Facebook is offline – dead is a dodo – but only momentarily. Phew.

Has Facebook Just Crashed and Burned or is it Just Me?

Oct 31, 2011 

Trying to open Facebook an getting an error message ion Chrome:

Error 324 (net::ERR_EMPTY_RESPONSE): The server closed the connection without sending any data.

Of course, this could be my PC, Chrome or my ISP that is playing up. All likely contenders really. Anyone else having trouble accessing Facebook? I had just played a move in Wordscraper and then poof! all gone.

Strange. Spooky strange. Maybe ghosts in the machine. It is Halloween.

Facebook Apps Dead? No Scrabble, No Wordscraper!

Jun 10, 2011 

Just checked in to Facebook to see if it is my move in Scrabble or Wordscraper, and all apps.facebook.com pages seem to be down right now.

The following message is posted in the Chrome broswer:

The server at apps.facebook.com can’t be found, because the DNS lookup failed. DNS is the web service that translates a website’s name to its internet address. This error is most often caused by having no connection to the internet or a misconfigured network. It can also be caused by an unresponsive DNS server or a firewall preventing Google Chrome from accessing the network.

Sure it is nothing serious, well, hope not, I think I was winning in one of my games!

Not often we see Facebook go wrong somewhere. I guess it is late, maybe they are updating something on the UK servers. Gone midnight, probably time I went to bed.

How To Spot A Facebook Marketing Spammer

Jun 3, 2011

It’s Friday, so time for some more lighthearted web based sillyness. I got some amusing old fashioned spam today. Someone wanted to be my friend on Facebook. Aaah, isn’t that nice?. This was their message to me;

Hello this, good to find you! Do feel free to add me. I see you like affiliate marketing… same here, look forward to sharing ideas.

Funny, as I do not mention affiliate marketing on my profile in any way, in fact, I do not do affiliate marketing. I am probably a member of some SEO group or other on Facebook though.

Anyway, I took a look at her profile. I guess at this point I should apologise now to Diana Lamarre if she genuinely wants to be my friend to discuss marketing, as her approach and profile look very spammy.

Diana Lamarre, my new Facebook friend!

Now, if there was a Facebook Babe of the Year then Diana would certainly be a contender. To combine not just marketing, but also Internet Marketing and How To Really Start To Earning Money Online is really impressive. And she loves mobile phones too, so many pictures. And such manly hands…..

She also has managed to get a perfect work-life balance. Look at this;

“I am an easy going female. I prefer to do Cooking and Baking with families. I like to be friends with you.”

Not only does she have time to sit on sports cars while wearing bikinis in between marketing jobs, she also loves cooking, baking and being with the family. Amazing.

Anyway, there are actually one or two small signals that she may really just be a spammer. I thought Facebook spamming was dead? Obviously not. Ignore.

Watch Out Facebook, There’s a Social Media Juggernaut Heading Your Way!

Mar 31, 2011

OK, I am talking about Google again. Now, I am in two minds about this Google Social Media thing that they are working on.

Part of me says “but they don’t seem to get it, they want everyone to transfer to Google accounts, they are trying to bolt together a bunch of products all developed in isolation”.

Then another part says “But it’s Google, and they are bloody good at web stuff”.

I just read their latest update on the Blogger blogging on blogspot blog platform, called Fresh new perspectives for your blog. It talks about some new themes for Blogger which are all HTML5, CSS3 and Ajax funky. Sounds reasonably good. But they also have a video promo. It looks amazing. Here it is.

Now, 120% of the World’s population plus everyone on Mars use Facebook, so Google have a lot of work to do to catch up. But, they have one advantage over Facebook – their products are good.

Blogger, Google’s free blogging platform, has been around for years. You used to be able to FTP your blog to your own server, but Google pulled that. At the time I thought it was because of the FTP server problems. But now it makes more sense – Google was focusing on keeping content on its own servers for the future!

You see, Facebook do many things very well:

  • Facebook has instant messaging. But Google has Talk with Video
  • Facebook has messages. But Google has Gmail.
  • Facebook has images and albums. But Google as Picasaweb.
  • Facebook has Groups, Pages and Walls. Google has its own Google Groups, Sites, Blogger.
  • Facebook has Events, Google has its Calendar.

Then Google also has so much more – Google Docs, Youtube, Android Apps, the Search Engine.

If Google can do this social thing right, if their fantastic tech guys can “get it”, then they really can make something that will blow Facebook away.

What are Facebook doing? Maybe developing their own web search engine. That’s it.

Really the biggest threat to Google is if Facebook manage to roll outs its own web search engine and then also place its Facebook ads on other sites too. This will be a kick in the teeth for Google.

The main differences between Google and Facebook at the moment is that people use Google to go somewhere, but people use Facebook to be on the web. Facebook is the destination for many people, Google is just the journey, and a brief one at that.

Google Social will turn a short trip into a juggernaut ride that will shove all competition out of the way. Or it will fall flat. Cannot wait to find out either way.

The Biggest Threat To Google Is Coming: Facebook Search

Mar 17, 2011 

If there is one thing that is likely to make a massive dent in Google’s market share and profits it is when Facebook reaches out beyond its own wall.

At the moment external websites do come up in Facebook search, but only when they have been added by the community and are popular enough to feature in the search index.

However, it appears that Facebook has filed a patent application for its own search engine called “Ranking search results based on the frequency of clicks on the search results by members of a social network who are within a predetermined degree of separation“, and it is assumed that this search engine will be crawling the Internet to provide Facebook users a portal to the rest of the World from the comfort of their FB homepages.

Search results, including sponsored links and algorithmic search results, are generated in response to a query, and are marked based on frequency of clicks on the search results by members of social network who are within a predetermined degree of separation from the member who submitted the query. The markers are visual tags and comprise either a text string or an image. – Facebook patent for search

Once Facebook have extended to global web search, they could then extend to global advertising. At the moment the biggest player by far for contextual advertising is Google with its Adwords/Adsense products. However, Facebook advertising is growing rapidly as businesses realise that they can get much more targeted advertising to their new customers with Facebook.

If Facebook can roll this out to all websites, so that rather than displaying adverts withing Facebook they display them on the publisher network, this will certainly hurt Google.

With over 700 million users Facebook is a force to be reckoned with. While Google works on its on social networking platform, Facebook is working towards invading Google’s most lucrative business areas – advertising.

X-Men: First Class Trailer on Facebook

Feb 10, 2011

X-Men: First Class, the latest X Men film, is releasing its trailer today on Facebook. It’s Facebook group is www.facebook.com/xmenmovies.

The latest X-Men movie goes back to when Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr first developed their powers. They meet at Oxford University and become great friends.

X Men First Class Trailer in High Definition

As predicted, it is now on YouTube, a very short time after the Facebook exclusive release.

What is interesting for us is that Twentieth Century Fox have decided to give Facebook Fans the first view of the trailer.

“Like Us For Exclusive Updates”

Facebook is now 7 years old, but the Like button is still relatively new. It is interesting to see how different people are making use of it. For Twentieth Century Fox it is a cunning way to reach out to many fans as they essentially get a bunch of people (1,729,122 and counting) on to their mailing lists, and all they give in return is a sneak peek at a trailer that will be on general release within a few days, and probably on YouTube in high-def by dinner time tonight.

1,729,122 fans already for a film due to be released in June. Wow. I would like some of that action.

The power of social media!

Well, Facebook Has Finally Hit The Bucket

Aug 31, 2010

Seems the site is down, been a while now. Could this be the beginning of the end of the mighty Facebook? Are all of our photos and stories lost forever? Will I ever finish that epic chess match against Max? Who knows? Facebook is dead. Facebook has crashed. Facebook is offline, closed for maintenance, our of order, Facebook is well and truly shafted.

The problem did not last too long in the end.

Facebook Messages / eMail is Broken

Aug 14, 2010

Facebook’s messaging system died today. First of all there were issues with sending messages with errors on sending. Then the sent folder gave an error and now all messages have vanished.

“Something’s gone wrong. We’re working to get it fixed as soon as we can.” – Facebook Messages Error Message

Many people use Facebook as their primary personal email now as so many friends are connected on Facebook. The failure of the FB message system means that many people have suddenly found that they cannot communicate with friends and family.

It is only when there are major disruptions to a service that people realise that using social networking sites to manage emails may not be the best idea after all. There are several excellent and well maintained webmail services that really relying on Facebook for messaging friends seems a bit daft on the face of it.

