Social Media Privacy Scandal Revealed. Advertisers Know More Than They Should

Facebook Login Page

Facebook Login PageFacebook, MySpace and various other social platforms are now under fire after it was revealed that they have been sending user information to advertisers, specifically user profile information when their sites visitors have been logged in and then clicked on an advertiser link.

According to the Wall Street Journal that user information was sent despite assurances from many major social networks that they would not send that type of identifiable data without their users consent.

Usernames and ID numbers can be easily used to obtain personal information (various demographics) about users. Among some of the largest groups to receive this information have been Google and their DoubleClick platform and Yahoo Right Media. Both Google and Yahoo however are claiming that they were not aware they were receiving the extra user information.

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Kevin Rose launches WeFollow via Digg



With Pownce closed and sold to Six Apart in December of 2008, Kevin Rose apparently had more up his Diggnation shirt sleeves. Say hello to WeFollow a user-generated Twitter aggregator that makes use of common hashtags to determine your “niche” as a microblogger.

What’s brilliant about WeFollow is that there is no need for sign ups: all you need to do is tweet hashtag categories (you can see recommendations in the WeFollow sidebar) to @wefollow and the service organizes you into up to three

Kevin Rose blasted WeFollow into Digg today and the results are epic. There have been a number of creative ways to monetize Twitter and WeFollow may just be another portal to do so. Categorizing Twitter users according to niche adds more value than the regular mess of the front page time line.

4 Alternatives to Blog Search

Last week I wrote a column asking whether or not blog search was dead. In the column, I lamented how blog search has waned in usefulness from the major providers and explained some the biggest problems with blog search today.

But with blog search being rendered almost irrelevant, staying on top of one’s topic of interest is becoming more and more difficult. There seems to be no one solution to this problem and, over the years, I’ve actually found many different ways to keep up to date.

Here are four of my favorites, complete with how they work and their advantages and disadvantages. As you’ll see, no system is perfect, but by using some or all of these systems together, you can keep on top of your field pretty easily. [Read more…]

Is “Deep Linking” in Trouble?

Linking directly to individual pages on a Web site instead of the home page, also known as “Deep Linking”, is a staple of blogging and the Internet in general. It is used as a means to reference sources, forward interesting articles and, generally, get information out there on the Web.

Without deep linking, social news would likely not exist, many Web 2.0 services (such as Delicious) would have to close and even Google would have to drastically change the way it operates. The Web would, almost overnight, become a much more difficult to use and less efficient place.

However, a recent lawsuit filed by GateHouse media has asked new questions about deep linking and its possible legal implications.

Though the lawsuit is clearly misguided in some ways, including the claim that the site loses advertising over deep linking, it is worth taking a quick moment to look at some of the potential legal hazards that come with deep linking and how to avoid them. [Read more…]

A Hardcore Spanking, Web 2.0 Style

Getting punished never feels good, regardless of your age.

Years ago I was banned from Digg when I created a second account to praise my submissions. Not realizing that I was violating the TOS of the site, I was quickly ‘banned,’ my primary e-mail address unable to access Digg to this day.

Then came the Pay Per Post debacle. Sure I made some cash, but my blog tumbled from a Google PageRank of 5 to 1. And I don’t care what people say, it does make a difference. To date, I have yet to climb back to 5, even with traffic growth and good linkability.

The latest technology spanking came courtesy of Twitter. After underutilizing the service for quite some time, I went on a following blitz. Unbeknownst to me, there is a follow limit of 2,000 currently in place.

All of these situations could have been avoided had I done due diligence. Whether or not you agree with these policies, one thing is clear: I need to start reading the fine print!

I’m a big believer that early adopters of new technology get the worm, so I’m quick to pull the trigger. But I’m starting to think it makes more sense to do your research, have a plan to leverage the medium and let others act as guinea pigs.

What do you think?

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in the corner with my dunce cap on.

Digg Raises Money, Plans International Expansion


Digg has raised $28.7 million in Series C funding, which means bigger offices, a bunch of new job openings, and a more aggressive expansion. The latter will include international support, since almost half of Digg’s user hail from outside the US. This means localized versions, starting to appear in early 2009. My guess is that German, Spanish, and French versions are prioritized, for obvious reasons.

Om Malik reports a rumor that founder Kevin Rose got a chance to cash in, and took it:

The rumor I heard is that Digg founder Kevin Rose got to a sell a nice chunk of his shares in the company, a trend that has become quite fashionable among the Web 2.0 set. Several founders have taken money off the table as their companies wait for a bigger payday.

Good for Rose, of course, an probably not something to be upset about. I’d be more worried about the fact that 1% of the users generates 32% of the visits (stats from GigaOM). What happens if/when they get bored with Digg? That Facebook partnership might be crucial, but it might also prove just how hard it is to move from the tech savvy crowd, to the mainstream. And the former usually abandon ship when the latter gets in on the action. Digg is in for a bumpy ride.

Where I Get Story Ideas

For most bloggers, finding story ideas is one of the hardest parts of maintaining a blog and it is something that becomes increasingly important important, though much more difficult, the more topical your site is.

Fortunately, the Web provides many great ways to keep on top of what is going on in your field, if you know how to use the tools that are available.

For me, the trick has never been to find the one best way to get new story ideas, but to but open up a wide variety of communication lines. Though my system is not perfect and I continue to miss stories from time to time, I also have a backlog of about three weeks forth of topics in my notebook.

That is because finding story ideas, for most niches, is fairly simple. It is just a matter of knowing where to look. [Read more…]

Digg Dialogg Goes Live, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the First Victim

Digg is rolling out their Digg Dialogg service, which basically is a Q&A with select people, where the questions are submitted by the Digg users, and then dugg up or down, with the winning ones behind actually asked. It is Digg for questions to a specific person, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the moment. Kevin Rose explains:

The concept is simple – we identify a featured guest that you will be able to submit questions to (text or video) which the Digg community Diggs up or down. We’ll pose the top questions to the guest during a live interview. Featured guests will represent thought leaders and tastemakers across diverse topics including technology luminaries, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, musicians and filmmakers.

The Digg Dialogg is part of Digg’s coverage of the US presidential election, and a partnership with CNN’s iReport. It is likely that Digg Dialogg will stick around after the election is over as well.