Vol 2, #4, Jan. 26, 2010
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January 26 , 2010


Website to teach teens about safe, respectful texting
Digitsongs for iPhone now available in Canada
Can I write it off? New H&R Block site has answers
Sequentia adds to growing digital communications team
blinkx names new VP, Online Marketing
Charity tax tools now coming online
Launch of Localist 2.0
Blast Applications brings us Twuition.com
United Sample rebrands as uSAmp with new site

Website to teach teens about safe, respectful texting

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) has launched textED.ca, an innovative and interactive website designed to teach teens to be safe, responsible and respectful users of texting technologies.

Concerns surrounding teens sending sexual messages, nude photos and videos via text messaging is on the rise, yet the vast majority of kids doing so are unaware of the short-term costs and the long-term ramifications associated with their actions.

"Adolescent behavior is less inhibited with the use of technology, so they tend to say and do things that they might not otherwise do in person," said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre. "The textED.ca site has been created to help educate youth about how to use technology respectfully and safely, and to know what to do when someone crosses the line."

From learning how to deal with textual harassers to helping teens deal with stress or a break-up, the textED.ca website incorporates games, quizzes, discussion pages, downloadables and other fun tools to help them navigate through the issues. Considering the substantial growth in texting among adolescents in recent years, the CWTA said the launch of this new website comes at a critical time.

"Wireless technology is a valuable tool to help keep today's busy families connected, and its popularity is growing at an incredible pace. However, while texting is a fun and fast way of communicating, it's important that users know how to do so safely and responsibly," said Bernard Lord, CWTA President and CEO. "We are pleased to be partnering with the Canadian Centre on this much-needed initiative that will go a long way towards increasing the safety of Canada's youth."

"While police often visit schools or community groups to teach kids about safety, it is resources like textED.ca, that if properly and widely used to educate children, will help police officers focus their time being protectors more often than educators," said Kingston police Detective, Stephanie Morgan. "Our local text-luring case is proof positive that there is an education gap that needs to be addressed, and we applaud the Canadian Centre and the CWTA for filling that gap."

The initial launch of textED.ca includes the piloting of the site in 100 Grade 7 classrooms across the country. Teachers will use a series of safety lessons and the website to help guide their students through respectful conduct when texting, and to teach them life skills that will allow them to fully benefit from what is now a very public, technological world. Teachers are encouraged to visit www.textED.ca to access lesson plans and for details on an exciting class project contest.

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Digitsongs for iPhone now available in Canada

J-Dov Media announced their brand new app, DigitSongs™ for the iPhone is now available for iPhone users in Canada. Users can now create songs in a variety of musical genres including Hip Hop, Rock, Pop and more, simply using their telephone numbers. In addition to creating personal ringtones, users can create ringtones for every phone number in their contact list. Since each phone number is different, every song is unique, personalizing the experience. Unlimited sampling and downloads allows users to preview different phone numbers as DigitSongs and save them as ringtones. The app is becoming increasingly popular and has already been mentioned as one of Entertainment Weekly Tech Picks of the Week.
"Each digit corresponds to a musical note in a scale," says DigitSongs co-founder, Dov Rosenblatt. "Each DigitSongs ringtone is unique. Only your digits can make your song." 
"This is about as personal as it gets," adds co-founder Jacob Shallman.
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Can I write it off? New H&R Block site has the answers

Is the desk in your family room considered a home office? Are vitamins a medical expense? Which spouse should claim the Home Renovation Tax Credit to get the most tax benefit?

It is almost tax time and Canadian taxpayers will have questions. Now they can ask their questions online and receive an answer from experienced H&R Block tax professionals year round. Dedicated to helping Canadians with their taxes for more than 40 years, H&R Block Canada has launched www.hrbtaxtalk.ca to provide Canadians access to easy-to-understand tax information and answers from a trusted source.

Powered by members of the newly established Tax Advisory at H&R Block Canada, Tax Talk allows taxpayers to get answers to questions from H&R Block tax professionals who have an average of 18 years of tax experience. Popular questions and answers will be posted on the site for others to reference.

"When we have created opportunities for Canadians to get answers to their tax questions, we are always pleasantly surprised by the number of people who take advantage of it," says Cleo Hamel from The Tax Advisory at H&R Block. "Tax Talk offers access to the Tax Advisory so you know your question is being answered by a very experienced tax professional."

