Social Media

Digital News Roundup: July 8, 2010

July 8, 2010

Here’s a look at what’s covered in this week’s roundup: Bing builds on ‘Bron buzz by powering his official website, Twitter gets into e-commerce with new @earlybird service, Foursquare expands its loyalty program and Yahoo begins tapping into search query data to curate news content. Get the full scoop in the summaries below and follow us on Twitter all week long for the latest digital marketing insights from our team.

Bing Joins LeBron on His Quest for a Ring – and LeBron Joins Twitter

Bing, which bills itself as a “decision engine” is getting in on the buzz surrounding LeBron James’ own decision regarding his future in the NBA. According to a blog post, Bing will be the official search engine of and a main sponsor of “The Decision,” a one-hour ESPN special during which James will announce which team he will play for next year.

James also made digital headlines this week by joining Twitter and sending his first tweet, in which he blamed friend and New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul for “forcing” him to sign up. In two days the King has already amassed 300K followers and counting.

The @earlybird Catches the Steal with New Twitter E-Commerce Program

Twitter has unveiled a new e-commerce program, dubbed @earlybird Exclusive Offers, which will promote special deals on products and events from select advertisers. Twitter will earn revenue with each item sold via the service, though the exact model has not been determined (i.e. rev share vs. fixed price per deal).

As the New York Times’ Bits blog notes, the set-up plays to the popularity of limited-time sale sites like Gilt and Groupon as well as the tremendous success Dell has seen by tweeting deals via its @DellOutlet account. You can learn more about the Early Bird program over at the Twitter Help Center.

Check This: Foursquare Expands its Loyalty Program

Mobile check-in service Foursquare published a blog post this week touting the successes of several brands and businesses that have used the network to provide special offers to customers and introducing some updates to its loyalty program. For example, Starbucks saw a 50% increase in check-ins after it offered $1 off any size Frappuccino® for its mayors. At a smaller scale, one chocolatier based in Palo Alto, Calif. was able to acquire 50 new customers as a result of running a special offer via Foursquare.  The owner noted that he ran the same special in his local newspaper and acquired only one customer as a result.

Below is an example of a Foursquare offer at a Manhattan Pinkberry (search offers in your area):

Based on the successes of these and other merchants, Foursquare is making some updates to enhance the experience of its loyalty program:

  • Loyalty offer variability (“Specials Nearby”): Offers will be rotated in the “special nearby” tab to provide customers with more opportunities to discover specials.
  • The “reach” for special offers: The physical reach of an offer will expand, primarily in non-urban areas so that customers can explore even more offers.
  • Participation from employees: Foursquare is going to allow employees to get in the game by designating them as official staff members on venues within the network.
  • Redemption: Foursquare hinted that barcode scanning, loyalty card integrations and other means of easing the redemption process are in the works.

TechCrunch notes that this last update is potentially the biggest – as it suggests that Foursquare will soon try to tie in its service with actual hardware such as custom barcode scanners, which would make the check-in and redemption processes more seamless.

Journalism, Crowdsourced: ‘The Upshot’ to Select Headlines Based on Search Queries

This week Yahoo announced that it will roll out a niche news site, The Upshot, which will aggregate content based on users’ search queries. How will this work? According to the New York Times, a special team at Yahoo will analyze consumer search trends and pass along their findings to members of the news team, who will ultimately use the information to guide their reporting.

The Upshot aims to democratize journalism, addressing the topics that garner the most buzz within Yahoo’s engine. Yahoo hopes this strategy will help it gain traction in a “crowded media landscape,” according to James A. Pitaro, VP of Yahoo Media. “What we’re seeing is the market getting increasingly fragmented. And because of that you can survive by owning a niche category.”

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