Cashing Out: Week of July 8th – 14th 2012 in Online Marketing News

Yahoo breach affects Gmail, AOL, and Hotmail users

A major security breach of Yahoo’s user-generated contributor network July 11 saw roughly 400,000 usernames and passwords stolen. Yahoo confirmed the breach the following day, in a statement that apologized to users and encouraged them to change their passwords.

But it wasn’t only Yahoo users who were affected. According to the New York Times‘ Bits Blog, the hacker group responsible for the breach, the D33D Company, posted over 450,000 account names and passwords online, including those of Gmail, AOL, and Hotmail users. Account information for users of MSN, Comcast, SBC Global, Verizon, BellSouth and was also posted alongside Yahoo usernames and passwords.

And though TechCrunch cites a Yahoo statement that says they “take security very seriously and invest heavily in protective measures to ensure the security of our users and their data across all our products,” D33D seems to think otherwise.

Bits Blog reports that the hacker group posted a footnote along with the stolen account information, warning that security is far from adequate:

“We hope that the parties responsible for managing the security of this subdomain will take this as a wake-up call, and not as a threat. There have been many security holes exploited in webservers belonging to Yahoo! Inc. that have caused far greater damage than our disclosure. Please do not take them lightly. The subdomain and vulnerable parameters have not been posted to avoid further damage,”

In the meantime, the stolen account information has been removed, and Yahoo says they are “fixing the vulnerability that led to the disclosure of this data, changing the passwords of the affected Yahoo! users and notifying the companies whose users accounts may have been compromised. ”

Big box beware: Amazon shoots for same-day delivery

A July 10 article from The Financial Times (FT) reported that Amazon has found a way to capitalize on an agreement reached in May with the state of New Jersey over online sales taxes.

Though the deal orders Amazon to begin collecting sales taxes on goods sold in that state as of next July, it also dictates that New Jersey will back Amazon in building two new distribution centers there. Those new centers are going to come in handy for Amazon’s latest strategy for competing with brick-and-mortar stores – same-day delivery.

More distribution centers means Amazon “can place its merchandise nearer to big markets and offer same-day delivery to more consumers,” writes the FT. And under such a plan, it’s possible Amazon could offer delivery times as short as three or four hours after ordering, something the big box stores should be earnestly afraid of.

Big box shops like Walmart and Best Buy have put a lot of effort into enforcing an online sales tax to protect themselves from online competitors, but the FT writes that their recent legal success in New Jersey may be little more than a “hollow victory.”

“[Amazon’s] rivals’ fixation on price has diverted attention from how the company is turning the tables on them by getting closer to customers,” writes the FT.

Overstock, Facebook rally against proposed online sale tax bill

Internet giants are allying to fight new bill proposed in Congress that seeks to make the collection of sales taxes by online retailers standard practice.

ABC News reported July 9 that the proposed legislation, which has bi-partisan support, could well make tax-free online shopping “a thing of the past.” The details of the bill were not reported.

And though Mashable reports that eBay, Overstock and Facebook are all in opposition to the legislation, they say Amazon has offered support for, as have Walmart, Barnes & Noble, and Target.

RIM in chaos over costly settlement, developer apathy

It’s an ever worsening tale for BlackBerry maker RIM.

It’s no news that that company is now worth just a fraction of what it was at its best in 2008, or that it’s been posting loss after loss, the most recent equaling $518 million for the last quarter. Some may wonder how things could get any worse. But as Shakespeare wrote: “The worst is not so long as we can say ‘this is the worst.'”

Bloomberg reported July 14 that a federal jury has just ordered RIM to pay out $147.2 million in damages over a patent infringement suit filed by New Jersey-based Mformation Technologies.

And while TechCrunch reports that RIM’s legal team is already working on having the verdict reversed, this lawsuit is only one piece of bad news for the company this week.

According to a recent survey from Baird Equity Research, reported on by Boy Genius Report, developers’ faith in the upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS is on the decline: “The firm surveyed 200 developers and found that, on a scale of 1 to 10, their outlook for the BlackBerry 10 OS fell from 6.1 in the second quarter last year and 4.6 in the first quarter of 2012 to 3.8 in the second quarter.”

