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Social media UK laws to be reviewed

October 12, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Cyber Security, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Clinic, smart phones, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology Companies, Twitter, Uncategorized

Social media laws in the UK are to be reviewed in the wake of recent prosecutions.Social media UK laws to be reviewedNew guidelines for policing social media are to be discussed to avoid a “chilling effect” on free speech, the most senior prosecutor in England and Wales has said.

Director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer QC said that the right to be offensive “has to be protected”- but that there had to be a balance.

His comments came in the wake of two prosecutions for offensive postings.

Matthew Wood was jailed on Monday for posting comments about missing girl April Jones. He was jailed for 12 weeks after he made several “abhorrent” postings about missing five-year-old April Jones on Facebook. Members of the public had reported his comments to the police who arrested the man for his own safety after 50 people went to his home.

The teenager’s 12-week prison sentence was followed by the prosecution of Azhar Ahmed, 20, who was given 240 hours community service after writing an offensive post about dead British soldier which posted that “all soldiers should die and go to hell” on Facebook. He said he did not think that the message was offensive.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will invite lawyers and academics, as well as representatives from social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter, to be part of the discussions.

The new measures are expected to be announced before Christmas.

A freedom of information request revealed that there were 2,347 investigations after complaints regarding posts on social media in 2010. This number rose to 2,490 in 2011 – about 50 different cases across the UK each week.

Mr Starmer said prosecutors were finding it difficult to work within the existing law.

“The emerging thinking is that it might be sensible to divide and separate cases where there’s a campaign of harassment, or cases where there’s a credible and general threat, and prosecute in those sorts of cases and put in another category communications which are, as it were, merely offensive or grossly offensive.”

Mr Starmer said the new guidelines would enable relevant authorities to use remedies other than criminal prosecution to address instances of offensive activity.

“The threshold for prosecution has to be high,” he added. “We live in a democracy, and if free speech is to be protected there has to be a high threshold. People have the right to be offensive, they have the right to be insulting, and that has to be protected.”

How to use LinkedIn for your business

November 01, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: bing, Customer Service, Dr Search, Google, internet, LinkedIn, Links Building, Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, search engines, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, Yahoo

LinkedIn now has over 120 million users worldwide, including six million in the UK. How to use LinkedIn for your businessTwo new members join every second and there are nearly one million groups on the site.

It is now the mainstream tool for professionals to network online – and that is why it can’t be ignored as a marketing tool.

An increasing number of businesses are promoting their brands through staff profiles and presence on LinkedIn.

However, making the most of the social media website is a science- as with all social media websites information and security are key issues.

Here are some hot tips on how you can market your business successfully through Linkedin:

  • Tell a compelling and authentic story about who you are, how you got to where you are, what you do and why you enjoy it. It is critical that a profile is “personally professional”. Individual profiles that only talk about the company or brand are a big turn off. Encourage your staff to take the same approach.
  • Join relevant discussion groups and get involved in them. This can be interesting and rewarding and helps to raise your company’s profile.
  • Make sure that your profile and all employees’ profiles link directly to your company page. An individual’s profile should also include information about your company, its products and offerings.
  • Ensure you have a comprehensive company page including detailed pages on all products and services.
  • Ask for and publish recommendations from satisfied customers for your products and services section on your company page.
  • Ensure staff have profiles that are 100 per cent complete. LinkedIn is not like Facebook – individuals are representing a company or brand in a professional capacity on LinkedIn. The more visible your staff are on this network, the greater the visibility of your brand. But this only works if your employees are actively using their LinkedIn account.
  • Encourage employees to use blogs, PowerPoint presentations and videos promoting your brand in their profiles and help them with the material.
  • Provide guidelines on how to effectively communicate, reminding staff that their activities are representing the company- and can be read my literally millions of people- including your competitors.
  • Provide all staff with copy to use to describe your company within their profiles. This ensures a consistent approach and helps avoid disclosing commercially sensitive information to competitors.
  • Start your own group to build a community where you can indirectly promote your brand.
  • Remember that search engine optimisation is important for every article, profle and group. LinkedIn allows open profiles which means that the search negine will alos pick up on your activities.

Facebook and Skype combine video opportunity

July 08, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Ecommerce, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Skype, Social Media, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, Video Marketing

Facebook and Skype have announced a partnership to add video chat to the social networking site.

Facebook and Skype combine video opportunityFacebook and Skype have teamed up before – they already share some instant messaging tools.

Skype is in the process of being bought by Microsoft- which is a major shareholder in Facebook.

The new video-call service was launched by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who also revealed that the site now had more than 750 million users.

However, he contradicted himself by saying that the total number of active users was no longer a useful measure of the site’s success.

Instead, the amount of sharing – of photographs, videos and web links – was a better indication of how people engaged with the site, explained Mr Zuckerberg.

Coming hard on the heels of Google+, Facebook’s Skype offering is likely to be compared to its rival’s Hangout feature. That product allows up to ten people to chat at any one time, while the Facebook/Skype video chat feature facilitates just one-on-one video chatting.

Skype did hint that there will be added features in future, but Google has stolen the lion’s share of the headlines and Facebook will not enjoy being seen as following in its footsteps.

At the launch in California, Mark Zuckerberg was reluctant to get involved in a tit for tat comparison but he did say that he saw such products as part of the narrative that in future companies which have not traditionally looked at social networking will be layering it on top of all their products.

Mr Zuckerberg said that it was likely that other “premium” Skype functions would be added in future.

He also appeared to offer a back-handed compliment to Google+, saying that its creation was a vindication of Facebook’s vision for the social web.

Ryan Giggs effect boosts UK social media usage

June 27, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Facebook, internet, LinkedIn, Social Media, Social Networking, Tablets, Twitter, Uncategorized

Twitter’s UK audience jumped by a third in May 2011 following the Ryan Giggs super injunction leaks, which drove a huge number of female pensioners to the site.Ryan Giggs effect boosts UK social media usageAs a result of the Ryan Giggs super injunction row social media company Twitter enjoyed its highest ever UK audience last month, with 6.1 million British people visiting the site, up 34 per cent on April’s figures, says Nielsen-UKOM, a UK online measurement company.

Twitter’s monthly audience boost was helped by a 65 per cent increase in the number of over 50s men, aged between 50 to 64, accessing the site, and a doubling in the number of female pensioners (the over 65’s) going to to see the latest in the super-injunction row.

Both LinkedIn and Facebook also enjoyed record audience figures last month, also driven by a surge in their popularity amongst the over 50s age group.

During May 2011, 26.8 million Britons visited Facebook, which is the highest ever audience figure the social network has attracted in the UK, propelling it for the first time above MSN, Microsoft’s news and email hub, making it the second most popular site in the country behind Google.

According to the Nielsen-UKOM figures, LinkedIn registered 3.6 million visits during May 2011, up 57 per cent on the same month last year.

Two years ago in the UK the profile of Facebook’s audience was skewed towards 18 to 34 year olds. However, the number of 50 to 64 year olds visiting the site has grown 84 per cent in the last 24 months.

While the number of UK visitors to the three biggest social networks continues to rise, the amount of time these audiences are spending on these sites is more mixed.

The average visitor to Facebook and LinkedIn is spending a little longer on those sites each month than they were two years ago, while the average visitor to Twitter appears to be spending a little less.

PayPal sues Google over mobile payments systems

May 31, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Ecommerce, Google, LinkedIn, Mobile Marketing, mobile phones, smart phones, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Google is being sued by the online payments company PayPal for allegedly stealing its secrets less than 24 hours after the search engine unveiled a technology to allow consumers to use their phones as credit cards.PayPal sues Google over mobile payments systemsThe lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday in Santa Clara, California, accuses Osama Bedier, a former PayPal executive now at Google, of misappropriating trade secrets and using them to help his new employer develop its technology.

Stephanie Tilenius, another former PayPal executive now at Google, is alleged to have breached her contract by hiring Mr Bedier from PayPal at the start of this year.

The legal action underlines the scale of the fight between the two companies in the growing mobile payment market, as well as the fierce battle in Silicon Valley for employees.

PayPal, which is owned by online marketplace eBay, is developing technology to be used by shoppers when paying in shops.

Google on Thursday announced a deal with Mastercard and Citigroup that would allow consumers with a phone using its Android operating system to make payments with it.

