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InSTEDD: Not Just A Misspelled Website

Admit it: when you saw “InSTEDD,” you thought, “Great, another ‘kr8tiv’ spelling for a Web 2.0 flop-to-be.” How’s this for a mission statement:

We want everyone to benefit from the tools and technologies we know can save lives.

Like what? Ultrasounds? EKGs?

No, Facebook. Duh.

While InSTEDD is decidedly Web 2.0-y, and decidedly misspelled, it’s not as useless as most Web 2.0 flops—and it comes with a pretty good pedigree. It’s an NPO, formally named Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disaster, is designed to leverage (sorry, the Web 2.0-iness got to me) social networks to help “identify and warn others of outbreaks like Avian flu or disasters like Hurricane Katrina.”

In addition to its other initiatives, Google.org has invested $5 million in InSTEDD. The initiative will leverage (argh) social networks including Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Gains but MySpace Still Gets the Most Traffic

Hitwise has some new numbers about social networking sites. Though down, MySpace is still gets the most traffic with 76% of visits in 2007. It’s actually down. Number two, Facebook is up 51%. They monitored 53 different social networking sites to get the data.

What’s surprising it how far behind Facebook is – with just 12.57 percent of visits. People are returning to the sites. In December 2007, 95% percent of traffic to the site are return visits, not first timers. Facebook also has loyal users because 93% of traffic was also returning visitors.

Another measure of stickiness is how much time people spend on the site. In December 2007, the average time spent on Bebo averaged a full 30 minutes and 24 seconds. That is a long, long time online.

Yahoo Adopts OpenID’s Single Sign-in Platform

I must admit, I’m not a big user of the OpenID platform. In case you’re not familiar, OpenID allows you to have a single login name that you can use across different web sites. I finally set mine up last week and it looks like another 250 million of you will be able to do the same, thanks to Yahoo’s decision to adopt the OpenID framework.

According to TechCrunch

The service will be available in public beta on January 30, says Yahoo, and will allow users to log in to more than 9,000 OpenId compliant websites with their Yahoo IDs. Yahoo will also be integrating their Sign-In Seal feature, meaning users can view an uploaded image before giving over credentials – the feature is widely used by financial institutions and is designed to reduce the effectiveness of phishing attempts.

200+ Internet Marketing Gurus on Twitter

By Brian Chappell

The twitter train is pulling up, are you on board yet? Twitter is one of the most revolutionary messaging systems to come out in my opinion since AOL Instant Messenger back in 1997. It allows groups of users to simultaneously engage in conversations all at the same time, similar to being in a “chat room” in AOL. As a marketer this can be a golden tool if utilized properly for personal reputation management reasons.

Many underground conversations go on within Twitter that never make it to the blogosphere or news sites. It can be a dynamite location for link bait ideas, breaking stories, and general topics you might not think about on a daily basis. You might even find yourself obtaining clientèle through it. I really could go on and on with what you could do with Twitter.

Where Are They Now? Hakia’s Social Network

Hakia, a semantic search engine, launched a social network of sorts back in October. The purpose of the network was to allow users to connect with others who typed in the same query.

While I’ve always wondered why you’d want to do that unless a search engine’s results were lacking, I figured it was about time to see how that idea was going after almost three months.

Pluses:

  • The network doesn’t require you to register, just type in the query.
  • You can contact the authors of the messages (if they’ve chosen that option), report abuse, remove your own messages and rate messages on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.

Minuses:

  • Limited number of queries with responses.
  • Inability to respond to other messages on the message board.

Is Facebook Buying Plaxo? Do You Care?

Facebook is “one hundred percent” buying Plaxo, we’ve just heard from a source.

Wow, starting your story with that sentence certainly grabs your attention, doesn’t it? VentureBeat’s managed to make a statement of "fact" without actually saying that it has confirmed the story. Nice!

Well, assuming it’s "one hunded percent" then I guess we can soon expect our Plaxo accounts to start sniffing around our business contacts and phoning home to the Facebook mothership. You see, part of the reason why Facebook would be interested in coughing-up as much as $200M for Plaxo is that the service has done a great job of convincing us to install its plugins and share our contact info.

That’s the type of info that would be very valuable to Facebook…

MySpace Adds Protections for Minors

As promised, MySpace makes a big announcement today about “Internet safety.” And no, it has nothing to do with not tripping over your power cord.

Naturally, MySpace’s Internet safety announcement is about increasing privacy and safety for its minor members. ReadWriteWeb reports that the updated features will include:

  • For users 16 and 17 years of age, the default profile setting will now be private — previously this was a default only for 14 and 15 year old users (14 years old is the minimum age for site membership).
  • MySpace will look into the creation of a “children’s email registry that will empower parents to prevent their children from having access to MySpace or any other social networking site.”