Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 10, 2012 02:01 PM
Teen pop sensation Justin Bieber is putting his money where his heart is and investing in Sojo Studios’ WeTopia, which launched late last year to produce social games with nonprofit beneficiaries in a Farmville-like Facebook game for developing countries (such as Haiti, as seen above).
Promoting WeTopia as a collective effort (replacing the implied 'you' in Utopia with 'we'), Sojo Studios encourages online gamers to ‘Play for Good,’ and its free-to-play, community-building game lets players create and nurture WeTopia villages, earn “Joy” currency, applicable to real-world charitable projects in the U.S. and abroad, and track the impact of their contributions.
Initial nonprofit partners include Save the Children, buildOn and Children’s Health Fund. Bieber, naturally, announced his involvement on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading...
games people play
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 30, 2011 03:01 PM
“If you’re going to waste your time playing games on Facebook, you might as well do it and help build a better world while you’re at it,” writes Techcrunch.com about Sojo Studios’ WeTopia, an online game launching today that’s designed to have fun while raising money for children’s charities.
It’s a free-to-play Facebook game where players build villages and help their neighbors – all for ‘joy’ currency, in-game coins for real charitable works. They're convertible to real-world non-profit donations to promote healthcare and education. WeTopia is advancing the collective notion of gaming rewards beyond points, discounts and coupon redemption.
“Each purchase results in a direct donation to a real world cause. Buying an in-game fountain, for instance, leads to the contribution of a donation of clean water,” notes Venturebeat.
WeTopia heralds the next iteration of combining social games with non-profit beneficiaries. It's backed by former Facebook employee, Path CEO Dave Morin, with digital doyenne Esther Dyson on the advisory board and an exclusive partnership with Ellen DeGeneres.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 9, 2011 12:02 PM
Daytime TV doyenne Ellen DeGeneres started writing a blog earlier this year to help those who are trying to transition to a meat-free diet. It looks like she’ll be able to make a good restaurant recommendation soon.
Showbiz Spy reports that the comedian-turned-talkshow host and her wife, actress Portia de Rossi, along with Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders fame and producer Steve Bing are all investing in a new vegan restaurant that will open in California’s San Fernando Valley.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 8, 2011 03:01 PM
Connie’s Pizza, a chain with five Chicago and three suburban locations, may soon get a lot bigger. An insider told the Chicago Tribune that Connie’s, through holding company parent Italian Food Network, has put in a $26 million bid on Giordano’s, a pizzeria chain known for its stuffed pizza (fans include Ellen DeGeneres), which is currently reorganizing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
That kind of cash can buy a lot of pepperoni but it is unfortunately not enough to clean up the financial mess Giordano’s — which has 45 restaurants in Illinois and Florida, 35 of them owned by franchisees — has on its hands. The chain owes its main lender, Fifth Third Bank, $45.5 million, the Tribune notes.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 25, 2011 10:01 AM
In the last few months, Groupon has had its COO resign and had to restate its first half revenue as $688 million rather than the originally stated $1.5 billion. Not great PR for a company planning its IPO, right? (Although the brand's tie-ins, including the Halloween stunt above, on The Ellen DeGeneres Show have proved a PR coup.)
The company is plowing ahead and plans to go public on Nov. 3rd, according to the Wall Street Journal. Before then, the Chicago-based deal aggregator is traveling across the nation to convince big investors to throw oodles of cash their way.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Abe Sauer on June 1, 2011 04:45 PM
The fallout over whether or not Congressman Anthony Weiner did or did not tweet a photo of his personal "member of Congress" (Weiner says his Twitter account was hacked; follow the flap on Twitter at #weinergate) could spell the end for one social media brand.
"Just had the FBI show up at my apartment, my first thought was: "She said she was 18"...turns out they weren't here for that" tweeted Noah Everett, the founder of Twitpic, this afternoon as the scandal was escalating. He may have been was half-joking but the challenges facing his social media startup are deadly serious.
(Editor's note: Everett was indeed joking about the 18-year-old, as we surmised, and confirmed to us — see below — that he did receive a visit from the FBI. he also corrected us that the lewd picture tweeted from Weiner's Twitter account was hosted on yfrog, not Twitpic, for which we apologize. NPR's headline got it wrong, and so did we.)
Twitpic, the service that piggybacks on Twitter allowing users to link photos to tweets, is already reeling from bad publicity. After the brand announced a licensing deal with WENN.com which would allow the celebrity gossip service to license its images, several celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres said they would abandon the service.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 24, 2011 02:00 PM
Twitter is at the center of a UK-sparked battle over courts, so-called super injunctions, and social media conversations which apparently cannot be curtailed by either.
What's a "super injunction," you might ask? The term has come into the public arena following two recent UK court cases, in which judges prohibit naming public figures involved in scandals, with at least three cases, two involving former Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Fred Goodwin and Manchester United soccer player Ryan Giggs.
British politician John Hemming was rebuked by the House speaker for naming Giggs (and his affair with Imogen Thomas), because the soccer star had won an injunction prohibiting the media from naming him.
But what about social media? Outing Giggs on Twitter quickly became something of a parlor game, as tweeting and retweeting the gossip swept the site.
"With about 75,000 people having named Ryan Giggs on Twitter, it's obviously impractical to imprison them all," said Hemming, citing the tweets as reason to lift the British court's publishing ban.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on May 23, 2011 09:00 AM
Amazon "gives away" Lady Gaga's new album for 99 cents.
AOL shuts down India portal.
Apple rumored to be planning a store in NYC's Grand Central and a curved glass iPhone.
Barnes & Noble's Nook "crushes" Amazon's Kindle in the glossy magazine department.
Cisco accused of aiding Chinese crackdown on dissidents.
Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean 4 scores fourth biggest global weekend opening.
Ellen DeGeneres boycotts Twitpic in wake of Twitter app's photo agency deal.
Ford plans in-car driver health monitoring with Medtronic.
Foursquare and Groupon reportedly in partnership talks.Continue reading...