Like Fraud: Don’t Like This Post

Whatever you do, don’t Like this post.

Seriously, don’t. Otherwise, you’ll end up Liking a very different site other than this one.

This is an example of possible Like fraud. If you know HTML, this is surprisingly easy to do. Just grab the code from Facebook and modify the “href” parameter, like this:

<iframe src="" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" style="border:none; overflow:hidden; width:450px; height:px"></iframe>

That means you can take this part of the code (in bold):

and swap in whatever URL you’d like. The poor unsuspecting user who clicks on that Like button is now a fan of whatever URL you placed in there, like

Furthermore, you can include some metadata to change the text of what appears in the activity stream of the PUU. Facebook gives developers two ways to do this: one with their XFBML tag & JavaScript SDK, and one using meta tags (shown below):

<meta property="og:title" content="Title of Content"/>
<meta property="og:site_name" content="Name of Site"/>
<meta property="og:image" content=""/>

Though I haven’t tested it enough to confirm this, I believe the image you can associate with the Like button (which must be 50×50 px in size) can appear in the PUU’s list of Fan Pages.

Pretty easy, huh?

I have a bad feeling Facebook’s Like buttons will be abused like this. It’s just too easy to do. Since their code is embedded within the sandboxed environment of an iframe, it won’t be easy to protect users from Like Fraud either. But hopefully the developers at Facebook are aware & looking into this.

P.S. I originally embedded a rather risque URL in that test Like button. But I’ve replaced it with a URL to my web development agency, WebMocha, so I don’t get anyone in trouble and have something like, “John likes Naughty Nurses” appear in their activity stream, hilarious as that would be.

So if you want to test this hack out, feel free to safely click on the Like button. What you’ll see on your Facebook wall is something like “John likes WebMocha: Web Development Done Right.” I promise we won’t do anything malicious with your endorsement of our agency. Or will we? Muhaha. Just kidding!

Make Every Tweet Useful

Twitter Constraints can conduce creativity. That’s part of the fun of crafting a 140-character message, in my opinion. It’s like a haiku. Within its limitations can come great beauty.

I’m not saying my tweets are beautiful. Far from it. But since I’ve begun tweeting, I’ve thought carefully about each message. And more than that, I’ve also tried to follow this rule:

Make every tweet useful.

To me, this means more than describing what I had for lunch or how I had a bad day. Something beyond pointless babble, basically. Something hopefully useful, meaningful, and can provide someone with value. Perhaps an insightful quote (I have a thing for great quotes). Perhaps an interesting link. Or perhaps a business idea.

It is relatively easy to craft a useful standalone tweet. A reply within a conversation is tougher. Since it can be difficult to discern conversational context from a single tweet, sometimes Twitter feels like a mess of private conversations. The current remedy is to manually hunt around to determine what was written before and after a particular tweet in a conversation. Some tools try to alleviate this, but I haven’t found one that does an effective job yet. (If you know of one, please let me know.)

Without that conversational context, I’ve purported to make replies useful as well. To me, this means trying to avoid empty responses like, “Thanks!”, “LOL”, or “:)”, and trying to provide some kind of context if I reply to someone. This isn’t always possible. When it’s not, I try to craft my reply so if readers click on the “in reply to…” link, they’ll be able to catch up quickly.

It’s already tough to squeeze a useful message in 140 characters. Doing all of this on top of that is even more difficult. But I like to think that these constraints encourage me to think creatively. And hopefully, all of this makes my tweets more useful to my followers.

P.S. I should mention another constraint. I try to keep my tweets at 126 characters, not 140. This gives room for a potential retweet. If someone were to retweet me, they would likely add a: “RT @mikeleeorg”. That’s 14 characters. Subtract that from 140, and the space I have left is 126 characters.

Ah, the fun of constraints!

Map of Technology Competitors

Know what is totally awesome? The game Civilization IV.

There’s this feature in Civ4, called the Foreign Advisor, that displays a map of all the known civilizations. Between each civilization is a color-coded line to show the relationship between each civilization. White means they’re neutral, red means they’re at war, etc.

Looking at that screen, I thought it would be interesting to map out how some of the more prominent technology companies would compare. Here is what I came up with:

Color key:

  • Red – In direct & aggressive competition
  • Green – In some form of alliance
  • Gray – Neutral with each other

It’s interesting to see how many red lines come out of Google (GOOG). Looks like they’ve put themselves against just about everyone. The only one they don’t seem to be overtly competing against, and may be collaborating with, is Twitter.

AOL (AOL) also has quite a few red lines, though I doubt anyone considers them much of a competitive threat anymore. With their rumored Bebo sale, the lines between them and Facebook & MySpace (NWS) will probably turn gray.

Twitter, as far as I can tell, only seems to have one competitor in this diagram: Facebook. Both Google and bing (MSFT) / Yahoo! (YHOO) are indexing tweets in their search engines, so I assume their relationships are friendly. I wasn’t sure how competitive their relationship with MySpace is, so I assumed it was just neutral.

What do you think of this diagram? How would you color these lines & relationships?

You Have 0 Friends

Now for some Friday fun.

Facebook makes an appearance on South Park. As does Tron, Mad Money, and Chatroulette, amongst others. Hilarity ensues. Full episode is currently available as of this post, but may be taken down in a few days, so here are some clips just in case.


I Made A Friend Today!!

So I’m Not One Of Them?

Relationship Status

Mad Friends

No Friends

Thumbs Up

Poke Your Grandma

Looking For Quality Friends

Let The Game Commence

Powerful Profiles

Profile Stan Marsh

Ending a Friendship

User vs. Profile

I’ve Got Nobody!

Wow, after all these clips, who needs the full episode, huh?

How to Rob a House with Google Buzz focused on Foursquare. It highlighted random people checking into public locations, implying that they weren’t home and thus, their belongings could be robbed.

However, it’s not a realistic scenario. All you know is that Random_Joe is at some restaurant or cafe. You don’t know where Random_Joe lives. So how can you rob him?

Enter Google Buzz (GOOG). And this is scary.

Every once in a while, I’ll check out nearby buzzes on Google Buzz Mobile. Usually it’s some harmless comment or random conversation. Sometimes it’s a helpful tip or review on a restaurant. On a few occasions however, I’ve seen people buzz from a residential location, presumably their home.

It’s not difficult to guess what you can do from there, especially if they haven’t limited their privacy options on their Google Profile. Yup, you can monitor their buzzes, learn about their habits, and even know where they are (and when they’re not home).

Methinks should switch their Foursquare feed with Google Buzz.

Fortunately, it looks like only a few people are doing this right now. I imagine using your mobile phone to buzz from home isn’t a common use case, though it clearly happens. Perhaps this should be a new best practice: Don’t do anything online that can share your personal address and your current whereabouts to strangers.

P.S. I also once saw a guy buzz about how much he hated dealing with customers. And he did this from his work location, a car repair shop. Guess which shop I’ll never go to.

How to Market Effectively on Facebook and Twitter

Want to know how to really make Facebook and Twitter work for you? According to eMarketer, here is what other marketers have reported as effective marketing techniques on these two popular social tools:

Marketing on Facebook

The most common marketing tactic used on Facebook was attempting to drive traffic to corporate materials through status updates, followed by friending customers.

But the most effective tactic for consumer-oriented companies was creating a Facebook application, which was done by less than one-quarter of total respondents. Both B2B and B2C companies also reported surveys of their fans as effective; fan surveys were the third-most-common tactic attempted.

I had no idea marketers were “friending” recent customers. How do they even find recent customers? Huh. I’m not sure how I’d feel if I purchased a Starbucks (SBUX) mocha, then came home to see a friend request from them. But I guess this is working for some customers.

Marketing on Twitter

Like those on Facebook, marketers using Twitter were also most interested in increasing traffic. Driving traffic by linking to marketing Webpages was the most common activity on the microblogging site, followed by driving sales by linking to promotional pages. But again, the most effective tactics were different.

B2C marketers had the most success with monitoring Twitter for PR problems (done by one-half of all respondents) and contacting users who posted negative comments about their brand (done by only 22.4% of total respondents). B2B companies also succeeded with brand monitoring, as well as with using Twitter invites for in-person events (the least common tactic of all).

Most of the Twitter tactics don’t surprise me. I personally don’t follow Twitter users who only tweet URLs and use their accounts like RSS feeds. What a waste of a marketing channel. Interspersing meaningful tweets with URLs is more likely to get a click from me, personally.

Biz Idea: What I’m Feeling Right Here, Right Now

Here’s a tongue-in-cheek idea. With all the talk about the dangers of location-based services, I started to wonder: People share their thoughts (foursquare, Google Buzz (GOOG), brightkite), reviews (Yelp), and photos (Flickr) to the world with a stalker-friendly geotag. What else could they share?

How about their mood?

Remember a time when social networks were full of “How are you feeling today” icons and notes? Some people loved those mood icons. Some still do. I think MySpace (NWS) and LiveJournal still have them, in fact.

So how about sharing how you are feeling, exactly when you are feeling it, wherever you are feeling it? Maybe you could even take a picture of your face to reflect that emotion. Think of it as a real-time geotagged emotion.

Friends could follow your mood throughout the day as you travel through Machu Picchu, Tokyo, or a local softball game. Researchers could look into whether or not riding the bus dampens people’s moods. Stalkers could follow you around until you’re feeling low and vulnerable, then approach you and offer some candy.

I’m feeling pretty cheerful right now. Oh how I wish I could geotag this emotion in real-time to the world.

An Unidentified User is Following Me on Google Buzz

This is odd. In my list of followers on Google Buzz (GOOG), there is an unidentified user. How mysterious.

I didn’t know Google’s accounts allowed you to create an account anonymously, much less follow someone anonymously. Aren’t names required?

I’m flattered an unidentified user is following me. It’s not like they can’t follow me on Twitter anonymously already. Perhaps this is part of the new privacy features Google Buzz is rolling out.

Anyone know anything about how this?