Gawker Security: A Change for the Better

Gawker Media had to learn it the hard way. After last weeks’s security breach which included compromised passwords of users, Gawker Media’s CTO Thomas Plunkett sent a memo to staff members last Friday explaining the situation and outlining first consequences. The memo includes quite a lot of apologetic talk, but also admits that Gawker was not prepared for a security breach like this one at all:

It is clear that the Gawker tech team did not adequately secure our platform from an attack of this nature. We were also not prepared to respond when it was necessary. These things can be attributed to several factors. First, we never planned for such an event, and therefore had no systems, or processes in place to adequately respond.

Wow, that’s an admission of complete failure if you ask me. Poor Gawker tech team! A media company the size of Gawker should be prepared better.

For user comments, Plunkett announces third-party logins:

On all of our sites, we will be introducing several new features to our commenting system to acknowledge the reality that we have lost the commenters’ trust and don’t deserve it back. We should not be in the business of collecting and storing personal information, and our objective is to migrate our platform away from any personal data dependencies (like email & password). We will push further integration of external account verification sources using OAuth (like Facebook, Twitter, and Google) for those that want to use them, and we’ll also be introducing disposable accounts.

That’s good news, at least to users.

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The End of an Era

Yahoo logo

According to a leaked screenshot, Yahoo will shut down some of its products like Delicious and MyBlogLog. Other products including Fire Eagle and Upcoming are on a list to merge with some of Yahoo’s remaining products. The company basically confirmed the news tonight.

Delicious, my beloved dinosaur

This is sad and it also marks the end of an era. At least to me. Delicious was the first Web 2.0 service I ever used. At first I thought it was strange to save bookmarks on the web, using an extra service for it. I already saved them in the browser, right? But I quickly realized and enjoyed the benefits of using a service like Delicious:

  • bookmarking more links than ever before
  • more relevant search results
  • building references for blog posts and research in general
  • tagging
  • and much more

Since then I tried and used countless other web services but Delicious remained one of the very few products I never really ditched. Even at times I used other bookmarking services like Gnolia, and more recently Diigo, Delicious always served as a backup of those products. I heavily relied on it which became especially important when Gnolia shut its doors. I didn’t have to start from scratch, my bookmarks were still there. And somehow I was sure Delicious would survive because it was part of one of the biggest internet companies, Yahoo.

Buying companies

And Yahoo? It’s difficult to find words for the disaster. A few years ago, I had the impression Yahoo was onto something big. In 2005 it bought some of the early, and awesome, Web 2.0 companies, namely Flickr, Delicious (Update Dec 20: this link went to the Delicious blog but funny Yahoo has deleted all contents of the blog except for the last post by now), and Upcoming. You couldn’t buy much better companies in those days. Later, in 2007, Yahoo also bought MyBlogLog. The MyBlogLog widget was on almost every blog I visited. Widespread, viral.

Though after those acquisitions not much happened. As a user I had the impression that development of those products stopped. Did Yahoo have a strategy to develop and/or integrate those services? If it had, it wasn’t visible.

Yahoo Me

Since a few months everyone is speculating about Google’s social strategy or how a social layer of its products would look like.

Yahoo could have a social layer of its products since three years already. MyBlogLog could have been the center of that layer. Basically, it could have served the same purpose as Facebook Connect. Doesn’t it even look similar to those Facebook widgets or Google Friend Connect? So it could be used for login (the Facebook Connect analogy is just too evident). I mean, Yahoo has great identity teams with experiences in OpenID and OAuth (Flickr even served as the blueprint for OAuth), so that would have been a no-brainer.

Also MyBlogLog could have served as a news feed. Yahoo has Upcoming for events, Flickr for photos, Fire Eagle for locations,… Put the streams of those services into MyBlogLog and they could spread via MyBlogLog widget across the web. Yahoo didn’t need a central social network like Facebook. It had all the required tools and services to establish a social network on millions of independent sites, only connected through the widget.

Well, Yahoo didn’t do this. Did I mention it’s sad?

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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.