Tag Archives: Wikipedia

The IPO is Nice. But Quiet is Kept, Facebook’s Micropayments Are the Truth!

With this IPO, big brother is getting bigger.

While everyone is agog over Facebook’s IPO, and $100 billion valuation, blah blah blah, a more interesting undercurrent (for me at least) is the fact that they made more than half a billion dollars from micropayments on their payments platform.

More than half a billion dollars from micropayments!

If you’re not familiar with micropayments, they’re discreet payments made within platforms like Facebook, to purchase real and (often) virtual goods.

Micropayments (or micro-transactions) were initially developed as a way of enabling the sale of online content.

They were envisioned as small payments ranging from a few cents to a few dollars.

Micropayment transactions enabled people to sell content on the internetand served as an alternative to advertising revenue, which was traditionally the only real way to make money online (we’re talking pre-ecommerce proper).

Having been steeped in the mobile world, I’m abundantly familiar with micropayments, and the impact that integrating a seamless billing mechanism can have on a campaign, business or business model.

Micropayments work well on mobile because content companies connected to mobile aggregators are able to tap directly into the carriers’ billing systems.

As such, they enable subscribers to purchase ringtones, wallpapers subscribe to alerts and other premium programs, without having to input credit card or other payment details.

KGBKGB made a killing on mobile!

KGBKGB was one of the most successful mobile content companies to implement an effective premium campaign using mobile billing.

KGBKGB is like Wikipedia for your phone. Text a question to 542542, and for 99 cents, they’ll send you the answer.

Other companies, seeing the success of KGBKGB, soon were launching their own programs, leveraging WAP or mobile sites, to offer increasingly sophisticated products and services to mobile subscribers.

Zynga made mirco-transactions a real strategy for social media gamers.

If you’re familiar with Zynga, then you’ve probably seen the most effective application of micropayments in a mobile, online or social media context.

Zynga, the creators of Mafia Wars and Farmville (among their other titles) popularized the practice of encouraging users to pay real money for virtual goods and currency.

If another person sends me a Farmville request....

Built primarily within Facebook’s platform, Zynga’s social media games, allow users to make purchases within their games, monetizing their games.

I’m sure that a large part of Facebook’s micropayment revenue comes from Zynga’s successful implementation of it’s intra-game payment model.

Facebook’s payment platform, which game developers are required to use, is becoming an increasing contributor to it’s revenues, making Facebook less reliant on advertising sales as the sole revenue generator.

Much in the same way that Apple takes a percentage from music publishers and authors who make their content available for sale in their store, Facebook takes a piece of every payment transaction within it’s platform

A large part of why Facebook may continue to be successful, comes from the popularity of their platform and developers’ desire to access this massive audience.

I’m sure that their IPO will be equally successful, as folks belly up to the bar to get a piece of what may invariably be the largest initial public offering ever.

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Filed under digital advocacy, mobile, opinion, social media, technology

The Day The Internet Went Black: SOPA, PIPA & You(‘re Internet Rights)

If you’ve been following the whole SOPA/PIPA debate, then you’re probably aware that today, January 18, 2012, Wikipedia went black to protest the introduction of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act.

The day Wikipedia went black.

These two bills, one being introduced in the Senate and the other the House, are designed to allegedly protect copyright owners from the infringing conduct of offshore and overseas violators.

In short, if a copyright owner believes that a website is selling counterfeit or pirated content, they can apply to the Court for an order  which would then bar all links to the allegedly infringing site, stop search engines from making the site available and force ISPs to block access to the site.

In addition, there would be criminal penalties for unauthorized streaming of content online.

The debate rages passionately on both sides of the equation.

The bills’ proponents, lobbyists for the film and music industry, say its necessary to prevent the rampant unchecked piracy overseas that are cutting into their profits and hurting copyright owners.

Opponents of the bill, citing issues of inadequate due process, censorship and interference with free speech, believe that piracy can be combatted without these draconian laws.

But we’ve been here before.

Remember the music industry’s all out assault on peer-2-peer networks like Napster?

And the spate of lawsuits that the RIAA rammed through the courts, dragging countless teenagers and their parents into court for alleged infringing conduct?

And what did we learn from that?

That these massive companies, the laws were designed to protect, actually ended up abusing the laws, violating due process and in too many instances, initiating action against people who had never, actually, infringed anything.

