Journal Article Reviews

PayPal, FBI and Others Wage War on Botnet Armies. Can They Succeed?

Since botnets have absorbed threats such as spam and DDOS attacks, they have become the biggest threat to the Internet and activities like email, online gaming, and e-commerce. Not only can botnets disable the mechanisms used to protect against DDOS and phishing attacks, they can threaten the online activities of banks, online betting companies, ISPs, and entire countries.

A botnet army thought to have originated in Russia brought down the  computer infrastructure of Estonia in May 2007. In March 2008, the UK gambling site Gala Coral was taken down for 30 minutes by one of the most sophisticated DDOS attacks to be completed by a botnet army. This botnet army consisted of 30,000 PCs and Macs.

Botnets are successful because they can be easily launched to a large number of Internet-attached computers via a variety of malware programs. Once the computers download the malware program, they are connected to a Command and Control (CC) center via an Internet Relay Chat (IRC). A specific IRC server known as the Bot Herder issues commands to the botnet computers (pawns). Sample commands would be to launch a DDOS attack, a phishing and identity theft scams, spam, and click fraud. Each pawn executes these commands at a different speed, depending on its processing capability, its Internet connection, and its geographic location, which is another strength of the botnet attacks. It’s harder for defense programs to detect the activity because there isn’t a discernible pattern.

The Storm Worm Botnet was identified in January 2007 and is estimated to have included at least 200,000 pawns in a large-scale DDOS attack. The Storm targeted security vendors and analysts known to be investigating botnets. These types of attacks have discouraged some security companies from researching botnets directly. Additionally, Storm used peer-to-peer communications to issue commands from a subset of pawns, rather than from a single Bot Herder. These pawns issued commands on a rotating basis, which made for an elusive target. Storm also encrypted its instructions.

Botnets have also launched straightforward identity or banking frauds, aimed particularly at PayPal. Some of these scams are easily discovered, but many people have fallen victim to botnet scams. Furthermore, botnets allow fraudsters to “buy time” on an existing botnet, rather than launching their own attacks individually.

By tapping into the broadband bandwidth of a million or more computers, botnets can access bandwidth of a petabit per second (1 million Mbps). This enormous bandwidth can overwhelm any penetrated network or website during a DDOS, but can also delivery spam and phishing emails to large numbers of people very quickly.

During phase two of its “Bot Roast” in November 2007, the FBI uncovered a million compromised computers and secured two convictions. While significant, this may have merely exposed the scale of the problem. The anti-botnet vendor FireEye estimated that there are 150 million bot-infected computers worldwide. Another anti-bot vendor Damballa identified 7.3 million pawns carrying out commands each day in January 2008, which is over twenty times the 333,000 each day in August 2006. Included in the activity was a large amount of spam, which in March 2008 accounted for 91% of all email, up from 64% in June 2007.

Along with government agencies, the security industry is responding to the botnet threat. Symantec announced a new botnet detection capability through its Managed Security Services in October 2007. MSS can detect botnet activity and which malware was used to recruit the botnet pawn.

PayPal has developed a learning-based system which revises the profiles and customer, merchant, and bank behavior. This allows PayPal to identify fraud at various stages and take further action such as limiting or blocking certain customer or merchant accounts or seeking further identity verification. The biggest challenge is to attack botnets without impeding legitimate activities.

Mr. Hunter seems to think that it’s almost impossible to completely stop botnet attacks. While the FBI, security industry, and individual sites like PayPal are all working toward a common goal of hindering botnet attacks, Mr. Hunter spends most of the article explaining why this is almost impossible. This seems awfully pessimistic, but it may be a realistic conclusion that Mr. Hunter has come to as a result of his extensive research.

I think this article is important because it explains in detail one of the biggest threats to all Internet-users. Prior to reading the article, I had obviously heard of spam, phishing, and DDOS attacks, but I wasn’t aware that most of attacks are actually initiated by botnets, much less that botnets could shut down the entire computer infrastructure of an entire country. Drawing new attention to the threat that botnets pose can cause more Internet users to be more cautious and also demand that further strides be made in the fight against botnet attacks. If knowledge is power, then this article can provide an immense amount of power to those previously uneducated about the issue.

I would definitely recommend this article to other people. I think that it’s important for Internet-users to be educated about the potential dangers of their online activities. Understanding how botnet attacks are launched and taking steps to protect their own computer from becoming a pawn can help protect not only their identity and data, but also the identities and data of (potentially) millions of other Internet-users. In addition to becoming more knowledgeable about this topic, I think that Internet-users need to take steps such as setting strong passwords, downloading and using antivirus/anti-malware programs, and ensuring that their Internet connection is secure.

Hunter, Philip. “PayPal, FBI and Others Wage War on Botnet Armies. Can They Succeed?” Computer Fraud & Security 2008.5 (May 2008). 8 Dec. 2011 <;.

A Comparison of Website User Authentication Mechanisms

As more and more websites store and allow access to sensitive personal information, Internet-users are going to have to be more cautious in the way they authenticate themselves online in order to combat unauthorized access and identity theft. Online banking, commercial sites that store payment card details, and social networking sites all require adequate safeguards. However, most online accounts are only protected by a username (or email address) and password.

A study by the UK’s Cyber Security Knowledge Transfer Network found that, “Most security mechanisms are currently chosen to protect the technology, with little or no consideration of the impact on individuals. This compounds the effect of increasing system complexity. Many existing mechanisms create a high workload for individual users.” Specifically, the researchers cited the sheer number of passwords and PINS users are expected to manage and remember as an example of the problem.

Beyond usability, it would be good to move away from passwords because they’re not user-friendly and are considered to be vulnerable. Trying to simplify security for the user often relies on information that someone familiar with the target user could be in the position to know (reduces security). Methods that attempt to reduce vulnerability result in decreased usability by requiring users to remember more information or follow more time-consuming processes.

In the case of online banking, users are willing to complete additional security steps, because they want to protect their actual assets. However, extensive security measures like requiring a user to enter his/her date of birth and specific digits from a security number (HSBC website) or certain digits from a PIN and a random date using an onscreen key pad (ING website) wouldn’t scale well. And other security measures like requiring a card reader in order to access an account remove usability as well. While the website can be accessed from any Internet-ready device, the user would have to carry his/her card reader around at all times in order to access the site away from his/her primary computer.

An alternate security method is the question and answer approach. The user answers a set of questions when he/she originally registers for the site and for subsequent logins, the system randomly selects a small subset of questions at each login that the user must answer in order to proceed. An advantage of the question and answer approach is that it uses easily memorable, but still secret, information. A disadvantage is that it requires a lengthy exchange in order to gain entry; this is why some websites currently use this as a secondary level of authentication, rather than a primary level.

Sites can also use visual and graphical methods of authentication, such as these three approaches:

  • The user remembers a sequence of images
  • The user remembers something about an image
  • The user has to draw an image

In theory, it’s easier for users to remember images than strings of characters. However, at this time, there isn’t much empirical data to support this in real users.

While all these methods are relatively straightforward, they all require different techniques and ongoing use would have different implications for the end-user:

  • Mental effort (user’s ability to memorize and recall, varying levels of precision)
  • Convenience (login speed, effort/engagement required)
  • Applicability (able to work on desktop, mobile, and handheld devices)
  • Flexibility (ability to change authentication credentials)
  • Mutual authentication (the user can verify that the site is authentic at the same time the site verifies that the user is authentic)

Table 2. Comparing the Authentication Alternatives

There is no perfect option, since all methods have pros and cons. Users will probably prefer to continue using passwords because it’s easy, and websites will probably prefer to continue using passwords because they can be used from any type of device. This may change over time, once users realize the consequences of their accounts being compromised.

Mr. Furnell seems to resigned himself to the fact that the current system of usernames and passwords will continue to be the method that websites use, until the users themselves decide that their data is important enough to warrant stronger security measures. It’s clear from the extensive research that Mr. Furnell thinks that the question and answer or visual and graphical methods would be better for the user’s protection, but he concedes that the heavy burden on the user and web developer make these methods virtually unusable at this time.

This article is important because it reveals the potential location of a major security breach for many Internet-users. Not only do people need to protect their online banking information for obvious reasons, but it’s becoming increasingly important for users to protect their identities on social networking sites. As more and more employers and potential friends and romantic interests use the Web to research individuals, it’s vital that users make sure that the information about them is accurate. Without sufficient security measures, a user’s personal data could be compromised.

Again, I would definitely recommend this article to other people. Since websites won’t implement stronger security measures until their users demand them, the users need to be aware of the potential for loss and the options for additional protection available to them. I think that if people used one or two sites with slightly stronger security measures, they could quickly adapt and accept these methods at more and more sites. For example, in order to access my US Bank Visa account online, I visit and enter my Personal ID. The site then asks me a security question from a bank of questions I answered when I registered for the site. Finally, the site shows me a picture that I selected with a keyword and requests that I enter my password. If I don’t answer the security question correctly, I can’t proceed. And if the picture and keyword don’t match those that I selected, then I know that I’m on the wrong site and I shouldn’t enter my password. This method doesn’t take much longer than a traditional login, but it has multiple layers of security for both me and the bank.

Furnell, Steven. “A Comparison of Website User Authentication Mechanisms.” Computer Fraud & Security 2007.9 (Sept. 2007). 8 Dec. 2011 <;.


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U of I Comparison via Motion Chart

Motion Chart Comparing UIUC, UIS, and UIC

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An Introduction to Google AdWords

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Pandora Internet Radio is a “personalized Internet radio that is designed to help you discover new music you’ll love mixed in with music you already know.”  Using their Music Genome Project research, Pandora suggests songs that are similar to those the listener has indicated that he/she likes.

Pandora’s value propositions include personalization, customization, and convenience.  Pandora allows the user to create up to 100 stations based on songs, artists, or genres.  Once the station is created, the user can vote songs up or down to determine whether the song will stay on the station and help Pandora suggest future songs.

Pandora utilizes advertising and subscription models for revenue.  Free accounts are supports via video, audio, and visual advertisements.  For $36 per year, users can upgrade to Pandora One, which eliminates all external ads and gives the user additional benefits.

While Pandora has many competitors in the Internet radio market, none of them offer a service exactly like Pandora’s Music Genome Project.  Entering the market is relatively easy, but many users may be unwilling to switch between service providers once they invest time in creating stations and building their preferences.

Pandora currently relies mostly on word of mouth marketing.  Music is an excellent candidate for this strategy because people enjoy passing on good recommendations.  This is great for Pandora right now because it’s an extremely low-cost approach.  But it’s also good because it leaves Pandora a lot of room to expand their marketing techniques in the future.  Potential techniques could include banner ads and product placement in TV shows or movies.

I believe the biggest threat to Pandora’s survival is also their biggest asset: their large number of users.  Pandora has to pay royalties for every song that every user listens to.  As the number of listening hours increases, the number of ads that users see or hear decrease sharply after a certain point.  It it imperative that Pandora increase the number of Pandora One users and/or generate additional revenue streams from music downloads or other sources.

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Pay with PayPal? Or Moneybookers?

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Sony PlayStation Security Breach

This first video discusses the Sony PlayStation hacking scandal as it was unfolding.  At that point, it was unclear exactly how many people would be affected and how long the service interruption would last.

In the second video, it’s revealed that Sony’s service to 77 million users was interrupted for 3 weeks in the US while the breach was secured and security measures were increased.

I think that security breaches like this are very troubling, because they’re not something that people are necessarily guarding against as well as they might be protecting their information in other places.  More and more people know to check their credit card statements and credit reports regularly for fraudulent activity.  Spam filters are becoming better at identifying emails that are actually attempts at phishing, and as the infamous story about a Nigerian prince who wants to share his inheritance with you (if only you’ll send him $1,000 first) becomes more well known, fewer people will fall for those types of schemes.

However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid putting your identifying information and credit card numbers at least a few places on the web.  If you want to download the Amazon AppStore free app of the day, they require a credit card on file.  If you want to download additional tracks for your Rock Band video game, you have to pay for them somehow.

I think there are a few main things that people can do to protect themselves online:

  • Use different user names and/or passwords for different sites.  That way, if a hacker gains access to one account, he/she won’t necessarily have access to all of your accounts.
  • While you’re at it, use a strong password.  Make sure that it’s something you can remember, but not something that’s easy to guess.
  • Choose which sites and services you give your information to carefully.  If possible, use a secure service like PayPal instead of putting your personal info into every form that asks for it.
  • Use credit cards for purchases instead of debit cards.  That way your bank account is less vulnerable and you’ll have stronger consumer protection on your side in the event of a breach.
  • Watch your accounts like a hawk!  I know so many people who don’t balance their checkbook on a regular basis or keep track of their credit card purchases.  Just because you still have a positive bank balance doesn’t mean that everything is OK.  Make sure that nothing is coming out of your account unless you authorized it to do so.
  • Check your credit report on a regular basis.  You can get a free credit report from the big three reporting companies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) once a year at  If possible (and financially feasible), sign up for a service that monitors your credit on a more regular basis.  I get a quarterly update of my credit report through my Capital One card for a $5 fee every month.