PayPal has developed “a wide range of trade secrets in the areas of mobile payment, point of sale, and digital wallet, which give PayPal an advantage over both existing competitors and new market entrants, such as Google,” the lawsuit alleges.

According to the suit, Mr Bedier was a key figure in leading PayPal’s ongoing negotiations with Google over making PayPal a payment option on Google’s Android operating system, which is the market leader in the US.

A deal was about to be signed in January, when Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, announced plans to take over as chief executive from Eric Schmidt. Four days later, Mr Bedier left to take a job at Google, the suit alleges, and develop a rival technology to PayPal’s.

Meanwhile, Ms Tilenius, who left PayPal for Google in October 2009, began trying to hire Mr Bedier last summer, it is alleged. “I heard from a little birdie that you might be open to bigger and better challenges, I have a HUGE opportunity for you,” Ms Tilenius posted in a Facebook message to Mr Bedier around July 15 last year, the lawsuit claims. During last autumn, Mr Bedier was interviewed by several Google executives including Mr Page and Mr Schmidt.

LinkedIn share floatation raises fears of valuation bubble

May 19, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, LinkedIn, Online Marketing, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

LinkedIn is likely to be the biggest floatation of a technology company since the technology market bubble of 2000.LinkedIn share floatation raises fears of valuation bubbleThe site’s projected value has jumped 30% ahead of its much hyped initial public offering (IPO) share flotation today.

The company said it expected shares to sell for between £25-£27 ($42-$45) , giving the business networking site an overall price tag of around £2.6 billion.

Industry watchers said it could pave the way for other social sites, including Facebook, to go public. Eager traders and their clients are also eyeing up sites such as Groupon, Twitter and Zynga.

However, there is one in particular that they are desperate to splash the cash on.

The big question is whether or not LinkedIn can justify the share price hike especially after the company revealed in the risk factors section of its prospectus that it does not expect to be profitable in 2011.

“Our philosophy is to continue to invest for future growth, and as a result we do not expect to be profitable on a GAAP basis in 2011,” the filing said, referring to generally accepted accounting principles.

Some investors believe the asking price is over hyped given that it values LinkedIn at almost 17 times its 2010 revenue of over £ 150 million ($243m).

Facebook which is six times the size of LinkedIn with more than 600m users, is expected to go public in 2012.

The world’s biggest social network is valued at 32 times estimated 2010 sales, according to Nyppex, a private share market.

By comparison Google’s shares trade at about six times its revenue.

While some question the site’s proposed share price, other analysts credit the company with good judgement when it comes to the timing of its IPO.

The attention that the LinkedIn IPO has received has inflamed talk of a technoligy bubble reminiscent to that of the late 1990’s and the dot com boom when prices for tech stocks were over inflated leading to an implosion of the sector.

In a recent report by SecondMarket, an exchange for private shares, investors expressed the most interest in Facebook, followed by Twitter, Groupon and LinkedIn.

One note of caution for the sector came in the shape of Renren, dubbed the Chinese Facebook, which went public earlier this month only to see its shares drop below the IPO price.

The French networking site Viadeo, a chief rival of LinkedIn’s, earlier this week said it would put plans to go public on hold for now.

You can track LinkedIn’s progress as they begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange with the symbol LNKD.

Sony data hacking- warning of another 25 million customers at risk

May 03, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Cyber Security, data security, Ecommerce, Facebook, LinkedIn, Uncategorized

Sony have warned that another 25 million users have had their personal details stolen.
Sony data hacking- warning of another 25 million customers at riskAs well as the Playstation Network, which has been down since 20 April, the company has now taken its Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) service offline.

It said credit card details and other personal information have been taken from an “outdated database”.

Last week, Sony admitted that the personal details of 77m Playstation users have been stolen by hackers.

Since the breach was revealed, shares in Sony have dropped by over 5% amid calls for the company’s CEO Howard Stringer to stand down over the crisis.

In a message to its customers, Sony said: “We had previously believed that SOE customer data had not been obtained in the cyber-attacks on the company. However, on 1 May we concluded that SOE account information may have been stolen”.

Sony was quoted by the Associated Press (AP) news agency as saying that the latest incident occurred on 16 and 17 April. This was earlier than the larger Playstation user security breach, which occurred on 20 April.

Sony only admitted the scale of the problem to users on 27 April.

