Ping Racks Up One Million Users in 48 Hours; Many of Them Spammers

By Tracey E. Schelmetic September 07, 2010

If you paid attention last Wednesday to Apple’s new announcements, you’ll know that the company introduced (among other things) Ping, a new music-themed social network that resides within the new iTunes 10.

The service lets you and your network of friends follow artists and bands together, see what each other are listening to, share recommendations and criticisms, and purchase songs via iTunes. Within 48 hours, one million people had joined Ping, and the service continued to add users over the holiday weekend. “One-third of people who have downloaded iTunes 10 have joined Ping,” noted Eddy Cue, Apple's VP of Internet Services. (Though if you do the math and compare how paltry one million users is to the total of 160 million users iTunes has around the globe, you’ll find a bit of a head scratcher.) It remains to be seen what percentage of iTunes users will find Ping – and iTunes 10 – worth the download.

Less than a week old, Ping is already the subject of multipronged criticism – and spammers. Almost the day it was released, Ping was hit with a torrent of spam that it is apparently not prepared or enabled to combat. Many social networking groups are often the target of persistent spam. Noted Chester Wisniewski, a senior security advisor for Sophos, “But apparently Apple didn’t consider this when designing Ping, as the service implements no spam or URL filtering.” Apple does have some rudimentary security control in place, as it won’t allow users to post photos until it approves them, and the Ping service does filter comments for profanity.

Facebook, it would appear, is not a fan of the new Apple social network offering. Initially tagged with Facebook integration (as well as Twitter), Ping went live without the Facebook plug-in. According to All Things Digital, Facebook has gone one step further and blocked the Facebook API from being used by Apple.

Finally, much of the criticism was less about the platform and more about what it does (or doesn’t) offer: at its launch, Ping had just 14 artists available to follow. More are expected to join in the coming weeks, however. Apple is, after all, now the United States’ largest music retailer, something that won’t escape the attention of artists and their recording companies.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

TechZone360 Contributor

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