The announcement of Facebook Home caused quite a stir. Love it or hate it, this new “family of apps” comes with a whole host of shiny new features. I, too, liked the various new features. I love the idea of being able to access my current messages without having to stop what I’m doing. I liked the idea of seeing images on my app screen, but sadly, that’s where my love of Facebook’s concepts end.
The New Facebook – Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?
Immediately following the announcement of Facebook Home, I was quite horrified to see that many people and media outlets forgot that nothing ever comes free. Yes, Facebook Home is a free download, but what many seemed to forget to consider is that all these new feature require one thing that’s worth even more than money: data. Your data.
With Facebook now showing on your home screen, it means that anyone who gets their hands on your phone can now see other’s private photos and updates. Facebook itself would now have access to your phone’s core functions and all of the personal data we routinely send through the device. What steps have been taken to guarantee my security? The only thing I heard shortly after the announcement was a bunch of promises that the data collected wouldn’t be used for evil. Sorry Facebook. I don’t buy it.
Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have a long history of privacy kerfuffles and disasters.
- News Feed items were once all publicly available.
- Several years worth of private messages have shown up on timelines (which Facebook denied).
- The ad platform openly tracked members and used private information to serve ads without consent.
- Constant changes to privacy settings, which reset them and caused all sorts of issues.
- The Facebook Like Button and tracking users even when you are NOT signed into the social network.
Even the beginning of Facebook was marred with privacy concerns when Zuckerberg allegedly hacked into Harvard’s photo directories to get images for what was then called Facemash.
Now, I’m supposed to forget all that and take Facebook at its word? Even the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada says the network breaches our personal privacy and breaks privacy laws. I understand that we’re in unchartered waters. And no one knows better than me that everyone makes mistakes. I could have potentially given Zuckerberg some trust.
Then, Facebook tried this little move.
A Sneak Peak of Facebook Home Revealed More Than Just a Taste of the New Features
This morning, I was prompted to update my Facebook apps. Now, knowing that Facebook Home launched in the US, and that it will be days or weeks until it’s rolled out in Canada, I expected to see a few of the new features previously announced. However, what I got was a whole lot more.
Prior to updating, I was asked to review the permissions. Low and behold, there were a number of modifications and new permissions added. When I looked at the list, it was pretty clear that Facebook is quite eager to get it’s fingers on my data even without downloading Facebook Home:
Your Personal Information – Modify your contacts, read call log, read your contacts, write call log
So, let me get this straight: Facebook not only wants to know who I’m currently speaking with, but it also wants to know who I called before the app update and write to it. Then, I’m going to let it to continue to modify my contacts?
Services That Cost You – Directly call phone numbers
Wait a minute… I haven’t installed Facebook Home. Why would it need this? Granted, it may be necessary for click-to-call features, but combined with the other permissions, I don’t trust it. Sounds like a Facebook Home invasion to me.
Your Location – Approximate (network-based) location, precise (GPS) location
I don’t let Facebook have constant access to my location. I turn this feature off and only turn it on the odd time I decide to use the Check-In feature. Does it log my whereabouts and upload it each time I turn the location services back on? Possibly. No way in hell I’m going to let it have live access to that information.
Network Communication – Full network access
Your Accounts – Add or remove accounts, create accounts and set passwords
Ok, so not only does it want to add or remove Facebook related accounts, but it now wants to create accounts and modify things like my Google, Skype, and Twitter accounts? Um… NO.
Storage – Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
I’m sure this is only for Facebook-related data, but what about the stuff in my USB storage that I don’t want it to modify or delete?
Phone Calls – Read phone status and identity
Interesting. Another Facebook Home feature. How long before it starts serving ads based on the topics my mother and I talk about? Transcriptions? Facebook updates about who I’m talking to, when, and for how long? Sounds like an over-controlling husband to me.
Hardware Controls – Draw over other apps, prevent phone from sleeping, reorder running apps, retrieve running apps, toggle sync on and off
Again, this is for Facebook Home integration, which I had no intentions of installing. To me, this says that if it doesn’t have access to some of my data, the ability to control and “draw over” other apps will give it access. And how much stuff will it permanently screw up on my phone when it does?
Default – Modify battery statistics
Um… ok. Again, Facebook Home.
Development Tools – Test access to protected storage
No. Just no. If it’s protected storage, it’s protected for a reason. Probably to keep snoopy apps like Facebook from accessing that storage.
Network Communication – Download files without notification, review data from Internet, view network connections, view Wi-Fi connections
This one permission gives the app the ability to download pretty much anything it likes. Wasn’t this called malware or spyware at one point? Not only that, but it can openly view and review any of the data sent via the Internet, Wi-Fi, or the network.
