The hit mobile application Instagram is moving one-step closer to making their app available to millions of potential new users. As first announced by The Verge, Instagram has launched a brand new page on their website designed to help people be notified when the long-awaited Android version is launched and made available.
We first got wind of Instagram’s plan to roll out an Android app around the time of South by Southwest where co-founder Kevin Systrom indicated that it was “coming soon”. There’s still no Android app available right now, but this is another key milestone for those who have been keeping track of the missing Instagram Android app saga. Right now, the company has amassed a loyal following of over 27 million registered users and has made some interesting news of late, including the large partnership with another popular iOS app, Hipstamatic. And with only four employees and a pretty impressive growth spurt over the past two years, it’s amazing that the app has kept being so popular throughout its entire existence.
Right now, interested people who want to be kept in the loop about the expected launch of Android can do so on Instagram’s website. Basically it’s an email newsletter-type sign up and by encouraging others to sign up, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to be the first or at least move up your spot for notification–it’s a fair and level playing field right now. So make sure you sign up today!
If you’ve ever had to register for a party or an event, chances are that you’ve had to sign up using Eventbrite. Nearly anyone who’s anyone that has hosted an event has used the ticket service. Perhaps the ticketing powerhouse that will surely rival any of its nearest competitors, Eventbrite is a juggernaut eager to help make buying tickets easy and social. The four-year-old San Francisco-based company is always on the lookout to try and find ways to improve the event registration space, and today, they’ve just unveiled what could be the crown jewel for all event planners.
Known as the At The Door Card Reader, this device will be especially helpful for those planners who are pre-charge their attendees to come by, but also understand that on game day, there will be those stragglers who realize they didn’t register and will try and get in at the door. Well, normally the person at the door will have to charge the fee, but what if the attendee doesn’t have enough cash? Then they’ll need to get cash and what if you don’t have exact change? Believe me, it could wind up being a total mess. You probably don’t want to deal with that headache–instead, just use what most people probably have on them: a credit or debit card. And that’s exactly where the At The Door Card Reader comes in. Through the use of this card reader, you can easily sell more tickets and merchandise and track those sales right through transactions done with the card reader.
Every year, companies and startups always try to come up with some clever gimmick or promotion that will really get the public’s attention at the South by Southwest conference. Some are really great, while others…well…need work on. Skype, for example, decided to have an old-town crier stand outside the Austin Convention Center and read about how people should visit their booth or tent to get refreshments and just relax. But the one thing that I want to highlight here was the efforts of another company who had wanted to plug their product, but also wanted to give something back.
Nokia, long known for being a telecommunications manufacturing company, decided to help do some social good while attending SXSW while also promoting their brand new phone, the Nokia Lumia 800. So what they did was contact a few SXSW attendees/influencers and ask if they wanted to participate and get a free phone as part of the program. Now, I should totally point out that I was asked and did participate in this program (yes, Nokia gave me a Nokia Lumia 800 phone at SXSW to participate in this campaign). But the point isn’t about the phone, it’s about the social good program that Nokia took which remains the central focal point of what they did at SXSW.
You see, in 2011, Texas was on the receiving end of one of the worst fire seasons on record. Firefighters from over a dozen states came to help battle the blaze with hundreds of counties declared as disaster areas. While the Red Cross provided assistance to the thousands affected by this disaster, there was additional room to help recover the land lost. So Nokia decided that this year, they wanted to put their reputation as a green company to the test and when SXSW rolled around, 50 Twitter fans (myself included) participated in a 48 hour marathon where by just using the hashtag #IJustPlantedATree, for each tweet, Nokia would plant five trees locally in Austin through the Arbor Day Foundation. The telephone manufacturer certainly put its money where its mouth is.
The goal was to reach 10,000 trees within 48 hours and each tweet was going to count for five–even the public could jump in, but their tweets would count for one tree being planted. At certain times, texts were sent to the participants notifying them that at these times, each tweet would count for more. What’s astonishing is that this effort wasn’t necessarily broadcast to the entire world–most people probably didn’t even know what it was about, and people didn’t have to divulge it or associate it with SXSW. Any tweet produced, whether through Twitter.com, a third-party app, or a non-Nokia phone were eligible and reaped the rewards. After 48 hours, the dream of 10,000 trees planted was quickly washed away, as the resulting total was over 44,000 tree were announced to be planted! That’s right, the amount of tweeting done by participants easily trumped their original goal and forced Nokia to continue to increase their budget and raise their total.
Brett Murray, Head of Influencer & Lifestyle Marketing at Nokia, said that #IJustPlantedATree is based on Nokia’s Nordic culture and that’s what Nokia stands for. This gamification program has definitely taken off and people were able to check out their status on the leaderboard. The program was so successful that within 90 minutes of the program launching, the hashtag became a trending topic on Twitter. Over 18 hours later, and Mr. Murray says that they’ve approached 8,000 trees that Nokia pledged to plant with 30 hours left. The rate that the tweets were coming in helped exceed Nokia’s goal by at least 3-4 times what any of the company’s representatives ever expected.
Just how much will 44,000 trees do to save the environment and the world? Over 11 million pounds of carbon dioxide will be absorbed each year, with over 2 million pounds of oxygen generated. 22,000 families of 4 will benefit from fresh air like they’ve never breathed before. And there’s a financial incentive as well for these trees: $309,000 in estimated savings, $32 million worth of recycled fresh water each year, and $54 million in air pollution control in annual savings.
