Tag: MySpace

MySpace wins $6 million judgement against Scott Richter & Company

Blast from the past:

An arbitrator has ordered Media Breakaway and Chief Executive Scott Richter to pay the social-networking giant $4.8 million in damages and $1.2 million in legal fees, according to legal filings.

I won’t be digging into this like I would have in the Spamroll days, but I will admit I’m a bit dismayed if this was truly a case of Richter’s affiliates getting away from him. The reasoning: plenty of internet entrepreneurs push the envelope – it’s just that some glad hand while they are doing it, which results in tacit approval of actions, while others take the tack that it’s easier trying to ask for forgiveness later. Whether the latter was the case here I do not know – all I know for certain is that history has a way of following you around.  On that note, there’s more on Richter’s past dealings here.

(h/t to Techdirt)

Who’s got the spam: MySpace or Facebook?

And what about the app providers themselves

Kristen Nicole asked: “When Did Facebook Get More Spammy than MySpace?” It’s all the buzz since the BBC reported that a widget third-party application can be used to gather personal data on its users – Facebook security.

Why there is an expectation that social network abuse wouldn’t grow inline with network expansion itself I cannot answer. Maybe it’s the morass of privacy settings available to the user – kind of like a security blanket even if you don’t have the time or the inclination to work through them all. Could it be the consistent public relations byline coming out of the organizations themselves? Or maybe it’s the constant buzz from the blogosphere and media. Personally, I expected the spam.

Nonetheless, I’m first to point fingers at the buzz. Quick and dirty searches for the two kings, associated with the word “spam,” produced the following results:

Not really much of a winner here. While even my own search results show Facebook in the lead, 10 hits to 2 hits, those figures are statistically insignificant. As is, I believe, the concept of spammers doing measurable damage inside the networks.

What I’d be more concerned about is this…

Facebook (and I’m sure MySpace) has the resources to put the kibosh on these issues (and Facebook is already claiming they pay careful attention to potential problems, although some of effort is aligned with natural attrition). But what about the application providers themselves?

The prevalent business model for the apps seems to be new media targeted marketing (i.e. internet advertising) – the apps/providers are collecting data…right? How good is their security? And how long before malcreants start mugging them instead of chasing their tails inside the fortresses?

How is social network advertising performing?

Quick answers and not-so-quick speculation.

Barron’s: Google points out it isn’t doing so hot.

Alley Insider: Alas, the social network side of things is not up to par.

ZDNet: Not good, and Google is disappointed with the MySpace deal.

Techdirt: Cutting to the chase – it sucks.

And…Facebook isn’t looking like the grand saviour either.

Meanwhile…some folks are optimistic – Lookery is chasing the same kind of deals with social networks, while the GOOG says they’ve seen no impact from the economic downturn.

I’m on the fence. Click fraud is up, and the internet advertising king’s growth is slowing significantly – if they can’t make it all work, who’s going to? Microsoft may be buying Yahoo!, but Yahoo! has only ancillary properties representing social networking success while Microsoft seems to have significantly overpaid for what they have on the plate already.

I’m betting an upstart will hit the street with something truly unique in the way of monetization, and it will charge up this space the way the GOOG did with search. The incumbents should be looking over their shoulder frequently, as there are no barriers to exiting their networks.

Web 2.0 – Hype v. Innovation

There’s an interesting conversation that’s been taking place over the last twelve hours regarding recent innovations in the Web 2.0 space, or the lack thereof.

It started with John Heileman of New York Magazine taking a few swipes at the hype, which was quickly picked up after Fred Wilson made it clear some of the article got his goat. Steve Rubel followed up, and despite the fact that I’ve had a tough time following Mr. Rubel’s ramblings about Google Reader/Gmail as groundbreaking “research tools” yada yada, I have to give a general thumbs up to his prognosis – there is a lot of Kool-Aid hitting the gullet, and a dearth of “wow.” The few bright lights in the bunch are hardly world changing either – Twitter, for example, may be nifty, but as Richard McManus put it:

“Twitter, which Steve mentioned, is one – albeit it is still extremely niche and no mainstream people I know use it.”

My personal opinion: Twitter is a great platform, but Richard is spot on. I was skeptical at first, and then got an explanation. I embraced it, installing plugins for this blog, applets for my Blackberry, and Twitterific for the desktop. But Twitter is a social app, meaning you need your friends on it for it to be either fun or even remotely effective as a communications platform. Unfortunately, all my friends are those same mainstream kind of folks, and despite prodding some to join none saw any long-term value. Throw in the fact that I’m no groupie (meaning I quickly dumped my follow list as I personally knew none of the people I was following), and the rest is history.

Outrageous

This is classic hype: a article in VentureBeat this morning that exclaims in the most recent blown-out headline that Facebook may now be worth $100 billion (go look for it…I just couldnt bear to link). It was worth just $15 billion a few days ago, and only a billion a year ago. And nothing has changed for this enterprise other than the fact that they have many more users who either a) are too poor to turn advertising dollars spent into consumer purchases made or b) spend so much time on the internet that they are completely oblivious to any and all web advertising. That, or they’re like me…they have money to spend, but clean out their cookies with ever increasing frequency. The really sad part about this – nobody but the digeratti will ever even read it, and even if a major publication does pick up on it (like so many do nowadays), the general populous doesn’t care one iota. All it’s going to do is make them aware that they need to clean out their cookies more often!

I know why it was written – the author wanted some traffic – that traffic begets ad dollars. A ridiculous headline is a sure fire way to get there – write some complete bull about a system wholly dependent on advertising so you can get some advertising revenue yourself. Doesn’t seem like there is much value add to me.

I guess it’s fun for some, but…

I was bored with Facebook in about a day – to me it was AOL on steroids. I tired of Twitter in a few months – it’s useful but extremely distracting. MySpace…a bid childish. Meebo – neat, but isn’t “everywhere” IM access what phone-based apps are for? Tumblr – clean and simple, but so is a WordPress install. I could go on and on, but I don’t have much in the way of ads on this site.

How about showing me something that actually helps me get work done, makes me money, for goodness sakes…catches me more fish. Take some of these information technologies and point out how they apply to an industry sector I’m interested in – securities arbitrage, corporate-owned life insurance, distressed and/or hard-to-price assets, composites and extrusion, far-east import/export, or the promise of nuclear fusion reactors the size of air conditioning compressors. That would be innovation.

Gotta go…I’ve got a phone call (remember those?).

Changing the world: one app, one bubble, one ID, and one margin call at a time

Having 2,000 feed items stuffed in one’s reader when returning from even the shortest vacation has me thinking about how to put said reader on vacation as well.

  • MySpace and Facebook apps suck. That’s not what they really said, but The Silicon Alley Insider did point out how little they might really be worth. I’ve got no experience with MySpace apps, and my only brush with Facebook apps was getting some notification that a friend had installed one and I should do the same. My first impression – I’m getting spammed (and others share that feeling). I would never react to such a notice again, even if I was an active Facebook user. Hence, they are worthless to me too (or maybe I’m just worthless to marketers). Also of note: based on their numbers Facebook should be worth something in the neighborhood of $850 million.
  • The New York Times infers that things are getting overheated in Silicon Valley. I disagree – I think a lot more bets are being placed on a lot more companies, and I suspect those bets are generally a lot smaller than post-Bubble 1.0. There may be a lot of duplication of effort going on, but the best execution in each category is going to turn out a winner. The money is just trying to find each of those winners. Meanwhile, TechDirt had its take on the Dallas Cowboys backing out of a domain purchase, but I says its a simple matter of the rest of the world not paying much attention to the chaos.
  • Commodities traders are in short supply. As a general rule, the commodities business also retains far fewer numbers than its big sister on the securities end. I think the actual registered headcount via the CFTC is less than 200K, while the NASD numbers hover around 800K. Someone throw me a bone on those numbers (and if anyone needs a Series 3/30, drop me a line).
  • OpenID gets a victory in the fight against phishing, as well as some competition. I think the first part is great – now the challenge is getting anyone and everyone to embrace Information Cards. On the latter, I’m going to bet it’s a non-starter – too little, too late. Despite being widely embraced, even OpenID is having slow goings regarding consumption (both in systems and people). More power to SlashID if they can be more effective on that end, but I’m skeptical.
  • After consuming this, I dropped TechMeme from my reading list. I guess I can just read each of these every morning from here on out. That, by the way, is a joke.
  • Seems that debt problems extend beyond the government, those bought out, and even mortgagees. I thought much of the last year’s rally was purely cash-driven, but I guess I was wrong. Personally, I only use my margin account for short selling.

I think that covers last week.

Quick and dirty on Yahoo! Mash

Yahoo! MashI won’t call it slick, cool, rockin’, or use the phrase “best evah.” Yahoo! Mash is a work in progress, but do have to give the company credit for putting together a beta project that doesn’t actually require a lot of thought to use. I’ve fumbled around MySpace and Facebook, trying to read others’ reviews, tips, and hints, then trying to replicate them myself. Rare is the occasion where I actually get it right on the first attempt. Not so with Yahoo! Mash.

I received an invite last night around 10pm, and while I didn’t really need the distractions the thing was so easy to use that I’d created a page and pumped out a few invites of my own before 11. No gory details, but I liked…

  • The drag-n-drop-ability across the page. With the exception of the top block, you can moved anything around the content section as well as between it and the sidebar. Good job letting people put stuff where THEY want to put it.
  • Simple privacy. You can allow (or block) anyone’s visibility for your page, and Yahoo! has given you the opportunity to classify friends into a couple of categories for editing permissions. I can see the need to set a custom friends category, and a feature like that could prove even more useful if you could spawn a group page from the item.
  • Simple URL configuration. They’ve provided you an option to mark your page as mash.yahoo.com/YourName. Nice. Note: Facebook needed a third party app for this.
  • CSS editing. With the complexity of the design here, you know I wanted that! But, I saw it as a useful feature that is going to pull a lot of the “artists” from MySpace over. In addition, you can work off of your friends’ styles (although I doubt anyone in their right mind would copy mine).
  • Flickr plugin. Yahoo! would have been brain dead not to include this on day one. Now, they should hook it to the Yahoo! username instead of making you go grab your own Flickr RSS feed.
  • Last but not least – the invite system. It’s based on sending a pre-formed profile to friends who are not yet participating. Saves a lot of work for those who don’t need a lot of work, and I suspect that between that and the fact that everyone and their mother has a Yahoo! account, this thing is going to grow very fast.

Ok, so it’s a lame review, but that’s all I have time for. The Mash is beta, and invite only, but there is no need to gape at screenshots thinking it’s some ultra-exclusive club. You can pick up an invite from TechCrunch’s Invite Share or Mashable Invites (although I found the latter a bit easier to use). Or, skip that and comment below, leaving your email address (in the appropriate field only). When I approve the comment, you’ll know I sent you an invite. I’m limiting the number to 25 or so (+- as time permits).

This latest from Yahoo! has legs. The entrance of third-party developers to the game is going to make the large-venue social networking battle a lot of fun to watch.

UPDATE: Noted – Sean Aune thinks Yahoo! Mash is the “poor man’s Facebook. I’ll agree, to an extent, that the Yahoo! offering smells somewhat Facebooky. But it’s still cooking, and I wonder if that was the intended receipe (with a healthy sprinkling of ease of use).

UPDATE 2: “Friends” systems are always a pain with social networking systems. Mash opted for simple, which is great, but it could use a little tweaking. In particular, make it easier to change the category you put a friend in, and provide a default category setting for all “new friends.”

On MySpace Security: Kids 1, Parents 0

A professor from South Florida says MySpace is safer for kids than parents think.

A couple of thoughts:

Have a nice day.

UPDATE: Maybe kids are just more cynical than adults, and therefore less susceptible to social engineering.

UPDATE 2: Capitalizing on the safety craze anyway.

Phishers target MySpace

I wish I had a catchy headline like the one the Associated Press pushed: MySpace Users Big Targets for ID Thieves – unfortunately I don’t really consider stealing someone’s MySpace account a form of ID theft.

Unless MySpace users are posting their credit card and banking information, their SSN, or other such details on their MySpace page, this is more of a hassle than a threat, and one that MySpace could easily warn users about. Then again, users post just about everything else, so maybe I’m way off base here.

At least MySpace users have strong passwords – let’s hope they keep it that way when they have to repeatedly change them.

UPDATE: Slashdot notes that social networking users have already ruined their privacy. I concur.

Zango is on the right track – MySpace

The ubiquitous spyware purveyor is still at it, their product is available on MySpace. They will be blaming “rogue” affiliates any moment now.

Movies about party girls are just the hook, reeling in desperate male MySpace junkies. Still an external threat, and still a violation of MySpace terms of service. But with a site so big, whatever measures management is putting in place to stop such shenanigans is probably replaced by ten new ones, each and every time.

Nobody saw MySpace phishers coming

That was a joke, of course. Slashdot noted that a MySpace phishing exploit has been discovered. Netcraft found the pages, embedded on MySpace itself. No surprise.
(more…)