Welcome to the Engage Digital Wrap-Up for the week of January 8, 2011. The Wrap-Up is where Engage Digital spotlights stories that we didn’t get to cover individually, but still make for interesting reading about the business of user engagement.
- CoinWhale Kicks Off Combo Deals For Virtual Currency In Social Games: Start-up CoinWhale is using virtual currency to try and cross-promote more social games to players who are likely to pay. The company gets three developers who publish similarly-sized apps to work together on package deals that let a player buy equal amounts of virtual currency at discounted rates for all three games at once.
- eBay App Gets ‘Augmented Reality’ For Sunglasses: eBay has updated its iPhone fashion app with an augmented reality feature that lets iPhone 4 owners virtually try on pars of sunglasses. Mobile is becoming eBay’s fastest-growing source of revenue, with mobile sales in the US jumping 134% over the holiday 2010 shopping season to nearly $100 million. The augmented reality feature appears to be based on Total Immersion’s face-tracking technology for iPhone 4.
- FlipTrack/Moblyng Raising $10.9 Million For HTML5 Games For Mobile Devices: According to an SEC filing, Moblyng (formerly FlipTrack) has raised $7.9 million of an upcoming $10.9 million round of funding.
- Foursquare Puts A Limit On The Number Of Friends You Can Have: Location-based social network Foursquare has put a hard cap on the number of outstanding friend requests and friends any single account may have, in order to crack down on marketers that were spamming friend requests so the brand’s tips would be more likely to appear when users checked-in to relevant locations. The hard cap numbers are not yet known and Foursquare says they may be adjusted in the future.
- Has Google Admitted Defeat In The Social Web Race?: Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says that Google is giving up on its ambitions of building its own social network, due to the difficulty of competing with Facebook. Munster calls for ad spend to begin shifting from Google to Facebook and more people begin using Facebook to find information from trusted sources like friends and brands. Munster also comments that Facebook has taken on a “cooler” corporate culture than the current Google, comparing the current Facebook atmosphere to Google five years ago.
- “Jersey Shore”-Themed Badge Hits Foursquare: Foursquare is partnering with MTV to offer users a Jersey Shore-themed badge called the “GTL” badge. To get it, users have to follow MTV and then check into a gym, tanning salon, and laundromat.
- Nintendo 3DS Also Does Augmented Reality, Will Launch With AR Title: Nintendo’s upcoming 3DS handheld gaming system is capable of displaying 3D augmented reality and will ship with at least one augmented reality game as a pack-in. The 3DS’s AR displays are triggered by pointing the 3DS’s internal cameras at special cards. The 3DS will cost around $300 when it launches in Japan, but a North American price tag is yet to be determined.
- TV Content Check-In App Miso Lands $1.5M From Google Ventures And Hearst: Miso, which applies the Foursquare model to making TV viewing more social, has closed a $1.5 million round of funding from Google Ventures and Hearst Interactive Media.
- Verizon Wireless To Unveil iPhone Tuesday: Verizon is holding a special press event this Tuesday that Reuters reports will announce that Verizon Wireless will begin carrying the iPhone. Pricing for the device will be announced at the event and the device will go on sale a few weeks later.
- Wild Needle Raises $2.5M For Mobile Social Games: Palo Alto-based mobile social gaming start-up Wild Needle has raised $2.5 million of a Series A round expected to close at $3 million.
- Wild Tangent Offers New Social Game Ad Integration Solution: Wild Tangent is offering a new social advertising solution called “Dynamic Custom Items” that let brands automatically insert branded virtual goods into social games.
- World Of Tanks Boasts One Million Users: Freemium action MMO World of Tanks now serves over one million registered users.
- Zynga Hires Fourth Ex-MySpace Exec: Former MySpace General Manager of Social Christina Wodtke has resigned her position and will start with Zynga in an undisclosed role sometime next week.
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