iPhone apps that will help you get through conference season. For the small business owner or entrepreneur, springtime often equates to conference season. From booking flights and accommodations, to finding out what's going on in the local area, there are plenty of apps that will ease your stress, Mashable reports. For the procrastinating businessperson, Priceline's Hotel Negotiator app is free, and will allow you to find last-minute hotel deals within a radius of your current location. Also free of cost, the Free Wi-Fi Finder app will use your location to find local spots that offer free Wi-Fi access, with the ability to filter results by types of location, such as cafes and hotels. Another great freebie app is beamME pro, which allows you to e-mail, text or tweet all of your contact information instantly - perfect for staying connected with fellow conference-goers, especially if you neglected to bring enough business cards.
Online ads that adjust to you. We've written before about the slightly creepy but cool trend in online advertising that is behavioral targeting, which allows websites to display ads to customers who, for instance, abandon their shopping carts. Now, Stephanie Clifford of the New York Times looks at something new: a start-up that allows companies to buy and customize online advertisements in a matter of milliseconds. The company, AppNexus, uses information collected about a given web user's purchasing and search history to make real-time decisions about which ads will perform best. Clifford reports that eBay is trying the system out, and that it's returning three times as much money as it costs. "Previously eBay had to buy a block of ads from a network or exchange, and when someone it recognized showed up, they could partially customize the ad," she writes. "Now, customers are offered one by one, and eBay--using AppNexus's automated system--only bids on the ones it thinks are worthwhile."
Did Mark Zuckerberg commit a felony? Last week, Business Insider broke the story (supported by more than a dozen sources) that early in Facebook's history, Mark Zuckerberg, then a 19-year-old Harvard student, used Facebook members's information to break into their private e-mail accounts, hack a competitor's site, and alter users profiles. Now, BI has interviewed privacy lawyers who say those actions from 2004 could be considered felonies under state and Federal law. It's a troubling development for a company that has access to the private data of some 400 million people.
How to advertise green products legally. It's no secret that making your product a little more green can also add some green to your profits. But it's important to make environmentally claims legally. The Federal Trade Commission has already gone after Kmart, Tender Corp., and Dyna-E international for making false claims of "biodegradability." There have also been class-action law suites against companies like S.C. Johnson & Son, which added its own "Greenlist" seal to its Windex products that misled consumers into believing that a third party had certified the product independently. The FTC has a guide for the use of environmental marketing claims. An updated version is expected later this year, but in the meantime smart marketers should follow these tips from Advertising Age to avoid dishonest labeling.
Foursquare grows by leaps and bounds. Foursquare, the location-based social network/game just celebrated it's first birthday and it has been experiencing wild growth for the occasion. The site surpassed its own record of 275,000 check-ins in a day. TechCrunch contextualizes this milestone, explaining that the company had 1.2 million check-ins in a week just a month ago and half as many a month before that. Both Foursquare and it's top competitor, Gowalla, are gearing up for SXSW and TechCrunch writes that "both are absolutely on fire right now and could go nuclear this weekend." So stop procrastinating and get your business on Foursquare.
Homes of the next big things. Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal and VentureSource teamed up to identify the top 50 venture-backed companies with the best chance to become "the next big thing"--a list that included HomeAway, Fusion-io, and Etsy. This morning, The Journal took a look at where these companies are located. Not surprisingly, just about half call Silicon Valley home. But New York City was well-represented, too.