HOW TO: Land a Job at Amazon

Amazon‘s business model hit the ground running in the 1990s by revolutionizing retail and e-commerce. In recent years, the company has built on its success, transforming our reading habits and how we store data by selling e-readers and cloud computing services. Now Amazon is bolstering its workforce to accommodate its growing line of products and services, which have doubled the company’s annual profit in the past three years. Its online jobs board lists 1,900 available positions at its Seattle headquarters alone. That’s twice as many openings the company had last year, reports The Seattle Times. So how can you get in on the Amazon action that’s already 33,700 employees strong? Here are some tips and resources from the company’s recruiters for landing a job at Amazon.


Who Is Amazon Looking For?


Nearly half of the open positions at Amazon’s headquarters are tech jobs, but the company is also hiring recruiters, buyers and product managers at all levels of expertise. Amazon has offices, fulfillment centers, customer service centers and software development centers throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. There are currently openings in all geographies, says Susan Harker, director of Global Talent Acquisition at Amazon.


What’s the Application & Interview Process Like?


The Amazon Careers website lists all open positions by category and location. You can also enter keywords if the drop-down menus don’t quite have what you’re looking for. After you upload your resume to a specific job posting on the site, it’s up for review. Amazon’s recruiters actively review applicants whose resumes come in through the careers site, and they reach out to those who may be a good fit, says Harker. However, many of them are very active on LinkedIn, and Harker encourages applicants to reach out there. For most positions, the interview process begins with a phone interview. So, how do you get through that? “Well-prepared candidates know our business and technologies, and they’re able to talk in detail about anything that is included on the resume,” Harker says. If it goes well on both sides, candidates are brought on-site for an in-person interview with a hiring manager and a few team members. Matt Goyer, a former software design engineer candidate, says in a blog post that his interview at Amazon HQ took six-and-a-half hours. Interviewers asked questions about his previous experience, technical skills and understanding of current industry trends. Goyer says he prepared by diligently studying books with sample interview questions and problems. Still, interview experiences vary. The best you can do is “let your passion and enthusiasm show through,” Goyer says. “Don’t let your nerves get the best of you.”


How Is the Company Culture?


Amazon’s motto is: “Start with the customer and work backwards.” Employees are expected to focus on the customer in all projects and innovations. Showing signs of leadership and taking initiative is also important. “Every Amazonian is guided by our leadership principles, which include thinking long-term, innovating and thinking big on behalf of our customers,” says Harker. “We believe that every employee is a leader, whether you’re an individual contributor or a manager of a large team.” If this sounds like you, it might be worth trying your luck at one of those thousands of current openings. If you do, remember to be prepared, confident and enthusiastic. Show you’re an innovative leader worth paying attention to. Have you scored a job at Amazon or are you trying to? What has your experience been like? Tell us in the comments below.


Social Media Job Listings


Every week we put out a list of social media and web job opportunities. While we post a huge range of job listings, we’ve selected some of the top social media job opportunities from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!


More Job Search Resources from Mashable:


- Top 5 Tips for Creating Impressive Video ResumesAre Cover Letters Still Relevant For Social Media and Tech Jobs?HOW TO: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile’s New Skills SectionTop 5 Online Communities for Starting Your CareerHOW TO: Land a Business Development Job

Photo courtesy Flickr, Torley.

51 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

icons imageSpring is definitely in the air despite the frigid weather here on the East coast. If you’ve been out enjoying the sun, we seriously can’t blame you. Mashable is here, however, to help you get up to speed on any social media resources or tools you might have missed.

Below you can find stories on how to hack the summer startup accelerator programs, tips for better business blogging, why the current tech scene is different from the 90s bubble, and what Rebecca Black may not be great for our culture. The situation in Japan is also slowly improving but much help is still needed. Check below for some new ways you can help the relief effort online.

Looking for even more social media resources? This guide appears every weekend, and you can check out all the lists-gone-by here any time.


Editors’ Picks



Social Media


For more social media news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s social media channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.


Tech & Mobile


For more tech news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s tech channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.


Business & Marketing


For more business news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s business channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Image courtesy of Webtreats Etc.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color Adds Flash, Email, App Store [VIDEO]



Barnes & Noble will open up a new chapter in the development of its Nook Color next month with a firmware update that includes Adobe Flash playback support and email plus an App Store, features displayed exclusively on a Home Shopping Network segment this morning.

The segment, recorded by a fan and posted on YouTube, outlines those additions. (See grab below.) In a press release, Barnes & Noble acknowledged adding email, but didn’t mention Flash.

On HSN, the device was presented as the only tablet on the market to include Flash, though Samsung’s redesigned 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab, which is due in June, will also support Flash and Motorola’s Xoom will get full Flash support “in a matter of weeks” according to a recent report. The network plans to offer other sneak peeks at 12 PM, 5 PM and 9PM today.

