Musicians Test Charging Facebook Credits for Pay-Per-View Concert Streams

Musicians have begun allowing fans to exchange Facebook Credits for access to pay-per-view streams of concerts, and the standard price seems to be 50 Credits per show, the equivalent of $5. American jam band Widespread Panic has launched a Facebook app in partnership with ecommerce platform Milyoni’s Social Theater to process Credits payments, while English singer/songwriter David Gray is working with European telecom O2 to accept Facebook Credits, PayPal, and credit card payments.

Initially designed for payment of virtual goods in social games, Facebook Credits have recently been used as a payment system for some digital media including film rentals. Now the music business is experimenting to see whether Facebook’s virtual currency, built-in audience, and communication features can help it grow pay-per-view concerts as a revenue stream.

Despite the lack of a native Facebook music playing app, musicians and Facebook have started to depend on each in several ways over the past few years. With the decline of Myspace, hundreds of thousands of musicians now stream their music from third-party applications such as RootMusic’s BandPage and ReverbNation’s BandProfile, which they host as tab apps on their Facebook Pages. The Pages act as a portal to purchasing concert tickets, merchandise, and MP3s, as well as a place to launch new singles.

Facebook benefits from musicians as well, as nearly half of the most popular Facebook Pages are music related. Fans spend time on the site to consume music news, stream music, discuss their favorite artists, and post photos and check-ins from concerts they attend. Facebook recently revived its official “Music on Facebook” Page, which it uses to share useful tips for musicians, venues, industry professionals, and listeners.

Links about concerts posted on Facebook drive up to $5.30 in ticket sales each, and social shares have been shown to generate significant amounts of MP3 sales. However most of these sales occur off-site, such as on iTunes, where Facebook doesn’t get a cut, and the connection between social media efforts and profits is less clear. The new experiments with charging users Facebook Credits to watch concerts through Facebook apps could change this, earning money for the social network through its 30% tax on Credits and demonstrating Facebook’s importance to the industry.

Pages of both Widespread Panic and David Gray feature tab applications through which users can pay 50 Facebook Credits for access to live and rebroadcasted streams of a concert. The artists promote the applications in posts to their Facebook fans and to their websites.

The purchasing experience for David Gray’s concert is simple, and once Credits are transferred, the app reloads to display the streaming player. The option to pay with credit card or PayPal and watch on David Gray’s website expands the accessibility of the pay-per-view experience, but also permits fans to watch in an environment with less viral potential. While the Widespread Panic shows to be streamed don’t occur until next week, the purchase process is somewhat clumsy, as it’s difficult to tell if one has successfully paid, which could lead users to accidentally make redundant purchases.

Those who pay can watch David Gray’s concert which is occurring right now in Dublin, or view rebroadcasts later this evening and tomorrow. The audio quality is pretty good, as is the video minus the occasional short lag or choppiness.

His streaming app wisely allows users to post comments to a discussion feed while watching, with the comments defaulting to being posted to a commenter’s friends via the news feed. This drives more traffic back to the app, stimulating sales. The app also displays a Like Box social plugin encouraging users to Like the O2 Blue Room music division’s Page. These social features resolve our primary complaint with the Warner Bros film studios’ experiment with streaming films such as The Dark Knight for Facebook Credits — namely that it wasn’t inherently social, with no way to discuss the film with other viewers nor invite friends without interrupting the viewing experience.

Musicians that are already filming their concerts, and especially those offering pay-per-view off of Facebook, should consider syndicating their shows through a Facebook app in exchange for Credits. The site’s viral channels can draw in new customers, its Pages offer strong fan retention and communication opportunities, and Facebook Credits makes it easy to accept payments. Success of these early experiments could help Facebook Credits pay-per-view concerts emerge as way for musicians as well as their record labels and management to generate a direct return on investment on building and engaging a Facebook fan base.

