Latest Posts

Latest Posts

Internet security comcept. Earth and lock.

Mass surveillance requires new privacy-protecting laws says UN barrister

Posted on Friday 17th of October by sarah

How times change… Just a year or two ago, we were being told that the fight against terrorism justified mass data surveillance.

Now, in the post-Snowden/NSA-mass-snooping era, a top barrister working for the UN General Assembly has blown this “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” argument out of the water with a critical new report: mass surveillance of the internet, Ben Emmerson QC says, is: “indiscriminately corrosive to online privacy,” and poses “a direct and ongoing challenge to an established norm of international law.”

Governments and spy agencies certainly aren’t alone in their cavalier attitude to personal privacy. Though: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the German digital media group, Alex Springer, recently revealed in a highly critical open letter to Google, that internet companies have taken a relaxed (some might say reckless) approach to their users’ private data as well.

Döpfner mentions hearing Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt declare at a … Continued

male hands holding iPad with app Netflix on the screen in the of

Netflix sees shares nosedive as higher prices squeeze subscribers

Posted on Thursday 16th of October by sarah

The steady consumer march toward internet TV seems to have faltered this week, with shares in video streaming service Netflix plunging by a quarter during after-hours US trading following a warning from the company that its subscriber numbers had grown less vigorously than expected.

Subscribers were projected to grow by 3.7 million in the three months to September this year, but they actually grew by 3 million, a shortfall the company attributed to the $1-per-month subscription rise introduced in May (in the US, that bumped the subscription up to $9).

But Netflix investors were already in twitchy a mood. Time Warner’s successful TV channel, HBO, is on course to launch its own internet streaming service in 2015: this has set nerves on edge over in the Netflix investment camp. Streaming content from HBO will represent a pretty major source of competition, and the subscriber shortfall did nothing to ease shareholders’ … Continued

Move over Big Data: Knowledge Vault brings big knowledge

Posted on Tuesday 14th of October by sarah

Google’s new “Knowledge Vault” might have begun as a whimper (a quiet announcement in a talk by Google’s Kevin Murphy at the CIKM Conference last October), but it might be about to make a large bang.

Interest in the development picked up in August this year, with a number of articles appearing in sources as diverse as New Scientist, SearchEngineLand and Go Fish Digital.

Is Google’s Knowledge Graph history? Is a mighty new monarch about to accede to the search throne?

Google, the New Scientist reported, was building a “vast knowledge bank” which, according to SearchEngineLand, would power the future of search. Meanwhile Go Fish Digital pronounced Knowledge Graph passé if not yet quite dead. For its part, Google moved swiftly to clarify that Knowledge Vault was still at the research paper stage and was not an active product. In fact, the company was experimenting with a number of models … Continued

Telegraph Logo

Why the Telegraph is joining the stampede to digital

Posted on Tuesday 14th of October by sarah

With news last week that the bastion of conservative tradition, the Telegraph Media Group (TMG), was accelerating its transition from a print-focussed to a digitally led approach, there can be few doubts in even the most sceptical of minds that the digital revolution isn’t just a prospect; it’s already happened.

The Guardian carried out a report this week revealing that the Telegraph Group’s executives had “cherry picked” ideas from newspapers in Europe and North America and were now upping the pace for a radical restructuring of the TMG’s editorial operation – a transformation that will make digital content the backbone of every printed edition of The Daily Telegraph.

A number of sources have been muttering darkly about the TMG’s new “templatised” production system, which will allow a much, much smaller team to produce the paper. How? Simple as falling off a log: just drop digital content from the web into … Continued


Why brand-to-people social media marketing gets it all wrong

Posted on Monday 13th of October by sarah

There’s a big secret about social media marketing: a lot of big brands are getting it wrong. They’re spending a fortune on paid likes and followers but it’s not turning into measurable ROI. Social media is a people-to-people medium. Brand-to-people doesn’t work.

So say two social media marketing thought leaders: Piers Cooper, who heads Addvocate, a company that helps brands harness the trust of their own employees to act as brand advocates, and web copywriting aficionado and marketing strategist, Ryan Johnson. Writing in The Next Web, Cooper puts his argument in a nutshell:

“They jumped into the deep end of the social pool as brands, not as the people behind the brands. They poured huge sums of marketing budgets down the drain into a tumbleweed zone of branded social channels.”

The irony that both Cooper and Johnson point to is that the solution was standing right next to them all … Continued


Meet Frankly, the cross-communicating ephemeral messaging app

Posted on Wednesday 8th of October by sarah

There’s no doubting it; mobile messaging apps are proliferating; however, because they’re all different and not everyone uses the same one, cross-communication is a big problem. Until Frankly 3.0, that is, which is the latest version of an app that conveys ephemeral text messages AND sends them to non-Frankly users.

OK, so Snapchat has got the photo-centric corner of the ephemeral messaging market tabbed. Frankly’s text-based messages that self-destruct Mission: Impossible-style after 10 seconds, are gaining traction though. Since it was founded in February last year, its user base has been steadily growing and now stands at 1.7 million. According to app ranking specialists App Annie, it now ranks at number 256 in the US iTunes Social Networking category. That places it well behind some if its competitors in the ephemeral world (Wickr for example, ranks at 178) but substantially ahead of others like Confide, which ranks at 773.

It … Continued

Musical notes

Cypherr lets musicians make a living from their bedrooms

Posted on Tuesday 7th of October by admin

We like to keep our eyes and ears open here for new hardware platforms or gadgets that have the potential to change to way content is created, and while the emphasis is often on content writing or video production, today we’re focusing on music. Or rather, musicians: thanks to a new platform called Cypherr, they have an exciting new toy at their disposal that will help them network with fellow music industry professionals, upload their own music and submit it to management or executives, create and share musical content and even schedule local tours.

Cypherr’s arrival is very timely: traditional record sales have, it’s true, been falling, but huge (and growing) numbers of people are accessing music online. This means that, to reach their audience effectively, musicians have to cross a veritable assault course of different platforms. Cypherr changes all that at a stroke.

As the press release puts it: … Continued

Asset management

Is the fund management industry in Google’s sights?

Posted on Monday 6th of October by admin

Google, it seems, has sent ripples of incipient panic through the global fund management sector after commissioning research on how it could enter the asset management industry.

The research firm it approached (which can’t be named for confidentiality reasons) has quite a record of helping big companies break into new markets. The internet colossus told FT journalist Madison Marriage last week that it holds “no plans to get into the asset management or funds business.” But that hasn’t eased the tightly squeezed adrenals of large fund groups, who are frankly struggling to keep abreast of evolving technology (something that PwC warned about in January: this is one failure that opens the door to tech-savvy enterprises like Amazon, Twitter and Apple to walk right through).

As a measure of the alarm being felt, a senior executive from a big American fund company told the FT earlier this year that the prospect … Continued


Why marketers must be storytellers, analysts, designers and planners

Posted on Thursday 2nd of October by admin

What does a Hollywood ‘A’ List actor and producer know about content marketing? Rather a lot, as it happens, if he happens to be Kevin Spacey. A couple of weeks ago, he gave the keynote closing speech to a major content marketing event in the US, the Content Marketing World 2014 conference, and he made a compelling point: “From Homer’s “Odyssey” to McDonald’s Ronald McDonald to “The Sopranos”, it has always been about the story. The story is everything, which means it’s our jobs to tell better stories.”

To be fair, Spacey had a lot more to say too – he tracked the huge changes in content consumption, messaging and audience demand the marketing industry must contend with. Today’s marketers live in a completely different world to their traditional predecessors, who could manage marketing messages so tightly that it was as simple as falling off a log to throw a … Continued


Panda 4.1 rolls out: who wins and who loses?

Posted on Tuesday 30th of September by admin

Watch out, there’s a (newly updated) Panda about: Google’s latest iteration of its Panda algorithm (4.1) to be more precise. And in under a week of its rollout, it’s already dealt a savage mauling to some forms of online content.

Designed to filter out poor, spammy or “thin” content from higher search rankings, the latest incarnation of the not-so-cuddly virtual beast is (according to Google, anyway) allegedly more precise. According to a post by Google’s Pierre far on Google+, the internet giant has discovered “a few more signals to help Panda identify low-quality content more precisely. This results in a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites ranking higher, which is nice.”

Basically, that means it should permit small and medium-sized sites with high quality to achieve better rankings. It should also help anyone clobbered by its predecessor’s mighty paw to emerge into the light again if they’ve made … Continued