FTC Issues ‘Warning’ to Internet Companies

Yesterday we looked at the SEC and its involvement in the world of social media. The impact of even the thought of raising a big ftc-logogovernment agency’s eyebrow in this environment is enough to send the most daring social media companies to the corner for a time out to think about what they are doing.

Yesterday, Reuters reported that another of the US government’s big boys, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), fired a warning shot across the bow of Internet companies regarding proper collection and use of data for advertising.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said that

Companies that track consumer behavior on the Web for targeted advertising without proper consent are near their “last chance” to self-regulate.

The Cluetrain Plus 10–Networked Markets in 2009

cluetrain“People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.”

Ten years ago the above statement made it to #11 on The Cluetrain Manifesto‘s list of 95 theses. Read the thesis again and then consider the “networked markets” that existed in 1999. There was no Facebook, no MySpace, no Digg, no Yelp, no TripAdvisor, and certainly no Twitter. Instead, customers were connecting with, and supporting, each other using newsgroups, forums, email newsletters, and–barely–blogs.

Why Yahoo Should Just Say No

As you can probably tell, I’ve always been kind of partial to Yahoo walking away from Microsoft’s overtures. I’ve seen what Microsoft has done so far online and despite the fact that their combined traffic might be the only entity that could keep Google from a total monopoly on the search market, I’m not convinced the alternative is much better for Yahoo. And now somebody else is there to back me up: Silicon Alley Insider.

The Insider’s Nicholas Carlson acknowledges that they’ve long said Yahoo should go for a Microsoft deal for three reasons:

  • Like Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, we believe that combining Yahoo’s bidders with Microsoft bidders for the same search keywords would drive up cost-per-click.

New Changes to AdWords Keyword Tool: Local Search vs Global Search Figures Added

By Peter Young

It seems Google is in a state of flux. Not a day goes by when there isn’t something new to play around with on some part of the Google playground. With many other channels seeing significant changes it hasn’t come as a surprise therefore that Google rolled out a number of improvements to the Keyword Tool interface. The previous options have been replaced with two columns, one for local search volume for the previous month and one for global search volume:

The newly added Local Search Volume column provides data “specific to your targeted country and language as well as your selection from the Match Type drop-down”, whilst the global monthly search volume provides “traffic in all countries and languages and is specific to your selection from the Match Type drop-down menu”.

Facebook in the News – Again

facebook-logoThe arms race between Facebook and Twitter or social media supremacy has its good and bad moments. The good is that all of this ‘one-upsmanship’ should eventually lead to better tools for social media users. The bad news is that we have to hear about every time someone at one of these two companies has a thought.

So today’s update comes from Facebook. According to the WSJ

Facebook Inc. is expected to announce significant plans to open up core parts of its sites — namely the information that appears in the stream of updates on users’ homepages and profiles — to third-party developers so that they can build new services on top of it, people familiar with the matter say.

Take the Trackur 60-Second Reputation Monitoring Challenge

There were two driving factors behind my launch of Trackur:

  1. Existing online reputation monitoring tools were too expensive.
  2. Most social media monitoring tools couldn’t be set-up without first studying for a PHD–or getting a 60 minute tutorial from someone with a PHD.

Over the past year or so, we’ve worked hard to add valuable new features to Trackur, but we’ve still maintained our core goals: keep it affordable and keep it simple.

To highlight just how fast and easy it is to set-up Trackur’s sophisticated social media monitoring, we’re announcing the 60-Second Reputation Monitoring Challenge.

We’re so confident that you can get Trackur up and running within 60-seconds, that we’re willing to guarantee it!

Want more details? Head over to the Trackur site or watch the video below:

Posts, Tweets and the Law

ebay.jpgToday the WSJ tells the tale of eBay and its foray into social media that began in April 2008 with a blog then quickly moved to the world of tweets and tweeple in Twitter. The author of much of the content, Richard Brewer-Hay, spent most of the past year pretty well ‘on his own’ with what he was writing in both vehicles then the corporate version of a buzzkill took place.

The growing Twitter audience also attracted the attention of eBay’s lawyers, who last month required Mr. Brewer-Hay to include regulatory disclaimers with certain posts. Some followers think the tougher oversight is squelching Mr. Brewer-Hay’s spontaneous, informal style.
Financial services and insurance companies have long been hampered by what they can and cannot say that would upset the folks at the SEC and for good reason. Considering the state of the financial industry maybe this didn’t even matter.