In case you need mind-stretching with regard to credulity, try out this piece from Sprout Marketing:
Madness erupted on Twitter last night, as the latest cool “app,” Twitterank, was suddenly accused of being a simple password swiping scheme. Over the past 48 hours, thousands of people were Tweeting the same message:
Each one of those thousands of users freely gave out their username and password to the site. In exchange, the site uses some complicated algorithm (or not, maybe it's entirely random) and out pops a rating.
Then around 3 p.m. or so, Mountain Time, PANIC broke out.
Within minutes, similar messages were everywhere. This is the online equivalent of an angry, confused mob [FOLLOW the incredible link – Kim] . ZDnet jumped in, along with dozens of other legitimate news sources.
News is breaking out this morning that it really isn't a scam at all. Regardless, I think there are a couple lessons here.
1. Twitter people need to be a lot more careful about their passwords. A lot of them use the same passwords across multiple sites. If the Twitterank person wanted, he could be posting to your blog while ordering expensive popcorn with your credit card.
2. How trustworthy is your brand? Do people have confidence in coming to your site that if they share personal information, it'll be protected? It took eBay and Amazon years to get to this point; they were the pioneers. There are tons of sites that do e-commerce now, thanks to Amazon.
Then you look at the Twitterank site; does it instill confidence? Kind of reminds me of an old Yahoo! Geocities page. Sure, he did it late one night for kicks, and he SAYS he won't take your password…
Apparently this was good enough for tons of people. But I bet they're rethinking that today.
The average person has no way of evaluating the extent to which their passwords are in danger, especially when presented with two related sites that perform redirection or ask for entry of passwords.
The only safe solution for the broad spectrum of computer users is one in which they cannot give away their secrets. In other words: Information Cards (the advantage being they don't necessarily require hardware) or Smart Cards. Can there be a better teacher than reality?
[Via Vu – Thanks]