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Apple and Microsoft Take Different Approaches to Japan Relief

If you were trying to solicit donations for earthquake victims in Japan, what approach would you take? Take a look at how technology rivals Microsoft and Apple decided to handle this delicate situation.

First up, Microsoft. The company tweeted a plea on its Bing search engine Twitter account, offering to donate up to $100,000 for earthquake victims, but under one condition: that users would retweet the message, which would result in Microsoft increasing its donations by one dollar per retweet:

It’s straightforward enough, and sounds a lot like an offer we told you about yesterday from the nonprofit Explore.org, offering to contribute $1 for each Facebook “Like” of its “Dog Bless You” Facebook fundraising page received. That seemed to go smoothly yesterday, where we heard a few complaints but overall the reaction was positive.

Microsoft’s idea was not so well-received. Shortly after the company initiated its fundraiser, a backlash began, where some called the scheme a crass marketing attempt, and comedian Michael Ian Black told his 1.6 million Twitter followers in no uncertain terms that Microsoft should “stop using tragedy as a f***ing marketing opportunity.” The company soon withdrew the deal, offering instead to simply donate the $100K:

Next up, Apple. Instead of offering to contribute anything to the earthquake victims, Apple set up a special place(iTunes link) in its iTunes store, promising to deliver 100% of any donations to the Red Cross to benefit Japan. Apple’s iTunes donation page makes it as easy to help earthquake victims as it is to buy iTunes music, where as you can see, the suggested donations are in amounts of $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 and $200:

So that’s Apple’s technique — not to actually donate money, but to encourage everyone else to stop by the iTunes Store (and perhaps buy something else while they’re there), and help the poor souls laid low by the tragic quake and its ominous nuclear aftermath. Of course, Apple is donating something with this deal, because it’s not free to move boatloads of cash from one place to another.

What do you think of this, commenters? Should multibillion dollar corporations simply donate to these causes, should they try to get us involved, or should they just facilitate our donations? Are these crass attempts at capitalizing on horrific tragedy? Do nonprofits get a pass, as long as it doesn’t look like they’re self-promoting too much? Where do you draw the line?

*Source: Mashabe

Which Social Sites Are Best for Which Marketing Outcomes? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Is Flickr good for SEO? Can Tumblr drive traffic? If these questions are part of your day-to-day work, hold onto your hats; here’s an infographic that’s actually useful for a change.

If you’re doing any social media marketing, here’s something for your to print out and hang up near your desk as a handy point of reference. CMO.com, together with SEO firm 97th Floor, have created this chart showing which social networks are best for various organizational, CRM and marketing goals.

For example, if you need massive pageviews for your site or a client’s site, Facebook and Twitter are just so-so for referring their users to your content. If you want to see really big clickthroughs, you should optimize for StumbleUpon and Digg. And if your goal is search engine optimization, don’t think that Facebook’s “no-follow” links are doing you any favors; instead, focus on Flickr and YouTube to see your desired results on Page One.

When you think about best-in-class social media campaigns and true leaders in social media marketing, you realize that most of the time, creative and successful marketing teams pick a specific platform for a specific reason; this chart gives you the tip of the iceburg when it comes to making the right choice for your own company’s or clients’ campaigns.

Check out the chart below, and in the comments, let us know about your experiences with marketing, CRM, PR and SEO across these various platforms.

Click image to view full-size PDF version.

Lead image courtesy of Flickr, rishibando. — MASHABLE

HOW TO: Follow the Japan Earthquake Online

March 13, 2011 1 comment

Social media and the web have become the go-to for real-time information when disasters strike.

It’s no surprise that the news of Friday’s 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan spread rapidly on Twitter, while live video feeds and blogs kept pace.

With unreliable cellphone service, social media is the only form of communication consistently available to people in Japan, says Brian Gillespie of Texas. He has reached out to friends in Japan through Twitter and Facebook. Mixi, Japan’s largest social networking site, has also been used to located loved ones, he says.

Like Gillespie’s friends, many in Japan are updating us on the country’s status via the Internet. In addition, thousands of reporters and citizen journalists worldwide are distributing their knowledge of the situation on homepages and social streams.

Now, hours after the initial quake, information about the earthquake and tsunami abound. Here’s a list of some of the best Japan earthquake resources online, as suggested by our readers.

What tools are you using to track the crisis? Let us know in the comments which ones we’ve missed.


Social Media



Live Video and Blogs


*Source: Mashable

Help Japan: Facebook Click Helps Dogs Rescue Trapped Quake Victims

As you read this, victims of the tragic earthquake in Japan are waiting to be rescued under piles of rubble. Here’s a way for you to help them, and you barely have to lift a finger.

Explore.org founder Charlie Annenberg Weingarten, who’s also Director of the Annenberg Foundation, challenged the interactive community from the floor of the SXSW convention center, saying Explore.org will donate up to $100,000 to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. Its dog rescue team is on its way to Japan to help with earthquake search and rescue operations.

“Search and rescue dogs are a critical resource for emergency situations” says Weingarten. “There are many bootstrapped start-ups down here in Austin and plenty of people across America who want to help Japan in some way but don’t have the resources; we’re giving those people a chance to support with a simple social action”

Here’s where you come in: For every “Like” of the “Dog Bless You” Facebook page (#dogblessyou, #dogs4japan), Explore will donate a dollar up to $100,000. Get this: If the page gets 100,000 Likes by Sunday, March 13 at 2 a.m. EST, that dollar figure doubles, and Explore will donate $200,000. C’mon people, let’s help those quake victims!

*Source: Mashable

U.S. Government Wins Access to Twitter Accounts of WikiLeaks Supporters

(Mashable) — A federal judge today granted the U.S. government access to the Twitter accounts of three of WikiLeaks’s strongest supporters.

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice subpoenaed Twitter, asking the social media service to hand over information related to the Twitter accounts of WikiLeaks and some of its supporters. The subpoena targeted Birgitta Jonsdottir, Rop Gongrijp and Jacob Appelbaum, known for their support and contributions to the whistle-blowing website.

In a 20-page opinion, Judge Theresa Buchanan rejected the arguments of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and attorneys representing the WikiLeaks backers, declaring that first and fourth amendment rights would not be violated by turning over Twitter account information to the government.

Buchanan did, however, make some of the case’s documents of the case public, though documents with “sensitive nonpublic facts, including the identity of targets and witnesses in an ongoing criminal investigation,” will not be included. Among the revelations from the unsealed documents: Twitter filed a motion last month requesting permission not to turn over data related to WikiLeaks’s official account, despite that WikiLeaks has made no objection to the government’s subpoena.

It’s unclear whether the order encompasses private messages sent by the WikiLeaks supporters. The government’s request for access is limited to content such as e-mail and IP addresses, but private Twitter messages could potentially come into play, which could spark another legal battle. The ACLU intends to appeal today’s ruling.

“Twitter’s policy is designed to allow users to defend their own rights. As such, Twitter will continue to let the judicial process run its course,” Twitter said in a statement to Mashable.

iPad 2 Takes Tablet Computing to the Next Level

Social media shows power after Japan quake, tsunami and other global events

COMMENTARY | Being an early riser, it means I’m also asleep rather early and miss some things that happen overnight. My first news of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan came via Facebook at around 5 a.m.

The first post on my news feed said “Holy (expletive)! Wake up, look at Twitter. 8.9 magnitude. This is horrible” from my friend Rob. I immediately opened my Twitter and was shocked at the reports I was seeing. I follow several media organizations and as the reports rolled by, my eyes filled with tears.

There is no certain death toll yet from the 8.9 quake that led to the tsunami in Japan. As the waves rolled across the Pacific Ocean toward Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast, I worried about friends in those areas.

After offering prayers and thoughts to the victims in Japan, Twitter influencers began using the power of the tweet for a larger good. The first time I saw the “Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to the international relief fund for Japan” in my feed was mid-morning from chef and TV personality Andrew Zimmern.

The message spread quickly. Celebrities with hundreds of thousands of followers were sending the message: the Red Cross needs help. Other common trending terms and hashtags included #japan, #tsunami and #prayforjapan. They even managed to keep that #winner with #tigerblood off the trending list.

In this social media society, people around the world are connected quickly. Global-level events aren’t just left to the news networks to report. People in the midst of tragedy and those who care are intertwined by the power of 140 characters.

The tsunami is just the most recent case of Twitter spreading the word globally.

2011 Egypt Riots

In this case, the Egyptian government shut down access to Twitter as thousands of demonstrators took to the streets. While millions of tweets containing the #Jan25 hashtag continued to flow, Google and Twitter joined forces to create a telephone system that would translate message into text with the #egypt hashtag.

2010 British Student Protests

Students protesting higher university fees in London complained that their tweets were being suppressed. Their hashtag – #demo2010 – was continually pushed off of Twitter’s trending list and the company called the allegations “absurd.”

2009 Iran Election Protests

I wasn’t a part of the Twitterverse when the company delayed a system upgrade to allow student protesters to be able to continue sending messages. As the Iranian government moved to shut down the voices of dissent, the protesters took to their streams.

Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor.