Hundreds of Internet users stood outside for hours in the cold on Sunday morning, and they weren't waiting for a shipment of Nintendo Wiis. They were Anonymous, a group of online activists standing outside the New York City Church of Scientology to protest the organization's policies. The protest was one of many conducted across the world at major Scientology centers on that day.
This is what happens when Microsoft tries to take over not just a company but also a community: a number of Flickr users have launched a group opposing the attempted acquisition.
The Microsoft: Keep Your Evil Grubby Hands Off Our Flickr group has 1,804 members and counting. The photo-sharing site has no shortage of opinionated members, and who knows how many shares they'll be able to vote in a proxy fight, but it is an interesting development.
Tata Motors is billing its tiny, ultracheap Nano as the "people's car," but some people would just as soon not see it get built--at least under current conditions.
The Tata Nano made an outsized splash at its debut Thursday as the world's automotive press disseminated details and photos of the $2,500 car, which the giant company ($7.2 billion in revenue for its most recent fiscal year) said it designed to give Indian families an alternative to overcrowded scooters and to "set a new benchmark among small cars." The Nano is roughly half … Read more
Today on the Facebook Blog, Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for the mistakes Facebook made in rolling out Beacon, and announces that the company is "releasing a privacy control to turn off Beacon completely."
This is a clear victory for consumer backlash and protests. MoveOn.org spokesman Adam Green responds to today's development:
"Sites like Facebook are revolutionizing how we communicate with each other and organize around issues together in a 21st century democracy. The big question is: Will corporate advertisers get to write the rules of the Internet or will these new social networks protect our basic … Read more
The bad news about Facebook's Beacon program, user tracking, and privacy concerns just keeps piling up. Now Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are under fire from consumers, journalists, activist and advocacy groups, and even its own advertising partners.
Today's biggest revelation, reported by PC World, is that "Facebook has confirmed findings of a CA security researcher [Stefan Berteau] that the social-networking site's Beacon ad service is more intrusive and stealthy than previously acknowledged, an admission that contradicts statements made previously by Facebook executives and representatives," including email correspondence between Berteau and Facebook's privacy department, as well as statements made by Facebook vice president Chamath Palihapitiya to The New York Times.
Whether or not Facebook kills its much-derided Beacon program, the controversy surrounding intrusive marketing surveillance deserves to flourish.
You remember the old story about the frog placed in a pot of water that was slowly heated up, until it was cooked? When I read the about Facebook's reaction to the anti-Beacon protests, my first impression is that Facebook's concessions are essentially along the lines of, "OK, we turned up the heat a bit too much on this one, so we'll turn it back down a little bit--for now." Are marketers counting on the fact that we'll get used to the warm bath, then the hot tub, calibrating their fine-tuned ability to stop just short of the lobster pot?
CNN.com contributes a story, "Ad targeting improves as Web sites track consumer habits," which covers the Facebook issue among other case studies. Marketers are studying the sensitivity level of consumers to intrusive advertising and adjusting their programs accordingly. For example, CNN.com reports, "Most Web sites and marketers have been shunning the ultimate targeting--ads that greet you by name. Yahoo could easily do that using registration information, but 'I'm not sure people would like that or not,' said Richard Frankel, Yahoo's senior director of product marketing."
The CNN story continues:"Users' comfort with data profiling has indeed shifted over the years. Google faced criticism when it introduced an e-mail service that paired ads with the words inside private messages. Millions of people now use Gmail with scarcely a blink.
Users will eventually embrace the latest tactics, too--and by then, they'll complain about even deeper levels of intimacy yet to be invented, said Tracy Ryan, professor of advertising research at Virginia Commonwealth University
'You want to have enough targeting that a consumer notices the message and pays attention, but you don't want it to be so obvious that they are thinking (there) is targeting,' she said. 'That would be scary.'"… Read more
A protester with a banner advocating free and open-source software briefly upstaged Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates at a speech in China on Friday, according to The Associated Press.
As Gates was handing out prizes after his speech at Beijing University, the protester walked onstage, showed his banner, ran off and then was tackled by security personnel. No one was hurt, the AP said.
With software created under the free software or open-source software programming model, underlying source code can be seen, modified and redistributed. Microsoft typically favors the polar opposite, proprietary software whose source code remains a tightly guarded secret. … Read more