Facebook vs. Employers

While there are many legitimate concerns about social networking and protecting sensitive information and trade secrets, are some taking it too far? There seems to be increasing reports of perspective employers requiring applicants to either allow the company representatives to log into private Facebook accounts or force the applicants to log in under review. On the bright side, Facebook isn’t going to stand idly by and allow the, what many agree to be, major invasions of privacy to continue.

Facebook password protection

Facebook may sue employers who demand job applicants’ passwords. While many may claim that this is Facebook standing up for privacy, personally, I think their actions speak louder toward their stance on privacy. Specifically, Facebook’s many changes to privacy settings without notice to users shows that they are much less likely to be concerned about privacy than their business model.

Facebook, as you know, is one of the largest advertising platforms and your membership with the social network is a contract. The contract states, basically, that you cannot share your account with others. Employers cannot force people to break their contracts, which would have adverse affects on Facebook’s ability to amass information utilized by and for advertising.

On another front, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, (D-CT), is drafting a bill that would make the employers’ actions, as far as requiring applicants to release private login and account information illegal. Additionally, Senators Blumenthal and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have asked Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate said employers.

From a legal standpoint (I am not a lawyer), there is certain information employers are not allowed to force applicants to divulge. By accessing an applicant’s Facebook account, they could potentially have access to all of that information without having to directly ask, thus opening the door to discrimination.

What are your thoughts on this? Would you provide your Facebook or email password to an employer if it meant getting a job you desperately need? Or, is this a major breach in ethics and violation of privacy by employers?

 


Goodbye GoDaddy.com!

An unfortunate number of people are completely unaware about the possible passage of the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and what the bills mean to the future of the Internet and our personal freedoms. Anyone reading this post; however, is likely already aware of these bills, so I won’t go into much detail other than to say that, obviously, the intent of the bills is to limit information available online (good or bad) and to give power to supporters of the bills (politicians, entertainment industry, etc.).

SOPA Funding Sources

SOPA Funding Sources

Among the other companies supporting PIPA and SOPA (ABC, CBS, Universal, Comcast, Disney, et al), GoDaddy.com, the registrar I’ve used for years, has publicly announced their support for PIPA and SOPA (statement below). Because of this, and other important reasons (keep reading), I have decided to transfer over 50 domains in my portfolio from GoDaddy.com to another registrar. Perhaps I’ve been lazy, or complacent, but this was the last straw.

December 29, 2011 has been chosen as the “move your domain day.”

GoDaddy’s Statement

Go Daddy has a long history of supporting federal legislation directed toward combating illegal conduct on the Internet. For example, our company strongly supported the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008, the Protect Our Children Act of 2008, and the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP).  Go Daddy has always supported both government and private industry efforts to identify and disable all types of illegal activity on the Internet.  It is for these reasons that I’m still struggling with why some Internet companies oppose PROTECT IP and SOPA.  There is no question that we need these added tools to counteract illegal foreign sites that are falling outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law enforcement.  And there is clearly more that we could all be doing to adequately address the problems that exist.

Read the full statement here.

Scumbag GoDaddy

GoDaddy using sex to sell

GoDaddy using sex to sell

Sure, we’ve all heard that sex sells. You’re surely aware of GoDaddy’s use of sex and innuendo in their advertising, including the Superbowl Half Time commercials… Many people have a problem with this sort of advertising, but the problems go well beyond that.

The problems even go beyond their poor customer service, incessant and obnoxious up-selling, and seemingly shady business practices. There have been numerous complaints about losing domains due to lack of contact and support, or unauthorized charges to credit cards kept on file. Getting a satisfactory resolution to these sort of issues are reportedly on the far side of impossible. Apparently, when you’re the registrar for millions of domain names, it’s somehow better to focus more on advertising than keeping customers happy…

Not only does GoDaddy publicly support “Internet Blacklist”  legislation, they also condoned the use of torture methods on foreign detainees.The following was the text of a link to a blog post, followed by a quote, made by GoDaddy CEO, Bob Parsons:

“Close Gitmo? No way!! Think our interrogation methods are tough? Prisoners in the Middle East talk quick. Here’s why.”