On HSN, the updated Nook was listed at $299 with $11.95 for shipping and handling. On the segment, the device boasts a $504 retail value and a normally listed price of $379.95 on HSN.

The upgrade comes after Barnes & Noble offered a “minor” tweak in January that added better Wi-Fi connectivity, improved performance and the ability to pinch and zoom the text.

Sony’s Virtual Cherry Blossoms Raise Relief Funds

Combining game-playing and philanthropy, Sony Online Entertainment has created in-game virtual items that players can buy to support those affected by Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami.

Players for some SOE games can buy a cherry blossom through an in-game marketplace designed to raise awareness for the tragedy. SOE will donate $10 for each cherry blossom purchased between March 25 and March 28 to the American Red Cross to help the relief effort. In addition to the cherry bossoms, alternative items will be available in Magic: The Gathering-Tactics, Star Wars Galaxies and PoxNora. More information about the program can be found here.

SOE’s is the latest relief effort by Sony Corp., which has donated $3.6 million to relief efforts in its native country so far. Meanwhile, the idea of melding social media and charity has proved to be effective in raising funds after various tragedies in recent years. Last year’s earthquake in Haiti, for instance, prompted the Red Cross to experiment with a text-to-donate initiative, something the organization has repeated this year for Japan. Meanwhile, PayPal, Jiwire, Tumblr and others have offered other alternative ways to give to Japan victims this year. Zynga, maker of FarmVille and other Facebook-based games, has also offered ways for consumers to donate to the crisis by purchasing virtual goods in its games.

SOE’s use of the cherry blossom as a symbol for the tragedy, meanwhile, comes as the New Yorker introduced a poignant cover this week featuring nuclear symbols standing in for the blossoms.

Top 10 Twitter Trends This Week [CHART]

Twitter Chart Image

Web culture can be fleeting, but when the Internet grabs hold of something it really, really loves to make fun of, a mere mortal meme can transcend the petty bounds of its digital adolescence and live forever in the soul of our civilization — the uber-meme, as Nietzsche (would have so obviously) described it.

That spiritual transformation is upon us, my friends, and its name is Rebecca Black. Since surfacing on the social web in mid-March, there’s not a single tube on the Internet you can crawl through without hearing her … what’s the word … voice. Twitter — the womb from which Black’s ironic fame was born — is no exception. Her name has been trending over the course of three weeks, and while she played second fiddle on last week’s chart, she’s finally claimed the throne once occupied by the likes of Super Junior, and yes, even The Great Bieber himself.

What’s the rest of the world been up to while we’ve been working on our Rebecca Black cover songs? Does it even matter?

To view the past week through Twitter’s eyes, check out the chart below, compiled by our friends at What the Trend. Because this is a topical list, hashtag memes and games have been omitted from the chart. The aggregate is based on Twitter’s own trending algorithm, and does not necessarily reflect raw tweet volume.

You can check past Twitter trends in our Top Twitter Topics section, and read more about this past week’s trends on What The Trend.


Top Twitter Trends This Week: 3/18 – 3/25

Rank
Topic
Intensity
Description
#1
Rebecca Black
4
Rebecca Black is a 13 year old singer from Orange County, California with a music video on YouTube that many people find amusing or annoying. Her video has been viewed 46 million times.
#2
Full Moon
2
Dubbed the “Supermoon,” last Saturday’s full moon appeared 14% bigger and up to 30% brighter than normal.
#3
H1N1
1
Eugenia Sader, the Venezuelan Minister of Health, confirmed that there are 100 cases of influenza AH1N1 nationwide. There are concerns about the virus in other Latin American countries.
#4
UK Comic Relief
1
Red Nose Day is part of the UK Comic Relief campaign, an annual charity fundraiser held each March by the BBC. Funds are raised by a telethon and also by various "fun" events by celebrities, businesses and members of the public across the UK.
#5
Knut
1
A Berlin zoo official says world-famous polar bear Knut has died. Bear keeper Heiner Kloes said that four-year-old Knut died last Saturday afternoon while alone in his compound and the cause is not yet clear
#6
Elizabeth Taylor
1
Elizabeth Taylor, the legendary actress, has died at the age 79 of heart failure. She was a tireless fundraiser for HIV/AIDS research.
#7
Libyan Conflict
1
French Rafale fighter jets are flying combat missions over Libya. Missiles were fired from U.S. warships on targets in Libya. Operation Odyssey Dawn is the name for this operation.
#8
Soccer/Football
1
Gilson Kleina will take over as interim coach of the Fluminense Football Club. American international Stuart Holden was the victim of an awful two-footed tackle by Manchester United center back Johnny Evans that saw the defender lunge for a 50-50 ball and dive straight onto the midfielder’s knee.
#9
Alexz Johnson
1
Alexz Johnson is a Canadian singer-songwriter, best known for her role as Jude Harrison in the CTV series Instant Star.
#10
UFC
1
Ultimate Fighting Championship 128 was held with many notable matches including Shogun vs. Jones, Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic vs. Brendan Schaub, and Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, 123render


Interested in more Twitter resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

Google Dabbles in Group Texting With Disco for iPhone

Here’s something you don’t read every day: From the Googleverse comes a new iPhone app — that’s right, an iPhone app with no Android variant in sight.

Granted, this app doesn’t come from Google per se. It was developed and launched by Slide, which Google bought in August 2010 for $182 million. Slide is perhaps best known for its Super Poke line of cutesy virtual pet games.

At the time of the acquisition, Google said it was planning to work with the Slide team “to develop open, transparent and interesting (and fun!) ways to allow our users to take full advantage of how technology can bring them closer to friends and family and provide useful information just for them.”

While “iPhone app” may not be the first thing that comes to mind when Google starts talking about “open and transparent” apps, we’re not completely sure about this application’s provenance. After all, if might have been under development before the acquisition; we just don’t have a lot of information on where it’s coming from or why.

The new app is called Disco [iTunes link]. You can also visit the app’s bare-bones website if you’re so inclined.

The app apparently allows users to create as many text messaging groups as they like and send messages free of charge. Sounds a lot like Convore. Or textPlus. Or the herd of group-messaging apps we saw at SXSW.

We encourage you to take the app for a test drive and report back to us in the comments. Here are a few screenshots to slake your curiosity:

‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ Trailer Hits YouTube

At Mashable, our abiding love for comic book-based films — both good and bad — is no secret. And we’re definitely looking forward to the forthcoming Captain America flick, which is set against a comics-meets-steampunk World War II backdrop.

As seen in the trailer, the film has some of the retro stylings of other comic-inspired offerings, such as X-Men: First Class, the latest installment of another popular Marvel-franchise-turned-film-series. But what’s really interesting for many fans of the Captain America series is this film’s special effects.

For one thing, star Chris Evans (who plays Captain America, a.k.a. Steve Rogers) is digitally manipulated to look quite underweight during the beginning of the film — underweight enough that he’s not allowed to enlist in the armed forces to fight Hitler and the Nazis.

But the so-called weakling signs up for a secret, experimental government program that eventually turns him into the USDA-approved muscular mass that is “super soldier” Captain America. After training under one Colonel Chester Phillips (played by Tommy Lee Jones), all the rest is Nazi-killing and romancing an Andrews Sister lookalike with very red lipstick — that would be Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell.

Captain America: The First Avenger is directed by Joe Johnston. The script was written by no less than four heavy-hitters: directing a script by David Self, who adapted the screenplay for Road to Perdition; Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who are together responsible for The Chronicles of Narnia films’ scripts; and Joss Whedon, of Buffy and Firefly fame.

The film will be in theaters July 22. For the time being, check out the 13-page digital comic book that accompanies the film, have a gander at the trailer, and let us know your opinions in the comments.

Location App Loopt Looks for Future in Flash Deals

This post is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark as a new part of the Spark of Genius series that focuses on a new and innovative startup each day. Every Thursday, the program focuses on startups within the BizSpark program and what they’re doing to grow.

Launced in 2006, long before Foursquare and Gowalla were on the scene, Loopt’s first mobile product allowed users to automatically share their locations with a list of friends as well as geo-tag locations with text and photos. Since then, the company’s main app has developed into a checkin-style location-based service that allows users to see what friends are nearby, check where their friends have been, and access tips about places.

The company has also launched two sub-apps: Loopt Mix helps connect nearby users, and Loopt Star was an experimental rewards app that has since been rolled into the main app.

All of this evolution, explains co-founder and CEO Sam Altman, has been focused on a single vision: giving the user as much information as possible in return for as little work as possible.

That experience, Loopt has concluded, does not involve the checkin for its own sake. Throughout the last year, the company has been working on ways to make location useful without focusing on checkins, including a flash deal feature that is set to launch to all users within the next month.


Automatic Checkins


Loopt_automatic_checkin

The first step in making checkins less of a hassle was to make them automatic. Loopt did so in July. Users choose which friends they want to make their location visible to whether or not they check in. They are alerted when those friends are near by.

Altman says that about 65% of Loopt’s 5 million users are now checking in automatically in this way.


Facebook Places Integration


Because Loopt is not focused on checkins alone, it has decided to fully integrate with Facebook Places instead of competing with the social media giant’s burgeoning geo-location product.

“Our view is that [Facebook Places] is a stupid thing to fight,” Altman says. “Let’s take it for granted that Facebook is going to become the checkin hub. But then let’s also say that checkins by themselves are commoditized and by themselves are also not that interesting, so we have access to this huge amount of data. What can we do with that? How can we build data on top of that? And that’s been our focus.”

Loopt added Facebook Places integration in October, quickly doubling its usage metrics in the first month. The integration allows Loopt users to see their Facebook friends’ locations and their Loopt friends’ locations on the same map. It also lets them know where their Facebook friends have been in the same way that they can see where their Loopt friends’ have been.

Meanwhile, the integration gives Loopt a more complete view of its users’ social graphs.


Automatic Checkins + Facebook Places = A Better Deals Product


Both automatic checkins and Facebook Places play a crucial role in Loopt’s latest endeavor: real-time deals. The company launched this feature at SXSW Interactive after experimenting with about 30 different kind of deals within its Loopt Star app.

“Of all the things that we tried — we did checkin deals, loyalty deals, lots and lots of things — the deals that worked best were what we call flash deals,” Altman said. “They were these time and location limited, high value deals that are pushed to the user. Those were the three things that we learned really make mobile deals work. You have to have all three of them.”

Altman points to a deal from Virgin America that ran on Loopt Star as a perfect example. The deal offered two-for-one tickets to Mexico to users who checked in at special Virgin America taco trucks in San Francisco and Los Angeles between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on August 31. It also converted Loopt Star users into buyers at a rate 10 times greater than that of other deals achieved on the app.

Other flash deals, Altman says, could help restaurants fill tables during down times or help sell tickets close to showtime.

Loopt is not alone in pursuing deals that help sell businesses’ perishable inventories. LivingSocial and Groupon are both testing similar concepts with their own apps.

But Loopt is hoping that its automatic checkins will give it the edge in contacting users with deals that are relevant to their current locations. Combined with Facebook Places, the company also has a broader look at what kind of places Loopt users and their friends like to go, which makes it easier to target them with deals that are appealing.

“We have the data for targeting. We know where users go,” Altman says. “But most of all, we know where users go all of the time.”


Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark


Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

A Tale of Two Infographics: Before and After Firefox 4

Firefox 4 was released Tuesday, and early reports indicated the latest version of Mozilla’s open-source browser was downloaded more than 5 million times in the first 24 hours.

Those reports were wrong. It turns out, Firefox 4 was downloaded 7.1 million times in its first day. In fact, in the first 48 hours of release, Mozilla racked up more than 15.85 million downloads.

Over at the Mozilla blog, the team put together an infographic detailing the first 48 hours of activity. Downloads peaked at 10,200 per minute and averaged 91.7 downloads per second. That kind of leaves IE 9′s 27 downloads per second figure in the dust, doesn’t it?

The team at Pingdom put together their own Firefox infographic, this time showcasing the lead-up to Firefox 4. the infographic details the browser’s timeline, marketshare and assorted usage stats.

Firefox has more than 400 million users worldwide and has been downloaded more than 1.35 billion times since 2004.

Although the web browser has only increased in importance since Firefox 1.0 was released in 2004, many users and Mashable readers have expressed indifference or even disinterest in Firefox 4. The desktop browser wars are still going strong; however, most of us would agree the real battle is on mobile devices and tablets. It’s an issue I discussed at length with Dan Benjamin on a recent segment our podcast, Briefly Awesome.

The number of people who downloaded Firefox 4 in the last 24 hours, however, indicates to me that the desktop is still an area of great importance for the web and its ecosystems.

Are you one of the 15.85 million Firefox 4 downloaders? Let us know your experience in the comments.

Sendoid Transfers Huge Files in Seconds in the Browser

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: Sendoid

Quick Pitch: Sendoid allows for instant and private large file transfer in the browser.

Genius Idea: Peer-to-peer file transfer.


With the sudden rise of Chatroulette, the world was exposed, for better or for worse, to the peer-to-peer possibilities of real time media flow protocol (RTMFP) technology — the technology that establishes a direct connection between two individuals.

Sendoid, a Y Combinator startup, is applying the same peer-to-peer technology to a far less visually arresting purpose: file transfer. The peer-to-peer system, which forgoes cloud or server storage entirely, lets users transfer gigantic files in the browser in seconds and at no cost.

Veteran file-transfer service YouSendIt charges the user $14 to move a 100 MB file, with the transfer taking about 24 minutes, as Sendoid co-founder John Egan said during the startup’s Demo Days presentation. The same file is transferred in 35 seconds free of charge via Sendoid.

With this in-browser transfer experience, the user selects a file and gets a link to share with the recipient. Upon receipt of the peer link, the recipient is securely connected to the sender’s machine, and the file is transferred directly from the sender to the receiver without passing through Sendoid’s servers. It’s this peer-to-peer exchange that makes Sendoid so fast.

Sendoid’s browser-based file transfer service maxes out for files around 1 GB, but the startup also offers a desktop application for transferring files of unlimited size. There’s no cost for either option, and Sendoid has no plans to introduce fees based on file size or transfer frequency. “It shouldn’t cost money to send a 1 GB file,” says Egan. “It just doesn’t make sense anymore. The technology has caught up.”

The file transfer experience heretofore has been clunky, client-based, slow and expensive for end users. Plus, Sendoid believes the demand for sending larger files, especially in the form of high resolution digital photographs, is growing. For these reasons, Egan and fellow co-founder Zac Morris believe the startup is launching at just the right time.

