Wednesday, May 2, 2012
  • Gavin O'Malley, May 2, 2012, 11:06 AM
  • Marketers Not Sold On Facebook Despite the immense popularity of Facebook among consumers, some marketers still question the network’s effectiveness as an ad platform. "The question which Facebook and many of the social media sites ask is: 'What are we getting for our dollars?'" Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing at Kia Motors Corp.'s North American division, tells The Wall Street Journal. In the face of such concerns, the automaker still plans to increase its ad spending on the site. Yet, Sprague admits that he isn’t entirely sure how many Facebook users see Kia ads, “and does that ultimately lead to a new vehicle sale?" As WSJ notes, “The concerns from Kia and other advertisers underscore the difficulties of measuring results of nascent-forms of social-media advertising.” By contrast, Google and Yahoo specialize in display and search ads, which are highly measurable, and, albeit after years of fear and confusion, have been quite familiar to most marketers. “Facebook also offers image and text-based ads, but it pushes new methods that haven't been fully tested,” WSJ adds. Meanwhile, the concerns are taking on new significance as bankers and prospective investors decide how to value Facebook for an initial public offering planned for May 18.   Read the whole story...
  • Foursquare Automates Business Verification Process For a small verification fee, any business can now claim its place within Foursquare’s social grid. “Until now, claiming your venue was pretty easy, but required you to wait for involvement from foursquare’s side,” The Next Web notes. “Basically, this was put in place so that normal folks couldn’t just take over your venue.” For legitimate businesses, however, “It also slowed you down from reaching [Foursquare’s] 20M users.” In exchange for $10, businesses can now instantly verify their venues within Foursquare. They can also verify by mail at no cost, although the process is expected to take from three to four weeks). As the network explains: “Once you’re verified, you can start using foursquare’s free tools right away, like offering Specials, updating your listing, and getting stats about your visitors.” What impact will the change have? According to TNW: “The fact that restaurants and bars can start offering specials immediately, mean that more venues will start adopting the platform.” Read the whole story...
  • Foreign Gamer GREE Invades West Putting Western audiences well within its reach, Japanese gaming giant GREE has plunked down $210 million in cash for mobile game developer Funzio. Funzio, if you’re not familiar, is the company behind popular RPGs (role-playing games) like Crime City, Modern War and Kingdom Age, which together account for more than 20 million downloads on Apple’s iOS, Android or Facebook platforms. “I had heard a few weeks back that Funzio was in a fundraising process at a $350 million post-money valuation and had also been loosely talking to various buyers in an auction-style process,” writes TechCrunch’s Kim-Mai Cutler. “Apparently, the fundraising efforts helped tip Funzio into a sale, but maybe not at the valuation I had originally heard about.” To date, the company has raised about $20 million from IDG Ventures and Playdom co-founder Rick Thompson. GREE, meanwhile, is a multibillion dollar mobile gaming giant that is trying to break into Western markets. “Its profit margins put Zynga to shame, but the company is running out of room to grow as its home country becomes saturated,” Cutler notes. As part of that effort, GREE bought gaming network OpenFeint for $104 million last year.   Read the whole story...