Facebook Remorse: Posting Online Could Cost You Your Job

Like most people in the service industry from time to time, Charlotte waitress Ashley Johnson got a bad tip recently. After a couple took a three hour lunch—forcing her to stay an hour past the end of her shift—and left a $5 tip, she vented on Facebook. A couple days later, her boss called her in. They had her Facebook post and informed her that she’d violated company policies on not making disparaging remarks about customers or casting the restaurant in a negative light.

Johnson was fired.

Hulu Revamps; Asks Us to Target Ads to Ourselves

Last week, the popular professional video content site Hulu revamped its site and video player. While we’ve noted that Hulu appears to be struggling to support its content through ads alone, they may have hit on a way to net better ad rates: having users target themselves.

Before, users could us a thumbs up/thumbs down button on ads to indicate whether they liked them—but thenew system asks users to tell whether the ad is relevant—a very different question—with the “Ad Tailor”:

Additionally, sometimes Hulu will give you a survey instead of an ad:

Ad Tailor tries to improve ad relevance in another way. Occasionally, when you’re watching a video, we’ll also serve up a single or multi-question survey in place of an advertisement. Answer any single question and we’ll return you to your video immediately, and answer any multiple question survey and we’ll reward you with some ad-free viewing. Answering these questions is always optional, and any responses given will be kept confidential.

Google Actually Apologizes for Collecting Extra Personal Data

(Meanwhile, encrypted search is coming this week.)

Google recently realized they’d inadvertently been drive-by spying on WiFi networks. Part of the data collection was intentional: they meant to collect the SSID info and MAC addresses as they drove by in Street View cars—but they unintentionally went beyond that to collect whatever snippets of information were transmitted over non-passworded networks:

In that blog post [here], and in a technical note sent to data protection authorities the same day, we said that while Google did collect publicly broadcast SSID information (the WiFi network name) and MAC addresses (the unique number given to a device like a WiFi router) using Street View cars, we did not collect payload data (information sent over the network). But it’s now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) WiFi networks, even though we never used that data in any Google products.

Google Gives Up on Nexus Webstore

Google is giving up on one of the most revolutionary aspects of its attempt to corner the smartphone market: it’s shuttering its web storefront for selling its Nexus One phone. They’re not abandoning the phone or the attempt altogether—but apparently the demand for a phone absolutely free of contract limitations (and carrier subsidies, and, well, a service provider) wasn’t what they’d anticipated.

Initially, the plan was for several carriers to offer month-to-month subscription services, but only T-mobile followed through (Sprint and Verizon initially pledged to offer service, but never followed through). So now Google will work on getting their phone into more carriers’ stores. Once they’ve gotten a number of partners selling their phone, they’ll discontinue the storefront.

Schmidt: Situation “Stable” in China

Google’s already made big waves in the international arena this year by deciding to pull out of China after too many censorship demands and a cyber attack targeting human rights activitists’ email accounts. Although they’re now redirecting google.cn to google.co.hk, Google says that the situation “seems to be stable” now.

CEO Eric Schmidt spoke at the annual shareholder meeting this week. MarketWatch reports that Schmidt said their engineers and sales forces remain in place in China. However, Schmidt recognized that the status quo could always change: “should the Chinese government become upset with us,” they could always block access to the Hong Kong version of the site.

BusinessWeek reports that Google will continue to sell ads within China. However, overall, the move has hurt Google in China, it seems:

Does Social Media Success Only Come with Deals?

Patricio Robles of eConsultancy takes a look at the success of some recent social media campaigns—and the results aren’t exactly as inspiring as they might seem at first glance. For example, he looks at a recent JetBlue campaign on Facebook, where they saw a “massive” response (in ClickZ’s words).

But the biggest challenge facing that campaign wasn’t getting people to fork out the bucks for discount plane tickets—it was getting them to believe the $10 fares were for real.

Um, if all it’s going to cost is one click and a minute or two to figure out if you can really get a plane ticket for $10, is that exactly a high barrier to clicking? And then, once the $10 last-minute fares were real (in honor of JetBlue’s 10th anniversary), sheesh, why not buy a few?

YouTube Gets Unlisted (A Step in the Right Direction for Privacy!)

If you’ve ever tried to keep a YouTube video private for just you and your friends, you’ve probably run into some problems actually making the video accessible to those friends. (Or is it just me?) But YouTube is adding a new new feature to share a video with as many people as possible, while still keeping it private from the general viewing public on the most popular video site in the world: unlisted videos.

The new feature will keep unlisted videos from the general search results, but still allow anyone with a direct link to watch the video. (So it will still be completely possible for video sharing to get more than a little out of hand if people continue to pass a link along.)

Says YouTube: