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viral buzz

The Death of Flappy Bird Spawns Outrageous Auctions, Clones of Viral Hit

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 14, 2014 10:33 AM

Hundreds of thousands of mobile gamers have spent the last few weeks staring at their screens trying to maneuver a flapping bird through various obstacles. It turns out that their obsession with the free game “Flappy Bird” is what ended up killing the viral hit. 

Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen gifted his game to the world but decided earlier this week that it had to come down based on its addictive qualities. “I just wanted to create a game that people could enjoy for a few minutes,” he told the Wall Street Journal. And so on Sunday, the free app was pulled from the App Store and Android market to the dismay of late bloomers hoping to get a few plays out of the simplistic video game. 

But just because Flappy Bird isn't available for download anymore doesn't mean there's no way to access it. In the days since it was pulled from the market, tablets and smartphones containing Flappy Bird have appeared for sale on Amazon and eBay—for a pretty price, of course. An iPad Mini with Flappy Bird was going for more than $10,000 while and iPhone 5S with the app was priced at over $1,000. 

eBay, though, was not amused, as the sale of such mobile devices is against its policy. Mobile devices can only be sold on the site once they are reset to factory settings—aka no Flappy Bird.Continue reading...

brand roadmaps

Facebook at 10: Smart, But Still Not Doing Its Legal Due Diligence

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 4, 2014 06:04 PM

What better way to celebrate a birthday than with a cease and desist letter?

Facebook, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary today, is taking the time to look back on its past but also make some important moves for its future. The decade-old social media site, which may or may not be losing some of its luster with the younger crowd, served up millions of personalized "look back" videos that captured some of users' most-liked statuses, photos and life events over the course of their time on the network. 

With over 1 billion users across the world and a $150 billion valuation, it's safe to say that Mark Zuckerberg, when he was just a Harvard sophmore trying to connect his classmates, didn't expect "the Facebook" to turn into a fraction of what it is today.Continue reading...

app watch

Rapped by FTC, Apple Will Refund Over $32M in Unauthorized App Purchases

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 16, 2014 12:41 PM

In a clear warning to kids’ marketers and mobile developers, Apple has been slapped by the FTC with a $32.5 million settlement for allowing children to make millions in in-app purchases without their parents' consent.

"This settlement is a victory for consumers harmed by Apple's unfair billing, and a signal to the business community: whether you're doing business in the mobile arena or the mall down the street, fundamental consumer protections apply," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. "You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize."

However, Apple CEO Tim Cook’s memo to staff yesterday makes clear that he thinks the case Ramirez is claiming as a victory was already adjudicated before the FTC jumped in.Continue reading...

app watch

Got a Question? QuizUp, the Fastest-Growing Mobile Game in History, Likely has an Answer

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 9, 2013 01:16 PM

Move over, Angry Birds and Candy Crush. QuizUp, the iPhone-based trivia game, is breaking all the records and is now the fastest-growing mobile game in history. 

Just three weeks old, it has amassed 3.5 million registered users, the millionth one signing up just eight days after launch. (It took Draw Something, 2012's darling, nine days to achieve such a feat.) The average QuizUp player plays for 40 minutes a day, enticed by more than 200,000 trivia questions spread out over nearly 300 categories. 

The fast, multi-player game, is free to download but in-app purchases that allow users to 'level-up faster’ can cost anywhere from $1.99 to $5.99. Through a sync-up with a user's email or Facebook account, the app finds a global opponent and users are off to the races—answering seven multiple-choice questions in just over a minute.

The game’s simplicity is key—its intuitive interface follows a pub quiz night format similar to "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?," making it simple to learn for all experience levels.Continue reading...

games people play

Apps Help Turn Mobile Gaming into Social Good

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 7, 2013 08:02 PM

The Global Gaming Initiative is leveraging popular mobile game genres to "make play purposeful," with its first effort turning high scores into transportation for those in need in Africa.

Sidekick Cycle provides bikes to people in underdeveloped countries through a partnership with World Bicycle Relief. Users can purchase the app in Apple's App Store for $.99 and enjoy the downhill racing game, all the while contributing to the charitable effort. For every 387 games sold, a bike is given to a disadvantaged child. So far, 157,979 bikes are in the field, changing 789,895 lives, according to Mashable.Continue reading...

app watch

Branding the Bible: How YouVersion's Bible App has Transformed Worship

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 2, 2013 10:42 AM

100 million downloads. A $20 million investment. No, it's not the latest version of Angry Birds or Candy Crush Saga. It's the Bible, and it's one of the most popular apps available. 

YouVersion's aptly named "Bible" app is installed on a new device every 1.3 seconds. On average, 66,000 users are engaged at any moment—a number that balloons when preachers worldwide take the pulpit on Sundays and tell their parishioners, "Take out your Bibles or YouVersion app." 

YouVersion's Bible, funded by LifeChurch.tv of Edmond, Okla., could be worth more than $200 million, according to Jules Maltz, General Partner at Institutional Venture Partners. "Of course, this assumes the company can monetize through standard advertising," Maltz noted, however, pastor and founder Bobby Gruenewald says LifeChurch.tv has no plans to turn the insanely popular app into a money-maker, despite the company's hefty $20 million investment.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Barnes & Noble, BlackBerry, Shell and more

Posted by Dale Buss on July 9, 2013 09:16 AM

In the News

Barnes & Noble CEO resigns amid digital setbacks.

BlackBerry faces leadership questions at annual meeting today.

Shell picks refining chief to become its new CEO.

Alibaba sets sights on mobile.

Apple's App Store celebrates five-year anniversary with free apps.

Esurance expands US Open tennis sponsorship.

Ford finds that F-250 pickup is new favorite of auto thieves.

Hasbro buys 70 percent stake in mobile gaming company Backflip for $112 million.

Hostess Twinkies return aiming for more ubiquity.

Hulu attracts at least three takeover bids.

Infiniti nudges launch date of new Q50 sedan.Continue reading...


Amazon Hopes to Build Better App Platform with Addition of Amazon Coins

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 13, 2013 05:17 PM

For what began as a bookseller,  Amazon has grown into a sizeable and powerful empire, but what’s an empire without its own money? The web retailer has now introduced its own virtual currency, Amazon Coins.

To introduce customers to the product, Amazon has dumped 500 coins (worth $5) into the accounts of every new and existing Kindle Fire user for them to use for apps or in-app purchases, TechCrunch reports

“With discounts of up to 10 percent when you buy Coins, this is a great way for customers to save money when they buy apps, games and in-app items,” said Mike George, vice president of apps and games at Amazon, in a statement. “We will continue to add more ways to earn and spend Coins on a wider range of content and activities—today is Day One for Coins.” The more ways to bring in revenue, the better, right?Continue reading...

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