Archive for March, 2012
As the dust settles after Zynga’s purchase of New York mobile social game developer OMGPOP, the company is visibly taking on a new shape. A 25% larger and more mobile one. That’s the percentage growth of its total daily active user base, when you add in the 14.6 million people playing mobile sketching app Draw Something to its existing 55 million players.
The game has gone from 1.7 million to 14.6 over the month of March, based on app tracking service AppData. Today, it’s nearly the combined size of Zynga’s two biggest hits on Facebook, CityVille and Texas Hold’em Poker.
Which means Draw Something’s share of the market is likely to grow in the coming months. CityVille was launched at the end of 2010, and Poker years before. Zynga has milked them along, and will no doubt continuing doing so far into the future. But, they’re never likely to grow significantly beyond their current sizes, based on the overall lifecycle of these games.
Draw Something is a blank slate. It’s been out for around two months, and could keep growing. Zynga has the analytics and marketing skills to help with that. And it also has the experience keeping traffic up across its games on social and mobile platforms. Its core mobile franchise to date, Words With Friends, has the second-most daily active users out of any Zynga game, with 8.1 million daily actives.
The user count comes with a caveat here. Only Zynga knows the non-deduplicated daily unique user number. It’s quite possible that users of other Zynga games are already playing Draw Something, particularly with Words With Friends. That’s still good, in that they might be paying for virtual goods across titles. But it also means the total traffic is lower than it looks here.
The big long-term potential isn’t just that Zynga has all these users from this game. It also has the ability to promote its other games, including any it’s planning on launching in coming months, to this vibrant user base. That could extend the value of the game far beyond its own cycle.
The $210 million bet on OMGPOP has the obvious risks, too. The acquired company has never made a hit even close to this big. And Draw Something may have a shorter life cycle — Zynga hasn’t had a chance to see how long this type of sketching-sharing game can stick around.
The creative folk over at Google have produced an awesome prank on Google Maps. Shortly after the “upgraded” Google Maps went live, Reddit users posted world landmarks and historic sites that could be viewed on the map: the Parthenon, Area 51, Mount Everest. You can also drag a viking looking dude onto Street Map view for a funky street level view.
Check it out Happy April Fool’s Day!!
The 2012 BMW April Fools ad features the ‘BMW driverless Running Coach’ (!)
|BMW April Fools 2012 – Driverless Running Coach|
|BMW April Fools 2012 Driverless Running Coach dashboard|
BMW state: ‘As an official sponsor of London 2012, BMW has been inspired to develop a new technology helping customers to boost their fitness in the run up to the Games. The new driverless Running Coach feature uses a combination of ConnectedDrive technologies and surround view cameras to enable the car to follow the runner, at a safe distance, while pounding the pavement. To help with motivation, integrated exterior speakers play encouraging words while the Lock Out Logistics feature makes sure that any distance set is completed without cheating.
Another great April Fool idea from BMW!
The idea of developing content to suit a specific date or event is one of the key marketing ideas discussed in my new book ‘Paid Owned Earned: maximizing marketing returns in a socially connected world.’ How to build a marketing conversation calendar that harnesses days like April Fools Day, Valentines Day, First Day of Summer etc is an important pillar of the chapter on Content Hubs and Communities. How to create content that resonates is then a key part of the following chapter on Content – with case studies and ideas around creating content that people will want to care about and share about.
A free sampler for Paid Owned Earned is here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/81930820/Paid-Owned-Earned-by-Nick-Burcher and it is on sale worldwide through real world bookshops and online book sellers.
and for the full range of BMW April Fools creatives 2000-2009 see here.
If you have a pair of jeans that is beyond repair you can repurpose them into a gardening (or other activity) apron by cutting away everything not part of the apron. More »
Editor’s note: Jon Sterling has been in the real estate business since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @mistersterling.
Have you been searching for a place to live in San Francisco lately? You’re not the only one thinking @$#%&! on a daily basis.
Forget the speculation about a tech bubble. This is a real estate bubble.
It’s a common scene on a weekend morning: A line of people waiting for an open house at an apartment that just hit the market, with rental applications, credit reports, and certified checks in-hand. The first one who qualifies wins the prize.
SOMA condos under $600,000 (now considered “entry level”) are going under contract in a matter of days, often with multiple offers. So far in 2012, the median market time for sold condos in SOMA is 42 days. That’s 42 days from the time it goes for sale to the time the title changes hands. In the past month, that number has dropped to 34 days. When it comes to real estate transactions, 34 days is fast. Very fast.
I have a client who wanted to see two condos that hit the market last week ($589,000 and $599,000). Both were under contract before we had a chance to see them, and both had multiple offers.
New tech jobs are increasing the housing demand and causing pain for buyer and renters, but that’s not the only way technology companies are adding to the Silicon Valley housing woes. The success of short-term rental companies like Airbnb and HomeAway are contributing to the lack of inventory as well.
The short-term rental companies have provided liquidity for homeowners and renters by making it convenient for them to rent out rooms, apartments, and entire houses. Owners and renters are now able to subsidize some (or all) of their monthly payments, which limits the number of units on the market. If a tenant loses his job, he can rent his bedroom and sleep on the couch to generate some cash. If a condo owner quits her corporate gig to launch a startup, she can stay with friends for the weekend while visitors rent her place. A few years ago, those units would have gone on the market out of necessity. Today, the classic illiquid asset — real estate — has a new kind of liquidity.
The San Francisco Business Times reported that 8,000 new tech jobs are expected to be created in San Francisco this year. That much job growth is great news for the local economy, landlords, and home sellers, and will have a positive trickle-down effect.
At the same time, that is very bad news for renters and buyers. Many of the new jobs will be filled by people who already live and work in tech in San Francisco, so 8,000 new jobs does not necessarily mean 8,000 new residents. Nonetheless, aggressive hiring by tech firms is contributing to the housing scarcity. The war for engineering talent has expanded across the country, and often includes hefty relocation packages.
So what should you do?
If you are a renter, use your network — Facebook, Twitter, Path, co-workers, and anyone else who is connected in San Francisco. If you can nab a place before anybody else knows about it, you win. Also, walk the neighborhoods where you’d like to live and look for “For Rent” signs in windows. Not all landlords use Craigslist. Have a current copy of your credit report handy and move quickly when you find a place that might work.
If you are a buyer, find a great advisor. Most of the time that will be a real estate agent, but it doesn’t have to be. A great real estate agent will bring your properties as soon as they hit the market, and maybe even before they hit the market, in addition to helping you navigate the home buying process. Also, be smart about your bidding strategy. This is not a market where low-ball offers are going to work.
If you are a seller, thank your lucky stars. Most sellers in the country are not as fortunate as you. Just don’t gloat, okay?
If you are lucky enough to have an awesome place at a decent price, do your best to lock-in your current rental rates for as long as you can stomach it. You may be able to negotiate with your landlord if you’re willing to sign an extended lease. Try something like, “I will commit to this apartment for the next three years if you will commit to the current monthly rental rate for the next three years.”
If you are a landlord, make hay while the sun shines. Rainy days will be upon us again. We will remember the landlords who treated us well, and those who didn’t. And even if we forget, the Internet doesn’t.
[photo via flickr/J_P_D]
Posted by Aaron Wheeler
My name is Aaron Wheeler and, up until a couple of weeks ago, I was the manager of the Help Team here at SEOmoz. Rand's been out of the office at conferences and I've decided it's time to make my move. I've been waiting for this moment for 2 years now, sitting idly by, watching SEOmoz use a bunch of robots to tell us about websites and links and the internets. Robots! Robots don't have brains or morals! How could they possibly find links? Build reports? I played the Portals. I know what happens when you let robots run things.
