September 6, 2007

Personal Reputation

Personal Reputation There was a recent New York Times article that covered a relatively new company called Rapleaf that aggregates publicly available and privately submitted data about individuals, mostly from social networks, and then resells that data in bulk to marketers to help them target advertising more effectively, supposedly to names they already have permission to mail.  I’m sure the company would think I butchered that description, but it’s close, anyway. While there are a lot of comments and posts flying around about the ethics of that data collection, I won’t focus on that here.  Publicly available data is publicly available data.  This isn’t a lot different than banks swapping your data to create a FICO score, Abacus swapping your purchase data to cataloggers, or InfoUSA compiling tax and DMV records. What I think is interesting is the notion of having a global online personal reputation, which, despite Rapleaf’s verbiage, isn’t exactly what they’re doing at scale just yet.  I have often wondered if such a thing would work, especially since Return Path has gotten big into the corporate reputation business through our Sender Score service that monitors companies’ email sending reputations. Here’s why I think it’s a good idea: […]


January 10, 2006

New Media Deal, Part II – the We Media Deal

New Media Deal, Part II – the We Media Deal My original New Medial Deal posting from August, 2004, is my favorite posting of all 220 or so that I’ve done to date. It has the most clicks of any posting I’ve done. People mention it to me all the time. I even used it as the foundation for the preface to our book at Return Path, Sign Me Up! The general thesis (although the original posting is short and worth reading) is simple. Old Media was one-way communication – they produce it, you consume it, and Old Media had […]


December 22, 2005

New Media Deal – a comment

New Media Deal – a comment A user calling him or herself “graciouswings” (who left a bogus email address with his/her comment, so I couldn’t email him/her) made a lengthy comment to my New Media Deal posting (posting here, comment at the bottom or here). The meat of the comment was: “advertising doesn’t bug us if it’s not too intrusive and if there’s something in it for us as consumers.” This is simply not true. This notion is based on unfair playing grounds. People don’t like seeing commercials before movies. People _are_ bugged by having to create an account at […]


February 1, 2005

Doing its Part

Doing its Part Fred had a good posting on spam today, riffing on a New York Times article that  is very “doom and gloom” on spam and how it’s taking over the world.  I’ll buy the Times’ argument that there’s an increasing amount of spam out there these days, but as with Fred, I still maintain, as I did in this earlier posting, that we’re out of crisis mode and are on the path to resolution as improved filtering technology and false-positive identification services trickle down to broader usage. What I think is interesting, though is the amount of criticism […]


August 5, 2004

Baby and Bathwater Redux

Katie Hafner’s article in the New York Times Circuits section today about spam and false positives is right on the mark. Spam filters are still evolving, and spammers are evolving right with them. Although the flood of spam is largely stemmed by a good filtering app, the results for consumers are still spotty: false negatives are irritating, false positives can be very painful (as the article suggests), and the process still consumes a little too much time. While the article nails the consumer problem, it does miss the corresponding business problem around false positives (see below). But things are getting […]


July 14, 2004

Present AND Accounted For

There was a great essay in the New York Times yesterday about multitasking. The gist of the article is that multitasking, when taken to an extreme, is unproductive at best and in the case of driving, quite dangerous. I’ve long believed that in business, as in any activity relying in part on interpersonal relationships, it’s important to be fully present when talking to other people. This is especially true in one-on-one conversations, but true even in larger meetings. The article talks about the clicking you hear when you’re talking to someone on the phone and he or she is typing […]


May 27, 2004

Why Blog?

There was a good piece in the New York Times yesterday about blogging, including some good quotes from Jarvis. I’m getting the hang of it, but I have to say that blogging in the bathroom is taking things a little bit too far.