Tag Archive | "gifts"

Secret Sister Gift Exchange? Facebook Scam!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Facebook users: Those posts about a Secret Sister Gift Exchange that have been popping up in your News Feeds are big-time hoaxes.

Forbes contributor Amit Chowdhry reported that the hoax—which promises Facebook users who buy gifts of $10 or more 36 gifts in return—provides the following instructions to victims (unedited):

  1. Send one gift value at least $10 to secret sister #1 below.
  2. Remove secret sister’s name from #1; then move secret sister #2 to that spot.
  3. Add your name to #2 with your info.
  4. Then send this info to 6 other ladies with the updated name info.
  5. Copy the secret sister request that I posted on my wall, to your own wall. If you cannot complete this within 1 week please notify me, as it isn’t fair to the ladies who have participated and are waiting for their own gifts to arrive. You might want to order directly from a web-based service (Amazon, or any other online shop) which saves a trip to the post office. Soon you should receive 36 gifts! What a deal, 36 gifts for giving just one! Be sure to include some information about yourself … some of your favorites. Seldom does anyone drop out because it’s so much fun to send a gift to someone you may or may not know … and of course it’s fun to receive. You should begin receiving gifts in about 2 weeks if you get your letters out to your 6 people right away.

Chowdhry reported that the U.S. Postal Inspection Service even addressed the Secret Sister Gift Exchange in a Facebook post earlier this week (embedded below), writing:

Consider a typical pyramid that involves six individuals in the chain. By the time you’ve reached the fourth level of participation, nearly 1,300 recruits must be onboard. Today, social media might make that a bit easier in than days past, which required chain-letter-type solicitations by mail. However, upon reaching the sixth level of participation, you’d have to attract more recruits than could be seated in Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

By the seventh level, you’d need more participants than folks living in Anchorage, Alaska. The ninth level requires you to recruit all of Houston and the Washington, D.C., metro area combined—and you still wouldn’t have enough participants. The 11th round requires everyone in the U.S. to join in if the promise is to be fulfilled. The odds are likely greater that Santa Claus himself would fly his sleigh into the middle of Times Square to personally distribute the gifts.

Readers: Have you seen Secret Sister Gift Exchange posts in your News Feeds?


Internet hoax image courtesy of Shutterstock. Secret Sister Gift Exchange image courtesy of Forbes.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes | RSS Feed

Facebook Adds Cake Icon in Chat Next to Friends with Birthdays

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ChatCakeIconFacebook’s latest way to remind users of friends’ birthdays is the addition of a cake icon in its chat interface.

Reader Matteo Gamba of TransferWise shared the screenshot above with SocialTimes, in which the cake icon appears next to the names of friends celebrating birthdays on the current date.

Facebook has emphasized birthdays in various ways over the past few years, including:

Readers: Are you seeing the new cake icon in your Facebook chat interfaces?

Article courtesy of SocialTimes Feed

Amazon Launches Surprise!, A Facebook-Powered App For Sending Personalized E-Cards

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 1.07.34 PM

Sesame Lets You Order Themed Gift Sets From Your iPad

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Top 25 Facebook apps: June 2014 — Introducing Trivia Crack

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


There’s a game rocketing up the AppData charts — and leaving Facebook users addicted. Trivia Crack, a trivia game by Argentinan developer Etermax, is also known natively as Preguntados. Facebook users are getting increasingly hooked on Trivia Crack, which had 2.7 million daily active users (DAU) a month ago, but has more than doubled it since, clocking in at 6.5 DAU today.

Last month, Trivia Crack didn’t make the top 25 leaderboard, but it has jumped all the way to No. 9, in terms of Facebook DAU, as tracked by AppData. The game is also ranked No. 14 on the Facebook MAU chart.

Wondering what other games Facebook users play regularly? Check out our leaderboard below.

Rank App Category DAU Estimate
1  Candy Crush Saga Games 48,452,409
2  Farm Heroes Saga Games 20,093,917
3  Microsoft Live Utilities 14,649,732
4  Spotify EntertainmentMusic 12,672,059
5  Pet Rescue Saga Games 10,305,839
6  HTC Sense Utilities 8,602,608
7  Hay Day Games 7,864,055
8  Trivia Crack Games 6,507,731
9  Clash of Clans Games 6,459,588
10  Bing Utilities 5,546,328
11  Criminal Case Games 5,366,068
12  YouTube Video 4,880,411
13  Dragon City Games 4,822,376
14  Tinder Dating 4,758,870
15  Daily Horoscope Virtual Gifts 4,732,755
16  FarmVille 2 Games 4,576,720
17  Yahoo Misc 4,562,365
18  Top Eleven Be a Football Manager Games 4,331,848
19  Skype Utilities 4,153,203
20  Words With Friends GamesMisc 4,060,915
21  Flipboard UtilitiesNews / Social Reader 3,895,197
22  Birthday Cards Virtual Gifts 3,283,760
23  8 Ball Pool Games 3,234,063
24  Pinterest Social Network 3,227,394
25  Texas HoldEm Poker GamesGambling 3,159,762

Top 25 Facebook apps: April 2014 — YouTube gaining steam

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


It’s no secret that Facebook users love watching videos on the site. YouTube’s app has grown considerably since we last measured AppData’s Facebook daily active user estimates in March.

YouTube wasn’t even on the top 25 leaderboard in March, but has vaulted all the way to 9th today, in terms of Facebook DAU. AppData’s estimates show that in the past month, YouTube’s Facebook DAU has grown 225.14 percent just in the past month.

Other than that, the chart hasn’t changed a whole lot, with King games Candy Crush Saga and Farm Heroes Saga maintaining a stranglehold on the top.

Click below to find out which apps Facebook users are addicted to.

Rank App Category DAU_ESTIMATE
1  Candy Crush Saga Games 53,052,785
2  Farm Heroes Saga Games 18,559,115
3  Microsoft Live Utilities 15,530,298
4  Spotify EntertainmentMusic 12,557,717
5  Pet Rescue Saga Games 11,297,682
6  HTC Sense Utilities 8,853,716
7  Hay Day Games 7,028,354
8  Bing Utilities 6,129,149
9  YouTube Video 5,971,263
10  Astrology Novelty & Quizzes 5,942,400
11  Yahoo Misc 5,418,262
12  Skype Utilities 5,268,439
13  Criminal Case Games 5,087,988
14  Daily Horoscope Virtual Gifts 4,640,281
15  Top Eleven Be a Football Manager Games 4,562,956
16  Clash of Clans Games 4,486,118
17  Dragon City Games 4,276,951
18  FarmVille 2 Games 4,206,137
19  برجك مع مـاغـي فـرح Novelty & Quizzes 4,198,142
20  Words With Friends GamesMisc 4,164,955
21  Pinterest Social Network 4,123,547
22  Tinder Dating 4,102,136
23  Horóscopo Diário Novelty & Quizzes 3,932,836
24  Flipboard UtilitiesNews / Social Reader 3,770,694
25  Amazon E-Commerce 3,747,006

Image courtesy of bloomua / Shutterstock.com.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

Top 25 Facebook apps: April 2014 — Facebook users swipe right for Tinder

Tags: , , , , , , ,


One of the apps rocketing up the AppData leaderboard makes the world more open and connected, but maybe not in quite the way Mark Zuckerberg had hoped. Tinder, a popular dating app, has grown from No. 25 on the AppData’s March Facebook daily active user leaderboard, all the way to No. 17. Tinder is also the top dating app, in terms of both Facebook DAU and MAU (monthly active user) estimates.

Other than that, the chart hasn’t changed a whole lot, with King games Candy Crush Saga and Farm Heroes Saga maintaining a stranglehold on the top.

Click below to find out which apps Facebook users are addicted to, as sorted by AppData’s daily active user estimates.

