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Jason bourne

Jason bourne

In this week’s sponsored episode of Marketing Nerds, I am joined by Mike Roberts, Founder and CEO of SpyFu, a popular keyword research tool. We talk a little about where the concept of SpyFu came from, its evolution, and some of the unique ways you can use the tool’s information to improve your marketing efforts.

Spy Domian

Here are a few transcribed excerpts from our discussion, but make sure to listen to the podcast to hear everything:

What is SpyFu?

You can go to SpyFu and type in any website and see every keyword that they’ve ever bought on Google. You can see all their organic keywords and how those have changed over the last 10 years. You can pinpoint any sort of Google algorithm change and how that effected a website. You can also see how a company started their AdWords campaign and how they changed their ad copy and changed their keyword groups to squeeze out the highest conversion rates.


Ultimately, the goal is to spy on your competitors and figure out their secrets. Often times, we get focused on like, “Well, this guy is my direct competitor across the street.” Or you’re at Search Engine Journal, so you might be looking at Search Engine Land.

Often times, what you really want to look for are people who you admire. You want to look at the ones who are, executing well or growing fast.

From your perspective, a competitor you might not think about would be, like, Wordstream or Moz or Quick Sprout, who, have really great content marketing campaigns. You might look into their content and try to find their best Evergreen content and see if you can improve upon it.

Any examples of people using SpyFu in an effective and useful way?

In terms of PPC, there’s two core things that are, sort of, advanced or things that people should use. SpyFu is used to spy on your competitors and download their keywords. That’s core to our model. Right? Everybody knows SpyFu for that.

The reality is, if you want to be really successful, you need to look at what has worked in other people’s AdWords campaigns. The thing is, we have the entire AdWord’s campaign history, meaning, everything that they’ve ever done on AdWords, we have for nearly 99% of domains. Right?

Just as an example: Groupon. We’ve been collecting data for four years longer than they’ve been a company. As a result, we have their very first ad they ever ran on Google.

Then we have every test that they’ve ever run, every split test. We have their A, their B, their C, their D, all they way through their first keyword. You’re looking at 22 different tests you can tell which one won, over all that time.

The ad copy is, actually, the greatest predictor of quality score. Focusing on improving your ad copy and figuring out what didn’t work, is a sure way to figure out what is going to work for you.

It’s called SpyFu Ad History. We have that for domains. We also have it for keywords. You can look at an individual keyword and see everybody that’s ever advertised on that keyword.


Take that Groupon example. I think their first keyword, it’s like Daily Deals or something like that, right? If you look at Daily Deals, if I were to pull it up here in SpyFu, there’d probably be something on the order of 50 advertisers or so who have advertised on that.

Each of those guys, you’ve got Groupon, and then you’ve got Living Social, each of those guys is going to have 15 different ad copy tests that they’ve run. You’ve got everything that’s ever been tested on that keyword. You can figure out, “Well, they ran this one for a few months and then they ran this one partially.” You can see it intermingle in there when it’s running 50-50. Then you can see the one that they decided on and then you can see the next evolution and so on and so forth.

Any other areas that jump out as not so obvious, but extremely valuable?

On the AdWord side, the most valuable tool we’ve ever built takes all these lessons about history and about things that your competitors are buying, the idea is that looking at a single competitor is interesting. If they’re doing something and you’re not, you could look at that.

When many of your competitors are all betting their money on the same keywords and you’re not, that is a really strong signal to look at that keyword. In addition, if you factor in that they’ve been buying it, repeatedly, over time and increasing their positions and increasing their bid, then that’s the strongest possible signal.

We’ve taken all of that wisdom, all of that knowledge, that we’ve learned over the last 10 years of doing this, we built it into a single report. This is called the AdWord’s Advisor Report. What it does is, it tells you, point-blank, “You should buy these keywords.” It gives you a list of the top keywords that you’re not buying, that you should. It even tells you whether or not you should buy the phrase match or the modified broad or just buy the exact. It tells you those things, it tells you how much traffic you’d get and how much you’d spend.

It also tells you, “You know what? None of your competitors are buying these keywords that you’re showing up on. You’re probably broad matching into them, you should use negative matches.” This is a simple report. All you do is, you type in your domain and it selects the competitors for you. You run the report, then it gives you this advice. It’s point and click, super simple. It takes all that stuff and makes it really easy.

Interestingly, this is sort of the same type of thing that Bid Management Tools will do. If you use, Quizzio, WordStream, or Morin, or something like that, they’ll give you really good advice. For people who don’t know the history of the Google API thing and the Raven Tools thing, Google, kind of, enforces this separation of church and state.


[With] a lot of the low hanging fruit, how do you know whether what you’re doing is actually going to cause long-term damage? If you’re in it for the long-haul and we’re, obviously, one of those companies that is in it for the long-haul, you look at it and you’re like, “Well, how much risk am I willing to put into building backlinks, when 2 or 3 years from now, Google might penalize us for this?”

If you open up Majestic or Moz or whatever and you put in your competitor’s domain, and you’re like, “I’m going to go through here and I’m going to find out whether they have some links that would like to get.” Or, however, you want to start this process.

If you go in there you end up seeing millions and millions of backlinks from all over, like, every dark corner of the internet. You can look at the Domain Authority and try to figure out, “Which ones of these might work for me?”, but you really don’t know that much about those links. You have to research each one and it really kills the productivity of the whole thing. Right?

First of all, there’s a whole bunch of duplicates. You might be looking through there and you have to scroll through many, many pages to find things that you need. We built a backlink tool about 2 years ago. The guiding principle was, Let’s only show you backlinks that are going to be safe for you. Let’s never show any duplicates, either. Let’s just make the thing as highly productive as it can possibly be and make it so that you never have to worry about if this link is going to get you in trouble.

The core reason that these are safe backlinks, is that they’re all indexed by Google. They’re, currently, indexed by Google. What’s interesting about that is, because we have our other database, we have the SpyFu database, is we know exactly what the authority, what’s the link equity from that link going to get you, because we know what every page ranks on.

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com/spy-on-your-competitors-with-spyfu/170219/

ISLAMABAD: In 2013, after Yahoo acquired Tumblr, a micro blogging website, many financial analysts thought that Yahoo would move away from troubled waters and join ranks with the likes of Facebook and Twitter, if not Google.

Marissa Mayer indeed made a good bet by acquiring the blogging platform for $1.1 billion but unfortunately the acquisition failed to turn things around for Yahoo. Revenues fell, though Yahoo snatched back some market share from Google in 2015 after a deal to replace Google as the default search engine on Firefox browsers in the US.

Despite several acquisitions and organisational changes, profits continued to tumble and eventually the company was put up for sale in 2016. Now in hindsight, we can identify four reasons why a company valued at more than $100 billion in year 2000 ended up getting acquired for less than $4 billion in 2016.

Do you Yahoo!?

After 21 years, board of directors at Yahoo still has no idea if Yahoo is an internet technology company or is it a media powerhouse. For most users, Yahoo is an obsolete search engine; for some, Yahoo is synonymous to Yahoo Mail and for many, it is a finance news portal.

The organisational identity crisis resulted in an unbridged gap between its internal self-image and its market positioning. Yahoo was the ‘go-to destination’ to find good content on internet but it failed to develop a new niche after the dot-com bubble burst.

Yahoo is a buzzkill when it comes to acquisitions.

It acquired more than 110 companies since its inception but only a few had a strategic fit with its core business. Yahoo has shown a poor track record in general when it comes to managing million dollar acquisitions. Yahoo failed to monetise the $5.7 billion Broadcast.com, an internet radio company and had to close operations of GeoCities – a web hosting company that it acquired for over $3.6 billion. Yahoo did the same with Delicious and Flickr.

A hands-off approach to product development

Unlike Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook and Larry at Google, co-founders of Yahoo essentially disconnected themselves with decisions related to the product design. Product managers called the shots who would prepare extensive requirements elicitation documents for engineers to execute – with little room for feedback.

Creativity was not a priority and there was no culture of process improvement. Things never changed even when underdogs started to steal Yahoo’s thunder and grab its market share.

Missed opportunities

In 2002, Yahoo failed to close a deal with Google co-founders when they asked for $1 billion. Eventually when Yahoo’s CEO went to them with the reluctant offer, Google raised their valuation to $3 billion.

Similarly in 2006, Yahoo approached Facebook with an offer of $1 billion. Though Mark Zuckerberg declined, it was widely known that an offer of $1.1 billion would have got the deal approved by Facebook’s board.

In 2008, Microsoft approached Yahoo with a takeover bid of over $44 billion. Yang resisted the offer and made up a “stockholder rights plan” as a poison pill to make the company unattractive for takeover. Eventually in 2012, Yang stepped down from the board leaving the company in dire straits.

Final word

An internal memo written by a Yahoo employee in 2006 (called Peanut Butter Manifesto) highlighted that the company wants to do everything and be everything – to everyone. The “fear of missing out” and the inability to focus on a core business contributed to the downfall of an internet pioneer.


Here are some of the most whackiest and bizarre searches people make on Google

Nowadays we rely more on Google than books for information. As time goes, Google is becoming more and more wiser and dishing out exact results we want. But there are people on this Earth who have the most whackiest questions for Google. These people are taking Google search to a whole new level altogether. From wanting to know what happens if they drink blood to whether passing wind burns calories, these folks are more hilarious than curious.

A marketing agency, Digitaloft, did some research into these nerdy creatures and came out with some rib-tickling data about Google searches. As strange as it can get, here are a few strangest Google questions people have asked the search engine.

The top whackiest search made on Google is “am I  pregnant?”. Seems like there are people on Earth who trust Google more than doctors or pregnancy tests.


The most popular question on the pictorial chart, created by marketing agency Digitaloft is: 'Am I pregnant?' 

Some existential users are concerned with the big questions, with 8,100 monthly searches on Google for 'why are we here?' and 49,500 for 'when will I dies' shown above

According to the chart, 49,500 people a month ask whether farting burns calories, but unfortunately the myth this bodily function burns 67 calories is false. While a section of people have a really intuitive question, why men have nipples when apparently it doesn’t do anything. Some 22,200 are curious as to why men have nipples, while a more troubled 4,400 people a month Google ‘why does my bellybutton smell?’

Others are in search of answers to life's mysteries, with 8,100 people asking if the tooth fairy is real every month. The infographic provides and cute and child-friendly answer

Worryingly, 3,600 people a month ask whether men have periods (infographic shown above), with another 2,900 querying whether men can become pregnant, displaying a rather poor grasp of biology

Nearly 3600 people are worried whether men have periods and another 2900 queried whether men can become pregnant. A whopping 49,500 people think Google is god and searched “when will I die”on it.


Some 18,100 people ask Google whether penguins have knees every month, 8,100 want to know if pigs sweat and 2,900 are curious whether worms have eyes – they don’t.

An insecure 2,900 people every month ask the search engine ‘does my dog love me?’ every month.

Some 800 people a month ask Google 'Can I marry my cousin?' according to the infographic (pictured), meaning 10,560 people a year might be considering popping the question to a relative

If you have made such a similar bizarre search on Google, kindly mention it in comments and let others know how whacky you are!


While announcements regarding Android, self-driving cars and Google Fiber get more publicity, nothing has arguably been more important to Google's business than the improvements the company has been making to its mobile search engine and the search ads that run against mobile queries. Parent Alphabet's (GOOGL) second-quarter results show those improvements are still paying huge dividends.

Three months after selling off on a first-quarter miss, Alphabet is up over 4% after handily beating analyst estimates. Revenue rose 21% annually (25% excluding forex) to $21.5 billion, an improvement from the first quarter's 17% growth. Adjusted EPS rose 20%, to $8.42.

The sales growth pickup was fueled by a 21% increase in Google segment revenue to $21.3 billion. That, in turn, was driven by a 24% increase in Google sites ad revenue to $15.4 billion -- mobile search and YouTube are behind most of the growth -- and a 33% increase in "Google other" revenue, which covers businesses such as Google Play and Nexus and Chromecast hardware lines, to $2.2 billion. The Google network sites business, which sells ads on third-party sites and has been stung by Facebook's rapid ad sales growth, grew just 3%, to $3.7 billion.

Google's paid clicks -- the number of ad clicks or views on which the company recorded revenue -- rose 29% annually for the second quarter in a row. Paid clicks on Google sites rose an impressive 37% thanks to strong mobile search and YouTube ad growth; paid clicks for network sites were flat.

A shift toward mobile search and YouTube ads is still coming at the cost of lower ad prices: Cost per click fell 7%, courtesy of a 9% drop on Google sites and an 8% drop on network sites. But it only fell 1% sequentially, and the annual drop is better than the first quarter's 9% and the fourth quarter's 13%.

Restrained spending under CFO Ruth Porat remains the other big driver of Alphabet's strong financial performance. Adjusted operating expenses rose 15% annually, easily trailing revenue growth of 21%. And capital expenditures fell 16%, to $2.1 billion, which (along with revenue growth) helped free cash flow rise 53%, to $7 billion. Capex will probably start rising again soon, given Google's infrastructure needs, but for now it's a major tailwind.

"There's a story where basically the revenue went up, the expenses went down dramatically -- that was really really fabulous," said Jim Cramer, TheStreet's founder and manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, which owns Alphabet.

Google's strong ad growth wouldn't be possible if not for the investments it has made to make sure its search services remain a valuable utility to consumers in an app-dominated smartphone landscape. Those efforts include optimizing results based on location and device type, indexing the content of mobile apps and even (through its AMP initiative) improving the performance of third-party mobile web pages. Many of those efforts leverage Google's unmatched search data and machine learning algorithms; on the earnings call, Google chief Sundar Pichai said over 100 Google teams are using machine learning.

The growth also wouldn't be possible without improvements made to Google's core AdWords search ad platform. Over the past year, the changes have included creating more effective shopping and travel ad formats, letting mobile users pay for advertised items on Google's site, supporting larger ad headlines and descriptions, allowing ads to be customized based on location and providing a better interface for marketers running AdWords campaigns.

One weak spot in the second-quarter report: Traffic acquisition costs rose as a percentage of revenue for both Google sites and network ad sales. That was attributed to mobile search growth -- Google is believed to make considerable payments to Apple (AAPL) for the right to be the default search engine for Mobile Safari, and lesser payments to carriers and Android manufacturers -- and growing adoption of programmatic (automated) ad-buying platforms by advertisers.

Also, Alphabet's "Other Bets" reporting segment, which covers businesses such as Google Fiber, the Nest/Dropcam smart home unit, the Calico anti-aging drug unit, and Alphabet's self-driving car efforts, reported an $859 million operating loss, up 30% annually. Revenue, much of which is believed to come from Nest/Dropcam, rose 150%, but still only amounted to $185 million.

But for now, markets are willing to give Alphabet a pass for the losses incurred by Other Bets' long-term projects. At least while Google's core business keeps defying the law of large numbers and making mobile monetization fears look quite misplaced.

On Friday morning, Alphabet shares were trading up 3.9% to $795.64.


Columnist Nathan Safran shares data and insights from a recent study conducted by Blue Nile Research that may change the way you think about keyword research.

Although it is among the first tasks completed in the search marketing journey, keyword analysis is arguably its most crucial element. The keywords the marketer chooses will go a long way to defining the success of the program, from visits to engagement to revenue.

Traditional keyword research — using data sources such as our own website analytics, keyword tools such as Google Keyword Planner, and external tools such as Ubersuggest — is an important part of a thorough keyword research process.

In reality, however, this only provides an adjacent look at how others might be searching based on our starting term (or in the case of analytics, how searchers are arriving at our website through terms for which we already rank). This is valuable in its own right, but it is ultimately limited in helping us gain a true picture of how searchers might be looking for our product or service.

Looking From A Different Angle

An approach that will give us a very different view of how people actually search is to query a group of users with the same set of scenarios and ask them how they would search in each scenario. This is the approach Blue Nile Research recently took in a research study, Psychology of the Searcher: Patterns in How Searchers Formulate Queries(Full disclosure: I am Blue Nile’s CEO and founder.)

The study asked searchers to imagine three different scenarios and queried them as to how they would search in each scenario:

  • Technology Problem: Coffee maker does not turn on
  • Health Problem: Swollen ankle
  • E-commerce: In the market for a new laptop

Rather than depending on a tool to tell us searches adjacent to our starting term (an approach that is limited both by the technology and our own assumptions about how people search), this approach goes right to the source and asks a set of respondents about how they would search in each scenario. This approach left us with a rich set of data for analysis, allowing us to extract patterns about how users’ searching habits differ.

Half Search In Fragments, Half In Full Queries

Ironically, the most interesting insight from the study is from a simple 50-50 pie chart. The chart shows exactly half of all respondents search in “fragments” (2-3 words), while half search using “full queries” (4+words).

This split, and the follow-up analysis of the individual responses across all searcher scenarios, reveals two distinct approaches searchers take in resolving an information gap:

Throw It Against The Wall And See What Sticks (Fragment Query)

This searcher is focused on “speed of search” and inputs the minimum amount of information into the search box. They are willing to peruse the search results, click into multiple links to discover the information they are looking for, and follow up with a more specific search if necessary.

Be Specific Out Of The Gate (Full Query)

This searcher is focused on “depth of search” and takes an extra moment to best phrase their query, with the hopes they will find what they are looking for in one click, towards the top of the search results.

Our Audiences Are Comprised Of Distinct Individuals

When we look at this from a slightly different angle and break the responses down into number of words, we see no single query length represents as much as a third of respondents. This finding strongly suggests that users very much search in distinct, individual ways. This suggests an imperative for marketers to understand the distinct nuances of their own audiences.


Conclusion: Step Back And Ask If You Really Know Your Audience

Keyword research with traditional methods such as keyword tools and analysis of web analytics, while valuable, offer marketers a limited view of searcher behavior. New research offers insight into how searcher behavior differs, showing half of all users search in fragments while half search in fully formed queries.

This analysis, along with data that shows no one query length had as much as a third of all searches, prompts marketers to ask themselves if they have a deep enough understanding of their audience to effectively address them.

This may mean starting a new campaign not with the Google Planner Tool or with complex segmentation in your web analytics, but with a market research approach that will give you an unfettered view into your audience. Because ultimately, the arrow will go exactly where it is aimed.



About Scholarship Search Insider

Scholarship Search Insider features weekly expert advice and information on how prospective college students can find scholarships and pay for college. Scholarships.com was founded in 1998 and has become one of the most widely used free college scholarship search and financial aid information resources. College Greenlight is a leading college and scholarship platform for first-generation and underrepresented students. Its parent company, Cappex.com, is a free resource that helps students find their best-fit colleges. Got a question? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


When applying for college scholarships and trying to determine which are worth your time and effort, consider the amount of work required, the dollar amount and the level of competition for the scholarship. A common marketing ploy is to offer as little money as possible and with few, if any, filters.

Being selective in your search is perfectly fine – just be sure to begin your scholarship search early so you will have time to apply to those that truly suit you.The scholarship search process has levels. As long as you begin early, you can start by applying for easy scholarships and work your way up to the more competitive ones.

Being selective does not mean only applying to large-dollar, well-known scholarships. Small-dollar scholarships can add up.

Here are some tips for conducting a more selective scholarship search.


1. Take it easy: Starting out with easy scholarships can be particularly helpful for students who are new to the scholarship search process. Easy scholarships have a short and simple application process, do not require an essay or project and have less competition with greater chances of winning.

For example, if your last name is Zolp, you are attending or planning to attend Loyola University Chicago and you are Catholic, you easily qualify for the Zolp Scholarship. How many people will fit such a unique profile?

High school seniors or first-time college freshmen who are Alabama residents and plan to attend college in Alabama are eligible to apply for the CollegeCounts Scholarship Program as long as they have a minimum 2.75 GPA.Easy scholarships – even at $500 per award – may be worth your time if your odds of winning are good. After all, that's $500 that you don't need to repay after graduation.

These are just a few of the easier and more specific scholarships out there. Don't discount contests and sweepstakes as well, even if they are more widely offered. However, bear in mind that the easier the scholarship and the fewer requirements to enter, the less chance you have of winning.


2. Know your big-name scholarships: Corporate-hosted and large-name scholarships probably ring a bell for most college-bound students. These scholarships are not only prestigious but also reputable, and they can be worth thousands or even tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Typically, they require more work and an impressive profile, and they can be fairly competitive.

Recipients can also reference these scholarships as accomplishments on their resumes, which may offer the students benefits beyond the monetary award, including a supportive network of fellow awardees as well as the scholarship committee.These scholarships are a great fit for students with a competitive edge, a drive to succeed and outstanding grades and extracurricular involvement. They're not necessarily the easiest to apply to, but they offer large monetary awards to successful applicants.

In the world of scholarships, the Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship is open to stellar community college students who are also Phi Theta Kappa members as well as heavily involved in their communities.

The famous RMHC U.S. Scholarship is open to ambitious high school seniors residing in participating Ronald McDonald House Charity chapter areas. To qualify, applicants must be younger than 21 years old, be a U.S. resident and be eligible to attend a two- or four-year college, university or technical school.


3. Avoid scholarships that charge a fee: Students should never pay for a scholarship search or application fee. Even if the fee is a small, scammers can collect thousands in application fees, doling out a small fraction of the proceeds and pocketing the rest of the money.

Legitimate scholarship providers and services will never require a fee – be sure to read the rules carefully when applying and run in the other direction if prompted for credit card information.Don't worry, though – there are plenty of legitimate options and organizations that don't charge a fee to process your application.

Ford Motor Company, for example, has partnered with The Adelante! U.S. Education Leadership Fund to offer the $1,500 ¡Adelante! Fund Ford Motor Company/Future Leaders Scholarship for deserving Hispanic college students majoring in a science, technology, engineering and math field.

4. Consider your return on investment: All students should consider their return on investment when searching for scholarships. Churning out essays may be easy for students with strong writing skills but the average 500-1,500 word essay may take a bit longer for others.

Strong writers should certainly submit their well-written essays, especially if they're confident they can win a scholarship available to a broad pool of applicants. They should also determine whether they can reuse any of those essays for more than one scholarship application, if the scholarship rules allow.

For example, the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund offers a writing contest for grades K-12 on the theme of the Second Amendment. Although the age range is fairly broad, strong essay writers have a chance to win $1,000 by competing against fellow students in their age group.

Undergraduate and graduate women who are interested in various aspects of international business and relations and have solid writing chops can enter an essay on the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences for a chance at winning one of two $1,500 WIIT Trust Scholarships.

Source:  http://www.usnews.com/education/scholarship-search-insider/articles/2016-06-30/tips-for-conducting-a-more-selective-scholarship-search






Tuesday, 05 July 2016 03:01

An Internet for everyone

The Internet has rapidly become the most important infrastructure in the world. We are now, however, rapidly witnessing how it is becoming the infrastructure of all other infrastructures as well.

Industry 4.0 has become a catch-all word for much of the debate about the future of our economies. From Davos to Hanover, the phrase “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is being used to describe this change.

Over the last two years I chaired the Global Commission on Internet Governance. As we worked — meeting in Stockholm, Seoul, Ottawa, London, The Hague, Bangalore, Accra, Palm Springs and Amman — it become clear to me that this is an incomplete way of describing the transformation we are beginning to see.

While it could be the fourth phase of the industrial revolution, future historians are more likely to describe it as the transition from the industrial to the digital era in the evolution of human society.

The Commission was set up as a broad-based, independent initiative to address the many Internet governance issues that this transition will generate. The more we understood the enormous potential benefits of this transformation to our societies, the more we became concerned by the many challenges that threatened its success.

The benefits are obvious. Developing countries can leap-frog into a new generation of technologies, opening up new possibilities for economic and social development. The World Bank estimates that a 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration raises GDP by more than 1 per cent. A new wave of entrepreneurship is sweeping over Africa and Asia as the smartphone becomes more and more readily available.

There is certainly still a significant digital divide — but with the rapid development we are now witnessing, that divide will become more generational than geographic, and it will affect all of our societies. The generations that knew fax machines will have difficulties understanding the Snapchat generation, and vice versa.

Technology rapidly increases online accessibility. If present trends continue, 90 per cent of the global population is likely to be covered by mobile broadband networks with similar or better capacity than we have in most of Europe today — in a little more than five years.

And that’s when the real revolution will start. 5G mobile networks with a capacity perhaps 100 times better than today’s will usher us into the era of the Internet of Things. Everything could be connected to, and potentially interact with, everything else.

Two major challenges immediately arise.

The first concerns trust. Can we as citizens trust that big government and big corporations don’t misuse the data and information that, one way or another, they are collecting about us? Is there a risk of a cyber “2084” as we look ahead?

The other concern is around security. Conflict and war suddenly take on a cyber dimension that might easily spin out of control if clear norms for state behaviour are not established. With an Internet of Everything, there is suddenly also the risk of a militarisation of everything. In our everyday lives we become vastly more exposed and vulnerable to cybercrime in many ways that were, until recently, unimaginable.

We concluded it is imperative for everyone to take these issues far more seriously if trust in the Internet is to be preserved. Otherwise, the Internet’s promise will never come to fruition.

We have called for a new social compact to regulate the state use of surveillance on the net. There is no question that states have a responsibility to safeguard the rule of law in the digital domain. However, this role must be performed within clearly defined limits and with oversight perceived as robust and credible.

By the same token, encryption must remain a right not unduly undermined or put into question. We must understand that we safeguard our data not through where it is stored — in the digital world there are no real borders — but through how well we protect it wherever it happens to be.

Data will be the key resource of our future economies. Today there is more data generated every week than during the previous thousand years, and the use of this data will drive growing parts of the global economy. We have a strong interest in safeguarding the free flow of data across the global economy as we see digital value chains rapidly gaining importance.

Cyber hygiene must suffuse our entire economy, and it must start at home. Every unsafe device, and every unsafe use of a device, exposes both the user and other people to danger. In addition, industry must resist a tendency to rush new software to market in the belief that it can be patched further down the line. No one has the right to sell insecurity.

The governance of the Internet is today a biosphere of organisations and institutions bringing together all who have a stake in the system. Although questioned by those keen to see U.S. conspiracies everywhere, this multi-stakeholder web of governance has served the world extraordinarily well so far.

Nevertheless, when the U.S. government now gives up its last vestige of direct involvement in the governance of the Internet, it is an important step towards increasing the international legitimacy of the multi-stakeholder system.

Preserving the hallmarks of the multistakeholder model is key to its future dynamic development. We must not allow the governance of the Internet to be captured either by government or corporate interests. Everyone has a stake, and no one should have exclusive control.

This clashes with concepts like “Internet sovereignty”, launched primarily by China but supported by Russia and others. While a dialogue with China, a rapidly emerging cyberpower, is essential, and agreements on important issues should be sought, we should never forget the fundamental difference between open, democratic societies and others.

The final report of the Commission has now been presented in conjunction with the ministerial meeting of the 34 nations of the OECD in Cancun, Mexico earlier this week. It does not provide an answer to all the questions arising from these developments, but it is a call to everyone to put them at the very centre of policy discussions and policy making in the years ahead. It provides a roadmap for the future of the Internet.

The digital age is rapidly emerging. It will, over time, transform our economies and societies in ways beyond our comprehension. But we must act now to address the challenges in order to benefit from its massive potential. Our Commission report is a call to action.

Source:  https://ipolitics.ca/2016/06/26/an-internet-for-everyone/

Thursday, 23 June 2016 02:34

The Big Problem With the Internet Now

In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, English computer scientist and the creator of the World Wide Web, couldn't have predicted that people would be using his idea to spread the word about the Arab Spring uprisings, or raise thousands of dollars to create a product. His goal was simple: he wanted a way to help people find and keep track of information more easily.

Nearly 27 years later, the World Wide Web has grown beyond the single server that Berners-Lee created to become a much larger and more influential entity. But there's one thing that continues to worry Berners-Lee--that some organizations are trying to limit people's ability to access certain types of content on the internet.

"It's been great, but spying, blocking sites, re-purposing people's content, taking you to the wrong websites--that completely undermines the spirit of helping people create," Berners-Lee tells the New York Times.

That's why this week, Berners-Lee and other powerful individuals in tech are hosting an event called the Decentralized Web Summit to discuss ways to give individuals more privacy, and more control over what they can access on the web. They want to find a way to stop governments from blocking certain web pages for example, and find more ways for people to pay for things on the internet without handing over sensitive credit card information.

Berners-Lee also told the Times that he's concerned about how the rising dominance of tech giants, such as Amazon, Google, and Twitter, is discouraging competition among companies that deal with the web, and stemming a more diverse flow of ideas.

"The problem is the dominance of one search engine, one big social network, one Twitter for microblogging," he says. "We don't have a technology problem, we have a social problem."

Berners-Lee and others sketched out their ideas for a few technological solutions that they believe could help decentralize the web. They think it would be beneficial for more websites to adopt a ledger-like style of payment, such as Bitcoin, to give people more control over their money.

Another one of the Decentralized Web Summit's organizers, Edward Kahle, has also created an Internet Archive, which can store discontinued websites and multiple versions of a web page. Those are small steps, but it's a move back in the direction of Berners-Lee's original version of the World Wide Web: a place where anyone can find the information they need--anytime, anywhere.

Source:  http://www.inc.com/anna-hensel/tim-berners-lee-decentralized-web-summit.html

Wednesday, 22 June 2016 03:30

The Internet and the death of ethics

Is the Net inherently unethical, or does it simply make it too easy for users to act immorally? Either way, tech too often brings out the worst in even the best of us.

Some people see the Internet as a mirror held up to our culture. If it is, the mirror shows us in an unflattering light.

From newsroom staffers caught off guard on camera in a private moment gone viral on YouTube to dorm room trysts streamed live online, people have no shame about the despicable content they post on the Web. Respect and courtesy are quaint, outdated notions to these Internet citizens.

The people charged with protecting us from such abhorrent behavior not only fail to prevent it, they tacitly or explicitly encourage these breaches in morality because it means more page views, more customers, and more money. For example, YouTube's Community Guidelines state that the company works 24 hours a day, seven days a week to find and remove content that violates its ethical standards. Yet the same poor-taste, non-age-restricted videos appear there week after week, month after month.

Unfortunately, it isn't just misguided college kids or mean-spirited news junkies who propagate these crimes against fairness and human kindness. At a company I worked for, I discovered a senior executive had plagiarized about a dozen different Web sites in a report he had written for a client. He had copied the material directly from the sites and pasted it into his document, changing only a word or two here and there. (In a future post, I'll describe how I inadvertently discovered the plagiarism.)

Nowhere in the document had he mentioned that the material was taken from these sites. When I brought this serious breach of ethics to his attention, he replied, "Don't worry about it."

I told him I was worried about it and insisted he cite in the report the origin of the material. Ultimately, links to the pages from which he "borrowed" were inserted into the document, and a paragraph was added to state that much of the text was taken directly from the sites--though the material appeared without quote marks and without the explicit permission of the sites themselves.

The author of the report is a noted and well-respected scientist. I can only assume that the temptation of stealing the material was too great for him to pass up. If such an esteemed, well-regarded individual succumbed to the Internet's siren song of immorality without a second thought, have we lost the battle to preserve ethics in the online world once and for all?

Internet codes of ethics through the years

In January 1989, the Internet Advisory Board issued a memo titled Ethics and the Internet (RFC 1087) that focused primarily on the need to protect the U.S. government's "fiduciary responsibility to the public to allocate government resources wisely." These guidelines were intended to protect the government's investment in the Internet infrastructure from disruption or lack of access resulting from "irresponsible use."

The five activities proscribed by this code were seeking unauthorized access, disrupting the intended use of the Internet, wasting resources, corrupting data, and compromising the privacy of users. The Computer Ethics Institute has since devised the Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics (PDF), which take a much broader approach.

10 13 10 Ethics1

Along with admonitions not to steal computer resources, use computers to steal or to "bear false witness," or use proprietary software without paying for it is a commandment stating that "thou shalt not appropriate other people's intellectual output." I was delighted to see the last of the 10 commandments:

"Thou shalt always use a computer in ways that ensure consideration and respect for your fellow humans."If this last commandment were actually enforced, the YouTube video archive would be considerably smaller.

Pleas for netiquette go unheeded

At the dawning of the Web in 1994, Virginia Shea released the Core Rules of Netiquette, which later became a book and Web site. As Shea points out, the rules describe good online manners and don't address the legal issues entailed in appropriate use of the Internet. However, she states in rule No. 2, "Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life," that any illegal activity is bad Netiquette.

If you're charged with educating students about Internet ethics, the University of Illinois offers Scenarios for Teaching Internet Ethics, which cover such topics as employers reading their employees' e-mail without permission, social-network users posting negative comments about people, and even writers copying material from Web sites and pasting it into their own reports without attribution.

Chris MacDonald maintains the EthicsWeb.ca site, which includes a list of Applied Ethics Resources for businesses, media, health care providers, researchers, government agencies, and computer professionals. Unfortunately, many of the links on the site are no longer active. I hope this doesn't indicate a loss of interest on the part of those sites' developers. It certainly can't be for lack of a need for such resources.

The fight for an ethical Internet may be a lost cause, if only because people's moral compasses appear to be irreparably damaged. Several years ago, a person I worked for instructed me and my co-workers to lie to writers about assignment due dates in an attempt to receive the assignments in a more timely manner.

Another former boss put my name on an e-mail he wrote to the columnists who worked for us, because he knew the columnists would be more willing to accept what the message proposed if they thought it came from me rather than from him. In both cases, I refused to comply.

I'm starting to think there are no ethics in business--my own experience does not refute this assertion. It could be that the lack of negative consequences for immoral, unethical behavior is perceived as tacit approval of such activities. In this regard, I believe the bard may have had it wrong: conscience definitely does not make cowards of us all.

Source:  http://www.cnet.com/news/the-internet-and-the-death-of-ethics/

Tuesday, 21 June 2016 02:09

9 Secret Google Search Tricks

Google is your portal to everything out there on the World Wide Web...but also your portal to more and more of your personal stuff, from the location of your phone to the location of your Amazon delivery. If you’re signed into the Google search page, and you use other Google services, here are nine search tricks worth knowing.

It probably goes without saying but just in case: only you can see these results. Nobody else can Google your next hotel trip. How well they work is going to depend on how plugged in you are to other tools like Gmail, but they’re useful shortcuts from the Google homepage or the Chrome address bar.

“I’ve lost my phone”

The newest one in our list, which is essentially an easier way to get to Android Device Manager. Google “I’ve lost my phone” to see the last known location of all the phones linked to your Google account. You can call and lock your phone as well as locate it, and it works with both Android and iOS devices.

“Contact <name>”

Get at your Google Contacts straight from the Google search page with this trick, simply adding the name of one of your friends or family members after the “contact” keyword. If there’s more than one match found, you’ll see a list of options—click on any of the results to initiate an audio call over Hangouts.

“My deliveries”

Next, a series of personal searches that tap into the information Google has from your Gmail account. Use “my deliveries” (or “packages” or “purchases”) to see recent orders stashed in your inbox—click on any of the entries shown on screen and you can see prices together with any available tracking details.

“My flights”

For a while now Gmail has done a very good job of spotting travel plans hidden among your email messages (it’s basically what Inbox is built on) and if you Google “my flights” you can see past and future trips through the air. Expand any entry in the list to see flight numbers, times, and other salient details.

“My hotels”

The “my hotels” search works just like the flights one, with Google tapping into your inbox to bring up all the hotel reservations you’ve made. Again, click on any entry in the list to see the details—you can jump straight to the relevant email in Gmail, get directions to the hotel, and see older reservations too.

“My shows”

Run a search for “my shows” and you see all of your upcoming plays, gigs and other events that you might have a confirmation for somewhere in your Gmail account. Google does a decent job of pulling out the right details for you. Use “my reservations” to see both hotels and shows in the same list together.

“My bills”

You probably don’t want to be reminded about upcoming bills you’ve got to pay or about any money going out of your bank account, but just in case... “my bills” will find it for you, provided that there’s some kind of record in your Gmail account. If you want any financial assistance, that’s a separate Google search.

“My events”

A quick way of setting everything that’s coming up in your Google Calendar. You can also run queries like “when’s my next appointment?” or “what am I doing next week?” to get personal answers from Calendar. Click on an entry to see dates, times, descriptions and a list of the guests signed up to attend.

“My photos”

Hello, Google Photos! Google can bring up a response to “my photos” and “my videos” provided you’re using its in-house photo storage service. You can even get creative: try “my photos of me” or “my photos of cats” and see what kind of a results you get. It’s all very slick and straightforward.

Source:  http://fieldguide.gizmodo.com/9-secret-google-search-tricks-1781341511

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