Instead people really should use Gmail or Yahoo! for their Internet mail. Gmail also has an excellent chat application built in, called Google Talk, that is as good as Skype and far far better than Facebook.

Facebook is a great platform for sharing news and photos with friends and family and for reconnecting with people, but Facebook’s rapid growth has resulted in extremely poor, often non-existent, customer services.

If you have a problem with Facebook, if you lose mails or cannot access your account, you will seldom be able to speak with someone their to help resolve the issue. Often people find themselves having to simply abandon their accounts and open a new one in its place.

Of course, you also need an email account to use Facebook, so really the obvious question is, once you connect with someone on Facebook why use its messaging services at all?

The Yahoo Facebook Partnership

Jun 8, 2010 

Yahoo and Facebook have joined hands to make Yahoo a more social platform. It seems that Yahoo is always playing catch up with Google now, and instead of creating a rival for Google Buzz, Yahoo has decided to make a partnership with the master of Social Networking, Facebook.

Yahoo accounts will be linked to Facebook accounts so that Yahoo mail users will be able to see friend’s Facebook updates without having to sign in to Facebook. In much the same way that Google Buzz in integrated into Gmail, Facebook status updates will be integrated into Yahoo Mail.

“More and more, people rely on social sites to share and discover information that matters to them, making Yahoo uniquely positioned to provide people with all of the mainstream methods of content discovery–social, search, communications, and editorial. Starting with Facebook, we are bringing all of these elements together to give people one simple, trusted place to share information and connect” Cody Simms, Yahoo director of social platforms.

The new features will be rolled out in the next few days. Finally there is a new reason to fire up that old dusty Yahoo Mail account again.

Major Facebook Security Hole Revealed

Jun 4, 2010 

This was buzzed by Google’s Matt Cutt’s in response to suggestions that Google had only managed to gather the email addresses by using some sort of underhand, insider methods. But personal email addresses are visible using Yahoo too.

From Matt Cutt’s Buzz;

http://www.allfacebook.com/2010/06/facebook-loophole-exposes-thousands-of-email-addresses/ makes a false claim: “The other question that this raises is how did Google get access to this page? Was it found it users’ gmail accounts? The only way they could have possibly found the link was by automatically following links found in users’ emails which were intended to be private.”

Uh, no. We found those pages by crawling normal links on public web pages. It also would have been nice if the author of that blog post had asked us before claiming that the “only way” Google could have possibly found pages was by following links in emails. We could have saved him the trouble of making up a new conspiracy theory.

In fact, here’s how you can debunk that idea without even talking to Google: run the same search [site:facebook.com “do you want to stop receiving facebook emails”] on Yahoo. Yes, Yahoo–they run a search engine too. 🙂 Yahoo also found pages with email addresses. In fact, I see at least one gmail.com email address on Yahoo’s first page. Did Yahoo discover the link to that page by crawling a user’s Gmail? Obviously not. Therefore Yahoo must have discovered the link from normal means, e.g. seeing a link to it on the public web. Once you’ve demonstrated that Yahoo found the link via public means, why invent the conspiracy theory that Google found the link via Gmail? Occam’s Razor and all that.

Interestingly the Yahoo search no longer reveals anything of interest, so Yahoo have also followed Google in removing these pages from their listings to protect users privacy.

The latest on this seems to be that it was not Facebook at fault but its users who shared their private information and then were shocked to discover it was visibile to others online. The reason: “turns out the users forwarded their facebook mails to public mailing lists, including the unsubscribe links.” So, just some daft people not checking what they send in an email!

There is probably a lot more to it, but I cannot be bothered to dig any deeper. The main search engines have tied up the mess, Ask.com is in the process if doing it I guess (had not when last checked). Put security first, do not share your private information online.

Facebook Servers Down, Games Broken, No Scrabble

Nov 24, 2009 

Early this evening we reported how Twitter was struggling under the massive demand for its services. Now Facebook is struggling. I cannot play Scrabble! It’s my move! This is a disaster! And Mafia Wars is very sluggish. Social Media? Social Decline more like.

Come on, upgrade your servers, get some better computers, buy a few more ethernet cables, do whatever you techies do to make your computers work faster.

What will be next? Google? Long live the good old fashioned “Internet“. The Internet used to be about connecting many computers to provide a network of communication. Now it is many computers trying to connect to one giant one. We may as well all be working on the same Unix box. Sudo shutdown (sorry, that is probably Linux only).

Facebook Starts Making a Profit

Sep 17, 2009

Facebook now has 300 million users, and has announced that it has finally started making a profit. This is solid proof that although social media and networking sites are good fun, they are not a good business model, at least not for start ups.

If an online store had as many returning customers it would be driving a recovery in the world economy. The social networking model reminds me of how public houses have had to evolve. Whereas there was a time when more clients meant more money, increasing costs has meant that many businesses cannot rely of selling drinks alone. A large number of pubs make their profit from selling food, not drink. Drink brings in the clients at first, it is what leads them to the pub, but the hard sell must be on food for the business to make any profit.

Facebook is certainly moving that way. Its advertising, which is based on the Google Adsense model of PPC and impressions, is starting to be well received by advertisers. With a huge audience, and the software in place, success is now just a matter of time.

Facebook is still winning 5 million new customers each week too. Soon there may be two services on the Internet, the open model as run by Google, and the closed, subscription based model, run by Facebook. For other businesses to succeed, they need to work with both. It is rumoured that Facebook will soon be floated on the stock market. The people will be able to buy a stake in the website that they help to build and promote.

Facebook Undergoes Another Minor Makoever

Mar 14, 2009

Just noticed Facebook is looking a little smoother around the edges, and also that user “status” has been replaced with “What’s on your mind?”.

User profile photos now have rounded edges too.

On the home page there is more detailed information on what you can see in your own Facebook homepage, i.e.

“You’re looking at the real-time stream of posts from your friends and connections. Control the stream using the filters on the left. To hide posts from friends in this stream, click the “x” in the upper right-hand corner of a post. “

All good. FB does keep getting better as it grows. The privacy concerns seem to be getting sorted too. Facebook continues to keep one step ahead of its competitors.

Scrabulous is no longer on Facebook

Aug 24, 2008 

Several months ago we reported how two individuals had built a Scrabble application for Facebook, and then were under pressure from the board game manufacturers to remove it. It appeared that they won their case, and that Scrabulous would stay. But unannounced a couple of days ago, Scrabulous vanished from Facebook. There are a lot of upset people, as thousands of people had been playing scrabble with friends on Facebook using Scrabulous.

Announcement from the Scrabulous Team:

Sometime on 22nd August, Facebook took the unfortunate decision to restrict
most users from accessing Scrabulous. This was in response to Mattel sending
them a “take down notice” on 14th August.

Mattel itself had approached the Indian Courts in February 2008, seeking an
order for taking down Scrabulous from Facebook and other servers. The
Hon’ble High Court has reserved judgment in this matter after hearing both
parties. It surprises us that Mattel chose to direct Facebook to take down
Scrabulous without waiting for the Hon’ble High Court’s decision. Mattel’s
action speaks volumes about their business practices and respect for the
judiciary.

It is even more astonishing that Facebook, which claims to be a fair and
neutral party, took this step even though they were fully aware of the
circumstances under which the Mattel letter was sent to them.

Here are some comments from the “Save Scrabulous” Facebook Group:

I can’t believe I cannot play Scrabulous with my friends overseas anymore. I have the board game here at home! BUT I cannot play that with people in and around the world. I love this game!!!! It was a way to connect with people with similar interests. Have our humankind become so lawsuit orientated that we cannot just join in good clean fun? WOW. I am so dissapointed! This was one way of engaging in something that could build our world. Willa Deysel

The only thing that keeps me sane in study breaks, how petty to confiscate it from everyone, boo hoo, this was one of the main things I visited facebook for…and I was halfway through a kickass game (sorry Craigy!) Amber Seccombe

I can’t believe it’s gone. What harm has it done by allowing it on facebook?? If anything it is a good thing because it unites so many different people!!!Kelly Jarman

unbelievable! scrabulous should somehow be brought back to facebook.Loved to play it with people from all over the world. Tasneem Iqbal Jafferjee

I can’t believe it, Scrabulous was my favourite Facebook application, a game that you could play with people that you wouldn’t be able to play the real board game with because of distance. Do they think this will make us run out and buy it? If so they need to get a life. Cheryle Houghton

Scrabulous was replaced by Scrabble, and I still play it today. Scrabble on Facebook is a great game and the platform is good, although you are forced to watch an advert for 30 seconds each time you open the board!

Scrabble Fans on Facebook Fight for Their Right to Play!

Jan 17, 2008

Facebook, the world’s fastest growing web community, is under pressure from Mattel and Hasbro to close the Scrabulous game down. Scrabulous is a game “application” on Facebook, which allows friends to play scrabble with each other online, within the Facebook social pages. Facebook encourages its users to write interesting applications. Scrabulous currently has 603,014 daily active users on Facebook.

Scrabulous was developed by Rajat Agarwalla and Jayant Agarwalla from India, and has proved to be an extremely popular online game on Facebook, competing with other games such as Pirates, Jetman and Battleships. However, the makers of the original board game, Scrabble, are trying to get the Scrabulous game closed, due to infringement of copyright.

However, on January 11, 2008, Mattel and Hasbro sent a cease and desist letter to Facebook to get the application removed.

A group called Save Scrabulous was started on Facebook a few days ago to petition against closure, and already has over 13,000 members. Many Scrabulous fans are calling for a collaboration between Scrabulous and Mattell and Hasbro, rather than a closure.

Will Scrabulous be saved? Will Mattel and Hasbro work together with Scrabulous? This situation should be noted by other board game manufacturers. Move with the times and produce accessible electronic, online, versions of your games, or see other people reap the rewards. Mattel and Hasbro are probably kicking themselves for not thinking of building Facebook versions of all their games in the first place.

Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein, creators of Facebook, start a new project

Facebook is possibly the most successfull social website ever created. And the two people behind it have decided it is time to move on. Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein have announced that they are planning a new venture, similar to Facebook, but this time aimed at the professional market. It will possibly be more like ecademy.com but with more features, and more user applications, like we see with Facebook.

“Leaving Facebook makes me sad, but I feel I have to follow my passion on this,” Rosenstein said. “I can’t say enough about Facebook and the friends I’ve made here, and I am enormously excited for the company’s future success, a destiny I’m confident it will reach regardless of my participation.”

They are planning to leave Facebook within a month, to start building an “extensible enterprise productivity suite” and a “high-level open-source software development toolkit.” The new software will use the technology used to power Facebook, i.e. Facebook Connect, as a default option for identity and authentication, according to Rosenstein.

The decision to leave was not an easy one to make for the pair. Facebook has been a fantastic success, and to leave such a creation solely in the hands of others is hard for any dedicated software developer. “As our visions for how productivity software could work came into alignment, we thought about building it inside of Facebook,” he said. “It was an attractive option in many ways, and neither of us was eager to exit a company that was in such an exciting phase of its development.

Facebook Goes Public (Not IPO)

Sep 9, 2007

The Facebook Community are divided over the recent announcement by Facebook that user profiles will soon be indexed on search engines. Like Orkut, to search for individuals in Facebook you need to have an account; but soon you will be able search Google et al for people that you know, and if they have a profile in Facebook, this will appear in the SERPS (search engine results pages).

Many people will have no problem with this, and many people are already looking to exploit this by marketing their online businesses through Facebook, however there are many users of Facebook who would prefer prospective employers and school bullies to not be able to so easily find their personal information on the internet.

Although Facebook users can opt out of the public search listings, some people fear that many people will only become aware of this change after their details appear online. There are many casual Facebook users who only log on once a month or so to see if old school friends and work colleague have signed up, and these are the ones that may fall victim of the change.

For those in doubt, and who require some reassurance, then Facebook have explained that there is an opt out policy:

“if you do not want your public search listing to be visible to people searching from outside of Facebook, you can control that from the Search Privacy page. Please note that you will only appear in searches outside Facebook when your search settings are set to “Everyone”.”

This may be considered a move to make Facebook a more commercial platform, and open it up for increased advertising and targeted marketing. Although limited profiles will be visible online, those profiles may still contain enough information to allow spammers to target groups of individuals that use the previously “closed” social networking site.

  1 comment for “Facebook is offline – dead is a dodo – but only momentarily. Phew.

  1. Webologist
    September 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    In the news today, Facebook is not only making a profit but also likely to see a 70% growth in profits over the next year. Talk on the street is that Facebook may float on the stock market soon, which will be the first big tech IPO for some time.

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