“The technology is here now to move large amounts of data inexpensively,” says Egan. “And this is about the moment in time when file sizes for consumers are crossing the threshold [in size] and are no longer able to be transferred through traditional means.”

Sendoid has moved roughly 250,000 files — an early sign that Egan’s predictions about changing consumer behaviors are fairly accurate.

The just-launched startup is currently operating on seed funding from the accelerator program, but it’s currently in talks with several interested investors and will likely raise a substantial round in the weeks ahead. Eventually, Sendoid will introduce for-charge premium features that provide additional security or support file grouping.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Fred-D


Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark


Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

Survey Shows We’re Too Lazy About Mobile Phone Security

A new survey shows U.S. consumers are shockingly lax about basic security on their mobile phones.

Most of us have no qualms about making purchases via mobile, and the vast majority of us use the same phone for business and personal use — two common vulnerabilities in web security.

Yet in spite of these yellow flags, few of us use phone-locking passwords and duplicate the same passwords for mobile apps that we use on our desktops.

The survey [PDF] in question comes from security firm AVG and research and consulting firm The Ponemon Institute.

One key finding we mentioned was the crossover between business and personal use of the same device. Around 84% of consumers use the same smartphone for both professional and personal tasks. In those cases, if the user’s phone ever becomes lost or compromised, the amount of risk is automatically doubled, since both kinds of private and confidential data could be accessed.


When it comes to the kind of data that puts consumers at further risk, 66% of respondents said they kept personal and personally identifiable data (such as an email address, name, contact lists, photos, videos, anniversary and personal dates, etc.) on their phones. And 23% of respondents also said they stored passwords on their phones.


And we’re not as wary as we should be about mobile viruses, either. In fact, more consumers are bothered by mobile ads than by malware. Roughly 67% of consumers surveyed said they were concerned about receiving marketing ads and promotions, but just 44% said they were worried about the possibility of a mobile virus attack.

According to the survey, 66% of respondents have made at least one purchase on their phone, 38% make payments on their phones and 14% do mobile banking. A full 12% have been the target of attempted mobile payment fraud. Yet a mere 6% do a monthly check of their cell phone bill, and only 8% check their phone statement when it’s unusually high.


And in spite of all these security risks, less than half of consumers in this survey used keypad locks or passwords to secure their mobile devices, and only 29% said they have thought about using a mobile anti-virus application.

Take a look at the man-or-woman-on-the-street clips below, and in the comments, let us know what you’re doing about your own mobile security.

ABC Tries Mobile-to-Facebook Push to Launch Show

New ABC show Happy Endings may get off to a strong start with a mobile-to-Facebook push the network hopes to use as a template for future campaigns.

The network, working with Mogreet, is asking consumers to text “happy” to 21534, which returns to them a video featuring the show’s stars. Videos are updated every Wednesday when the show airs. The clip then shows up on each user’s Facebook wall. (See image below.)

The idea, like that behind any social media campaign, is to give influencers — who have so far been targeted with a back-page ad in Maxim with more traditional media placement coming — some social currency, which they can spread among their various networks to create buzz for the show.

One difference, which makes mobile more of a component, is the tune-in factor: The final message will roll out on 9:25 EST on April 13, five minutes before the premiere airs. Although many of the tech-savvy users targeted in the mobile campaign are likely to be time-shifted viewers, Gary Shanas, vice president of media strategy at ABC, says he thinks with the proper messaging, such consumers can be persuaded to tune in. “We’re optimistic if they’re around at that time, they’ll turn on their TVs,” he says.

Of course, ABC’s not the first network to try to spur viewing via mobile activity. MTV launched its controversial Skins program with a group texting campaign back in December.

New York Times Announces Paywall Launch Time, Drops Case Against @FreeNYTimes

The New York Times announced that its widely unpopular paywall will go into effect in the U.S. and worldwide beginning 2 p.m. Monday, March 28.

The paywall will be implemented in stages throughout the hour, a Times spokesperson said in an emailed statement. Readers who wish to continue reading more than 20 articles per month and who want to have access to full Times content on their mobile and/or tablet devices will then be able to choose between three different plans at NYTimes.com/access:

  • $15 for four weeks of access to NYTimes.com and a mobile phone app.
  • $20 for four weeks of access to NYTimes.com and its iPad app.
  • $35 for four weeks of access to all of the above.

Print subscribers to the Times and the International Herald Tribune will continue to have access to all of the Times‘ digital offerings at no additional charge. Those who decline to subscribe will still be able to read all NYTimes.com front page content and up to 20 additional NYTimes.com articles per month, as well as the “Top News” sections of the Times‘ smartphone and tablet applications, without paying. In addition, non-subscribers will have access to articles found through search (limited to five per day from major search engines), blogs and social networks like Facebook and Twitter, even if they have exceeded their 20-article reading limit. 