Needless to say, I've decided to make a few changes since Rand's been gone. Let's get these engineers off their robot-loving keisters and out into the world, finding links. Let's stop pretending a bunch of magical "computers" can somehow "build" you a report (they think they're human!). As part of my takeover, I've hired a personal, top-tier videographer, Nick Sayers, to document all of the amazing things I'm doing here. Watch and bask in the glory of the new SEOmoz!
Hope you enjoyed that! Let me know what you think about my new strategies in the comments below.
Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!
Who throws a party in Palo Alto?!
Well actually … Today Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Talenthouse, Super Happy Dev House and the City of Palo Alto itself have joined forces to give nerds a place to play on University Ave for 12 hours. So why should you stop coding and jump on Super Happy Block Party bandwagon? Well a gaggle of VCs have occupied the 3rd floor of the High/Alma South Garage, committing themselves to hearing your ideas until 7pm tonight. Poor things!
Full list of VCs
to harass to pitch:
Mark Goines, Morgenthaler
David Krane, Google Ventures
Jeremy Schneider, Webb Investment Network
Jon Soberg, Blumberg Capital
Ryan Kottenstette, Khosla Ventures
Michael Marquez, Morado Ventures
Felix Shpilman, Start Fund
Peter Ashley, 500 Startups
Todd Kimmel, Mayfield Fund
Vicki Levine, Lightbank
Thomas Korte, AngelPad
Peter Moran, DCM
Dave McClure, 500 Startups
Josh Goldman, Norwest Venture Partners
Stephanie Palmeri, SoftTech VC
Raymond Nasr, Innovation Endeavors
Itamar Novik, Morgenthaler
Gil Ben Artzy, UpWest Labs
CeCe Cheng, First Round Capital
Pejman Nozad, Angel
Eric Chen, Uj Ventures
Jay Jamison, BlueRun Ventures
Anne De Gheest, HealthTech Capital
Ron Hose, Angel
Scott Brady, Angel (Slice)
Nils Johnson, Angel (Beautylish)
Harpinder Madan, Angel (Slice)
Dror Berman, Innovation Endeavors
The organizers are expecting more than 2500 people and have a contingency plan in case it starts raining and they have to move the Popup Innovation Parking Lot, Hack the Future Tent, the Day Star Yurt & Silent Disco, the Soap Box Stages, and the Techno Petting Zoo of Robots indoors. Whatever those things are, they sound pretty trippy and cool.
Which is why I’m about to get in my car, and go pick up my colleagues Kim-Mai Cutler and Josh Constine (if he ever wakes up from whatever party he was at last night) and drive their butts down south.
Because way to let your geek flag fly Palo Alto; Your move SF.
Pics via/Amir Youssefi
Chrome: If you like to pin your tabs in Chrome you may have noticed that you usually lose new item notifcations that several sites such as Gmail, Facebook, and others add to the page title. With Chrome extension Icon Badger many of these notifications are moved to the favicon so you can know when your favorite sites are updated even when their tabs are pinned. More »
Wanna watch something beautiful? Once again OK Go have a lovely music video for us. A colorful gentle dance directed, produced and performed by Trish Sie, Grammy Award-winning American choreographer and director.
As I have said on this blog and Twitter for many years, April 1 is the worst day of the year on that corner of the internet that is inhabited by techish geeks.
While many tech people are quite funny, I have noticed over the years that their brand of humor tends to be more ham-fisted than nuanced. And quite predictable. Typically, April 1 pranks among geeks fit into a fill-in-the-blank variety in which two parties who hate one-another get together to announce a new product or acquisition or initiative with a punch-line spin that references something in the news during the past few weeks.
This year, I’ll be disappointed if many of the fill-in-the-blank pranks don’t use a Pinterest board in their punchline — it seems so obvious and easy.
I know I sound like the Grinch who Stole April Fools, but I like production value in April 1 pranks. Unless it looks like you spent a week or two wasting lots of company time on it, you’re not going to impress me.
Google, of course, always impresses me. Unlike most companies, Google allows all of its employees to devote the entire month of February to work on their April Fools prank idea. So, if you can’t beat the Google April Fool joke below, don’t even try.