About Michele Neylon

Michele is founder and managing director of domain registrar and hosting company Blacknight. He blogs mostly over on michele.blog

Facebook Buys Instagram For One Billion, But Who Else Was In The Running?

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Last weekend the news broke that Facebook was acquiring Instagram for $1 billion. Needless to say the tech news circles were buzzing with this announcement all week.

According to an article on TheNextWeb Twitter had also tried to acquire them, but failed.

And others suggest that Google may have been trying to acquire them ..


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Twitter Sells Tweets

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

With most social networks the users are the product.

In the case of Twitter one of the problems the company has been struggling with is how to actually make money from it all ..

So selling their content ie. their users’ tweets appears to be one of the solutions.

According to an article on RWW Twitter has sold the data to Datasift and has other companies lined up to buy the same data.

So not only is Twitter claiming ownership of the content, but they’re also happily ignoring any privacy concerns users might have..

Expect privacy advocates to get very vocal on this.

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CoTweet Standard Being Pulled


Image by Gustavo Pimenta via Flickr

CoTweet Standard, which is used by a lot of companies to manage Twitter for teams, is being withdrawn on February 15th

From then on CoTweet will only be offered as a paid service under a new name “SocialEngage”

There aren’t much details about SocialEngage on the CoTweet / Exact Target site unfortunately, nor is there any information on pricing. It looks like they’re adding support for tracking Facebook, but without knowing pricing etc., it’s really hard to see if this is going to end up costing companies a lot more than they’ll gain or not.

Their Enterprise product “Cotweet Enterprise” may have been very powerful, but it also came at a very high price.

So are there any viable alternatives?

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Gathering Social Media Metrics With TwitSprout

TwitSprout recently launched their beta, or at least let me access it, and while the name suggests that it’s a Twitter related service it also works with Facebook.

What does it do?

The basic plan, which is free, gathers a number of metrics related to your social media activities into an easy to use and quite visual dashboard.

With the paid plans you can also get information on your competitors, which is probably the more innovative aspect of the service.

If you’re looking for instant gratification then you’re going to be disappointed, as the service has to work within the limitations of Twitter and Facebook’s respective API limits.

Once its reports are ready they’re pretty impressive, as it gives you pretty much all the data in one place, which is handy. Other services that I’ve tried will give you part of the data but this does it all in one place.

Pretty nifty!



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Gowalla To Go The Way Of The Dodo

Gowalla pins

Image by sermoa via Flickr

Gowalla is to be shutdown.

After being acquired by Facebook the “also ran” to FourSquare will be shutting down early in 2012, according to Techcrunch.

So while Facebook may have acquired the skills and experience of the FourSquare team, they’re not taking over all the data.

So will Facebook use some of the technology to improve their own location based services? You’d have to assume that was the plan..

Guess we’ll find out ..


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Facebook Acquires Gowalla

Gowalla pins

Image by sermoa via Flickr

Facebook has acquired Gowalla according to reports.

Gowalla, which offers very similar functionality to FourSquare, never quite seemed to be as popular as its rival.

Facebook had been offering a location based service for its mobile users, but they were reportedly going to be phasing it out, but with the addition of Gowalla that will probably change ie. the current Facebook system will be supplanted by Gowalla’s technology.

The main page of Gowalla currently offers users the option to signup via Facebook, though it still maintains a signup feature for those that do not wish to succumb to Zuckerburg. Whether that will change or not is probably too early to tell


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Guinness Try To Force Age Restrictions On Twitter

Guinness Ireland’s Twitter account is a bit odd.

They want to restrict their followers to people over the age of 18!

Guinness Ireland's Twitter account trying to impose age restrictions

Of course I’m not “following” their account, but I can still see all their content!

And here’s the screenshot to prove it:

Guinness Ireland's "over 18 only" twitter account

I think the word I’m looking for is “fail”

They’ve posted a “clarification” of what they’re “trying” to do:

You won’t be blocked as such.You’ll be removed from our followers & you’ll need to verify age before u can follow us again


Seemingly this is similar to the laughable “age restrictions” that alcohol companies put on their websites.

It’s kind of sad really that they’d even try to do this on a social media network. So you can add alcohol companies to the list of those that simply don’t “get” the web..



Google+ Gets Games

It was only a matter of time before Google+ would start expanding its offering to users.

The first addition being rolled out to users is games, which are accessible via the subtle new button in the interface:

Google Plus Games Added

A new icon on the far right is for games in Google+

So what’s on offer?

On my own account I’m seeing a range of 16 games including a couple of titles from Zynga and of course “Angry Birds”:

Google plus range of browser based games

Google plus range of browser based games

As soon as you click on a game to play it you get a fairly clear warning message telling you that the game is “social” and that your activity may be visible to others:

Google plus social games privacy warning

Google plus social games privacy warning

The next screen isn’t that different from the type of permissions dialogue you’d get on other social networks, though the wording is possibly a bit clearer (though I might be imagining that):

Google plus games permissions dialogue

Google plus games permissions dialogue

So what will the next addition to Google+ be?


Why Is Google+ Full Of Animated Gifs?

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

If you are using Google+ you’ll probably have noticed that there are a very large number of animated gifs being shared.

Normal photos, images and videos are also being shared, but there seems, to me at least, to be a very large volume of animated gifs

So will Google+ result in an upswing in popularity for the image format?