Archive for the ‘Social networking’ Category

Belysio and the Privacy Controversy regarding LBS

September 13, 2008

I’m a promiscuous digital networker. I’m participating, more or less actively, in about 10 social networks (and doing research for my Everything 2.0 index, I’ve registered to hundreds more). Everywhere I’ve submitted my real name, my real contact data, and (wherever I took the trouble) a real photo. And now that I use Belysio, 24/7, I’m also abundantly sharing my whereabouts.
Am I in danger now? Will people break in at my office when they see that I’m abroad, or will a burglar do some fun shopping in my living room when he sees I’m in a business meeting in the next city? Do the approximately thousands of people that I’ve shared my data with on Xing, LinkedIn, Facebook or Belysio spam me with unwanted messages? Will phishers steal my credit card data? Will people steal my identity?

I don’t think so. I think being totally transparent, and being as generous in sharing data as I can, will be rewarded by people giving me back the same, or even more of it. (In the 4 years that I’ve been part of Xing and LinkedIn I’ve never traced even one spam message from somebody with whom I shared my emaill address!).
Do I think that everybody should behave as abundantly “open” as I do? Definitely not. Kids shouldn’t, full stop. Women should always be more careful than men. If your boss tracks you through any location service, he’d better have a very good business reason for it, that you can endorse.

Everybody should be able to tweak their privacy settings to the exact level they feel comfortable with, under all feasible circumstances.

Belysio seems to comply to all criteria in this LBS Privacy model

Belysio seems to comply to all criteria in this LBS Privacy model

That facility to tweak your privacy settings is one of the things that Belysio is excellent in. They’ve defined privacy protection as one of their core competencies. But what’s more, every time I log in, they take care of making me aware of the fact that I’m sharing something sensitive if I share my location, by asking me to opt in to either sharing it with no one, my family, my friends, my other contacts, or strangers. Furthermore, they’re offering me a whole set of features to calibrate my “openness”, up to extremely granular, social and circumstancial levels.

There may, however, be some privacy matters that Belysio has overseen. Do you see any room for improvements?

Tips for further reading:
The Harris Report 2007 (PDF).
David H. Williams, LBS Development – Determining Privacy Requirements.
C. Enrique Ortiz, Privacy Notes: Geofencing and Guidelines for LBS Developers.
Sam Altman (Loopt), Best Practices for Location-based Services: Privacy, User Control, Carrier Relations, Advertising & More.
Privacy concerns a major roadblock for LBS adoption.
US Code of Conduct.
Belysio privacy policy.


Belysio scape on Visu

September 10, 2008

Belysio landscape on

4 years from now 800M people will access their social networks over their cell phone

September 4, 2008

There’s only one newsletter that I open every day: eMarketer’s. Today they quote a series of different forecasts for the ‘mobile social networking’ space:

  • ABI Research (SEP 2008): More than 140 million mobile (paying!) subscribers will use social networks on their phones by 2013, generating over $410 million in subscription revenues. This forecast is lower than its previous estimates. In December 2006, they forecasted 174 million users by 2011.
  • Pyramid Research (FEB 2008): There will be 950 million (paying and non-paying) mobile social networking users by 2012.
  • Juniper Research (AUG 2007): The number of (paying and non-paying) mobile social networking users will rise to 600 million by 2012.
  • eMarketer (SEP 2008): Concludes that the trueth of the latter two sources must be in the middle, and predicts that more than 800 million registered site members (paying and non-paying) will use their mobile phones to access social networks by 2012:

I think these numbers are entirely realistic. I am already using Belysio to access my networks on Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and MySpace – and I’ll certainly use it to browse my other networks as soon as Belysio will facilitate that. Accessing my communities over my cell phone simply bridges the gap between sitting behind my laptop to “administrate” my contacts, and meeting or communicating with them in real life.

Some social networkers don’t know what social networking is

September 3, 2008

Marketing research company Synovate last Monday released the results of an international  survey. In their press release they share one interesting chart, showing the Top 3 communities in 17 markets.


Top 3 communities in 17 markets (source: Synovate)

Other interesting findings:

  • Across the 17 markets surveyed, 42% of people know what online social networking is. The Dutch were most likely to know the term with 89% answering ‘yes’, followed by Japan at 71% and Americans with 70%.
  • Overall, 26% across the markets surveyed are members of social networking sites. This peaked with the Netherlands at 49%, United Arab Emirates (UAE) at 46%, Canada at 44% and the US at 40%.
  • Biggest concerns were lack of privacy (37%) closely followed by lack of security for children (32%). The Dutch were the most concerned about privacy at 54% and lack of security for children was the biggest worry for Americans with 62% of respondents nominating it.
  • 85% of Japanese and German social networkers were uncomfortable handing out details, followed by 83% in Taiwan, 79% in Canada, 77% in Brazil and South Africa and 70% in Poland and the US.
  • Overall, 53% of social networkers notice site sponsors.  Two thirds of site members notice advertisements for products. Thirty-one percent of social networkers notice interactive profile pages featuring brands.
  • Forty percent of people who engage in social networking agree that online communication can be just as meaningful as face-to-face communications. Almost half (46%) agree that it is easier to make friends online than in person. Thirty seven percent of all people from the UAE, 35% of South Africans and 29% of Taiwanese agreed that they had more friends online than they have in the ‘real’ world.