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iOS and Android and RIM… Oh, my!

iOS Android RIM
Current Verson 4.3 and 4.3.5 2.3.6 Gingerbread & 3.2 Honeycomb 6.0.0 & 7.0.0
Device #1 Apple TV HTC Evo 4G Curve 9350
Device #2 iPhone 4 Droid Bionic Torch 9810
Device #3 iPod Touch (4th gen) Droid 3 Bold 9780
Device #4 iPad Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Pearl 3G 9100
Device #5 iPad 2 Toshiba Thrive Curve 3G 9330


This article from discusses consumer preference among these three operating systems.  Nearly half of the ChangeWave survey respondents say they would prefer an iOS-equipped iPhone.  Thirty-two of respondents say they prefer the Android OS, and only 14% of respondents said they would prefer a RIM-equipped BlackBerry.  iOS and Android both experienced growth in demand since ChangeWave’s previous March survey (two points and one point, respectively), while RIM experienced a one point drop in demand.

This humorous article from compares the stereotypes of Android and iOS users.  Windows, RIM, and Palm operating systems were relegated to two small cells at the bottom of their chart.

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Pandora – The Music Genome Project

I think this video offers a good explanation of Pandora’s Internet Radio for several reasons:

  • It explains Pandora’s services very simply – Sign up for an account and listen on your PC or cell phone.  That’s really all there is to it and they don’t try to make their explanation overly wordy.
  • It explains Pandora’s business model.  Pandora offers a free service that includes ads and a paid service that eliminates ads and gives additional hours of continuous streaming music.
  • They also explain what the Music Genome Project is.  Pandora analyzes musical instruments and song structure in order to play other songs with similar characteristics.  This is really cool because it allows listeners to discover new artists and songs that they might not have heard on traditional broadcast radio.
  • They go on to list other businesses that might be threatened by Pandora’s services, but also businesses that are complemented by Pandora.  Since Pandora links to the iTunes store and Amazon (so that listeners can buy music if they find something they like), they can actually benefit from Pandora’s services.  On the other hand, there are other streaming music services competing with Pandora, and some listeners might prefer Pandora’s free or low-cost services as opposed to purchasing all of their music through retailers.
  • The slides at the end of the video offer some other interesting tidbits of information about Pandora, such as the growing number of registered listeners and the popularity of the Pandora application for iPhones.  (I personally love listening to Pandora on my Motorola Droid X!)
I did notice one thing that has changed about Pandora since this video was posted in 2009.  Pandora does play audio ads between songs, but there aren’t nearly as many ads on Pandora as on my local broadcast radio, so this is still a definite plus.

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Is Google+ the next facebook?

I have had a Gmail account for my email since it was in the early invite-only beta stages.  I got a T-Mobile G1 as soon as they came out, and switched to a Droid X when I changed carriers.  My next mobile computing device will be either a Android-powered tablet or a Chromebook.  Google Music on my laptop and via a phone app have nearly eliminated my need for iTunes and my iPod.  I even used the ill-fated Buzz and Wave.  So to say that I was excited when Google announced G+ and I got an invite would be an understatement.

I personally love the ability to edit my posts and comments and the built-in security and customization that the Circles allow you.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve updated my status on facebook without proofreading, and have then deleted my post so that I can correct an error.  G+ saves me from having to do that!  And while I love being able to share photos and what’s happening in my life with friends and family who live far away, I don’t necessarily want my mom to see some of the pictures I was tagged in when I was younger.  I think that Google was extremely savvy when they designed their Circles.  I can follow people and read their thoughts without them having to follow me back.  And if someone Circles me whom I don’t know, I don’t have to Circle him/her back.  Instead, they’ll only be able to see my public posts (if any).

Although I love the functionality of G+, I don’t feel that I’ve been using it to its full potential.  Most of my friends are already on facebook and the majority of them seem reluctant to leave facebook behind, no matter how much they complain about games cluttering up their news feed or how concerned they are about facebook’s confusing and ever-changing privacy policies.

I consider my group of friends to be pretty tech savvy, so I decided to ask for some additional input.

On facebook I asked: I have to write a blog post for class that discusses why Google+ is/isn’t the next big social networking site. I think it has potential, but it’s getting off to a relatively slow start. Or maybe it’s not that slow; I don’t know how quickly fb & twitter gained traction, so I can’t really compare them. I know that I prefer G+, but I prefer Google for most things, so that’s not a surprise. So, I’m asking you: Why are you on G+? Or why aren’t you? What would it take to get you there?

  • I like the layout better. Wish more people would move over…although it took a lot of my friends a lot of convincing to get on fb. – MM (age unavailable)
  • The only reason it’s off to a “slow” start to you is because it’s different than everything, and then there are a lot of holdouts whose posts you don’t catch. It’s more like Twitter than it is Facebook now.
    Why I prefer it is that it allows you more control everything, I like that I can follow people there whom I don’t have to give access to everything I give access to my friends. It’s better than Twitter because of the lack of a character limit and it also allows you to organize everything much better than Twitter (at least from my limited experience with Twitter). – CV (age 29)
  • ‎#1 pro for G+: It lets you be someone else to everyone. Seriously, think about it. With your grandparents you can be the good school girl who never parties. With your friends you can be the party girl who still manages to get As. With people you don’t really know you can choose only to share those “deep” and “introspective” moments, or those snippets from Philosophy class, and they’ll never know that 99% of your words are vapid nothings about TV shows no one watches. It’s incredible. Social media allows you to build your own image, G+ allows you to build multiple images for multiple sects.
    #1 con for G+: Inertia. It’s like starting a fast food restaurant to compete against McDonalds. OK, it’s more like if Wal-Mart started a fast food restaurant to compete against McDonalds, but still. The golden arches rule, and social networking is all about connections. The more connections you make the longer you stay/harder it is to leave. Ironically, it seems there’s a tipping point where you have way too many, a good portion of which you don’t know, and thus you get frustrated and leave. I think G+ is trying to solve that. Imperfectly, but it’s trying.
    Inertia is why I don’t really bother with it. I want a social networking site that emphasizes social first and networking second. G+ lets me amend all the networks I want, but there’s hardly anyone there to socialize with.
    I do fear FB’s stance on privacy. They just keep having to push the envelope. It makes sense – targeted ads, etc. is how they make their money. But they’ve been warned a bunch of times by groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (etc) for making their privacy settings confusing and/or non-existent. I’m a bit afraid that all our data is just waiting for a big buy out. Not that it matters to me if Mastercard knows I like cats, but some may not have been as careful.
    Also, G+ is new. It’s cool. It’s not FB. Google is the Apple of the internet in that it’s the default for a lot of people, easily accessible, etc. It’s chic. FB is something your parents talk about – how is that awesome!? – MDII (age 28)
  • I’m still on fb, have never tweeted and probably won’t. Idk about google+, sounds way cool. – TR (age 57)
  •  I have never heard of it, and don’t know what it is. Today was the first day I even heard B mention it. That’s my reason- lack of any advertisement reaching me. – AL (age 27)
I phrased my question a little differently on Google+: I have to write a blog post for class that discusses why Google+ is/isn’t the next big social networking site.  I think it has potential, but it’s getting off to a relatively slow start. Or maybe it’s not that slow; I don’t know how quickly fb & twitter gained traction, so I can’t really compare them.  I know that I prefer G+, but I prefer Google for most things, so that’s not a surprise. So, I’m asking you: Why are you on G+? What do you like about it? What do you wish more people knew about it so that they would migrate over from facebook?
  •  I forgot to say this on Facebook, I can’t edit my post, and that’s what I wanted to say I liked about G+, you can edit posts 🙂 – CV (age 29)
  • I hate all of the stuff, the bells and whistles, on facebook. I want something streamlined and simple. Facebook also changes things CONSTANTLY! They update/add a feature and instead of working it into the interface seamlessly, they change everything around to accommodate it. It’s so frustrating.
    I also like the method of “friending.” Which there really isn’t any as we know it. You are simply choosing who you share with. Unlike FB and MS and Friendster, and blah blah, you’re not making a hard connection with someone claiming they are your friend. You are simply sharing your information with whomever you choose.
    All Google+ does is inform you that A) you have been invited by X to join Google+ and B) someone has decided to share their information with you.
    There is never a moment where you have to decide to accept or reject someone. You simply can either add them to your circles as well or ignore the notification.
    Plus the process of adding someone to your circles is simple and since you must add them to a list right off the bat, it makes privacy issues non-existent.
    I also like how Google+ has streamlined the information sent between people. There are no longer messages and streams and posts and blah blah blah that you have to individually check/figure out how to use. Now if you want to share something with everyone you share it. If you want to send a personal message to a specific person you do the same exact thing. Except instead of choosing a circle to share with, you choose an particular person(s). It’s genius! – MH (age 28)
  • I really really like the set up of G+. I even like that it’s a bit quieter. It feels like people post almost mini blog posts instead of “eating toast with Joe” status updates.
    However, since most people are already on facebook, the switch is hard. Facebook is nearly ingrained in our collective consciousness now. After the earthquake here on the east coast, I went back to facebook to post an “I’m OK” status for my friends in TX and such. I didn’t even think about posting something here, though. I wish all my friends would switch over, but maybe they think it’s too much work, or not worth it when they have SO many fb friends.
    I love the circles! I love the customization of each post and the fact that you can edit them. (Especially the fact that you can edit them.)
    I think Google needs to do a bit more promotion on this. Maybe they will after the invite stage is done. I want it to kill Facebook. – LR (age unavailable)
  • It can be essentially the same if you want it to be the same. For those that are unwilling/unable to learn a new system for the same functionality, I don’t think they’ll ever switch to G+, even though it is vastly superior. People still use tape on calculators sometimes and check the math of excel on a separate calculators. – AV (age 27)
  •  I made the full-fledged jump to G+ primarily because it gave me the opportunity to start fresh. The forced reciprocity of FB friend requests combined with the torturous privacy/friends list controls made the service more and more useless to me as my friends list grew.
    My feed was cluttered with garbage from old high school classmates that I was never really close with and from casual acquaintances. I had everyone on my friends list split into three mutually exclusive lists, Actual Friends , Family and Everyone Else. My Friends list was composed of maybe a dozen people. My Everyone Else list numbered almost two hundred people.
    The relative ease with which I can set up circles and parse people into those circles on G+ solves the latter problem and the fact that I don’t have to circle someone who’s circled me solves the latter.
    The only real drawback with G+ that has stuck in my craw to date is the slow migration of others to the service. One symptom of this is that I had circled (into my Interesting Dudes circle) several people who I don’t actually know in the real who were putting up interesting content or sharing the same from others in their circles. These folks, though, were such hyperactive users and were posting so much content that they completely flooded my stream in the absence of posts from people who I do know in the real. I’ve ended up de-circling some of these interesting guys and gals because of this. However, several of them had circled me, so their torrential posting is now flooding my Incoming stream, preventing me from seeing other public content coming into that stream. This should balance out if/when more folks I know start using G+. – JK (age 32)
  •  I like G+, but I think as of now it’s stuck in a rut caused by misunderstanding and ignorance. It’s not Facebook. It’s totally different. I do look forward to the day when a lot more of my friends switch over, but as of right now I use it as a means of connecting with cool people with whom I share interests. I have a circle that is comprised entirely of photographers. I get to see some amazing work of super talented, published, and established photographers before anyone else sees it. That’s pretty great. I think the potential for G+ is incredible and I look forward to being a part of it as it grows into what it can be. I do, however, check Facebook more often and am nowhere near the decision to leave FB in favor of G+ because, as I stated above, it’s not a replacement (for me, at this time). I really like what Mike wrote above about how G+ is simpler and streamlined and I completely agree. My mom just recently joined FB and she’s confused about the Wall, the News Feed, the Status, posting on someone else’s Wall, etc. I forgot that it can be confusing when starting out and G+ totally eliminates that possibility by making it extremely simple (as it should be). 🙂 – EV (age 27)
  • For me it’s only held back by lack of posting from others. But I get much more quality content on here than on FB and I much prefer the platform. I think people are stuck in a bit of a FB rut, but I wouldn’t count G+ out. – JS (age unavailable)
  • For the older set like me — I’m more of a lurker — reading posts and absorbing info before I try to do stuff. I like what it can do better than FB but I know alot of people just getting into FB that it will probably take awhile to convert them to G+ — I have always liked google too! – KC (age 50)
What struck me the most was how many negative things everyone had to say about facebook, but that they are currently unwilling to quit that service.  There is a totally viable alternative available to them right now, but switching is seen as too difficult, and they don’t want to do it unless everyone else is as well.
I think that G+ can be the next big social networking site, but they need to work on awareness.  I wasn’t shocked that my 57-year-old mother doesn’t know what G+ is, but I was surprised that my 27-year-old best friend hadn’t heard about it until today.  I think that given some more time (since the service is only months old) and as more people convince their friends to make the jump, G+’s usage will skyrocket.

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