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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:

Microsoft Vine Could Save Your Life in a Crisis

Microsoft has announced the private beta launch of Microsoft Vine, a web tool designed to keep family and friends in contact with each other.

Now, before you start screaming “Twitter ripoff,” take a close look at what Microsoft Vine is trying to be:

Send and receive alerts. Organize people into groups – the sports team you coach, people who live nearby, family far away, special friends, and emergency contacts…Check in safe and well to let your family know you are okay, let trusted neighbors know you’re headed out of town, keep people informed of situations that matter, or share general information like the team practice schedule for the week.

The Cluetrain Plus 10–Networked Markets in 2009

cluetrain“People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.”

Ten years ago the above statement made it to #11 on The Cluetrain Manifesto‘s list of 95 theses. Read the thesis again and then consider the “networked markets” that existed in 1999. There was no Facebook, no MySpace, no Digg, no Yelp, no TripAdvisor, and certainly no Twitter. Instead, customers were connecting with, and supporting, each other using newsgroups, forums, email newsletters, and–barely–blogs.

Posts, Tweets and the Law

ebay.jpgToday the WSJ tells the tale of eBay and its foray into social media that began in April 2008 with a blog then quickly moved to the world of tweets and tweeple in Twitter. The author of much of the content, Richard Brewer-Hay, spent most of the past year pretty well ‘on his own’ with what he was writing in both vehicles then the corporate version of a buzzkill took place.

The growing Twitter audience also attracted the attention of eBay’s lawyers, who last month required Mr. Brewer-Hay to include regulatory disclaimers with certain posts. Some followers think the tougher oversight is squelching Mr. Brewer-Hay’s spontaneous, informal style.
Financial services and insurance companies have long been hampered by what they can and cannot say that would upset the folks at the SEC and for good reason. Considering the state of the financial industry maybe this didn’t even matter.

MySpace Officially Names Owen Van Natta as CEO

As we expected

News Corporation today announced the appointment of Owen Van Natta to the role of MySpace Chief Executive Officer effective immediately. Mr. Van Natta will be based in Los Angeles and report directly to Jonathan Miller, News Corporation’s CEO of Digital Media and Chief Digital Officer.

You can read the full announcement here.

Yelp Finally Allows Businesses to Respond to Reviews

As previously reported, Yelp has launched a system to allow business owners to address reviews left by their customers.

The new system will finally ease the frustration of businesses not being able to share their side of the story–especially when facing a very negative review. The system will look like this:

Now, before you rub your hands together in delight, Yelp’s well aware of just how over-bearing business owners can be, so it’s going to be very strict in what it will and won’t allow business owners to post. Here are the guidelines for business owners planning to respond:

Public Comment Guidelines

Use public comments to: