The Social Networker

by Chris Miller at 02:25:05 PM on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
TwitViewer fired up as a way to see who is stalking you on Twitter.   It quickly became a fast moving trend only to end in closing of the site as it peaked.  A quick check shows that it was registered as a domain only today.

NOTE: Do not confuse the .net site under suspicion with the .com site that is a way to enter a Twitter status id and see the entire conversation.

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
 Domain Name: TWITVIEWER.NET
 Created on: 28-Jul-09
 Expires on: 28-Jul-10
Last Updated on: 28-Jul-09

Having seen that would raise an eyebrow but someone could have been developing this for some time and never had a good domain name associated with it.  So next we look to see who is behind it and are greeted with another bad sign:
Administrative Contact:
Private, Registration TWITVIEWER.NET@domainsbyproxy.com
Domains by Proxy, Inc.
 DomainsByProxy.com
 15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160,
 PMB 353
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260 United States
 (480) 624-2599

A post office box private registration with no way to link or contact back to the site originators.  The site finally has a clip saying they do not understand why all this happened but they might be back under another domain name.  I imagine the crush of traffic and the the forgery marking on Firefox did not help in any way.

Mashable did a test and created a fake account and then used the service where it showed hundreds of people visiting that account name.  Highly unlikely.

by Chris Miller at 01:24:23 PM on Monday, July 13th, 2009
While investigating a tool for EverythingTwitter, the thought came to mind on how we could more effectively work with direct messages in Twitter if there was a defined set of rules that allows flexibility  With some simple additional choices we could expand our reach in how we interact with friends and followers.
  • Level 0 - We are unable to receive any DM's from anyone, but still have friends and followers
  • Level 1 - We are able to receive direct messages from those we explicitly check.  This gives us granular controls and allows us to follow more people without worrying about everyone sending DM's.
  • Level 2 - We are able to receive DM's from anyone we follow.  Basically the standard for Twitter
  • Level 3 - We are able to receive DM's from anyone on Twitter at all regardless if we follow them or not.  Sort of an open funnel approach

So with this model I am able to finely tune how I interact with everyone and generally control my openness for communication.  A person that wants IM type communication, without having to follow everyone back get sit with Level 4.  It is hard enough to watch the stream of 200 people, much less 2 or 20 thousand.

The reverse is then true where I wish to broadcast only and not have intimate communication then Level 0 is perfect.  You should be able to set this as a global level default and then tune, or leave it for me to decide when following a new person also.

 I am sure there might be reason to add a level of some kind in there, this is only meant to be a gentle suggestion.

by Chris Miller at 08:52:00 AM on Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
Google Voice will definitely have an impact on how cell companies handle incoming and favorite calls.  US Cellular and T-Mobile are the examples we have to focus on first.  I found some good postings, which I link to and other conversation, but wanted to create a summary and instruction sheet.

US Cellular
This cellular provider allows free inbound calls.  
Never pay for someone calling you
is built into their slogans.  With the web browser interface of Google Voice, you simply log in and have it call you and then the number you wish to reach.  This means you get an inbound call after using some data and then connect through their phone or VOIP switches to your destination.  Free calls for you.  You should never be dialing outbound again.  I know there is an extra step involved, but for the ability to drop your cell minute plans and save money?  Imagine teaching your kids this too?  You essentially circumvent the entire outbound dialing process, saving you money.

T-Mobile
They take a different approach with the Fave 5 offering.  You pick the favorite 5 numbers (read this as people or whatever) that are cell or landline and calls to and from them are free.  To and from them.  So how easy is it to set it all up?  Easy.
  1. Set your Google Voice number as a Fave 5
  2. Have everyone call your Google Voice number
  3. Have it show as your Google Voice number when passing calls instead of the caller number as the image below (courtesy of Mindaverse) shows.

Image:Using Google Voice to beat your cell carrier minutes and SMS

With this scenario you lose caller ID in a way (it will still show the originator in the online call summary).  But if you are worried about minutes and the only ones with your cell number are friends and family, why shouldn't it be free?  Thinking about this further, real estate agents should be running all over this.  To complete it all you have two choices:
  1. Follow the same above steps for US Cellular to connect and have Google dial for you.
  2. call your Google Voice number itself (since it is in your Fave 5) and Option 2 will allow you to dial out.

 You are basically buying the minimum cell plan and never using the minutes with these choices.  Here is a great step by step tutorial from Mindaverse with an added something I didn't even think of when drafting all of this and doing research.. Conference calls!
Bonus: free conference calls

One thing you'll notice about T-Mobile MyFaves is that toll-free numbers can not be added as a Fave. Bummer!  No free calls to customer service, conference call lines, etc.  Lucky for us, there's FreeConferenceCall.com

FreeConferenceCall assigns you a phone number that is not a toll free dial-in (in my experience, all the numbers are area code 605). This means that you can add your conference call number as a Fave, dial in, and never be charged for the call..


Summary
The only way for the carriers to stop this is to block all blocks of numbers that Google gets ownership of (very possible to find and do) or stop the programs themselves.  I will go with them blocking Google Voice numbers from being free on inbound calls.  Verizon has also entered this arena with the new "Friends & Family" deal, which has the exact same effect.


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Yes this is a blatant theft of the outline that Jess uses on her page, but I asked permission. Why?? Because I am a hardcore admin and can make ugly tables to make you developers frustrated, but this was too nice to pass up.

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