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Twitter Gives TinyURL the Big Boot

Twitter’s “World Dominance 140 Characters At a Time” Tour continues as it tries to help users squeeze more into twitter-logotheir messages. This time, however, there is casualty. TinyURL was the default URL shortening service for Twitter until recently when bit.ly was deemed the service of choice to shorten the URL’s of millions (that sounds painful, doesn’t it?) as reported by TechCrunch.

TinyURL has been with Twitter since its inception but the bit.ly service has a few advantages over it and some even benefit the users. bit.ly makes URL’s shorter than TinyURL which in the limited space that 140 characters is can be advantageous. Just think of the tragedy if one of your followers couldn’t get the additional exclamation point you had to share so you could really get your emotion across to them. Oh, the humanity!

Are You Breaking the Law with Social Media Marketing?

624824_restrainedDoes anyone else hear Judas Priest after reading that headline? No?

Um, anyway, the FTC has been cracking down on the newer methods of marketing, and social media marketing is not immune as SEOmoz’s general counsel, Sarah Bird, pointed out recently in an interview with Eric Enge. The new guidelines, available from the FTC, appear to threaten the future of SMM. The bottom line?

If you’re being compensated to talk about someone’s product, then you need to disclose it.

Rand Fishkin (you know, Sarah’s bossman) summarizes a few important points for us:

  • Most SMM is okay: “Want to create accounts for your client or project at social sites, interact with the community under those accounts or build up popularity/followers? You’re in the clear, and can do so without saying who’s paying you or why you’re engaging in those activities.”

Automattic Helps WordPress Be More Social

buddy-pressLate last week the parent company of WordPress, Automattic, unveiled BuddyPress which is designed to build social networks around WordPress sites reports paidcontent.org.

While the idea of being able to build a social network is certainly not new (Ning has found some considerable success here) the ability to do it around existing WordPress sites certainly deserves notice. With millions of blogs and sites using WordPress the impact could be significant.
Matt Mullenweg of Automattic lays it out in his blog saying

“There’s been a dearth of Open Source tools that enable the social web. I don’t think BuddyPress will be something you use instead of your existing social networks… but if you wanted to start something new maybe with more control, friendlier terms of service, or just something customized and tweaked to fit into your existing site, then BuddyPress is a great framework.”

New Search Options for Gmail and Twitter

Apparently, Google’s engineers have adult attention deficit disorder. I’m being serious! Because of ADD, we now have Google Search integrated directly into the Gmail interface:

I used to have a problem. People would ask me questions, over chat or email, and I’d have to leave Gmail to search Google for an answer. Then I’d have to select the answer, copy it, go back to Gmail and paste the answer into the chat window or my reply. Sometimes I’d get distracted and forget to go back to Gmail, and I’d have to go through it all again when I remembered what I’d been doing.

Poor guy.

Anyway, head to the Gmail Labs tab in your account and you’ll see the option to switch on Google Search within Gmail. You’ll then get this in your sidebar:

Flickr Takes Some Shots from Yahoo Layoffs

While it is no surprise that Yahoo started announcing the layoffs of between 600-700 people this week (the flickr-logonumber varies according t the source) there is a bit of a surprise in what business units were targeted. The biggest surprise comes from the cuts made at Flickr.

Om Malik of Gigaom gives some interesting insight into these changes by sharing the announcements he picked up from various engineers through tweets. While layoffs do seem to be a part of it there seems to also be some voluntary exits that go along with the forced reductions. While this is completely conjecture on my part, the experience I have had is that when there are voluntary exits that coincide with layoffs that is not a very good sign. Most people are happy that they didn’t get let go and move on with their jobs and just deal with the ‘survivor’s guilt’. If folks are jumping ship of their own accord in conjunction with the layoffs then you have to wonder what is actually happening there.

Why Facebook’s Fund Raising Reminds Me of NBC’s The Office

Does anyone else see the similarity between Facebook’s attempts to raise additional funds and last week’s episode of The Office?

A quick re-cap. Michael Scott’s paper company is offered a buyout by his old employer. On their way to the negotiation table, everyone is eager to ensure that Michael Scott doesn’t reveal that his company is actually flat broke, and desperate for the money.


(click to watch the clip at Hulu.com)

Enter Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg:

“We absolutely do not need to take money,” she said. “We might take money, but it doesn’t mean we need to.”

OK, while Facebook is not exactly flat broke, it is playing a game of brinkmanship with venture capital firms–which value Facebook in the $2-3 billion range instead of the $5-6 billion Sandberg wants.

Proof That Nielsen is Wrong; Twitter’s Retention Rate is Not 40%

Nielsen Wire posted a shocking statistic to its blog:

Currently, more than 60 percent of Twitter users fail to return the following month, or in other words, Twitter’s audience retention rate, or the percentage of a given month’s users who come back the following month, is currently about 40 percent.

The post also included a comparison of Twitter’s retention rate, compared to Facebook’s and MySpace’s:

But–and it’s a big but–did Nielsen fail to take into account that many Twitter users start off using the web site interface, then quickly migrate to a third-party application? That’s the suggestion Brendan O’Connell offered up.

A quick look at Twitstat seems to back up his theory. Twitstat is tracking over 200 different Twitter applications and, as the chart below shows, only 27% of Twitter users are using the web interface: