Bad Behavior And How it Threatens Internet Business

Patent disputes and bad behavior are among the threats to Internet business today. Our roundup looks at some of the ways patents can hurt startups and customers, some recommended solutions, and how bad behavior by entities large and small are threatening business growth online.

A Patent on Innovation

A step in the wrong direction. Imagine finding a product vital to your needs only to have a rival company bring a suit for patent infringement against its creators. Critics say patents aimed at protecting intellectual property can sometimes stifle growth and innovation when suits are used simply to push competitors out of the market or grab a piece of a startup’s success. TechDirt

Thoughts from a disgruntled customer. The story of four-year-old Maya, who cannot communicate with her parents except through a special app, puts a face on the way patent disputes over technology are affecting not only business growth but people. Here her mother recounts more details on how the technology had enhanced her life and how it feels to have it yanked away. Uncommon Sense

Fixing a hole. There have been a couple of suggestions posed recently about how to cut down on the number of innovation-hindering patent suits plaguing almost any Internet or other tech company that has been successful enough to make itself an attractive target. TechDirt

A better mousetrap. Professors Jason Schultz and Jennifer Urban from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, have put together more details about how open innovation communities might help address issues of intellectual property while avoiding the “thickets” of software patents threatening innovation. Social Science Research Network

Spamming Social Media

They ought to know better. Spamming is not limited, it seems, to small-time operators running sites of low quality. Some big media types are practicing what social site Reddit considers spamming by using the social platform only to promote their own content and not to participate in the community. Big publications like The Atlantic and BusinessWeek have been temporarily banned for being spammy, malicious, or for engaging in what Reddit calls “cheating.” The Verge

Social media vampires.  An associate editor and social media editor at The Atlantic, may have attempted to game Reddit to siphon off readers for the Atlantic at what Reddit says is the expense of its larger online community. It’s important to understand how some communities view this activity to avoid having your own accounts and URLs similarly sanctioned.  An engaging forsensic read.  The Daily Dot

Are you a social media spammer? Well, you could be, especially on social sites like Reddit where the rules for participating in the  community are pretty strict. The best advice is to know your community’s rules and to avoid being one of those people who is using a social media site for just one thing, self promotion. Instead, try becoming part of the community and you may be surprised what you get in return. The Daily Dot

When social media spams back. Last week when LinkedIn sent out notifications to members about a problem with compromised passwords, about four percent, or a quarter of a million, were discarded as spam. The problem isn’t the content of the e-mails themselves, but that LinkedIn sends far too much e-mail to its users, according to the author of this article.  Cloudmark

Land Grabs and Poor Policing

Who will own the Internet? Critics complain that major players like Google and Amazon are engaged in a land grab for new domains like .app, .shop, .book, .love, .kids, and .pizza, with so many applications filed that they will gain an unfair online advantage and be able to lock out competitors. Domain owners can control who gains a domain name and what they can do with it, potentially rewarding their best customers and denying access to others. The Guardian

Bad actors destroy business. Finnish social networking and virtual world creator Sulake has lost a key investor and garnered some very bad publicity over a scandal involving its Habbo game. An investigation reveals the company’s inability to control illicit content shared and hosted on its site that is clearly inappropriate for its 13 to 16 year old principal demographic. Inability to police and address problems like this can be very damaging to any online community. TechCrunch

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.