Daily news wrap: March 4, 2010

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Some quick hits from the past few days that we didn't have the time or inclination to work up into full posts:

Zynga accused of funneling portion of in-game Haiti relief donations: The accusations come from Brazilian blog Folha, which accuses Zynga of keeping 50% of donated funds for itself without disclosing the fact to readers. Zynga strongly denies the claim and says it was upfront about how the donations would be distributed, both before and after the earthquake.

hi5 adds support for Facebook API: Basically, this means that developers can easily brings their games over from Facebook to hi5. On the one hand, this is a strong attack by hi5 on the market-leading social network, and may peel off a few big name developers. On the other hand, this is a pretty big admission of hi5's part that they need to peel off some of Facebook's developers and users if they want to survive.

Game makers should focus ad dollars on social media: So says a recent report from the Blitz Agency, which found that reviews from friends were twice as influential as reviews from experts in determining game purchases. Even though only a small percentage of the survey said social networks were an important factor in their purchase decisions, the study author said these networks "really present a good opportunity for game marketers to really enable those tools and platforms that allow gamers to become influencers."

New speakers announced for Virtual Currency Workshop: The Cha-Ching! Workshop at next week's Game Developers Conference will feature Digital Chocolate's Trip Hawkins, IMVU's Lee Clancy, Ohai's Susan Wu, and the Virtual Goods Summit's Charles Hudson. All will be talking about mercahndising, strategies, targeting global audiences, sustaining growth, and emerging trends in social and casual games, according to the press release.

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