Tag Archive | "direct-message"

Twitter’s Theoretically Temporary URL Messaging Ban Due To Massive Wave Of DM Spam

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Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 9.51.50 AM

Late yesterday afternoon many Twitter users began to notice that they could no longer send Direct Messages containing URLs. The complaints about the issue gained steam late into the night, when we reported that Twitter said a ‘technical issue’ was behind the problem with DMs.

Well, it turns out that the technical issue may have been referring to the handling of Direct Message spam, not with the sending of URLs. Specifically, we’re hearing from sources inside the company that a wave of hacked accounts a few weeks ago has led to a massive rise in DM spam, where links are sent to users in the hopes that they will click and enter personal information to be collected by scammers. The idea that spam was behind the ban was posited by a report in ReadWrite last night.

What we’re hearing is that the rise in DM spam ended up garnering attention inside Twitter up to the point where an executive inside Twitter’s C-suite got DM spammed. Hence the abrupt ban on URLs inside DMs until the issue can be sorted out.

When we reported on the issue last night, we noted that the cause of the errors could be a bug, or a response to DM spam. In this case, it appears that the ban on sending URLs via DM is a temporary patch to aid in fixing the spam problem, but at this point we have no information about whether this is a permanent measure.

The inconsistencies that we noticed with regards to the sending and receiving of URLs is due to the fact that Verified users and advertisers are exempted from the ban on sending links in DMs. This would impede, of course, the efforts of marketers using Twitter’s legitimate advertising platform to send DMs, something that is part of the flow of a few of Twitter’s ad products. Alcohol advertisers, for instance, use the DMs to verify ages and more. There are also some whitelisted URLs, as noted by the ReadWrite report Facebook, Instagram and Twitter links appear to work, and there are likely others on the list.

We have reached out to Twitter for more information about the DM spam and what measures it’s taking to curb it.

Image Credit: 55Laney69 / Flickr CC

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

With Today’s Updates, Twitter Apps Finally Sync The ‘Read’ Status Of Your Direct Messages

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tweet composer

Twitter announced updates to its Android, iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps today, as well as its desktop and mobile websites, plus TweetDeck. The main improvement isn’t a huge change, but it does eliminate one of the most annoying aspects of the apps — namely, the fact that they couldn’t tell if you had read a Direct Message on a different device or app.

In other words, if you read a direct message on Twitter for Mac (for example), then opened up Twitter for iPhone, the DM would still show up as unread. I don’t think it ruined the Twitter experience for anyone, but even for someone like me, who doesn’t get too many DMs and gave up on the “inbox zero” instinct years ago, seeing those read-yet-unread messages could be pretty exasperating.

Thanks to today’s updates Twitter says that issue is going away — though you’ll need to make sure you have the latest version of whatever apps you’re using in order for the changes to take effect. I tried it out myself, and seeing Twitter accurately reflect my reading behavior made me pretty happy.

In addition, Twitter says its mobile apps have an improved search experience, with full bios when you search for people, and a “similar accounts” preview. And the iPhone version includes a new “tweet composer” (shown above) that allows you to reply to a tweet without jumping to a new window (so you can see the context for your reply as you type it). It’s also supposed to include a new “people” button in the navigation bar, though I’m not actually seeing that one yet.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

SocialBro Raises $1.8M To Help Businesses Manage, Analyse And Monetize Twitter Communities

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dashboard

The ability to drill-down and target specific groups of people on Facebook, based on their interests or affinity with your brand or a competitor’s, is sort of a given. The technology is already built into the platform. On Twitter, however, it’s not so easy. That’s the hole that SocialBro wants to fill, along with educating companies on how the 140 character-driven social network can be used as a tool to do business.

To spread its wares and message, the UK/Spain-based startup, which describes itself as a cloud solution for the management, analysis and monetization of Twitter communities, has raised £1.2 million (~$1.8m) in Series A funding, adding to the €500k seed round it announced last November.

