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Mobile Technology News, January 14, 2014

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • YouTube streamlines comments system
    YouTube unveils a new feature that lets users see, respond to and moderate comments all in one place.
  • Asymco: OS X, iOS combined may outsell Windows PCs this year
    Mostly on the back of iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, Apple has been predicted to outsell the combined Windows empire sometime this year, according to statistician and analyst Horace Dediu of Asymco. To reach this conclusion, he combined sales of all of Apple’s OS X and iOS products together and compared them to combined Windows sales (including the tablet-based Window RT and Pro, not that it materially affects the results) to arrive at his estimate.


  • Syrian Electronic Army hacks into Xbox Twitter accounts too
    News spread that the hacking group got into the Microsoft News Twitter account, but apparently it also breached Xbox’s Twitter and Instagram accounts.
  • Charter bids for Time Warner Cable
    US cable TV operator Charter Communications says it is offering more than $60bn (£37bn) to buy Time Warner Cable, its larger rival.
  • Some Fitbit Force Owners Complain Of Severe Skin Irritation
    Some owners of the Fitbit Force, the company’s latest wrist-worn activity tracker that measures steps, stairs climbed, calories burned and sleep, are reporting severe skin irritation, including rashes, blisters and peeling skin.

    Some of these people, who have taken to Fitbit and Engadget online forums as well as to Twitter with complaints, have reported seeking medical care for injuries they say were caused by the band. Fitbit Force came out last fall and retails for $130.

    News of Force-related skin issues was first reported Monday by Consumerist.

    Wearable devices, or so called wearables, with sensors that connect to a network or an app and collect data that can include sleep and heart rate, were hot items at last week’s International CES, the annual technology trade show, in Las Vegas. The Fitbit complaints come as the company is emerging as a market leader in the nascent category. According to NPD Group, a market research firm, Fitbit was responsible for 68 percent of the full-body trackers sold in the year ending Jan. 4. All Fitbit Force bracelets are currently shown as backordered on Fitbit’s website.

    In a statement to The Huffington Post, Fitbit said “numerous factors” may “cause skin irritation,” including sensitivity to the device’s stainless steel, which contains nickel, “reactions to bacteria that can accumulate in wristbands, or a sensitivity to the material of the band elastomer.” The company said it would offer refunds or exchanges to those affected.

    Based on interviews with five people as well as posts on the Fitbit forum, which on Monday evening had ballooned to 24 pages, rashes on the wrists of some Force owners seem to follow a similar pattern: A person wears Force for a few weeks without incident, and, after recharging it a few times, notices redness under the main part of the device, which houses the sensors, battery, display and charging port.

    Mike Townsend, 56, a retired air traffic controller from River Falls, Wis., said his skin became irritated after wearing Force for about two or three weeks. He initially thought the irritation was caused by bacteria, so he used alcohol wipes to clean the bracelet and made sure to clean his wrist after exercising. But the rash got worse.

    “Apparently I have a high threshold for pain, because it got to the point where I wasn’t able to wear anything on my left wrist,” Townsend said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “Even a tight-fitting shirt would be an irritant.”

    Townsend described his skin under the Force as an itchy, “red, raised rough area.”

    “Anything that would rub against it would just be painful,” Townsend said. “The sores were such that if you scratched them, they would break and ooze or bleed. It was unpleasant, to say the least.”

    Townsend tried switching Force to his other wrist and wearing the band more loosely, but after about a week his skin became irritated again. He has returned the device to Fitbit and is awaiting a refund. He said his “wrists are healing, albeit slowly.”

    It’s unclear what causes the reaction, and some people with rashes who are posting in the forum said they had no issues with Force’s predecessor, Fitbit Flex, which like Force, has a stainless steel clasp that contains traces of nickel.

    Some who spoke to HuffPost, including Townsend, said they have never before had allergies to metal watches or jewelry. Some reported having no known allergies.

    On Fitbit’s forum, some Force owners report that the skin reaction seems to come from where the battery charging area makes contact with the skin. Some fans of the product have said they tried using electrical tape or moleskin to cover the bottom of the tracker, but one person reported the tape “bubbled” over the charging port.

    Some of those with complaints reported receiving canned email responses from Fitbit. Customers interviewed by HuffPost and people posting in Fitbit’s forum expressed frustration that the company isn’t doing or saying more.

    When people first started reporting issues in the thread in December, a community moderator would respond to individuals in the forum. But as complaints increased after Christmas, the moderator fell silent.

    One person reported Fitbit deleted his comment about skin irritation from its Facebook page.

    “It’s just not acceptable that you pay $129 for a product and then end up seeking professional medical help for a rash that develops from use of that product,” said Susan Pomeroy, a 63-year-old fitness instructor from Lawrence, Kan., who said she went to the doctor last month after developing a rash under her Force. Pomeroy, diagnosed with contact dermatitis and given a prescription for prednisone, said she was frustrated that the company hadn’t made an official statement or warned people.

    “I am concerned for the health of others,” Pomeroy said.

    fitbit force
    A photograph showing Susan Pomeroy’s wrists after wearing Fitbit Force. Pomeroy said she had completed a full course of prednisone when this photo was taken, and had worn Force for three weeks on her left wrist and for only for six hours on her right.

    Full statement from Fitbit:

    We are aware that some of our customers have reported a skin irritation from wearing their Force device. We conduct testing in order to satisfy a variety of internationally accepted standards relating to the safety of the materials in our devices. Fitbit wristbands are made of an elastomer material similar to many sports watches and do not contain latex. The Fitbit Force clasps and casing are made with a surgical-grade stainless steel, which is commonly used in watches, jewelry and other products in contact with the skin.

    As with any jewelry or watch, numerous factors could cause a skin irritation, such as nickel sensitivity (surgical stainless steel is an alloy containing traces of nickel), reactions to bacteria that can accumulate in wristbands, or a sensitivity to the material of the band elastomer.

    However, our customers are our top priority, so we already have been taking steps to make this right with any customers who feel that they have an allergy related to their Fitbit device including offering a refund or a choice of a replacement tracker. Fitbit will handle all shipping costs and will provide a refund in any difference in price.

    Engadget, like The Huffington Post, is owned by AOL.

  • Study: Mobile app use more than doubled in 2013
    “More and more smartphone owners are discovering that mobile apps can perform many of the functions previously requiring a home computer” would seem to be the conclusion reached in analytic firm Flurry’s latest survey of app usage growth in 2013. The study found that mobile app usage grew 115 percent overall in 2013, largely driven by increased engagement with social and messaging apps.


  • Change Is Possible — Remembering Internet Activist Aaron Swartz
    It is one year since the death of 26-year-old Aaron Swartz, the renowned computer programmer, writer, political organizer and Internet activist.

    People all around the world are remembering Swartz, a man Internet founder Tim Berners-Lee called a wise elder of the web. A new film on his life, The Internet’s Own Boy – The Aaron Swartz Story, will premiere at Sundance later this month.

    I met Aaron at Harvard when he was 24. It was immediately clear that he was not only a genius, but also a gentleman that was wise beyond his years. He had a huge heart and a great mind that he devoted to making a positive difference in the world. While a life of great wealth and comfort could have been his, Aaron instead dedicated his skills to the pursuit of justice and equality, becoming recognized as a global figure for information and Internet freedom.


    Since his early teens, Aaron was a key thinker in the development of the web. He was involved in the development of the news feed format RSS, the Creative Commons organization, and social news website Reddit. His work later focused on sociology, civic awareness and social activism and in 2009 he launched the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

    Aaron was both a high school and university drop-out, and later became a research fellow at Harvard University’s Safra Research Lab on Institutional Corruption. He went on to found online advocacy group Demand Progress, and led it to have over one million members. Aaron was also a leading voice in successfully defeating the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, more commonly known as SOPA.

    When I interviewed Aaron in 2010, his raw passion for social justice was clear:

    I feel very strongly that it’s not enough to just live in the world as it is, to just take what you’re given and follow the things that adults told you to do, and that your parents told you to do and the society tells you to do. I think that you should always be questioning. I take this very scientific attitude that everything you’ve learned is just provisional, that it’s always open to recantation or refutation or questioning, and I think the same applies to society.

    I felt growing up, I slowly had this process of realizing that all the things around me were just the natural way that things were the way things would be. They weren’t natural at all. They were things that could be changed and things that more importantly were wrong and should change. Once I realized that, there was really no going back. I couldn’t fool myself into saying I’ll just go and work for a business and ignore all that. Once I realized that there were real serious problems, fundamental problems, that I could do something to address I didn’t see a way to forget that…

    … he said in response to asking him about his motivations for becoming an activist.

    It was this same passion and determination that ultimately landed Aaron in trouble.

    In January 2011, Aaron was arrested by MIT police, after illegally downloading academic journals from the JSTOR database, which supporters say he was preparing to make freely available online. He was later charged with two counts of wire fraud and 11 violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He faced a 35-year prison sentence and up to $1 million in fines in what many say was a witch-hunt designed to make an example of Aaron and to crack down on net freedom activists.

    On January 11th 2013, two days after the prosecution denied his lawyer’s second offer of a plea bargain, Aaron was found dead in his New York apartment.

    Upon hearing the news, Tim Berners-Lee tweeted;

    “Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep.”

    Following the announcement by the coroner that Aaron’s death was a suicide, his family issued a statement which drew attention to the possible role of both the U.S justice system and MIT in his death.

    Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach.

    Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts US Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death.

    In June 2013, Aaron Swartz was posthumously inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame. His death is a tragedy and there are many lessons to take from it, including the need to support those who may need help.

    The internet is at the heart of the modern battle for democracy. There are active forces which seek to invade our privacy and control our information. This is clear from recent news of government spying, and attacks on civil liberties and freedom of information. Campaigning for Internet freedom has therefore never been more important, including initiatives like the February 1st International Day Of Privacy and the February 11th Day Against Mass Spying. As Aaron himself said, “Information is power and like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves.”

    In his short life, Aaron showed what was possible when people get organized to affect change. His legacy continues to affect hundreds of millions of internet users each day. It is important his work continues and to believe that change is possible.

    .. “because I had believed for so long that change was impossible it precluded me from taking any actions that could have caused that change and so I think the first step for everyone out there is to believe that you can actually accomplish something because once you believe that you’re half way to actually doing something.” – Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013

    Watch YouTube video interview with Aaron Swartz.

    Ruairí McKiernan is an Irish social justice campaigner, social entrepreneur, and Presidential appointee to Ireland’s Council of State. His website is www.community.ie and he is on twitter @ruairimckiernan and on Facebook www.facebook.com/hopehitching

  • VIDEO: Data cruncher makes movies by numbers
    Script doctor Vincent Bruzzese uses data to test the marketability of movies based on more than a decade of audience research.
  • VIDEO: Dolby moves into the vision business
    The BBC’s North America Technology Correspondent Richard Taylor tries out Dolby Vision at the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 in Las Vegas.
  • Tapping into the IT cloud crowd
    Should companies crowdsource their IT operations?
  • VIDEO: Google to buy Nest Labs for $3.2bn
    Google has announced plans to buy thermostat maker Nest Labs for $3.2bn (£2bn), continuing a string of recent acquisitions.
  • 'YouTube Nation' To Give Users Daily Highlight Reel Of Curated Content
    NEW YORK (AP) — How do you cope with an exploding world of YouTube video? Starting Tuesday, you can get help by visiting “YouTube Nation.”

    The video-sharing website has teamed with DreamWorks Animation to create this daily highlight reel of brand-new, trending and yet-to-be-discovered content. It will serve as a handy sampler, says DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. “In a sea of the infinite, this is a lighthouse.”

    Every minute, some 100 hours of new video content is uploaded to YouTube. Now a task force of “YouTube Nation” curators will be plowing through this cache to identify not only what’s most popular, but also what’s poised to go viral with YouTube consumers.

    “Our choices aren’t driven purely by algorithms and analytics,” says Katzenberg. “You don’t want to just know what’s the most seen. What you really want to know is: What’s GOING to be the most seen?”

    The five-minute “YouTube Nation” program will post weekdays at 9 p.m. Eastern Time/6 p.m. Pacific Time starting Tuesday. It’s hosted by Jacob Soboroff (from HuffPost Live, the streaming network of The Huffington Post, and Pivot TV’s “TakePart Live”).

    But each episode will be more than a digital tip sheet. It will come equipped with links and playlists that enable the user to delve fully into the video being recommended.

    “For every five minutes of our show,” says Katzenberg, “we’ll have an hour or more of content.”

    “YouTube Nation” is geared chiefly to 18-to-30-year-olds and “casual viewers who would like to be heavier users,” he says.

    But Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s head of content and business operations, says, “We look at ‘YouTube Nation’ as a way to promote the great breadth of content on YouTube in an easily digestible way for anyone — and that’s the key word, ‘anyone.'”

    The advertiser-supported “YouTube Nation” is the first daily series produced by DreamWorks Animation and marks the first use of the YouTube brand for a daily series. The project, an equal partnership of the two companies, has been in the works for a year, with a current staff totaling 50.

    But that’s just the beginning, says Katzenberg. Within two months, a second daily edition of the show will be added to the mix, posting at 12 noon Eastern/9 a.m. Pacific.

    Then, mid-year, specialization will be introduced with a dozen or so “vertical” guides such as “YTN Sports,” ”YTN News” and “YTN Music” — more than a dozen in all, says Katzenberg.

    The mission is to bring to a waiting audience video that otherwise might never be found, discovered and presented by YouTube insiders.

    “We’ll answer the question, ‘Can you tell me what’s the most interesting, cool stuff?'” says Katzenberg. “I don’t want to have to learn about it on ‘Good Morning America.'”




  • Google to buy Nest Labs for $3.2bn
    Google announces plans to buy thermostat maker Nest Labs for $3.2bn (£2bn), continuing a string of recent acquisitions.
  • The Toyota FT-1 Concept Car Trades Sensibility For Sexiness, But Here's Why It Works
    It’s not often the terms “Toyota” and “sexy” are thrown around together.

    The company that’s known for making such cars as the Camry and Corolla is usually associated with words like “sensible” and “reliable,” but if the FT-1 concept reveals Toyota’s future, then we might soon be seeing a racier side of the automaker.

    Toyota unveiled the FT-1 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Monday. Though the car company hasn’t yet said what will power the sleek sports car, they did say it is front-engined and has rear wheel drive, and its proportions certainly reflect that.

    Like a supermodel with a Ph.D, the FT-1 concept offers more than just divine looks. Here are five of our favorite features.

    See more of the cars being revealed at the Detroit auto show below.

  • Robin Williams iPad Ad Reminds Us Of The True Meaning Of Humanity
    iPads are the stuff of poets, Apple posits in its latest ad.

    Unveiled on Sunday, “Your Verse,” is an ode to the product as a tool for creation. The 90-second spot features shots of real iPad Air owners using the tablet in extraordinary ways, all set to Robin Williams’ dialogue from 1989’s Dead Poets Society.

    Williams’ narration pulls quotes from Walt Whitman’s “O Me! O Life!,” a poem celebrating how “powerful play” is a fundamental of the human experience.

    “Each of us has something to share. A voice, a passion a perspective. The potential to add a stanza to the world’s story,” Apple stated. “We were so inspired by how people use iPad every day, we set out to capture a few of these moments.”

  • 10 Qualities Every E-Commerce Site Needs in a Startup Tech Company
    Building an e-commerce site for a startup tech company requires attention to detail not only in the structure, but in the design. These 10 qualities are all necessary for an e-commerce site to be effective and successful.

    E-commerce sites are an increasingly popular platform for making money online, only recently being eclipsed by mobile applications. The ability to develop responsive e-commerce platforms and coordinate between traditional and mobile store opportunities has complicated the e-commerce game, but the fundamental principles of a quality, enticing online store remain the same.

    Put these 10 qualities on your “must have” list when developing your startup tech e-commerce site:

    1. Visible, recognizable branding. Keep your logo front and center, and build your store around your brand. Make your shop unique in your industry, and give your customers a feeling of familiarity when they visit.

    2. Free offers. No matter what, you need to have an area of the site or a running advertisement for some sort of free deal. It could be free shipping, a free gift on orders of a certain value, or something similar.

    3. Newsworthy information. Are you selling tech products? Make sure your shop has the latest news on tech developments. Make yourself the authority in your field.

    4. Easy login and shopping cart options. Don’t make your users hunt for the ability to log in and check out. It needs to be clear and easy.

    5. Intuitive search features. Searches should be easy to make–don’t let your user struggle to find anything in your site. Put a big search bar at the top and make sure it can find anything.

    6. High resolution images. Your products need to look alive on the page. Take great pictures, and show them off to entice users to buy.

    7. Videos. It’s important, now more than ever, to have videos available on your site. They could demonstrate products, guide users through your system, or just introduce people to your brand.

    8. Focus. Your site should be distraction-free. Offer products and information, and nothing else. Simplicity is key.

    9. Clearance sections. Giving users a cheaper alternative will draw in different shades of your target demographic without alienating your main audience.

    10. Personal feels. Give your site a personal touch by introducing some of your team and writing in a comfortable, familiar way. Make sure to include direct contact information as well.

    E-commerce sites with these 10 qualities tend to perform better, both in terms of total purchases and in terms of customer retention. Paying close attention to details and giving your users an unforgettable experience are the hallmarks of any online sales effort.

    Jose Vasquez is a serial entrepreneur and tech enthusiast dedicated to helping startup technology companies get the direction and momentum they need to succeed. As the founder of Build. Brand. Blast., Jose has established a collective resource for tech entrepreneurs to consult when brainstorming, creating, launching, or expanding a new business. Jose is also the founder and CEO of Quez Media Marketing, a marketing firm that combines technology and creativity to help new and growing companies get the results they need.

    Jose graduated from Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.

    Follow Jose:


  • Waywire Editor's Cool CES Videos 2014
    This year the buzz at CES was all about wearables and drones. And heck, when you can find a wearable devices that controls a drone… well, you’re in geek heaven. To be fair, there’s lots to explore — plenty of videos that can give you a virtual tour of the massive show floor. But given that you have a life, and probably can’t watch a billion CES videos — here’s our 7on CES collection that should fill you up without emptying your wallet.

    Best of CES 2014 | CrunchWeek
    CES is over. All the gadgets have been demoed, held, and tested by the masses. Reporters Jordan Crook, Greg Kumparak, and Darrell Etherington talk about their favorite products and moments.

    Panasonic and Tesla’s | CES 2014
    We get some details on the batteries Panasonic makes for Tesla’s cars.

    3D Printer Round-Up:
    Printing Food, Laser Printing, and More!

    Engadget at CES 2014: Interview with Eye-Fi Co-Founder Ziv Gillat
    Interview with Ziv Gillat, Co-founder and Head of Business Development and Sales of Eye-Fi.

    Consumer-Ready Muse Headdband and Software Hands-on

    Parrot AR.Drone Meets MYO Armband
    Engadget witnesses the wedding of Parrot’s AR.Drone 2.0 and Thalmic Labs’ MYO armband at CES 2014.

    CES 2014: Wearables Will Enhance Smart Homes

    In the smart home, wearable technology will provide contextually – knowing who is home and where – according to Alex Hawkinson, CEO of SmartThings.

  • Ladies, Help Your Guy Friends Out and Review Them On Lulu
    Last week, my good friend on the East Coast, who I will call ‘Bob,’ texted me after midnight in a tizzy about a new dating app called Lulu. I knew this was serious because I hadn’t heard from Bob in almost a year, and he didn’t sound drunk.

    Lulu allows women to anonymously review men they’ve dated, slept with or want to ruin for other women, and Bob heard he’d been critiqued. He needed me to get the details, as I was still awake and had the kind of access that comes with a vagina.

    “This should be illegal,” he texted me. “I’m dying to know/afraid to know.”

    “I’m afraid to look,” I replied.

    Nevertheless, I downloaded the app. It automatically loaded in all my Facebook friends, including my uncle and his 90-year-old father-in-law. Guys were listed with their profile photos, and were ranked numerically on a scale from 1 to 10.

    In a few clicks, I found Bob. He had one review, a bunch of descriptive hashtags, and an 8.9 ranking. The hashtags were divided into two categories of “Best” and “Worst,” which delineated what women thought about him.

    Under Best, women described Bob as “#LocalCeleb, #SweetToMom, #GrowsHisOwnVegetables, #HeInventedSex, #PantyDropper, #PerfectGrammar and #SexualPanther.”

    Under Worst, they labeled him as “#NeverRemembersMe, #FartMachine, #QuestionableSearchHistory and #HitItAndQuitIt.”

    Based on the review, I concluded my pal was an intelligent, sex god with a gas problem. I quickly reported back.

    “What does ‘questionable search history’ mean?” Bob texted me.

    “You need to clean out your cookies,” I replied.

    Bob insisted that he only used his computer to DJ, but later noted he had tight security on all his devices, which sounded like a more reasonable argument. We continued debating the highs and lows of his review, as if he was a restaurant on Yelp.

    “I’m concerned about fart machine,” I said.

    “I seriously never fart,” he replied, as everyone does when slapped with such an insult. “Compared to my friends, I am way down on the scale. But for all the great sexual comments I get, I don’t care!”

    “That’s true,” I noted. “Plus, you grow your own vegetables.”

    “What does that mean?”

    “I figured you had a garden.”

    “I definitely don’t.”

    Actually, Bob felt his review was filled with inaccuracies, except for the 6.5 ranking he got on ‘commitment.’ That, he said, was spot on, if not generous.

    Resolving he’d faired well on Lulu, Bob went off to bed and I offered to give him a review to boost his rating. Bob and I have never had a sexual relationship, but you wouldn’t know it from the hashtags I was generating. By the time I was finished, Bob was up to a 9.3.

    Then, it was time to explore further. As I scrolled through nearly all my acquaintances, I imagined how much it would suck to be a guy. There were some pretty callous hashtags out there. Among them: “#CantBuildIkeaFurniture, #OnlyWearsFratTanks, #BurnsCornflakes and #OwnsCrocs.”

    I felt guilty looking, but of course continued. Girlfriends were reviewing their boyfriends, even when they were still together. No one wants to date someone with a low ranking on Lulu. I was able to locate all my friends, my friends’ dads, my friends’ brothers, and even my little brother Ronnie. Ronnie had not been evaluated yet, but that was about to change.

    When I clicked on his profile, I was sent a pitch from Lulu: Ronnie hasn’t been reviewed yet. Do him a favor and get him started! (Don’t worry – he’ll never know it was you.)

    Well, unless I write about it!

    I was asked a series of questions, which used words like “amazeballs,” and spelled babies, “bebes.” The War On Literacy raged on.

    The questions about my brother were different than the questions about Bob, even though I said I hooked up with both of them. I was asked about his sense of humor, how he kisses, what time he gets up in the morning, and what animal he compares to in bed (lion).

    Then came time for hashtags.

    His best qualities … pick a bunch!

    Answer: #LadiesFirst, #CleanBathroom, #TallDarkAndHandsome, #Big.Feet., #TrueFriend, #Adventurous, #SweetToMom, #LifeOfTheParty, #GreatListener, #EnergizerBunny, #Unicorn, #NotADick

    I clicked next, but ended up going back to add “#GrowsHisOwnVegetables” because I thought maybe Bob and I were out of the loop on some emerging euphemism.

    His worst qualities … how many?

    Answer: Zero, BITCHES.

    With that, I brought my brother in at a 9.3 – competitive with Bob – and a review that summarized him as, “He’s no slouch in the hotness department.”

    You’re welcome, Ronnie.

    Ronnie has a girlfriend, so I will definitely be recommending she sign on to get these numbers up. The Garcias are winners, and we will win at Lulu.

    For all my other guy friends, hit me up if I can be assistance. I might start charging depending on demand.

  • The Five Best Sports Influencer Endorsements On The Web: (2 of 2)

    In Part One of this two part series on the best sports endorsements on the web, I took a look at three creative and results-driven campaigns that leveraged influential sports figures for solid business results.

    Largely thanks to social media’s effect on leveling the playing field, many of the best sports influencer campaigns of the past few years have effectively harnessed social media and “power middle influencers,” or sports figures that have smaller circles of influence than the big-name celebs. However, just as much, or more, sway within these circles. In fact, a properly run power middle influencer campaign can produce results 16x higher than a traditional marketing campaign, according to Social Chorus.

    From viral videos to a Twitter-driven race to comedy-infused socks, each of the previous campaigns highlights how to effectively harness the star power of big name celebrities and the community power of social media.

    Here are two more campaigns that made waves by working with power middle sports influencers. These campaigns are not backed by multi-million dollar marketing budgets, nor do they work with tier one sports stars. These come from smaller startups that built smart relationships with influencers and relied on social media for exposure in their respective local markets.

    4. Mobile App Fannect Is Downloaded Hundreds Of Times, Thanks To Four Sports Influencers

    Photo courtesy of Fannect

    As an unknown brand new to the marketplace, it can be difficult to connect with potential customers. But by using local sports figures to reach a local audience, and by distributing the message on social media channels only, mobile sports app Fannect was able to do just that.

    Fannect determines which teams have the best fans, and where each fan ranks on his or her team’s leaderboard.

    The challenge for Fannect was in getting their app in front of the right audience. Generalized digital marketing campaigns, even targeted Facebook ads, couldn’t ensure that the most die-hard sports fans would discover the app. So instead, they turned to four local sports figures — from Eric Decker of the Denver Broncos to Golden Tate of the Seattle Seahawks — to endorse their app via Twitter and help spread the word to the right audience.

    Since the four athletes were connected to hundreds of thousands of fans, Fannect was able to mobilize nearly 200 sports lovers to download their app – the single most cost-effective download campaign they’ve ever run. The campaign reached 727,000 fans and produced 1,564 engagements as well.

    Part of the success of this campaign was in the type of content provided to the sports influencers. Fannect didn’t simply say “go tweet about our app!” Instead, they provided each athlete with an abundance of details about their brand so the athletes could engage in conversations with fans that they otherwise wouldn’t have thus creating additional and impactful content at no extra cost.

    5. iXL Do U Uses Twitter and Influencers To Introduce Their New Sports Drink To Consumers In Kansas

    Photo courtesy of IXL Do U

    Not every sports drink brand is a Gatorade, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get influential sports stars to endorse their product.

    Without a huge marketing budget, iXL Do U sports drink chose to enlist the help of three local athletes in Kansas to spread the word. These athletes didn’t necessarily have name-recognition outside of Kansas, but that didn’t matter — iXL wanted to laser-focus their message.

    The campaign saw 15 Twitter endorsements from three up-and-coming Sporting KC sports stars: Matt Besler, Kevin Ellis and Jon Kempin. Their tweets about iXL reached over 87,000 consumers, and it only cost $1,000 and a few cases of the product as samples — not exactly breaking the bank, even for a new startup!

    The endorsements resulted in 227 people clicking over the iXL’s website to learn more about the product, at a total cost per engagement of $3.08. Plus, the iXL team was able to use the athletes’ endorsements as part of their sales pitch to local retail outlets interested in carrying their product.

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