theEweekly Wrap: WikiLeaks, Chrome, and the power of content

By Rachel Hand topicIcon Manchester
Don't mention the WikiLeaks The WikiLeaks debacle escalated this week with a spate of digital revenge attacks by a group of 'hacktivists' known as Anonymous. The pro-WikiLeaks group is targeting financial bodies that have refused to process payments to the whistleblowing website, as well as prominent critics. The campaign, known as Operation Payback, has already launched distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on MasterCard, PayPal, the Swedish government and websites belonging to Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Lieberman. On Thursday, it turned its attentions to Amazon and began recruiting a 'data army'.

Social media sites Facebook and Twitter are accused of shutting down accounts and groups relating to Anonymous. The Facebook account went first, because it promoted DDoS attacks, which are illegal. The Twitter stream was shut down when it began tweeting MasterCard account numbers, but a replacement appeared within hours. Twitter users have also noticed that #wikileaks and #cablegate are no longer trending, although the site stated they had nothing to do with it.

The future of Chrome Google unveiled the new Chrome OS this week, although commercial release is not expected for at least six months. The operating system will be used exclusively on Google notebooks, and the search giant is soon to roll out a pilot scheme where US volunteers test the Chrome OS on a new device known as the Cr-48. Like the new MacBook Air, it has been built without a spinning disk or hard drive.

Most importantly, the Chrome OS and whichever device it is released on will be designed around cloud computing, removing the need for local storage. This could explain the delay in commercial release, as it may be timed to coincide with the launch of Google's cloud in 2011. Chief operating officer Eric Schmidt said: "We think cloud computing will define computing as we know it... finally there is a viable third choice for an operating system."

Word up Despite the worrying decline in press ad revenue, research has revealed that newspaper and magazine websites are among the most trusted by consumers. The Association of Online Publishers found that "engagement and advertising responsiveness is strongest on original content sites" including news and magazine websites where the written content is updated on a daily basis.

In fact, visitors are "twice as likely to trust advertising and brands on content sites vs. social media sites". However, portals are also faring better with 48 per cent of respondents trusting ads displayed on MSN or Yahoo, compared to 39 per cent trusting Facebook ads. The same ranking of original content, portals, then social media also applied to respondents' positive perception of the brand advertised.

The Ads Factor ITV is set to gain one of the most impressive advertising revenues in history this weekend during the X Factor final. The Saturday night performances and Sunday night results are expected to draw at least 20 million viewers, so ad slots are being sold for about £300,000 each – or £10,000 per second. In total, the channel is hoping to gain £25 million in a single weekend, and that's without considering the revenue from phone and text votes.

All is not rosy for X Factor however, as Ofcom is set to investigate claims that presenter Dermot O'Leary encouraged viewers to download mp3 singles by guest artists Diana Vickers and Michael Bublé. According to the Daily Mail, "under broadcasting rules, products and services must not be promoted in TV programmes." Ofcom has also received thousands of complaints that the show is a fix and that results have been leaked on Twitter.