The Yahoo Application Platform (YAP) is new as is Caja, so there are still a lot of kinks that need to be worked out. Some developers, however, seem to prefer the limit, yet working, set approach that Facebook offers versus the every should work (but it doesn’t exactly) that Caja and OpenSocial may have to offer.
In working we Caja, we had to come up with serveral not so trivial work-around based on the current limitations of Caja (XML parser for AJAX calls, ie) so working with (and around) Caja may not be trivial but hopefully will become a lot easier as these kinks are ironed out in future YAP releases.
Given the way Twitter works – its fairly open API and the ease of creating Twitter accounts (Twitter doesn’t require you to have a valid email address when creating a new account), it is surprising there isn’t more spam on Twitter than there currently is. We have all starting reading the reports on Twitter spam attacks or celebrity Twitter accounts being hacked or how big the spam problem on Twitter will get! With more and more business (and individuals) taking to Twitter to promote their ventures (and potentially their scams), expect spamming on Twitter to eventually explode! After all, by some claims 90% of all email is spam. Here is my attempt at a short but comprehensive list of the types of Twitter spam and abuse that is going on:
General Spamming and URL Shortners
It is becoming a common practice for individuals use their real or fictitious accounts to shamelessly promote their services to the general public via Twitter. This sort of spam is be expected, after all, one man’s (or woman’s) spam is another man’s (or woman’s) “business opportunity”! What makes spam on Twitter worse are the URL shortners!Become many users shorten their links with a URL shortner to get the most of Twitter 140 character limit, sometimes innocuous looking links point to viruses, trojans, pornography, or scams! It is impossible to tell, until you click the link.
Hash and Trend Spamming
This builds on generally spamming to make it more effective (or sometime targeted). This form of spam takes advantage of trending topics on Twitter by adding a hash tag to particular keyword in a tweet. Recently, for example spammers have been taking advantage of the sad death of Michael Jackson by adding #MJ and #MichaelJackson to their tweets. The same sort of thing has been going on with the #Iranelections and other popular trending topics. By adding trending topics or keywords to their tweets, spammers get their tweets to show up more often in popular (or targeted) searches. This has sometimes forced Twitter to temporarily disable trend searching on its site.
@username Spamming and Tweetjacking
This takes advantage of the popular practices or reply to/retweeting over peoples tweets. This common form of Twitter spam involves spammers replying to your @username, which then causes the Tweets to show up in your timeline (and may cause you to read it). This has quickly evolved into the practice of Tweetjacking. Here someone replies to or re-tweets a post you made, except they substitute your shortened URL in the post (http://tinyurl.com/good, i.e.) with another shortened URL that points to porn or scam site (http://tinyurl.com/bad,i.e.).
Twitter Account Hijacking
This involves hackers breaking into your account and using it for their own purposes (warning: avoid simple or obvious passwords on your Twitter account). Spammers hack into a reputable account (presumably with a lot of followers) and use it to send out spam. Accounts of popular Twitter users such as former Mac evangelist (or more recently investor) Guy Kawaski and even Britney Spear’s (TwitPic accounts) have been recently hacked! The list of celebrities who have had their accounts hacked continues to grow! (Lindsay Lohan, Barack Obama, Britney Spears, Fox News, ie). In fact this and the legal problems that follow has promoted Twitter to launch verified accounts.
Follower Inflation, “Follower Services” and Related Spam
The Twitter economy is based in part on the number of followings you have. Since creating an account is relatively easy, some has introduced automation to amass hundreds or thousands of fake followers! Some of these “spammers” have gone on to try and sell their services or accounts to the highest bidders! Spammers use this and related techniques to propagate general spam and grow their spam network.
Not really spam but definitely a form of social networking abuse has prompted Twitter to put out and try and enforce a Twitter Harassment Policy (some have claimed this is not enough). Individual can and do get harassed on Twitter. Some have been harassed professional views, celebrities have complained about being stalked/harassed on Twitter and you can expect the same time of harassment that goes on social networks such as MySpace to rear its ugly head!
Dealing with Twitter Spam and Abuse
Wanted to share an old screen capture of the Yahoo! Widget TV to give folks an overall idea of how the new Yahoo! Widgets look and work.
You will notice that at the bottom of the screen is a dock that displays widget snippets (dynamic icons). Once clicked, a widget opens up in a sidebar. Widgets can also enter a fullscreen graphical or video mode. The Connected TV environment comes with a Gallery Widget that is used to browse and add 3rd party widgets. Individual widgets feature a horizontal tabbed menu metaphor (very similar approach to the Widgetmatic 600 series). Each widget has a title area, a “Navigation Start Point” (usually where the content goes), a set of horizontal tabs (menus), as well as a global toolbar (at the bottom).
Both TechCrunch and Mashables ran articles today about the glut of iPhone applications based on usage numbers from AdMob. AdMob has looked at 2,309 apps (with 15.1 million unique users) and has concluded what most of us already know – very few iPhone applications have any significant user base! Only 116 applications have over 100,000 users and amazingly 54% of applications have less than 1,000 users. Conclusion – unless you have a compelling reason to, you probably don’t want to build yet another application for the iPhone platform – chances are (unless you actively promote and market it) you won’t get millions of downloads, much less millions of dollars! The real money belongs to another group of people.
What’s Good for the Goose, is Good for the Gander?
Let’s do some simple math so see the type of money we are talking about. Let’s say (as the articles suggest), there are more than 50,000 applications. Let assume they were build by 50K developers (not accurate since some build more than one, but again there are thousands of developers who didn’t follow through and it usually takes more than one developer per app). Let’s assume each of of these developers got an extra phone for development (that a $300 margin for Apple according to iSuppli) and paid $100 for the SDK (rounded up). That’s $400 a developer. Multiply by 50K and that equals $20M dollars, and that’s before the 30% margin Apple makes on each application sold! The real “developer revenue” number is probably 2 or 3 times that amount but we get idea!
The New Platform Gold Rush
Every once in a while, a new development platform will create a “developer gold rush”. This was very much the case with Facebook (but didn’t really happen for OpenSocial) and it was most definitely the case with the iPhone (but has happened in the same way for the Andriod). As a platform provider it definitely helps to be first (Facebook vs OpenSocial, Apple vs Android), to have a powerful developer-friendly platform, to be loud and takes risks (Facebook vs Yahoo!), and to do it right (Apple vs Blackberry, Facebook vs OpenSocial). Here is how some of it works:
How Platforms are Launched and Why Application Glut Happens
In addition to customer acquisition via apps, charging for SDKs, “verification” programs, and advertising other mechanisms such as plaform-wide micro-payments, directory listing fees, and pay-to-play platforms will soon emerage as additional monitization options.
What’s good for the goose, IS good for the gander, and promising new platforms that will attract CONSUMERS(most importantly) and good DEVELOPERS (always a chicken and egg) will make money for both (providers and developers). As for the consumer, please keeping using and buying our applications, and don’t forget to click some on some of the ads, your patronage of our applications is much appreciated. Thank you and please stay tuned for more!
The post tries to shed light on what widgets are, how companies should use them what the widget space really is.
We recently developed a YAP app (I like the way that sounds) for a client. For those who are not familiar with YAP, Yahoo! describes the Yahoo! Application Platform:
The Yahoo! Application Platform allows you to reach our users and improve the Yahoo! user experience by building and deploying new experiences for them into Yahoo! pages, writing code the way you love to write it.
From a marketing perspective, it’s Yahoo!’s response to Facebook’s popular application platform and MySpace’s OpenSocial, but in many ways it is different (and it promises to be even more different in the future).
Here are some of the similarities and differences between YAP and other popular application platforms:
Developer Do’s and Don’ts:
A couple of weeks ago I was speaking with one of our clients about API design. I has reminded of the conversation when checking out the YELP API this morning as part of working we are doing on a joint venture called SocialGrub. Pretty much every web-based service these days has some sort of API. An API, which stands for Application programming interface, is simply a mechanism that allows developers to get content from (or create it in) your service or application programmatically. As developers, we all have to design them to be intuitive and easy to use (for other developers). Here are some suggestions when designing an API:
This week’s round up of interesting widget news, trends and analysis:
Here are a list of Facebook application projects we have been involved with:
Music and Entertainment
Retail and Food
A couple of things of things that developers and marketers should be aware in regards to changes on Facebook.