The Tax Advisory at H&R Block Canada is comprised of a select group of senior tax professionals from across Canada combining their tax expertise and knowledge to provide tax information in plain language.

wwwhrbtaxtalk.ca also features a blog with contributions from select Tax Advisory members as well as a resources section which includes a Tax Checklist to help taxpayers gather all the slips and receipts they need for filing their taxes.

"This site allows us one more avenue for people to access H&R Block's tax expertise," says Hamel. "People can still walk into any of our offices and get answers to their tax questions for free. Now they also have the option of connecting with us online."

The microsite was designed and developed by digital marketing agency Dashboard (www.dashboard.ca) in Toronto. The site will be supported by digital advertising banners created by Dashboard and Due North Communications as well as the hrblock.ca homepage.

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Sequentia adds to growing digital communications team

Sequentia Environics is pleased to welcome the addition of Peter Flaschner, Andrew Wahl, and Heather Morrison to the firm’s Toronto office, while announcing the promotion Christine Manning to vice president, client services.

“Sequentia Environics is scaling for growth as we respond to evolving client needs in areas surrounding online best practices, rich content creation, lead generation strategies, and marketing measurement,” said Jen Evans, founder and chief strategist, Sequentia Environics. “Christine’s contributions have helped pave the way for a busy 2010 and she’s our pick to lead the client service group.  And Andrew, Peter, and Heather each introduce unique skillsets that have me bullish on our future.”

Peter Flaschner (@flashlight) joins Sequentia Environics in the dual-role of creative director and community practice lead.  His responsibilities will include business development and supervision of visual content.  Previously, Peter was the founder and creative director of social media design firm The Blog Studio. He is also a recognized author and sought-after speaker.

In his new role as content development manager, Andrew Wahl (@AndrewWahl) further strengthens the team’s writing capabilities working directly with clients on everything from web copy creation to rich content development.  Andrew brings his experience as an award-winning senior writer and columnist at Canadian Business magazine where he focused on covering technology and telecom industries, as well as developing editorial projects like the publication's annual All-Star Execs issue.

Heather Morrison (@hmorrison)joins Sequentia Environics as client services manager where she will supervise the daily operations and performances of client service teams.  Prior to her role at Sequentia, Heather worked at CNW Group, assisting clients in developing traditional and social media communications strategies.

Additionally, Christine Manning (@misscackles) has been promoted to vice president, client services where she will provide overall quality control and direction for the management of client relationships and programs.  Manning joined Sequentia in 2007 as Client Services Manager, and prior to this spent seven years with a full-service advertising, branding, and web solutions agency. Top of Page

blinkz names new VP, Online Marketing

blinkx, the world’s largest video search engine, today announced that Mathieu St Denis has been promoted to Vice President of Online Marketing and General Manager of its Montreal location. Prior to joining blinkx, St Denis led online marketing and advertising initiatives for companies including Zango and CDT.

“blinkx has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past year,” said Suranga Chandratillake, founder and CEO of blinkx. “Mathieu’s online marketing acumen – his combination of strategic insight and flawless execution will be essential as we look for more opportunities to generate and monetize our traffic on the web.”

Prior to blinkx, St Denis served as Director of Business Development at Zango where he oversaw user and content acquisition through its publisher network and direct to consumer advertising.  Before that, he was a Business Development Manager at CDT, where he helped build one of the biggest desktop advertising publishers in the world, leading to its acquisition by 180solutions. Top of Page

Charity tax tools now available online

The Charity Tax Tools website is currently being developed by Imagine Canada. When officially launched, Charity Tax Tools will provide Canadian charities with timely information and tools to ensure they have the resources to meet Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requirements.

Whether you're an executive director, board member volunteer or other employee of a charity, Charity Tax Tools is a FREE comprehensive information site with easy-to-understand content that explains and guides you through CRA's regulation of registered charities.

Some of the topics covered by this website include:

  • Can I issue a tax receipt for services?
  • What information is needed on a tax receipt?
  • Can my charity hold a political rally?
  • Can I operate a business in my charity?
  • How should I record the costs of all my different projects and activities?
  • What will CRA do if I am offside their rules?
  • What other legislative requirements should I know about?

Made possible by a financial contribution from the CRA. Charity Tax Tools is operated by Imagine Canada on behalf of the charitable sector.

The Charity Tax Tools site will be available to preview in beta mode shortly. Official launch of this site is scheduled for early 2010. Top of Page

Launch of Localist 2.0

Localist today announced the launch of the next iteration of its social calendaring platform, Localist 2.0. Based on a year of testing, customer feedback, and user interaction, the latest version focuses on streamlining the user experience while allowing customers to change the look, feel and functionality available to their users.

“Literally every aspect of the site has been rethought and improved upon,” said Mykel Nahorniak, co-founder and chief operating officer of Localist. “We want to encourage user interaction at every facet, while continuing to provide our partners with complete flexibility when it comes to branding the platform to keep the user experience consistent throughout their Web presence.”

Localist’s branding capabilities aren’t limited to just header and footer changes. Every aspect of the site can be altered, including the overall grid and, because of the modular nature of each feature of Localist, every piece of functionality can be turned on or off, depending on the customer’s requirements.

Additionally, Localist’s automated content retrieval system, dubbed COMB, has been vastly improved, providing customers with a robust library of event and venue content without the need for cost-prohibitive human intervention.

Localist plans to license the platform to educational institutions, tourism boards and media companies, but many other verticals are applicable, such as non-profits and trading companies.  Top of Page

Blast Applications bring us Twuition.com

Blast Applications Inc., a premier creator and developer of iPhone, Twitter and Facebook applications, has announced the official launch of Twuition.com. 

Twuition.com, a web-based application that responds automatically via Twitter, informs Tweeters of currency conversions (translations), weather reports, products pricing, local restaurants and even the national debt – all by typing in the specific hashtag like “#whatisthenationaldebt.” Along with the tweet, the tweet platform generates an advertisement for each response that is sponsored by businesses for branding and awareness via Twitter profile.

The site is an exciting development for us and our portfolio of web-based and iPhone applications says Dino Luzzi, CEO of BlastApplications.com.

“The usability of Twuition.com is a great addition and follows up our latest development of Tweact.com and Tweechange.com”

Find out the weather report, shop for the best prices of products, find restaurants of your choice or convert your money while shopping in another country all on your iPhone via Twitter and make our sponsors proud of our innovative way of communications. To sponsor Tweets from Twuition.com costs $9.99 and is a low-cost medium for companies to place ads that reach a targeted audience. Dino says, “Most advertisers are interested in reaching more prospects and especially new audiences.” Top of Page

United Sample rebrands as uSamp with new site

United Sample announced it has changed its name to uSamp (www.uSamp.com), and simultaneously launched a new website that features its cutting-edge technology platform for market research clients. The rebranding reflects the company’s commitment to innovative technology, quality online panels and customer service excellence.

“The Internet has made it easier than ever to assemble a group of people to take surveys, but that ease can be misleading if measures to ensure quality aren’t in place,” said Matt Dusig, co-founder and CEO of uSamp.  “We created this company for precisely that purpose.  We’re committed to quality and relevance, which means we harness the best technology to optimize every stage of the process – to recruit the right panelists and to route them to the right surveys, to ensure quality data and to maintain an engaged panel.”

“Our rebranding represents what we see as the future of online market research,” said Gregg Lavin, co-founder and president, uSamp.  “Our new name reflects our client-centric technology, coupled with the global sample we deliver for surveys.  Our new corporate website and client platform moves us closer to the future we envision by putting tools into the hands of market researchers, online publishers and the consumers themselves, to improve the process from every angle.”

Groundbreaking online panel technologies

uSamp’s innovative approach to technology has resulted in proprietary online solutions that automate the delivery of sample, or panelists, for online research surveys.

Panel Book Search, a new feature at the uSamp website, is an online tool that enables clients to search uSamp’s panel book and profiles in real time.  Results are tabled by questions-and-answers and include panel profiles, enabling market researchers and brand managers to find field-tested questions on nearly any subject.

PanelNet offers market researchers and brands the ability to create an online panel for their own use without the complication and investment of building a website and developing technology.  Each private label panel site can be fully customized to meet the exact specifications of any worldwide brand.

PanelShield is a web-based application for managing data quality across multiple panel sources to validate the quality and accuracy of online data, filtering out unwanted and duplicate respondents.  Available complimentary from uSamp and compatible with any survey software, PanelShield offers a simple interface for ease of use without requiring technical help.

Since its launch in March 2008, the company has built a global proprietary panel with registered participants from North America, South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa.  Top segments include automotive, B2B, entertainment, financial services, food & beverage, healthcare, information technology, telecommunications, travel and youth.

uSamp’s proprietary online panel has surpassed 1.2 million active, registered survey panelists, and continues to grow at a rapid rate, with 5,000 people registering to join the online panel every day.  The level of member activity remains high, with more than 50,000 visits daily to United Sample’s survey websites. Top of Page