The majority of its new capital comes from Scottish Equity Partners (SEP). The UK-based VC firm, whose previous early-stage investments include the flight search-engine Skyscanner, put in £1 million. The rest of the round comes from SocialBro’s existing angel investors, including Stephen Bullock (notably an investor in the social media monitoring tool Brandwatch), and Chris Underhill (ex-CEO of Smartfocus).

Speaking on a call with TechCrunch last night, SocialBro founder and CEO Javier Burón said the company plans to use the funds primarily to grow its sales and marketing team in London (Burón himself is based at Google Campus), as well as invest in its engineering and design teams in Spain to deliver on its current roadmap, which includes new unannounced products.

Burón also said the decision to focus on London as its sales and marketing base, rather than Spain, was because the company is in part targeting English-language customers, and that London is a good place to look outwards. Around 30 percent of its 3,000 paying customers reside in the U.S. with the UK second, although Burón notes that Spain is also doing well, as is South America and Indonesia.

Operating a freemium model, in which its non-cloud desktop app is free, the company also has 180,000 non-paying customers from over 100 countries. Plenty of opportunity to up-sell internationally then, one would think.

But to take advantage of that opportunity, concedes Burón, requires educating businesses on how they can extract value from Twitter and ultimately, by using SocialBro, increase their ROI in social media marketing.

The cloud service enables brands to analyse their Twitter communities, in terms of things like where they are from, when they tweet, what they tweet about, how influential they are, and the influencers they are connected to. It’s then possible to segment these users for better targeting and monitoring, including Direct Message campaigns. The same kind of analysis can also be applied to competitors so that a business can fine-tune its social marketing strategy, accordingly.

SocialBro also plays nicely in the wider social media marketing ecosystem. It has integrated with HootSuite, the power-user Twitter client aimed at social media managers and brands, along with the social influence platform Kred, the European Klout-competitor PeerIndex, and the time-shifting Twitter app Buffer, which lets users line up tweets for the most optimum time of exposure.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Twitter Launches “Age Screening” With Buddy Media, Preventing Underagers From Following Registered Adult Brands

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Twitter Age Screening Image

The next time you try to follow an alcohol company or other brand with age-restricted products who has opted in to Twitter’s new “Age Screening” system, you’ll be required to submit your age, and won’t be allowed to follow if you’re too young. Nothing will change about who you already follow, but you’ll be sent a DM with a link to submit your age upon your first new follow of an adult brand, and your age will then gate your future follows of brands who’ve signed up for age screening.

You can try it yourself by going to follow Coors Light, Jack Daniels Honey, or Jim Beam’s Skinny Girl magarita.

Buddy Media built the product in a partnership with Twitter after alcohol brands requested the microblogging service add the feature to protect them from legal scrutiny. Oddly though, adult brands can still advertise sweet, sweet booze, gambling, and pharmaceuticals to minors on Twitter.

Twitter doesn’t ask users their age when they sign up and tells me it had no plans to do so, so it worked with Buddy Media to create this age screening product quickly. Until a brand registers, there are no restrictions on who can follow it.

How Twitter Age Screening Works

Here’s the flow all users will go through the first time they follow a brand who has opted in to Age Screening:

When you click Follow on a brand who has opted in:

You’ll be sent a Direct Message with a link to the age submission page:

…Where you are asked to submit your age:

If you’re old enough in the geographic area defined by your IP address your follow will go through:

Otherwise it will be rejected:

Twitter will then use the age you submitted to allow or prevent you from following other adult brands. You won’t be allowed to resubmit your age immediately, for example to say “Oh, I entered that I’m 17 and got denied. Let me put in 25″. However, after some undisclosed amount of time you’ll be allowed another shot in case you made a mistake.

Twitter won’t go snooping to confirm you age, though. Guy Yalif, head of product marketing at Twitter tells me “We are trusting users to input their valid birth date. We have no plans to self identiy their valid birthdate or cross refence this with third-party data.”

Brands who want some legal shielding can go to the Buddy Media tool and register themselves. They can then select the minimum age of their followers in geographic regions across the globe. To make it especially easy for alcohol brands, Buddy Media has indexed the minimum age to drink for all countries and lets brands set these ages as follow requirements with one click.

