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  • Steven Woda

Daily Roundup for 2008-03-07


When a small padlock appears in the corner of your Web browser’s address bar or the entire bar turns green, it seems like a powerful signal you’re safe to proceed. But experts say the SSL certificates those green lights signify — digital stamps of approval that Web sites buy to prove they’re running a legitimate business and can send and receive encrypted data safely — don’t provide the safety they seem to. "They instill some sense of security, but that could be a dangerously false sense of security," said Paul Mutton, a researcher with UK-based security firm Netcraft Ltd. The site itself could still be riddled with security holes for hackers to exploit. And the certificate could simply be bogus: Criminals have been forging them to get the padlock icon and dress up fraudulent sites.


During the Web’s heyday, a profitable Internet company nearing $100 million in annual sales while luring a million new customers a month would have found itself on the IPO fast track. But that’s hardly the case for LinkedIn, a professional networking site that has cleared those hurdles and then some. Instead, LinkedIn is hewing closely to the Web economy’s new motto on initial public offerings: Easy does it. Founded in 2003, LinkedIn may not sell shares until some time next year. Likewise, social networking site Facebook, worth $15 billion on paper, may not go public until 2010,


During the Web’s heyday, a profitable Internet company nearing $100 million in annual sales while luring a million new customers a month would have found itself on the IPO fast track. But that’s hardly the case for LinkedIn, a professional networking site that has cleared those hurdles and then some. Instead, LinkedIn is hewing closely to the Web economy’s new motto on initial public offerings: Easy does it. Founded in 2003, LinkedIn may not sell shares until some time next year. Likewise, social networking site Facebook, worth $15 billion on paper, may not go public until 2010.


For all the arguments calling for longer tenure, a majority of marketing leaders aren’t intent on being career CMOs. Most aspire to trade their functional experience and take a chance on general management. In a recent Spencer Stuart study of 500 marketing executives across industries, only 30% want to be a CMO, while 70% of respondents have long-term aspirations of becoming general managers.


For the past several weeks I’ve been consumed by a seemingly endless new-business pitch and an equally endless series of presidential primary debates. I learned a great deal about the presidential candidates, but had to guess where we stood via our competitors. So I wondered, is ours the only business where people compete without ever seeing what their competition does? Maybe that’s yet another reason the pitch process is so broken.


Facebook has appointed a No. 2 for 24-year-old CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Sheryl Sandberg, a Google veteran who most recently served as VP-global sales and operations. Ms. Sandberg was hired on as Facebook’s chief operating officer, a title most recently held by Owen Van Natta before he became chief revenue officer. Facebook last month said Mr. Van Natta is leaving the social-networking site.


Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Inc.’s 23-year-old chief executive, is finding that he and his company have to grow up at Internet speed. The latest sign: He has poached a top Google Inc. executive, Sheryl Sandberg, to help expand his social-networking company.

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