Saturday, June 23, 2007

Timeline of Philippine Blogs - listing according to archive age

In trying to determine the history of blogging in the Philippines. I decided to come up with a list of Philippine blogs to date and have picked those listed in Ratified to begin with. The archives were helpful in determining the time they started. Those who have started earlier but archives were no longer accessible are age-listed here according to its current blog's oldest post. Those who have gaps are adjusted to the time their blogs became active.

We will very much appreciate if you can share the story behind your blog and we'll post it here. Cheers!

This listing is a work in progress.

1996
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002

2003
2004
2005
2006
2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Write a Tribute: 13 Years of Philippine Internet

I found myself happy after reading this Philippine Internet history thread at SEO Philippines Forum. It is important for the new generation of Internet users to continue in recognizing, and even celebrate, the growth of the Philippine Internet.

Because it is not a matter of who has the right to do it. All Filipino Internet users should rejoice with the infrastructure that we have today that allowed many of us to communicate, learn, establish ourselves online, and even earn.

Various groups whether business, education, SEO professionals, media, bloggers, among others should recognize and reflect on the impact of the Internet in our lives and how can we do better with it.

As this blog's main intent is to continue documenting Philippine Internet developments, I admit that there's so much happening out there that we couldn't cover all.

With that, I'm inviting our readers to join this tribute writing activity to celebrate the 13 years of Philippine Internet from now till June 22, 2007. This is how it will work:
  • Write a blog post as a tribute to the 13 years of the Philippine Internet. Topics can be very flexible but some suggestions can include:
    • your 13 favorite websites/blogs
    • 13 ways the Internet change your life
    • your personal Internet history (start to date) and 13 lessons learned
    • your list of 13 favorite Internet personalities
    • 13 wish list on the future of the Philippine Internet
    • 13 growth drivers of Internet in your town
    • well, just be creative!
  • Include a link to this post.
  • Post a comment and let us know about your blog entry.
I am not sure how far this tribute writing will go. But those who believe that the country's Internet anniversary is still worth celebrating online, I hope will join.

Those who gave tribute to the Philippine Internet are:

Monday, June 04, 2007

Monitoring the YesPinoy.com Fraud and CyberCrime Case

One of the stories we featured, written by Danny Escasa, in the Philippine Internet Review: Ten Years of Internet History (1994 - 2004) was the credit card online fraud case of Total Solutions Software Inc. (TSSI).
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"Total Solutions Software Inc (TSSI) is a subsidiary of YES Limited, a Hong Kong-based IT company founded in 1988. In 2003, TSSI launched YesPinoy.com, a Filipino community Web site whose aim is to bring together Filipinos from all over the world and provide them with a means to contact Filipinos both in the homeland and those working abroad.

The service relevant to our discussion is YESPinoy Send Money, which provides members a way to send money to a SMART Money cardholder in the Philippines using a credit card and an Internet connection. YESPinoy also provides a mechanism for members to order SMART Money Cards for friends and family.

In the middle of October 2003, TSSI noticed irregular activity within their computer system. A number of YESPinoy members were sending money to the same individual, some successfully, but other transactions had not been honored by the credit card issuer. The registration details of members who had allegedly sent money to the same individual had details of persons in the US. Oddly enough, their access point was, according to TSSI's audit trail, a Philippine Internet Service Provider (ISP). TSSI then called some of the US residents who were supposed to have been sending money, and found that the latter had never heard of YESPinoy and had no connections with anyone here.

With the cooperation of SMART Telecommunications, TSSI found that the SMART Money Card that had been sent money was drawing cash from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in Quezon City. TSSI, after further investigation, worked with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a sting operation that effected the arrest of three individuals who were detained at the NBI jail and charged with violations of RA 8484 (Credit Card Fraud), RA 8792 (E-Commerce Act), and falsification of public documents and estafa under the Revised Penal Code.

TSSI said that the design of their software enabled them to detect and trace the fraudulent transactions. The audit trail's revelation that members who were supposed to be in the US were using a Philippine ISP was key to breaking the case. One thing that TSSI officials wanted the public to know was that, when a credit cardholder disputes a charge, the issuing bank will decline the transaction and it's the merchant who's left holding the bag. In this case, TSSI would take the hit. It's important to mention this, because those who might intend to engage in a fraudulent credit card transaction have to realize that it's not the issuing bank (e.g., CitiBank or Standard Chartered) that absorb the loss, it's the merchant. In this case, TSSI had to account for the charges, which meant that they were spending money that wasn't going back to them, in contrast to the salaries they pay their programmers, which get TSSI code in exchange for money. If there are enough declined charges, TSSI could go out of business and their Filipino programmers unemployed."

Around that time, Charles Yeomans, Managing Director of the YES Group, was also interviewed at ANC to have a better understanding of the case in 2003.

Part 1


Part 2


When asked on the amount that was taken during those times, Paul Hubbard (Philippines country manager), said it was P15,000. This is the amount that they were able to spot. He no longer counted those that they disapproved in the process. But the point, according to Paul, was if the suspects were not stopped, the damage could have been worse.

What dragged the case were the technicalities, such as the motion to quash, stating that YesPinoy.com is not the rightful party to file the case against the suspects, among others.

It was only this year when Paul had been able to present evidence and proceed with the actual prosecution. The suspects plead “not guilty.”

As to how far this case will go remains to be seen. On the positive side, TSSI's aggressiveness in this case boosted its credibility as a serious e-commerce payment service provider in the Philippines.

We all must take proper precaution to fight fraud and identity theft online.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Online radio gets democratized

In 1998, PhilRadio began its live Filipino radio programming on the Internet. It caters to Filipinos abroad who miss radio shows back home.

Last August 2006, I got the chance to talk to Wilson Chua of eRadioPortal and featured him in the 12th episode of the DigitalFilipino podcast. Wilson has a small information technology company based in Dagupan City. The idea of putting up eRadioPortal started with his desire to listen to a jazz radio station, which is not available in their city. But when Microsoft Windows Media Services became available, it opened the opportunity for Wilson to venture in this project and it went live in 2002.

Today, eRadioPortal hosts numerous radio programs from all over the Philippines, being streamed to the rest of the world. He cited several advantages why radio stations should consider going online. This includes:
  • Reach out to the rest of the world where there’s nearly eight million diaspora and overseas workers. As majority of listeners are based outside the country, Wilson often receives emails of appreciation for the service they provide that made home much more closer to them. There’s no wonder why our diaspora are as much attuned and sensitive to the situation of the country today. Online radio has empowered them to listen to the issues first hand and interact in discussions.
  • Prime time programming no longer exists as time boundaries have shattered. Therefore, advertisers need to appreciate or recognize the value of this medium since commercials can also be listened to abroad.
In the last iBlog3, Wilson (handout) was very much optimistic on podcast growth globally and confirms that the Philippines listens to a lot of podcasts and local radio stations online.

Website owners who uses a podcast also increases their site popularity. There's the time shifting advantage where people can listen from different time zones.

Content is also portable as it can be consume wherever. Media companies are also using podcast as a tool to combat pirates.

This only proves the usefulness of the Internet, whose level of use and purpose are dependent on each one of us.

As Wilson announced during iBlog3, they are now looking for interested content providers who would like to host their programs in eRadioPortal.
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