Cup of Joe: Strategize With Pretty Pictures!

So the other day, I was talking to a client about a new project they want to begin in the next couple of months. From their mindset this project is going to be huge and may redefine their organization in the coming years. As part of this new project they want a sophisticated web presence. They read off a list of different social networks and services that they want their new site to engage. My first thought was Wow I am going to bill them out the ying yang for all this! But, then my conscience kicked in (yes, I have one), and I had to ask, “do you think all of this is necessary?” They were kind of surprised with my question and responded, “well yes, why wouldn’t it be?”. I then asked them, “well. what are your goals with each service?” They didn’t really say much after that.

Free Cash: Find a Bug in Google Chrome

Everybody wants free money, right? Well, here’s one way to get it: find a bug in Google Chrome or Chromium, the open source code database behind the browser. Google is offering intrepid developers from $500 for pointing out “select interesting and original vulnerabilities.” The maximum award is $1337—no, seriously. You guys are just so freaking funny.

Of course, not just any bug will do—no need to spell check the GUI. The goal is to minimize security vulnerabilities in the browser, so only bugs along those lines will be eligible. They’re focusing on “high and critical impact” bugs, but “clever vulnerabilities” of any security level could be rewarded as well. To submit the bug, just use the usual Chromium bug tracker with the Security Bug template.

Microsoft’s Q4 Good, Bing’s Not So Much

Microsoft saw Windows 7 carry them to a strong fourth quarter last year—but its Online Services division (home of Bing) didn’t see a boost, according to the official reports. Microsoft emphasized Bing’s growth and the fact that their search advertising somewhat offset other losses, but the division still operated for a loss.

Microsoft reported $17.3B in revenue ($0.60/share), including a deferral of $1.7B on the Windows 7 release. They were expected to hit $17.9B ($0.59/share). For the quarter, the Online Services division saw $581M in revenue (down 5% YOY), and an operating loss of $466M (a 46% increase over last year).

42% of Americans Have Googled Themselves; None Have Gone Blind

A new study commissioned by Microsoft is about, of all things, googling yourself. I guess that if someone had used the phrase “binging yourself” there may be laws about that in many states but the irony of this is not lost on me. At any rate, the study shows that there aren’t as many people keeping an eye on what their personal online reputation looks like. Consider the people who are googling other people as a part of their job (ie. human resources types) this could be something that comes back to bite you.

Search Engine Land gives us some of the background

The numbers come from a December survey commissioned by Microsoft on the subject of online reputations. The survey polled about 2,500 consumers and recruiting personnel in the US, UK, Germany and France, and was just released to coincide with today’s International Data Privacy Day.

Tagged.com Now Fighting Spam, Instead of Sending It?

Is this a case of the pot calling the kettle black, or a heart-warming story of a bad guy that’s now fighting evil?

Social network Tagged.com has been the subject of many email spamming complaints in its life. Now the company has been awarded $210,975 in a default judgment against a spammer.

In a ruling issued earlier this week, a U.S. District Court Judge in the northern district of California found Vogeler guilty of sending messages to 6,079 Tagged users and assessed damages of $25 per violation for a total of $151,975. Court also ordered Vogeler to pay Tagged $50,000 in attorneys’ fees and to cease sending commercial emails through Tagged.com.

That money will go a long way towards covering the $750,000 in fines the company had to cough up in November of last year.

Business Analytics Gets Social at SAS

If you are aware of SAS, a company located in Cary, NC then you understand or have a need to understand business analytics. As the largest privately-held software company in the world, SAS often flies under the radar because what they do isn’t sexy. Instead, it is necessary.

Necessary business functions don’t get the same attention or play that the exciting new and ‘edgy’ companies get. SAS is OK with that though. If you’ve ever visited their campus and saw how they treated their employees, you may quickly value necessary over sexy. A result of this reverence for their employees, the company merited the top spot on Fortune’s Top 100 Best Companies to Work For list this year. Actually you can find the company somewhere on that list just about every year but this year it’s number 1.

Consumers May Not Hate Social Media Ads After All!

What do you know? Dynamic Logic’s 2009 Ad Reaction (PDF) survey shows that consumers may not hate social media ads after all. A series of surveys took a look at the popularity of social networking as well as ad reception across various media.

The December 2009 survey of 2000 US adults found that 59% were involved in social networking and another 16% were interested, but hadn’t tried it yet. (Email was tops with 95% actively participating and 2% interested.) The same survey asked for users’ attitudes toward advertising on various media. The top two positive responses (which I assume were along the lines of “excellent” and “good”) were reported—and social media ads were on-par with search ads:

  • Opt-in email: 32%
  • Online: 24%
  • Online search: 24%