Thursday, January 27, 2011

Social Networking Sites Banned in Egypt

Massive protests, some which have been arranged via social networking sites, are intensifying in Egypt; therefore, the country has reportedly decided to ban even more communication platforms including Facebook and BlackBerry Internet service.

Now neither of these bans has been officially confirmed, but according to a buzz on Twitter, both of the services are currently accessible.

A Facebook spokesperson told PCMag, "We are aware of reports of disruption to service and have seen a drop in traffic from Egypt this morning.”

According to a report from TechCrunch, it is currently unclear whether or not all BlackBerry Internet services in Egypt have been blocked because a blog said that some people were still able to use some apps.

However, TechCruch and Twitter have both been able to confirm that Twitter has been blocked for several days in the country.

"We can confirm that Twitter was blocked in Egypt around 8am PT today," Twitter confirmed on the @twitterglobalpr feed Tuesday evening. "It's impacting both and applications. We believe that the open exchange of info and views benefits societies and helps governments better connect with their people."

The news that Twitter is down is now being widely reported, but just a few days ago a spokesperson for Twitter had been very leery about confirming the ban. Instead of confirming it herself, she turned to a site called Herdict Report that monitors Internet access around the world that claimed that the website had indeed been banned in Egypt.

"We prefer users in Egypt (or elsewhere) to speak for how Twitter is being used (or not) instead of us," read another @twitterglobalpr Tweet.

As I mentioned above, protests are raging throughout Egypt. These demonstrations were organized via Facebook and Twitter and brought thousands of protestors into the streets of Cairo. The people were protesting issues like economic policies, government corruption, and were demanding that President Hosni Mubarak step down after a thirty year reign.

On Tuesday, January 25th more than 90,000 people had signed up with a group on Facebook called “We Are All Khaled Said.” This name was given in honor of an activist that was reportedly beaten by the police.

At first, Facebook remained unaffected, while Twitter was banned on several levels including the physical site, the mobile site, and the third-party site. However, there has been some very limited access to Twitter via Web proxies. According to The Herdict Report though, Facebook has now been reported inaccessible 86 times in Egypt. The reports started coming in on Wednesday, January 26.

"From what we know about Egypt, filtering is done at the ISP level, which explains the sporadic reports of inaccessibility we've received," Laura Miyakawa, Herdict's project manager, said in a blog post. "Coupled with reports from Egyptians on Twitter, we're able to say that some degree of filtering has been happening, but we need more reports to make a strong determination."

It is believed that Egypt is following suit with other countries who staged protests via social networking sites. Earlier this month, social networking played a huge role in the uprising in Tunisia concerning the country's President Zine el-Albidine Ben Ali. Also, last year Twitter was involved in an uprising that broke out in Iran.

Social networking is a fantastic way to reach out to your friends and family, but as we see in Egypt, Tunisia, and Iran, it can also be used for some social demonstration and even violence. I could see why Egypt has banned these sites, but I can also see why some would say that this is a violation of free speech. It’s a sticky situation and it is difficult to determine what to about it, but for now, the Egyptian government seems to think that banning social networking is the best immediate solution.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Pope Not a Fan of Fake Social Media Profiles or Linkbait

Pope Benedict XVINow I know that social media sites are the hottest thing to hit the internet since, well, the internet, but never did I think that the Pope would be interested in them nor that he would speak openly against some things about it. I didn't even know they had Twitter in the Vatican.

The Pope likes to discuss the "rights and wrongs", as he sees them, of social media in his World Communications Day message that he gives every year. Well, this year was no different as the Pope focused on integrity and honesty online for his main themes.

In his address the leader of the Catholic church seemed surprisingly well tuned in to something that a lot of social media fans are discussing right now regarding whether it is better to use your real identity or to create a fake one. Well, if you ask the Pope, he will tell you that honesty wins out hands down. The Pope discussed the risks of constructing a false image of oneself which he says can become a form of self-indulgence.

According to the Pope, "Entering cyberspace can be a sign of an authentic search for personal encounters with others, provided that attention is paid to avoiding dangers such as enclosing oneself in a sort of parallel existence or excessive exposure to the virtual world. In the search for sharing, for 'friends', there is the challenge to be authentic and faithful and not give in to the illusion of constructing an artificial public profile for oneself."

The Pope also argues against "linkbait" publishing which values audience size over truth. "We must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its 'popularity' or from the amount of attention it receives... The proclamation of the Gospel requires a communication which is at once respectful and sensitive."

There seem to be more than a few similarities between the ethics of bloggers and many religious values. These ethics, both for the bloggers and in religion, have existed for many years. In a nutshell it seems to represent the age old traditions of "Love thy neighbor" and "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

Despite warning against the dangers, the Pope does appear to be pro-social media. In a statement the Pope said, "I would like then to invite Christians, confidently and with an informed and responsible creativity, to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible."

So despite your feelings on the Pope, it appears that he is cool with social media, or at least that what his advisors told him to say. Who knows, maybe this is all a big contest to see if the pope can get more followers on Twitter than Ashton Kutcher.

Source: The Next Web

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Where Do Facebook's Ad Revenues Come From?

It was announced recently that in 2010 Facebook brought in $1.86 billion from their ad revenues. That is quite a large chunk of change. Surprisingly, though, most of the money that was brought in from ads did not come from the big name advertisers.

So, where do most of their advertising revenues come from? Well, according to a report by AdAge that cited revenue estimates from eMarketer, Facebook received 60 percent ($1.12 billion) of their ad revenues from smaller companies. They went on to say that most of these smaller companies produced the ads themselves and did not use an ad agency. The company also reported that in 2009 smaller companies accounted for close to 50 percent of Facebook’s ad sales. This shows that in just a short period of time those numbers have risen nicely.

"Those advertisers are really juicing Facebook's growth," Debra Williamson, an eMarketer principal analyst, told AdAge. "They buy advertising in bulk. They've done it for years on Google, and now they're taking that expertise to Facebook."

AdAge reported that in 2010 Facebook earned $740 million from the advertisements of bigger companies like Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and Although the smaller company’s advertisements are obviously doing well, the two biggest advertisers on Facebook are AT&T and

Now, there definitely seems to be a big name that is missing from the list of bigger companies advertising on Facebook…Google! Google is the fifth-ranked advertiser on Facebook. Honestly, it’s a little surprising that Google even made it that high. There have definitely been some issues between Google and Facebook over the past year. It all started with Google blocking users from importing their Facebook friends through Gmail.

"You have been directed to this page from a site that doesn't allow you to re-export your data to other services, essentially locking up your contact data about your friends," read a message on Google's Gmail page.

"We think this is an important thing for you to know before you import your data there. Although we strongly disagree with this data protectionism, the choice is yours. Because, after all, you should have control over your data," it continued.

In response to this, Facebook went ahead and removed any mention of a way of importing Google contacts on the “Find your Friends” feature. It was also suggested by many that the reconstructed Facebook messaging system that was released in November was attempting to replace the need for Gmail. However, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg refuted these claims. Zuckerberg did comment on Gmail or Yahoo Mail though, saying, “The kids said 'It's too slow, it's too formal.'"

AdAge said that despite the differences and disagreements between Google and Facebook, the two companies do have some similarities. Both companies draw in smaller company advertising.

Even though Facebook has been seeing an increase in revenues lately, the company really hasn’t affected Google’s market shares much at all. AdAge reported that Google brings in on average more than $2 billion in ad revenues every single month. However, despite this, Facebook is beginning to catch up with Google. The company currently comprises five percent of the ad spending that occurs on the Web. AdAge said that at the rate that Facebook is growing, it could easily be up to eight percent this year.

The estimates that eMarketer released for Facebook’s 2010 ad revenues is really a testimony of just how quickly the top social networking site is growing. eMarketer predicted that in 2009 Facebook took in $740 million in global ad sales, and in 2011 they are predicting that the 2010 numbers will show an 86 percent year-to-year increase.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

adCenter aBsurdity

Recently Steve Jobs wrote his Thoughts on Flash where he basically called Flash a dying technology. Apple doesn't support Adobe Flash on the iPhone or iPad.  Its a war between Apple and Adobe. Adobe came out with an ad campaign against Apple. Adobe displayed in the ad ‘we (heart) Apple’. It further hit back with an ad campaign saying ‘What we don’t love is anybody taking away your freedom to choose what you create, how you create it, and what you experience on the web’. Here is their We [heart] Choice ad campaign.

The Tech War is Bigger than Apple
There is a technology war out there and it isn't just Jobs against the world. There is Microsoft, Google, Research In Motion and others too. Who will prevail in the operating system war on the majority of your devices? (HP/Palm may some day be in the group)

Microsoft Using Bing in The OS War
Now Microsoft is engaging in war to make people use their operating system AND browser to access Microsoft adCenter. If you want to advertise with Bing, you must use our OS.

Ve Vill Force You To USE OUR TECHNOLOGY.... and you will like it.

Below is the error message I got when I tried using Google Chrome:

Here are the system requirements to place an ad on Bing. (How Absurd)

Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows 2000, or Microsoft Windows 98: Use with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or Mozilla Firefox 3.0 or later.
Microsoft Windows Vista or Microsoft Windows 7: Use with Windows Internet Explorer 8, Windows Internet Explorer 7, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 or later.

They go on to say that adCenter doesnt support Safari, theMac, Virtural PC or mobile phones. Here are their exact words:

Microsoft adCenter does not support Safari.
Microsoft adCenter does not support Mac or Virtual PC.
Microsoft adCenter is not supported on mobile phones.

Color me stupid but this isn't very forward thinking in my book. The don't even support their phone making spontaneous, on-th-go ad campaign adjustments impossible. Reducing accessibility to the Bing ad platform is not a good idea at all. While you're at it have iPhone support too.

Arrogance gets you Nowhere
Don't copy Steve Jobs' arrogance against his competition. I know Mr. Jobs is taking a medical leave and  wish him better health as soon as possible. In many ways Steve Jobs is a role model to me. It just happens that I don't agree with his method of 'dealing with those in conflict'. War may be hell, but the Art of War calls for keeping enemies closer. Dale Carnegie's advice to company executives is 'out the window' so to speak with Jobs. But that doesn't mean that Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, has to make the same mistakes. Microsoft has to buck-up and admit that there is a large user base out there with phones and start supporting more than just it's desktop operating system on its Bing Ad Platform, adCenter.

Freedom to Choose: The Market Always Decides
You can't beat your competition by forcing people to use your products. You can only win with better products as percieved by the marketplace. Sometimes in the short run, the market gets fooled by a product or service. But in the long run, consumers get it right. You have to win the markets heart, not beat-down your competition.  If you don't have a compelling reason why your product is better, then in the long run your product is dead. In the meantime open up your Bing adCenter access to all the devices piratical.

Apple, Google, Microsoft and RIMM -If there's not enough room for 4, who will be the first to die?

*About Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegies Book was first published in 1937. Financial success, Carnegie believed, is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to "the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people." He teaches these skills through underlying principles of dealing with people so that they feel important and appreciated.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

MySpace Staff Reduced By Almost 50%

Remember back when MySpace was the hottest teen social networking site out there, and people barely knew about Facebook? Just three years ago, Rupert Murdoch, the head of the media giant News Corp., was praising MySpace for offering so much more than the ability to “just looking up friends” like Facebook.

Well, these days, things have definitely flip-flopped.

On Tuesday, January 11 MySpace announced that they were laying off almost half of their staff so that they could have a “much tighter focus.” This layoff is affecting close to 500 people. These cuts come after the redesign of the site that occurred in October. According to chief executive Mike Jones, the Web site redesign was an attempt to illustrate the positive direction that the company is going in.

"The new organizational structure will enable us to move more nimbly, develop products more quickly and attain more flexibility on the financial side," Jones said in a statement.

Dave McClure, founding partner of 500 Startups, a company that invests in early-stage Internet ventures, said that MySpace had a ton of potential and could have definitely beaten Facebook, Twitter, or Zynga, but now all of those Web sites overshadow MySpace.

"MySpace never really figured out which one it wanted to be," McClure said. "For the life of me I don't know why they weren't able to pull it off."

Honestly though, the layoffs were kind of expected. Top executives were calling MySpace’s losses in November “not acceptable or sustainable.”

Jones explained that the layoffs were necessary to cut costs for the company. "Today's tough but necessary changes were taken in order to provide the company with a clear path for sustained growth and profitability," Jones wrote, according to reports. "These changes were purely driven by issues related to our legacy business and in no way reflect the performance of the new product. The new organizational structure will enable us to move more nimbly, develop products more quickly, and attain more flexibility on the financial side. We are also committed to rebuilding the company with an entrepreneurial culture and an emphasis on technical innovation."

According to an e-mail written by Jones, MySpace’s U.K. business will be falling under the control of Fox Network, while the business that MySpace has in Germany and Australia will be managed by “strategic local partnerships.” "MySpace will retain a core, dedicated international team to work with partners in order to ensure users, content partners and advertisers continue to be served," Jones said.

The statement also claimed that MySpace is “trending positively.” The company said that 3.3 million new profiles have been created, as well as 134,000 more Topic pages. Between November and December MySpace said that they have already seen a four percent rise in mobile users, which now total more than 22 million users.

Despite this, MySpace still has not had the success that so many other social networking sites have shared. Twitter and Zynga continue to thrive, and Facebook has exploded. Facebook now can boast more than 500 million users. Analysts say that Facebook had the best plan of all the sites. They had a very clear vision: they wanted to connect people, and they aggressively did everything they needed to do to achieve their vision.

Meanwhile, while all of the layoffs and rebuilding are occurring, it appears that certain companies are talking to News Corp. about possibly purchasing MySpace. According to reports, Yahoo Inc. is one of the possible interested companies. As of now, Yahoo has not commented on the claims.

It’s sad to see the social networking site of my teen years slowly disappearing, but Facebook is simply a much more useful social networking site. MySpace had its unique qualities, but Facebook definitely wins the fight in my opinion, and the numbers seem to show that as well. I don’t think MySpace will be completely disappearing anytime soon, but I also don’t think it will be really making much of a comeback either.

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Configuring Feedburner for Best SEO Results

Feedburner is owned by Google. I like trying every Google tool because you never know what new cool tool you will find. One good find is Feedburner.  I burn my all blog feeds, including this blog.

Feedburner has many benefits. Its easy to use, it does a great job with my rss feed, it creates an email subscription, provides content distribution (called buzzboost), gives me several 'chicklet' options to use on my blog, has a social component which proides automatic links to Digg and Delicious, and auto Tweets my new content. All this for FREE. (Chicklet Example:  Subscribe in a reader)

Well its kind of free if you don't count page rank loss. John Lincoln makes this argument, "Why Feedburner is Killing Your SEO Strategy." John states,
"The issue with Feedburner is inherent in the name, thus, it burns (or alters) your RSS feed and channels it through a Google enhanced URL. Emphasis on “Google Enhanced URL.”"
Mr. Lincoln is concerned that link juice is being leached out to the feedburner domain, providing a net loss of page rank to Feedburner.  Even though your Feedburner link is 301 redirected, as Barry Schwarts reported. Some page rank is lost with a 301 redirect according to Matt Cutts, Websapm Team Head at Google in an interview by Eric Enge.

However the 301 redirect works well and the page rank is largely passed on to the target page when Feedburner Stats are turned off. The loss of page rank is minimal and not worth giving up the numerous the benefits of Feedburner if you have your feed setup correctly.  Here is how to configure Feedburner to work without default  Feedburner stats settings:

Credit: Pavel Israelsky: 1. Inside your feed go to “Analyze” –> “Configure Stats”
2. Uncheck “Item views” + “Item link clicks”
3. Click on “Save”
Pavel Israelsky

The above procedure concentrates your feed into one Feedburner URL which Google redirects to the homepage of your blog.

Feedburner on Twitter:!/feedburner
Feedburner API:
Outside applications and content management services, including popular blogging platforms, are already making use of this application programming interface (API) to help publishers promote feed stats in new and interesting ways. 

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

5 Tips for a Successful Social Media Strategy

Social Media ContentDo you know what should be at the core of your social media strategy? If you answered "no", then you definitely need to be reading this article. The core of any good social media strategy should be smart, fun and relevant content. Great content should reflect your brand as well as give people a reason to stay tuned in. That is why it is imperative to build a content strategy into your social media campaign.

Without a framework for what you want to get across and a plan for how and when you say it, you could leave your audience confused or, at worst, ignoring you. Thankfully, there are some content strategies which will help you build better relationships with your customers and earn you better recognition on the social media outlets.

Know Who You Are

Every single thing you say on a social media site, whether it be Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or whatever, should sound like you, your brand and your product. Keeping the things you put out relevant to who you are can garner a lot of followers. Skittles is extremely competent at doing this as their Facebook status updates average over 1,000 comments each as well as over 10,000 likes. But what makes their updates so special? Well, they resemble their candy, fun, imaginative, colorful and bright.

Timing is Everything

Don't just hop on a social media site and start throwing out content willy nilly, that is stupid. Instead, create a calendar that plans out what you will say and when you will say it. Also, make sure that it is relevant to where people are in their lives as well as the season. Don't talk about Halloween in February or Christmas Cookies in July, stay on topic!

Know Who You Are Targeting

Why on earth would somebody follow you on a Social Media Site? Why do they like you? Maybe because you and your brand offer them something they want or something they like. This being said, you need to make sure you deliver. SKYY Vodka on Twitter put out tweets on the ultimate Bloody Mary and even responded personally to people engaged in the conversation. They knew what their audience wanted and they gave it to them.

Solve Your Problems

Why are humans the dominant species on the planet? Because we learn how to fix something if we have a problem. On Facebook a company called Threadless received some problematic feedback on some products from valued customers. They immediately told the customers what to do and how to fix the problem. Don't necessarily fix the problem for your audience, instead give them the tools to help themselves. You also need to make sure your social media team has all the right information to give out. You build trust by making things easier for your customers.

Don't Be Fake

The best content out there is real. It doesn't promise you things it cannot do. It is honest and real. People don't like talking to machines. They want to talk to a real person and that is why they follow you. If you are being fake, your audience will know. But if you are honest, fun and real, they will recommend you to their friends and so on and so forth. Isn't that kind of the point of social media?

Follow these tips and you will be sure to increase your social media following with no problem at all. One of the keys to a good business is reaching your customers and knowing how to engage them, and one of the best ways is through social media outlets.

Source: Mashable is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Facebook Shutting Down?

There seems to have been a lot of news coming out recently about Facebook. Everyone has been talking about how Goldman Sachs and the Russia-based Digital Sky’s Technologies just invested $500 million into the company, and plenty of other rumors and discussions about the social networking site have been swirling around. However, one rumor really caught me off guard. On Saturday, January 8 the Weekly World News posted that Facebook will be shutting down on March 15, 2011.

What do you think about that rumor? Well, think about it…would Goldman Sachs and other companies be investing hundreds of millions of dollars into a company that was going to shut down in a little more than two months? That just makes absolutely no sense!

Normally, it would be easy to simply dismiss these claims, just like you dismiss all the fake tabloid stories about the celebrities, but this rumor is spreading all over the Web. Everybody is talking about the disappearance of Facebook. Even Sophos’ IT Security blog Naked Security is jumping in and talking about the rumors.

"Most people would probably never believe such a load of old nonsense as the claim that Mark Zuckerberg is going to shut down Facebook, but it only takes a small proportion of people to think it might be possible to turn a joke of a news story into an internet hoax," writes Graham Cluey.

"And although a hoax is not as bad as a piece of malware worming its way between users and stealing information, it's still a nuisance, clogging up communications, increasing the overall level of spam and perhaps leading people to make decisions for the wrong reasons," he added.

So, obviously, the Weekly World News was totally wrong about Facebook shutting down, but there are definitely some points brought up by the publication and all of the rumors that are very interesting. Writer of the publication J.B. Smitts used a quote concerning Facebook that he believed illustrated that the social networking site is on its way to being extinct.

"After March 15th the whole website shuts down," said Avrat Humarthi, a made-up Vice President of Technical Affairs at Facebook. "So if you ever want to see your pictures again, I recommend you take them off the internet. You won't be able to get them back once Facebook goes out of business."

Facebook addressed all of the rumors that have been going around on their Twitter account. Their tweet confirmed that their social networking site isn’t going anywhere. "We didn't get the memo about shutting down, so we'll keep working away. We aren't going anywhere; we're just getting started,” the company tweeted.

So, of course, Facebook isn't going anwhere, but the situation that brought up the false quote is really possible for many different Web sites. It’s a topic that people have definitely been voicing concern about as many people are turning to the Cloud, where they upload important family videos and pictures. These are things that people are going to want keep archived forever, but what would happen if the Cloud went away?

A prime example of this would be Geocities. Does that name ring a bell? It was purchased in 1999 by Yahoo for $3.57 billion in stock. Then, in October of 2009 the site was terminated.

After the termination of Geocities, the people behind the Internet Archive said that they would be joining in the attempt to preserve the “historical record” at Geocities. About a year later, volunteers known as The Archive Team released all of the contents of its Geocities cache. They released it in the form of a 900 GB BitTorrent file that was free to download for anyone who wanted their own personal copy of the terminated webhost.

Could this happen to Facebook at some point? Who knows? But we do know that we won’t have to worry about it any time soon. For now, Facebook is here to stay.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Subpoena Issued for WikiLeaks Twitter Account

The AFP says that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a subpoena for the Twitter accounts of WikiLeaks and some of their supporters, and an investigation has begun.

Honestly, this whole investigation isn’t really a huge surprise. In November the “whistle-blowing organization” (WikiLeaks) began to release more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. Since then, people have been speculating that the U.S. government would respond and seek justice by citing the Espionage Act.

WikiLeaks said in a statement, “Today, the existence of a secret US government grand jury espionage investigation into Wikileaks was confirmed for the first time as a subpoena was brought into the public domain.”

The site also said that the government’s move "revealed that the US State Department has requested private messages, contact information, IP addresses, and personal details of Julian Assange and three other individuals associated with WikiLeaks in addition to WikiLeaks own account, which has 634,071 followers."

WikiLeaks mentioned one certain individual, member of Iceland’s parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir.

Jonsdottir tweeted from her feed, “Just got this: Twitter has received legal process requesting information regarding your Twitter account in (relation to Wikileaks)."
The politician continued saying that the U.S. government wanted to access all of her personal information and any of her tweets from Nov. 1, 2009 to the present. She said that she is using the 10 days that she is allowed in an attempt to stop the process.

The names of the other users who were also issued a subpoena have yet not been released. WikiLeaks is saying, however, that they do not believe that this legal action is only being taken against Twitter.

The @wikileaks feed tweeted, “Note that we can assume Google & Facebook also have secret US government subpoenas. They make no comment. Did they fold?”

As of right now, this is the strongest evidence available concerning the U.S. attempting to prosecute WikiLeaks. Any legal action being sought under the Espionage Act is really going to be difficult to sort through. The Espionage Act is vaguely worded which could definitely cause some issues. Who should be included in the prosecution? Most likely, not only The New York Times and The Guardian, who helped publish the documents, would be brought into the legal mess, but also the Twitter and Facebook users that linked to the data. Jonsdottir would probably be the first user in line.

This would not be the first time that the U.S. government has brought charges against the New York Times. In 1971 the government hurled charges at the Times when they printed the Pentagon Papers. Fortunately for the newspaper, it was not held responsible because it was not the original source of the papers.

If all of the rumors that have been swirling around are true, then the DOJ has definitely been building up this case for quite some time now. In December Mark Stephens, who is one of the attorneys for WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange, said that there was a secret grand jury that was going about discussing the legal proceedings of this whole situation in Virginia.

"We have heard from Swedish authorities that there has been a secretly empaneled grand jury in Alexandria that is currently investigating this," Stephens said.

Unfortunately for Stephens, these new possible legal dealings are not all that he is handling for his client. Assange also currently has to deal with the possibility of extradition to Sweden due to the rape charges that he faces. Some say that the charges are politically motivated, but no one knows for sure. In December the 39-year-old Australian was released in London on bail. He is scheduled to appear in court again on Feb. 6.

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Saturday, January 08, 2011

500 Shareholder Rule Causing Facebook to Go Public?

According to reports, Facebook collected $355 million in profits just last year, which may force its CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take his company public in 2012.

Reuters reported that Goldman Sachs, who just earlier this week invested $450 million in Facebook, have hand delivered the details about the financial aspects of Facebook to very high net worth clients on Thursday, January 6.

In one of the documents that the company delivered, it stated that Facebook had generated $1.2 billion in revenue (with $355 million in pure profit) in the first nine months of 2010.

Considering that Facebook only broke even in September of 2009, those numbers sound fantastic. However, Wedbush Securities analyst Lou Kerner, who owns Facebook shares, told Reuters that “the revenue kind of is in line with our expectations."

"The surprise was on the profitability. I think it highlights that Facebook is likely to have margins that are going to exceed Google's margins," he said.
One of the recipients of the documents delivered by Goldman Sachs told the Wall Street Journal that Facebook was on the right track to having more than 500 stockholders by the end of 2011.

This would mean that, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s “500 Shareholder Rule,” that Facebook would be required within 120 days to become a reporting company, even if it wasn’t public. The actual Securities Exchange Act of 1934 states, “within one hundred and twenty days after the last day of its…fiscal year.”

Facebook’s current fiscal year does not end until December 31, 2011. This would make the 120 day deadline April 29, 2012.

Now, of course, all of this is mere speculation, but Goldman Sachs seem pretty confident in their prediction that this will all go down in April 2012.

There had been rumors that Facebook would attempt to get around the 500 shareholder rule via a “special purpose vehicle” that would allow Goldman Sachs high-end clients to invest in Facebook without the rule applying, but the document released by the Wall Street Journal shows that this will not be the case.

Back in 2008, Zuckerburg said that he did envision an IPO at some point in the future, but just last May, he made it very clear that he was not desperate for public cash at all.

"We are definitely in no rush," Zuckerberg told the Wall Street Journal in May. "If you don't need that capital, then all the pressures are different, and the motivations (to go public) are not there in the same way."

Who knows what may happen, but looking at all the numbers and information, it looks as though Facebook will definitely be becoming a reporting company sometime in the near future.

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Friday, January 07, 2011

Record Tweets Sent Out This New Year's Eve

Twitter is definitely becoming the popular way for people to communicate with the masses. It’s a way to get your feelings out, let people know what you’re up to, etc. Twitter is used by people around the world, but do you know which country utilizes Twitter the most? It’s Japan!

On New Year’s Eve this year, Japanese Twitter users set New Year’s Eve tweeting records. Immediately after midnight, Japanese Twitter users sent out an all-time high of 6,939 tweets per second. Twitter said in a blog post that it was just a mere “four seconds after midnight in Japan on January 1st, [when] Twitterers set an all-time record in the number of Tweets sent per second.”

This completely blows the previous record out of the water. Twitter said in a blog post that the previous all-time tweeting high was during Japan’s victory over Denmark at the World Cup last summer. Tweets rolled out at 3,283 tweets per second. On New Year’s Eve this year, that record was broken 68 times in a mere three minute period.

Twitter pointed out that the Japanese New Year is a very important event in Japan. "Japan virtually shuts down as people spend the day with family and the people with whom they are closest," Twitter wrote. "People make it a point to call their friends and connect with everyone they know to celebrate. With a population of over 127 million, Japanese mobile networks have been known to crash under the strain of this collective cheer. This year on New Year's Eve many people turned to Twitter to celebrate."

According to Twitter, Japan is not the only country that has been celebrating on Twitter about different events. "We saw epic tweet activity around the world as people in each time zone inaugurated 2011," Twitter said. "The East coast time zone alone almost amassed the same amount of tweets at its peak of 3,000 TPS as the entire world did during the peak moment of the World Cup."

Twitter also said that they were "humbled by moments like this that show how people around the world are connecting and celebrating on Twitter."

To give an interesting illustration of the tweeting that went on around the world on New Year’s Eve, Twitter even put together a video of the action that they said “visualizes New Year's Eve Tweet data across the world.”

"The circles get bigger as more Tweets are being sent at that moment, which means it's probably midnight in that time zone,” Twitter said about the video. “Notice that the circle over Tokyo gets so big it nearly swallows Japan."

The company seems to very positive about their growth over 2010 and says that they are “looking forward to seeing what the Year of the Rabbit has in store.”

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