Facebook Roundup: White House, Twitter, MySpace, SeeClickFix, Shoutlet, Soccer and More

White House Spokesman Not Headed to Facebook – Although there was widespread speculation that former White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs was being courted by Facebook, The New York Post reports that an interview didn’t favor him. There was also speculation that Gibbs planted the story to boost his image. [Image Via Pete Souza]

Twitter to Offer Pages Similar to Facebook – Marketing Magazine reported this week that Twitter is set to offer branded Pages similar to what Facebook offers. The idea is to allow brands a space to deliver their own content and cultivate more Twitter followers.

Sean Parker Pushed Back Against “The Social Network” – The New York Times reported this week that the first president of Facebook, Sean Parker, used a public relations firm, ID, to undermine the credibility of “The Social Network” during the Oscars race earlier this year.

MySpace SVP Joines Tagged – TechCrunch reported that MySpace’s SVP of Customer Care Tish Whitcraft left the social network to join another, Tagged, as chief customer officer this week.

Marin Software Raises $16M - Marin Software raised $16 million in Series E funding from a variety of investors this week, bringing the company’s total to $51 million. Marin Software creates search engine management software for agencies and advertisers, according to TechCrunch.

SeeClickFix Launches on Facebook Platform – SeeClickFix launched an application on the Facebook platform this week, reported TechCrunch. The service helps people flag issues for officials to tend to.

Shoutlet Updates Management Platform - Shoutlet released an update to its platform this week, Shoutlet 4.0. The new version adds CRM functionality to YouTube and Twitter, in addition to Facebook. It also includes contest functionality, HTML5 compatibility and more.

Vanity Fair’s Facebook Revolution Slideshow - Vanity Fair created a slideshow of Egyptian protesters that used Facebook widely during the recent change in leadership in that country.

Argentine Footballer Gains 7M Fans in 7 Hours – Argentine football (soccer) star Leo Messi just started his Facebook Page Wednesday; 7 hours later he had 7 million Likes, reported Mashable. The sudden growth was likely due to a Facebook merging the various unofficial Pages and community Pages users had created for the athlete before he made his own.

Dating, Horoscopes, Quizzes, Photos, Music and More on This Week’s Top 20 Facebook Apps by MAU

Non-game applications were very popular on our list of top apps by monthly active users this week. Dating, horoscopes, music, video and photos, Connect and quiz apps made up the list, which contained apps growing between 6.2 million and 302,800 MAU this week. Our list is compiled using AppData, our data tracking service covering traffic growth for apps on Facebook, and covers those that gained the most users in the past seven days.

Top Gainers This Week

Name MAU Gain Gain,%
1. Badoo 61,792,543 +6,294,443 +11%
2. Daily Horoscope 9,146,881 +1,820,728 +25%
3. Mafia Wars Game 17,022,203 +1,511,976 +10%
4. BandPage by RootMusic 21,688,890 +1,483,804 +7%
5. Monopoly Millionaires 5,138,437 +1,097,890 +27%
6. VidyoTV Video 1,991,850 +833,699 +72%
7. friend.ly 908,720 +753,013 +484%
8. Daily Horoscope 3,752,495 +668,171 +22%
9. Cupid 3,866,902 +618,875 +19%
10. Diamond Dash 782,850 +617,281 +373%
11. Monster Galaxy 7,960,983 +601,564 +8%
12. Videoloji 2,008,164 +594,956 +42%
13. Zoo World 6,336,834 +437,406 +7%
14. Zombie Lane 470,352 +410,934 +692%
15. Quiz Taco! 11,627,557 +395,896 +4%
16. Band Profile: Profile Pages for Musicians 7,082,482 +341,395 +5%
17. 大腦分析 647,075 +337,478 +109%
18. Gourmet Ranch 2,573,840 +320,434 +14%
19. My Photos 2,364,570 +305,082 +15%
20. Spot The Difference 1,214,943 +302,752 +33%

Badoo continued to grow tremendously by adding 6.2 million MAU this week alone; the app has seen great success with its Q&A format about a users’ friends. Every time a user answers a question about a friend, the app generates a feed story. Another dating app mimicking Badoo’s format is Cupid, which grew by 618,900 MAU by asking question about your friends and publishing the answer to the stream.