This new attack goes beyond users of Playstation hardware, affecting PC and Facebook gamers – potentially an additional 25 million people.

Sony said that names, home addresses, email addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers and gender information was taken.

Additionally, direct debit details of around 10,700 customers in Austria, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany were stolen, as were the credit or debit card details of some 12,700 non-US customers.

Sony explained that the information included card numbers and expiry dates, but said that it was taken from a 2007 database which was securely encrypted.

The company added: “There is no evidence that our main credit card database was compromised. It is in a completely separate and secured environment.”

The suspension of SOE, which is based in San Diego, California, left multiplayer games including DC Universe and Facebook-based Fortune League unavailable.

The company had previously said that it would get the Playstation Network up-and-running again this week.

It has also promised assistance for users who have been affected by the hack.

LinkedIn passes 100 million membership

March 23, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, LinkedIn, Online Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized

LinkedIn- the professional social network, has reached over 100 million members worldwide, adding a new member every second of each day, it claims.
LinkedIn passes 100 million membershipThe site, which aims to facilitate professional networking in the digital space, has been adding roughly one million new members every 12 days- the equivalent of one new member joining every second.

In December 2010, the site had attracted five million plus members in the UK and 20 million in Europe.

LinkedIn launched in 2003 and started out in the living room of co-founder Reid Hoffman.

It took 494 days to sign up the first million members. More than half of its members are now located outside of the US.

Two weeks ago LinkedIn launched a personalised news service in a bid to attract more of its users to the site with greater frequency.

LinkedIn Today aggregates news from around the web, serving up a range of stories based on a user’s professional interests and the articles which have proved popular amongst a user’s friends.

Stories are ordered based on how many people in a user’s LinkedIn network tweeted or shared them.

There is also a dropdown box which on LinkedIn Today which allows users to personalise the story by industry.

Analysts believe the site is trying to boost its traffic and user engagement rate and subsequently its advertising revenues, ahead of its expected IPO (Initial Public Offering) on the US stock market.

Although LinkedIn’s membership numbers have reached a new high, many people do not visit the site or look at their profiles every day in the way that they do with other networking sites, such as Facebook.

Last week a new study found that the majority of FTSE 100 companies have failed to fully embrace social media sites, such as LinkedIn, and risk being overtaken digitally by smaller and more agile firms.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee criticises Facebook’s walled garden

November 24, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Facebook, LinkedIn, Online Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has criticised social networking sites, such as Facebook, for limiting the web’s openness, ahead of the twentieth anniversary of the first webpage.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee criticises Facebook’s walled gardenWriting an article on the Scientific American journal, entitled Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality, Berners-Lee sought to remind people of the power of the open and democratic web.

He said: “The web evolved into a powerful, ubiquitous tool because it was built on egalitarian principles and because thousands of individuals, universities and companies have worked, both independently and together as part of the World Wide Web Consortium, to expand its capabilities based on those principles.”

However, he went onto say that the web’s democratic nature and universality was being threatened by some of its “most successful inhabitants” of late.

He specifically criticised Facebook, LinkedIn and Friendster, for limiting the flowing of the freely available information across the web.

“Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendster and others typically provide value by capturing information as you enter it: your birthday, your email address, your likes, and links indicating who is friends with whom and who is in which photograph,” he writes.

“The sites assemble these bits of data into brilliant databases and reuse the information to provide value-added service—but only within their sites. Once you enter your data into one of these services, you cannot easily use them on another site.”

“Each site is a silo, walled off from the others.”

“Yes, your site’s pages are on the web, but your data are not. You can access a web page about a list of people you have created in one site, but you cannot send that list, or items from it, to another site.”

Facebook is coming under increasing pressure to open up access to its social graph, arguably its most powerful asset. The site’s founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, resisted these calls at the Web 2.0 Summit, refusing to commit to a date when Facebook would open up its data set to the rest of the web.

Earlier this month Google banned Facebook, and other companies, from extracting Gmail user data, unless they make their own data available to Google. Facebook has so far refused to cooperate.

Berners-Lee, in his piece, also warned against cable companies which may also prevent information flowing freely on the web.

He writes: “Cable television companies that sell internet connectivity are considering whether to limit their internet users to downloading only the company’s mix of entertainment.”