Facebook Quietly Created New E-Mail Addresses

Facebook made its name by building one of the world’s most popular social networks. But, it sometimes,  itself comes across as antisocial.

Facebook is invaluable as a platform for finding long-lost friends, not to mention sharing links, photos and personal videos. For better and worse, the site has even redefined the word “like.”

Of course Facebook manages to use all of this goodwill to its own advantage. And the company often needs to be reminded that there are limits to how much it can exploit user information for profit.

Facebook has settled a class-action lawsuit that forces it to be more clear that clicking on the “Like” button means your name and photo can be used to endorse whatever movie, product or politician you “liked.”

Most recently, Facebook surreptitiously modified user profiles to replace their original e-mail addresses with @facebook.com addresses. Mail sent to that address becomes a Facebook message to a user. You’d think that a company with so many loyal followers would have announced this ahead of time. That’s a definite dislike.

(Via Scientific American)

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July 24, 2012 at 1:18 am Leave a comment

ANNOUNCEMENT : CellStrat blog has moved

Please note the new residence for CellStrat blog is at :

http://www.cellstrat.com/blog

Please point your CellStrat blog links to this new address. You will not see any further posts on this existing blog (https://cellstrat.wordpress.com). We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

April 12, 2009 at 11:45 pm Leave a comment

Google testing location-based ads

According to BusinessWeek (print edition dt April 20, 2009), Google is testing location-based advertising to drive more bang for the advertising buck. In March, Google started placing local-business ads on Urbanspoon, A GPS enabled mobile app. This app has capability to identify the user’s location and then recommends places to eat nearby. This allow Google to provide a better return on advertising dollars. In a down economy, advertisers are looking to get better return on their advertising investments.

April 11, 2009 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

Attended Wireless Technology Forum’s Mobile Media SIG event

Had the pleasure of attending the Wireless Technology Forum‘s SIG on Wireless Apps and Mobile Media. Today we had the iPhone Product Manager for autotrader.com – Nick Park presenting. 

Excellent presentation Nick. Thanks. Enjoyed the session

Nick was speaking about autotrader’s mobile web app. Some key aspects from his presentation :

Autotrader is primarily focused on iPhone but its web app works on BlackBerry and Windows Mobile too. AutoTrader’s app is about finding new and used cars, their pricing and nearby dealerships based on a number of criteria. AutoTrader is part of the Cox family. Some stats on autotrader :

  • 14 million unique visitors each month
  • 40000 dealers use AutoTrader
  • 3 mill cars in inventory
  • 250K private sellers
  • 220 employees

Audience of AutoTrader :

  • 78% visitors are males
  • Average age is 43.7 years
  • Average income $74300
  • 40% have graduated college
  • 63% are married

Basically the primary market audience is mid-market customers.

Another interesting stat : 83% of AutoTrader’s audience are looking for used cars. Only 10% visit to sell their cars on AutoTrader. So not a big selling platform. It is primarily search and find.

Critical aspects of AutoTrader strategy which also define its mobile app are : Portable, Rich Media, Local, Brand. Portability was a challenge as earlier strategies involved print media localized to communities. The mobile app was originally developed for portability reasons (in-pocket accessibility) and also to keep the brand fresh and young.

AutoTrader thought best to go with a mobile website as opposed to a device app. This was the easy thing to start with as it allowed them to leverage most of the backend web app and data environment. Mobile resident app would be more work and is in the future.

AutoTrader’s other brands include : AutoTrader Classic (Classic cars), AutoTrader Latino (heavy SMS usage), and AutoMart (popular with women). These three profiles require a different strategy in mobile world too.

Dealers have a substantial presence on AutoTrader. The latter enables inventory management, merchandising and auction support for dealers. AutoTrader has deep relationships with Kelley Blue Book, MSN Auto, Univision and NADA Guides.

Mobile version of AutoTrader was a result of a need to provide scalability to distributors. The mobile web app is being tightly coupled to the main web app. There is an effort to merge the business and analytics engine of the mobile app with the main web app. This helps in fast turnaround on changes and experimentation.

Functionally speaking, searching a car requires a lot of parameters to return an accurate result set. Also getting credit for referring customers to dealers has been difficult for AutoTrader so they are experimenting with coupons and such. The mapping function of the AutoTrader mobile app finds the nearest dealer having the desired car.

                                                               iPhone AutoTrader

                                                       autotrader.com on iPhone

Some key aspects needed to sell cars :

– photo is critical for used cars
– video is important and useful with lot of mobile users checking auto videos on mobile phones
– maps are popular to find cars in nearby vicinity dealerships

 

Next steps for AutoTrader mobile consist of : experimenting with more iPhone apps, developing for other platforms like Android, mobile / web hybrid apps and fast turnaround on application development and releases.

Thanks to WAMM (Wireless Apps and Mobile Media) SIG at the WTF for arranging this excellent presentation.

April 9, 2009 at 11:16 pm 3 comments

Three human needs beyond the basic

Beyond basic lifestyle needs and things of necessities (food, water, shelter, domestic needs, clothing, reach/mobility), all other Business models revolve around three basic human needs : community, sensory satisfaction and information.

Humans have a need to commune, to socialize (Need 1). The second need humans have is to get gratification (Need 2). Gratification relates to one of the sensory perceptions – looks, taste, smell, touch or hearing. The third thing humans like is information (Need 3). There is an innate desire to be aware, of being well-informed. These ideas are reflected in all successful business models as well. Most business models are either satisfying human need to commune and network, providing sensory gratification or providing information. However in today’s world, the last one has become difficult (to make money on) as there is lots of free information. One can argue that free information providers want to provide a place of community to the users. So strategy based on the Need 3 is to ensure the Need 1 and in the process make money.

Some examples to make it clear :

Internet search engines and portals : Search / Information
Social Networking : Commune
Conferences, Meetings : Commune
Education : Information
Entertainment (music, video, theatre) : Sensory Gratification
Partying : Commune and Gratification
Garden and landscape : Sensory Gratification
Advertising and Marketing : Commune and Information
Print and Publishing : Information

 

Just some philosophical ideas. How about Charity. It is not a business and hence does not fit any “Need” profile.

Startups can take notice of the above.

April 8, 2009 at 10:58 pm Leave a comment

A Primer on LTE – link on wikipedia

Our post on “A Primer on LTE” is now referenced on wikipedia on the main LTE page :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Term_Evolution

Let us know your feedback. Thanks for the excellent feedback on a similar post on “Primer on WiMAX” and referenced on wikipedia on the main WiMAX page.

April 8, 2009 at 10:31 pm Leave a comment

A Primer on LTE

LTE or Long Term Evolution is a 4G wireless technology and is considered the next in line in the GSM evolution path after UMTS/HSPDA 3G technologies. LTE is espoused and standardized via the 3GPP or 3rd Generation Partnership Project members. 3GPP is a global telecommunications consortium having members in most GSM dominant countries. 3GPP specifications are based on GSM evolution path of wireless communications. GSM is the most prevalent wireless standard in the world and has maximum number of subscribers globally.

The impact of LTE is so big that even powerful carriers which were on the alternate CDMA path like Verizon Wireless of United States, have decided to go with LTE in their next generation 4G evolution. Firms like Verizon and MetroPCS of USA have all but dumped the CDMA technology path almost dealing a blow to the CDMA owner Qualcomm, although the latter is much more diversified so it is not really short of business models.

LTE vs WiMAX
Whereas WiMAX emerged from the WiFi IP paradigm, LTE is a result of the classic GSM technology path. LTE is behind in the race to 4G with WiMAX getting an early lead with the likes of Sprint ClearWire and several operators in Asia opting to go with WiMAX in the near term. So where WiMAX has a speed to market advantage, LTE has massive adoption and GSM parenthood to back it up.

It is widely believed by market analysts that LTE will win ultimately but WiMAX will find adoption in frontrunner communities and niche business models which tend to take up technology faster. WiMAX vendors will have you believe that speed to market is too important to ignore. History suggests otherwise in case of wireless industry. It is also believed that ultimately, wireless industry will figure out a way to wed the two 4G technologies so the end product in few years might be a nice amalgam.

So ultimately, what standard an operator uses might be a moot point in the long run. The inter-operability would be just too great to get hung up on the wireless standard. The fact that both WiMAX and LTE are all-IP means that a cross-connection will be a piece of cake at some point in future.

In terms of speed, Fixed WiMAX lacks LTE in speed but Mobile WiMAX may catch up with LTE on this front. For an overview on WiMAX, refer to our post “A Primer on WiMAX“.

LTE Technology
LTE builds on 3GPP family which includes GSM, GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA, HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) etc. LTE is an all-IP standard like its peer WiMAX. LTE allows for rich applications and business models which include ultra-high speed voice, video and data. It also enables integration with the classic internet infrastructure which is all-IP based.

HSPA (High Speed Packet Access), the 3G GSM standard popular over near-term, offers uplink speeds of 11.5 MBPS and downlink of 28 MBPS. Whereas LTE offers 75-100 MBPS Uplink speeds and 250-300 MBPS downlink speeds. Compare this with 20 MBPS U-verse speeds of AT&T wired broadband network U-verse and 50 MBPS speeds in Verizon FIOS TV service. In a nutshell, LTE will beat the fastest wired broadband delivery High Def TV today (in USA) by order of 1 to 4 or 1 to 2 depending on which wired broadband we are talking about. That said, many carriers like AT&T believe that HSPA and its faster cousin HSPA+ will compare well with early WiMAX speeds and so there is no rush to LTE yet for these kind of carriers.

Some key characteristics of LTE are described below :

  • Increased Data Rates and High Efficiency : LTE is based on OFDM Radio Access technology and MIMO antenna technology (just like its cousin WiMAX) which offer excellent modulation technique for achieving powerful spectral efficiency.  Think of the OFDM wireless spectrum as a series of very fine and narrow wireless  bands and each band gets allocated to various service providers.  LTE offers higher data transmission rates while utilizing the spectrum more efficiently. This translates to an ability to support many more multitude of subscribers than is possible with pre-4G spectral frequencies. LTE is 2 to 5 times more efficient in spectrum utilization than the most advanced 3G networks.
  • Radio Planning : LTE signal goes far and wide and covers a larger geographic territory. LTE signal is way faster than the existing wireless transmission resulting in higher user response times.
  • IP environment : LTE is all-IP which permits new enhanced applications like real time voice, video, gaming, social networking and location-based services.  The concept of wireless ubiquity comes alive with LTE processor chips in everything from netbooks to mobile phones to consumer devices; all these devices talk to each other seamlessly and effortlessly.
  • Inter-operability : LTE IP network co-operates with circuit-switched legacy networks resulting in a seamless network environment and signals are exchanged between traditional networks, the new 4G network and the IP-based internet seamlessly.

LTE Applications
LTE will enable applications previously unheard of. Wireless ubiquity is a given. All consumer devices. communication and computing resources may be enabled on the wireless network courtesy of chipmakers like Intel who are eagerly building in WiMAX and LTE in future chipsets which will be embedded in all sorts of technology devices that one can imagine.  Social Networking and human-technology interaction (HTI) will take on a new meaning. Human-technology interface and resultant communication could be as seamless and as effortless as the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report makes it out to be (ok we are bragging a bit now).

Web 4.0, if you will, may just comprise the Wireless as an integral element of the hyper-connected world via LTE and WiMAX enablement.  Broadband TV might not need wired cables anymore and new MVNO service providers may emerge who enable wirelessly driven TV and broadband internet. Business users might exchange massive amounts of data while on the go at the flick of a button (or touch). Interacting with your Flickr and Picasas photo streams from mobile devices might be a breeze. Games will cross wired / wireless domains and mobile location will figure in the gaming context naturally. Location-based may take a new meaning with location being the true IP beacon determining the application context in a flash, thereby offering a ultra-personalized mobile experience to the user.

LTE Timeline
Operators are just now fully deploying 3G using WCDMA or UMTS/HSPDA. WiMAX is coming in via ClearWire in USA and several operators like BSNL in India and many others in Middle East and Africa. The first LTE deployment in USA is with relatively tiny MetroPCS which may just beat the big 3 LTE carriers (AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile) in the race to 4G. Verizon is claiming 2010 LTE deployment and AT&T is taking a more patient approach and states that LTE is in 2011-12 timeframe. China is unique, as usual. They have taken the TD-SCDMA 3G route which is a “unique to China” standard.  Chinese 4G strategy is not clear still. India is more LTE centric like the West with major carriers like Airtel and Vodafone adopting the LTE route. LTE in India is many years away as India’s regulator TRAI has not even awarded the 3G spectrum licenses yet.

Japan, we won’t even go there..

April 6, 2009 at 11:21 pm 1 comment

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