Study Shows Facebook Related Privacy Problems are on the Rise

An IRS officer learns that a taxpayer he’s investigating is a comedian who posts a video on a social network to promote previous and upcoming performances. . .

Sounds like the start of a “guy walks into a bar joke” but that line comes from the 2009 IRS agent training manual. It goes on to suggest that the agent use this knowledge to track down how much the comedian was paid or use his future dates to arrange delivery of a summons.

This is just one of the eye-openers you’ll find in the new Consumer Reports: State of the Net Report. Instead of simply surveying Facebook users, Consumer Reports interviewed developers, lawyers, security experts and non-profit groups that dig out all kinds of hidden information. What they found is that Facebook is become less and less secure. I’m sure you already knew that, but I’ll bet there are a few ideas here you’ve never thought about.

LinkedIn Launches Sponsored Discussion Board for Women

LinkedIn is one of those sites that I should use more than I do. It’s loaded with information relevant to folks in all sorts of businesses and it’s certainly the best place to network within an industry.

This past week, LinkedIn got my attention when they launched the Professional Women’s Network, Powered by Citi. That last part if very important and very obvious when you hit the landing page.

Citi is in the financial services business and they know that women make more than 80% of the financial decisions in a household. That’s why they also run a website called Women & Co. which features lifestyle articles and advice about everything even remotely money related. The main difference is that Women & Co. is very family oriented as opposed to the new LinkedIn group which is all about work.

Survey Says Social Customer Service is Popular but Messy

There’s nothing like the spirit of competition to make a company jump on a new bandwagon. This time around it’s social media as a customer service channel.

Today we’re looking at the results of a survey by two companies, thinkJar and Sword Ciboodle. First off, we must stop to appreciate how totally cool those names are. Doesn’t everyone want to work for a company named Sword Ciboodle? Amazing.

Okay, now that I’m done fawning, let’s get to the facts. The study is called We Are Social: The State of Social Customer Service and the main takeaway is that companies are diving into social customer service before they know how deep the pool is or if they even know how to swim.

American Icons Top BrandPower List

An icon is a symbol that evokes a visceral feeling when you see it. They’re well-known images that nearly everyone can relate to and generally they represent the very best a category has to offer.

All that may sound very grandiose when talking about advertising, but there are handful of brands that truly are American icons. You’ll find most of them at the top of CoreBrand’s 2011 PowerRanking Report.

To build the list, CoreBrands surveyed 10,000 consumers asking them to rank brand names based on familiarity, reputation, and favorability over other brands. The usual suspects landed on top without too much shuffling in the rankings over the past few years. Harley-Davidson jumped up after a decline but I don’t get why they’re listed in the Hotel & Entertainment industry.

New Theater Policy: Please Do Not Silence Your Cell Phone

Second-screen usage while watching TV is a growing trend. Thanks to smartphones and tablets, more people than ever are chatting with friends, playing games and syncing up for points while they watch their favorite shows. It’s great publicity for the series and it’s an excellent way to get viewers to engage with advertising content. So why not extend this idea to the movie theater?

Movie theater execs discussed this very topic at their recent industry convention in Las Vegas. According to the LA Times, the Chief Exec for Regal Entertainment suggested that allowing people to text during some movies could be good for business.

An exec from a Texas based chain replied, “Over my dead body.”

Google Gets Hit With Fine for Obstructing FCC Investigation

Google’s Street View is a very helpful tool when you’re driving to a place you’ve never visited before. But what are we willing to give up in return for the convenience? No one wants to pay in cash for the service, so how about you turn over your web history and email instead?

More than a year ago, the FCC began an investigation about the data collected by Google’s Street View teams. It was learned that in addition to photographing an area, the happy little cars also scooped up data from unprotected wireless networks.

Google has never denied the data collection, but they have had a variety of explanations. According to a report in the LA Times, Google first went with the theory that an “unauthorized engineer” put the plan in motion without permission from the company. The data was collected but no one did anything with it.

AMC’s The Pitch Makes Advertising Entertaining

If you’ve ever thought of advertising execs as naked, glistening, sword-wielding gladiators, then have I got a show for you.

AMC’s The Pitch is like Mad Men but without the cool clothes. each week, the series follows two real-life agencies as they meet, brainstorm, create and pitch their campaign concept hoping to win the big client.

In the first episode, which airs tonight, April 30, at 9, mid-size agency McKinny goes up against “envelope-pushing” WDCW on a campaign for Subway. The sandwich shop wants to convince millennials to buy their breakfast at Subway and that’s a tall order.

McKinny, smartly, brings in some young guns of their own and invites them to compete against each other. They come up with animated sandwiches and a rap music video.