Web 2.0

How Web 2.0 Technology Worsens the Problem

Unfortunately, the technologies that make Web 2.0 interactive are also responsible for the spread of more viruses and malware. The more multimedia the web experience becomes, the more familiar we all become with installing browser plug-ins and toolbars, drivers, widgets, and applets. “To view this content requires the latest version of Flash.” Or Shockwave, or any of the slew of other audio and video players out there. Using cool Web 2.0 applications like MMOGs often require you to install drivers and utilities. Many users are getting increasingly blasé about installing add-on applications—but we need to be more vigilant than ever about the source of such applications.

User-created content can pose risks to you, the site owner. It can also pose privacy and identity-theft risks to your users. Many shopping sites allow visitors to search for others’ wish lists by name or email address.

Unless sites take security precautions, scammers can bombard a wish-list search with known or manufactured email addresses, harvest a bunch of wish lists, and send personalized phishing scam emails promoting wished-for items.

Could your webcam be spying on you? In a blackmail scam, a man in Spain was arrested for unleashing a virus capable of taking over infected computers and cams to do just that.

It used to be (in the Web 1.0 world) that you were as safe as long as you didn’t launch any dubious executables or open any suspicious attachments.

But nowadays, malicious code can install itself in the background when you simply visit the wrong web page.

Here are a few Web 2.0 vulnerabilities:

  • Malware web pages.
  • Viruses spread among web-enabled cell phones.
  • Hacking wireless networks and Bluetooth conversations.

What to Do?

My best advice for marketers and businesspeople is to be aware that Web 2.0 is afflicted with many of the “Wild West” qualities of Web 1.0—and they’re fancier and more interactive than ever.

Internet security is unlikely to be the direct responsibility of readers of this book. Governments, security software and antivirus companies, spam filter technologies, and IT departments everywhere have been battling these kinds of threats for over a decade, and their white hat efforts will continue.

The credit card companies introduced a stringent Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI for short) that will make things tougher for hackers. The PCI standard mandates firewall and antivirus software, and regularly updated virus definitions. It requires companies to strongly encrypt data, to restrict which of your employees have access to customer credit card data, and to assign a unique identifying number to employees with that access. In addition, it governs monitoring of who views and downloads data, and periodic security system checks.

Security experts predict increasing attacks on Mac hardware, thanks largely to the spread of iPods and iPhones. For now, though, most of these ills principally afflict PCs running Microsoft operating systems and applications. But it is prudent to consider that any new foray into wireless devices, mobile, and PDA will face some novel cybercrime angles of their own.

Here are just a few priorities to bear in mind:

  • Comply with PCI standards.
  • Engage with leading security firms like VeriSign and HackerSafe to ensure your website, its server, and database are protected from known vulnerabilities.
  • If your website supports user-generated content, widgets, forums, etc., be certain that it accepts only text or very basic HTML—and refuses JavaScript and other executable code.
  • Ensure credit cards authorize and settle before shipping any products. Investigate all credit card fraud, including the referring URL.
  • Scrutinize how and where your affiliate partners appear. Carefully review their traffic, sales, and commissions. If sudden, large sales from a new partner seem too good to be true, they probably are.
  • If you distribute your text ads across a content network, review your stats for large traffic flows that didn’t result in any sales. It could be click-fraud designed to line the pocket of a site owner.
Web 2.0

Advertising and Brand Building with Social Networks

Social media encompass communication possible throughout all of the forms of social communities online. Social-media communities include forums, virtual worlds, social news organizations, social opinion sharing sites, and social networks. Social networks are built around site platforms that enable members to develop identity profiles, interact with other members, and participate in various site activities. Social networks are 2D environments with identity representation limited to one’s profile rather than by visually detailed avatars common to virtual worlds.

Although interactions with others can seemingly approximate synchronous real-time communication, the messaging structure is static rather than dynamic. Networks can be thought of as utility-based tools. They are an elegant but fun way to organize content, socialize, and promote one’s self-identity. Despite this, social networks have grown in popularity from their ability to provide a platform for information sharing, communication, and relationship development and maintenance. In a world where individuals may have reduced physical contact and heightened time spent interacting with electronic devices, social networks have evolved to provide an online platform for personal, intimate, informal neighborhood and office chatter. They offer a sense of ‘‘contact comfort’’ in a society where many of us spend less time with actual people than we do with machines.

Contact comfort helps to meet individual needs for affiliation and socialization. Social networks meet our need for contact comfort while also providing entertainment and information sharing.

Social networks are above all else communication hubs. While they all offer the core product of networking capabilities, networks do find ways to differentiate themselves. MySpace and FaceBook support relationship building and maintenance. YouTube offers a venue for sharing and promoting videos and related opinions. Flickr enables photo sharing and reviewing. LinkedIn provides a form of self-promotion and career networking.

There are niche sites as well focused on any number of hobbies and personal interests. Catster, for example, offers tips and information on caring for one’s feline companion with the added benefit of being able to talk with others who define themselves in part by the pets they love.

Social networks, like other online communities, are participatory, conversational, and fluid. Members produce, publish, control, critique, rank, and interact with online content. On FaceBook, for instance, the second most popular social network, members can build a profile that includes information about their education, habits, favorite movies and books, and other personality indicators. They can send and receive messages to members, ‘‘friend’’ people, and join groups and networks.

Profiles can be complemented with pictures, news feeds on member activities (e.g., Tracy just went shopping), and a variety of widgets. Widgets are small applications made up of code embedded on a Web site. FaceBook widgets enable members to virtually hug, wink, smile, and engage in a host of other behaviors. Most sites offer similar features, with messaging, profiling, and friending being the core functions of any network site. The interaction with others enhances the need to return to the site and continue the process of generating new content. The result is an online community of friends who may spend hours in the network each day.

Web 2.0

Ten Things You Should Do to Make Your Business More Web 2.0

These ten ideas are meant to be practical, relatively easy steps that could benefit almost every website, whatever its mission (including nonprofit missions). Some ideas are more relevant to organizations that sell products or services, generate advertising revenue, or generate business leads. But whatever your model is, if you want to embrace some of the cultural and technical trends of Web 2.0, these are great places to start.


eCommerce merchants are in a touchy position when it comes to making Web 2.0 innovations, because they must weigh any hoped-for gain against both the cost of implementation and the potential cost of confusing or distracting visitors from the task of finding and buying products.

Probably that’s why the Web 2.0 features that are enjoying the fastest uptake on ecommerce sites are ones with clear connections to improving the purchase conversion rate:

·         Enhanced product images

·         Product reviews and ratings

·         Personalization

·         Live customer-service chat

Some Web 2.0 innovations seem promising, but aren’t for everyone— for instance, they may demand too much time from a typically brief user session. For social-media features to be successful, you must operate in a market that stirs people’s passions enough to get them interacting with their online social circle. For mobile applications to benefit you, your offerings must be a natural fit for on-the-go customers.


Before testing, you have to identify what “best” outcomes mean to you. If you’re selling products, you’ll look for increased sales conversion rates, or average order value (or both!). If your site is ad-supported, your goal may be to increase visits, page-views, and visit duration. Social-media features might be weighed in terms of repeat visits, and traffic coming from referrals to friends. And you’ll also want to track the numbers most directly associated with your Web 2.0 initiatives: How many people are posting and reading product reviews? How many are establishing profiles, what is the average number of friend links, how many forum postings, RSS subscriptions, visits to your .mobi site, signups for your mobile text messaging program, links into your site from the blogosphere? To spot trends, you should track some metrics not just in their raw numbers, but also as a portion of the total. For example, what portion of all customers are registered users? What percentage of business leads is coming from the mobile site?


Following are the 10 important ideas –

  • Idea 1. Participate in Your Relevant Online Community
  • Idea 2. Launch Customer Ratings and Reviews
  • Idea 3. Add Value for Customer Registration
  • Idea 4. Create Valuable Content and Set it Free
  • Idea 5. Enhance Your Branding and Security Messaging
  • Idea 6. Deploy Web Analytics and A/B Testing
  • Idea 7. Segment Your Loyalty eMail Program
  • Idea 8. Push Channel Integration
  • Idea 9. Position Yourself in Mobile Media
  • Idea 10. Design Your Personal “Killer App