The fact that metro Detroit wasn’t hit by “Snowmaggedon 2012” last week isn’t the only thing we have to be grateful for. We’re also grateful for President Obama’s “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights in a Networked World.” This bill of rights is one of several topics I discuss with TM Copywriter and Social Media Manager Michael L. Hoffman on this week’s podcast.

In essence, the White House’s “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights in a Networked World” is suggesting that the US Congress allot the Federal Trade Commission with more authority over Web companies and how they handle user data. And while this is merely a list of suggestions, it’s important because this is the first time the Obama Administration has articulated explicit support for consumer privacy protection. Both Michael and I believe that while this is a step in the right direction, it isn’t a concrete law that large tech giants (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc.) have to abide by, but Microsoft and others did say they will heed these suggestions. Only time will tell if Congress will follow the administration’s lead and hold Web companies accountable for how they handle users’ data.

Speaking of user data, one of the last search engines that offered true, unbiased, non-personal search results has gone six feet under. Scroogle, a privacy-first search engine, has finally succumbed to weeks of distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks. I am especially disappointed by this because I used it on a regular basis to see true search results rankings. But there are still other services that essentially do the exact same thing as Scroogle, such as DuckDuckGo and ixQuick.

I also discussed my time at PubCon Paradise in Honolulu, Hawaii. At PubCon, I had the pleasure of giving a presentation on “Black Hat” reputation management and how people, companies and brands can protect themselves from those with malicious intent. You can view the slides of my presentation here. I also had the opportunity to sit down with both High Rankings CEO Jill Whalen and’s Kate Morris to discuss social search and where they see search going in the future.

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of PubCon was Andy Beal’s presentation, “Reputation Management Tactics,” which featured 50 tactics in 50 minutes. Many of the things he discussed were fairly simple, but essential. For instance, he said two of the most important things were to know who your audience is when using social media and to make the right first impression. Both of these things are essential for success within the social media realm. He also included to make sure your website is updated on a regular basis with fresh, relevant content. As Michael and I point out, there’s no sense in publishing content just for the sake of publishing content. You should be a resource for your audience. These are things that we try to implement here at TM because we understand the importance of having both a good online presence and a solid reputation.

For more on Andy Beal’s presentation and other topics, listen to the podcast below. Tell us what you think in the comments!

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