Social Networks And Tweens: Do They Go Together?

Facebook is looking to include tweens in its social network, but such an issue raises unique problems. Along with having to ensure that things are safe for young users, there’s the criticism from outside groups for including them and their limited revenue potential.

“There are a multitude of concerns if not done right,” said Jim Steyer, CEO/founder of the nonprofit Common Sense Media.

Steyer says that social networks could negatively affect cognitive development of younger users. He is also openly skeptical that children can be kept safe; he pointed out that Skout suspended its teen community, noting that it was explicitly set up with a safeguard to prevent interactions with the 18-and-over community (which didn’t work; three men were accused of using the site to further their predator lifestyle).

Facebook already has safeguards in place for its 13-17-year-old users, minimizing who can contact these young users through the platform, and Facebook also prevents their profiles from appearing in public search listings. They could be trying to include an environment for under-13 users to prevent bleed over from users skirting the age restriction.

“Many recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the Internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policymakers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment.”

Facebook did not say whether they will target the under 13-crowd with ads if they’re allowed on the site. No less than 14 consumer, privacy and child advocacy groups wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calling for any under-13 services to exclude advertising.

Steyer argues that Facebook should develop an extensive education campaign for parents and educators insisting that Facebook is only for users ages 13 and up. “In general, experienced children’s companies like Disney and Nickelodeon are the best people [to develop online social communities for kids,” he said.

Right now, Disney’s online virtual world Club Penguin doesn’t feature ads and Nickelodeon’s The Club carries banners from brands such as Honey Nut Cheerios. TBG Digital recently analyzed 174 million Facebook ad impressions and found that cost-per-click rates for targeting users 16 and older were more than double those for 13-to-15-year-olds, while click-through rates were only 7.4 percent higher.

“The biggest question [for brands] always is: Are we going too far?” said Keith Pape, VP of social, mobile and emerging media at the Ayzenberg Group. “Is this working? Is this safe?”

Habbo Hotel, as Pape notes, was designed to be friendly to teen users with 225 moderators who track roughly 70 million lines of conversation daily around the globe. Still British investigative journalists found plenty of sexually explicit content, which forced the site to review its policies of including users aged 13 to 17.

“Any online community that allows young users to assume virtual identities may be open to abuses, which is why we work hard to keep users safe, filtering content and blocking inappropriate users,” said Sulake’s director of PR and communications Merja Turpeinen. “We also provide education and rapid-response support to users who experience uncomfortable conversations.”

Still, tween social network usage remains in a precarious spot and may be completely excluded if no better options come up.

Source: AdWeek

Oreo Celebrates 100 Years With Pride

Oreo is running a campaign this year to celebrate 100 years of it’s cookie brand. Nothing has been more controversial than their rainbow cookie design, however, that surprised their fans on Facebook and led to a strong reaction; mostly positive, but certainly some negative as well.

 

Auto Club Revolution Sees $20 Per Customer On Average

Eutechnyx said that its free-to-play game Auto Club Revolution has average revenue per paying user topping $24.  The company noted that the big spenders – referred to as “diamonds” – spent over $400, but the vast majority will only ever play the game for free.

“If it’s $24 in two months we think over a lifetime we’ll be able to get that up $40-$50,” said Eutechnyx CEO Darren Jobling. “We’re particularly proud of this because the average often quoted by the industry is $20 for average revenue per paying user. When you look at this you’ve got to realize that actually 91 per cent of people who play Auto Club Revolution get it for free. Free cars, free upgrades.”

“We’ve got a 9 percent chance of monetizing [the customer]. People like to buy interesting, sexy cars. The average of a Facebook game is 1-2 percent,” he added. “The beauty with Auto Club Revolution is the car makers keep on making very cool stuff to sell. We’ve got some of the most creative minds in the world working on your team creating content.”

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

Coca-Cola Lauds Ad Diversity At Cannes

Coca-Cola won at Cannes for an a simple outdoor poster done by a student and a U.S. Super Bowl-integrated Polar Bowl, a second-screen experience that synced with the game’s action. Coca-Cola’s VP-Global Connections Ivan Pollard proudly talks about the diversity of these accomplishments.

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Marketing Challenges For Mobile Discussed By Natural Motion

Natural Motion CEO Torsten Reil spoke during Game Horizon in Newcastle about how traditional marketing and PR is ineffective for mobile titles. He said there was no material impact on how many copies of his company’s game were downloaded because of traditional marketing.

“We learned the hard way that we really needed to rethink marketing. I don’t think it works at all,” said Reil. “It has no impact that you can see for a big game when you run a dedicated, very well executed PR campaign, it does nothing, absolutely nothing. The download numbers that you’re dealing with overall are so huge that any PR downloads that you create are just noise.”

“The only thing you could argue is that maybe it gets you just over the hump to get a viral thing going. Whenever we’ve done PR and then not done PR there is no difference,” added Reil. “It doesn’t mean PR isn’t useful in general, for the company, for recruitment, it should definitely have a role but I’m seeing more and more PR agencies for iPhone games realizing that they don’t actually move the needle anymore in terms of overall game downloads.”

Reil said the focus should be on getting users to click and download games and make them eye catching. He cited My Horse, which has been downloaded over 11 million times.

“There are better ways of marketing a game and creating downloads. Some of these are how you use the App Store. We’ve found the name of the game is incredibly important in terms of discoverability,” he said. “The icon is your packaging. You can essentially double the number of downloads by getting these things right.”

Reil noted that viral marketing is still important for iOS games and noted that AAA production values can be a benefit. “You can go viral in the old fashioned way on these devices,” said Reil. “People will go out to a pub and show your game to their friends if they really like it. Very often it’s because of production values and overall graphics. This is where we have a huge opportunity. We always want to wow people. Whether the traditional gamer or the mass market gamer they want to show off what they have on their phone.”

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

Weyland Mission Recruitment

An interactive website for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus lets fans dive into a transmedia and interactive experience that redefines the typical movie site or portal. Working closely with Microsoft, the Project Prometheus Training Center and each engagement contained within has been built in HTML5 and works on modern browsers, such as Google Chrome and Safari, but the experience works best on Internet Explorer 9. Users begin by logging into the Project Prometheus Training Center with Facebook or Twitter. A user’s score will then appear on a leaderboard that is updated in real-time throughout the day and in a way that can be compared with friends. 79,700 is the highest score possible across all tests. How high can you score

Most of the content wrapped up in the Project Prometheus Training Center is game based. The games range from puzzles and logic quizzes to reflex tests. In the “agility” test, for instance, users have to move their way through an obstacle course using the arrow keys on the keyboard to move left and right. In the “G-Force test,” users are tasked with keeping their mouse cursor in the center of a grid, despite the “G-Force effect” imposed by the browser. In the “spatial relations” test, users match Tetris-like pieces in the correct position in a limited amount of time. The most impressive game is the “pre-cortex” test, which is a 3D Rubik’s cube and logic puzzle with varying degrees of difficulty. This test is only available in IE 9.