Facebook Spam Filter For Pages Releases

Facebook pages have been a great place for not just the brands and websites to broadcast to ‘fans‘, but also allows members to post content among themselves. While this is good on most counts, the number of spammers making use of this feature is on the rise as well. Facebook appears to have taken note of this as they have recently launched a ‘Spam filter‘ for fan pages.

Facebook Page Spam Filter

An explanation of the service notes,

“Facebook is now helping Page admins ensure that the most valuable content posted by users on their Page wall is more visible to anyone viewing the Page. We are now offering automatic content filtering on Page walls that will ensure that posts soliciting spam are removed from public view as well as ensure that posts containing good content remain more visible.”

This is a good way to encourage genuine discussion among people with similar tastes and ideas on a page. What do you think?

A Desktop Client For Facebook Chat For Heavy Chatters

Despite a massive 500 million user base that is into social networking, Facebook really does not offer a very pretty chatting experience. The native Facebook IM service offers a pretty average networking experience.

If you are one of those who use the Facebook IM service a lot to chat with your friends on Facebook, here is a desktop application that you should probably take a look at. UK-based ChitChat is a full fledged Windows-only desktop client for Facebook chatting. The application basically brings the several benefits of popular Instant Messaging clients like AOL, Yahoo Messenger and GTalk to Facebook. For one, it relieves you of having to keep your browser open and can be accessed directly from your desktop. Secondly, the application comes with a beautiful tabbed interface that makes it easy to switch between open chat windows. Also, unlike the browser-based native chat application, new message notifications do not get hidden under other browser tabs since you are prominently displayed a new message notification like you are on GTalk.

ChitChat for Facebook Desktop IM

ChitChat is free to download and can be installed by clicking here. Don’t forget to tell us your experience in the comments below.

Is Microsoft Bringing Second Life To XBox Live?

Rumors are doing the rounds that Microsoft may have acquired Linden Lab, the developers of the popular virtual world game, Second Life. According to reports, the deal has either been sealed or is in very advanced stages. Linden Lab is reported to have been entertaining offers and Microsoft is reported to have shown keen interest. Incidentally, Linden Lab also announced that it was closing its UK office this week.

While this still remains a rumor that needs more confirmation, there are reports nevertheless that Microsoft is keen on buying social gaming companies. It’s learned that Microsoft executives are looking for more than just partnerships and are talking about purchases with several social gaming vendors.

Nevertheless, this news should be interesting if you are a Second Life user. The acquisition could bring the game to XBox Live. Do you think that’s a good move?

Facebook Mulls New Social CAPTCHA Security System

Facebook has filed a patent application for a new technology that will seek to beat scammers and possibly bots using a new CAPTCHA system that will make use of a user’s social graph. Called the social CAPTCHA, this new technology will put forward several questions to a user – that Facebook suspects of being fraudulent – that only a real user could answer. This will include questions to identify a person from the user’s social network from their picture, or by offering a name and asking the user to pick the right picture, pick the right relationship between the user and their connect,etc.

Facebook claims the social CAPTCHA system will be able to effectively ward off hackers who unscrupulously gain access to users accounts since these hackers may not be aware of the users’ personal contacts. However, social CAPTCHA, in isolation, could be much more troublesome since any of the users’ close connects will be as much aware of the users’ network as the user themselves and hence cracking into any account will become extremely simple.

It will be interesting to see how Facebook incorporates this idea into their social network service.


Facebook Wins Patent For Click-Behavior Based Search Engine Algorithm

Facebook has been awarded the patent for a click-behavior based search engine application. The United States Patent & Trademark office has today approved a patent application titled “Ranking search results based on the frequency of clicks on the search results by members of a social network who are within a predetermined degree of separation“. The application was filed by Facebook back in 2004 and has been awarded only recently.

The patent describes a search engine ranking algorithm that is based on popularity of websites among the users’ peer group. The patent reads,

“The invention provides still another technique to improve the relevance of search results. According to an embodiment of the invention, search results, including sponsored links and algorithmic search results, are generated in response to a query, and are ranked based on the frequency of clicks on the search results by members of social network who are within a predetermined degree of separation from the member who submitted the query. The predetermined degree of separation is equal to one if the click activities of only the friends of the member who submitted the query are to be examined. “

While this patent may no longer be relevant to current Facebook’s business strategies considering that the company sees more revenues coming from outsourcing the search feature to partners like Bing, it will be interesting to see how this patent will affect search engine players like Google who are likely to have such click-behavior analysis incorporated into their search engine ranking algorithm.

Facebook Search Algo

Curiously enough, the patent does not name Mark Zuckerberg as one of the inventors. The patent is filed in the name of Christopher Lunt, Nicholas Galbreath, Jeffrey Winner.

Now A Website To Find College Roommates Online

Looking for that perfect roommate who you could pair up with at the university? URoomSurf is a new website that lets students joining a college or high school surf through and find a compatible dorm-mate. The website requires its users to fill up a questionnaire and using an algorithm will determine the user’s compatibility score with other students joining the same university. The questionnaire will primarily deal with situations and ask the user how they would like their roommate to respond.

The website was launched in February of this year and as on date has close to 85,000 students signed up on their service. URoomSurf also claims to have successfully paired up over 6900 connections.

While the website is indeed a good way to find prospective roommates, if not simply get to know your future friends, the founders however find a significant challenge in that many universities still do not let students to request for their roommate and the process is many a time done by the authorities themselves.

But with websites like these sprouting up, that policy could soon be relaxed.

Create More Buzz For Your Product Launch The Chatroulette Way

I really don’t write much about ‘tips and tricks’ on this website, but the latest news from Chatroulette just got me thinking how new product launches could create a lot more social buzz if you executed it the right way.

Okay, if you are under a rock or something and did not know what Chatroulette’s all about; it’s a video chat service that hooks you up with random pervs from a random part of the world with whom you may chat or choose to click  away to find another person. The website had recently shut their website down and had noted that their “Experiment #1” was over and that experiment #2 was on the way.

So let’s consider you have a relaunch coming up too. What would you typically do? Make an announcement on Twitter or Facebook that a new version is on, then launch the product and then make an announcement once again about the product having launched? Yes, if you have a good number of people following your site, it works. But you can do better the Chatroulette way.

Instead of making the announcement even while the old version is on, how about shutting down the service for sometime? The fact that the site is not available online creates a lot more viral buzz. The initial message on Chatroulette read (emphasis mine),

“The experiment #1 is over for now. Thanks for participating – Redesigned and updated version of the website will be launched tomorrow

Not only did this message spread around the social web, but it also got people – even those who are not regulars – visiting frequently just to check if the site is back on. Now fast-forward a day ahead and the message now reads,

“The experiment #1 is over for now. Thanks for participating – Redesigned and updated version of the website will be launched shortly”

The web is now talking about the launch being postponed. Now assuming the new version launches tomorrow, expect a lot more virality to flow with people then speaking about the new version having launched finally.

What must have just been one news piece is now being told and retold several times over the week that gets a lot more social conversation going. This may not be a deliberate marketing attempt by Chatroulette (maybe their servers are stuck up and they are still fixing the issue) and agreed that this will not even work for all product launches – what if you have a business oriented website and even a day of downtime could mean catastrophe?. Nevertheless, this is one social marketing strategy that you could remember when you are doing a product relaunch.

Ning Freemium Service Shuts Down

Ning, the popular hosted social network service has finally completed the shut down of its Freemium service. This follows an announcement by Ning earlier this year that they shall be turning the service into a completely paid-service in order to make up for the loss of revenues. The loss due to the closure is not expected to be huge – the over 300,000 free communities on Ning contributed to less than 20% of revenue and 25% of traffic. The rest of the revenues were brought in by just the tinier 15,000 groups.

Ning has had a challenging 2010 with the company also laying off close to 40% of its workforce earlier this year. But the plans to shut down its freemium communities and ask these community owners to “pay or leave” appears to have paid off. According to a report, nearly 12% of the communities that were earlier free have now turned into paying customers.

The plans are still affordable though. The basic plan costs less than $3 a month and will be available for communities with less than 150 members. Pro plans are offered at much higher rates of close to $50 a month with additional charges for bandwidth consumption over 200GB.

How To Chat With Facebook Friends On Windows Live Messenger

If you are a Windows Live user, then you may have come to know that Microsoft has recently released the new version of the Windows Live Essentials 2011 beta software. Now, this beta version allows users to integrate their Facebook friends list to their Windows Live Messenger and thus helps them to chat with these users.

To get started, click here to download this latest version of Windows Live Essentials. Once done, you have to Connect your Windows Live account with Facebook by clicking on the ‘Connect to Facebook‘ link. Enter your Facebook credentials if prompted.

Now to get started on the chat, open your contacts list and click on the Facebook icon against the ‘Connected to‘ text . This will let you edit the connections. In the window that opens, make sure the option – ‘Chat with my Facebook friends in Messenger‘ is checked. This should get you started.

Check out this video below. It may be helpful.

Facebook To Offer Hosted Landing Pages To Advertisers?

Facebook could soon be working on offering comprehensively customized landing pages to advertisers on their network. The company has just acquired Chai Labs – a Mountain View, CA based provider of a technology platform which “enables publishers to easily customize and launch scalable, search-friendly sites in several verticals”.  The acquisition is rumored be in inside $10 million though neither party has so far confirmed or denied the reports.

The acquisition makes logical sense for Facebook as the company expands its service offerings that will directly impact its revenues. Though Facebook advertising has been lapped up by a lot of advertisers, the network is presently also used extensively by those looking to drive traffic to their Facebook Fan pages. By offering additional website building tools to these advertisers, Facebook can keep the user engagement level going inside Facebook all the while making money from advertisers.