Sony Pictures is one of the biggest IT stories of the year and has naturally dominated the news cycle this week. We have sat and watched in horrified fascination as bizarre detail after bizarre detail comes to light. With it’s saucy combination of celebrity gossip, candid emails and movie specifics its pretty much news dynamite. However plenty of other stuff has also gone down.
- Sony Pictures struck by one of the biggest hacks of all time
- Google excludes Spanish media from Google News
- Piratebay goes down
- 2014 Marketing trends that won’t make it to 2015
- Mark Zuckerberg considers ‘dislike’ button
Sony Pictures hacked by North Korea because of… Seth Rogen?
Sony just can’t catch a break at the moment. The Sony gaming division went down for 23 days after 77 million user account details were taken in 2011. Just a couple of days ago the Playstation Network (PSN) faced another series of hacks. So it should come as no surprise that Sony Pictures was also targeted, what is a little more surprising is the extent of the hack. No one knows exactly how much data the hackers were able to get their hands on, but it is already looking like one of the biggest corporate hacks ever. So far private emails, user account information, scripts and even unreleased films have been leaked online by the hackers. A lot of evidence points to the hack coming from North Korea in retaliation for the upcoming film The Interview, but North Korea denies any involvement.
Take away: With internet security and user privacy coming more and more to the forefront, it’s becoming increasingly clear that you should always assume that a third party is reading your online communication. Whether it is a hacker, the company providing the service, or a government agency almost nothing you say online is secure. However that doesn’t change the fact that Sony Pictures appears to have been more than a little nonchalant, as employees have complained that funding was cut from online security despite the clear warnings including the previous hacks and even emails warning they would be hacked.
Vamos: Google News leaves Spain
Google News is stopping activities in Spain on the 16th of December. This move is a reaction to a new intellectual property law that would require search engines (mostly Google) to pay money to Spanish news publications whose links appear on search results. Considering that Google makes no money off its organic search results, especially its news search results, this law makes little sense other than as a measure to protect Spanish newspapers.
Take away: This law, nicknamed the ‘Google tax’, hurts Spanish newspapers more than anything else. Google search is a considerable source of free traffic for these newspapers; lobbying the government to charge for another company providing you a free service might seem like great way to make some extra, if unearned, money. But with Google News no longer showing Spanish newspaper results, these newspapers could now find themselves having to pay Google to reach the same audience. Ironically, they might have to rely on Google ads now. I don’t think the newspaper lobbyists foresaw Google’s action when they pushed for this law.
Avast ye mateys: Piratebay down
Swedish police raided Piratebay in Stockholm last week, bringing the site down. The police confiscated servers (apparently located in a server room carved into a mountain) and the website is still not back up.
Take away: Considering how controversial the world’s most famous torrent site has been for the past decade, it is a surprise that it has lasted this long. With most of the founders in jail or on trial it’s obvious that the intense media attention generated by the site has made it a top target for Swedish (and international) law enforcement.
5 Marketing Trends that didn’t take off in 2014
Ran Avrahamy in the Entrepreneur lists five 2014 marketing trends that turned out to be all hype. The list includes QR codes, auto-posting, viral videos, search engine over-optimization and responsive web design. It’s an interesting read with some surprising entries.
Take away: While I think most people would agree that QR codes are largely irrelevant for marketing purposes, the others are surprising.
- Viral videos: it’s difficult to have an opinion on the efficacy of viral videos because they’re generally not produced to become viral. But I agree that engineered viral videos for marketing tend not be successful: either the message or the audience isn’t there as Ran shows with his example.
- Auto-posting and SEO over-optimization: Both are useful to a point. Cross-posting social updates and keyword-stuffing are usually not good ideas, though.
- Responsive web design: I disagree with the article here. These days, creating mobile-first web design or using frameworks like Genesis really isn’t so cost prohibitive and is within reach for most businesses. Creating a great user experience is usually not a bad investment and for a lot of companies building your own app (which the author suggests) isn’t really a good alternative. But considering he works for a Mobile App Analytics company it isn’t surprising that he would suggest that. If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg does not like the ‘dislike’ button
Random baby pictures and bathroom mirror selfies beware, Facebook is thinking about a dislike button. Before you start rubbing your hands with glee about all the things you are going to ‘dislike’, Zuckerberg isn’t about to just add a dislike button as he doesn’t “think that’s good for the community”. Speaking at a public Q&A, Mark Zuckerberg explained that while he can see the limitations of just being able to like something he doesn’t want the negativity of a dislike button.
Take away: Zuckerberg wasn’t giving much away about their plans but it does seem like they are exploring a wider range of possible interactions. He mentions expressing surprise and sadness. It will be interesting to see how this is implemented.
Have a gooi weekend!