Archive for September, 2011
September 26th, 2011
BBC File on 4 just ran a brilliant programme on global cyber-crime and the theft of our futures.
This is just a quick follow-up on my last posts about network security. The meat is in the programme (podcast), which is must-listen if you care about whatâ€™s happening in the global network security space.
The programme was chilling. There are a great many very intelligent people, servants of state and criminals both, who know how to penetrate every software defence we deploy to own, control, monitor and steal everything we do online.
William Hague, UK Foreign Secretary says in the excellent Radio 4 programme that there is an â€œalarmingâ€ rise in the levels of attacks by states on states, criminals on states, terrorists on states and organisations, and criminals on business and individuals.
Hague says: â€œThere are a rapidly multiplying set of challenges in cyberspace on government and institutions.â€
Coming from the laid-back manager of our foreign relations, that quiet statement should not be taken with a pinch of salt. This is very serious.
Hague: global, serious, persistent cyber-crime
Hague did say that the UK was at the forefront of the battle in cyberspace and that, at the national level, GCHQ was extremely effective.
But he warns: â€œThis is so important in the national and economic sense.â€
One example in the programme was the penetration and ownership of the Dalai Lamaâ€™s computer network. His Holiness is Head of State, an exile from his Tibetan land.Â Whoever broke into that network had the ability to steal everything of value, at every moment.
Chinaâ€™s circumspect response to the programmeâ€™s questions speaks volumes – but we cannot know which organisation was involved. State on state cyber espionage is a larger part of the problem. That is Realpolitik and we have to engage to attempt to find solutions.
The programme also showed how easy it is to break through defences and steal money, and Intellectual Property, from business and individuals.
Hague was right about the UKâ€™s leading role in addressing these threats. There are three crucial network security events in London, UK this autumn. Ignore them at your peril. First, the RSA European Conference 11-13th October; second, the Trusted Computing Seminar hosted by client Wave Systems at the Royal Aeronautical Society on October 20th and third, the Cyber Security Summit on November 29th.
September 23rd, 2011
Life is great! Iâ€™m not certain about that as a general principle but tonight, it most definitely is.
It has been a most extraordinary week â€“ weâ€™ve just had some of the best lessons in how things change and how difficult it is to measure anything. How fragile and contingent everything is.
First, the Tumbling Satellite. Hereâ€™s a picture showing where it will hit the Earth. It made me laugh out loud, and for a long time. Thatâ€™s a big areaâ€¦shame itâ€™s not coming down over England. Iâ€™d be 10 again and out looking for trophies with the gang.
The satellite-wobble uncertainty was good enough, and the uncertainty continues but it got much better last night (Thursday) when Italian scientists announced, with understandable reticence, that they had been measuring the speed of sub-atomic particles sent from CERN and found out weird, strange and frankly terrifying things.
I would have given all my worldly goods to have been there when the team finally drew fearsome conclusions from their measurement of the travel times of neutrino bunches. Some apparently travelled faster than the speed of light.
It was not meant to be this way. E=Mc2, right?
The exercise was for the CERN team to prepare a beam of just one type, muon neutrinos, and send them through the Earth to an underground laboratory at Gran Sasso in Italy to see how many showed up as a different type, tau neutrinos.
Not sure how that panned out â€“ but, hey, the Italian team found something potentially much, much better. Faster than light? WOW!
If the data is right, and the event/result are reproducible, then we have just shifted into a new universe.
All that is solid melts into airâ€¦ what this means for PR and marketing, one can only guess. But it will make a difference. And thatâ€™s why life is truly great, often.
September 23rd, 2011
Network security breaches are moving way beyond the â€˜hacker quest for notorietyâ€™ stage and weâ€™re now in crisis.
While the lexicon for data breach is changing at bewildering speed, the sustained attacks from organised criminal gangs violate our network space on an hourly basis. If you have been hacked â€“ and I was way back â€“ you will know the sense of powerlessness, rage and fear that this brings.
In my case, it was a concerted attack on and control of a range of IP addresses that was then used by the hacking group to mount a sustained attack and penetration of NASA. My IP range was secure and safe but others in the range were not. The penetration began at the end-device level and moved from there to server-side.
Wasteland: cyber-crime steals the future
The initial attack led first to a wipe out of websites access, then barring by the naming authority, which I thought was akin to crucifying the victim of a robbery. Meanwhile, the hacker group penetrated and accessed NASA data.
But that experience taught me two things. First, the onus and focus was on the user to secure and nail down their network, whether shared or unique. Second, the software-based security solutions were not adequate.
If that was true in 2001, itâ€™s even more valid now.
Iâ€™ve been monitoring the network security landscape for two years, as part of the job at Liberate Media. Itâ€™s scary. Every week, there is a raft of stories around network breach of organisations of every type.
Worse, the number of breach reports is increasing month on month. These are only the tip, remember. Many countries do not require breach and data loss reporting, currently. That is about to change in the UK and Europe.
What this will do the breach statistics is anybodyâ€™s guess â€“ but I would place a very big bet that the rate of breach will not go down.
The Guardian has just published a lengthy, informative blog post by author Misha Glenny that, between the scare-ware info, describes the breadth and depth of the organised cyber-crime dark side. Worth a read.
Time to wake up?
September 20th, 2011
Is MySpace set to rise from the jaws of defeat again? Apparently so, according to this report.
MySpace had planned a summer press event to showcase its music-led platform, but was cancelled. The new plan to release an updated platform, including a Justin Timberlake (investor) concert, which has been planned for the Advertising Week event in New York next month.
MySpace had 33 million visitors to the site in August, but at its peak it had 100 million users. A 44 percent decline compared to a year ago (comScore).
It will certainly be interesting to see what sort of innovations are planned to help combat its decline, the last relaunch was cleaner, with a new design that puts content centre stage. It was also smarter, providing you with a personalised experience by recommending content based on your interests.
September 20th, 2011
This year the event included impressive speakers such as Charles Arthur (The Guardian) , Neville Hobson (Nevillehobson.com) and Jon Morter, Big Other (organiser of Rage against the X-Factor campaign).
The event covered a range of topics, including: Social Commerce, Location Marketing, Social Search, Social Media Monitoring, Social Media Management, B2B Social Media, Engagement & Social CRM and Integrated Marketing Campaigns.
The highlights for me were:
The first panel debate, which featuring Luke Brynley-Jones (Our Social Times), Charles Arthur (The Guardian), Neville Hobson (Nevillehobson.com), Wayne Gibbins (Viadeo) and Jenni Lloyd (Nixon McInnes).
The subject was â€˜The Future of Social Networking’ and one of the first topics of debate was: have we â€˜bloated our streams?‘ particularly Facebook, and is this fatigue or perhaps a maturing of social networking?
The panel also came out with a great statistic to highlight the difference in international usage of social networks: 48% of web users in China are content creators compared with 24% in the western world.
Neville Hobson outlined the difference between methods of measuring influence, which focused on PeerIndex’s founder who makes the distinction between “influencers” and “opinion formers”.
Over 50% of internet connections are location enabled smartphones and 20% of ALL search is mobile.
- 96% felt QR codes were useful, 92% would use it again.
- 55% of tweets are from a mobile.
- 55% of people will travel 15 minutes for a 10% discount.
Following a brief break, we went into a discussion on monitoring, measurement & engagement
Catriona Oldershaw made a good point about brands often having too many metrics and not enough measurable insights, and that social monitoring and responding shouldn’t be siloed, i.e. within an agency, or marketing department.
Andrew Grill used BT as an example of using Twitter engagement, stating BT has 25 people monitoring and talking to customers via Twitter.
Giles Palmer at Brandwatch referenced analysis that his team had completed on the top 200 brands in UK and U.S., which showed 5% UK, 8% U.S. brands are responding to customer service issues through social media.
Tammy Kahn Fennell from MarketMeSuite offered input on the issue of Compliance and liability through social media, confirming the law is going to have to catch up, but it is also going to have to understand we are social people.
One of the key discussion points centred around how the Metropolitan Police should have reacted to the London Riots.
Giles Palmer confirmed the issue was difficult to track as much of the conversation was on BBM (Blackberry Messenger) which is a closed network and so difficult to access/monitor.
However, assuming the data is public, he suggested sentiment analysis could be employed around hate management detection. i.e. normalising traditional language usage, and then monitoring ‘hate language analysis’ that could act as pre-cursors to potential unrest. He confirmed it would be important to set up alerts to bring in humans who will interpret the conversations and act appropriately.
Joshua March also made a good point, confirming he used Social Media during the riots to understand where to avoid, and where was safe to go, so it wasn’t all bad.
Then came one of the presentations that many of us had been waiting for: How I Beat Simon Cowell Using Social Media by Jon Morter – Big Other.
John gave an excellent presentation on his two campaigns to beat The XFactor to the Xmas number one. He used the learnings from his first campaign, which didn’t bring the desired results, and the successes of the second campaign, which as we know kept The XFactor from the number 1 spot, something that we should all be thankful for, at Christmas or any other time.
John achieved some amazing results through his campaign, including achieving 72,000 sales of the track in the last 3 hours after releasing a live version (which is more sales than is needed most weeks to top the chart).
Jon Morter also told us that he got a call from Simon Cowell 3 hours before the chart result was due to be issued. Apparently Simon congratulated him and offered him a drink, which he still has not yet followed up on.
Then Raf Keustermans an independent Consultant, (former EA and Playfish) spoke about Using Gaming Mechanics for Marketing. His presentation offered real insight into the opportunities available through gamification, including:
Before 2008 games were Niche, a big but closed industry, which rose from 250M gamers in 2000, to over 1Billion gamers in 2011.
He also confirmed 150 billion minutes are spent every month on social games, that’s an average of 10 minutes for everyone on the planet.
His answer being: directly no, but as part of ‘ranking circle’ yes. And that it is safe to assume Google +1′s are an influencing factor towards search rankings.
Marcus also offered five tips on encouraging brand search and getting the benefits of personalised search:
1. Appear for comparison and head of tail key terms where people start stopping.
2. Be awesome and encourage return visits.
3. Run offline radio / TV / print) ads with a â€˜search for us’ call to action (Pontiac were first to do this in the Superbowl).
4. Run branded events / sponsor events.
5. Link or reference search results from products – tell people to â€˜search google for X” if you know you rank number 1 for that term.
There were also case studies on the day from Play.com, Captain Morgan’s Rum and BMi Baby, as well as a final panel discussion: Is Social Commerce the Future of e-Commerce? Chaired byÂ Luke Brynley-Jones (Our Social Times) and featuring Peter Parkes (Expedia), Amy Kean (Havas Media), Jenny Chiu (BrandAlley), Robin Grant (We Are Social)
The event was a massive success, and congrats once again to Luke Brynley-Jones and the Our Social Times team.
Slides from most of the presentations are available at Our Social Times’ Slideshare.
September 16th, 2011
Intelâ€™s admission this week that it was not secure and safe from cyberattacks â€“ and that it was â€œinevitableâ€ that its network defences would be breached makes me want to weep.
The worldâ€™s premier computer chip brand and much more, says that it cannot defend itself against the well-organised criminal gangs (soon to be companies) that make a living from stealing data that gives them an immediate financial benefit, and access to the ideas that any organisation considers its lifeblood.
So, are we busted?
I think we are. Intel bought the security technology firm McAfee (for $7.7billion) a year ago. A year is not long and the challenges of integration are fully accepted. But for the biggest chip maker in the world to admit now it has no full answer to network defence is truly shocking.
But wait… two days ago, McAfee/Intel announced a development in security. DeepSAFE makes bold claims of newness and next-generation solutions.
It’s partially formed and we are asked to wait for further news. Meanwhile, the company whose rainbow coat is being not-too-gently tugged at, Wave Systems, has been there, done that and is the global leader in device-hardware based security solutions.
It helped to write the book that defines new industry standards through the Trusted Computing Group. It has spent millions of research dollars and has assembled an extraordinary team over the past 10 years that has delivered the proven, trusted next-generation solution to network security and true compliance.
Wave Systems (full disclosure, no apologies – a new and very valued client) – has been a key part of an open development in the security sphere for years. Given that the means to deliver robust, unbeatable network security and compliance have been freely available since before hacking became a multi-million dollar business, outstripping that of the illegal drugs economy, I’d just ask – “Where were you, Intel/McAfee and the rest? Why did you not move to protect us before now?”
We may learn more from Intel/McAfee over the next quarter and maybe it will present a robust next-generation security solution. But thatâ€™s a big ask. From where Iâ€™m sitting, the network security terrain globally is still totally blasted.
Thatâ€™s because the terrain itself is quicksand. It never has been secure and, if we keep going with current network security â€œstrategiesâ€, weâ€™ll all be sucked down.
The sign at the border of this terrain now should be signalling that we are all not safe and everything we have believed about the essential safety of network engagement, when we take the prescribed precautions, is just bull.
Itâ€™s not just Intel. Norton (Symantec) said this week that 1 million people globally were victims of cybercrime every day and its research also gives a taste of the extent of commercial crime.
For sure, the Norton research is aimed at the businesses and groups and individuals who have few or no online defences. But the point I took from the research is that strong commercial organisations with strong defences have been breached, at a painful financial cost.
Why is data breach inevitable? According to Perry Olson, Intel’s senior director for strategic response and global activities at Intel, new attack methods, such as slow-burningÂ advanced persistent threat (APT) targeting or the orchestration of network penetration by distributed, large-scaleÂ botnets, means the company cannot stop data leaking from its organisation, according to
He told ZDNet: “[Network] compromise is inevitable, data loss is inevitable, what do we do? The threat vectors we’ve seen have changed drastically.”
What do we do? Thatâ€™s a good question. Maybe weâ€™re looking in the wrong direction, Maybe software security is not the way forward. Maybe we got it wrong.
We need to get it right. Or this networked, global economy is well and truly busted.
September 15th, 2011
The giants of social networking have been busy this week with the launch of new features which will prove useful, and change the focus and reporting for digital campaigns.
First to Facebook, which announced the Subscription button yesterday. This allows users to choose exactly what they see in their news feed, both in terms of narrowing the noise from friends and expanding subscriptions beyond friends to include contacts of interest, e.g. journalists, political figures, bloggers etc.
From a marketing perspective it will place further emphasis (if any was needed) on quality and useful content that can be subscribed to, even if pages are not liked and individuals followed.
The total number of people subscribing to posts and the number of people you’re subscribed to will appear on your profile. Facebook has also confirmed that the subscribers tab will replace â€˜likes’ as the most accurate engagement indicator, which will change the focus of many Facebook campaigns and again reflects the push towards being useful rather than just popular.
In brief, Facebook says: “In the next few days, you’ll start seeing this button (the Subscribe button) on friends’ and others’ profiles. You can use it to:”
1. Choose what you see from people in News Feed
2. Hear from people, even if you’re not friends
3. Let people hear from you, even if you’re not friends
Over to Twitter, where Twitter Web Analytics is now being introduced.
Christopher Golda at Twitter posted about the launch on Tuesday, confirming:
“Today we’re announcing Twitter Web Analytics, a tool that helps website owners understand how much traffic they receive from Twitter and the effectiveness of Twitter integrations on their sites. Twitter Web Analytics was driven by the acquisition of BackType, which we announced in July.”
The product provides three key benefits:
â€¢ Understand how much your website content is being shared across the Twitter network
â€¢ See the amount of traffic Twitter sends to your site
â€¢ Measure the effectiveness of your Tweet Button integration
The tool will allow brands to understand how website content is being shared across the Twitter network and view the amount of traffic Twitter sends to a site.
Golda continued:“People have struggled to accurately measure the amount of traffic Twitter is sending to their websites, in part because web analytics software hasn’t evolved as quickly as online sharing and social signals.
“Twitter Web Analytics will be rolled out this week to a small pilot group of partners, and will be made available to all website owners within the next few weeks. We’re also committed to releasing a Twitter Web Analytics API for developers interested in incorporating Twitter data in their products.”
This will be a hugely useful tool for the digital marketing industry as it offers a standardised, if basic, insight into Twitter analytics for all. Twitter has also recognised that it must open up to existing analytics providers to be successful.
September 14th, 2011
A man in the UK has just been jailed for 18 months, is banned from using social networks for the next five years and has to inform police of any phone he owns or buys that provides internet access.
The man in question is Sean Duffy and the reason for his punishment is internet trolling. To be more precise, Duffy mocked a dead teenager who had committed suicide by posting offensive remarks on a page dedicated to her memory, and creating a YouTube parody of Thomas the Tank Engine with the deceased girl’s face in place of Thomas.
After the hearing, Detective Chief Inspector James Hahn, of Thames Valley police, said “Malicious communication through social networking is a new phenomenon and unfortunately shows how technology can be abused. However, our investigation shows that offenders cannot hide behind their computer screens.“
September 9th, 2011
As you will see by the event listings on the website, the Brighton Digital Festival really does reflect exactly how far Brighton has come. It confirms Brighton is living up to its billing as a digital hub, with events such as Flash on the Beach , D-Construct and BrightonSEO, as well as many events in their first year, which look set to build huge followings including BDMF and W-P Brighton.
Back to the event itself, which was organised by Pure360 who did an excellent job, and featured local agency speakers such as DC Storm, iCrossing, Content & Motion, SiteVisibility and White Hat Media. The morning session speakers also included a keynote from BBC Technology and Zenith Mist (London based).
The keynote by BBC Head of Technology Mark Kelleher focused on approaches to Social CRM, identifying risks and futures. As the Head of Technology for BBC Marketing, Audiences, Communications & Archive, Mark is responsible for the technology strategy and development of the BBC’s marketing operations covering traditional broadcasting services and on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer.
He started off with the following question to the audience: ‘Hands up if you know about Social CRM?‘ to which he received practically no response, showing understanding of Social CRM is still at a very early stage.
Mark went onto give practical examples and interesting insight, highlighting the changes that have led to Social CRM, i.e. â€˜It’s no longer good enough to make great stuff, you must make great stuff and interact with people effectively so they know about your stuff and find it useful for themselves…’
As well as more practical advice such as: â€˜Put stuff out there and see if it’s going to work as your customers don’t know how they’re going to behave.’
And: ‘Brands don’t have to answer everything. Give customer the tools to answer their own questions and make their own decisions.’ Mark indicated that this line of thinking led to the closure of the BBC’s call centre.
He also confirmed much of the success of Dr Who, when it re-launched, was created by discussion on user uploaded YouTube videos.
Mark also set out the â€˜New rules’ for brands:
1. Allow yourself to be talked about
2. Offer User journeys of graceful ease
3. Focus on providing customer value
4. Keep reviewing
Mark’s presentation was cut short, but you should be able to view his full presentation, as well as the others from the day, via the main Brighton Digital Media Festival website.
Next up was Chris Dadd, CEO at Zenith Mist (a mobile agency). Chris focused on how engaging mobile conversations can convert clicks to consumers, and offered some interesting stats such as ’91% of UK consumers have used their mobile for shopping.’
Lewis Lenssen from DC Storm then took the stage to talk about “To Attribution and Beyond!” Focusing on designing an attribution model, which should be a combination of technology and change management, not just a technical exercise.
Finally, Marc Munier from Pure360 spoke about Putting advanced email marketing techniques into practice.
Marc also delivered some great stats, such as â€˜There will be more mobile users than desktop users by 2013.’ And ‘Emails are opened within 90 minutes, where as SMS is opened within 90 seconds.’
He went onto offer examples of using email marketing to drive engagement via social media, and advised the crowd to ‘make sure you are offering a reason to engage‘.
Using the phrase “somail” (truly mashing up your email & social), Marc went onto offer advice on the best way to combine social and email/SMS, including:
Twitter – keep it short
Facebook – make it shareable
Linkedin – keep it relevant
I’m afraid my laptop battery died during the lunch break, so i wasn’t able to expand on my overviews of individual sessions, which offered smaller group interaction,Â covering subjects such as Social Measurement, User Experience and Search Marketing.
The day finished with drinks at The Fortune of War on the beach, with a very welcome sponsored bar by DC Storm.
Thanks to Abi Clowes, Hannah Ward and all of the Pure360 team for organising a brilliant event. Brighton Digital Marketing Festival proved that Brighton can be proud of its digital prowess, and we look forward to next year’s event.
September 9th, 2011
Rich people do weird and wonderful things sometimes – Sir Richard Branson has launched the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica, today.
The programme has kicked off with 14 young entrepreneurs, selected from hundreds of applicants, being coached and mentored by successful entrepreneurs including Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records.
Sir Richard is a brave man â€“ the small island, just an hourâ€™s flight from the U.S., has a history and reputation for gang violence.
But the key point is that Jamaica has responded in the past year to the killings with an aggressive programme of policing that has seen a 42 per cent drop in murders in a country where violence is a currency.
This swamping, short-term tactic can only last so long before the gangs re-take control of the Jamaican streets. And in this context, Sir Richardâ€™s initiative should be welcomed.
Is this a cynical marketing ploy by Virgin? I donâ€™t think so. Itâ€™s opportunist but leavened with positivity.
In other words, itâ€™s a rare good thing in the commercial marketing world.
Bob Marley came from another side of the island, born in Nine Mile village. And in a different time, he changed everything. It has been 30 years since he died (11th May 1981). The grief then was fierce and still abides.
Maybe, though thereâ€™s time now for a new generation to push its best people forward. Maybe, they can help to reignite the sense of hope and belief that Marley Tuff Gong embodied.
Branson told Huffington Post: “Nineteen out of 20 businesses fail, so by mentoring people here in the Caribbean or in Africa, we can make sure that hopefully 10 out of 20 succeed and help give people a leg up,”
By inspiring young entrepreneurs, the centre aims to stimulate the economy and create jobs in Jamaica, where the unemployment rate hit an eight-year high of 12.9 per cent earl this year.
“Almost every single big company in the world started with an entrepreneur just like these guys today, with one little idea, and the world desperately needs more jobs to be created, more entrepreneurs to give people some respect,” Branson told the Huff Post.
Itâ€™s a compressed and small vision, compared with Marley, and itâ€™s marketing with a not-too-subtle twist but lifting a hand upwards sometimes makes a big difference.
Leave you with this from Sir Bob the Mighty (but root out the original â€“ a class better):