Rank App Category DAU_ESTIMATE
1  Candy Crush Saga Games 53,405,923
2  Farm Heroes Saga Games 18,876,066
3  Microsoft Live Utilities 13,598,526
4  Spotify EntertainmentMusic 11,502,631
5  Pet Rescue Saga Games 11,099,173
6  HTC Sense Utilities 8,859,923
7  Hay Day Games 7,085,165
8  Astrology Novelty & Quizzes 6,071,805
9  Bing Utilities 5,623,946
10  Yahoo Misc 5,293,892
11  Criminal Case Games 4,922,254
12  Skype Utilities 4,769,573
13  Clash of Clans Games 4,534,945
14  Top Eleven Be a Football Manager Games 4,403,853
15  Dragon City Games 4,353,373
16  برجك مع مـاغـي فـرح Novelty & Quizzes 4,296,764
17  Tinder Dating 4,218,671
18  Amazon E-Commerce 4,141,017
19  Pinterest Social Network 4,060,223
20  Words With Friends GamesMisc 4,030,175
21  FarmVille 2 Games 3,885,175
22  Horóscopo Diário Novelty & Quizzes 3,815,825
23  Daily Horoscope Virtual Gifts 3,803,449
24  Flipboard UtilitiesNews / Social Reader 3,736,797
25  8 Ball Pool Games 3,289,590

Image courtesy of Tinder’s Facebook page.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

Pinterest Debuts A “Gifts Feed” Featuring Only Things You Can Buy

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Pinterest publicly introduced a new Gifts feed on Wednesday that only displays “Product Pins” – pins that are enhanced with additional details, including pricing, availability and where the item can be purchased online. The announcement was made on Pinterest’s Business blog, aimed at advertisers, instead of on the company’s more widely read, consumer-facing main… Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

How does Facebook affect Vegas?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Facebook has changed the way many people communicate, but the social network has also played a hand in how people gamble. At the recent Social Gambling & Gaming Summit in Las Vegas, several game developers and land-based casino executives talked about the importance Facebook has held in growing the business.

Casinos and game developers are finding more devoted gamers (and paying customers) through Facebook — and not just at poker and slots games. As a result, some casinos are even bringing popular Facebook games such as Plants vs. Zombies (an EA title) into real-life with physical games based on the apps.

Derrick Morton, a speaker at the Social Gambling & Gaming Summit, is the CEO of FlowPlay — makers of Vegas World, a total Vegas experience that goes beyond cards and slots and allows users to work their way into upgraded suites, with jazzier outfits and invites to better parties. Vegas World has roughly 350,000 monthly active users, Morton said, and 70,000 daily active users. Morton spoke with Inside Facebook about how Facebook affects social gambling.

Inside Facebook: In terms of more social gambling in general, what does Facebook have to offer?

Derrick Morton: There’s really nothing unique to Facebook about gambling, or about social gaming, except for the social graph. The social graph allows you to have access to activities, leaderboards that show activity by day, activity by week, activity by game, people can share on their Facebook wall and compare on the leaderboard, and it’s big from a sharing point of view. That’s what Facebook is all about — sharing major milestones, jackpots and things that happen to you in the game with your friends and brag about it.

IF: Could more major land-based casinos take hold and develop Facebook games or some kind of portal where people could play their games through Facebook?

DM: Already, Caesar’s Palace runs the No. 1 casino game on Facebook, Slot-O-Mania, and they also own Bingo Blitz. So that’s two of the top Facebook games already owned by them. MGM (Grand) owns the No. 3 or 4 social casino, which is MyVegas. It does a really excellent job at connecting real-world casinos with virtual casinos. When you play MyVegas, you can get coupons or steak dinners or other things like that at an actual casino. So there’s a lot of activity already from land-based casinos entering the world of social gambling.

For us, though, what’s fun is we make about 1/3 of our revenue from people buying each other gifts and drinks inside the game. When you’re playing with someone else, you can buy a round of martinis, a round of champagne, or a round of beers for the players who are in the room with you. It improves the odds of everyone in the game temporarily.

IF: Do you feel we’ll see a little more revenue on the casino games front in 2014? Are more people starting to play casino games through Facebook?

DM: The growth curve is probably not as steep as it was a year or two ago. Industry analysts only expect it to grow about 10 to 15 percent year-over-year for the next few years. I think the last I saw was 4.4 billion by 2015.

IF: What do you see coming up in the next year for social gaming and gambling on Facebook? 

DM: I think what’s going to happen is current gambling games in the real land-based casinos are highly regulated. And because of that regulation, they’re slow to evolve. Even if you have a great idea for a new slots game, it can take you 2 to 3 years to submit that idea, the artwork, the process, to regulators to get the approval that is necessary to actually get that game in front of consumers.

In the online and social world, that can be compressed down to weeks. I expect that the evolution of social casinos will run far ahead of real casinos, just because they’re not as regulated. Hybrid games are coming out — like Fringo, that combines the elements of slots and bingo. It’s gonna take what people are familiar with and creating an entirely new game out of it.

IF: You talk about how the evolution can move a lot quicker online because there’s not much red tape to cut through. Could a land-based casino try a game online, then reverse-engineer and bring it to the real world?

DM: I think that’s totally true. You still have to go through regulators for approval, but it’s certainly easier for them to go through that A/B process and the introduction process and to test new things before they take it to the real world. Testing a new game online can cost you $50,000-$100,000. Taking a new game to regulators and getting it on the floor to find out that it’s a failure could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions.

Readers: Do you play casino-based games on Facebook?

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

If Instagram Isn’t Building Private Messaging, It Should Be

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Once upon a time, Instagram was a little app for sharing photos with friends and photography buffs. Its mostly public sharing model worked at that size. But now with over 150 million users, widespread awareness, and years of people following each other, users may be holding back from posting as much because they don’t want the whole world to see what they see.

That’s why it may be the right time for Instagram to launch private messaging.

That time could come as soon as December 12th when Instagram holds a press event in New York, for which it sent out invitations today with the tagline “You are invited to share a moment with Kevin Systrom and the Instagram team.” The snail-mail invite came with a woodblock printed with an Instagram on it, leading writers, including our own Jordan Crook, to speculate Instagram might launch some sort of physical printing option. photo<br />(6)” src=”http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/photo-6.png?w=365&h=576″ width=”365″ height=”576″ /></p>
<p>While that might be cute, and a nice holiday gift option, I suspect (with no inside knowledge) that Instagram is actually gearing up for the launch of private messaging, a feature that last month <a target=GigaOm’s Om Malik said ”well-placed sources” told him Instagram is preparing to release.

There are a ton of reasons this makes sense. Let’s start with why physical printing isn’t worthy of its own launch event. Last year, Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, tested a postcard service for sending paper prints of your photos to friends. It never took off and was shut down. Facebook
also launched a physical Gifts service but eventually switched to only selling virtual gift cards. It seems Facebook hasn’t physical goods to be a big enough business to support.

Meanwhile there are a slew of small startups like Postagram and CanvasPop that print Instagrams on everything from postcards to canvas
paintings. There doesn’t seem to be a ton of additional value for Instagram to add by launching its own printing service. A simpler native integration for sending photos to or buying prints from third-party services beyond its existing APIs doesn’t seem important enough to warrant its own press blitz (though it could be a small part of the show).

“Public Eyes / They’re Watching You”

So why messaging? Because Instagram has outgrown public sharing. Yes, you can set your entire profile to private so only people you approve can see everything you share, but that’s privacy with a sledgehammer rather than a scalpel.

Most people are excited to share some photos publicly and have them shown right in the feeds of whoever follows them. In fact, they tag their photos with reams of hashtags just so they show up in more places and win them the sweet sweet validation of another Instagram heart or follower. Setting their account to private would mean their more benign pics of sunsets and lattes wouldn’t get as many eyeballs.

photo (4)While Instagram’s privacy model hasn’t changed much over the years from a functionality standpoint, a lot more people see the photos you post today. There’s better native discovery of photos, a web version of your profile, and an ecosystem of third-party apps for power users. That means someone who is curious about where you are and what you are doing has a lot easier time finding your photos now.

But most importantly, Instagram just has way more users now than when some of its earliest, most loyal, and most engaged users joined. It’s gone from early tech adopters and artists to teens to mainstream young adults to even hosting a good number of parents.

Does that growth progression ring any bells? It should because Facebook similarly went from young to mainstream to your mom. And what did that cause? A chilling effect on sharing. Posting party pics, silly jokes, or snarky perspectives on the world is a lot less appealing when you
know your dad, boss, little sister, or stalker are watching.

That is a dangerous trend for Instagram. It needs people constantly sharing photos to fill its feed so other people check it, are delighted…and see its new ads. Less sharing = less happiness/revenue.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of apps happy to help you share photos privately. Snapchat is building a powerhouse social network on the concept of private sharing. It doesn’t matter who joins Snapchat, as the only people who see your photos and videos are the ones you send them to. Then there’s a ton of international messaging apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, KakaoTalk, and Line where people can share their precious moments privately.

Perhaps if Facebook’s bid to acquire Snapchat was successful, it could use that as its private photo-sharing play. But it got rejected, and so the burden falls on Instagram.

I’d imagine Instagram messaging could fit in the top left of the app, or be worked into the existing Activity tab alongside tags and likes. Anyone you follow would be eligible to send you messages, and group messaging would be allowed. Threads would typically start with a photo and caption, and permit both photo and text replies to let people have a conversation around the moments they’re sharing. Messages could also be a private back channel for discussing photos shared publicly.

Done right, private photo sharing could be a huge win for Instagram.

4 Reasons Instagram Needs Messages

1. Boxing Out Competitors

Most people who have Snapchat probably have Instagram, too, and more of their friends are probably also on Instagram. Its size suddenly goes from a liability to an asset with private messaging.

2. Notifications

Today if your best friend shares a photo on Instagram, you might not even know. There’s no notification sent. And since Instagram is an unfiltered feed like Twitter, it has the same issue where your favorite people can get drowned out by some shutter-happy person you followed but don’t even know. You might be missing some of Instagram’s most relevant content. Without the constant stream of
notifications like on Facebook, it’s easy to forget to even visit Instagram. I sometimes go weeks without checking as there’s nothing there addressed specifically to me to demand my attention.

But with Instagram messaging private sharing, you can be damn sure I’d open any photo sent to me. And after that, I’d probably browse my feed, get a few more smiles, and maybe see some ads. Instagram Messages could re-engage tuned-out users.

3. Growth

Messages could drive sign-ups for Instagram. You can already share a photo via email but then the engagement happens outside of Instagram in a decidedly crusty old medium. If I could privately message people by phone number (the identity basis for most modern messaging apps), I might lure my friends into signing up for Instagram.

4. Intimate Sharing

Private messaging could get people sharing a whole new category of photos and videos on Instagram. Intimate ones.

photo (5)I’m not just talking about sexy ones (though who couldn’t benefit from some blur and filters to touch up their birthday suit or flirtatious smile). I mean the other stuff people currently share on Snapchat. Funny faces. Inside jokes. Lighthearted insults. Controversial or illegal activities. Flawed portraits. Random glimpses into their current scene.

These are all things you probably wouldn’t want to share with everyone, and wouldn’t want permanently associated with your profile. They don’t necessarily need to be able to disappear like Snapchats (though
maybe that’d be useful), but having them buried in conversation threads would probably be enough privacy by obscurity.

In a world where you get made fun of for sharing selfies, but people do it anyway, it seems clear that the world’s most beloved photo app gives a way to share on the down low. It’d certainly keep some of the photos that appear in this post from ending up on a blog somewhere.

Instagram messaging could also turn the app into a true visual communication medium — one where people use it as a sort of replacement for text. Getting people constantly sending photos and
captions back and forth over Instagram could rack up more engagement in a single conversation than the social network side of that app sees in a week.

Right now, conversation on Instagram is restricted to its messy, unthreaded comment system. And like the chilling effect on the photos in the first place, I’m often apprehensive to share a comment publicly, especially if I only really care if the person who shot the photo saw it. I’d often be inclined to message them directly, but currently have to resort to text or Facebook message. Messaging would fix that.

Maybe I’m drinking my own Kool-Aid but this seems like a wise move to make, and sooner rather than later. Sure, it would bloat Instagram a bit, making it less clear what the purpose of the once-lean app is. It might cannibalize some photos from the feed, though they might inspire more return visits and engagement as private messages. It could be seen, like Poke, as another desperate attempt by Facebook to compete with Snapchat. And it could flop, becoming a rarely used extra communication channel we’re loathe to check. But I don’t think those are big enough concerns to dissuade Instagram.

The company’s mission is “to capture and share the world’s moments.” But right now it’s only broadcasting them.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

December 2015
« Nov