Chili’s, Kona Grill and other U.S. restaurant operators are checking into Foursquare. Stacey Sullivan, a spokesperson for Chili’s parent, the Dallas-based Brinker International Inc., tells Nation's Restaurant News that the chain, which is using a promo code to track check-ins, is seeing a 20% redemption rate among those checking in and redeeming their actions for the chips and salsa.
Delta is the first airline to allow passengers to book flights on Facebook. TechCrunch writes that Delta's Ticket Window Facebook app will expand to other social networking sites, "including online banner ads to allow full booking capabilities within the airline’s advertisements."
Disney's just-acquired Playdom is working on a Facebook game featuring Marvel characters. Details are sparse, but Social Times thinks that RPG (role-playing games) featuring Marvel characters would be a big hit.
Google is investing $3M-$5M in mobile games-maker ngmoco, which Brandchannel's Barry Silverstein recently profiled.
MTV's first digital-only series will be heavily social in nature, with MTV UK launching the shortform series Being Victor on Sept. 7th. The big news isn't that it's a Web-only series or social, but "that it's MTV doing this," Fast Company writes in a blog post.
MySpace's new homepage redesign is accused of "aping Facebook" by Mediaweek, which notes its "striking amount of Facebook-esque white space," along with "sparse" feeds showing friends' status updates and what content they're sharing. MySpace President Mike Jones tells AP that the latest changes are to prepare users for a site-wide overhaul in the fall, "so as we turn on the full relaunch it's not a shock to the system." The goal, he adds, is to make the News Corp.-owned site more relevant and engaging to 13- to 34-year-olds.
Canada's Empire Avenue aims to be a virtual stock exchange for social media influencers. CEO Duleepa Wijayawardhana tells the Guardian that "individuals can turn their online influence and value to real revenue by carrying advertising and endorsements to their networks. They are free to choose which brands they promote, and we'll take a small percentage of the revenue generated."
Facebook is tweaking its fan pages on Aug. 23; Search Engine Journal has more details for marketers. The site's ad sales are poised to hit $1.2 billion this year thanks to a surge in "self-serve ads," Ad Age reports on new eMarketer projections. "Like Google, Facebook's self-serve advertisers are largely local, coming from marketing dollars once spent on yellow pages listings. If those advertisers perform anything like Google's, they won't be as cyclical as national brand advertising, giving Facebook a buffer against future ad slumps. eMarketer also projects that marketers will spend $220 million this year on ads in social games, a major focus for Facebook and Google.
Twitter is seeing triple-digit growth outside North America, according to new figures from comScore. Nearly 93 million Internet users worldwide visited Twitter.com in June, up 109% over June 2009. Credit Indonesia, Brazil and Venezuela for the surge that led to Latin America's June Twitter usage climbing 305% and Asia Pacific being up 243% year-over-year; in fact, all regions except North America showed triple-digit growth.
As anticipated, Twitter also rolled out its Tweet Button today to enable sharing. According to the Twitter blog, "The Tweet Button is not only simple for users, but for publishers of all sizes, too. Recreational bloggers to large media companies can quickly and easily add the Tweet Button to their sites. It only takes a few lines of code. The Tweet Button will help publishers grow traffic and increase their Twitter following."
Yahoo, meanwhile, is trying to add value to social media for marketers and users alike. PC World quotes Yahoo VP Scott Burke's remarks on a panel this week: "Yahoo is trying to commoditize this stream of information and make it into a channel both for consumers and advertisers who can then come to Yahoo and get access to syndicated ads across multiple social networks, whereas they can't go to Facebook today to run an ad campaign across Facebook and Twitter."