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By now you have probably read that this past weekend blog publisher Gawker’s user database was hacked. If you haven’t read about the issues, the Next Web blog has been covering the events in detailed fashion.
This morning I received about a dozen emails (because I have multiple emails listed in LI) from LinkedIn with the following message, “…In order to ensure that you continue to have the best experience using LinkedIn, we are constantly monitoring our site to make sure your account information is safe. We have recently disabled your account for security reasons…” The message goes on to tell me how to reset my password.
Many people are noting on Twitter that they too have received the same messages from LinkedIn. Most are wondering if the Gawker issue is related to these emails.
Considering the mass amount of people receiving these security password emails from LinkedIn, it’d be great to get an official comment from LinkedIn on their blog regarding what’s going on. Were there attempts to use the data or is LinkedIn just being proactive?
Update: We’ve received the official comment from LinkedIn as we hoped, “sorry for the inconvenience, as a proactive measure we’ve reached out to users potentially affected by the gawker breach regarding password”.
An interesting bit – appears at least a few people on Twitter are going back to LinkedIn for the first time in a long time due to these password reset emails. I wonder if LinkedIn will see a traffic bump today — good job to LinkedIn for being proactive.
A week ago we wrote about the new Gawker blogger payment system which provided hefty bonuses for higher pageviews. The idea is that once you meet a certain threshold, any additional pageviews each month will lead to a bonus check. So the incentive is there to get as many pageviews as possible for each story. I said this is a poor choice of plans because it can push each post on Digg and the other news sites to drive views. Not that most of the Gawker blogs need any additional Digg-lovin’ as they already have more than any othe group.
Today we learn that gadget blog Gizmodo went to the extreme for pageviews with a stunt at CES. They turned off all of the televisions in the exhibit halls screwing up demos all over the place and what appears to be a keynote by Motorola. For many of the companies demoing at CES and spending tons of money, this could be a make or break for them. And instead of focusing on a product, they had to worry about why their electronics wasn’t working.
Is the stunt funny? Sure. Was it in poor taste? Absolutely. Of course many bloggers believe they live "above the law" – we see this in tech blogging quite a bit. "The Canadian Destroyer" Mathew Ingram thinks it’s fine and dandy. Course he also thinks stealing Lane’s photos is ok, so his opinion here is suspect. :)
Loic LeMeur agrees that it was in poor taste and reflects poorly on bloggers in general. I’ve already watched some of the leading tech bloggers do things that reflect poorly on the group as a whole.
But hey, that story already has over 115,000 pageviews so who cares, right?
Valleywag posted an internal memo from Gawker Central to its army of bloggers about a new bonus program based on traffic. Most large organizations in corporate America have some type of individual incentive program on top of any base salary. But is this type of bonus a way to infect the Internet with a new type of virus?
In my former life, I met people who worked on industrial product lines for 40+ years doing exactly the same thing for nearly all of it. Whether it was making a paper cup, creating a new batch of cole slaw or perfecting the perfect fragrance, everyone of them had quotas to meet everyday. Passing those quotas meant a bonus in their paycheck. And the smart ones mastered the system and found the tweaks to optimize performance to get large bonuses.
Let’s move into the world of blogging and look at both sides of pay for performance blogging. Many of the blogging networks already have pay for performance systems in place. In an email to the bloggers, Gawker head Nick Denton notes, "One guest editor on Wonkette landed a huge exclusive and walked away with an extra $3k in his paycheck."
Last month we saw what a "Dan Ackerman Greenberg" can do with his company in helping a potentially worthless piece of content go viral and drive views. Will the Gawker bloggers now spend time pushing content onto social news sites like Digg and Mixx more than ever? Sure, why not. Will they write content to get better rankings in Google? Sure, why not. If they can take a story that would normally have x views and increase it to 25x, they are one step closer to a bonus. They’d be fools not to.
The flip-side of pay for performance is that we may see better content coming from the Gawker blogs (I am not suggesting the content is not good now). This is great. Push your employees to get better stories and get rewarded for the hard work.
The bottom line is that pay for performance is overall a good thing as it helps those who work harder and smarter earn more. What it also means is that bloggers in a network are no longer only writers, but instead, marketers as well.
Gawker Media, publisher of sites such as Valleywag and Gizmodo, presented their new blogging platform at the September NY Tech Meetup last night. The discussion started by explaining how they changed their comment status over the past couple of years, moving from no comments, to open comments, to logged in comments.
The discussion focused around their new platform which begins roll-out this Friday. Here is what I could put together from the demo:
- a user who comments on a Gawker blog will have a page with the ability to publish comments and content to it - some content might get promoted to the home page
- You can "friend" another commenter
- I understand this has something to do with the way Facebook handles friends
- There will be user feeds for each user that you can subscribe to
Here is the video from the demo: