Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spokeo: Spooky as hell!

I recently came across Spokeo ( The website calls it a "unique people search engine specialized in finding online activities across various social networks and public databases. "

Unique it is for sure. But it is creepy. Spokeo crawls all your so called friends activities across the web (I found photos on Picasa and Photobucket that were never shared with me, Nanny wanted ads posted and activity across different social networks).

What makes it even more scary is that you can snoop on your friends without their knowledge or consent. AND the people you are spying on don't even need to be your friends. If you ever had an email exhange with them, Spokeo will use their email address to cross check over 40 sites including social networks, business databases, ecommerce stores, and other public databases. Think about that for a second.

Their new version also includes a business edition. Well it will certainly help the business of private investigators and stalkers.

Btw, if you ever visit their site (I know you are curious), don't enter your gmail or yahoo password.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The New Yahoo...the right direction, finally!!

Yahoo under Carol Bartz is definitely moving in the right direction. First the new and redesigned homepage and now the search deal with Microsoft.

I think the new Yahoo homepage ( is a lot better with the "My Favs" section that allows you to preview your favorites sites with a mouse-over and has a "Popular Searches" section. You can add any site you want I also like the uncluttered layout and "compact" view. One of the big improvements over iGoogle is that you add any site or email or social network or news feed (I added my blog) to the My Favs section thus making it totally personalized. Yes, there are some bugs in some of the widgets, but I think Yahoo will fix them eventually.

Considering that is the most trafficked site in the world, I think the new design is a big step forward. It will take more than a new layout or a search deal with Microsoft for Yahoo to pose as a real threat to Google. But hey, at least Yahoo is finally moving in the right direction.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hire Smarter (or NOT) with Social Media

As marketing people, we love social media. And why not? Its comparatively inexpensive, has a broad reach and a variety of platforms available to establish thought leadership, demand generation and customer loyalty.

But one thing that companies need to understand before jumping onto the social media bandwagon is that social media is different from other online or traditional media. Social media is a sacred space. You get it right and you build long lasting customer loyalty. But if you get wrong, it is very hard to undo what you just did.

I recently came across this article on the Harvard blog about Hiring Smarter with Social Media ( While some of the ideas are good, I was astounded to read the following:
You can strike a balance by asking prospects to friend you for a limited time (24 or 48 hours) on any social network where they're personally identifiable, so you can see how they present themselves online and make sure there aren't any examples of bad judgement or online comments that could come back to haunt you (for example, griping about one of your clients).
Oh my god! A company who listens to this advice is not only limiting the pool of potential applicants but also exposing them to lawsuits related to discrimination. The info I share with my "friends" via Facebook or other such sites includes personal information that you would NEVER ask in an interview such as marital status, religious beliefs/affiliations, political views, etc.