The paywall has been in place in Canada since it was first announced March 17.

In addition, the Times confirmed a report that it had dropped its case against @freeNYTimes, a Twitter feed designed to help readers circumvent the forthcoming paywall.

The publisher asked Twitter earlier this week to disable the account because it was in violation of the Times trademark. The account has since removed the Times‘ logo from its profile photo, and the Times has relinquished its request.

Before:

After:

“We want our content to be shared, but if it’s being done in a way that uses our trademark that we’re not comfortable with, we’re going to talk to [the violators] about it,” a spokesperson explained. “[The people behind the account] have changed the way it’s identified, so we’re letting it ago,” she added.

Our Favorite YouTube Videos This Week: The Friday Edition

First, I apologize profusely for this. But it had to be done. The cultural zeitgeist required it. This week’s YouTube Roundup Theme is: Friday.

And with that, I will cease and desist with all coverage of this phenomena — unless something of note happens… Like if Sleigh Bells decides to cover “Gang Fight.” Which would be rad.

Happy Friday, everyone! Never fear, Saturday is just around the corner!

[nggallery id=1041]

HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Advanced Social Media Search

search imageAnn Smarty is a search marketer and full-time web entrepreneur. Ann blogs on search and social media tools. Her newest project, My Blog Guest, is a free platform for guest bloggers and blog owners. Follow Ann on Twitter at @seosmarty.

Social media search — the ability to tap into thousands of real-time updates — has long been a hot topic. It opens up endless opportunities for market and competitor research, content inspiration and, obviously, network building.

In this post, we’ll aim to tackle some more advanced social search functionality so that you can make the most out of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


Twitter


Background information

Twitter search can be accessed from your Twitter home page, as well as from a separate subdomain. Twitter search focuses on real-time results; however, Twitter has introduced important algorithm changes that push particularly hot and “promoted” tweets above the real-time results.

Advanced search:

The official Twitter search is a powerful tool. From there (as well as by using search operators) you can:

  • Adjust your query (exclude any word/force any word/force the exact match, etc.).
  • Set the language of search results.
  • Filter search results by user name (to see tweets from a user or mentioning some user).
  • Set the local filter (to see tweets near a location).
  • Play with emotional coloring (using the smile emoticons) as well as search for tweeted questions.
  • Include or exclude retweets.
  • Restrict results to those containing links.

While the above options are certainly effective, the most useful one is hidden.

Twitter Advanced Search Operator: Filter Out Links

Show tweets with links

Both Twitter Advanced Search and twitter.com/search offer easy ways to only show tweets that contain links. However, because most tweets already contain links, in many cases the searchers are most likely to look for the opposite: a way to see tweets that have no links in order to filter out numerous updates around the same popular URL. This option is invaluable for real Twitter conversations.

To filter out all tweets containing links, you need to use -filter:links operator within your search query. The minus sign is crucial:

-filter:links

As you can see, it can be a handy way to find great quotes, sincere opinions, reviews and discussions.


Facebook


Background information:

Facebook advanced search

Before we get into detail, let’s make it clear what exactly we are talking about here. Facebook has three huge search platforms. We are interested in two of them:

Advanced search

The only way you can filter results is by type: People, Pages, Groups, Apps, Events, Web Results (powered by Bing), updates from friends or any update made public.

Limitations

It’s important to remember some things about Facebook search:

  • It is unpredictable. Facebook search relies heavily on your friends and friends of your friends, so you never know what other users see for your search query. It’s like Google personalized search, but with a stronger reliance on social connections over any other ranking factors.
  • It relies on exact match and lacks advanced operators (and thus flexibility). Unlike Twitter search, Facebook gives you no freedom with your query. You can’t exclude one word while including another one. You can’t filter results by location and so forth.
  • Facebook Advanced Search Operator

    Facebook search relies too much on exact matches. For any two words, you will only see results that contain both of your terms. But what if I want to see combined results for two words used in the query? Luckily, there’s a hidden operator. For example, twitter | facebook search will trigger results containing either “twitter” or “facebook” (or both):

    Advanced search facebook

    Twitter tips | facebook tips will list either “twitter tips” or “facebook tips” (or both):

    Facebook advanced search

    The same operator works for the auto-complete drop-down, which means you can see much more varied results there as well:

    Facebook Advanced operator

    This supported operator gives at least some freedom in controlling your search results’ proximity and variety. Let’s hope Facebook will eventually come up with more.


    LinkedIn


    Background Information

    LinkedIn has a well-developed search platform that is broken into six independent sections: People, Updates, Jobs, Companies, Answers and Groups. All of these sections offer mixed suggestions (possible results from several sections) as you type.

    Linkedin Search suggestions

    Advanced search

    Each of the above sections has a huge range of advanced search options, listed below:

    • People: Filter results by location, relationship, (past) industry and school. More options are available for premium members.
    • Updates: Filter results by your connection level, see updates from your immediate network, from friends of your friends or your third-level network, as well as set the time range, location, etc.
    • Jobs: Filter results by how fresh they are, experience required, industry, etc.
    • Companies: Filter results by location, industry, relation, company size, fortune, etc.
    • Answers: Filter by categories. You can add multiple categories.
    • Groups: Filter by category and language.

    With such a variety of options, you are unlikely to ever need any more of them. However, there are some really handy Boolean operators, which can make search even more efficient.

    LinkedIn Search Boolean Operators

    Exclude any term while staying within your topic. For example: blogging -coach. Compare the results below:

    Linkedin - exclude any word from search results

    Combine two search terms within one search if you, for example, want to find people who mention both “blogging” and “marketing” in their profiles:

    Combine search terms - Linkedin

    Choose to see at least one of your terms within search results. This one is similar to Facebook’s operator mentioned above. For instance, search for blogger OR freelance writer:

    LinkedIn search: OR operator


    Final Word


    I hope these “hidden” social search operators will open up new exciting opportunities for you and will inspire you to get more creative with searching Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Please share your own secret search tricks in the comments below.


    Interested in more Social Media resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

    Image courtesy of Flickr, andercismo

Erase Last Night’s Indiscretions From Facebook & Twitter

It’s nearly the weekend, which means that it’s nearly time to make bad decisions, likely with phone in hand. While the tech world can’t stop you from shamelessly making out with that girl in that dive bar, it can wipe away all graphic mentions of how you did so from your Twitter stream.

Enter Last Night Never Happened [iTunes link], a rather well-made novelty iPhone/iPad/iPod touch app from 22seeds. The app’s purpose? It deletes posts, photos, comments, tweets and direct messages from your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Unfortunately, you can’t delete as much from Facebook as you might like — merely comments and photos.

Upon waking up — mysteriously covered in nacho cheese, a markered curse scrawled across your forehead — fire up the app and choose to cleanse either Facebook or Twitter. (You’ll have to connect the app to both accounts.)

You can then choose how far back you want to erase your nefarious activity, from one hour to 48 (for those who enjoy a bender). Choose which postings you want to delete (Facebook Photos and comments, tweets, and DMs) and then say “bye, bye” to your mistakes. You can even replace your ill-fated digital messages with a custom (tamer) post.

Use this in concert with The Social Media Sobriety Test, then go forth and mess up!

[via Laughing Squid]

Photo courtesy of Flickr, Egan Snow

5 Tips for Creating Your Own Group Buying Deals

money imageSanjay Dholakia is CEO of Crowd Factory, the leading provider of crowd-powered marketing applications that add a quantifiable social boost to every digital interaction.

Group deals have become a popular way to attract new customers and boost sales. While this phenomenon started with marketing service providers such as Groupon and LivingSocial, it has expanded to such diverse businesses as Facebook and The New York Times. The group buying market is now estimated at $4 billion.

As businesses consider adding group deals to their marketing mix, many are looking for ways to create and offer deals on their own. Creating your own group deals rather than using a marketing services provider gives you a greater level of control over program details, and lets you to retain all the upside on the increased customer volume. It also allows you to base programs on your own customer preferences, and track the performance of your campaigns to improve future deals. You can also extend the group dynamic beyond products to surveys, giveaways and more.

Some companies have tested the group deal waters by using Facebook’s social plugins — such as the “Like” button — to allow fans to vote on which products should be discounted or offered. Others are using third-party social marketing technologies to create their own Groupon-style social offers.

However you approach the mechanics, it pays to think about the strategy behind your group deal programs. Here are ideas for structuring your own group deals.


1. Engage Customers in Deal Selection


stylefactory image

Making deals interactive is a great way to encourage sharing. Ask customers to vote on deals or offers they like best, then reward them for sharing the results. An added benefit is that the deal you’re offering is one your audience will value.

For example, StyleFactory, a crowdsourcing site for home decor, uses the Facebook “Like” button on individual products on its site to allow shoppers to choose which products should be produced and which products should be offered at a discount. The site encourages shoppers to share its products on Facebook and Twitter to help “tip” the deals. When a user “Likes” a product, Facebook creates a Fan Page for that product that only StyleFactory administrators can see. Through that page, StyleFactory can push out updates to people who liked the product about the status of a deal.


2. Protect Your Margins


Too much of a good thing — in this case, customers — can be a bad thing if you can’t manage the influx of business that group buying will bring you. As NPR recently reported, businesses can be overwhelmed by shoppers eager to cash in on the deal and may not have the staff or the stock to fulfill the offers.

Limit offers to a specific type of product or category so that you don’t suffer from a run on inventory. You can also limit the number of coupons to be issued, which has the positive effect of highlighting the exclusivity of the deal. Of course, if you use your own infrastructure and website to create deals, you protect a greater share of your margin.