What makes anyone think that if this law passes, that the exact same thing won’t happen?

For the time being, it looks like SOPA and PIPA have stalled.

Many commentators note that even if it passes both the Senate and the House, President Obama won’t sign it into law.

But they also note that this doesn’t mean the debate is over. Not by a longshot.

The movie and music industry lobby is fierce and motivated.

After the 2012 elections, President Obama will be more likely to extend an olive branch to the entertainment industry, which has had his back since the 2008 elections.

If a Republican is elected (God forbid), then it’s a foregone conclusion that these bills will be resurrected, and find their way into the law books.

But for internet activists, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Wikipedia, Google, Mozilla, and others, this bill would likely have passed without much fanfare.

But the ramifications are so far reaching, and impact so much of what we take for granted, that these organizations have made it their mission to fight SOPA and PIPA for all it’s worth.

If you’re not up on this issue, Wikipedia has kept up these pages related to SOPA and PIPA for people to learn more about the issues.

I, for one, have signed an online petition, contacted my Senator and Representative, and am encouraging everyone who reads this post to ring the alarm and let people know what’s going on.

Don’t let big business become Big Brother and take away your rights.

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Filed under digital advocacy, opinion

QR Codes are cool!

I generated this QR Code using QR Code Generator from the ZXing Project.

If you’re not up on anything that’s happening in the digital world, you probably haven’t peeped QR codes.

Although you’ve probably seen these weird squiggly things on business cards, flyers or maybe even the last time you went shopping at Macy’s, it probably escaped you that these little boxes were the wave of the future.

What is a QR Code?

Well Wikipedia describes a QR Code (short for Quick Response) as a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

The QR code above was generated using a free online QR code generator. To see what’s encoded, you’ve got to:

1.  Have a QR reader on your phone. If you’ve got an iPhone, I recommend QRReader. *Download it to your device.

2.  Open your QR reader on your device. If it seems like you’ve turned on your camera, it’s ok. That’s what’s supposed to happen.

3.  Point your camera at the QR reader until it’s centered on the screen.

4.  Watch the magic happen!

You can do really cool things with QR codes beyond simply sharing your information.

For example, you can launch a video, send text, trigger an SMS or direct viewers to a URL.

Here are a few more that I think you’ll enjoy:

Point your phone at this QR code for a sexy experience.

In this example our QR code launches a video on Vimeo of a short film produced by Firststar Films/Viral Cinema for Black Box a custom accessories boutique in Tribeca.

QR Codes can be used to generate text messages too!

Although this is just a sample, QR codes can generate real SMS/text messages, delivered right to your phone.

QR codes can trigger much more sophisticated actions, beyond simply opening a URL or driving simple text messages. In fact Google’s mobile Android operating system incorporates QR readers natively into it’s architecture, allowing it to trigger more complex processes.

Brands are only starting to flirt with QR codes in the States, but I project that as they start to proliferate, you’ll find more exotic and innovative things being done.

I hope this has been instructive, and feel free to reach out to me if you’ve got questions on QR codes, mobile, apps or whatever!


Filed under mobile, technology

I am a Dandy.

I'm so happy to be a dandy!

I’ve noticed that I’ve got a thing for how I look.

My wife frequently refers to me as a ‘girl’s blouse’ (thanks to my British neighbor).

I, however, like to think of myself as a ‘dandy‘ (also a term I’ve got the Brit to thank).

Wikipedia defines a dandy as man who places particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely hobbies, pursued with the appearance of nonchalance in a cult of Self.

Now I’m not all about the ‘cult of Self,’ but I admit that I like a well made suit.

I’ve had a few bespoke suits made.

Tom James and Omar Jermaine.

I also fancy a waistcoat (a dandy’s way of saying vest – not to be confused with a petticoat – which is an underskirt – but sounds like it could be a vest).

My shoe game is not too shabby either.

A few I-t-alian joints round out my collection.

I’m fond of doing my hair too.

I regularly harass my wife to cornrow or braid my hair.

And I’ve got to smell good.

I’m an Apparition, from Emanuel Ungaro, man.

So, let’s recap:

I’m a guy that likes to get dressed, have his hair done, appreciates a fine shoe and smelling good.

Yup. I’m a girl’s blouse.

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Filed under Smack talking