There were horoscope apps, too, both named Daily Horoscope. Second place Daily Horoscope grew by more than 1.8 million users by publishing horoscopes to a user’s feed and by asking users to invite friends to use the app. Eighth place Daily Horoscope saw 668,200 MAU by publishing a daily Wall post horoscope.

Two music apps on our list seem to be filling what’s been a void on Facebook — music — now that MySpace’s future is uncertain. BandPage by RootMusic grew by 1.4 million MAU this week; the app is essentially Facebook Connect and asks users to use their Facebook email addresses. Then there was Band Profile: Profile Pages for Musicians, which grew by 341,400 MAU; the app allows users to make the app a default landing tab. The app allows users to include a bio, band photo, post unlimited songs for streaming/downloading/sale, post shows, sell tickets and track how the music is spreading.

Video and photo apps were on the list, too. VidyoTV Video saw 833,700 MAU this week; the apps posts videos to the stream when used, as well as allowing users to Share videos. Videoloji grew by 595,000 MAU; the apps creates feed stories by posting daily videos, as well as allowing Share and Like opportunities. My Photos publishes a different photo of you from your Facebook photos daily and grew by 305,000 MAU. Spot the Difference is a timed puzzle asking users to identify a number of differences in two identical photos and grew by 302,800 MAU.

Finally, there were some interesting quiz apps on the list. Quiz Taco grew by 395,900 MAU and follows the Badoo-esque Q&A format of asking users 25 questions of their friends, generating a feed story with each answer. Then there was the Chinese 大腦分析 (Analysis of Brain) which creates a photo album published to the stream and also gives users chances to publish feed stories. The Connect friend.ly app grew by 753,000 MAU this week, too.

Facebook Comments Box Plugin Includes Live Code for Google and Twitter Logins

The new version of the Comments Box social plugin for third-party websites that Facebook released last week only gives users the options to login with their Facebook or Yahoo! accounts. However, we’ve just learned that the plugin includes live code supporting logins for accounts from Google, Twitter, and other OpenID providers. This means it might be easy for Facebook to enable logins from additional providers if its relations with these companies improve.

Facebook apparently pulled the public options to use Twitter or Google credentials at the last minute. Facebook recently clashed with Google over data portability and whether users should be able to export email addresses of their Facebook friends to Gmail. Twitter released an app in June that allowed users to see which of their Facebook friends tweet, but a disagreement between the companies led Facebook to block this functionality.

The only legitimate alternative login option to Facebook is Yahoo, which recently began allowing visitors to its network of sites including Yahoo News and Flickr to register for Yahoo accounts or sign in using their Facebook credentials.

Yahoo’s inclusion in the Comments Box could be a repayment for this favor, a sign that Facebook doesn’t consider Yahoo a threat, or the result of it signing some terms or deal with Facebook. Those logged in to the plugin through Yahoo don’t display a profile picture or link back to their account, though, making their comments appear inferior to those from Facebook users.

Modifying the Comments Box

By adding a line of Javascript, Google, Twitter, and other login options can be enabled. Adding  MultiLoginPopup.setProvider('google.com'); initiates the Google OAuth flow, and document.getElementsByClassName(“submitButton”)[0].click() lets users comment from their Google accounts.

A similar code snippet  MultiLoginPopup.setProvider('twitter'); can be used to attempt a Twitter login. This relies on a call to www.facebook.com/connect/twitter_login.php , which is currently unaccessible, causing the authentication to fail. MySpace and other OpenID providers can be enabled by substituting  ’myspace’, ‘myopenid’ or ‘pip.verisignlabs’ for Twitter or Google.

Note that Facebook prohibits modification of the Like button and its other social plugins. Facebook told us that “to provide a consistent and easily identifiable experience across the web, social plugins may not be altered beyond options that are already documented.” Developers should know that they add this JavaScript at their own risk and could be punished.

To provide a consistent and easily identifiable experience across the web, social plugins may not be altered beyond options that are already documented.”

The fact that this live code was left in the plugin means Facebook may be looking optimistically towards its future relations with other web service giants. Legitimate support for these credentials would open commenting on third-party sites that have implemented the plugin to a wider audience, improving discussion.

The Comment Box’s lack of an anonymous login option discourages low quality comments and trolls, though it may also discourage valuable but controversial comments users might not want their friends to associate with them.

Allowing Google as a login option could permit slightly more anonymous commenting, as many users’ Google accounts aren’t as deeply connected to their friends. Allowing users to comment from a widely held account that is tied to their real identity, but not necessarily their entire social graph, could lead to more heated debate without opening the floodgates to abuse.

Facebook could but doesn’t currently provide a way to limit on a comment-by-comment basis the visibility to friends of comments syndicated from the plugin to a user’s news feed. In the absence of such privacy controls, there’s an increased need for an authenticated but disconnected commenting option.

[Thanks to Tom Waddington for the tip.]

Connect Integrations, Zynga, Turkey and Phrases in This Week’s List of Top Growing Facebook Apps by DAU

Half of our list of Top 20 growing Facebook applications by daily active users was made up of Connect apps this week — that includes the likes of Yahoo, MySpace, Huffington Post and Hulu. The rest of the list was a mixed bag of Zynga’s CityVille, a few Turkish apps, Groupon, LivingSocial and a couple games. We compile this list with our AppData service.

It’s important to note that Facebook said Tuesday there’s a system bug affecting Connect apps, which means that the rapid growth we’re seeing in some of these Connect apps may be due to the bug and not to actual growth. We’ll be covering that issue as we know more.

Top Gainers This Week

Name DAU Gain Gain,%
1. Yahoo! 6,217,322 +3,843,796 +162%
2. Sanal Video 1,835,268 +1,674,719 +1,043%
3. Myspace 1,235,927 +1,201,586 +3,499%
4. Photobucket 1,314,159 +1,184,306 +912%
5. Wikia 1,124,505 +1,109,685 +7,488%
6. Huffington Post 1,133,869 +1,044,004 +1,162%
7. CityVille 20,083,756 +506,931 +3%
8. Hulu 478,509 +468,764 +4,810%
9. Groupon 472,537 +407,705 +629%
10. AddictingGames 382,331 +355,931 +1,348%
11. Bleacher Report 324,443 +310,527 +2,231%
12. LivingSocial 433,958 +307,264 +243%
13. Windows Live Messenger 13,233,420 +298,373 +2%
14. Sanal Okey 370,618 +277,515 +298%
15. Phrases 1,836,668 +259,944 +16%
16. metroFLOG 291,958 +217,532 +292%
17. Frases Diarias 832,017 +217,323 +35%
18. Kongregate Games 207,376 +206,045 +15,481%
19. MyVideo 191,416 +188,877 +7,439%
20. Frenziac 184,458 +184,228 +80,099%

Specifically, these Connect apps include: Yahoo, MySpace, Photobucket, Wikia, The Huffington Post, Hulu, Bleacher Report, MetroFlog, Kongregate Games and MyVideo. Some of these saw percentage gains of DAUs in the thousands of percent and in raw numbers they gained anywhere from 3.8 million to 188,900 DAUs.

There were a pair of Turkish games on the list, too. Second on the list was Sanal Video, which grew more than 1,000% with 1.6 million users; the app shows the user a list of top videos to view and then may share on Facebook. Then there was Sanal Okey, a card-like game from Arcade Monkey, which grew by 277,500 users, or 298% percent.

Two more game apps  were on the list this week. That includes AddictingGames at number 10, which grew more than 1,300% adding almost 356,000 DAUs by offering a buffet of games to users and Frenziac at number 20 by TubeYou. Frenziac is an easy game to play where the mouse collects “green blobs,” and grew most of its 184,200 DAUs to number 20.

Two Phrases applications — one in English and one in Spanish — were on the list this week. Phrases by Takeoff Monkey grew by about 260,000 users, but for some reason is no longer available to U.S. users, meaning most of the growth came from elsewhere, specifically Europe, Mexico and the Philippines. A similar Spanish app, Frases Diarias, saw a growth of 217,300 DAUs, 35% growth, by offering users phrases by people like Gandhi and Justin Bieber, in both English and Spanish.

