Mar 24 2012

Pinterest Pins All Copyright Violations On Its Users

There is an interesting story about a Pintrest users that deleted her account after the social blogging platform changed it’s Terms of Service. Essentially, as stated in the article, Pinterest users are legally responsible for what the pin (post) and repine (re-post). Only under a limited number of circumstances can someone use copyrighted material without express written permission from the copyright holder…

Copyrighted work can only be used without permission when someone is criticizing it, commenting on it, reporting on it, teaching about it, or conducting research.

Fair use of copyrighted material, as described above, seemed reasonable in a physical world. But in a digital world where people first express themselves in social networking sites, I believe fair use of copyrighted material should include retweeting, liking, plus one-ing, rebloging, and sharing as these imply some level of commenting on the work by the the original poster and her network of friends and followers.

The good news for Pinterest is that most users don’t read, understand, or care about the Terms of Service.

I Accept, Terms of Service, deleteyourself.com

I Accept, Terms of Service, deleteyourself.com


Jul 25 2011

Google Plus Begins to Stumble

Since it’s initial private launch, Google Plus has received mostly positive reviews from tech insiders that were able to score an invite early on. I was able to get my hands to an invite a day or two after Google Plus, often abbreviated as G+, launched. This is not my first social network, I was an early adopter on Twitter, I was there before @aplusk, and I had the same experience with Tumblr and Quora. Each time a new social network is launched and before the mob of celebrities and social media marketing experts join, these services are often seeded with early adopters from the tech scene. Even with it’s 20 million users, G+ is still in this early adopter stage and this is evident by the list of most followed users on the network. The most followed profiles are those from technologists and tech pundits, including former first friend on MySpace Tom Anderson. A few years ago, this was virtually the same list of most followed users on Twitter.

Google Plus does innovate on a few areas where Facebook has lagged and dragged it’s feet, such as in the concept of circles. That said, Google Plus is largely a clone+ of Facebook, which is a derivative of whatever social trend we’ve seen in the last five years. Depending on how you count, Google Plus is Google’s fourth attempt at this social networking thing. The current trend in social networking sites is that anonymity is to be banned. Facebook was the first social network to demand users use their real and legal names in their profiles and Google Plus has followed this trend.

Since Google Plus is the newest social networking site to see an exponential growth, it is now going through some growing pains in the way Google is policing the community. There have been a large number of reports of Google banning and disabling Google Plus profiles that don’t use “real names.”

The worst part, for those whose accounts have been locked out, is that there is no customer support, no due process, and not even a G+ profile to contact if your Google account is disabled or banned our right. If your Google account is disabled you may be locked out of GMail, Google Docs, and other Google products you may use, which might be have years of data.

The natural progression of these policies is that in the near future people will need to show their government issued identification card, passport, DNA sample, work history and resume, retinal scan, and perhaps a Google history scan to use Google Plus or similar social network. I can appreciate that Google wants to encourage people to use their real names, but there are so many instances beyond their automated algorithmic logic that people use nicknames, pen names, aliases, alternative spellings, stage names, witness protection name, and more. Is Google Plus going to force Jon Stewart to use his birth name? What about Lady Gaga? What about Dear Abby? Larry Brin uses the short form for Lawrence, is that okay? And don’t get me started with folks that are known by their initials or by their profession title such as Dr. Dre.

So why is Google, and Facebook for that matter, so against anonymity? It’s all about the data. The more data Google has on each user, the better they can serve ads targeting them. Google Plus is a user data collection service as much as it is a social network. Google Plus gives Google a new platform to collect even more data that it can then sell, trade, and use to target ads. Currently, most of Google’s ads work on the intent of the user. The more Google knows about the people in your circles, their name, age, background, location, work history, interests, trends, and communication patterns it can easily develop social ads that target you and your inner most circle members.

This whole debate is a red herring, the real issue is about the identifying data that Google is collecting on each profile.  There are already a large number of third parties that are forming a “fourth bureau” of sorts that collects any and every piece of information such as if you pay a phone bill on time or if you spend 6 hours in the middle of the day playing FarmVille.


Dec 10 2010

The Right Domain Name for Your Startup

It used to be that single the most important aspect of starting a new business was location, location, location. With online businesses, this translates to domain name, domain name, domain name. The domain name of you business is important for several reasons, because it will be your de facto business name, because this will be one of the avenues of how users find you, because there is a short supply of good domain names left, because you want to stand out from your competitors, etc. But in addition to finding a good domain name for your business you should see if it’s also available on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, and any other relevant social networking site. As soon as I buy a domain name, I try to lock up the twitter account, the Facebook page, the Tumblr and WordPress blog for that domain.

Depending on the business or product or simply to proactively protect your business from competition and spammers, you should think about snapping up domain names that reference your company or trademarks. For example, try to buy the .net, .org, .me, and other TLD versions of the domain name you are considering if available. In addition try to lock up domain names that reference your company or product in a disparaging way.

Because most single word domain names are already taken, people often combine two words or more. It is common practice to not hyphenate two or more words in a domain name. But when placing two words together be careful that it doesn’t accidentally read something different than what you intended. For example, There is s site called Therapist Finder whose domain name is therapistfinder.com which can also be read as The Rapist Finder. The is a website called Speed of Art whose domain name is speedofart.com whose domain name can also be read as Speedo Fart.

Try to avoid using a name that ties your product or service to a particular technology. Find an inspirational name that denotes a feeling of though about what you are doing but not the technology you are using. For example, Twitter is a great name for their product. No most people use Twitter with mobile device apps over 3G, but SMS was a key aspect of Twitter in the early days. The word tweet denotes so well what people do on the service, they simply post a tiny comment. Once Twitter became a success and they opened up their API to third party applications then you saw the opposite, company formed around Twitter and named themselves a such like Twitpic. Twitpic is successful despite their bad choice of name but they it does narrow people’s view on you. In the case of Twitpic, they also have the problem that they misspelled the word tweet with twit. Twit has a completely different meaning than tweet.

Another example of a company name that relied heavily on a particular technology was PodShow. PodShow later rebranded itself to Mevio but only after the whole podcasting industry was threatened by Apple copyrighting and trademarking the term podcast. The term podcast itself relies on Apple iPod product line. The industry as whole talked of using netcast instead of podcast, but that never took off. By rebranding themselves to Mevio, the company speaks to broader audience, does not tie itself to one technology or open itself for legal dispute over trademarks or copyrights issues. In the case of Mevio, the name suits it well. The prefix is me and postfix vio sounds like the last syllable of video.

In the current state of search, short and clear domain names are known to get more Google juice to complicated, hard to spell, hyphenated domains. Your domain name should be easy to say and understand over a phone, it should evoke your industry, product, or service. The right domain is worth its price for the right entrepreneur. Not to take anything away from the founder of diapers.com, but I believe that the domain name had a lot to do to the online retailers credibility with customers which ultimately lead to diapers.com being purchased for over $500 million dollars by Amazon.

Owning the right domain name can help to take your business to the next level.


Nov 25 2010

Retweet October 2010

From time to time I just blast tweets about software development, project planning, team dynamics, or whatever else comes to mind. Here is a synopsis of recent tweets and rants. If you want to follow the conversation follow me at techknow and/or juixe and I’ll be sure to follow back.

Software Development

  • If rhythm is a dancer, then algorithm is a break dancer.
  • If you were a Java language reserve word what word would you be? I would be volatile!
  • I get personally insulted when I am prompted to prove my humanness with a captcha. It makes me wanna bust a cap-tcha on some webdeveloper!!!
  • Is there group think in the development community? Yes, but we build patterns around group think and call it Best Practices.

Team Leadership

  • Change your perspective and you can change the world.
  • If you don’t have an original idea you can remix existing ideas in original ways!
  • Go hard, go home, go big. Pick two.
  • If a web site’s end users are not paying customers, then the end users are the product that web site then sell to their advertisers.
  • Why do people compensate their inability to communicate with the belief that others just know what they mean, you know what I mean?
  • Hype is the food of lemmings.
  • The plan was to have no plan, the backup plan was to leave the backup plan at home.
  • Most people are natural born followers, it’s human nature.
  • The toughest competition doesn’t always come from a competitor trying to build a clone of your product but from market shift in the industry

Product Placement

  • In terms of hardware, mobile, and even operating systems Microsoft is anywhere between 3-5 years behind the leader.
  • Startups age really fast in Internet time, by my calculation Digg is already and Old Media Company.
  • Like what percent of Tumblr’s posts are reblogs and reposts?
  • I want JJ Abrams to do a movie about do a remake of The Muppets in an alternate time line like he did for Star Trek.
  • I want an iPhone that transforms into an iPad when I need a bigger screen.
  • Google is an advertising company with great search technology. Facebook is a virtual share cropping company with great social technology.
  • Who collects more personal data and knows more about a given user, Facebook or Google?
  • Apple should add a few filters to their iPhone camera app.

Mini Meme Machine

  • Scotty and Christopher Walken Mashup: Captain, I’m giving her all’s she got.  She needs more cowbell.
  • You know who would be great in a reality television show? A prison gang! Imagine, Real World San Quentin.
  • r-EPO, the performance-enhancing drug of champions!
  • Monetize common sense because people don’t have it.
  • I want to trademark the & char so that I could file a trademark infringement to all law firms with names of the form Dumb Dumber & Dumbest.
  • The best part of a bagel is the creme cheese.
  • My all time historical hero is Johannes Kepler.
  • Your life comes with terms of service, batteries not included, void where prohibited.
  • In Silicon Valley, everyone drinks the kool-aid but using bottled artisan water from a 10,000 year old glacier.
  • In Silicon Valley, everyone is more interested in their piece of the pie than in the recipe of success.

Quote

  • I didn’t mean for it to be released so quickly because I wanted to control peoples’ being offended by it. – Mark Zuckerberg
  • I think people might be slightly offended but whatever, maybe there’s a way to control that. – Mark Zuckerberg
  • Quitting while you are ahead is not the same thing as quitting. – American Gangster
  • Living at home with your parents is a very powerful contraception. – David Willetts
  • We should start a new social media web 2.0 holiday: Friend, Fan, and Follower Appreciation Day!!!