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About Piczo

Piczo has created a space that gives teens around the world the freedom and tools to express themselves and connect with friends in a safer social networking environment.

Piczo allows its users to create fully customizable personal websites that do not require any understanding of html code. Users share their life stories with friends by designing their sites with multiple pages featuring photos, graphics, guest books, comment boards, music, and more. Each site can be linked to other friends' sites and users can interact with them and their friends, and meet new people online.

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The Wave!
Comic Relief

Comic Relief gets IT ready for donation deluge

Case study: How Red Nose Day's website copes with "peaky" traffic

Tags: web traffic, traffic, red nose, websites     

By Gemma Simpson

Published: Thursday 15 March 2007

Comic Relief has revamped its website and IT infrastructure to cope with its increasingly tech-savvy fundraisers.

Supporters are using the charity's website more often to donate and fundraisers are getting web 2.0 friendly - downloading photos and videos of their efforts - putting more pressure on its infrastructure.

Martin Gill, head of new media at Comic Relief, told silicon.com: "All those things - supporting what [the users are] doing, doing our own stuff or giving them applications where they can provide a bit of information about themselves and get tools to help them raise money - lead to additional burden on our platform."

The charity expects between 1.2 and 1.3 million donations to come in on the Red Nose night alone, with the lion's share being split between the charity's website and the 13,500 call centre operators employed to take donations.

The infrastructure can now deal with 20,000 transactions per second. The old system was only able to cope with 800 per second...

The infrastructure is also dealing with even more data as the charity's call centre moves to a computer-based system to register and check pledges.

The charity has opened up its back office with 10,000 operators using a computer system to input donations – and the other 3,500 sticking with the previous paper and pen-based system.

Gill said: "The challenge is transactions appear in a very peaky way between 19:00 and midnight [of Red Nose Day] so there's a huge volume of what potentially can be very dense traffic."

To help cope with such peaks - usually due to a surge of TV viewers reacting to a certain clip on BBC One's fundraising show - the infrastructure can now deal with 20,000 transactions per second. The old system was only able to cope with 800 per second.

The charity's two data centres have also streamlined the load-balancing and security of transactions, to speed up the process of supporters inputting their credit card details into the website or via call centre staff.

Gill said if things get sticky and slow down then donors start to get concerned about the security of their information.

He added this has the knock-on effect of call centre operators having to deal with worried donors - rather than taking money from other people.

The Red Nose Day website expects to have around two million registered users by the main day - 16 March, 2007 - with those users wanting to do more via the Comic Relief website, putting additional pressure on the charity's IT infrastructure.

Users can already create blogs and put photos on the site. Around 4,000 events and sponsorship pages were created on the site in its first month of opening (it launched on 1 February).

Comic Relief is planning to use social networking more in future fundraising events and has approached the likes of YouTube to start pushing punters to support the charity. It has already joined forces with teen-based site Piczo to encourage a younger audience to get involved

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College Students Consider Big Brands "Uncool"

Fashion, Lifestyle, Trends
Press release from: Bath Lush
College students listen to the news, and the news is: Big Brands are Uncool. The age group is characteristically rebellious, but as it becomes more aware of the "everywhereness" of big brands, it sees patronizing these businesses as decidedly un-chic.

Journalists and trendspotters such as Naomi Klien have been following the trend for some time, and have found clusters of youth around the country who purposefully avoid big brands. "In a lot of cases, I don't want to have a brand that everyone knows about," says Daniel McCoy, a senior at The University of Texas at Austin. "If you look around, you see everyone wearing the same thing from the same store -- nobody's different."

Even though Daniel is in the minority, more and more youth are beginning to follow suit. "Unbranded" clothing companies such as American Apparel are gaining popularity. The company is opening new stores at breakneck speed.

And the avoidance of big brands is happening with more than clothes. Companies such as Bathlush.com, whose inventory of women's bath products comes from small, boutique vendors, are also seeing an increase in popularity. Instead of carrying the big names in bath products, bathlush.com sells soaps, scrubs and perfumes only from obscure, unique outfits with names like "Calypso" and "Little Twig."

Brick-and-mortar retailers are becoming more open to buying products from small, understated brands, but the internet seems to be the storefront for these micro-brands.

Bath Lush
12445 Magnolia Blvd, Valley Village, CA 91607
(877) BAT-LUSH
Contact: Dominique Rose

Dominique R. Salamone started Bath Lush after designing her own stylish wrappings for bath products. Today, Bath Lush operates a retail store in Valley Village, California, and also sells its decorative wares on-line at www.bathlush.com.
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A Social Revolution! "What are YOU doing tonight?"

Fashion, Lifestyle, Trends
Press release from: College Tonight
PR Agency: Petronik Press
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(openPR) - Los Angeles, CA - A year of researching online protections and databases has yielded a privacy-protected, registered-users-only, online social network for college and graduate students alike. COLLEGE TONIGHT is a provocative moniker for a revolutionary change in the way young people network, and is poised to usher in the next generation of student-to-student messaging and socializing.

A recent Emory University graduate, a finance executive, a marketing specialist and a computer sciences expert have conceptualized a free, online network that actually promotes socializing, as opposed to a sedentary lifestyle that other social networking sites have lassoed users into. Illuminating the local nightlife that surrounds each school, COLLEGE TONIGHT centralizes on the phrase heard at universities around the world, "What are you doing tonight?" COLLEGE TONIGHT is the only nightlife networking site on the internet. In addition to bringing students the hottest information and special discounts, the site has various innovative features such as the Crush Calculator, Personal Entourage, a Hook-Ups feature, Your Shots, Social Polling, a Social Calendar, and even a Vacation feature.

The newly-launched COLLEGE TONIGHT website also includes a ground-breaking messaging system, shout-outs, individual profiles; a rumors section, developed groups, and even a never-before-seen Social Ticker, much like ESPN's "Bottom Line," that scrolls across the top of the site, updating you on your friends' social activities in real-time.

COLLEGE TONIGHT is private and safe. Only those registered with a proper .edu email address can access private profiles. COLLEGE TONIGHT'S user rules discourage engaging strangers, and others whose identities cannot be confirmed, from joining the site. Former FBI agent John Douglas - who helped modernize profiling for the organization, is the security advisor and has written a personalized message to the users in the site's security section. Every effort will be made to identify imposters and scammers. Furthermore, since COLLEGE TONIGHT does not share its users' information, it transcends all other forms of linking college students to one another.

For more information or interview opportunities, please contact:

Zachary R. Suchin at 404-433-5720 or 818-769-8400

E- mail: zsuchin@collegetonight.com

Faxes can be sent to 818-505-0110.

College Tonight
12747 Riverside Drive, Suite #208
Valley Village, CA 91607
Zachary R. Suchin

COLLEGE TONIGHT is the only nightlife networking site on the internet. COLLEGE TONIGHT is a provocative moniker for a revolutionary change in the way young people network.
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