Beyond alcohol brands, gambling companies and pharmaceuticals makers may end up using the age screening tool.

Facebook prevent alcohol and som other age restricted brands from advertising to those under age, but kids can still Like adult brands and get their marketing messages in the news feed. Pressure from today’s launch by Twitter might push it to make changes, though.

Meanwhile, vice and drug brands may now be willing to pour more money into Twitter ads, knowing any new followers scored will have at least said they’re old enough to get take a shot, pop a pill, and roll the dice.



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Conversocial adds Facebook pages’ direct messages to customer service tool

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Social customer service software company Conversocial now integrates pages’ direct messages, less than a day after Facebook released the API enabling the feature.

With Conversocial, companies can view and respond to incoming messages from users directly from the platform where they manage other Facebook and Twitter interactions. Conversocial users can also take advantage of features that Facebook doesn’t offer like assigning tickets, adding category tags and marking sentiment.

The system helps companies keep track of which representatives are taking what actions on behalf of the page. On Facebook, there is no way to tell which admin made a post or responded to a direct message, but with Conversocial there is a log to keep track of these activities. The tool also provides analytics about average response time for each company representative so organizations can understand how their customer service agents are performing.

Another useful feature is that Conversocial displays all the previous interactions a user had with a page. This gives representatives context when they go to respond to the user’s direct message and could help them provide better service.

Conversocial Co-founder and CEO Joshua March says the new option for users to send private messages to pages will force companies to provide better customer service than most have in the past.

“Many companies right now ignore the fact that they’re getting real customer service issues on the Wall — either just ignoring them or passing them off with replies asking them to email support,” March says. “It will be impossible to ignore the thousands of long form, private customer service issues they’re about to start getting.”

March tells us he expects companies to get more customer service queries via Facebook once messages are enabled. Conversocial found that 32 percent of all tweets received by their clients were customer service issues, compared with only 7 percent of Facebook comments and posts. Facebook brings in a greater volume of interactions overall, but with the addition of private messaging similar to Twitter’s direct messages, the number of customer service requests brands receive on Facebook could reach the same ratio as on Twitter. March says this could cause up to a fivefold increase in the amount of direct customer service issues companies are getting through social media channels.

How it works

When a user sends a page a direct message, the message will appear in the Conversocial dashboard where page representatives can assign the message to another agent or reply themselves. They can also add tags, sentiment or a note to other admins.

When a page rep replies to the customer, that message shows up in the user’s inbox on Facebook. The message is marked as being from the page rather than an admin’s personal account. Conversocial keeps track of which representative responded, however. There is currently no way to do this with Facebook alone.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

Googlighting, Microsoft’s Latest Viral Attack On Google Docs [Video]

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google

“Wait, you want us to be your lab rats?” “Pioneers”

If you need more proof that Microsoft and Google hate each other, just watch the video above. It’s a direct message from Microsoft to businesses everywhere. And it raises some very valid points.

Change is hard for everyone. Switching from Office to Google Docs isn’t an easy switch. Many features are still missing from Google’s productivity suite. It’s not a direct replacement. Typing in the cloud is fantastic but so is a reliable auto-spell check and fool-proof offline editing. Microsoft Office might be disappearing from some shops but others rely it as much as the office’s coffeepot.

Google will no doubt fire back with its own quirky advert. You can always count on Microsoft and Google’s marketing department for a good show.



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

UberSocial For BlackBerry + 50 Cent= Uber50

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I didn’t think I’d ever write about UberMedia and 50 Cent in the same sentence but here goes—UberMedia is partnering with rap star 50 Cent to launch a branded Twitter application for BlackBerry phones called Uber50. The client is essentially UberSocial for BlackBerry with 50 Cent’s branding and a few extra features.

Extra features include special background art, access to 50 Cent and G-Unit’s Twitter lists and a customized look and feel. Users can also pay $1.99 for additional art, special themes as well as sounds that are triggered by actions such as sending a Tweet or direct message, all recorded or selected by 50 Cent (who has 4.4 million followers on Twitter).

The recording artists said in a statement: Twitter has become an important way for me to communicate with my fans and for my fans to communicate with each other. We’re all big users of UberSocial on the BlackBerry and already use many of their current themes to customize the look of the app, so it was natural for me to work with UberMedia to develop a special theme.

What’s interesting about the announcement is that UberMedia, which is now the largest developer of Twitter applications is pursuing branding opportunities with celebrities when it comes to clients. UberMedia-owned Tweetdeck also offered branded clients in the past, so perhaps we’ll see similar announcements with the company’s other applications.

Information provided by CrunchBase



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Twitter Pumps Up Follower Email Notifications Further With Social Graph Juice

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Remember back in the day when Twitter follower email notifications basically only told you a person’s username? Yeah, those were pretty useless. Luckily, we’re far beyond that. And a new addition today makes these notifications more useful than ever.

Over time, Twitter has added things like profile pictures, stats (number of tweets, following/followers), and most recently, list stats and bios. But a new addition allows you to see just how many people you follow also follow the person requesting you. And it shows you how many people the user follows that you also follow.

Both of those features have been implemented recently on twitter.com itself — but the key here is that these are now in the email notifications you receive. This makes it very easy to tell if this new person following you is someone you’d also like to follow. Previously, I would almost always have to click through to a person’s Twitter page to see if they’re someone I wanted to follow (well, after they passed my quick “Golden Ratio” test) based on looking at information like this.

Just about the only thing now missing from these email is the most recent tweet — or group of most recent tweets, to see what this person actually tweets about. I wouldn’t be surprised if Twitter adds that one of these days.

This is all a part of Twitter’s moves to bulk up their social graph.

Update: The DM notifications have been updated too to show profile cards and now include a big blue “Send a direct message” button.

Information provided by CrunchBase



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

YC-Funded MessageParty Ties Location With Chat Rooms

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With the rise of GPS-enabled smartphones, developers are eager to integrate location-based functionality into whatever they can. So it’s no surprise when MessageParty, a Y Combinator company that’s launching this week, says that it’s looking to tie location with chat rooms to let you communicate with the people around you in real-time. You can download the company’s iPhone app right here.

The app is very straightforward. Open it, and you’ll see a list of chat rooms that have been created within 1000 feet of you. Once you hop into a room, it’s a pretty standard chat channel. It’s safe to say that the application is still in a very early form — you can’t direct message users yet, and if your GPS signal goes out then you can’t chat, either. The company plans to add additional functionality, like ‘favorite’ chat rooms that you can access even if you leave the room’s proximity, in the next three weeks.

This isn’t the first location-based chat service by any stretch, but cofounder Amanda Peyton believes it’s among the first that prompts users to break their chats into segregated rooms — other apps tend to dump everyone within a certain radius into one large chatroom.  This system makes the application good for situations where you may want to create multiple rooms in the same area — like at a conference, for example.  The application is free, and will likely monetize through ads, Peyton says.

Also see Indalo and Jibblar, which offer location-based chat rooms.



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Twitter Continues To Help You Figure Out Who Exactly Is Following You

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It looks like Twitter’s notification emails that are sent when you have a new follower are getting a much-needed makeover. A search on Twitter has confirmed that the new emails are being rolled out to users.

The new emails have a cleaner interface and now include the follower’s location and bio. This should help users easily detect if a follower is a spammer. You can also click to send an @reply to the follower or a direct message. In addition, you see if how many lists the follower is on. Clearly this information is much more useful than what Twitter was serving before.

We are assuming that this update is also going to be extended to direct message notifications as well. Twitter updated its email notifications last May, which also contained more information about the person sending you the message or following you. We noted at that time that these messages would be a lot more useful if they included bio info. Looks like Twitter took our advice.

As a few of our commenters are suggesting, it would also be useful to show users mutually following/followers.

Hat tip to Jeff Epstein.

Information provided by CrunchBase



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

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