Monday, January 28, 2008

Ah, the Gov't At Work...

Because of my business development activities, I spend a lot of time talking with a variety of innovative cybersecurity companies. Security, whether intrusion detection, identity assurance, testing, spam blocking, thumbsucking prevention, is an incredibly complex problem with many proposed solutions. One aspect with biggest potential for damage is lack of security around critical infrastructure.

Dams, nuclear power plants, Wall Street and government installations are now all connected to the Internet in a way they weren't even a decade ago. The government admits that they haven't done nearly enough to secure these facilities from cyber attack.

The problem? Well, the Internet is a private asset, and idea of the government inserting itself into the management and security of that asset raises everyone's alarms about privacy and the proper role of government. Add to that the Bush administration's wonderful track record explaining themselves, and I think you end up with an all out battle if they should try to do anything.

To paraphrase a former president, "well, here they go again."

From today's Wall Street Journal, Bush Looks to Beef Up Protection Against Cyberattacks:
President Bush has promised a frugal budget proposal next month, but one big-ticket item is stirring controversy: an estimated $6 billion to build a secretive system protecting U.S. communication networks from attacks by terrorists, spies and hackers.

Administration officials and lawmakers say that the prospect of cyberterrorists hacking into a nuclear-power plant or paralyzing Wall Street is becoming possible, and that the U.S. isn't prepared. This is "one area where we have significant work to do," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a recent interview.

The White House's proposal has already dismayed lawmakers concerned about civil-liberties violations. Democratic lawmakers are also frustrated by what they see as the White House's refusal to provide details of the program, and say that could threaten the fate of the initiative.

Friday, January 25, 2008

What is Twitter?

Many of you may have heard of Twitter. It's a mini-blog type website that allows you to follow the activities of your friends in a highly abbreviated, quick way. Many people have integrated it into their larger social media efforts as a way to drive more traffic to their blog(s). I've decided to check it out and see how it works.

Here is my Twitter page:

In researching the site, I read a fantastic blog post by Darren Rowse on how to use Twitter. If you're interested in learning how to make the most of Twitter, I suggest you read Darren's post.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Nokia Buying Part of Facebook?

I read a headline earlier today about how Facebook was passing MySpace as the most popular social networking website. I can't say I read the actual story- I think it was on Drudge- but it makes sense to me. Most people I know use Facebook exclusively.

Now, I read on one of my favorite newsy websites, StrategyEye, that Nokia and Facebook might be developing a strong relationship.....Hmmmm.

Nokia is rumoured to be poised to take a stake in Facebook as part of a partnership between it and the mobile phone maker where the social network will be integrated into Nokia's handsets. A report on tech blog, PaidContent claims that the "the Facebook placement could be as prominent as the YouTube button on the main screen of iPhone." The site also cites "sources" who say the "early stage talks" involve the possibility of Nokia purchasing a stake in the company. Spokespersons from either side failed to comment, although a Nokia exec reportedly admits: "There is talk of a partnership in the works."

The rumours come a week after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said on a US TV interview that the site was "highly unlikely" to go public in 2008. However, the firm reportedly took an undisclosed amount of funding last week, rumoured to be between USD10m and USD15m, from European Founders Fund, a firm owned by three German entrepreneurs, the Samwer Brothers. The investors are also said to have a stake in Facebook rival, LinkedIn. Various rumours surround Facebook and it was also recently linked with an acquisition of social community and online address book, Plaxo.

Nokia, which said it was to cut some 2,300 jobs last week as part of the closure of a German plant, has been making moves into the online space of late. Earlier this month it signed a deal with mobile games firm Vivendi. Last month, it said it is to offer mobile users unlimited access to music downloads from the second half of 2008, with a content deal with Universal Music. Meanwhile, it has also been expanding and making deals based on its newly launched Ovi mobile platform.
Interesting no? How many times have we seen the builders/owners of the "pipes" look enviously at the content developers/organizers and wonder how to get a piece of the action? Nokia is hardly a carrier, but it is very intriging that they are differentiating themselves by trying to associate themselves with a popular destination community- a la iPhone and YouTube.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Blogging for Dollars?

My colleague Tarun pointed out an article from the Wall Street Journal showing how bloggers are using new services to generate advertising revenue. Personally, I'm not looking to generate any cash flow from this blog. I added Google AdWords to this fine blog mainly to see how it worked. So far, I've managed to "earn" 58 cents. Weeeeee.

For a well known blogger I can see how this might add up to real money. But for most people, ad revenues aren't going to add up to much.

Here is a quote from the WSJ article:

Many of the most widely used programs are adding features to allow users to customize the appearance and placement of ads on their sites. Some also are introducing newer money-making mediums such as audio and video ads.

"There's going to be a lot of new business models in 2008 that are geared toward more monetization," says Pete Blackshaw, executive vice president of strategic services for Nielsen Online, the Web analysis unit of the Nielsen Co.

Blog publishers could certainly use the help in making money. The vast majority of publishers make less than $10 or $20 a month through advertising, according to Internet-advertising experts. How much money is made through advertising on a site depends much on how much traffic a site gets, the trustworthiness of the content and how relevant the ads are to the visitors.

As for a business to business technology company, blogs are going to be part of the way that it communicates with its employees, customers, prospects, traditional media, analysts, other bloggers and other audiences. It's not going to be a source of revenue.

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Site to Me: Gooruze?

I spent far too much time today reading blogs in Google Reader. I find it endlessly fascinating how this new-ish medium (Social Media- in case you're not following) is impacting traditional PR and how it's not impacting it. During my reading, I saw a link to a site called Gooruze. I went a checked it out and decided to become a member (

Gooruze is a social networking site for marketing and PR professionals where they can interact, share advice and rank news, blogs, and other content. A very cool idea that I've seen executed in number of other verticals. I'm hoping that I'll find it as valuable as I hope.

Overselling Wiki-search?

Wikipedia has launched a new search engine that it hopes will compete with Google. Here is an article about the launch of the alpha version of the service-

Normally, I don't pay any attention to the comings and goings of various search engines. Google is the 9,000 pound gorilla and will be for the foreseeable future. But when the founder of one the fastest growing, most transformational, and biggest websites puts his rep on the line for a better mousetrap, you need to at least pay attention.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well, obviously I've been a lazy blogger over the last months. Sales opportunities have been coming at me fast and furious and I took a week's vacation in Arizona to visit my folks. Very nice.

However, tech and PR news has been piling up without any comment by me, so I need to buckle down and start...


In meantime, I'd like to point you in the direction of a new blog boss, Marc Hausman.

Yes, we've all heard the stories about appallingly bland, boring blogs by corporate CEO's, but this one is different, and not just because he signs my paychecks. Marc has some strong opinions about the direction of PR and it's continuing ability to help businesses increase their sales, profitability and valuation. Add to your feedreader today.