Tuesday, June 9, 2009

TweetGrade Tames Twitter Universe to Help End Users Know Who They Can Trust

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Purewire, Inc., a SaaS-based secure Web gateway vendor that protects business and social interactions on the Web, today announced the launch of TweetGrade™ (www.tweetgrade.com), the authority in online user reputation on Twitter®. TweetGrade provides a quantitative assessment of a user’s reach and influence in the Twitter community, and it helps people understand a user’s online reputation, legitimacy and safety.

As the popularity of Twitter continues to skyrocket, criminals are taking note as well. Most recently, a "Best Video" scam attacked Twitter users, posting an update (or tweet) on compromised accounts that directed followers to a video prompting the purchase of rogue anti-virus software. Attacks such as this make it imperative to know the reputation of those people with whom you interact online. TweetGrade assures this trust by providing evidence of Twitter account legitimacy, protecting users from malicious or illegitimate accounts that attempt to send spam or spread malware.

The Purewire research team evaluated the use of Twitter to demonstrate the power of the TweetGrade service, and based on a seven-million user sample has found data that point to two overall realities:

First, many Twitter users abandon their accounts shortly after creating them, and a significant percentage show no signs of account activity.

* 40 percent of Twitter users have not tweeted since their first day on Twitter, evidence that the account was most likely created and subsequently abandoned.
* Approximately 25 percent of Twitter users are not following anyone, while two-thirds are following fewer than 10 people, evidence that the account was created but is largely dormant.

Second, Twitter is used more as a mass medium for receiving information, rather than as a way to interact with others. Proof is shown by evaluating the followers and friends of Twitter users:

* More than one-third of Twitter users have not posted a single tweet, and almost 80 percent of users have fewer than 10 tweets, evidence that while Twitter is billed as a great collaboration tool, a large number of users are there to consume content, not distribute it.
* Approximately 30 percent of Twitter users do not have any followers, and 80 percent of Twitter users have fewer than 10 followers, evidence that for many users, their posts are not being widely tracked or read.
* 50 percent of Twitter users are following more people than they have as followers, and another 30 percent of Twitter users are following the same number of people that are following them, evidence that users are aggressively trying to attract followers by hoping they will “follow back” but have been unsuccessful.

Additional details are available on the Purewire Web Security Blog located at http://blog.purewire.com/.

“There is a lot of noise on the Web, especially on Twitter lately with the buzz around Oprah, CNN and Ashton Kutcher. That makes it hard to wade through everything and understand who you’re interacting with online,” said Dr. Steve Webb, research scientist at Purewire, Inc. “Purewire is all about deciphering Web activity so that users know what and who they can trust, and TweetGrade is the first service that takes a comprehensive look at a Twitter account’s true legitimacy. Through our experience with PurewireTrust.org and our patent-pending Purewire Trust technology, we are able to offer Twitter users the transparency needed to identify and sort out the associated security threats.”

How TweetGrade Works

TweetGrade evaluates Twitter users based on their interactions on Twitter. The analysis is centered on a variety of inputs such as frequency and content of tweets, number of followers, number of those following and activity level. Users receive a simple letter grade that ranges from an 'A+' to an 'F' to verify their reputation on Twitter and are able to share their TweetGrade with the Twitter community with a simple push of a button.

Purewire is in the process of integrating TweetGrade reputations into a user’s Purewire Trust reputation. PurewireTrust.org launched in March at DEMO 2009, where the company received a DEMOgod award for its innovation. Purewire Trust builds reputations that protect individuals in user-to-user relationships for communication (such as social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn), collaboration (such as applications like Twitter) and commerce (such as classified sites, Craigslist and eBay).

Purewire is offering access to PurewireTrust.org and TweetGrade.com free of charge as a contribution to the technology community in support of the company’s mission to improve the online experience for both consumers and enterprises. As PurewireTrust.org becomes more widely used, Purewire can incorporate this security reputation into its Purewire Web Security Service, to better identify and block Web security threats.

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