Vende Buzz: E-mail lives! Fat Fingers and Ashley Madison

by Paul Slack
  |  August 19, 2015  |  
August 19, 2015

by Paul Slack

This week we have cyber security problems, thick finger solutions – and new news about email (not being dead after all).

TechCrunch launches seven NEW weekly newsletters

The massively popular “all things tech” authority just announced the launch of seven NEW weekly newsletters. They will be delivered in email on Sundays and come in the following flavors:

  • TC Week-In-Review
  • Europe Week-In-Review
  • Asia Week-In-Review
  • Gadgets Week-In-Review
  • Mobile and Apps Week-In-Review
  • Startups Week-In-Review
  • Social Media Week-In-Review

Of course TechCrunch has had the daily newsletter but it is an “all-in-one” with news for every category, which not everyone wants. Plus it comes daily which increases its likelihood of being “tossed” in the “trash”.

TechCrunch says the newsletters “sport a fresh new look and design” – which really means they are mobile-friendly so you don’t have to be on your desktop to read them easily. To that end, images are stripped from newsletters on mobile so you avoid using costly data and they load faster.

Once again, the rumors of the death of e-mail as a marketing tactic are just that, rumors.

Get the not-dead news at TechCrunch

Point is: In addition to the fact that TechCrunch is useful in general and contrary to popular opinion – email is NOT dead. Though you may not want to do a daily hit – which will clog up the inbox (and take up your time), a weekly email newsletter isn’t such a bad idea. If the highest of the high tech guys think it’s ok – it probably is. Repeat after us “email is good”.

Samsung gets an actual keyboard

In the world of smartphones, Samsung has done the near “unthinkable”.

Since the Blackberry all but died (incidentally, they are getting back into the smartphone game with a new version that uses the Android platform), we have moved away from keyboards…keyboards with keys that is. No one has a slider – and it is nearly impossible to find a flip phone anymore.

This has left many of those in the post-millennial age-set complaining of having “thick fingers”. Some of those self-described technologically-challenged (they may call themselves worse) individuals have had a hard time adjusting to the touchscreen only keyboard and are resistant to giving up the desktop. Samsung heard them, and answered with a keyboard cover.

The cover snaps onto the front of the phone to provide actual “keys”. When not in use, it snaps off and stores on the back of the phone. It is available for the Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.

Challenges – using the keyboard makes a phone case impossible – and it costs an extra $80.

Key in to the cover at Entrepreneur

Point is: Even though millennials are considered to be the major market for mobile – you can’t leave out the older set. As the world becomes “smarter” with smartphones – no one can escape, no matter who you are.

Ashley Madison hack affects 33 million

You have probably heard about the guys that hacked into the online “extramarital affairs” website, Ashley Madison. Aside from the whole distasteful….um, flavor of the website – it demonstrates a potential threat for a lot of businesses.

The site was apparently threatened earlier in the summer by the hackers who ended up doing exactly what they said they would do – hack into the site and publish user’s email addresses and personal data. This was either in response to the group’s claim that AM had thousands of fake female profiles…or just a statement on the business in general.

Also apparently, the group “The Impact Team” had earlier posted user data from the parent company, “Avid Life Media” which also owns two other dating sites. Data now published on the TOR website has Ashley Madison info from 33 million accounts including 36 million email addresses, street addresses, names, phone numbers and credit card transactions.

Supposedly about 15,000 email addresses were government related (.gov, .mil) and about 100,000 UK government addresses, which puts the phrase “your government in action”, right back in the sarcasm category. AM responded by saying that there is no “email validation” required – so in reality, those could be fake emails – as could many of the others.

AM reports that user’s actual credit card info is safe because it is not stored on the site – so the data dump only includes transaction numbers.   This provides only a little relief to exposed users as the numbers could theoretically be linked to credit card statements by a motivated partner.

Though they don’t have to offer “credit monitoring” like other businesses that have been hacked as this time the hackers weren’t apparently after financial info. AM says they are addressing this as a criminal matter – possible too little, too late and the company will likely be subject to multiple lawsuits regarding the breach. Whether anyone wins in the legal battles to ensue – pretty much everyone here loses.

Sensational scandal at TechCrunch

Point is: Well first, the point is not a condemnation of the questionable practice of looking for an affair online – you can figure that out yourself. The point is that if your website stores information in any form about your customers or users, you need to make sure that info is secure.   Using a third party vendor is likely the best way to go – and requiring email validation will help you avoid scammers, spammers and hackers. Finally – if you ever receive a threat about exposure – take it seriously.

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