Congressman Investigated for Spending Campaign Money on Steam Games

We all love a new game, but it does raise questions when the money you spend on is marked to be used for something else. Congressman Duncan Hunter is being investigated for just the same thing, having spent campaign money on Steam games.

According to the San Diego-tribunes report, using campaign money a credit card was used to purchase not one but $1302 games on Steam. The tribune noted that they were a personal expense and had to be paid back. The problem being is that the funds have yet to be repaid.

According to Hunter, his son is responsible for the initial purchase and then “several unauthorized charges resulted after the father tried to close access to the website”. The requests have led to Hunter trying to get the charges reversed, something that may test the steam refund policy, especially if the games were played for several hours since (an almost certainty).

The Federal Election Commission has released a letter on the subject, containing a list of purchases made. The purchases range from the 13th of October to the 16th of December, totaling 68 different charges to Steam. The charges range from $5 to $96.30, a little more than just a “one-off expense” and a little bigger than your average purchase.

With so many expenses the story of one charge and then several new ones doesn’t really hold up given the cost of the games. Given the range of purchases, I doubt he will have much luck getting refunds (especially if they’ve been played) so this will be an interesting case to follow.

RollerCoaster Tycoon World Coming to Steam Early Access

For years strategy games have fallen into one of two categories, with some games requiring you to defeat your enemies and conquer planets or countries while the others saw you trying to run businesses and people’s lives, balancing the books against the choices you had. Of the latter category, one of the biggest series was the RollerCoaster series. Don’t worry if you’ve missed it, because RollerCoaster Tycoon World will be coming sooner than you think.

Chief Executive Officer at Atari, Fred Chesnais, is hopeful of the new games potential, saying that “after careful consideration, the decision to go through the Steam Early Access program was made”, the reason provided was that it would give fans access to the game to those “dedicated fans that have followed us throughout the development process”.

It doesn’t just stop there, if you were a fan of the games then the new features could see you picking this one up as soon as it releases. New features will include the ability to place your rides at any angles, doing away with the grid placed system that restricted so many parks in the past. If you ever felt like the games were missing content then RollerCoaster Tycoon World will be perfect for you as the new game will feature support for community content, meaning that people will be able to custom create and share rides, stalls and more.

Excited yet? If so then make sure to check back on Steam on March 30th to pick up the game!

Amazon Patents Selfie-Pose Authentication Technology

Amazon is known for their increased use of technology. Keen to use drones in their delivery process and even leasing out a new set of jets in order to speed up their delivery processes, the company seems to be stopping at nothing to control the delivery market. The next step may be something a little closer to home though with the pay-by-selfie technique to introduce selfie-pose authentication.

The new patent filed by the company reveals a process in which shoppers would be able to forgo the use of their password to instead have them take a photo or video of themselves. The technology would use a similar system to the MasterCard selfie system which means that you would be prompted to perform an action, such as blink or pose in order to confirm that it isn’t just a photo being held up by someone else.

Can you see yourself buying a product and then paying by blinking at the camera on your phone? While it stops you from having to remember your password or getting your phone and laptop from saving them, am I the only one who suddenly see people in public winking at their phone every five minutes in order to purchase that new DVD you’ve wanted to see for so long?

Pirates of Stardew Valley Getting Given Copies From Players

Typically when a game comes out there are two kinds of people who end up playing the game. Firstly you have the people who purchase the game, looking to enjoy the game in all its glory. You then have the people who will illegally download the game, looking to enjoy the fun without supporting the games creators and losing out on a little cash for the experience. Players have come up with an ingenious way to solve this problem though, with pirates of Stardew Valley getting given copies from other players.

Stardew Valley is currently one of the most played games on Steam, with people looking all over to enjoy the experience, some without paying the £10.99 the game costs on Steam. The response from the community in support of this game is unique, with a member of a Reddit forum looking to pay back the creator by forwarding a few copies of the game on to people who couldn’t afford to buy it.

The original post reads:

So today’s payday and I’ve got a bit of cash leftover after paying my bills. I’d like to use it to pay /u/ConcernedApe back for the awesome game he/se’s made and his/her absolutly stellar involvement with the community.

If any of you folks can’t play because you’re out of cash, let me play it forward for ya 🙂

P.S. That being said, I’m not exactly made of money. I probably won’t be able to buy everyone in the thread a copy of the game. So, sorry in advance if I miss you. Maybe another generous member of the community could spread the love?

EDIT: Forgot to mention, you don’t need to post your Steam name or anything. I’m sending Humble Store gift links because the Humble Store takes a smaller cut of the sticker price than Steam or GOG. That means more of my money will be going directly to ConcernedApe. The Humble Store doesn’t give you a DRM-free copy, but it DOES provide a Steam key.

This quickly became a thing, with people requesting a free copy of the game, followed by people looking to give out copies as well, with more and more people looking to both share the game and support its creator.

I don’t think this is a one off either, other threads have already appeared offering the same deal and I wouldn’t be surprised if big hit successes get threads like this more and more often in the future.

Steam Bundles will be Discounted If you Own a Game In the Bundle

It’s that time again, Sales time! We all know the most important sales for an owner of a PC is when the Steam sale comes around. You load up the page, and suddenly the money just seems to fade away from you as game after game comes along. You notice a bundle, your favourite game series has released a bundle with DLC’s and add-ons galore, but its still going to cost you a pretty large amount even though you own the main bulk of the bundle. This is all set to change though with Steam bundles losing price if you own something in the bundle.

The scale of the discount you’ll receive will changed based on several things including the price of what you own and how many of the items in the bundle you own, this means that you will only be paying the difference between your collection and the bundle. This doesn’t mean that all bundles will work like this, with older bundles (titled Must Purchase Together by Valve) will still exist for things like deluxe editions of games and those with soundtracks included in specific purchases.

Currently the system is only in place for a few bundles, and with an unclear future of when it could be rolled out to every bundle in their library, we just hope it’s done before the next Steam sale.

New Characters Revealed For Super Smash Bros

The Super Smash Bros series is a fighting game made by Nintendo with a mix of their own characters and since the Wii version, characters from other game series. It would seem that Nintendo are keen to keep the sales going, and at Nintendo Direct, their own press event, they were keen to reveal the newest roster of characters for their game.

The initial roster was boosted by the likes of Roy, a character who has previously appeared within the series, Mewtwo and even Ryu from the street fighter series. The latest characters to be introduced to the series include Cloud Strife, the protagonist from the Final Fantasy series. Famous for his giant broad sword and lion emblem, Cloud won’t be joining the series alone.

Cloud will be joined by both Corrin, an armour clad warrior with a flaming serrated blade and a selection of dragon inspired moves and powers. Check out the video below if you want to see Corrin take on the “champions of smash”.

As if this wasn’t enough, Bayonetta is also joining the fight. With pistols strapped to her legs and the ability to summon demon’s limbs to smash her opponents off the screen,check out the video below to see just why you should avoid her in a fight.

FAA Give More Details About Registration Plans For Drones

Drones are advancing at a rapid rate, with companies and the public alike looking to use them for a variety of reasons. Sadly with all new technologies coming into the public domain, there are a few issues. Most recently there was an incident when a drone crashed into a power line in Hollywood, cutting off power to almost 700 people. This has only added more fuel to the fire for people who want to get all drones registered, an idea which was received with skepticism and dread. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has now started to clarify some details regarding their plans.

Companies have already popped up stating that they would help users register their drones with the FAA, making that one less task to worry about when you purchase your new piece of tech. The FAA has responded by announcing that users won’t need to work with a company to register as the task will be simple. They state in the post that users should wait till later in the month when more details will be announced before they part with even more of their hard-earned money.

With drones being augmented and adjusted by the general public, do you think it’s a good idea to register the devices? If so, how easy would you want it to be before it becomes unnecessary work?

UK Customers Can Now Get 20% Off Any eBay Item From 4PM Today

As Christmas season approaches, it’s vital to find the best deals on technology, video games and other essential presents before the chaotic rush begins. Shopping online around the holiday period is usually stress-free and allows you to purchase items at a significant discount. For one day only, eBay is launching a promotion for UK buyers and offering 20% off any item over £20. However, on more expensive items, the highest discount offered is £50. This is still an excellent promotion though as eBay has a wide range of products from leading companies.

To access the promotional code, all you have to do is ‘Like’ eBay’s Facebook page, then apply the discount during checkout. Please note, purchases apply to any item via bidding or Buy-It-Now listings and you have to pay using PayPal. If you’re not overly fond of Facebook, then the code should be displayed on this thread. In terms of technology, the discount allows you to purchase CPU coolers, RAM and GPUs at a price which could be below the retailer cost value. Remember that eBay is taking the loss on 20% and not the retailer. In theory, the deal means it’s relatively easy to pick up an Xbox One around the £200 mark, or high-end items like the Swiftech H220-X for approximately £130.

Whatever your specific needs are, this promotion could be the best chance to pick up technology at rock-bottom prices. As always, check the user’s feedback and I would recommend you purchase items from leading sellers like Scan, ShopTo and others!

Gift Cards At Discounts? Maybe Not For Star Citizen

Star Citizen is a game we’ve reported on many times. The game started as an idea and took to the crowdfunding platform to support its big dreams of being a Space Fighter, First Person Shooter and Role Playing game all while allowing thousands of players to interact with one another. It can claim the title, and will be able to for a while I suspect, the title of most crowd funded game in history, with a total of $89,612,253 raised so far. This is set to continue to rise as players join the game through early entry bundles and purchase their ships ready for the big release in the future. One player has spent over $22,000 on the game, raising the question about how much are you willing to pay for those early bonuses to your games?

With the release of their latest ship (pictured above), the Endeavour is designed as a modular research vessel. From a research station to a portal hospital the Endeavour is set to be the first of a series of ships that can be customised and designed based on the user’s preference. Coming in at $420 though, some people may not feel comfortable shelling that out for an in-game item. So why not try to save some money by buying those gift cards that people can always get you for a tiny discount?

Sadly this isn’t the case of Star Citizen who are charging more than their value for the digital gift cards. The prices are listed below:

$10 gift card – $12
$25 gift card – $30
$50 gift card – $60
$100 gift card – $120

This works out at you only getting 80% of what you pay sent in the gift card, meaning that $420 Endeavour will set your friend back $504 in gift cards.

I am personally not a huge of buy before play DLC and being able to play Star Citizen (even in its incomplete form) means you can see the benefits of what you buy, but when you are spending hundreds of pounds, dollars or euros on something or want to gift your friend with something, gift cards are normally a good way to find a discount in exchange for the hassle of handling them.

Do you play Star Citizen? Have you brought a ship using real money? Are you as confused as to why the gift cards cost more than they are worth as we are?

Thank you PCGamesN for the information and the image.

Share Amazon Prime With Family Not Friends With New “Feature”

Amazon Prime already gives you one day free delivery, and also gives you access to everything from their movie streaming service, which will soon include a new show by Clarkson, Hammond and May, as well as one hour delivery in Manhatten, Dallas, Balitmore, Miami and now even London. One of the biggest benefits though was that for the yearly cost of £79, you could share the benefits with friends. This has now changed with the introduction to Amazon household.

Introduced on the 1st August 2015, Amazon Household lets you share the benefits of prime with upto six members. These members are limited though, firstly you may have only two adults connected to the Prime registration. The adults may have their own accounts, but the four children that can be connected to the account do not need an account to be registered as part of the “household”.

It should be noted though that in order to share and enjoy the benefits of Prime both adult account holders “need to authorise each other to use payment cards associated with their Amazon accounts for purchases at Amazon”. This means that when creating an account with your partner, they will have full access to your card details, as if they were on your account and also anything regarding those payment options. Furthermore the description goes on to state:

“..each adult will be able to copy the payment cards of the other account to his or her Amazon account and use them for purchases at Amazon.”

This means that when you share your account with your spouse or partner, they will have access to not only use your account but also to copy over your card details. The change in the system means that sharing it with your co-worker may not be the best course of action, and there may even be partnerships or relationships where avoiding this deal may be the best course of action. Sadly any future sharing will use this new system, but if you were sharing a prime account with someone before August 1st you can still use the old system, for now at least.

What do you think about Amazon Household? Is it a step forward or does it just open up problems for users and Amazon alike?

Enigma Machine Sells For $232,000

Famous for being used by the Germans in World War 2 the device was used to send and receive encrypted messages, and with their destruction being commonplace in order to prevent enemies from getting their hands on one, they are thought to be extremely rare. This, coupled with their famous presence during the war and the technical brilliance of the encryption used by the devices for the time have meant that they are exceptionally rare to find and even rarer to be able to acquire.

Originally estimated to sell at Sotheby’s in London for between 50 and 70 thousand, an unnamed buyer purchased the device for a grand total of £149,000. Almost three times its lower initial estimate, and over twice the upper estimate, a price that is small compared to the impact the device has had on the world.

The enigma machine is famous for being cracked by Alan Turing and the others at Bletchley park after the creation of the Colossus, a machine considered to be one of the first implementations of modern computer design.

Thank you NBC News for the information.

Image courtesy of the BBC.

Here’s How to Get $200 off Your Newly Bought Samsung Galaxy Note 4

It’s been a while since Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 4. Even so, people do enjoy it and proof stands in the number of people owning such an Android device. Samsung did pay attention to this and is still interested in getting people to buy the Note 4 with a new rebate promotion in the US.

According to the rules, everyone who purchased a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 handset at full price from a retailer or carrier is eligible to get $200 back. In order to get your hands on the cash, Samsung needs your contact information, the handset’s IMEI and the Wi-Fi MAC address, along with a photo of the receipt that has the purchase date clearly visible.

Once all the above have been submitted, it is said that it usually takes up to two working weeks to receive the money. One thing to take into account is that wireless carriers such as US Cellular or Sprint are not eligible. Also, the offer is only available between the 7th and 26th of July, so you have to hurry if you don’t want to miss this chance!

More information on the terms and conditions can be found here and you can start your rebate application here.

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of TheGadgetBook

Steam Is Now Able to Give You Refunds for Your Digital Purchases

I know you had at least one game that you didn’t like playing after you bought it or is just simply full of bugs and glitches. Valve surprisingly started to understand the frustrations and is now offering refunds for any Steam purchases. But you want to know the best part? Well, you can get a refund for almost any given reason!

Of course, this does not mean you will be able to abuse the system, but it does really seem like a nice way of not having any regrets for buying a crap game. You can now just ask for your money back. However, there are certain conditions, but they don’t seem too much from my point of view.

Valve said that you can receive refunds within 14 days of purchasing a game which you did not play for more than 2 hours. This of course makes sense since you can’t really say you haven’t enjoyed a game you played for 24 hours straight after you bought it. But this also does not mean you can ask for refunds over and over again.

Also, if you pre-ordered a game months before it gets a release, don’t worry. Valve said it will apply the 14 days and 2 hours game time conditions after the title is released, not from the moment you pre-ordered it. The company has more details about how its refund system works over here.

AOL Being Bought for $4.4 Billion by Verizon

Verizon is moving into the content and media business with its planned purchase of AOL. If regulators approve the $4.4 billion USD deal, Verizon will join the likes of Comcast which is not only a telecommunications giant but also a major media conglomerate.

The acquisition would involve the entirety of AOL becoming a wholly owned subsidiary. Of course, the purchase includes the old dial-up internet service with 2 million customers that AOL is famous for. This will net Verizon about $168 million in revenue a year. Other noteworthy mentioned include The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, MAKERS, AOL.com and AOL’s advertising network. AOL is expected to operate independently of Verizon at least in the short-term and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong will stay on.

One major hurdle being faced by Verizon and AOL is regulatory approval. On one hand, an approval has precedence. Comcast was able to move ahead with its acquisition of NBC after the previous Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman gave approval. However, the regulatory landscape has changed with new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler who recently implemented Net Neutrality rules which aim to prevent companies from using their monopoly to leverage advantages. What is likely to happen is that the FCC will grant approval but with some rules that Verizon will have to follow regarding AOL.

While purchasing AOL’s dial-up service sort of makes sense, it will be interesting to see how Verizon will make use of their media and content acquisitions. Both consumers and the FCC will be sure to watch the acquisition carefully to guess if Verizon will abuse its new position as a media outlet.

Unhappy Gamers Start Petition Against Paid Content in Steam Workshop

Valve is doing a lot of restructuring in Steam at the moment. First there was the added limitation for people who haven’t spent any money on the service and yesterday they announced that it now was possible for modders to set their own price for their work and sell it in the Steam Workshop instead of just sharing their work as it was up until now.

But it looks like a lot of users aren’t happy with this new addition to Steam and a user named Cyand Wondel started a petition on change.org to stop it again. The petition was started about 12 hours ago and over 15 thousand have already signed the petition out of the 25 thousand petition goal.

The comments people give on why they are signing the petition all look very similar, a fear that this could ruin a great modding community on Steam:

“This has the potential of ruining the mod community, it has to be stopped.”

“This should have never happened in the first place Valve. I mean no 1 would pay for this, they are not DLC’s they are mods and they are supposed to be free.”

“Many of the mods currently being sold require the Skyrim Script Extender and that team of people won’t be seeing a single penny from this the way you have it set up. Also modding is a hobby, not a career. You will ruin the modding community by going about this in the fashion that you are”

In short, the fear is that this could ruin the modding community as it is, by turning it into a marketplace rather than just a forum for sharing your own creations with fellow gamers and get some feedback on items that you’ve put so much work into.

But it isn’t an entirely new scheme from Valve, just an extension. People have already been able to sell items for Valve’s own games and it is estimated that 1500 users have made a total of about $57 million in these games over the previous three years.

What’s your take on Valve’s newest initiative, do you think it’s a good or bad thing?

O2 Sold to Three for over £10 Billion

The deal has been finalised and the British operation of Telefónica, O2, has been sold to Three. The people behind Three, Hutchison Whampoa have signed the final deal and O2 is being sold for £10.25 billion (€14 billion).

The sales price is divided into £9.25 billion in cash and another £1 billion “once the cumulative cash flow of the combined company in the UK has reached an agreed threshold”.

The next step will most likely be the removal of the O2 brand as the two companies get merged and Three will get a lot more customers and infrastructure at their disposal. While it removes one competitor from the market, it strengthens another. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the long run.

Thanks to Coolsmartphone for providing us with this information

Best Buy Gift Cards Offer 10% Saving in Google Play Store

Large-scale retail chain Best buy are offering up discounted gift cards, seeing a 10% saving through selected company offerings. This means that you’ll pay only $45 for a $50 gift card – meaning that the regular app-purchaser in your family, or yourself, will be able to reap the future benefits of cheaper purchases.

This voucher is valid for all Google Play services, including things such as: Apps, music, movies, books or magazines. If you’re looking for a smaller purchase, the $10 gift card isn’t on offer, however you can pick up a $25 of $50 iteration for the 10% off sale.

We’ve been told that these purchases cannot include anything physical – meaning hardware. Only software/application services can be purchased with these cards – for those who were looking to purchase a Nexus or smartphone via this 10% discount will be left bitterly disappointed.

If you’re wanting to take advantage of this sale, you can do so via their online portal.

Image courtesy of Retail Solutions Online

Is Your Sony Charging Cable Genuine?

Recently, a charging cable has been released catered toward Sony products. The Chikou charging cable was originally thought of my most to be an official Sony product, brandishing a very similar design to their architecture and color schemes as we’ve seen Sony produce for years. Later on, Sony Taiwan released a statement to IT Home claiming that it was not an officially branded product.

Confusion was still wide-spread as Japanese branches of Sony were claiming through online portals that the Chikou charging cable was a Sony Mobile Authorized product and the production line quality was closely monitored by their servicing staff.

The cable was released with some impressive features, well as impressive as you can get for a cable. Featuring fire retardant materials and a magnetic connection to the phone to hold it in place, this cable can actually only be used with Sony products. It’s designed to clamp only to Sony products bodies, being measured and designed in this fashion.

We’re unable to come to a final answer as to if this is an official Sony product or not, but it heeds as a warning to those looking to buy any ‘official’ product. With so many knock-0ff and dodgy brands around these days, it’s hard to know if what you’re getting is actually genuine, or a cheap replica – or if there’s a third party company producing items (like in this case), is it actually approved by your products company?

If you’re looking for the always-safe option, go ahead and purchase directly only from your smartphone companies website. But, as with all ‘officially licensed’ products – expect to be paying a 200% premium.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

Google Search Updated for Phones and Tablets

Google search on phones and tablets has received some major updates to its shopping feature.

Searches for products can now deliver 360 degree images and much more detailed information, along with handy customer reviews.

By tapping on a an image of a product, Google search will now bring up a Street View-style view of the item (if the seller has posted such an image) that allows you to see it in all its glory.

Reviews now come with helpful charts that allow you to get a good idea of whether something is worth buying, as well as access to customer feedback and tips.

Source: VentureBeat

Companies Interested in Aquiring AVG Technology

According to ‘informed sources’, a number of private equity firms have been inquiring about an acquisition of AVG Technologies as of recent. Apparently the talks are in early informal stages, but there’s a possibility we will be seeing AVG change hands some time in the near future.

Founded in 1991 and listed in 2012, AVG employs approximately 1,000 staff worldwide and are most commonly known for their AVG-Free anti-virus service. As according to their statistics, over 187,000,000 users currently have their services installed on their computers and mobile phones.

Why the sudden spike in interest? AVG’s share price has risen more than 12% recently, seeing AVG pull a third quarter revenue of $92.3 million USD and therefore bumping their company value up to $940 million USD. Although they’re currently showing a 7.8% year-on-year decline – we’re not going to see them go any time soon.

What anti-virus program do you use, and do you use a ‘premium’ service or stick with the freebies? We’re interested to see your answers below in the comment section, or on our Facebook page. Personally I’ve been using AVG-Free for quite some time across many different operating systems and it’s always seemingly done a good job. Here’s hoping that an acquisition doesn’t hinder their performance in years to come.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

Facebook Will Buy WhatsApp For $16 Billion In Cash and Shares

Recent news point to Facebook engaging into an agreement to purchase the popular mobile messaging app, WhatsApp, for $16 billion in cash and stocks. The Verge states that a SEC document filed recently confirms the purchase agreement.

The same plan of action was filed with the pruchase of Instagram as well, that being the ability of WhatsApp operating as an independent messaging application and not integrated into Facebook’s Messenger, stating that the purchase will accelerate Facebook’s aim to bring socializing and connectivity all around the world.

“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable.” said Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. “WhatsApp will complement our existing chat and messaging services to provide new tools for our community.” he added.

Statistics report showing around 450 million people accessing the WhatsApp application each month, having 70 percent of the total amount of users active each day. The changes will also bring WhatsApp’s CEO Jan Koum to Facebook’s board of directors. Koum also assured users that the deal will not affect the app’s usability by adding advertising principles, as “there would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product”.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

Study Shows 20% Of All Transactions Were Generated By Mobile Purchases

It appears that payments made with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets rose 55 percent over last year, reaching a total of 19.5 percent of all transactions processed worldwide in December by Amsterdam’s Adyen.

The most used devices that generated the reported numbers were, of course, Apple iPads and iPhones. The iPad accounted for 41 percent of mobile transactions during the busy September to December holiday shopping period, while the Apple iPhone took the second spot with 31.6 percent of mobile-payment transactions, having Android smartphones stand at 20 percent and Android tablets at just 6.6 percent. Microsoft Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices each accounted for less than 1 percent.

Adyen saw iPhone’s share drop from 68.5 percent in April 2013 to 60 percent in December, while Android devices rose from 30.7 percent to 38.6 percent. The shift is said to be due to the increasing numbers of Android devices, particularly those from Samsung.

This trend in payments made via smartphones and tablets will influence how merchants design payment pages, Adyen points out, adding it’s worth noting that tablets are the preferred mobile device among shoppers now for more high-transaction purchases.

Adyen processes over 250 payment methods, including Visa, MasterCard and American Express, and 187 currencies on six continents, for a total of about $14 billion in payments, and its customers include Groupon, Mango, KLM, CityJet, and Vodafone. The outfit’s analysis covered industries that include travel, retail, ticketing, gaming, and digital goods.