Your Accounts – Find accounts on the device
Hardware Controls – Control vibration
System Tools – Install shortcuts, read Home settings and shortcuts, read sync settings, run at start up
This is all Facebook Home features. I was NOT installing Facebook Home. I was only updating the standard Facebook app. Seems the social network decided to blend the two together. This tells me one thing:
You’ll Pay for Facebook Home Whether You Intend to Install It or Not
I can understand why the social network needs these sort of permissions for its Home family of apps. It can’t deliver the functionality it promises without them. They even admit it. When asked, a Facebook spokesperson simply stated:
“We use this information for diagnostic purposes and to learn more about how people use our products so we can make improvements in the future…For some of the system notifications, we need this information so we can serve the experience to users.”
What concerns me the most is that, if you use the Facebook app, you have no option to say “no”. It took the liberty of sneaking in these permission changes even though you’re updating the Facebook app and NOT installing Facebook Home. And what can you do if you change your mind or would like to use Facebook without giving it these permissions? Apparently, nothing.
“It’s not possible to opt out of having information collected for these purposes. If you want Facebook to delete whatever it has collected from you right away, you’d have to delete your Facebook Account. If you just want to get rid of Facebook Home or some features, you can play around in its settings or uninstall it entirely.” (Source: MSN News Canada)
This sounds all well and good, but if you’ve ever tried to delete a Facebook account, you know it’s not easy. Facebook will only allow you to “deactivate” it. It will then store this data and make it available to you if and when you should decide to rejoin the network. If you want the network to delete your account, you have to fill out a form and trust that the network will do as it says.
Will You Trust a Stranger With Your Secrets?
I think everyone on the planet has been in a situation where they’ve trusted someone they love with information only to have it come back and bite them in the ass. Sure, it could have been something as devastating as something bad you’ve done or a personal photograph of the adult variety. But it doesn’t have to be something that serious to do damage. What about an opinion you have of someone or something? What about secret family recipes or trade secrets?
If I know what happens when I share private things with others, why would I ever trust a company and people I don’t know with that kind of information? I try very hard not to say anything to others that I could regret, but even if I was perfect at it, there are still dangers.
What if I was planning a surprise birthday party? What if I didn’t like my mom’s new haircut? And what about my clients? I routinely use my phone to conduct business or send and receive files. This would only be worse if I dealt with ecommerce and routinely send financial information back and forth.
And what happens if you piss off the wrong person or get attention from someone you don’t want to get attention from? Social media stalking has been a huge problem from quite some time. The collection and distribution of this data will only get worse with the introduction of Facebook Home and other similar apps. What will we do then?
I’m not saying you should bail on Facebook. I’m sure there are plenty of app development and privacy experts out there who are much more knowledgeable on the inner workings of these things. What I am saying is think about it. Look at what you’re agreeing to and consider the implications before clicking that button.
No, Mr. Zuckerberg. I will not take you at your word. I don’t trust you. While I might like your fancy new app, and it may not add charges to my credit card, it comes with a price that’s far higher than I’m willing to pay. At least until you deny access to that in an attempt to force everyone to use your app.
Well, after a good year of planning, writing, and tinkering, it’s finally here!
Designed for beginners, and those already creating their own link bait, this 40-page book and accompanying workbook will make creating quality content and generating links a breeze.
Unlike many of the others out there, this ebook doesn’t start with how to write the post or article. It starts right at the very beginning, with a look at what link bait is and isn’t. Then, I walk you through the entire link bait creation process, step-by-step, including what you need to do after you’ve published your content.
You’ll learn how to:
- Identify your target audience.
- Research and find out what they’re interested in.
- Plan your content.
- Write a powerful headline.
- Format and present your content.
- Market and push your link bait.
- Monitor traffic and make changes on the fly.
- Perform a content audit
Find out more about Copywriting Master Class: Creating Successful Link Bait here.
We’re tired of the same old newsletters, emails filled with ads, pitches for products, and lists of blog posts we read when they were published in their RSS feed (or on Twitter).
If we’re going to sign up for a newsletter, we want to get something for it. We want something of value that every other man and his dog who visits the website doesn’t get. That’s why we created Hot Topics from Angie’s Copywriting.
A New Kind of Newsletter
By signing up to our email list, you’ll get access to unique, in-depth information you can’t get anywhere else.
You’ll also get:
- great discounts that actually amount to something
- access to products/services before anyone else
- opportunities no one else will get
- and insider news about Angie’s Copywriting, tests we’re running, contest we’re holding
- much, much more
In short, this is a newsletter you actually want to be on, and we know you’ll be upset if you miss it!
Your Sneak Peak of This Month’s Issue
We won’t give you all the goods found in this month’s issue of Hot Topics. (You can get access by signing up here.) That would be cheating, but but we will let you in on a few of the juicy tidbits you’ll find inside it.
If you’ve been searching for a decent book on SEO copywriting, look no further than Practical SEO Copywriting, by Glenn Murray. We’ve reviewed the book here before, but if you look in this month’s issue of Hot Topics, you’ll get a huge 35% discount on this and other books Glenn has written.
He’s never given such a huge discount before, so combined with his money-back guarantee, you can’t go wrong. Get it. You won’t be sorry.
We also gave list members access to our exclusive report on writers, education, and quality content. If you hire writers, are a writer yourself, or produce quality content, you definitely want to see this report.
Inside the exclusive report, you’ll find out what 8 of the industry’s biggest experts had to say about:
- hiring writers
- how much education plays a role in producing quality content
- what they look for in a writer
- what degree a writer should consider to improve their content
- what university education (or lack thereof) has done for their business
- what traits content has to have to be effective
- and much more insider information
This report is huge. We learned a ton doing it, and we’re sure you will, too.
In fact, those who got a sneak peak at it were shocked by the huge amount of information in it. They also said it’s a really engaging read (which convinced us to release the entire report, instead of just half of it.).
(Courtesy of April Allen of Aprill.net)
Wanna know something else? It’s also the only one like it available online.
What are you waiting for? Get signed up and get your copy now!
So, another year has flown past, leaving behind a path filled with successes, failures, and growth. We’ve hopefully all learned from our experiences (both positive and negative), and have made plans for the upcoming 365-day marathon. It’s going to be fun, exciting, and hopefully, full of many more achievements.
Angie’s Copywriting is no exception. The company and I both experienced exponential growth last year, which has prompted me to make a number of changes in order to serve you better and achieve even more success.
Angie’s Copywriting Brings On Some Extra Help
Currently, Angie’s Copywriting has a full workload, and with upcoming changes, it’s simply more than one person can handle alone. So, I’m thrilled to announce that Annetta Ribken of Word Webbing is joining Angie’s Copywriting. She’ll be taking on much of the article and blog post writing, as well as editing and researching tasks.
I’ve known Annetta for a number of years, and am honored to call her friend. Her delightfully creative flair is unmistakable. She has an amazing ability to make the boring topics interesting, and is an excellent researcher. She works hard and knows her stuff. I can’t wait for you all to meet and work with her!
I’ll still be editing and approving all pieces before they go out, but I’ll be able to dedicate more time to various other projects and plans, as well as the sales and web copy.
On a side note, we’ve also partnered with a number of product, software, and service providers over the last year, so watch for these announcements (and maybe even savings) soon!
Your Very Own In-House Copywriter
You know how you need an in-house copywriter, but you don’t have enough work or the budget to hire one full-time? Angie’s Copywriting has the solution.
Starting January 1st, 2011, Angie’s Copywriting began offering a Copywriter-On-Call service. You can get a copywriter when you need one, without paying for one when you don’t. As an added benefit, the work is done as quickly as possible, sometimes even immediately. It’s the affordable alternative to hiring a full-time, in-house copywriter.
Here’s how it works: You pay a flat fee per month, and in return, you’ll get a copywriter who will edit your documents, assist with emails and internal memos, create correspondence, and much more. You’ll love this fast, flexible service.
The End Of Discounts
Discounts have caused a lot of headaches, and after examining them and their effects on everyone, I’ve decided they’re not providing the value you deserve. So, after a lot of thought and consideration, Angie’s Copywriting will no longer offer discounts to new clients. No exceptions. This is effective immediately.
The only discounts offered will be to loyal clients who regularly support Angie’s Copywriting. We feel this is the way it should be, and think you will too.
Customer-Specific Service Packages Now Available To the Public
Previously, certain packages and products were only available through special promotions, sponsorships, and arrangements. No longer!
Soon, all packages and services (as well as a few new ones!) will be available to everyone. This should better meet your needs and make it far easier to order. I’ll be sure to publish more on this later.
Pricing and Communication Changes
Yes, we all hate the idea of price changes and I hate to bring it up, but along with all the new information, skills, conveniences, and offerings, prices have changed. On the bright side, you’ll receive an even better value for your money than you receive from Angie’s Copywriting.
During the last six months, I’ve enjoyed speaking and interacting with you all very much. However, I’m working a lot of odd hours and have a very busy schedule, which makes it extremely difficult for me to take everyone’s calls. I’ve also found it much easier to have a record of our correspondence in my email where I can refer to it at a later date.
So, to reduce the number of interruptions and allow me to be better prepared, phone calls, instant messages, and direct meetings will only be available by appointment. However, you are free to leave a message via Twitter, Skype, or email, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
The Soon-To-Be-Famous Angie’s Copywriting Email List
In case you haven’t noticed, Angie’s Copywriting now has a mailing list. If you haven’t signed up already, you’ll want to do so right now. Very soon, people on that mailing list will start receiving monthly content you can’t get anywhere else.
