Digital Marketing News Update – The Website is Dead, Microsoft Skype, EU Privacy and Cookies and Facebook Security Flaw?

 

Microsoft Buys Skype and The Website is Dead

This week’s announcement of Microsoft’s purchase of Skype appears to be taking them one step closer to realising their vision of a web without walls which was unveiled by Qi Lu, President of Microsoft’s Online Services Division at a recent conference.

 

While there has been much speculation around the £5.2bn purchase, with more than a few tweets around the fact you can download it for free (very amusing) this seems to be quite a wise move for Microsoft who are keen to position themselves as a future focused organisation not only on the cutting edge of technology but trailblazing the way.

 

Last year I was lucky enough to attend the Windows 7 industry launch and hear Steve Ballmer speak about his vision for the future of Microsoft where business and social lines blurred and we interact and network without boundaries.  A web which isn’t built around homepages and sites but around content curated from users.

 

This idea is not just a futuristic vision but is working in practice for some companies who have saved themselves the hassle of building and maintaining their own website and is building their presence through user generated content.

 

Modernista is an advertising agency based in Boston and their web presence is based solely around existing communities and relies on other sites to generate their content for them. The only work they have to do is provide a portal to access it. When you visit their “website” you’ll find their About Us section is pulled from Wikipedia, Facebook and Twitter, their news displays information from Google and Google blog search, and examples of their work are stored on Delicious.

 

Obviously this type of approach relies on customer endorsement and generating positive conversations around their business. But getting this right means that any new business is based solely on user led recommendations and from the looks of things they appear to be doing this very well.

 

Another benefit of this approach is that it negates the need to develop a community around your brand, which is both time and resource intensive, and allows you to utilise existing communities who are already talking about your business.

 

And to cap it all off, generating content in many different sources, especially through major players like Wiki, Facebook and Twitter can also mean your organisation appears not just at the top of search results but also possibly take up position 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on. Kinda takes the headache out of your SEO strategy.

 

Of course, if you’re a major company like Apple (had to get a reference in here somehow) this approach might not suit and could prove a nightmare for customers to find the information they want with nuggets coming in from many different sources.

 

I’m sure it will either be loved or loathed as an approach but I think it’s a great example of utilising exisiting content rather than creating more “noise” which requires you to build a whole new audience for. It’s simplicity at its best and an exciting taste of things to come.

Editor: I look forward to the constant flow of “The Website is Dead” stories that follow over the next 6 months. They’re really not, they are just evolving.

 

Privacy laws and the ICO guidance

The ICO has issued some guidance ahead of the 26 May deadline when the new EU privacy laws come into force bringing tougher restrictions on the use of cookies. The ICO published the 10 page document earlier this week but explained that it is still a work in progress.

 

You can download the guidance form their website www.ico.gov.uk

Editor:  I spoke with the IAB about the EU rules and I really agree with them that its amazing how little this has been thought out. Watch this space.

 

Update on Sony

I’m getting a little bored of this story now but I feel compelled to see it through to the extremely bitter end.  Now it seems another 25 million accounts are at risk after it was discovered that the Sony Online Network was compromised. The company has made huge apologies and it hoping to get its network back up and running by the end of May, almost two months after it went down. You’ve got to feel for them a bit.

Editor: Bored now.

Facebook’s spare key

A security firm has found that access to many Facebook accounts may have been inadvertently passed onto third parties due to a flaw in some sharing applications.

 

Typically users allow programmes to access their account in order to interact with their profile. Unfortunately these links act as “spare keys” to our accounts, leaving them vulnerable to unauthorised access by those who might use our information to their own ends.

 

Facebook has now put in place measures to ensure all new apps have tighter controls and is working with current applications to update their systems. Their investigation hasn’t uncovered any evidence to suggest that personal data has been accessed with the worst case scenario being you could find yourself “liking” something you wouldn’t have chosen in a million years. I’ll be keeping an eye out for anything remotely linked to being in the same vicinity as a gym.

 

And that’s not the only reason Facebook has been in the news this week. The cheeky fellas have admitted this week to hiring a PR company to plant anti-Google messages around their user privacy. Facebook stressed that they were only interested in revealing activities undertaken by Google that raised privacy concerns. I’m sure they were just thinking about us users, how nice of them. Tut tut guys, that’s really not cool.

Editor: The Google thing i much more interesting that the security issue in my mind. A bit of aggressive competition between Facebook and Google will be lots of fun to watch. On the security issue, my personal opinion is that you should assume everything you put in Facebook will be eventually seen my everyone.

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