industry. But even within a single industry, not all brands are created equal. Within the travel category, which had an average click rate of 0.086%, the performance of ads for name-brand airlines would be averaged against those for lesser-known travel search affiliates.

In addition, the different advertisers would likely have different objectives and different measures for success in their campaigns.

”The airline would most likely want to generate new Facebook ‘likes’; the travel search affiliate would want to refer people to buy travel from a third-party site,” said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “There’s no way an average clickthrough rate for the travel industry would be meaningful to all players in that industry.”

Just as not all advertisers are created equal, neither are all ads. Facebook’s self-serve ad targeting platform provides marketers with a wide variety of options for narrowing down the audience for their campaigns and targeting them appropriately. And according to data from BLiNQ Media, targeting can provide a dramatic increase in ad effectiveness. Clickthrough rates for campaigns run through the company’s platform were 7.5 times higher for ads targeted with demographic characteristics or interest information gleaned from profiles than for ads that were not targeted.

“Ads that have social features, such as the names or pictures of friends that like a brand, can also perform well,” Williamson said. “Marketers can add this kind of targeting on top of other targeting tactics on Facebook.”

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Social Networking Accounts for 1 of Every 5 Minutes Spent Online in Australia

Comscore Logo thumb Social Networking Accounts for 1 of Every 5 Minutes Spent Online in AustraliacomScore, today released The State of the Internet in Australia, which looks at the latest trends in digital consumer behavior in the market.

The findings of the report were also recently presented at a comScore-hosted industry event in Sydney. Among the report’s key findings was that Social Networking now accounts for the largest amount of total time spent online at 22 percent, an increase of 5.3 percentage points from the previous year, as social media plays an increasingly prominent role in Australians’ digital lives.

A complimentary copy of The State of the Internet in Australia can be downloaded at the following link: http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Presentations_Whitepapers/2011/State_of_the_Internet_in_Australia

“2010 was dynamic year for the digital media industry in Australia,” said Will Hodgman, comScore executive vice president for the Asia Pacific region. “Consumers are turning to the Internet with increasing frequency for a vast array of activities including entertainment, commerce, news & information and communication, as digital media becomes embedded in the daily lives of Australians. Look for 2011 to be another year of continued innovation and increased competition as brands vie for consumers’ attention in this rapidly fragmenting digital environment.”

Social Networking Accounts for Nearly 22 Percent of Time Spent

Social Networking accounted for 21.9 percent of Australians’ time online in December 2010, up 5.3 percentage points versus the previous year, and leading as the top online activity. Portals accounted for 19.7 percent, down nearly 10 percentage points from the previous year, while Instant Messengers accounted for 11.6 percent of time, down 7.7 percentage points, as both categories lost share to Social Networking throughout the year. Entertainment which accounted for 9.1 percent of time in 2009, increased 2 percentage points to 11.1 percent.

Comscore thumb Social Networking Accounts for 1 of Every 5 Minutes Spent Online in Australia

Additional key insights from the report include:

  • In December 2010, Microsoft Sites led as the most-visited Internet property in Australia, followed by Google Sites and Facebook.com. When looking at the top sites by total minutes spent, Facebook.com assumed the #1 spot followed by Microsoft Sites and Google Sites.
  • More Australians visited Retail sites compared to last year, outpacing increases in the global average. Amazon and Apple led as the most-visited retail destinations.
  • Group-buying sites continued to gain traction over the past year. Cudo, an MSN property, currently leads the space with 418,000 unique visitors in December 2010.
  • 3 out of 4 online users in Australia watched online video in December 2010, with an average viewer watching more than 7 hours of video during the month.
  • Nearly 12 million Australians conducted an online search query in December, with an average searcher performing 115 queries. Google Sites accounted for 80 percent of searches in December.

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Skies Brighten for Cloud Storage

In addition, 44% of US households subscribe to cable broadband internet access and 39% subscribe to broadband DSL.

deloitte digital storage issues feb11.thumbnail Skies Brighten for Cloud StorageThe survey further reveals that 51% of Americans have experienced a computer or hard drive failure that caused them to lose photos, movies, or other digital content. Moreover, Deloitte data indicates that 32% of respondents stated a desire to have an online media storage service they could access from any device. In addition, 43% of respondents said they want the ability to move content to any device and platform easily and effectively.

Deloitte analysis indicates that given these statistics, cloud storage, which stores data in a web-based “cloud” that does not rely on any physical hardware or software, could provide an avenue for greater consumer access to content and greater portability. Cloud computing has been recently growing in popularity among business users but is still relatively rare for consumer use.

“With the majority of consumers aware of the risk of permanently losing their content due to hard drive failures, new methods to both store and gain greater access to digital content are beginning to take shape,” said Phil Asmundson, vice chairman and technology, media and telecommunications industry leader, Deloitte LLP.

“And, while consumers may not fully understand cloud computing, their concern about storing digital content on their PCs is raising awareness and opening up new opportunities for cloud-based storage models aimed at the consumer.”

