FundRazr: A Simple, Social, Payments Collection Service for Facebook

ConnectionPoint recently launched FundRazr, a new way to collect money through Facebook for everything from sports team dues to charity donations. The application is the company’s first, utilizing the PayPal X platform to make the payment process more interactive and innovative, as well as offering a few extra features for connecting through social media.

Facebook itself has not focused on enabling this sort of payments service. One result seems to be that many organizations use both Facebook and other services for things like event ticket sales. Facebook lets them easily get the word out to a lot of people, but because it doesn’t offer payments, the organizers instead direct people to purchase tickets on third-party sites like Eventbrite.  both a Facebook events page, for e as well as a page on an event-management site like Upcoming; they use Facebook to drive interest, but have to use an outside site to actually sell tickets.

fundrazr

At the heart of the application, FundRazr allows any individual or organization to easily collect online payments. But there are several built-in features that expand this application functionality beyond money collection; analytic and reporting tools give users the ability to track results, and there’s even help when creating a campaign. The application can be tailored to take on unique appearances and functions, as it is designed for social sites and has no set template.

FundRazr is intended for easy money collection for a variety of purposes, such as charity events, sports teams, school clubs, social groups and more. It’s interactive, social focus makes it an excellent way to spread word of causes and campaigns through Facebook, getting out a viral message with a built-in method for collecting donations and payments.

The application is available now in Beta on Facebook; all that’s needed to sign up is a free access code. It should be beneficial to smaller businesses non-profits, school and church groups and anyone operating on a fixed budget without the funds or time to track down donations and payments.

Dawn And RockYou Spread Word Of Wildlife Rescue Campaign Through Pieces Of Flair

Dawn is using RockYou’s Pieces of Flair application to promote its Dawn Saves Wildlife campaign and the Everyday Wildlife Champions Facebook page. Users can spread word of the education and wildlife rescue initiative by sharing the Pieces of Flair — the app features some of the animals that Dawn dishwashing soap has helped clean after the wildlife has been caught in oil spills.

dawnfacebook []

The campaign gives users a chance to learn more about the programs that are helping wildlife, as well as offering information on where people can visit the animals or start their own efforts to help the cause. Dawn is also currently running a promotion that donates $1 from the sale of special edition bottles of their dish soap to the Marine Mammal Center and the International Bird Rescue Research Center. The total potential donation is $500,000.

dawnflair []

“Dawn has been focused on keeping the line between branding and cause clear. While Dawn is the driving factor behind the program’s success, it is ultimately the passion for wildlife conservation that drives the consumer,” said Susan Baba, external relations manager, Procter & Gamble. “Working with RockYou has helped Dawn raise awareness of this wildlife conservation effort and invite consumers to join the Everyday Wildlife Champions movement. In two months, 11,000 fans have joined the page and are actively discussing wildlife issues and events across the country. In addition, over $50,000 in donations has been activated online at www.dawnsaveswildlife.com.”

Dawn and RockYou launched the campaign in July, and more than 1.3 million Pieces of Flair were shared among Facebook users in the first three weeks.

Runway Wars Lets You Decide Who’s Got The Look At Fashion Week

Palm is promoting their new phone, the Pixi, with a Facebook application called Runway Wars. It encourages users to vote on the best-dressed celebrities attending the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week events happening now in New York. The Pixi is Palm’s follow up to the Pre, featuring the same Palm OS, with a sleeker form and optional designer back plates (thus the tie in with Fashion Week).

runwaywars

The Facebook app is a simple bracket-style “tournament” that gives Fans of the Palm page a chance to decide who’s hot and who’s not. Every time you vote on the celebrity fashion matchup, a post goes into your news feed to let your friends know that you’ve just weighed in on who’s fashion forward. There will be several rounds of voting until an eventual winner is crowned.

runwaywars2

Palm’s Page also features news from Fashion Week, as well as an introductory video that highlights the features of the new Pixi. Palm has done a good job targeting the perfect demographic for their new fashion-conscious phones, and though Runway Wars is pretty simple as far as applications ago, it has all the right components needed for broader appeal.

Tattoodle, a Popular Virtual Tattoo App, Driving Revenue Through Toolbars

Tattoodle, an app for creating and sharing virtual tattoos, and posting them on your profile, has gotten as popular as real tattoos over the summer. It grew from 891,000 monthly active users three months ago to 2.76 million a month ago and 4.24 million today. It added 104,000 new users just yesterday and 542,000 in the last week.

appdata-tatoodle

The basic idea is not new, so it’s interesting to see this app growing. The brightly-colored and widely divergent styles virtual types tattoos may have a special allure. The app lets you choose from categories of tattoos like “animals,” “creepy,” “man’s ruin,” “nautical,” and “skulls.”

Tattoodle Facebook

The developer behind the app is called, interestingly, Make The Web Better. The company site says that it makes its money from a browser toolbar called Fast Browser Search. “It is through revenues generated by search that our Company is able to offer and continually enhance our world-class products free-of-charge,” the site says. While using the app, it is easy to navigate to a web page that also offers virtual tattoos but cleverly disguises a “Make Tattoodle my homepage” option into the background of the page. As the site explains, you first click through to add your tattoos (and maybe make Tattoo your homepage), then you’ll see its Fast Browser Search bar installed.

So, it appears Tattoodle is heavily monetizing through toolbars – a practice which can be lucrative, but has been historically criticized for overly aggressive advertising practices.

Smart.fm Tests Your Knowledge Of Facebook Friends, And Everything Else

If you’re looking to increase your knowledge, and really crush at games like Trivial Pursuit, you may want to check out a new Facebook app called Brainspeed. It’s made by Smart.fm, a company that tailors learning programs to best suit your memory ability.

brainspeed-1

The app, which launched yesterday, is at its most basic a way to test your knowledge of your friends against their knowledge of you. It quizzes you and your friends about each others’ profile information — hometown, favorite movies, etc. Whoever gets the higher score “owns” the other person until another friend gets a better score than the winner. The goal is to own the most people.

However, the app also prompts you to click through to Smart.fm’s home site, a sort of structured knowledge service where people can share their expertise and learn from others. For example, one user provided a list of German irregular verbs and their English translations. The site lets you create a mini-course to help you study and review these verbs, through a feature called iKnow! You can also turn this information into a sort of quiz where you can compete to try to score higher than other users. Also called Brainspeed, it’s the game concept technology behind the Facebook app.

Smart.fm’s home site initially launched in Japan has already been used by half a million people in the country. Partly as a result, the bulk of the existing content is mostly about language learning, a popular topic on Japan. The Facebook app is a prelude to a fuller-scale US launch the company has planned for October, where the company will also introduce a range of new features and a broader content focus.

Here’s a video from the company, with some more details about the Smart.fm Facebook app, developed by Context Optional.

Smart.fm Facebook Application — Demo from Josh Dilworth on Vimeo.

Facebook Confirms New Android App

The Google-led Android mobile operating system is getting a new Facebook application today, according to a number of Android-focused blogs. Facebook has been planning a mobile-themed event for this evening, so it appears word got out early. While I’m not currently seeing the app in the Android Market app store, screenshots (including the ones you see here) are already public. Update: You can find it on Facebook here, although it still isn’t showing up in the Market.

facebook for android

Facebook has confirmed the launch of the new app with us. Here’s what the official blurb about the app says, according to Android Guys:

Facebook for Android™ makes it easy to stay connected and share information with friends. You can share status updates from your home screen, check out your news feed, look at your friends’ walls and user info. Share photos from your phone and can even look up up to 125 friends’ phone numbers from the home screen.

We’ll be taking a closer look at it tonight.

Rumors have been going around for months about a Facebook-Android app; some have wondered about the partnership given the competitive positions of Google and Facebook.

Meanwhile, Facebook has also been upping its mobile effort. Last week, it released Facebook Connect for mobile web services — and soon, apps. Through Connect, third parties will be able to access user data from Facebook and enable two-way interactions so users can communicate back to the site. At least one third party, social game developer Playfish, has had their own, unofficial implementation of Connect for months.

Facebook has also been building apps for a wide variety of phones and operating systems, including for Nokia’s N97 and the extremely popular iPhone application.

Facebook Connect Arrives for Mobile, Showcases Nokia App

fbqikFacebook has announced a new way for mobile developers to add its Connect identity-sharing service to mobile web sites and applications. As with Connect for the web, Connect for Mobile Web lets users authorize developers to access their personal data. This means users will be able to sign into mobile web sites and applications using their Facebook identities, and post items directly into Facebook’s news feed.

The service is only available for mobile web browsers, with a few exceptions. But Facebook mobile head Henri Moissinac said today that the company also plans to offer native libraries for each mobile platform so developers can build applications on any device.

You can already see a sample version from live-streaming video service Qik, screenshot at right, where users can access Facebook Connect on the company’s Symbian client.

Facebook has previously released Facebook Connect for the iPhone, and has worked on custom implementations of Connect with various handset manufacturers, including Nokia. Today’s announcement is about making mobile integration easier and more widespread in order to reach more mobile users. The company says that 65 million of its 300 million monthly active users accessed its site from mobile devices in August, that’s up from 20 million mobile users just eight months ago. As Facebook expands into markets around the world where mobile devices are more prevalent than computers, look for its mobile stats to continue skyrocketing.

nokiafb

To show off how Facebook can be used for mobile devices, Nokia also recently announced a new “lifecasting” application to be available for its N97 device as well as the N97 Mini due out next month. Users can access the feature set from an Ovi lifecasting widget on their phones’ homepages, so sharing detailed information with Facebook friends is quicker and easier than with older Nokia integrations of Facebook.

The app, as leaked earlier this week, also uses the phone’s internal global positioning system to let a user share their location with Facebook friends, including the option to attach photos and share them directly into the Stream. The preview video on Nokia Beta Labs also highlights a rating feature (with photos) for your favorite places, news feed updates on music you’re listening to, updates about your sports teams and some sort of mobile updating of your location to your news feed when you’re on the move. You can watch the video, below.

Facebook Seeks To Patent Crowd-Sourcing Translations Application

Facebook has had a lot of success since implementing localized sites early in 2008, through asking users to help translate the site into languages and dialects via in an app called Translations. Now, the site is looking to patent it.

Facebook began using Translations last year to avoid the high cost and long turnover time tradtionally associated with translating a site with such a high level of content. The site is currently viewable in more than 60 different languages.

selectlang

The patent application, filed in December, includes around a voting system where Facebook users submit their translations of words or phrases, and other native speakers and users rate which submissions are the best. Other social networks have been using similar techniques following Facebook’s success, but there were also a few existing translation tools that may keep the patent from going through — if this sort of idea is even acceptable to the patent office in the first place.

translationshot

Should the patent office accept Facebook’s application, it could spell trouble for other social networks. They would either have to create new forms of crowd-sourcing translation, or revert to the costly and sometimes inaccurate practice of translating everything in-house or through contractors. This would not only give Facebook another huge leg up over other networks, but create a potential revenue generator as other sites seek to utilize Facebook’s method for translating their content.

However, social networking patents have so far not come strongly into effect. Friendster, for example, holds a number of social networking-related patents, but to our knowledge has not sued other social networks for patent infringement. Facebook, in this case, might be trying to get a patent on translations to preclude others getting it then suing Facebook. The company has already faced patent lawsuits from smaller companies that seem to not have much else going for them.

“Birthday” Application Quickly Amasses 1.6 Million Users – And Spam Complaints

The Birthday application on Facebook has experienced incredible growth recently, but well-wishers may want to think twice before sending the gift to a friend. The app has grown from zero to nearly 2 million active users in the last two weeks, but there are quite a few negative reviews on the page claiming the app is a source of excessive spam.

birthday-facebook-appdata

Source: AppData

On the surface, the application seems pretty standard — a couple of gifts are immediately available to users, with several more unlocked when recipients accept your gifts. However, the language in the application could cause users to mistakenly send invitations to friends to “confirm their birthdays.” These factors are apparently resulting in a fairly large influx of spam, which has led to an extremely low user rating for the Birthday app and more than a few bad reviews from users.

birthdayapp

Sending a friend a birthday gift laced with spam probably isn’t users’ intent. The developer also doesn’t reveal any information about themselves, with a faceless profile photo, no friends on their personal profile and no other applications or information available.

However, by developing an application purportedly around birthday messaging – a very popular activity on Facebook – Birthday was able to reach a large user number before word spread that it is spreading spam. It will be interesting to see how quickly users catch on, or if Facebook imposes any changes on the developer.

birthdaycomments

Basebook Uses Facebook To Link Military Families Separated By Relocation

Military troops, veterans, and spouses can now reconnect with relocated friends through a new Facebook application called Military Basebook. The app allows users to set up profiles based on where they’ve been stationed and find former friends and colleagues who’ve also spent time on those bases.

basebook

Creator Josh Kayser has found the application to be especially popular among military husbands and wives who get shuffled from base to base often with their enlisted significant others. Kayser recently told military news site Stars and Stripes that he wanted to give those affected by the numerous moves a way to keep in touch.

“We’ve found that this is really popular for spouses,” said Kayser, who works for a company that helps veterans and retirees with their benefits. “We’re finding they are getting the most benefit, the ones most excited about the application.”

Basebook has gained several thousand users in the few weeks of its existence, but its future may be threatened by the recent questions surrounding access to social networking sites for military personnel. The Marines, who are often in the most remote bases and shuffled from post to post, have already issued a ban on sites like Facebook.

However, applications like Basebook fuel the argument that there are many positive aspects to social networking pertaining to the military, and it will be interesting to see how the Department of Defense responds as sites like militarybasebook.com gain popularity.

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