A well-executed campaign for social good, I think. Instead of plugging about their new phone, Nokia decided to talk about the environment and help raise awareness about who they are and how they’re all about sustainability. As Mr. Murray says, Nokia is looking to establish a foothold in North America and this recent effort helps give them a real good promotion.
Disclosure: At SXSW, Nokia provided me with a free Nokia Lumix 9000 phone to participate in this program. At no point was I asked to write a post or required to talk about it. These words are my own. I have not been compensated for this post.
It seems that famed entrepreneur Kevin Rose has had enough with one of his startups. Yesterday, he announced that one of the first projects to emerge from his new company, Milk, was going to be shuttered so that additional resources could be focused elsewhere. But is it a sign of entrepreneurial smarts or giving up? The startup in question is Oink, a “rate everything” service where you don’t focus on rating the venue or facility, but rather the things inside it. So if you happen to be at a restaurant like Fogo de Chao, the idea would be that you would use Oink to rate the food and the cuisine, rather than the establishment as a whole.
As PC Mag stated, “Oink was originally founded with the hope of bypassing the hierarchy of location-only preference and focus on the experiences and products offered at those locations. Essentially, the app was designed to be a ‘decision engine’ that eased the process of making choices when you’re out and about. Frequent ‘Oinkers’ also gained reputation points.” So the idea wasn’t to basically check-in everywhere you go a la Foursquare, but at the same time wasn’t going to 100% compete with Yelp, either. You might say that it was probably a macro-hybrid version of Yelp and Foursquare. But now, it just is dead.
On the Oink homepage, Mr. Rose stated that when they started Milk, Inc. (the parent company), it was to rapidly build and test out new ideas. Their first test was Oink and now they’re ready to move onto their next one and felt that the resources could be better focused elsewhere. This “experiment” was actually started in November 2011 and five months later, the results are in…the traction probably wasn’t good enough for the service to continue. TechCrunch reported that when it first launched, 100,000 people downloaded the application within the first two and a half weeks–but they probably attributed it to a strong brand name recognition belonging to Mr. Rose. By December 2011, it was revealed that they reached over 150,000 users.
Maybe it was because of the tough barriers to entry and fierce competition from services like Foursquare, Yelp, and the other mobile rating services that caused Milk to abandon Oink. Whatever it was, while some may forlorn the loss of this app, most people are probably interested in simply praising Mr. Rose and his team for recognizing the speed to pivot and try other things. No word yet on what that next project will be, but with $1.5 million in the bank from Google Ventures to Milk (not to Oink), the team needs to probably build and test things out quickly before it all goes away and they’ll need to raise again. But with a philosophy of building and releasing products quickly, I’m sure that we’ll be able to see some more “experiments” coming soon–we probably just shouldn’t get too attached to the products until Milk feels that it’s actually worth something. With this first test, hopefully Mr. Rose will be able to use some of the data gleamed from Oink’s usage to help build a better product.
If you have a Oink account, you have until March 31, 2012 in order to download your data before the service is shuttered for good. You can take with you all your ratings and pictures and you’ll simply need to enter your username or email address and it will be sent to you.
Instagram, one of the hottest photo-sharing applications currently available on the market is about to become even hotter. This week at the 2012 South by Southwest Interactive festival, the company announced that they will soon be releasing the long-awaited version of their popular app for the (wait for it)…Android market. Yes folks, that’s correct…soon you’re going to be able to enjoy the gratification that your friends get by applying filters to your photos and proudly displaying them in your social graph like they looked almost painted or done by a professional photographer. For me personally, this is something that I’ve longed for ever since Instagram came out and am ecstatic to hear the news.
But then again, this hasn’t been the first time that we’ve heard that the Android version was forthcoming. Last December, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom said at the Le Web conference in 2011 that the service had begun working on the app, but now several months later, more news about Instagram’s development. However, don’t think that they haven’t done anything with the Android version and they’re just stalling…on the contrary, Mr. Systrom said at SXSW this week that a private beta group has already been assembled and are taking the app for a test spin. All that we know so far is that the Android app version is “coming soon”.
Lately, Instagram has been on a tear, of sorts, and has definitely grown into being an app to be looked at as a model for photo-sharing competitors or just developers in general. As CNET reports, when the company launched just two years ago, they only had 25,000 users. But now, thanks to an explosive demand for the iPhone and its increasingly superior hardware (especially in the camera), the company announced that they have over 27 million users–all people signed up and using it on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices. Exceptionally good for a company who could potentially wind up doubling that number as soon as the Android version has hit the market–if not more. Here in the United States, it appears that the Android market share is more than that of iOS devices, probably due to the proliferation of Android OS and the multitude of manufacturers. So when Instagram drops the app into the Android marketplace (i.e. Google Play), then it will be an interesting view to see their user base jump.
I, for one, await with baited breath to download the Android version…hopefully it will arrive soon. Ideally it would have been nice to have it for SXSW this year, but unfortunately they didn’t appear to be ready for the big show. But the attention that the service has been getting at SXSW has been great. At their talk this week, Mr. Systrom stated that those who used the app within the last week, 67% of them have used it two days ago. And we might also see something brand-spanking new for Instagram too…it’s being said that the Android version may have some special features that even the iOS counterpart doesn’t. Not sure what that means exactly, but guess we’ll have to wait to find out.