Friday Wrap #128: Webcams hacked, pay via Snapchat, Pinterest mans up, confidence trumps reputation

Friday Wrap for 11-21-14Welcome to the Friday Wrap, my weekly summary of stuff I have found in the last seven days that didn’t grab the big headlines but is still important, interesting, and/or worthwhile for communicators and marketers. I collect these on my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow.


Your private webcam isn’t so private—Leveraging a vulnerability in private webcams—the fact that a lot of people don’t reset the default password—a Russian website is streaming the video from thousands of such cameras from around the world. A lot of the cameras affected are functioning inside homes and businesses. While security is the main reason many of these cameras were installed, they also are capturing more intimate moments. The website says it is trying to draw attention to the problem. Money Magazine perused the site and found videos like one of a baby sleeping in a cot in New Jersey. From the U.S. alone, the site has included the live streams from some 4,600 cameras. The clear message: Change your password. Read more

Facebook and Twitter aren’t worth the effort, Forrester says—You could be throwing good money after bad if your marketing efforts include Facebook and twitter, according to a new report from Forrester that was a sure-fire headline grabber. Analyst Nate Elliott argues that posts from the services reach only about 2% of fans and followers, and less than 0.1% interact with each post on average. Elliott says you would be better off turning your attention to your own website and smaller, more niche-oriented networks. I’m filing this one under “Grain of Salt.” Read more

Yet Twitter is driving Holiday sales—As if to demonstrate just how wrong the Forrester study is, DB5 released a study revealing the microblogging service influences users to buy holiday gifts. Over half the 2,100 Twitter users over age 12 said they were motivated to buy an item they otherwise wouldn’t have because they learned about it on Twitter. Read more

Facebook limits promotional Page posts in its News Feed—Facebook announced last week that, beginning in January, it will limit the number of promotional Page posts it allows into users’ News Feeds. The crackdown on brands sharing ad-like content is intended to improve the News Feed experience for users who don’t like seeing both paid ads and updates that look like ads. While the reaction has been predictably negative from marketers, remember that the focus is on ad-style content, not any Brand Page content. Facebook made the decision based on a survey of more than 500,000 users who said ad-like calls to action and product pushes were even more promotional than paid ads. Read more

Google will pay publishers whose ads are blocked—Do you hate seeing ads on publisher sites like Mashable? Google has introduced a crowdunded program through which you could be between $1 and $3 to keep ads off those sites, with Google distributing some of that money to the publishers participating in the program. (For now, it’s an invitation only program.) The 10 initial participants in the program—all part of the Google ad network—include The Onion, ScienceDaily, Urban Dictionary, and WikiHow. Read more

Facebook Pro edition to go head-to-head with LinkedIn—Facebook plans to introduce a new product targeted professionals designed to compete with Google Drive, LinkedIn, and Microsoft Office. The Financial times reports that “Facebook at Work” will encourage chats with colleagues, store catalogs of contacts, and provide for in-document collaboration. The product is currently being tested following more than a year in development. Read more

IBM launches a web-based email service—Google has one. So does Microsoft. Yahoo, too. Now IBM enters the fray with Verse, another attempt to reinvent how emails are viewed and prioritized. The focus with Verse is on the sender as opposed to when the message was sent. The online client employs images of a user’s most frequent contacts to create a visual representation of the source and destination of emails. Read more

You can now search every tweet ever sent—For some time, Twitter’s search utility tapped into only the most recent tweets, but earlier this week, the company began rolling out a service that makes the entire archive of tweets available for search. The search engine is limited to rudimentary keyword searches, but Twitter has plans to make the archive open to more complex queries. Read more

CIPR dumps PRWeek—Members of the the UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) have been getting PRWeek as part of their membership; PRWeek also has been managing the Institute’s jobs website. CIPR announced it is discontinuing its partnership agreement; members won’t get the magazine or the online version after next month’s edition. Instead, the group plans to invest in propretary content, including a jobs marketplace. The partnership fell apart over a contract renewal that would have almost doubled the cost of the deal to CIPR. Read more


Snapchat, Square reveal the future of mobile payments—Apple may have made a splash with the mobile payment feature of the iPhone 6, but a deal between Snapchat and Square may offer a better view of where mobile payments are headed. Dubbed Snapcash, the feature lets users send money to their friends on Snapchat by entering the amount and tapping the “send” button. There have been players in this space—I’ve been using Venmo—but integrating it into a network already populated by your friends and other contacts makes more sense. Read more

Pinterest doubles male user base—Any conversation about Pinterest invariably includes reference to the female dominance of the user population. But Pinterest’s head of engineering, Michael Lopp, said last week that the service has doubled the number of active male users since last year, with men accounting for a third of all new sign-ups. The growth rate for men is higher than women, he said, and more men use Pinterest in the U.S. than read Sports Illustrated and GQ combined. Read more

Hotel guests fined for a bad hotel review on TripAdvisor—A couple that wrote a scathinig review of a “filthy, dirty rotten stinking hovel” where they stayed were surprised to see an extra fee had been charged to their credit card. It turns out the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool had added a fine amounting to $156 based on its policy of charging guests who leave bad reviews. The author of the review complained about the fine to local trading standards officers; they, in turn, passed it on to the Blackpool Council, which spoke to the hotel owner, who removed the policy. TripAdvisor said it deplores the practice of fining users. Read more


B2B buyers prefer B2C websites—In a wake-up call to B2B suppliers, buyers in the B2B world have indicated that they prefer to make work-related purchases on B2C websites, citing better search functionality, ratings and reviews for the products and services they’re considering, and improved personalized product or service recommendations. Accenture says the clear preference for B2C sites has prompted B2B suppliers to improve their ecommerce platforms or make plans for improvements within six months. Read more

Consumer behavior driven more by confidence than reputation—Confidence in a company drives stakeholder behaviors more than a sound reputation. that’s the conclusion of the 2014 Enterprise Value Study, conducted by FTI Consulting’s strategic communications business. The study found companies have 30% better odds of achieving desired stakeholder behaviors if those stakeholders are confident in the organization than if they perceive it to have a solid reputation. Increasing confidence has a better chance of converting stakeholders into advocates, which a strong reputation alone doesn’t do. Stakeholder confidence results in more recommendations of goods and services, more business with the company, more recommendations of the company as an employer, more investment in the firm, and more support within the community where the company operates. Read more


Google rewards mobile-optimized sites—Google says it will include a label on sites optimized for smartphones in its mobile search results. To earn the label, pages must avoid using software that isn’t compatible with mobile devices (like Adobe Flash), use text that can be read without zooming, employ a design that doesn’t require zooming in or scrolling horizontally, and make links easy to tap. Google also said it is testing these mobile-friendly practices as ranking signals for its search engine, meaning sites optimized for mobile could rank higher in mobile search results than non-compliant competitors. Read more