I believe we owe it to those who died on 9-11 and to ourselves to destroy all the bastards and their supporters that were behind those attacks — regardless of what it takes to do so.

Additionally, the GoDaddy CEO ambushed, shot and killed an elephant in Africa. One of his excuses was feeding Zimbabweans, as if there were no other way. If only someone, like the CEO of the world’s largest domain registrar, could use their money for good…

Then the video gets really graphic, as Parsons records villagers who come out in the early morning to slaughter the dead animal, stripping it of its flesh. Oddly enough, this part, which is set to AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells,” is almost a shameless plug for the company, zooming in at one point on the company’s logo.

GoDaddy CEO Bill Parsons after killing elephant

GoDaddy CEO Bill Parsons after killing elephant

GoDaddy Alternative

I’ve chosen to transfer dozens of my domains from GoDaddy.com to another registrar. I’ve chosen NameCheap for a variety of reasons. Important to note here is the fact that they have publicly announced their opposition to SOPA.

SOPA, as proposed, would give unprecedented remedies to owners of intellectual property.  While protection of intellectual property is important, to allow overbroad and ill-considered remedies and processes such as those contained within SOPA threatens the very freedom that serves as the foundation of the Internet.

If SOPA passes in its current form, the rights of users (who are the Internet) will be wholly and totally subjugated to the rights of intellectual property holders.  This simply cannot stand.

Choose NameCheap.com

Transfer from GoDaddy

The following are step by step instructions for transferring your domains from GoDaddy.com to another registrar.

  1. Login to GoDaddy and get to the domain manager.
  2. Select all domains
  3. Click on the “Locking Icon”
  4. Uncheck “lock domains”
  5. Find the tools tab —> “exportable lists”
  6. Click on “Add New Export” button
  7. Select “All My Domains” as the list type
  8. Check the “Authorization codes” box
  9. Generate the Exportable List
  10. Create account at another registrar (The following involves NameCheap)
  11. Go to “transfer domain” at the new registrar
  12. Enter domains you wish to transfer & click “transfer”
  13. Checkout (you can use discount code “SOPASucks” at NameCheap)
  14. Update EPP code (authorization) from GoDaddy Export File
  15.  (Back at GoDaddy) Chose “Pending Transfers”
  16. Check all the domains (if not all of the domains are showing up yet, wait a few hours)
  17. Check the “Accept” button and approve!
  18. Transfer Complete (can take several hours)
  19. Revel in the fact that you are supporting Internet freedom

Update:

How quickly things change… Just after this post went live, and I continue to read comments about the issue, I find that GoDaddy has reversed their “official” position on SOPA.

“Fighting online piracy is of the utmost importance, which is why Go Daddy has been working to help craft revisions to this legislation – but we can clearly do better,” Warren Adelman, Go Daddy’s newly appointed CEO, said. “It’s very important that all Internet stakeholders work together on this. Getting it right is worth the wait. Go Daddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it.”

Unfortunately, it’s too little too late and I will still transfer my domains starting on 12/29/11. It’s easy for them to give lip service to opposing SOPA, but when you help draft the legislation and others like it, it’s readily apparent that you are not to be trusted. It also shows that their previous statements about not being affected by the boycott were not true. Obviously, there was an effect and, obviously, GoDaddy is doing damage control. Internet 1; GoDaddy 0.

There’s still more to do; sign petitions, call your representatives, inform others.


Alert: 809 Area Code Scam

I just received the following information via email at work. Even though it states that it’s been confirmed, it’s important to read all of the information about it. Looking at the Snopes article, for example (quoted at the end), shows that this is not entirely true, and the parts that are true are rare. Still, if you don’t know anyone in the following area codes, beware.

New Area Code – PLEASE READ!

We actually received a call last week from the 809 area code. The woman said ‘Hey, this is Karen. Sorry I missed you- get back to us quickly. I have something important to tell you.’ Then she repeated a phone number beginning with 809. We did not respond. Then this week, we received the following e-mail:

Do Not DIAL AREA CODES 809, 284, AND 876 from the U.S. or Canada.

This one is being distributed all over the US … This is pretty scary, especially given the way they try to get you to call.

Be sure you read this and pass it on.

They get you to call by telling you that it is information about a family member who has been ill or to tell you someone has been arrested, died, or to let you know you have won a wonderful prize, etc.. In each case, you are told to call the 809 number right away. Since there are so many new area codes these days, people unknowingly return these calls. If you call from the U.S or Canada , you will apparently be charged a minimum of $2,425 per-minute. And you’ll also get a long recorded message. The point is, they will try to keep you on the phone as long as possible to increase the charges.

WHY IT WORKS:

The 809 area code is located in the Dominican Republic… The charges afterward can become a real nightmare. That’s because you did actually make the call. If you complain, both your local phone company and your long distance carrier will not want to get involved and will most likely tell you that they are simply providing the billing for the foreign company. You’ll end up dealing with a foreign company that argues they have done nothing wrong.

Please forward this entire message to your friends, family and colleagues to help them become aware of this scam.

AT&T VERIFIES IT’S TRUE: http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=6045

SNOPES VERIFIES IT’S TRUE:  http://www.snopes.com/fraud/telephone/809.asp

Unfortunately…

Just because something is verified, does not make it 100% true. Here’s what Snopes has to say about the issue:

Specifically, four important pieces of information to note about this scam are:

  • Not every phone number in the 809 area code is part of this scam, and calling such a number will not necessarily result in exorbitantly large charges on your phone bill. Most numbers within the 809 area code are ordinary, legitimate phone numbers.
  • This scam has been used with other area codes besides 809.
  • The amounts of money involved have become greatly exaggerated as this warning has circulated on the Internet.
  • This scam is not very common; the average U.S. resident is unlikely to ever encounter it.

…the amounts of money involved in these scams has been greatly exaggerated (probably by computer-introduced transcription errors) to the point that readers are now warned they may be charged more than $2,400 per minute if they fall for this scam! Actually, a victim might realistically have been taken for $25 or so, but not thousands of dollars (and in most cases customers could get such charges removed from their bills by contacting their phone service providers).


A Lesson in Promotional Exchanges & Contests

I was contacted a while back by a marketing firm working on a campaign that was a little out of the scope of the particular blog they wanted to me to promote it on… I thought, what the heck. I can always give away prizes. They agreed and I posted the promotional material they provided, including some information and photos I found and that were of interest to me. I guess, in that regard, it wasn’t entirely the wrong niche per se. I just didn’t think about the audience & their interest in such a campaign.

The wait began for the prizes.

It wasn’t until the last week of the promotion, three weeks after the initial post, that they replied and explained that the person I had been dealing with was no longer with the company and that the prizes would be available for pickup by the winner – not sent to me, nor the winner. That really didn’t help the trust issue.

Unfortunately, because the promotion wasn’t something normally covered by my blog, there was little interest in the contest. It was syndicated on a news site, retweeted by those influential in the appropriate niche, and I still couldn’t give the prizes away. Oh well, lesson learned, right?

Read the rest of this entry »


15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites

The following poll consists of the the 15 most popular social networking sites in August 2011, according to eBizMBA.com rankings. They use each website’s Alexa Global Traffic Rank, and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast.

How do your social media habits fit into this ranking? What are your favorite social networking sites?

You can choose up to five of the 15 networks listed below.

Top 15 social networking sites - what are your favorites?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Blog comments, moderation, CAPTCHA & Disqus

WordPress Spam

WordPress Spam

After dropping in on #BlogChat last night on Twitter, I came to understand that I need to look at blog commenting and moderation differently. Sure, I’ve read of peoples’ dislike of having their comments moderated, not wanting to have their comments mixed with spam and the hassles of dealing with CAPTCHA, but too many times I’ve seen spam slip through and the last thing I want is for someone to not comment because they think I’m lazy about spam and/or the blog has the appearance of being overrun by spam bots.

As @lttlewys pointed out, CAPTCHA isn’t always a viable option either. It can be frustrating, waste precious time and those who do post may not be back for seconds. Is losing someone who would otherwise be a good contributor to your community worth it?

I always assumed that moderating comments, rather than letting some spam through the filters, were the lesser of the two evils… I’ve decided to try something new (for me) by turning comment moderation off, but I won’t rest my faith entirely on Akismit. So, in addition to using Akismit, I’m switching the comment system to Disqus. @CollinKromke told me that he hasn’t had any spam make it through using these two measures. I figure, it’s worth a shot…

Installing Disqus in WordPress

  1. Under Plugins in your WP Dashboard, click on Add New
  2. Search for “disqus,” install the “Disqus Comment System” plugin and activate it
  3. Create your account on http://www.disqus.com
  4. Use your Disqus login to finish the plugin installation
  5. Export your existing comments to Disqus
  6. Also, optionally, you can add your akismet API key to your Disqus settings and connect Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc. to your Disqus account.

I should point out that in order to add the Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, OpenID & Disqus login buttons above the comment box, you will need to enable the older theme within the Disqus settings for Appearance. You will then need to enable the buttons by checking the corresponding box under General settings.

Besides Akismit and Disqus, what are you using to combat comment spam via WordPress?


Adding Google +1 Button via WordPress

The Google +1 Button

The Google +1 Button

According to Google, “the +1 button is shorthand for ‘this is pretty cool’ or ‘you should check this out.’ Click +1 to publicly give something your stamp of approval. Your +1′s can help friends, contacts, and others on the web find the best stuff when they search.”

As I mentioned in my previous post about WordPress plugins, I’ve chosen to use one called SexyBookmarks to add the icons below the posts for visitors to share on various social networks, blogs, via email, etc. I couldn’t help but notice that the SexyBookmarks plugin now offers the Google +1 button in addition to the Facebook “Like” button. There are a few options for each button including placement (above/below the post and left/right alignment). While they don’t match the other SexyBookmarks button styles, you can still get the Google +1 button to blend in nicely, depending on how the plugin behaves with your theme.

If you don’t like the look, or you don’t want to use the SexyBookmarks plugin, there are several options available to you…

Read the rest of this entry »


Adding plugins…

WordPress Plugins

WordPress Plugins

While getting the blog set up, I thought I’d take a moment to list off some WordPress plugins that I decided to start off with. Because the theme is extremely basic at this point, I’m not including anything that involves widgets yet.

  • Automatic Links – Automatically adds HTML anchor tags to plain text links and email addresses embedded in the content of posts and pages. Without this, I absolutely hate having URLs that don’t link, or having to manually link them later. I think WordPress should have this by default.
  • SexyBookmarks – Shareaholic adds a (X)HTML compliant list of social bookmarking icons to each of your posts. I always debate this type of plugin since some people find them annoying. It may not last… we’ll see. Opinions?
  • Tweet – Automatically links Twitter.com @usernames and #hashtags in WordPress blog posts. This is like the Automatic Links plugin above. Some may consider it lazy, but I don’t have to stop what I’m doing just to add in the links/code.
  • Viper’s Video Quicktags – Easily embed videos from various video websites such as YouTube, DailyMotion, and Vimeo into your posts. There’s probably a better/easier way, but I’ve used this plugin for so long, I stick with it.
  • WP-PageNavi – Adds a more advanced paging navigation to your WordPress blog. Of course, I don’t have enough posts to necessitate this, but it’s a nice thing to have once I do & I won’t have to think about it later.
  • WP-Polls – Adds an AJAX poll system to your WordPress blog. You can easily include a poll into your WordPress’s blog post/page. WP-Polls is extremely customizable via templates and css styles and there are tons of options for you to choose to ensure that WP-Polls runs the way you wanted. It now supports multiple selection of answers.
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – Returns a list of related entries based on a unique algorithm for display on your blog and RSS feeds. A templating feature allows customization of the display. This plugin is being replaced by the BlogGlue Related Posts Network Plugin, but it’s just not necessary with a new blog.

Read the rest of this entry »


Welcome to my new blog

Thank you for taking the time to visit EricKloss.com and for checking out my new blog. As you can see, it’s brand new and begging for content. I hope to add some posts of interest regarding web design, blogging, social media and personal projects.

If you have any tips, or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment.