Foursquare Pushes Notifications and Blackberry Update

I just got an email from Foursquare telling me that I am member #4,688,605. They say it’s something I can brag about to my grandkids as they cruise by on their hoverboards. Points for a sense of humor. I like that.

They then go on to tell me about some new features, which I am here to tell you about. First, for all you Blackberry fans, Foursquare 3.0 is now available. It comes with a slicker interface and includes the new Explore feature. Explore is now the best thing about Foursquare. By tapping an activity such as drinks or shops, the app automatically offers up the best choices in your area based on your prior check-ins and those of your friends.

The Blackberry update also includes access to daily deal sites and a leaderboard.

Google+ Wants to Makes Stars a Star!

In Hollywood, it’s all about who you know and Google+ wants in. According to CNN, they’re working on a “celebrity acquisition plan” to help boost the star power of their new social network.

If you or I were to talk about “celebrity acquisition,” we’d probably run afoul of California’s anti-stalking laws. But when Google does it, that’s news. The tricky part, as we’ve seen from Twitter, is verifying the real celebs and keeping the fake ones out of the loop.

In order to verify that a celeb is who they say they are, CNN says they might ask folks to fax a copy of their driver’s license. Though Google will undoubtedly promise that the process is secure, it’s a potential privacy nightmare waiting to happen.

Google to Surfers: Let’s Get Small

This week’s “seriously?!?” moment, goes to the folks at Google who obviously spent some of their downtime listening to the classic Steve Martin stand-up skit, “Let’s Get Small.” That’s the only explanation I can find for this maneuver.

Google has purchased and will soon bring online Yes, In the near future, when you type, you will be taken to a Google page. No one knows what page, but it will be a page in the Google family, so you know that you’ll be well taken care of.

Why? Because is too hard for people to remember. It has too many letters, not to mention that pesky “m” at the end. It’s going to be much easier for people to remember to type (because unlearning to type an “m” after co is so simple) and then from there, they can navigate to where ever they really want to be.

Half of All Marketers Say Mobile is an Integral Part of the Plan

Mobile advertising isn’t a slam dunk yet, but according to a new survey commissioned by IAB, it’s already become an integral part of the plan for 51% of brand marketers.

The study, “Marketer Perspectives on Mobile Advertising” was conducted by Ovum and the results were presented at the “Mobile in the Mainstream…and as the New Main Screen” conference yesterday in NY.

Of the marketers who weren’t completely on the mobile bandwagon yet, 35% said they were “experimenting” with the medium, while 14% are still wandering through the landscape.

Top reasons for going mobile:

  • Immediacy (considered of high importance by 57% of respondents)
  • Cost-effectiveness (54%)
  • Increased engagement (52%)

The downside to mobile advertising:

  • Device fragmentation (cited by 72% of respondents as a challenge of medium or high importance)

Facebook Places Tests Multiple Locations Feature

One of the benefits of owning a franchise is the use of a well-known name. If I’m looking for lunch in a new neighborhood, I know what I’m going to get at a Subway, where Joe’s Sub Shack could be a hit or a miss. Now, Facebook is going to help you solidify that connection with their new Parent-Child update inside Facebook Places.

According to Inside Facebook, the company is testing an app which will allow parent companies to easily connect to the Places pages for all of their local locations. On the user side, these “child” companies will show up on a Locations tab on the parent site. Geo-location markers will automatically list the nearest locations, or users will able to submit a zip code for different results. Child pages will be auto linked to the parent page.

Comparing Prices Tops List for Social Media Product Chatter

Hear that? That’s the sound of potential shoppers talking about your product online. What are they saying? According to a new study by ROI Research, mostly, they’re talking about the price.

eMarketer made a nice bar graph that explains it all.

I’m not surprised that “deal” talk is high on the list, but I am surprised that “compare prices” landed so high. I shop online all the time, but I don’t usually go to Facebook to ask if anyone can beat the price of the laptop I want to buy. Apparently, others do, so if your pricing isn’t competitive, you might as well get out of the game.

The big takeaway here, is that nearly half of all respondents are talking about products and services on social media. They’re talking, but are you listening?

Stanford Security Lab Tracks Do Not Track

The folks at the Stanford Security Lab are a suspicious bunch. Since they’re studying how to make computers more secure, I guess it comes with the territory. Their current interest is tracking cookies and the Do Not Track opt-out process. Using “experimental software,” they conducted a survey to see how many members of the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), actually complied with the new Do Not Track initiatives.

What they found is that more than half the NAI member companies did not remove tracking codes after someone opted out.

NAI member companies pledge only to allow opting out of behavioral ad targeting, not tracking. Of the 64 companies we studied, 33 left tracking cookies in place after opting out.

Ah, but we all know how stats can be twisted, so let’s keep reading. The next line says: