Emerging Technology

Social networks struggle for ads… VoIP too insecure… Nokia takes on iTunes

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Social networkers struggle for ads

Despite their rapidly growing popularity, many social networking sites are still taking baby steps when it comes to making money from what they’re doing, according to an IDC study reported by Vnunet.com.

According to IDC, even sites such as MySpace and Facebook are only now beginning to learn how to monetise their sites, notwithstanding their high public profiles.

Social networking sites are developing business models using a mix of advertising, subscriptions and e-commerce.

Of these, IDC says only advertising fits the high traffic, low effort model that makes social networks a success. So far, however, IDC says that little advertising can be found on social networks. And while the issues underlying slow ad sales may eventually be solved, some services may never be able to attract brand advertisers on a large scale.

Nevertheless, IDC says successful social networking sites will eventually succeed in turning profile into revenue. IDC estimates that social networks made about $US400 million in revenue in 2006, but could make as much as $US1 billion this year.

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VoIP too insecure for business

People like voice over internet (VoIP) telephone service cause it is cheap, often free: but is it secure enough to use for sensitive business conversations?

ZDNet reports that Paul Simmonds, a leading member of the Jericho Forum of leading corporate security professionals, academics and vendors, has revealed that it is possible to eavesdrop on VoIP conversations.

He says that recent US research shows that the security of voice over IP technology is questionable after researchers revealed that it could be possible for a remote attacker to turn a VoIP phone into an eavesdropping device.

“We don’t consider VoIP to be enterprise-ready,” Simmonds told ZDNet. “You can’t run VoIP on a corporate network because you can’t trust every single device on that network. VoIP as it stands certainly isn’t secure. Going forward, everybody should be using inherently secure protocols.”

Simmonds said it was not part of Jericho Forum’s mission to promote any particular protocol as being more secure. Instead, he insisted that best practices for secure software development should be adhered to. “From a Jericho standpoint, it’s not for us to say you must use these protocols or those protocols. You simply shouldn’t be sending data over a network insecurely, relying on network security – because it isn’t secure,” he said.

Simmonds recommended that all data packets in a business network, including VoIP packets, be encrypted.

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Now iTunes under attack in Europe from Nokia

Apple, already smarting from a collaboration between music retailers such as Wal-Mart and record companies Universal and EMI undercutting iTunes prices, is now under attack in Europe from the world’s largest mobile phone maker Nokia. The company has now launched a competitively priced online music store, writes ITWire.

Within a few months, the Nokia Music Store will be selling 192kbps WMA DRM tracks for €1 compared to €0.99 for Apple’s 128kbps DRM iTunes tracks. And Nokia users – with the right model phone – will be able to download the tracks directly to their phones and sync them to copies on their PC or vice versa.

Apple’s iPhone can’t offer this yet, because it’s not 3G. But Nokia first has to strike deals with the big carriers to allow music downloads at the right price. ITWire speculates that it’s more than likely these deals are already in place. It all could mean that Apple has to move more quickly to launch an iTunes capable 3G iPhone when it goes into Europe at the end of the year.

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SmartCompany Quote of the Day

“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.”
Mark Twain

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