Online Reputation Management Blog

The Government Can Now Screen Your Social Media Accounts For Sensitive Information

smartphone with social media bubbles (like, tweet, friend, shareIn our age of technology, social media and blogs are able to reach 80% of Internet users and account for 23% of their time spent online. And now the government can see how Americans spend their time on the internet after a new law has passed that allows private investigators to research social media accounts for security clearances.
In a new policy signed by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, investigators are able to now collect social media information on public accounts.

Aimed primarily at individuals seeking governmental positions that give them access to privatized information about national security, this law was put into effect because of the sheer size and reach of social media.

Fox News reported that Republican Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz said, “It defied common sense for the government to overlook social media data available to anyone with an Internet connection.”

Chaffetz is also glad to see the National Intelligence Council was working on fixing “such a glaring lapse in our security clearance process.”

As the policy is only aimed towards public information, investigators are banned from requesting passwords or logging into private accounts. Overall, they are not able to obtain any information from a private source.

Additionally, private communications between users, such as through apps like Facebook Messenger, will not be accessed.

This action was met with some conflict. Many members of Congress do not believe the government should use a third party resource to provide information for security clearances.

Using social media as a part of the background check process has been an accepted practice in the private sector. Current research shows that more than 40% of employers report using social media to choose their job applicants.

Additionally, more than four million Americans hold a security clearance that allows access to classified information of national security. This number is expected to grow within the next few years.

Apple and Google May Not Renew Safari Deal, Experts Say

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Though no one is certain of the date, Apple and Google’s search engine deal is expected to end sometime this year, leading experts to speculate on whether the two tech giants will renew their partnership.

Online journal Search Engine Land reports that the deal between the two companies, in which Apple made Google the default search engine for its web browser Safari, is now being weighed on both sides. Given Google’s modest net revenue generated under the agreement, however, some industry experts are predicting that the companies will part ways.

It was reported last year that Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, led discussions with Microsoft, which owns Bing, and Yahoo about a potential switch. Since at least 2011, the revenue Google generated from its default position on Safari has been steady but small. Another online journal, The Motley Fool, reported that Google is expected to make $7.8 billion in revenue from its deal with Apple. However, since Google pays Apple $2.2 billion for Safari rights, the net revenue comes out to be $5.6 billion, 8.5% of Google’s 2014 revenue.

Still, this may not be enough to convince Google to keep its spot with Safari. Especially considering that Google gave up its default rights in Firefox to Yahoo! in the United States, some predict that Google may do the same with Apple.

It is worth nothing that Google is still the default search engine in Firefox outside of the U.S.

Apple may also feel the deal is unnecessary. According to a 2012 survey of iPhone users, 45% of respondents claim that they go directly to google.com for an online search. Another 19% use the mobile Google app, bring the total percentage of users who use Google directly to 64%. However, 26% of users use the Safari toolbar, which employs Google unless the user changed its default settings to Yahoo! or Bing, which is perfectly possible.

Overall, Apple figures it can drop Google’s default position without much fuss, as users can either manually restore Google as default or go to Google directly each time they want to search.

For its part, Google has an 84% share of the mobile market in the United States. In addition, Google Chrome currently leads the field in the most Internet traffic, including desktop and mobile. Google’s dominance in search engine and Internet traffic may leave the company confident enough to say farewell to Safari.

Fashion Guru Zoella Upgrades Living Situation, Gives Online World a Lesson on the Influence of Blogging

Social Media with Blogging
Fashion blogging sensation Zoe Sugg — labeled by InStyle as the “undisputed pin-up girl for the digital generation,” has cashed in on her success and bought a stunning new Brighton home in the U.K.

Sugg, better known by her blogging name Zoella, is only 24 years old. She began her online career when she was just a teen, reviewing beauty products from her bedroom in YouTube videos.

Six years later, she now pulls in over $30,000 each month from advertisers who want to place their products alongside her videos. She has seven million subscribers and gets about 12 million hits per month.

Her new home has five bedrooms with ensuite baths, a gourmet kitchen and even an additional log cabin for casual relaxation. She will share the residence with her 21-year-old boyfriend, Alfie Deyes, and has announced on social media that they have dubbed their home the “Zalfie Pad.”

Many other fashion bloggers make a living — though perhaps not as luxurious a living as Sugg’s — by linking to products for which they receive commissions, Yahoo! Finance reported Feb. 19, and fashion bloggers are fast becoming the best avenue for major designers and retailers such as Bloomingdales to reach customers.
Blogging and Branding
Sugg’s success doesn’t just indicate her personal charisma; it’s a perfect example of the rapidly expanding power of blogging, both for individuals and major brands.

“Blogging is an opportunity you do not want to miss out when it comes to publishing for your personal brand,” Susan Gilbert wrote in a Feb. 13 article for the website Business 2 Community, neatly summing up the potential blogging offers businesses of all sizes.

Instead of simply advertising products, blogs rely on a persona with whom customers can identify (even on blogs where that persona is actually constructed by multiple individuals). Blogging, therefore, can help businesses develop a more comprehensive brand identity, create conversations and make customers feel that they’re being included in an inner circle — as opposed to simply being told what to buy.

In this case, as in many others, better branding leads to better sales, as well. Research shows that blogs are actually 63% more likely to impact buying decisions than newspapers are. That’s an important lesson for any online marketing experts debating the nature of online influence.

Facebook and Google Dominate Mobile Ad Revenues

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By now, most companies have reported their 2014 earnings, and so now begins the process of comparing and analyzing them. It’s not really much of a surprise that two of the largest companies there are, Facebook and Google, get the most mobile ad revenues — together, 50% of the total.

In 2011, Facebook didn’t earn a single dollar from mobile ad revenue; yet in 2014, the social media giant drew in over $7 billion. Many people perceived this huge increase to mean that Facebook does better than Google in that regard, but that simply isn’t the case.

Steven Max Patterson writes for Network World that mobile ads on Facebook and Google couldn’t be more different — he describes them as “apples and oranges.”

One the one hand, Facebook leads ad sales in its newsfeed, which is super accurate because of the wealth of user data that Facebook has access to. On the other, Google excels with mobile search. Again — apples to oranges here.

Where the two do intersect in the mobile ad world, according to Patterson, is competing for the best return on investment (ROI). Conversion rates are hard to track on mobile, however, since the ad types vary. But aye, there’s the rub — since conversions are hard to see through mobile ads, prices are probably going to stay low.

Forbes contributor Robert Hof says that that’s the big problem with Facebook’s success with mobile ads — the prices just aren’t going to compare to those spent on browser ads.

Hof adds that people just don’t respond to calls to action on mobile — like making purchases, downloading white papers, or filling out forms — as much as they do on their desktop computers. Though mobile ad revenue is seeing healthy growth right now, it won’t for long. At least until mobile interfaces change enough for those ads to amount to conversions.
In fact, experts say that alhough local mobile ad spending is expected to see substantial growth — from $800 million to $18 billion by next year, it could stagnate after that.

Regardless of whether or not we’re comparing apples to apples or oranges, and regardless of the fly in the mobile ad revenue ointment, there’s no disputing that both Facebook and Google are getting a pretty big chunk of the pie — at least for now.