Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

About 1 billion people use WhatsApp, a messaging solution owned by Facebook, and its official blog announced big brands will have to start paying to communicate with consumers on the platform. The good news is marketers can do so with upgraded features.

Mobile has reinvented the way travelers plan and book trips. This year, around 70 million Americans will book travel through their mobile devices, representing a spend of about $75 million. Those sales will grow to nearly $95 million in just two years.

Traditionally, the upper hand in advertising has always belonged to advertisers with big budgets. Publishers set prices for their inventory but, with the exception of a few high-end publishers, it was ultimately advertisers who set the demand, with publishers adjusting accordingly. Now mobile is turning the tables with programmatic advertising, which is the algorithmic, automated purchase and sale of ad space in real-time, using a bidding system.

Growth in Internet usage on the whole is slowing, technology investor and analyst Mary Meeker warned in her latest "Internet Trends" report, an annual exercise in looking at the state of the industry that she’s done since her days as an analyst at Morgan Stanley and has continued at Kleiner Perkins, the venture-capital firm where she's now a partner. While Meeker spent most of the report, which she published online and delivered at the Code Conference in Los Angeles Wednesday morning, looking at the Internet’s opportunities, the first line of the report should give people pause:

China. India. And now Facebook? The company said Thursday that it had a billion users worldwide who logged into Facebook at least once a month. The number is all the more remarkable considering that Facebook was created only seven years ago and has doubled its user base in the last two years alone. It took McDonald’s about 40 years to attract a billion customers. But what is the value of a billion? It is not the same for Facebook as it is for other companies. At McDonald’s, for example, those billion customers all paid for their burgers and fries.

A milestone for Twitter, according to the Paris-based analyst group Semiocast: The social network has now passed the half-billion account mark—specifically 517 million accounts as of July 1, 2012, with 141.8 million of those users in the U.S., still about half as many users as Facebook has but positioning it as the second-biggest social networking site. And just as most of Twitter’s users are coming from outside the U.S., so are the tweets: the top three cities in terms of tweets, it says, are Jakarta, Tokyo and London.

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