PayPal is shutting down its Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Amazon apps

PayPal is thinning the number of mobile operating systems supported by the company’s flagship app down to just two: Android and iOS. The PayPal mobile apps for Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Amazon’s Fire OS will be discontinued as of June 30th.

It’s fairly common to see these decisions for Windows Phone and BlackBerry, but a little less regular to see a company of PayPal’s stature just up and abandon Amazon’s fork of Android, which runs on Kindle Fire tablets and the failed Fire Phone. PayPal doesn’t offer much of an explanation for the decision, but claims it’ll lead to better apps for the remaining platforms. “It was a difficult decision to no longer support the PayPal app on these mobile platforms,” said Joanna Lambert, PayPal’s VP of consumer product, in an announcement on the company’s blog. “But we believe it’s the right thing to ensure we are investing our resources in creating the very best experiences for our customers.”

PayPal is quick to point out that despite being left without a native app, affected users will still have full access to PayPal’s mobile website for account management and money transactions. There are other options, too; BlackBerry users can still send peer-to-peer payments with PayPal through BBM. And on the Windows side, users can enable the PayPal add-in to send payments right from the email app.

“We remain committed to partnering with mobile device providers, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our customers,” Lambert said. PayPal claims that putting a sharper focus on just the two apps will allow the company to “innovate and make enhancements to PayPal’s mobile experiences to give our customers the best possible ways to manage and move their money.”

Source: The Verge, Article by Chris Welch (

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Saving Money, Social Media-Style

To an amazing extent, social media has disrupted the way we do business in response to changing customer expectations. Offering buying incentives is no exception.

We’re still recovering from the recession, dealing with an economic reality of stagnant wages stretching back decades. For most of us, that means finding a budget that works and saving money wherever we can. Retailers have always used sales and incentives to bring people in the doors and get them to try products, and social media takes the concept to a new level.


For most people, buying a big pile of newspapers and going through them page-by-page to find coupons for the products you want are a thing of the past. Coupons are online ad easily accessible via searchable databases and mobile applications. But the real value lies in social interactions, and businesses are using savings to build audience, engagement and loyalty. Here are some clever ways companies and customers are using social media to save money–and time.

Social sharing FTW

Groups that once met in kitchens to trade coupons and discuss strategy are online now. Consumers can find huge groups of like-minded friends dedicated to serious savings on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest posting deals, receipt and purchase photos and tales of victorious shopping trips.

Some businesses savvy enough to harness the social sharing trend reward users for sharing coupon offers with friends. Tell-a-friend is a classic technique to grow audience and traffic.

Engagement perks

Credit-card companies were among the first brands to tie incentives to social media engagement. Discover Card and Capital One partnered with social game developer Zynga to reach CityVille, FarmVille and Pioneer Trail players.

American Express partnered with Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare to allow cardholders to sync their cards with social profiles and earn discounts and other perks through engagement such as likes, check-ins and hashtags.

Taking savings one step further

While saving an impressive amount of money with social media discounts and rebates, users can also boost their budgets by selling influence. Referral companies like Social Rebate and Referral Candy partner with vendors to add value to purchases. When shoppers place an order, they are given the opportunity to share their purchased items on social media in exchange for a discount or rebate. It works much like an affiliate program.

Why social incentives work

Influencer marketing may be a hot new buzzword in the marketing world, but it’s essentially the same word-of-mouth advertising retailers have depended on for centuries. An influencer is anyone friends and followers trust. In the ad-saturated marketplace, consumers are far more likely to trust recommendations, even from people they don’t know.

Social sharing and engagement incentives that help consumers save money are wildly popular. Satisfied customers are always happy to share good news, especially when they get a return on their social capital.

Source: Social Times, Article by Sherry Gray (

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Things you had no idea you could do in Snapchat

Snapchat isn’t just for sending disappearing photos. You can make video calls, pay back your friends, or read the news. It’s texting, FaceTiming, and a phone all tied up in one.

Here are 20 things you had no idea you could do in Snapchat:

1. Start by choosing how long you want your snaps to last. The max is 10 seconds, but you can set it even shorter. 

2. And just because you take a photo in the Snapchat app doesn’t mean it has to disappear forever. Tap the button to the right of the timer to save the picture to your camera before you send it.

3. Don’t feel confined to just the caption box. After typing your text, just hit the T button again and it will supersize it. If you pinch your fingers together or apart on the screen, you can make the text grow larger or smaller or rotate it. This also works with emojis — and you can add as many as you want.

4. You can also change the color of the text, but only if it’s super-size. Tap on the caption again and you’ll see the color bar come up on the top right.

5. There are also hidden colors for text and drawing on your pictures. If you’re on an iPhone, you’ll notice that white and black are absent from the color palette (Android users have them built in). You can get the white crayon by touching the palette and dragging your finger toward the top-left corner. To get black, touch the palette and drag your finger toward the bottom of the screen. As you drag your finger up or down, note the range of colors you can unlock, like pink, as you move toward white or black.

6. If you want to try out the crazy face-swapping feature, you have to use lenses. When you take a selfie, press and hold on your face until the Snapchat Lenses show up. They basically distort your face like a Photobooth filter on a Mac computer.

7. You can also be more creative with your videos by slowing them down, speeding them up, or reversing them.

8. In the My Story feature, you can see how many people have viewed your Snapchat stories from the past 24 hours. You can also see how many people have taken a screenshot of your stories. Check out who is watching the snaps you send to your story by the three gray dots to the right of it. The number next to the purple eye is how many people have already seen it.

9. You can delete a snap from your story after you post it — though it will disappear after 24 hours regardless. On the same page where you see who has viewed your snap, there’s a trash-can button to delete it or another save button to add it to your camera roll.

10. You can replay one Snap a day, but you can replay only the most recent Snap you looked at. To replay a snap, all you have to do is tap the Snap you want to replay. The person whose Snap you’re viewing will be told you replayed it.

11. Adding friends is as easy as scanning their snapcode. To find your snapcode, tap on the ghost icon at the top of the camera screen to bring up the yellow, dotted snapcode square. It’s basically your personal QR code that you can share with friends so they can easily add you. All they have to do is act as if they’re taking a picture of it in the Snapchat app and scan it.

12. Snapchat’s messaging screen also unlocks a ton of extra features. Swipe right on any friend’s name to start a conversation with him or her. If you type in an address while chatting with a friend, it shows up as a map so you can easily find your way to meet up.

13. You can also send cash if you’ve set up Snapcash. Simply type in dollar symbol ($) before an amount and you can send it via the app.

14. The text field also acts like a Google search for stickers. Type “work” or “no,” for example, and stickers matching the definition will appear. Holding the sticker button and dragging up on the screen also gives you a chance to see more of the stickers.

15. Photos don’t have to be in the moment. Tapping on the picture button in the chat window lets you access your camera roll so you can send photos through the app. 

You can edit the photos like a regular Snapchat, adding text, emojis, or whatever else you want to decorate. Unlike regular snaps, these can be saved in the chat conversation by swiping on it to the right. There’s also no timer on when they would disappear when you view them.

16. If standstill pictures don’t cut it, you can add what Snapchat calls “video notes.” By holding the camera button, you can record from your front-facing camera. The 10-second video ends up looking like a selfie GIF. If you don’t like what you recorded, keep holding onto the camera button and drag it onto an X. But be careful! If you let go while recording a video note, it sends it automatically.

17. If voice is more your thing — or if you want to send a clip of a concert to a friend — you can hold down the phone button to leave the equivalent of a voicemail. Like the video notes, if you let go, it will send instantly.

18. Snapchat also has video chat like the iPhone’s FaceTime. Tap the video button to make a video call to your friend. But be warned: The recipient will see you through the camera even without accepting the call. You’re live the second you make the call.

19. This lets you do one-way calls, so your friends can just watch or listen in on your call if they can’t respond. For example, say you’re in bed and your friend wants to show off his or her new place. You can watch the person’s video without having to show that you’re still in your pajamas. The same goes for audio calls.

20. You can tell that your friend is online and looking at your chat when the blue dot above the space bar flashes to a smiley. Even if there’s no blue dot, you can still call or chat, but the person might not be online right away to see it.

21. Swipe left and a message will say it saved. If you want it to disappear like everything else on the app, you can swipe again to unsave it. If you don’t save your messages, they will disappear when you close out of the window except for the most recent one you sent.

22. Save data by enabling Travel Mode.

23. You can also send news stories in Discover. By tapping and holding on a Discover story, it turns into a photo like a regular snap that you can send to friends. It’s not an article link, but it’s a new way people are sharing and swapping news stories.

Source: Business Insider, Article by Biz Carson (

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How publishers are preparing for the Instagram algorithm

Instagram’s new top-secret algorithm is soon to bring order to people’s news feeds based on engagement. The impending shift has publishers reconsidering how they post to the platform.

The photo-sharing app has said it would order photos in feeds based on “the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.”

While beloved publishers may have an advantage over consumer brands, the coming change means uncertainty for a platform that’s become an increasingly important engagement tool. Newswhip found that engagement on Instagram is frequently higher than it is on Facebook. Publications such as National Geographic, Vogue and New York have made a concerted effort to build big followings on the platform.

So while it may be too early for them to make wholesale shifts, publishers are preparing for the change by diversifying their Instagram accounts, focusing on how natural their content feels to their readership, and more closely monitoring their engagement numbers.

Publishers have been posting more to Instagram. From April 2015 to the end of this past February, the number of monthly Instagram posts per publisher rose 57 percent to 84, according to TrackMaven, which looked at posts across 48 top publishers. But in an algorithm-driven world, quality trumps quantity, if experience with Facebook is a guide.

Bleacher Report ranked second among publishers by Newswhip with 19.6 million engagements in March, behind only Nat Geo. One reason is probably because it had the highest number of posts, at 441, to Nat Geo’s 268. Rory Brown, president of Bleacher Report, said he’s not planning to dramatically reduce that, but will keep the bar high on quality.

It’s assumed that branded content also could take a hit on the new Instagram, as brands often lack a connection with readers. So for publishers that monetize Instagram this way, the bar will be higher for such posts.

Source: Digiday Article by Sarah Kaufman (

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