Last week: SOPA, Facebook, Google+ and its a Social world

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Covering major highlights of last week: SOPA, Facebook, Google+ and its a Social world

SOPA: The beginning of the end?

Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill with US congress had the online community entrenched with guns blazing against the government and those companies supporting it. The part of the  community consider the bill as an misguided attempt to stop web piracy. Among other things the bill proposes to introduce website blocking at the DNS level, and against any associated sites that is “facilitating” infringement, or “enabling” it on the web holding copyright infringement to websites that host user generated content. This would amount to blatant censorship and wipe millions of pages of content from several startups and companies like YouTube and Facebook. More than 40 of top Silicon Valley companies are now publicly against SOPA including Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, Google, AOL and Mozilla among others.

The online community is protesting against those supporting SOPA. This week GoDaddy, which initially supported the bill came under fire from users on social media, some companies even threatening to withdraw 1000’s of their domains registered with it. GoDaddy finally got the message and on Friday withdrew its support to SOPA.

On Wednesday Scribd, the social reading and publishing website made every document on the site disappear word by word to reflect the implication the bill has against free speech. Paul Graham, the founder of Ycombinator, the most successful business incubator threatened to block companies supporting the bill from its demo day denying them access to millions of dollars in seed funding.

Advertisers get access to Facebook Timeline

Keeping advertisers at bay from the personal space of users has been the hallmark of social networks that have thrived in the last decade. Facebook this week announced the introduction of ‘Sponsored stories’ allowing advertisers to cannibalise your News Feed, though it would be limited to one story a day and marked as ‘sponsored’. The phenomenon of social advertisements which will utilise the content from users social graph as advertisements promise a higher conversion rate.   Facebook even created a special webpage to explain users what this new feature is and that the company spends more than $1billion each year to support its business and needs ads to pay the bills.

It’s a Facebook’s Social World

A report by the same name by Comscore for 2011 proves that it actually is a social world with 82% of world population engaging in social networking sites representing 1.2 billion users.  Facebook is way ahead of other networks and despite the launch of Google+ and LinkedIn gaining momentum none of these platforms seem likely to cause any disruption in this segment.  “In October, Facebook reached more than half of the world’s global audience (55 percent) and accounted for approximately three in every four minutes spent on social networking sites and one in every seven minutes spent online around the world.”  In Indian context 95% online audience use social networking and older age groups are catching up fast. Though, the total online users in India remain unimpressive at 45.9mn.

Google+ losing steam

Within first 2 weeks of its launch in July Google+ the much awaited and hyped social network from Google was quick to gain 10million users. According to Google’s annual Zeitgest list, ‘Google+’ was the number 2 fastest growing search term of the year.  However, the spike hasn’t lasted since the launch and the network has slowed down considerably with the exception of times when new features for the network were announced. When compared to search queries for Facebook, Google+ seems like a dwarf. Search queries are indication people’s intent and the lack of it reflect the loss of interest in the network.

This article of mine was originally published in Daily Post. You can also access it here

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