In retail, individuals are said to be spending more on average through payments made on tablets than PCs. Roelant Prins, chief commerce officer at Adyen, said it’s vital for merchants to keep up with the evolution of mobile devices and consumer behavior and use this knowledge strategically in their planning.

Thank you PC World for providing us with this information

Leaked Image of ‘Twitter Commerce’ Show ‘Buy’ Button Next To ‘Retweet’ and ‘Favourite’

Every Twitter account (for those who use one) is inevitably working as a waterfall, bringing you sponsored ads, breaking news and other tweets you may or may not want to see. However, leaked images from Twitter’s Commerce User Flow plans on adding a new feature to your already ‘busy’ stream.

Documents found on Fancy.com’s website propose a method of selling goods directly to Twitter followers by embedding miniature product pages directly in Tweets. The images, uncovered by Re/Code, show expandable, sponsored tweets that feature a sales blurb and product image underlined by a price tag and “Buy with Fancy” button. The mockup also demonstrates that purchases and package tracking could be handled completely within Twitter’s own app.

The images found by Fancy point to the project being named ‘Twitter Commerce’, but it’s unclear if the documents are merely a proposal to the microblogging service or something that’s actually in production. The setup is interesting, and it could be useful if treated right, however we need to know more about it before we can start judging. A Re/Code source, however, claims that Twitter is actively working with several companies to build a working commerce solution.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Endgadget

There May Still Be Hope For The Llama-based Audio Player Winamp

Following yesterday’s announcement, Winamp will be shutting down on December 20th. According to Techcrunch, AOL may be in talks with Microsoft to sell Winamp, along with Shoutcast, a media streaming service also developed by Nullsoft.

AOL refused to comment on this matter, and Microsoft did not confirm nor denied as no response was given back. Techcrunch reported that the deal is not yet finalized between the two companies just yet and they are still working out the price. It could also be very wishful thinking from those intent on trying to save both services. No insight of what is to become of Shoutcast was given yesterday.

If the rumors are true, it would represent an interesting, and strange, twist in the story. On the AOL side, it’s fairly clear why AOL is closing down Winamp and Shoutcast, and it makes sense why it would want to sell both. As an owner, AOL has never given much of a strong direction to the products, at a time when other digital music companies have been building up audiences and evolving technologies. It has already shuttered and sold off other music assets as part of a bigger strategic shift to focus resources as a web publisher, and as a rich-media advertising network operator across those and third-party sites, with an increasing focus on ad-tech to improve how those ads are delivered and measured.

From Microsoft’s point of view, the Windows giant has had its own setbacks in music, aka. Zune. However, Microsoft put a lot of effort into the Xbox Music basket, which works on the Xbox 360, Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8,iOS and Android devices, offering free, ad-supported streaming, subscriptions, and downloaded music.

We are not sure where Winamp or Shoutcast may fit here, but Shoutcast has a platform that acts as a portal to over 50,000 radio stations. This could be one area that Microsoft might want to add to the Xbox Music platform, and which it currently lacks, to complement its Pandora-style personal radio feature. Winamp might be a black hole at the moment, since nobody knows what Microsoft might have it plan for it.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Snapchat Owners Turns Down A $3B Offer From Facebook

Since its release just over two years ago, Snapchat has been going from strength to strength and more recently the simple photo messaging app which was developed by a group of university students at Stanford has seen upwards of 350 million images passing through its servers each day to well over 100 million users worldwide. Due to its huge success and popularity, Facebook have made a huge offer to the app’s CEO – Evan Spiegel of $3B, only to be turned down as the 23-year old owner deems the company to be worth much more.

This offer has astonished a number of people worldwide as it is excessively more than the $1B purchase that Facebook made earlier in the year when they acquired the similarly popular imaging application – Instagram.

It seems that Facebook are keen to get their hands on the application as their own attempts to produce a similar app known as Facebook Poke saw little attention in the field when compared to Snapchat. With Facebook so keen to get hold of the service, especially due to the high offer, we may see another bid being placed next year when the company has an evaluation remade – with a substantial growth expected.

Source: The Verge