Mailing list members will also receive free copies of books I release, tips, hints, news, special products, services, and much more. Most of them won’t be offered to the general public, so you’ll want to make sure you get on that list as soon as possible.
I promise not to spam you, share or sell your information, or use it for anything else other than sharing news, information, offers, and tips that I personally approve of and wouldn’t use/enjoy myself. Plus, it will only come out once per month, so it shouldn’t stuff your already full inbox.
Angie’s Copywriting and Search Marketing Wisdom
Alan Bleiweiss recently honored me with a position on his elite team of search and internet marketing experts at Search Marketing Wisdom. This amazing opportunity will have me appear alongside people I both enjoy speaking with and admire a great deal. I promise you this site will be publishing some amazing content, so make sure to add it to your RSS reader and follow the site’s Twitter account. (The first two posts are already up.)
To kick things off, Alan is giving away an iPad and some other amazing stuff, so get your name in for them while you’re having a look around!
I have many other great announcements coming soon, along with some huge changes I can’t wait to tell you about. Those will come as soon as I can safely share them with you. You’re going to love it!
Before I end what was supposed to be a quick note, however, I’d like to thank you all for your support, patronage, interactions, and giggles over the last few years. I’d have never gotten here without you!
Here’s hoping your holidays were amazing and 2011 is even better.
Jim Connolly of Jim’s Marketing Blog and I had a great conversation a short time ago about the vulnerability of businesses and people in general. We’d both agreed that, while many of these people are great at protecting themselves in the real world, they seem to forget about protecting themselves online.
I have a theory about why this happens…
Think Of Web Professionals Like Babysitters…Sorta
You see, I look at the online world and the real one as being the same. The only difference is that the Internet has put real life on demand and under a magnifying glass. Mistakes and the true characteristics of human nature are far more noticeable, but when it gets down to it, you’re dealing with the same types of people, who have the same goals and methods as those we pass on the street every day.
Think of the Internet like hiring a babysitter. Even if you hardly know this person, you leave her in charge while you’re gone because you feel she’s trustworthy and will keep your kids safe. I mean, if you didn’t, you’d never leave her there by herself, and certainly not with the children!
Plumbers and electricians are similar. They could be one of the gangbangers on the corner at night, but once they don their ‘day clothes’, you let them into your home without a single thought about your safety. You have some level of trust in them.
The Internet is similar, in my opinion. Once we allow it into our home, we still feel secure and trust it as we would a good friend. We get so caught up in all the benefits and how much *better* it makes our lives, we often forget about the bad. We simply don’t give the dangers the same weight in the virtual world that we do in real life. Why? It doesn’t look dangerous.
We Lack the Visual Incentives That Trigger Self-Preservation
When walking down the street, it’s not unusual for people to clutch their purses and bring their kids closer as they pass a gang of kids in a parking lot. It’s not odd for some to cross the street when passing a homeless person. They look undesirable, and maybe even frightening.
Getting back to the babysitter thing, most parents would never consider hiring a homeless person and putting them in charge of the kids. That’d just be dangerous! At least they look trustworthy enough to make us feel safe, right? Well, in some instances, the homeless person might be the better choice.
On the Internet, we can’t differentiate between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people just by looking at them. Almost everyone ‘seems’ nice. Well…what I mean is the creepy ones are kind of obvious, but it’s the dangerous ones who appear ‘nice’ that people need to be most wary of.
Things Sound Different In Text
The other issue professionals and businesses have is that even the most innocent of things can sound terrible when they’re typed and out of context (i.e. in a tweet or email). Sometimes, even the simplest of sentences can seem snarky, angry, or perverse. The same goes for someone who ‘sounds’ trustworthy. Since we can’t read a person’s body language or hear their tone when they speak, a lot of our perception is based on previous interactions with that person and pure assumptions.
So where am I going with all this? Simple.
Don’t just hand money over to someone you’ve never met without checking things out first. If you don’t feel confident with a particular company or provider, or if there are any serious doubts about their reliability, move on.
Be diligent, for Google’s sake! If you don’t know enough about the process to be able to identify the scammers, get recommendations from someone you trust or speak with someone who does know about the process. Both the provider and the client can tell when the other doesn’t know as much about a particular subject as they should. Trust me!
The other point I’m making with this whole thing is that both online professionals and clients need to protect themselves. While things like deposits might be annoying and make both sides uncomfortable, they’re there to protect everyone involved. There are times when a full upfront payment is necessary, and times when it’s simply not needed.
Don’t believe everything you hear, either. This world is full of miscommunications and complications that might seem one way at the start, but is actually something completely different when you get down to it. I’m not saying you should disregard good and bad reviews, for example, but use each of the puzzle pieces you find while doing research to determine what the entire picture will look like.
In short, use your street sense!