Press

Stop SOPA & PIPA

As you may or may not know today, the Internet as a whole has been abuzz with conversation about SOPA and PIPA. As part of the ongoing discussion, PeekYou has decided against supporting SOPA and PIPA, two acts of legislation currently being discussed and debated in Congress (the House and Senate, respectively) that could have far reaching consequences on Americans and small businesses. As a result, we have decided to follow suit with Google and black out our logo in protest against both pieces of legislation currently being debated.

PeekYou Does Not Support SOPA Nor PIPA

We will leave it up to you to make your own decision, and have decided to link to a few articles and websites where you can act accordingly.

- “End Piracy, Not Liberty” via Google
- Wikipedia is currently under a site-wide blackout
- Twitter is abuzz

PeekYou.com Integrates PeerIndex Scores

PeerIndex Logo

We are happy to announce that we have recently integrated PeerIndex’s influence score on PeekYou.com! Users of our website will now see PeerIndex scores listed under the Twitter Section of Search Result pages as well as on Individual Listing pages (displayed only when our search engine is able to match and identify a publicly available Twitter URL). Below are some screenshots of the integration in action:

PeekYou Search Results Page
PeekYou Search Results with PeerIndex Scores

PeekYou Individual Listing Page
PeekYou Individual Listing with PeerIndex Score

“We’re very excited to have PeerIndex’s influence scores readily available to our users on PeekYou.com,” says Raj Ajrawat, General Manager of PeekYou.com. “For us, it’s about providing our users with better content and better context to their searches, and we believe this integration will further our efforts in providing our users with a great people search experience.”

PeekYou currently offers a different type of measurement score, named PeekScore, that focuses on quantifying an individual’s digital footprint and presence online. Our goal is to provide an individual’s PeerIndex score in conjunction with their PeekScore, to help our users understand where individuals may rank in terms of digital presence on the web. “We feel that having both scores readily available will make it easier and more relevant for our users when they conduct searches on PeekYou.com, since they compliment each other so well,” continues Ajrawat.

What is PeerIndex?
PeerIndex scores are a measure of web authority that are calculated when individuals participate in meaningful exchanges of information online. According to their FAQ, “these exchanges take place all over the social web, whether it’d be a shared link on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. We also believe that the type of information we share reveals a lot about who we are, whom we know, and what we know – after all, we tend to talk about the things we care about, are most knowledgeable in, and with people interested in similar subjects.”

“The PeerIndex algorithm recognizes the importance of speed and quantity by which we spot, share (and thus approve) content on any specific topic. Our choice of content recommendations can thus be used as a proxy to measure our knowledge, or authority, in a specific subject area. We also take into account the relationships we build on various social media platforms. The impact of those relationships also affects our authority exhibited on the web. Your authority on a subject is affirmed when the content you share is approved – i.e. Retweeted, Facebook Shared, +1′ed or commented on, by someone else that is an authority on the subject.”

For more information about PeerIndex, check out their FAQ and visit their site. Let us know if you have any questions about the integration!

Cheers,
The PeekYou.com Team

PeekYou Featured on SemanticWeb.com Regarding Search Engine Technology & Future of PeekYou

Today, PeekYou’s CEO Michael Hussey, GM of Product Josh Mackey and GM of PeekYou.com Raj Ajrawat were featured on www.semanticweb.com regarding PeekYou’s search engine technology, our matching algorithm and the vision for PeekYou in the future. Here is a small excerpt from the article:

“Using public data on the Web, the company has been building an index matching URLs to individuals. That is, it has developed its own algorithm to look at web pages for specific things that help it identify whether that data is associated with a particular individual – real names or user names, outbound links to other social sites or blogs, work or school affiliations, for example. To accomplish that, it has to be smart enough to match to an individual a LinkedIn profile that lists the user’s region with a Myspace one that includes the user’s city but not region – oh, and let’s raise the stakes by doing it for individuals with common names like John Smith. Some 50 or 60 queries might have to be run to match up and two given URLs.”

To read the entire article by Jennifer Zaino, head over to www.semanticweb.com.

We Have 10,000 Facebook Fans!

In only a few weeks we have moved from 7,000 Facebook fans to over 10,000 Facebook fans today. Thanks to everyone for all of your support! Coming pretty soon, we are going to develop a custom application using Facebook’s platform that will integrate PeekYou’s free people search into Facebook, allowing our Facebook users to search for people on the public web direct from our Facebook fan page.

PeekYou's Facebook Fan Page on www.facebook.com

Head over to our Facebook page for more exciting updates from PeekYou, and participate in some of the polls that we put out on our page to listen to our active (and growing) community! We appreciate everyone who has been with us through our incredible journey, and we are looking forward to more growth!

Thanks,
The PeekYou Team

Amazon EC2 Problems; Site Doing Fine

As we are sure some of you have read over the past 24 hours, Amazon has been experiencing a lot of problems with their Amazon Cloud Compute EC2 cluster located in Northern Virginia. PeekYou uses Amazon’s EC2 to help offload some of the day to day operations that we have here on our website. However, we were largely unaffected by the failure of the cloud due to the fact that we have many of our mission critical operations running in-house.

PeekYou’s Michael Hussey was featured in a few articles regarding this, including Market Watch, All Things Digital blog and CNNMoney.com. Michael notes that we have been seeing some problems with Amazon’s cloud ever since December of last year, and that things have been gradually getting worse.

Is The Username Dying?

The following is a post written by PeekYou’s General Manager of Product, Josh Mackey.

What would happen if at a school’s talent show some parents stood up and started heckling the child playing the piano or dancing in front of them? “You’re awful!” or “You call yourself a dancer?” For one thing, it would never happen. And if it did, the rest of the audience would turn on the heckler and defend the 13-year-old performer. Even if every parent in the audience inwardly agreed that the child was talentless, they would keep their opinion to themselves for the time being and clap at the end of the performance. Why? Because of the negative consequences of behaving uncivilly—to one’s reputation and even to one’s standing in the community. Common sense, right? How come then common decency is thrown out the door in the case of Rebecca Black’s YouTube performance? Why can so many people not refrain from publicly ridiculing this 13-year-old girl trying to be a singer and songwriter?

What explains the essential difference in behavior when the medium is the Internet? What changes people when they interact online? Why do they behave so savagely so often? Could it be the anonymous username? Could it be that when they hide behind an alias, they feel invisible, and hence not accountable for their actions? Is the anonymous username the modern-day Ring of Gyges?
Going by a username instead of one’s real name is attractive to those who:

1) Value privacy above all else
Sure, a username gives you some extra privacy, but of what use is such privacy? If you can’t publicly stand by what you do online because doing so would damage your reputation, then maybe just don’t do it. Show some integrity and stand by your comments on an Internet forum. There are legitimate concerns over privacy, I don’t deny it, but ultimately people need to understand that public identity and privacy are two different notions, and that you can declare who you are without violating your own privacy. It’s not even hard to manage. Simple steps go a long way; steps such as thinking twice before posting personal details, and keeping off the record birthdays, phone numbers, street addresses, medical and financial records, and SSNs. Disseminating this kind of information on the Internet can be disastrous to your privacy. Divulging what your favorite music bands or movies are? Not so much.

2) Seek free speech for political reasons
Free speech is another catch cry in behalf of the anonymous web, and sure, if you live in Iran, and wish to speak out against the government, then you have a case. But if you yearn for “free speech” as nothing more than a cover for bad-mouthing people while not exposing your identity, then your tirade about anonymity and free speech on the Internet doesn’t garner much sympathy from me.

3) Wish to live vicariously
Some people need the web to be a fantasy land, a valve of release.
I understand people not divulging their real identity on sites like IMVU or Second Life. Doing otherwise would defeat the purpose of such virtual worlds premised on escaping reality. But should we commiserate with someone who wants to live vicariously as a bully on YouTube, or as a jerk on TechCrunch or the WSJ? I think not.

4) Are bad players
Simply put, some people are straight up bad players who are planning to do illegal or immoral things online, which can’t possibly be done without the use of an anonymous username or fake identity. Think “How to Catch a Predator.”

I predict that one day a transparent online identity will become the norm, and lurking behind anonymous usernames, the exception. More and more people will put a premium on interactions with other people whom they can identify, and who can be held accountable for their online actions. One’s Internet reputation will become almost as valuable as one’s offline reputation. Even today, we’d all rather know who left that comment, wrote that article, sent that email, or is selling this car. It’s already happening and, in my opinion, it’s the main reason why Quora has been so successful: because it requires some form of verified, public identity. More illustrations of the trend include successful sites such as About.me, card.ly, flavors.com, etc. On the Internet, we want to deal with people of clout, who don’t hide their name and face. “BigBizDog88″ is so 1999.

The web is emerging from its chaotic and troubled adolescence, where anything goes and you can be anyone or no one. There are more and more people to interact with nowadays, and on many more levels than in the past. The potential for clutter grows exponentially, along with the size of the Internet itself. So pretty soon, we won’t have the time of day to give to anonymous nobodies. My prediction is that in the not-too-distant future, a deep chasm will open throughout the Internet. On one side of it will be a transparent market of ideas, where people network and transact with their cards on the table and virtual name tags on. And on the other side will be the black market, so to speak, of shady dealings, casual encounters, cyber bullying, and other unsavory activities, all of which thrive only under the shade of the anonymous username.

Going by an anonymous username, even for what are today considered legitimate reasons (i.e., privacy considerations and the like), will be considered your “opt out” from the open and accountable Internet and will leave you on the dark side of the chasm. Unfortunately, even if you have the best intentions, you’ll be left in the company of the BigDog’s and hotdude’s of the web, untrusted and ignored, like spam.

Josh Mackey
@joshmackey
GM Product at PeekYou

PeekYou CEO Michael Hussey Featured on MyFOX NY Street Talk – March 5, 2011

PeekYou’s CEO, Michael Hussey, sat down with Tai Hernandez of MyFOX NY to discuss social media issues and online privacy. Michael made a great point about Facebook giving users the controls they need to manage their own privacy online and that users need to be aware of the options that they have when it comes to online privacy and information sharing. You can watch the whole video on MyFOX NY’s website here.

Let us know what you think!

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