Who should get to use the internet?

I was reading an article the other day about whether people should ever be ‘cut off’ from the internet.


This got me thinking.

  • The right to have privacy
  • The right to live/exist
  • The right to have a family
  • The right to work for anyone
  • The right to free speech
  • The right to equal rights
  • The right to think freely
  • et cetera, et cetera…

Recognise any of them? They are some of the current human rights. They are the fundamental things that most countries around the world believe you should be entitled to. But, should the right to internet access if you want it become a human right?


The United Nations logo

The United Nations logo

If so this would probably only be passed as a human in more developed countries, but should it be someone’s human right to have access to the internet?

Obviously I am not on about technical glitches, but many governments can cut you off if they want, and in fact many do if you continually break copyright laws.

The internet is a fantastic method for self expression and communication, can we really take such a tool away from people?

Selecting the best mobile broadband provider for you

When it comes to mobile broadband providers then the options are certainly plentiful, but picking the right one can be a little less straightforward, particularly if you’re not all that savvy with current deals.An O2 dongle pluged into a laptop

There are essentially two options open to you, with one route being the pay as you go option, while the other is the contract route. Both are good bets, although it really depends on your circumstances as to which one you’ll ultimately plump for.

Either way, you’ll need a mobile broadband dongle in order to connect to whichever network it is you end up going with. These are the small plastic USB devices that slot into an available port on your laptop or netbook in order to pick up the signal and there are many to choose from.

Some mobile broadband networks give these away with certain deals, while others may make a nominal charge for them. The great thing about going for a pay as you go dongle is that you don’t need to stick too any one deal and after you’ve used up the available credit you can move to a better deal that might have emerged.

Having said that, you’ll probably find that many mobile broadband providers generally offer more flexible deals when it comes to things like data allowances with contract offers. Pay as you go is handy as it doesn’t require a contract and you’re not tied down for any period of time, but if you need beefier download allowances then contract may be the better of the two.

Of course, knowing which network provider is going to be the best relies on a number of factors as well as this, so lookout for the speed offered, although this is often much more optimistic in advertising than it is in reality. Look too for what sort of monthly cost there will be if it’s a contract deal and also if there is any set-up cost initially.

Mobile broadband providers are always coming up with new deals and incentives to try and get you to sign on the dotted line. Lookout for free laptop deals, which get given to you in return for signing up to a longer contract. Other goodies include free dongles, extra airtime, calls for nothing and all manner of other goodies if you shop around.

And that is where the secret to finding the best mobile broadband provider lies. One of the best ways to get the deal to suit your requirement, and also your wallet, is to use the services of a broadband comparison website. This is a free and easy way of locating exactly the right deal and also comparing precise details with all of the other current options.

Read some reviews too and don’t forget to ask around or check with friends and work colleagues as to their own preferences. One thing is for sure, there are plenty of deals and a little bit of homework up front can pay big dividends in the long run.

How do social media sites make their money?

Facebook has an Alexa traffic ranking of 2. Not a very big number is it? If you have never heard of Alexa before, you may think that that isn’t very good, but what it actually means is that it is the second most visited site on the net – the first being Google.com.


Twitter has and Alexa rank of 9, LinkedIn has a rank of 16, Flickr 32 – the list goes on.

This means that these sites need some serious server power to handle the millions upon millions of visitors they get each day. The problem is servers are extremely expensive to buy and run, due to them needing to be kept cool and have a super fast internet connection, both download and upload.

So how do social media sites run if it is so costly? Where do they make their money? How does Facebook make it’s money? How does Twitter make money? How do LinkedIn, Foursquare, Twitter, Bebo, Flickr, Myspace etc. all make their owners billions?

It’s complicated…

Unfortunately I cannot provide you with a hard and fast answer which applies to each social media site, as they all use different methods, but what I can do is tell you how individual sites like Facebook and Twitter make their money.

How does Facebook make money?

On Facebook there are adverts, you may have noticed them at the side of some of the pages. Often they are very well designed to blend in with the theme of the site, so that you almost think that they are just more recommended pages.

Facebook's LogoThese adverts will be potentially get hundreds of millions of views each day. This probably means that they cost a fair bit to buy, so ‘the Facebook Team’ will be cashing in big time on them.

So Facebook make their money through advertising, right? Well actually only some of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising. The exact figures are only known by a select few, but I would estimate that less than half of Facebooks revenue comes from it’s adverts. So where does the rest come from?

Facebook credits.

Since Facebook introduced it’s credit scheme last year, a whole host of new applications and offers have sprung up, all giving you the option of using Facebook credits to provide a service (e.g. watch movies on the site) or improve an experience (e.g. level up faster in a Zynga game).

Facebook currently takes 30% of the money spent on credits for itself, and at just over £2 for a movie or 25 ‘farm cash’ that doesn’t really seem that much.

However, with over half a billion registered users, if each user buys just 50 credits (around the price of one movie – £2 ish) a year, assuming the 30% cut Facebook gets, it could be turning over almost £1 and a half billion each year, on credits alone!

With over 400 games and apps where users can go and spend their money, Facebook are sure to be gaining a lot of cash via their credit scheme!

Facebook has recently been valued at a figure of somewhere around £30 billion ($50 billion) but in the future, who knows how high this figure could climb!

How does Twitter make money?

Twitter has no ads, so how does it make it’s money? Twitter is a microblogging platform which many users use from their mobile phones. Twitter charges users who update their feed via mobile, and it generates an awful lot of money through this.


Twitter's Logo

Despite it costing mere pence per transaction, often users will update their feed mutiple times each day. Millions of users posting millions of updates, many from mobile devices, every day is why Twitter is now valued at almost £5 billion.

Twitter is still a multibillion pound firm in the making, as I am sure it has may more money making schemes and pans up it’s sleeve ready to launch in the near future.

Other sites

How do Foursquare make their money? Well a lot of it comes from their recent deal with American Express, in which I believe it is making around the same amount as Facebook per transaction, although it doesn’t have the same sized member base that Facebook has.

Many other sites like Flickr and Bebo currently don’t appear to be making any money, as their founders set out with a goal of improving the web, not making money. However in years to come no doubt these sites too will become as successful and profitable as Facebook and Twitter, that is of course if we don’t all just switch to using the two giants: Facebook and Twitter!