40mn Flickr users can monetise their snaps, thanks to Getty

In short case 2.2 we asked what the biggest threats to niche stock photography sites like Alamy might be? And in short case 4.2 we discussed the success of Flickr. However, we also pointed to the beginnings of an alliance between Flickr and Getty Images. Read here of the way in which the original 2009 deal – affecting just 100,000 pro and semi-pro users of Flickr – is being extended to Flickr’s 40mn users worldwide.

Broadband or bust?

The link between broadband in use and enhanced economic performance is now unambiguous (see Table 12.1 in the textbook) In markets where mass-market broadband is introduced, there is more rapid growth in employment, in the number of businesses overall, and in businesses in IT-intensive sectors, relative to comparable communities without broadband technology. But is speed the thing rather than penetration? A recent compilation of data by the OECD placed the UK, for example, as a middle-ranking 21st in the speed stakes. It called for more investment, especially in fibre. This was confirmed by some work commissioned by CISCO here at Oxford’s Said Business School. But today also saw the publication of OfCOM’s update of its international telecommunications comparison data. Proudly, OfCOM boasts that we are enjoying the cheapest prices for broadband and mobile, we’ve also increased our TV viewing at a faster rate than anyone else, and our online advertising is world-leading, but it also confirmed that only 10% of UK homes could connect to the Internet at over 8 megabits a second, compared with 37% in the Netherlands.

Twitter and productivity

According to a small survey (1,400 people) undertaken by IT Services and Technology company Morse, twittering workers ‘waste’ £1.4bn a year, with 57% of respondents using social networks for an average of 40 minutes each working day. You can find the report written up in the Financial Times, and I’ll post the direct link to the survey when it’s published. However, reading the FT summary and getting beneath the headlines is instructive. First, the small survey base (where were these ‘workers’ drawn from? How was the sample structured in terms of sector or seniority?) Second, the questions refer to ‘social networking’ rather than just Twitter. Third, how is the business cost calculated? What about the net effect of improved productivity because workers feel more connected, or can get things off their chest with friends, or have time to relax during meal or refreshment breaks? After all, you wouldn’t forbid an employee from meeting a friend for a chat over lunch? No, what really is at the heart of this is the security issues raised by some of the loopholes social networks bring with them (such as shortened URLs in tweets, which makes the linking website anonymous) and which may have cost implications for the business.