Millennial consumers (age 18-34) are more likely to own laptop computers and other portable gadgets than older consumers, according to a recent study from Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Data from “Generations and Their Gadgets” indicates that Millennials in particular have driven recent overall growth in laptop ownership.

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Harcourts and Landmark team up to take on Elders

Harcourts thumb Harcourts and Landmark team up to take on EldersThe Harcourts property franchise will team up with rural services business Landmark in a bid to challenge the dominance of the Elders real estate brand.

The deal, announced yesterday, will cover both companies’ regional and rural real estate operations by April in the joint venture, Landmark Harcourts.

The new business will include some of Harcourts’ 280 Australian offices and Landmark’s 125 rural real estate branches and is expected to turn over some $20 billion in property sales a year.

The existing Landmark real estate business will be rebranded as a part of an equal-party joint venture that will be ”integrated into the greater Harcourts family,” Harcourts Australasian head Bryan Thomson said.

Since its formation in New Zealand in 1888, Harcourts has established a network of 640 real estate franchises in Australia, Indonesia, South Africa and China.

Landmark’s rural services business operates from 400 locations in Australia.

The new business will incorporate the companies’ rural and regional operations and leave Harcourts’ metropolitan business unchanged.

Story by Simon Johanson www.smh.com.au

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Wireless a threat to NBN, government’s own consultant warns

NBN thumb Wireless a threat to NBN, governments own consultant warnsWIRELESS internet technologies present a major threat to Labor’s $35.9 billion national broadband network, a government-appointed consultant has warned.

An assessment of the NBN Co’s corporate plan by Greenhill Caliburn said the project’s revenue assumptions “appear to be in line with a range of domestic and international benchmarks”.

But the success of the network would rely heavily on the network’s ability to achieve wide-scale usage.

The consultant said attractive pricing and strong competition between services providers should drive user uptake of the network.

“Key risks to NBN Co’s uptake assumptions relate to competition from alternative technologies,” the report said.

“Trends towards ‘mobile centric’ broadband networks could also have significant long-term implications for NBN Co’s fibre offerings.”

User uptake and retention, average revenue per user and management of building costs are identified as three key variables in the corporate plan.

The assessment, released by the government today, warned assumptions underpinning the NBN Co’s corporate plan depended on the company’s deal with Telstra being finalised.

The passage of government legislation allowing the rollout of overhead cables, mandating fibre at greenfields sites and delivering regulatory protection to NBN Co from competition in commercially attractive areas – as set out in the corporate plan – would also determine the success of the project.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said Greenhill Caliburn’s report confirmed NBN Co’s key assumptions underlying revenue and cost projections.

“As with any infrastructure project, there are always risks, contingencies and external factors and the government will work closely with NBN Co to put in place agreed performance indicators to track its performance and adjust strategies or operations as needed,” he said.

The consultancy stressed it had not conducted an in-depth analysis of the company’s future funding requirement.

In a rebuff to predictions that NBN Co would struggle to obtain funding, the report said NBN Co was likely to obtain debt funding at planned levels.

Labor has consistently refused to conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis on the NBN project.

Story by James Massola www.theaustralian.com.au

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Overposting Drives Away Facebook Fans

The most-frequently cited reason Facebook users give for “unliking” a brand is that it posts too frequently, according to [pdf] a new report from Exact Target and CoTweet. Data from “The Social Break-up” indicates 44% of Facebook users list this as a top reason for unliking a brand they once liked on Facebook.

Virtually tying overposting as a top reason for unliking a brand on Facebook is having an overcrowded wall (43%, more than one answer permitted). Other leading reasons include content becoming boring and/or repetitive (38%), and only liking a company to take advantage of a one-time offer (26%).

wpid exacttarget reaction to unwanted posts on fb feb11thumbnail Overposting Drives Away Facebook FansReport data indicates brands will often know when a Facebook fan changes their mind, as 43% of Facebook users will unlike a brand when they no longer want to see its posts. Another 38% click the “X” in their news feed so they don’t see the brand’s posts and 19% do nothing but ignore the posts.

 Overposting Drives Away Facebook FansFifty-five percent of Facebook users have liked a company and then decided they no longer wanted to see its posts. In addition, 51% say they rarely or never visit a brand once they have liked it. A full 71% of fans say they have become more selective about what brands they like.

Report data show that a consumer’s decision to “unlike” a company has surprisingly little impact on the perceived likelihood that they will buy from that company in the future. In total, 63% of consumers said they were as likely or more likely to purchase something from a company after ending their Facebook relationship. Another 18% said they only “unlike” a company if they never bought anything in the first place.

Almost three in four (73%) online US consumers have opened a Facebook account. Sixty-five percent are active Facebook users, and 42% are fans. The fan percentage rises to 64% among Facebook users.

Facebook represents the largest share of time spent by US internet users of the top five most-visited websites, according to a new white paper from comScore. “The 2010 US Digital Year in Review” indicates that Facebook increased its share of total US internet time 71% between December 2009 (7.2%) and December 2010 (12.3%).

wpid tt twitter micro35 Overposting Drives Away Facebook Fans

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