Archive for the 'Events' Category

Sponsor Me

Dec 03, 2007 in 5 Stars, Events, Facebook, Money

Rating: ★★★★★

Raising the bar for Raising funds

Trying to raise some funds? It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to collect cash for a disaster relief fund, birthday present, community project, sponsored event, or to just line your pockets you still need a way to get the word out about your cause and a method for people to contribute. Sponsor Me, a remarkably well designed Facebook application by James Smith and Mat Clayton, is the perfect solution. The team of two claim to have written Sponsor Me in their free time and currently provide it as a free service. Now that’s charitable giving!

What garnered my attention at first with Sponsor Me was how well it was designed. The entire application seems well thought out and carefully implemented. The first thing you’ll notice with Sponsor Me is its friendly and informative landing page. Most applications force a redirect to their add application page for new visitors, but Sponsor Me provides a clean and informative landing page to help the user decide if the application is right for them or not and then provides a helpful link to their add application page.

Sponsor Me Landing Page

The design is clean and a model of usability. In the standard view there are three tabs that give you access to friends’ campaigns, past campaigns, and popular campaigns. This allows you to keep track of your own campaigns as well as those of any of your friends whose causes you may wish to contribute towards. The popular campaigns page shows the top sponsored campaigns currently running in Sponsor Me to help spread the word of greater causes. To have a campaign displayed on the popular campaigns page it must have a minimum of 10 sponsors.

If I was going to put Sponsor Me through a real test I needed a cause. Sure I could try to raise funds to cure cancer or shelter the orphans, but I had a greater calling. I set my mind on the noble cause of ending hunger, at least here in the office. I followed Sponsor Me’s simple two step process for creating a new campaign. You can enter a title, description, and set a number of options including an end date, currency, target amount to raise, and of course the PayPal account where the funds should be deposited.

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The next step was to seed my campaign to a bunch of friends who would hopefully support it, contribute towards it, pass it on to their friends, and so on. I would be fine dining in no time! Thanks to Sponsor Me’s integration into Facebook this part was going to be easy. I selected a few friends hopefully not as poor as me and pressed the send button. Raising funds has never been this easy!

Sponsor Me News Feed

Honestly I didn’t think my campaign would have any takers. I let it age over a few days to see what would happen. Much to my surprise, day by day there was one, then two, then three sponsors. The sponsors kept trickling in. No one had opened their checkbook yet but they were at least rallying around my call! It was almost enough to make me shed a tear or two — almost.

The Result

Well to say the least, Sponsor Me hasn’t helped put any food in my belly or those of my fellow bloggers but it has shown me a level of quality in a Facebook application that has yet to be challenged. I continue to monitor my campaign through Sponsor Me by logging in everyday to see it progress towards the target amount and who’s supporting it. Soon I hope it will cross the magic threshold of 10 supporters to get listed publicly. Then the world is my oyster! Or is it oysters for lunch?

If you have a charitable fund or just looking to raise some extra cash you should definitely considering adding Sponsor Me to your profile. It’s incredibly easy to use. You’ll have your campaign up in a few minutes. With the viral nature of Facebook it’s only a matter of time before a noble cause strikes a chord in the heart of Facebook’s 50 million plus members.

Sponsor Me Help Our Friend Celina Pay For Cancer Treatment

The first reader to create a campaign for a non-profit charity contribution who invites me will receive a small donation.

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the Bar|Book

Nov 28, 2007 in 4 Stars, Events, Facebook, Food and Drink

Rating: ★★★★☆

Social Networking before Social Networks

the Bar|Book About

Before there were social networks like Facebook, MySpace, and Friendster we had to network the old fashion way. You know the one I’m talking about, it’s the sole reason you have (or had) a liver. That’s right — it’s time to get our booze on. Now someone pour me another Dark and Stormy!

The Bar|Book for Facebook tries to bring back the good old days by getting us offline and back into the scene. Created by a team of four alcoholic developers, Erik Ober, Will Chu, Paul Kowssari, and Mike Weber, the Bar|Book helps you connect with other Facebook members who are self described regulars at your favorite local bars and clubs.

The Bar|Book has a clean interface that is simple to use and more refined than most Facebook apps. The first thing you do once you install the Bar|Book is set your location if it hasn’t already detected it for you. For me it immediately knew I was in Los Angeles, CA. Once your location is set you can begin browsing bars and clubs in your area. Each listing has a photo and description that you can click for more information or add it to your scenes.

Each scene lets you browse a list of regulars by photo, leave comments, and receive events. It is a great way to keep up with what is happening at your local favorite hot spot. There is also a central news feed that keeps you up to date on other things happening on the Bar|Book, including your friends and what’s hot.

The Result

the Bar|Book Drinks

If you’re heavy into the nightlife the Bar|Book is a great addition to Facebook. You can connect with the regulars from your favorite spots. They’ve recently added a new feature for friend spotting that allows you to keep a history of all the times and places you’ve run into your friends at local watering holes. Just for fun you can send friends virtual drinks, which is similar to some of the other Facebook apps like Booze Mail. The difference being that this is just a feature of the Bar|Book rather than the entire application.

A weakness of the Bar|Book is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to easily track your friends. It would be a lot more useful if they provided a tab with your Facebook friends so you can browse their favorite scenes and coordinate your bar hopping. It is probably less useful for those who don’t live in major metropolitan areas though as the ratio of regulars to population is fairly low. Luckily for me there were already over 3,000 in Los Angeles, and 4,000 in Hollywood at of the time of this review.

Overall I think the Bar|Book is a great application for Facebook because it helps people with a common interest connect both online and offline. That should be the ultimate goal of any social application, to facilitate and enhance human connections.

the Bar|Book Scenes

Installed, see you at The Father’s Office in Santa Monica!

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Be Santa

Nov 27, 2007 in 4 Stars, Events, Facebook, Just For Fun

Rating: ★★★★☆

Winning is the Reason for the Season

‘Tis the season for seasonal apps. This past week we’ve seen a slew of new holiday related apps rushing into our Facebook News Feeds faster than you can lick the stripes off a candy cane. All the religious and political debris aside though — who doesn’t love Santa Claus? That’s why this next app got our attention.

Be Santa Logo

The only thing better than getting gifts from Santa Claus is being Santa Claus! Be Santa from the recently founded Dank Apps team gives you just that opportunity. Be Santa lets you play Santa by sending both real and virtual gifts to your Facebook friends with a surprise twist. On Christmas Day of this year random virtual gifts will be selected to be turned into real gifts! Dank Apps is promising to give away $2,500 in virtual-to-real gifts this holiday. Now wouldn’t that make you the joy of all your friends?

All you have to do to send your friends these potentially real gifts is to log in to Be Santa once a day and send gifts or write “letters to Santa” to your friends. You can do each of these up to 20 times a day. For each gift or letter sent you will earn one entry into the virtual-to-real gift giveaway.

When you send a real or virtual gift you enter the name of the product you’d like to send into a simple search box that pops up results from a list of online shopping sites such as Select the item you were looking for and then send your gift request. You can also choose from a handful of pretty colored gift boxes. I sent my friend Jamie a Sony Blu-Ray Disc Player in a purple gift box since she’s a Sony snob and obsessed with the color purple. If she or I have any sort of luck, she might actually get that Sony Blu-Ray Disc Player this Christmas courtesy of Be Santa!

Be Santa Gift

If you or your friends find out you’ve won this Christmas morning though you won’t be the only ones celebrating. Dank Apps should be partying in style this year with the rampant success of their previous app The Lotto and the recent $250,000 in funding they received from Bay Partners as part of the AppFactory program. Let’s just hope they save some of that money and use it to remove the pop-ups being served through the ads on Be Santa which is my only real complaint so far. Thankfully Firefox minimized the annoyance for me.

Be Santa Received Gift

The Result

Gifts hand picked, carefully wrapped, and sent! Gleefully awaiting Christmas morning. Keeping it installed, at least until Christmas, when I find out I didn’t win!

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Nov 26, 2007 in 2 Stars, Events, Facebook

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Hangouts by Yelp, is kind of like the eVite of what I’m doing tonight. It’s not for event planning, just for letting your friends know where they can find you, or perhaps where you may find them. You list all your favorite places and record where you’ll be. It’s currently restricted to the US. So far, I’m kind of liking the idea.


After signing in, it puts me in Los Angeles. That’s nice, since Local Picks dropped me off in Boston. I click the button, “Stayin’ Home.” and it posts the following to my profile:


Ok, so now I want to see what my friends are doing. I click on the Friends tabs… and wait a sec. There’s no friends tab. In fact, I can’t even figure out how to determine what my friends are doing without going to my friends profiles or perhaps reading my mini feed.


These aren’t my friends. I don’t know them. I do have a friend or two with the application installed. I’d rather get updated about their status than some random socialites.

Next, I click on one of the hangout spots, “the grove”. I like this place…


Again… no one I know.

Hangouts is not interesting to me. It’s only about meeting people who might like a place that I like, but doesn’t even clearly indicate if they’re going to be there or just like the hangout. It doesn’t make it easier for me to find out what my friends are up to. It seems that just about the only thing remotely useful it does, is to post a story to my mini feed about where I’ll be going, but for that, I’ll just use my Facebook status message.

Some of my minimum expectations for this sort of app:

  • I would expect to see a tab of my friends and where they are going.
  • I would expect to see a list of my friends favorite places.
  • I would expect to be able to invite my friends to go out tonight.
  • I would expect to see a history of where my friends have been lately.


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