links for 2009-11-04

  • It’s one of the basic tenets of online security: Never use the same password/username combo for every website that requires one. The logic is sound, of course. A single security breach could expose your most private information — such as banking and credit card numbers — to the bad guys.
    Problem is, who can remember multiple passwords and usernames? Many times I’ve signed up for a service, returned to the site a few weeks later, and quickly realized that I couldn’t remember my login details.
  • As many as one in every 500 web addresses posted on Twitter lead to sites hosting malware, according to researchers at Kaspersky Labs who have deployed a tool that examines URLs circulating in tweets.
    The spread of malware is aided by the popular use of shortened URLs on Twitter, which generally hide the real website address from users before they click on a link, preventing them from self-filtering links that appear to be dodgy.
    Kaspersky, an anti-virus and computer-security firm based in Moscow, created a tool called Krab Krawler, which extracts URLs from millions of tweets a day. The tools expands shortened URLs to examine words in the web address for those matching known malware sites. For unknown sites, Kaspersky visits the web page to determine if it’s hosting malicious code that could infect visitors.
    About 26 percent of Twitter messages contain a URL, according to Costin Raiu, chief security expert at Kaspersky.

  • Many ecommerce merchants use Google Analytics to track visitor activity on their websites. But there are other analytics firms, too, that offer services to merchants. One of them is ClickTale, an Israel-based firm with over 35,000 clients, according to its co-founder.
    That co-founder is Tal Schwartz, who is both an academic and an entrepreneur. He launched ClickTale in 2006 when he was teaching entrepreneurship at a university in Israel. He says ClickTale is now “the industry leader in customer experience analytics, providing businesses with revolutionary insights into their customers’ online behavior.”
    ClickTale is hosted service, with monthly prices ranging from $0 to $790. Schwartz is both a fan of Google Analytics and a critic. He claims that Google Analytics is wrong in how it computes the time visitors spend on a site, and that the error can affect ecommerce merchants. We asked him about that.
  • My wife Eleanor and I used to live in a small house in Princeton, New Jersey. One night we returned home to find a car parked in our single space driveway with no owner in sight. We were tired and had nowhere nearby to legally park our car. So we had the car towed, parked our car in its place, and went to sleep.
    The next morning there was a loud knock on the door. Eleanor was the first to answer. She immediately regretted it. It was our next-door neighbor, we’ll call her Leslie, and she was mad. As soon as she saw Eleanor she burst forth with a barrage of angry words and accusations. I was in the back of the house and could hear her clearly.
    It turns out the mystery car we had towed belonged to her son. Eleanor, usually calm and collected, began to defend herself against the bombardment of accusations, which only made Leslie angrier and louder. So they went at it, both arguing their points.
    (tags: leadership)
  • Without an immediate technology transition, the Internet could run out of addresses as early as next year, warns a new report.
    The survey, conducted by the European Commission, found that of the 610 government, educational and other industry organizations questioned across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, just 17 per cent have upgraded to a new Internet addressing technique called IPv6.
    These aren’t the Web address you type into a browser to surf to your favorite website, but rather the underlying Internet protocol addresses that denote individual devices connected to the Internet. These form the foundation for all online communications, from e-mail and web pages to voice chat and streaming video.
    (tags: Internet)
  • Little guy with big head
    If you visit our Virginia office, you’ll see this guy in the lobby on the coffee table.
    Yes, he’s impressive. But to understand why he is in Grotech Ventures lobby, one needs to read the inscription in his skull.
    (tags: vc grotech)
  • Teenagers may think it’s harmless, but sending sexually explicit pictures and messages over cell phones can lead to emotional problems and criminal charges that will affect them for the rest of their lives, criminal justice officials said.
    Investigators and prosecutors on Thursday warned of the dangers of electronically transmitting racy images and words at a hearing organized by Rep. Anastasia Pittman, D-Oklahoma City, into the practice of “sexting,” distributing nude or seminude self-portraits over cell phones.
    “Sexting alone just by itself will land a kid in jail,” Pittman said. “They are not aware of the implications, the consequences. It’s their future that we’re trying to save.”
  • Angels still have wings, but they aren’t flying quite so high.
    The rules of the game of angel investing have changed in the post-crisis world. The average deal size shrank by 31 percent in the first half of this year, according to a recent study by the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. The study shows that total angel investments fell to $9.1 billion in the first half of 2009, a 27 percent decline from the same period last year, but the number of companies getting venture investments actually increased by 6 percent, to 24,500.
  • LinkedIn may be the least glitzy of the major social media sites but it’s also one of the most successful. Launched in 2003, it’s been making a profit since 2007 and, despite the recession, some of its ad categories continue to sell at CPMs of $50 or more. Unlike Facebook or MySpace, it doesn’t offer games or apps designed to maximize the time users spend there. It’s a network for business people and its goal is to minimize the time its users spend to get what they need from each other. In this eight-minute interview, founder and chairman Reid Hoffman discusses LinkedIn’s current operations.
  • Breaking news….If you are a startup pursuing funding, you have more in common with a politician or athlete caught behaving badly then you might think.
    A politician caught misbehaving, an athlete photographed doing something he or she shouldn’t be doing, or a celebrity who finds that one heated moment has turned into tabloid fodder for weeks on end all have one thing in common – how they communicate will likely determine whether the incident is a speed bump or a career ender.
    So what does this have to do with entrepreneurs pursuing VC funding? Everything!
    Crisis communications is usually identified as the effort to protect and defend an individual, organization or corporation’s reputation when crisis strikes and public confidence in the individual or organization is shaken or thrown into question.
  • Twitter Inc.’s $100 million funding round drew considerable attention for its massive size, but it’s not the largest venture deal so far this year. That round actually tied for the fourth largest, according to data compiled from Dow Jones VentureSource.
    Here’s a list of the Top 10 venture capital rounds through the third quarter. The deals are impressive considering the cloud hanging over the venture industry. Besides Twitter and another dot-commer, Facebook Inc., these companies range from massive clean-technology projects and health-care plays to wireless equipment makers and, in one case, a waste-collection service.
    (tags: vc)

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