Once you’ve tested the power of group offers for your own business, pay attention to what your customers tell you about your deals. Get ready to adjust offers, such as amount of discounts and timing, depending on how well your offers perform.


3. Expand Offers Beyond Product Discounts


movieline image

Consider offering other rewards that customers might find valuable. For example, if you’re running a contest or sweepstakes, offer additional sweepstakes entries to customers who share the offer with their friends.

tripalertz imageMovieline.com did just that in a recent promotion around this year’s Academy Awards. The site offered sweepstakes entries for a MacBook Air and an iPod to people who selected their picks for the Oscars and shared their selections with their social networks. These people then received additional entries when their friends chose and shared their own picks. It’s like getting your customers to do your marketing for you.

Online travel community TripAlertz, which adopted a “Groupon for travel” approach to travel sales, is using a group raffle to promote one of its high-profile deals: A 30-minute journey to the edge of space. Each time a person spends a dollar or refers a friend to the site, it counts as an entry into the space trip sweepstakes.


4. Reward Your Best Customers with Special Offers


Just as the airlines do for frequent fliers, you should reward good customers for their loyalty. If they’re frequent buyers, offer them steeper discounts or deals on exclusive products. Think like Gilt Groupe, which gives priority access to its members and even more benefits to its best customers. With this strategy, you create a spectrum of customer value, where you can give bigger benefits to and reward your best customers in return for a higher level of engagement.


5. Don’t Do Social Offers in a Vacuum


Don’t limit group deal offers to social networks. Get the word out via your website and blog as well as advertising and in-store signage. Antivirus software provider McAfee is taking this approach for its online store group offers, using SEO-generated web traffic, large media buys, email blasts, and Facebook Pages together to drive significant traffic to their offers.


A Final Word


Group-based offers should become an important new part of your overall marketing strategy. Learn what works and what does not, and make sure offers can integrate properly with your marketing strategy. If you run a successful offer that actually hurts your business, that’s not a great outcome.

What tips can you recommend? Have you taken the plunge into group buying? Share your experiences in the comments below.


Interested in more Business resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, kutaytanir

Gaga & Bieber Together At Last: “Songs for Japan” Charity Album Hits iTunes

To help raise money for disaster relief efforts in Japan, Universal Music Group has assembled a who’s who of the music world for a benefit album called Songs for Japan, which hit iTunes Friday. It includes an exclusive remix of Lady Gaga’s latest chart-topping single, “Born This Way.”

The 38-track album [iTunes link] costs $9.99 and features popular tunes in original, remastered, live or acoustic formats from Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Bieber, Eminem, Katy Perry and other superstars (see full list below).

Worldwide proceeds from album downloads will go to the Japanese Red Cross Society to provide immediate assistance to people affected by the March 11 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The participating artists, their labels and music publishers waived their royalties, meaning every cent from each album download helps survivors.

This global initiative — one of the many new ways people can help Japan — is akin to the star-studded fundraising efforts following the destructive 2010 earthquake in Haiti when celebrities joined forces for a telethon and a new “We Are The World” charity single.

What do you think of the Songs for Japan lineup? Let us know in the comments.


Track listing


  • John Lennon — “Imagine” (Remastered)
  • U2 — “Walk On”
  • Bob Dylan — “Shelter From The Storm”
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers — “Around The World” (Live)
  • Lady Gaga — “Born This Way” (Starsmith remix)
  • Beyonce — “Irreplaceable”
  • Bruno Mars — “Talking To The Moon” (Acoustic piano version)
  • Katy Perry — “Firework”
  • Rihanna — “Only Girl (In The World)”
  • Justin Timberlake — “Like I Love You”
  • Madonna — “Miles Away” (Live)
  • David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland — “When Love Takes Over”
  • Eminem featuring Rihanna — “Love The Way You Lie” (Clean version)
  • Bruce Springsteen — “Human Touch”
  • Josh Groban — “Awake” (Live)
  • Keith Urban — “Better Life”
  • Black Eyed Peas — “One Tribe”
  • Pink — “Sober”
  • Cee Lo Green — “It’s Ok”
  • Lady Antebellum — “I Run To You”
  • Bon Jovi — “What Do You Got?”
  • Foo Fighters — “My Hero”
  • R.E.M. — “Man On The Moon” (Live)
  • Nicki Minaj — “Save Me” (Clean version)
  • Sade — “By Your Side”
  • Michael Buble — “Hold On”
  • Justin Bieber — “Pray” (Acoustic)
  • Adele — “Make You Feel My Love”
  • Enya — “If I Could Be Where You Are”
  • Elton John — “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”
  • John Mayer — “Waiting On The World To Change”
  • Queen — “Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)” (Remastered)
  • Kings Of Leon — “Use Somebody”
  • Sting — “Fragile” (Live)
  • Leona Lewis — “Better In Time”
  • Ne-Yo — “One In A Million”
  • Shakira — “Whenever, Wherever”
  • Norah Jones — “Sunrise”