Helium launches Zones for professional writers

Writing community Helium announced a free way for professional writers to showcase their portfolios online and help them make the transition to digital publishing.

At the heart of offering is Helium Zones, an ultra easy micropublishing platform that gives writers the tools to present their best work to thousands of publishers and millions of readers. A rich web destination that combines the best of multiple social media applications, Helium Zones offer writers a cost-effective and efficient alternative to traditional websites or blogs.

Additional offerings available to professional writers on Helium include:

  • Access to Helium’s restricted Freelance Marketplace
  • Membership to Helium’s Certified Professional Writers Networking Group
  • Professional Writer Credentials & Status Badge
  • Guaranteed upfront payments for qualifying articles published on Helium.com

To be a part of Helium’s community of professional writers, an application is online at www.helium.com/zones.

ADTECH to provide ad serving solutions for Tremor Media

ADTECH will provide ad serving for Tremor Media, the leading online video advertising network, and provider of the Acudeo Video Monetization Platform.

ADTECH is an independently operated unit within AOL’s Platform-A digital advertising business.

ADTECH’s ad serving solution will facilitate the delivery of Tremor’s proprietary video formats across the Tremor network which reaches more than 135 million unique visitors – more than 70% of the U.S. Internet audience – across 1,400 publisher sites each month. This vast audience can also be segmented through Tremor Media’s behavioral, contextual, geographical and bandwidth targeting.

FriendlyFavor launches to enable users to efficiently help each other

Social media utility company FriendlyFavor, a social media utility company dedicated to providing consumers a more effective way than email of managing everyday favors and requests online, has launched its flagship site and platform. An all-purpose request tool developed to complement rapidly growing social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn, the FriendlyFavor platform enables Internet users to more efficiently leverage their trusted networks of friends, family, and colleagues for help with referrals, recommendations, advice and other favors or requests.

Whether asking for job referrals, recruiting friends to help move furniture, seeking personal recommendations on Web site developers, accountants or reliable babysitters, or requesting opinions on anything ranging from Hybrid vehicles to great places on the West Coast to hold family reunions, there are countless common favors and requests that develop in consumers’ lives every day. FriendlyFavor was engineered to eliminate the wasted time, hassle and confusion that can accompany sorting through cumbersome email strings by providing a one-stop site where users can easily manage everything associated with a favor or request, from the initial ask to a thank-you.

In addition to powering the www.friendlyfavor.com site, the FriendlyFavor platform is being optimized for use with Facebook Connect (enabling Facebook users to “connect” their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to offerings like FriendlyFavor), and other white-label uses, as its technology can be easily licensed and applied to corporate networking (and Intranet uses), online communities, alumni and non-profit groups, and numerous other applications.

In addition to enabling users to easily ask for, offer, and manage favors, the platform allows users to thank each other for fulfilling favors, through retail gifts, charitable contributions, and more.

The venture is funded by individual investors affiliated with many of the technology sector’s most successful companies, including Amazon.com, Microsoft, Google and others.

FT selects Bango for new mobile site

The Financial Times has launched a new version of FT.com optimized for mobile devices that uses Bango’s mobile analytics to provide a deep understanding of the traffic to the site and track responses to marketing initiatives.

In addition, the Financial Times is pioneering an advanced web experience for its growing mobile channel which consists predominantly of Blackberry and iPhone users. Using Bango’s Identifier technology, a user’s preferences are stored in their FT.com profile, so when they return they can quickly get to what interests them most.

Bango mobile analytics encompasses both site analysis and campaign marketing for mobile marketing and advertising. Bango customers rely on detailed metrics (unique visitor count, country, network, handset of each user) to help them make the best decisions about future mobile investments and get closer to their customers.

The National Archives, Footnote.com launch online African American History Collection

In celebration of Black History Month, Footnote.com is launching its African American Collection. Footnote.com has been working with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C., to digitize records that provide a view into the lives of African Americans that few have seen before.

Footnote.com has spent the last two years with NARA compiling this collection and is currently working on adding more records that will be released in the upcoming months. African American records currently on Footnote.com include:

Service Records for Colored Troops in the Civil War – Records for the 2nd-13th infantries including enlistment papers, casualty sheets, oaths of allegiance, proof of ownership and bills of sale.

American Colonization Society – Letters and reports relating to this colony established in 1817 for free people of color residing in the U.S.

Amistad Case – Handwritten records of this landmark case beginning in 1839 involving the Spanish schooner Amistad, used to transport illegal slaves.

Southern Claims Commission – Petitions for compensation resulting from the Civil War.

HealthCentral acquires Wellsphere creating largest online health and wellness community

HealthCentral, the website that collects online condition-specific consumer health and wellness experiences, has acquired Wellsphere, a health technology company, adding nearly four million monthly unique visitors to HealthCentral’s audience.

The acquisition combines HealthCentral’s high-quality, condition-specific interactive experiences, content and audience with Wellsphere’s aggregation of over 1,500 health and wellness bloggers and unique Health Knowledge Engine technology that deciphers highly specific health information. HealthCentral also will leverage Wellsphere’s health community enterprise technology which powers Stanford University’s BeWell@Stanford to deliver valuable health information and wellness tools for Stanford employees. The deal raises HealthCentral’s audience of its owned properties to ten million unique visitors per month, and makes the company the largest organic aggregation of online health and wellness communities.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

LivingSocial.com integrates with Facebook Connect and Hulu

Social discovery tool for reviewing, sharing and organizing favorite things LivingSocial is integrating with Facebook Connect and introducing new features that make it even easier for its 7 million users to discover and share real world interests.

The company also launched a new TV show category. Additional lifestyle categories will be introduced in the first quarter of 2009.

LivingSocial’s Facebook Connect integration lets users log into the site using just their Facebook email and password, and provides instant access to their friends’ favorite books, music, restaurants and more.

The LivingSocial.com homepage now features a scrolling activity feed with real-time updates of what the community is reading, listening to, watching, playing, eating, and drinking. Users can now also customize their profile modules, sort personal collections into “Top 10″ lists, and download lists as widgets for embedding into external blogs, social networking profiles, and websites.

Free online learning game on Math debuts

Math class will be different with the launch of Lure of the Labyrinth, an online pre-algebra middle school math game developed to reach the tech-savvy students in a contemporary new way.

Maryland Public Television (MPT), in collaboration with MIT’s Education Arcade and education media producer FableVision, have applied the latest research in game theory and cutting-edge design to produce a powerful, free learning tool to help all students learn regardless of their math ability.

Lure of the Labyrinth can be accessed free of charge at Thinkport.org, MPT’s K-12 education website.

Utilizing the immersive characteristics of digital games, Labyrinth blends a compelling storyline with multi-level puzzle play to build pre-algebra skills in several core areas: proportions – fractions and ratios; variables and equations; and numbers and operations.

An underground monster-inhabited world comes to life as students plunge into a shadowy factory on a compelling rescue mission. Taking on a monster persona (avatar) students disguise themselves as “insiders” to maneuver through math problems and ultimately rescue their missing pet.

Labyrinth can be played individually or in teams, and was created to give all students a chance to learn and succeed. An online communication device allows players to exchange ideas and game strategies and encourages collaborative game play while building 21st century skills.

Shopflick launches online video series “The Hall of Style with Davida Hall”

Online video e-commerce marketplace for emerging designers and unique finds Shopflick has launched its new signature online video series: “The Hall of Style with Davida Hall.”

Hosted by fashion expert Davida Hall, the show offers a fast and opinionated guide to finding, wearing and buying the best new products, designers and trends. Each episode highlights the “must have” finds worthy of induction into the “Hall of Style,” while helping viewers feel empowered, informed and entertained.

Hall, who is also Shopflick’s Editorial Director, scours the fashion landscape for great finds. Taking fashion from the runway to reality, she offers creative ways to get unique, fun looks without hefty price tags. The Show can be seen on Shopflick.com where visitors can “shop the show” and purchase all featured products with a click of a mouse.

“The Hall of Style” has already attracted a high-profile line-up of celebrity guests and experts, including Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian, fashion editor Caroline Ryder, entertainment reporter, Marcellas Reynolds, LA retail legends, Diane Merrick and Tracey Ross, Levi Strauss & Co. Marketing Director, Sheri Timmons, Gen Art National VP, Jen Egan and celebrity stylists Johnny Wujek (Katy Perry, Naomi Campbell) and Simone Harouche (Nicole Richie, Christina Aguilera).

In Episode 1, “Hot High Heels,” Hall and Shopflick Merchandising Director Courtney Lowe show how to find and wear stylish, sexy, high heels without breaking the bank. Future episodes explore a range on themes, including dressing green, the perfect accessory for any ensemble and how to find the everyday IT-bag.

Break Media forms Creative Lab for original content development

Break Media has formed an internal development and production organization named the “Creative Lab.” This new team, consisting of proven writers, directors and producers, will be dedicated to creating original content on behalf of branded advertisers as well as humorous content for Break Media’s growing audience base of men aged 18-34. The Creative Lab will immediately benefit from access to Break Media’s 60 million unique monthly visitors.

In conjunction with the formation of the lab, Break Media has named Jonathan Small Vice-President of Creative Lab and Editorial, and Tara Leone Vice-President, Production and Distribution.

Break Media also announced highlights of its record growth in 2008:

• Overall unique visitors to Break Media properties increased 274% from December 2007 to December 2008. (ComScore Media Metrix, December 2008)

• Currently the 14th largest domestic video provider as measured by unique viewers and videos viewed. (ComScore Video Metrix, December 2008)