Finally, Groupon and LivingSocial, as well as Windows Live Messenger saw growth on our list this week. And Zynga’s CityVille was there, too, adding a Groupon tie-in of free in-game currency, City Cash, with the purchase of a Groupon flower deal. The app saw a 3% growth of about 507,000 DAUs.

A Slower December for Facebook, Third Party Measurement Services Show

While Facebook appears to have grown by more than 36 million new users around the world in January, according to the data we track in our Inside Facebook Gold premium service, that was not nearly the case in December. The company gained significantly fewer users in the last month of last year versus earlier in the year, although there’s the usual considerable variation depending on which analytics service you look at.

Other factors such as students being away from school on holiday also may have influenced the numbers. While the site is maintaining the growth trend of the last few months, it isn’t matching the enormous gains it saw in early summer.

Here’s what we see. Note that most third-party analytics companies take around a month to report; we’ll be covering January’s numbers from them by early March.

You can see the November third-party data here.

Compete

Beating the peak it showed of 133.5 million monthly US unique visitors in October, Facebook was up to 134.1 million in December  – the most Compete has shown for the social network to date. This represents a rebound from a slight drop to 132.7 millionin November. Meanwhile, among its closest rivals, MySpace fell further from 51.9 million to 47.1 million and Twitter stayed about flat at around 26.4 million uniques.

ComScore

Along the same lines — albeit with a baseline difference of around 20 million monthly uniques — comScore showed Facebook growing from 151.7 million users in November to 153.9 million in December in the US. Worldwide, Facebook went from 647.5 million to 662.4 million monthly uniques. Both numbers tend to skew higher than any other services, although the trend comScore is showing matches data from other services.

Similarly, MySpace fell from 54.4 million to 50.1 million in the US and from 81.5 million to 79.5 million worldwide. Twitter fell slightly from 24.0 to 23.6 million monthly uniques in the US, but grew by around 2 million worldwide. Among Facebook’s competitors (at least in the English language), Twitter’s worldwide growth is the most notable.

Google Ad Planner

While the metrics don’t match up perfectly, Google property DoubleClick pulls from Google Analytics and other services to present a generally good look at what’s happening for other web sites around the world. Facebook, in this case, rose from 590 million uniques in November to around 600 million in December. Meanwhile, daily unique visitors (as based on browser cookies) appeared to stay roughly flat at slightly below 300 million. Facebook has said that around half its users log in daily and this data seems to still be backing that up.

Quantcast

Similar to Compete, Quantcast shows Facebook with nearly 134 million monthly unique visitors in the US in December. Note its weekly graphs indicate a solid rise to 135 million right before Christmas, then a drop, then a slight increase at the turn of the year.

MySpace continued its decline to 28.6 million and Twitter grew to 81.6 million; neither of those numbers are anywhere near what others show, but the directions at least seem to match.

Conclusion

We tracked Facebook gaining around 9 million US users in December to reach 145.7 million monthly actives, so above Compete and Quantcast but below comScore, based on Facebook’s advertising tool. Our worldwide tracked data showed 585.5 million — also below the other available world numbers.

Following a year where Facebook would register across-the-board gains in the millions, December seemed slow. But as we mentioned before, preliminary January data seems to be showing a lot more growth. In the US, it added more than 3 million to reach 148.9 million, for example, according to the ad tool.

Inside Facebook Gold includes our country and region breakdowns of growth, as well as ad rates, demographics, and languages, if you want to get more detail on the monthly trends. Meanwhile, stay tuned for the March version of this article to see what short-term trends go long.

MySpace, Connect, Groupon, LivingSocial, Badoo on This Week’s List of Facebook Gainers by MAU

Badoo, the dating app, continues to top our list of growth in terms of monthly active users this week, adding more than 5.4 million users to come out with more than a total of 37.6 million — exceeding any other growing app by far. The app has been criticized by a number of other developers for using aggressive viral tactics that may violate Facebook’s platform policies; we’re checking in with Facebook about that and we’ll update when we have more.

We compile this data by way of our AppData tool. A brief rundown of the rest of the list includes several Connect app, LivingSocial and Groupon apps, as well as MySpace-related apps, sports and Causes (note that Facebook appears to be reporting more data than it has before on Connect applications).

Top Gainers This Week

Name MAU Gain Gain,%
1. Badoo 37,625,994 +5,453,782 +17%
2. Myspace 4,073,115 +3,467,142 +572%
3. Photobucket 4,761,218 +3,414,340 +254%
4. Huffington Post 3,400,208 +2,981,978 +713%
5. Wikia 2,791,859 +2,712,039 +3,398%
6. Ravenwood Fair 8,363,133 +1,365,714 +20%
7. Groupon 2,077,831 +1,298,921 +167%
8. Sanal Video 5,951,901 +1,267,668 +27%
9. Hulu 1,146,351 +1,117,396 +3,859%
10. Profile Banner 2,099,114 +1,088,212 +108%
11. AddictingGames 1,133,497 +943,693 +497%
12. Foursquare 2,533,585 +932,205 +58%
13. Yahoo! 9,975,986 +840,261 +9%
14. PicBadges 1,830,998 +737,637 +67%
15. BandPage by RootMusic 16,789,568 +733,756 +5%
16. Bleacher Report 825,557 +727,143 +739%
17. 廣告讚! 716,429 +711,221 +13,656%
18. LivingSocial 4,702,955 +700,490 +18%
19. Your statistics 2,175,191 +683,748 +46%
20. Causes 25,795,843 +647,001 +3%

MySpace’s Facebook app rolled in second on our list this week, adding 3.4 million users to surpass a total of 4 million — that amounted to a 572% increase in MAUs. This was coupled by an increase of more than 3.4 million users and a 254% increase in MAUs for the affiliated photo hosting site Photobucket. The reason: MySpace users may now share their MySpace and Photobucket photos to Facebook quite easily.

Other Connect apps were on our list, including The Huffington Post which saw a 2.9 million gain, Wikia which counted 2.7 million MAUs, Hulu with just over 1 million, Yahoo with 840,000 and Bleacher Report, a sports website which saw growth of 727,100 MAUs in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. Groupon at number 7 with a 167% gain of 1.2 million MAUs beat out competitor LivingSocial with 700,500 new users.

There were a few foreign language apps that made the list and show some interesting growth.

Sanal Video is in Turkish, added 1.2 million MAUs, growing by 27% and topping out at almost 6 million users. The app rounds up different videos for a user to play; once a video is selected it plays and allows you to share the video to your stream. My Ad Market is an app in Chinese that did most of its growing in the past week, adding 711,200 MAUs. BandPage by RootMusic added 733,800 new users, continuing the growth we’ve seen on the musician tab app in recent months.

Finally, Causes made the list with a MAU jump of 647,000 to bring the app to 25.8 total monthly active users. Part of its recent promotions have coordinated with Valentine’s Day, urging users to donate $10 on behalf of a loved one to a favorite charity, including Egyptian and Tunisian causes.

Facebook Roundup: Goldman Sachs, Security, HTML5, MySpace, NPR, Cuba and Teens

Facebook Accused of Negligent Security – Sophos security firm and BitDefender have both taken Facebook to task for not providing adequate security and protecting user privacy. Most recently Sophos found that 40% of social network users were sent malware, up from the year before — Facebook’s rebuttal is that the report doesn’t detail how many of those were actually successful, and adds that attacks have decreased in effectiveness.

Facebook Hosts HTML5 Tech Talk - Facebook announced it will host a Tech Talk on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. PST to explore how Facebook, Zyng and Sproutcore are going to use HTML5.

MySpace Not Closing, Partnering with Facebook? – MySpace reached out to Facebook recently to “talk about unique ways we could work together which truly benefit bands and the fans that are on the Facebook platform,” according to Roberto Fisher, vice president of product for MySpace Music. Fisher went on to tell Digital Music News that the company is “hanging in there” because he believes MySpace has different things to offer fans than Facebook.

NPR, Facebook Media Success Story – NPR’s digital strategist Andy Carvin appeared at an Online News Association meeting this week to talk about how the organization’s 1.4 million fans communicate around Facebook. NPR’s main goal is building a community on Facebook, as opposed to just driving short-term clicks, which gives them success such as growing its click generation from 1.5 million to 1.4 million pageviews a month.

Facebook Shuts Down, Reinstates Cuba’s Page - According to an odd mix of sources mostly outside of the US, YouTube and Facebook reportedly shut down a Cuban political channel and Page from a group called Cubadebate over “copyright” issues — both then quickly reinstated the group after being denounced by the Cuban government.

Two Thirds U.S. Teens Facebook Friend Parents – A recent study from Kaplan Test Prep found that about 65% of teenagers friend their parents, 38% ignore parental friend requests and 16% said friending parents was a condition of joining the social network.

Facebook Gets Flack Over Name – Facebook is on the receiving end of accusatory talk over its name, according to TechCrunch. A long-distance calling company Talkbook, is trying to cancel Facebook’s trademark on its name.

Majority of American Adults Use Facebook - The Pew Internet & American Life Project recently released a report, “The Social Side of the Internet,” and found that about 82% of American adults use social networks, among other interesting statistics.

Facebook Roundup: Media, Facebook Phone, Pages, Early Facebook-Like Site, Taiwan and More

UK’s The Independent Allows Granular Facebook Subscriptions – In a blog post this week the UK paper The Independent announced that its web site will now allow users to Like a particular football team or authors on its Page in order to follow that content back on Facebook. It’s another step in making Facebook a central information-consumption service.

The First Facebook Phone? – If you recall, last fall there was a big hoopla about Facebook developing its own phone. Well, Pocketnow reports that the INQ Cloud Touch is the first of two “Facebook phones,” as it has deep Facebook integration. The phone in question is the next version of a model that has had Facebook integration for years.

Facebook’s Rosenthal Leaves, Built Mobile Carriers to 300 – Alison “Ali” Rosenthal from Facebook’s business development team is leaving the company this week. She worked primarily on mobile business development recently, especially in overseeing and growing Facebook’s relationship with 300 mobile operators globally.

Best Times for Pages Posts – SocialFresh published a set of conclusions on the best times for Facebook Pages to post updates, using data from Vitrue’s blog and Facebook’s Data team’s Page. Specifically, the best times include 3 p.m. EST when the largest number of users are active on Facebook. There is also a morning peak at 11 a.m., and an evening peak at 8:00pm EST. Despite the 3 p.m. peak, the morning probably is due to the fact that nighttime gives posts time to accrue Likes and comments before the night’s drop in engagement. Vitrue said morning posts were 39.7% more effective than afternoon posts. Monday is when the most users are posting and Wednesday when the most users are commenting. Avoid Saturday and Sunday when engagement is the lowest.

Facebook Purchased FB.com for $8.5 Million – We reported last year that Facebook’s employees were going to be using the fb.com domain name internally, and not it’s come to light that Facebook paid the Farm Bureau $8.5 million to do so.

Pentagon Manages Its Own Social Media – Although The Pentagon previously hired people to teach staffers how to use social media, the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs now is having his staff of 100 or so does the job in-house.

Mixpanel Analytics Grows 40% Monthly - TechCrunch reported that Mixpanel, an analytics startup, is its data volume 40% each monthly, tracking more than 1 billion actions a month and is set to add to its current data set the ability for users to create “custom email digests of data” either hourly or daily and bookmarks that allow users to track “visitor retention by source.”

Winklevoss Twins in Court Again - The twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who have been carrying on a legal dispute with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg over the origins of Facebook, are back in court. They’re now trying to get a better deal on a 2008 settlement currently worth around $140 million in Facebook stock, claiming that Facebook had misrepresented the value of the company at the time and as a result gave them less stock than they feel they deserve.

Facebook Participating in IPv6 Upgrade – Facebook, along with other major Internet companies, has agreed to participate in the first global trial of IPv6, the upgrade to the Internet’s primary communications protocol, IPv4. The test will run on June 8.

Stanford Students Created Facebook-Like Site in 1999 – Whatever the Winklevosses may claim about the originality of what they were trying to build this past decade, The Stanford Daily has a story this past week about a social networking website created at Stanford University in 1999 by students that combined information from the Stanford directory with photos from the university’s “Facebook.” The university ultimately shut down the site. [Image Via Stanford Daily]

SNAP Interactive Raises $8.5M for Social Dating – SNAP Interactive, which claims 30 million installs for its social dating app across its platforms, including Facebook and iPhone, is set to raise $8.5 million in a “private placement transaction.” TechCrunch reported that the company has agreed to sell about 4.25 million shares of common stock in the deal.

Influence Measurer Klout Gets $8.5M – Startup Klout, which measures influence across the social web, raised $8.5 million in funding from Kleiner Perkins’ sFund. Bing Gordon will join the board. This brings Klout’s total to $10 million.

Facebook Struggles in Japan, Thrives in Taiwan – Although Facebook has yet to take command of Japan’s online audiences, users in Taiwan are increasingly flocking to the social network. comScore reported that Facebook’s visitors in Taiwan almost beat Yahoo’s Wretch.cc social network there and the company hit 9 million users in January. In Japan meanwhile, there are less than 2 million users.

MySpace to Lay Off 500 – MySpace is set to lay off about 500 workers, about 47% of its workforce, and is also entertaining potential purchase offers.

Facebook Roundup: Loading Time, HuffPo, Congress, Facebook Movie, Hyundai and More

Facebook Site Loads Fastest – Facebook’s home page loads faster than all other social networking sites, according to a recent survey from AlertSite. Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 Facebook’s home page loaded at an average rate of 1.06 seconds. YouTube followed, then LinkedIn, Twitter and MySpace. [Image via AlertSite]

Huffington Post Adds New Facebook Integration – The Huffington Post has implemented a beta trial of a new social feature called Stories You Might Like. Different than popular social news integrations which base suggestions off of the activity of friends, Stories You Might Like pulls a user’s own Likes from Facebook Connect to give recommendations about stories on those and similar topics. The feature appears in a sidebar panel of the Huffington Post home page. Currently the suggestions are rather inaccurate, but with time the integration could create an improved news reading experience for those who don’t have similar interests to their friends.

MySpace Set to Layoff 50% of Staff - AllThingsD reports this week that MySpace is set to layoff as much as 50% of its 1,100 employees in the U.S. and abroad in an effort to wring profits from falling revenues.

‘The Social Network’ Still Going Strong – The Facebook movie, also known as “The Social Network,” has won all kinds of awards during the awards show season but as Oscar season nears, Sony Pictures is busy promoting the movie. The film has already made $93 million in the U.S. and $104 abroad, but Sony Pictures is re-releasing the movie in 600 theaters in the U.S. today and launching the DVD on January 11 with 8 hours of bonus features.

Congress Livestreamed on Facebook for First Time – Congress broadcast live on Facebook for the first time Wednesday, as Congress’ first convening of 2011 was livestreamed to the Republican Congress’ Pledge to America Page.

Tunisian Govt Hacks Facebook - The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that the government in Tunisia has been “modifying web pages on the fly to steal usernames and passwords for sites such as Facebook.” Consequently, groups, Pages and profiles are deleted, including those used by journalists and bloggers in that country.

Doctors Consider Friending Patients on Facebook – A French report surveyed 405 residents and fellows at a hospital there to find that the majority of doctors have profiles with their real information on Facebook. Most, 85%, would automatically decline a friend request from a patient, 15% would consider it and 6% had received a request and 4% accepted them.

Hyundai’s Blue Link Updates Location on Facebook - Hyundai has installed a new service for its cars, Blue Link, which promises to enable location sharing through Facebook.

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