RIM sent BGR a response to the Baird survey, defending developers’ interest in BlackBerry. It states:

“The developer community for BlackBerry 10 is not only thriving, it is engaged and enthusiastic. Developers have been providing feedback to us very regularly on the tools, the investment and commitment we’ve made in developers and most importantly, the opportunities they see on BlackBerry 10. I have heard time and again that developers are re-discovering our platform and that it is incredibly open and easy to work with. I have also been told consistently that no one in the mobile space is treating developers better than RIM is.”

Still, it seems as though RIM protests too much. But one hopes, for their sake, that the developer enthusiasm they claim to see is actually there.

Betaworks buys Digg for $500K

“How the mighty have fallen.” wrote Mashable July 12. The reference was to Digg’s recent acquisition. But more precisely, Mashable was pointing to the price of the deal, which will see Digg’s remaining assets go to startup incubator Betaworks for around $500,000.

The price was originally reported by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Mashable has since released an update clarifying that the $500K only covers Digg’s core assets and that “Digg’s investors likely got additional equity in Betaworks and Betaworks-backed companies.” And TechCrunch cites “multiple sources” who say “ the total price of the Digg acquisition was around $16 million, including the price paid for IP by a previously unreported acquirer, LinkedIn.”

The total is still likely going to be a small sum when one considers what Digg was worth at its peak – more than $160 million. The WSJ is calling the price “a pittance.”

Betaworks says they will be “turning Digg back into a startup. Low budget, small team, fast cycles,” and that Digg will be folded into, a Betaworks media startup launched in 2011.

Facebook opens up automated homepage ad buying

Advertising Age reported July 12 that Facebook has officially opened up its premium ad inventory to third party sellers as well as through its own self-serve ad-buying tool.

Whereas marketers used to have to make a minimum-buy commitment and deal with the Facebook sales team to get access to such premium display ads, that’s no longer required. Ad Age says the “move could ultimately democratize a field dominated by big brands.”

This week in marketing studies and reports:

Awareness more important than Likes for Facebook marketers

A survey of Ad Age subscribers led by Ad Age and CitiGroup found that the primary goal of 45.9 percent of marketers when advertising on Facebook is to build brand awareness or sentiment. That priority was followed by driving traffic, and getting fans and likes, in that order.

Netflix users’ appetite for TV grows, interest in movies falls

The WSJ reported on a survey from Nielsen that found that, while Netflix users’ appetite for TV has grown in the past year, their appetite for movies is declining. This year, 19 percent said they prefer to stream television, as compare to 11 percent last year. And, while 53 percent said last year that they prefer to stream movies, only 47 percent said the same this year.

Over half of smartphones sold are Android devices

Figures from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, reported on by TechCrunch, show that, for the first time, Android accounts for over half of all smartphone sales in the U.S., as well as in Europe and Asia’s biggest markets.

The findings, writes TechCrunch,  “put Android sales in a range going from 49.6 percent of all smartphone sales in Italy to 84.1 percent of all smartphone sales in Spain.”

Pinterest traffic higher than Bing, Google referral and Twitter

TechCrunch reported on a study from Shareaholic that found Pinterest traffic now surpasses that of Twitter, StumbleUpon, Bing and Google referral traffic. “Pinterest’s referral traffic climbed from .85 percent in January to 1.19 percent in June,” writes TechCrunch.


About Emily Wilkinson

Emily Wilkinson is a Montreal writer and editor who recently joined Her experience comes largely from her work at print publications like La Scena Musicale, where she alternated between positions as content manager, copy editor and journalist.
She believes in the importance of strong writing, be it in journalism or in other media, like blogging or even social networking. Her prerogative: though language will and ought to evolve, a good writer need never sacrifice the communicative power of text that is written with thought and care, whatever the venue.
Find Emily on Twitter @EditorWilkinson

One Response to Cashing Out: Week of July 8th – 14th 2012 in Online Marketing News

  1. MLM Alice says:

    Great article, Emily. I learned a lot about cashing out between the week of July 8 through July 14. Thanks for the post.