PlacePop Offers Loyalty Programs for Small Business

Local. Checkins. Deals. These are the top three buzzwords of mobile marketing. Though mobile’s been around awhile, this holiday season is poised to be the biggest when it comes to the use of mobile phones to facilitate shopping. But for every Old Navy, there are a hundred small business owners who would like to get in on the game but are overwhelmed by the process. PlacePop.com can do something about that.

PlacePop isn’t one of the biggest players in the checkin game (not yet) but they have something Foursquare doesn’t have and that’s simplicity. The site, which was created by Kent Lindstrom, the former CEO of Friendster, was originally designed as an application that would allow people to share their favorite restaurants and shops with friends. Now, they’ve converted the app into a loyalty program for small businesses.

Facebook Gets Aggressive with Trademarks

Facebook is on its way to trademarking the word “Face,” but don’t worry, you won’t have to change your lingo to “Get out of my countenance” any time soon. According to Inside Facebook, the trademark application only applies when the word “face” is used in specific circumstances. Here’s the language of the application:

Telecommunication services, namely, providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users in the field of general interest and concerning social and entertainment subject matter, none primarily featuring or relating to motoring or to cars.

The first part I get, but cars? Is Facebook going into the automobile dealer business? (Facemobiles?)

I can’t begrudge a company trying to protect its turf but are they really worried that someone will confuse Joe’s Faceforum with the one and only Facebook?

Gambling and Humor Show Steady Growth in October

ComScore has released their October 2010 Media Metrix report which counts down the Top 50 US Web Properties for the month.

Halloween helped PartyCity.com double their monthly visitor count making them the number one growth site, followed closely by AVG Technologies and McDonalds.

Google held the top spot for most visitors with Yahoo close on its heels. LinkedIn broke into the top 50 and Facebook broke the 150 million mark for the first time putting it in fourth place.

The numbers of most use to marketers are the growth categories. Online gambling jumped up 114% which comScore says is likely due to interest in the World Series of Poker. Humor sites had the next highest growth at a mere 25% jump over September but it’s still a trend. Comedy Central, FunnyorDie and CollegeHumor all helped that category succeed.

Amazon’s Price Check App: This is War!

Amazon’s iPhone app has had the ability to scan a bar code and compare prices since October but now the sales giant is putting that ability front and center with a new app they call Price Check.

The app, which was just released in time for Black Friday shopping, is specifically designed and marketed to siphon sales away from brick and mortar stores. By scanning a bar code on a product, typing in the name or even saying the name into your phone, the app searches for the same item on Amazon and you can bet that more often than not, it will be cheaper online.

At that point, you’ll be prompted to place your order right there, while you’re standing in Target, you’ll be ordering the item in front of you from Amazon. How do you like them apples?

Should You Be Archiving Your Social Media Data?

Imagine throwing all of your company’s hard copy files off the roof of twenty-story building in Manhattan. Tax returns, meeting notes, personnel files, all of it, gone with the wind.

That’s the brick and mortar version of the business data that’s currently speeding along the social media super highway. From public Twitter Tweets to private Facebook messages more and more of our daily exchanges are happening over the Internet and it means we’re losing track.

Sure, you probably don’t set out to send formal communications through Facebook but you’re on the site and Susan’s on the site, so why not just ping her chat box and let her know that deadline was moved up to Tuesday? And remember that customer complaint on Twitter? The one where you promised the guy a replacement part overnight? Forgot about him, didn’t you?

Home Depot Personalizes Gift Cards with Video

A gift card may seem like the last act of a desperate gift giver, but Home Depot is determined to change that feeling by adding video to their cards.

When sending a Home Depot e-card, you can now upload a video up to 3 minutes long, or, you can use a webcam to record a message. Then, the recipient uses the code they receive in their email to access the video and voila, it’s now more than just virtual money!

Want to spread the love? With one click, you can send e-gift cards to your friends on Facebook, even if you don’t know their email address.

YouTube Prepares to Offer Skippable Ads

MY DVR is precious to me for many reasons but one is the ability to skip over the commercials while watching my favorite shows. Now, YouTube is going to give their viewers the same choice and it raises some interesting questions.  They call it TrueView, and according to AdAge, it’s going to launch very soon.

TrueView has a number of options connected with it that change depending on whether you’re watching short-form or longer-form videos on YouTube. At the lowest level, viewers will be allowed to skip an ad. For longer material, YouTube is working with the concept of allowing the viewer to choose all ads up front or scattered throughout the program TV style. There’s also talk of offering the viewer a choice of ads which is something Hulu tried a few years ago.