Brands that boost their Facebook fan base by offering freebies and discounts to people who sign up could face a backlash in the not-too-distant future, warns Augie Ray. Social search engines are likely to find ways to weed out "fake" fans, just as conventional search engines learned to screen out "black hat" marketers who sought to manipulate their algorithms. "Brands hoping to help their social search engine relevance by amassing fans should take heed -- the easy way may work for a while, but the authentic and hard way always wins in the end," Ray writes.
Visitors to social networking sites don't feel an obligation to stick to one online venue, a survey by Parks Associates found. The race to remain relevant is ongoing as visitors easily jump from juggernauts such as MySpace to up-and-comers, including Facebook, and former star Friendster struggles to survive as users move to sites with better music and videos.
Wired News columnist Adam L. Penenberg notes that despite their recent ascendancy, bloggers should think twice before assuming they will be extended the same legal privileges accorded to credentialed journalists when trying to protect a source. This is, in part, because on a federal level, those protections are eroding for all journalists -- even those in the mainstream -- Penenberg says.
Microsoft could deal a death blow to pop-ups when it adds a pop-up blocker to its Internet Explorer Web browser, which is used by about two-thirds of the world's computer users. Despite new threats to the pop-up model, their popularity among advertisers actually has increased in recent months, data show.