Web Vigilantes being banned from social media sites.

November 17, 2010

Cyber crime and Twitter scams make good headlines but somewhere underground there are a few concerned citizens that take a vigilante approach to dealing with these scammers and fraudsters. For instance http://www.419eater.com/ bait scammers using highly creative methods to engage Nigerian conmen, waste their time and then attempt expose them. There’s also the Salty droid who names and shames would-be conmen who utilize Twitter and other channels to exploit consumers. But it turns out that life of a digital freedom fighter is not easy.

imageHere’s the problem : Many scams consist of intelligent, organised individuals and groups. They syndicate and they collaborate, and they actively wage a reverse war on the people trying to expose them. Ironically scammers are using the same processes created to report spammers to shut down the people trying to expose them.

Sadly YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo accounts etc belonging to web vigilantes trying to alert people to scams are being shut down faster than than those belonging to the scammers. How do I know this?  Read on:

The Sad Story of the SaltyDroid

imageI’m not sure how I first came across the Droid on Twitter but I became interested in the Droid’s outspoken ‘attacks’ on certain individuals. Some of the people it was targeting had HUGE followings on Twitter, some with high profiles and. SaltyDroid had no qualms in confronting them directly in public view and alerting other users. I have no reason to doubt that SaltyDroid’s only purpose was to expose people it believed were engaged in unethical practices (such as this one which was exposed). 

I noticed a few months ago that SaltyDroid (which had a few thousand Twitter followers) just ‘vanished’. The blog was still alive and kicking so I wrote an email to find out what the story.

Me: “What happened? Where did your accounts go?”

Salty Droid: “I lost. I’m basically banned from the Internet.  Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, Bluehost, Youtube, etc. Everywhere I go the scammers file false complaints and horrific lies about me.  The web companies all default to caving in and banning you rather than risking "trouble".  Most of them, and especially Twitter, do it with zero notice, process, or chance to respond. It says sad things about the state of free speech on the all important fringes … IMO.

I don’t have time to fight the web companies and the scammers … so I just gave up on the web companies.  I’m on a special free speech server where some really great people take special care of me … and otherwise I’m silenced.

And the Twitter bannings are not as bad as the death threats, the private investigators, the plots against my personal life, etc.”

image 

The Droid also let me know that although he began his pursuit anonymously it wasn’t long before a syndicate of scammers found him at which point the he decided it would be safer to unmask the droid. Revealing himself as a lawyer it  gives the whole saga an even bigger sense of irony.

In summary, it’s easier for a scammer to have a web vigilante shut down than vice versa. The Droid is now absent from all social networks and yet the people being named in his blog continue to tweet freely etc. In an age where consumers are able to interact so easily with anyone from close friends to complete strangers there is no easy and quick way of distributing warning messages to others in the case of genuine scams. That’s a service SaltyDroid was attempting to provide before being shut down in social media circles. The internet at present sometimes appears lawless and wide open territory for the scammers, and the presence of government and local authority is limited, and at best slow moving. I’m not condoning Salty droids methods or even agreeing with all his posts but freedom of speech is important so I certainly don’t want to see people prepared to take on these issues disappear especially with the bad guys roaming free so easily.

Beware wolves in birds clothing: Currently I know of one major Twitter account belonging to a convicted spammer in Australia with close to 100,000 followers. This person appears free to be able to act on Twitter regardless of their history. Sadly the only way you are likely to hear the name of this person is via someone like SaltyDroid.

What can you do?
1. Send this link on to people in the industry.

2. Copy and paste this story – reproduce it in your own blog.

3. Help Re-activate or read the Saltydroid: If you know someone who works in Twitter or Facebook etc ask them to reinstate the banned SaltyDroid accounts eg:  http://twitter.com/saltydroid

4. Support freedom of speech but don’t be a web vigilante. Salty Droid is a lawyer in real life and is better equipped to deal with bad people on the internet. Report web crime here:
http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx – USA
https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/tag/reportascam/ – Australia
http://www.met.police.uk/fraudalert/ – UK

image

Above: Clearly Charles Bronson wouldn’t have lasted long in Facebook or Twitter.

Cheers,

@eunmac

Disclaimer to be quite clear: The opinion above is that of the author only and does not represent the views of Amnesia Razorfish etc.


No! You can’t enter our social media competition

October 28, 2010

I just had a rather interesting experience with a guy from Vodafone Australia looking after the Android Man Social Media comp. The problem – I tried to enter with a photo of Android Man and an iphone:


Full size image and actual caption here.

The story goes like this:

I went down to checkout Vodafone Australia’s Android Man competition. The game: locate Android Man from his cryptic tweets, take a creative photograph, upload it to facebook and you could win a HTC Desire HD.

My idea for the ‘creative photograph’ was to give Android Man my iphone in the hope that he would give me a shiny new HTC Desire HD in return. However, after I took the shot I was approached and encouraged to delete the shot. The conversation went something like this:

Vodaman: “You can’t take a photograph of Android Man and an iPhone”
Me: “Why not? The competition is take a creative photo. That’s creative”
Vodaman: “I want you to delete the photo of Android Man and the iPhone”
Me: “Sorry mate, it’s user generated content, social media, my phone, my picture and a public space”
Vodaman: “Delete the photo or I can help delete it for you”
Me: “Seeing as you put it so nicely … Sorry I’m not deleting it”
Vodaman: “Look if you upload Android Man and the iphone to the Vodafone AU facebook group it will be removed and you won’t win the competition”
Me: “Fair enough … You know. You sometimes see dolphins here some times. Seriously. I’ve seen one once.”
Vodaman: “Just one?”
Me: “Just once. It was looking for something.”
Vodaman: “Maybe some food?”
Me: “Yeah maybe”

Well … yeah …I made the dolphin bit up, but the rest actually happened.

I love social media competitions like this. In fact I helped create The Smirnoff Secret Party Treasure Hunt a few years ago. However, this incident highlights just how important it is that everyone from the ground up is aware of just how transparent social media is. Your people are your brand and they need to know that everything they say and do can be repeated and tweeted and be the make and break of such campaigns.

Just sayin 🙂

@handypearce

Update (16.54 on 28/10): Nice response from @vodafone_au


Torrent Town?

August 10, 2010

If you were the owners of a big, shady, money earning torrent site – what would you do with all that potentially ill-gotten cash?

Buy yourself a small town in Russia, obviously.


View Larger Map

This is exactly what torrent and P2P news site TorrentFreak announced that the large file-sharing facilitator TorrentReactor had done. TorrentReactor claimed to have made the purchase, and that with their financial backing, the quality of life in the township of Gar would improve for its 300+ citizens. Not only that, I’m sure they’d be trying to carve out a file-sharing haven for themselves – though whether this would work under Russian law, I’m not certain.

As it turns out though, the town has not yet been purchased. This may have begun as a prank, however it looks like it will end well – for the people of Gar at least. You see, they’re actually interested in the possible investment. TorrentReactor claimed to have bought and renamed the place for approximately $164,000 AUD and the ambitious folk in Gar are keen to see that cash. Apparently all that’s needed is approval from the President.

Apparently they can’t rename the town, but the folks over at TorrentReactor now feel “obligated to help” in some fashion or another, which can only be a good thing. Whether they buy it or not remains to be seen.

As amusing as this idea initially was, I’m not sure how I feel about the idea of organisations purchasing towns outright – I worry about what it means for the future. How about you? Or… do you know of any instances where it’s happened before? If so, has it been beneficial, or is this a downward spiral?

~@tali3sin

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Crust Free Pizza Fail

July 14, 2010

When talking about Twitter accounts which do it well – which engage users, spark conversation and create evangelists, I’m usually not one to go past @Crust_pizza, who do it right.

Their Twitter account has risen to huge popularity using the Weekly #crustfreepizzafriday competition which – every Friday – is practically viral.

Their day-to-day content is targeted at the younger audience, with videos drawn from the vein of Funniest Home videos, music tracks which they’re into, movie trailers, in addition to a sprinkling of corporate news like store openings. And, perfectly, they respond to customers in realtime.

However, today they tweeted this:

What, did they put the Work Experience kid on Twitter for the day?! More on this, after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »


New Facebook Privacy Tools: A Cunning Ruse?

May 19, 2010

Everybody is mad at Facebook for destroying privacy all the way across the Internet. Here’s the thing though, they’ve recently had this meeting, right? You’ve probably heard about it. Only two things appear to have come out of this meeting so far, and neither address the issue at hand.

In essence, the two new tools described here allow you to give specific devices (your phone, work computer, and home computer for instance) the authority to log-in to your Facebook account. While this is fantastic for account hacking prevention, and are therefore important for privacy, they’re barely related to the reasons an angry mob has formed at Facebook’s gates.

My rant after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »


Moshtix Needs To Sing Their Sorry Song

May 6, 2010

Update 17/05 at bottom of post, after jump

Splendour in the Grass went on sale today, and Moshtix had a pretty good go at ruining absolutely everything. Quick summary for the uninformed:

  • 8:45am Everyone in Australia who loves music preps their computer
  • 9:00am 32,000 tickets go on sale
  • 9:01am – 2:14pm It all goes horribly wrong, site outages, mass complaints, Aussies take their complaints to the social space, Moshtix disable comments on Facebook, realise their mistake some hours later and switch comments back on
  • 2:15pm All tickets are sold out, thousands of people are filled with rage

After the jump I’m going to lay out a few examples of the kind of negative sentiment Moshtix have been receiving over the course of the day, and then lay out some blunt advice for what I’d like to see them do now. Yes, there will be swearing.

Read the rest of this entry »


Indie Game Bundle – Choose Your Own Price

May 5, 2010

Everybody likes finding a good bargain, and that’s exactly what this is. Wolfire Games is an excellent indie game developer, with a couple of wins tucked under its belt. All five games are cross-platform (Win/Mac/Linux) and DRM free. This is a sales model that’s becoming established, and I like it – more on this after the jump.

The games they’re bundling are:

Read the rest of this entry »


Adobe responds to Steve Jobs’ “Thoughts on Flash”

May 3, 2010

Kevin Lynch, CTO of Adobe responded to Steve Jobs’ ‘Thoughts on Flash‘ open letter (summary here) with a short blog post late last week.Kevin writes that if Apple tried to cooperate with Adobe a bit more, then they could “provide a terrific experience with Flash on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch”.

Kevin wrote:

However, as we posted last week, given the legal terms Apple has imposed on developers, we have already decided to shift our focus away from Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices for both Flash Player and AIR. We are working to bring Flash Player and AIR to all the other major participants in the mobile ecosystem, including Google, RIM, Palm (soon to be HP), Microsoft, Nokia and others.

Read the full thing here.


Steve Jobs’ Thoughts on Flash. Boom.

April 30, 2010

Today, in an open letter published on Apple’s website, Steve Jobs shared his thought on Adobe Flash and its place (or lack thereof) on Apple devices such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Steve’s “Thoughts on Flash” can be found here. I break down his points after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »



Coke says “Hello” to Pepsi on Twitter. A brand first?

July 1, 2009

UPDATE: An historic moment in branding?
As a result of the twitter experiment below Coke said HELLO to Pepsi via Twitter (and started following them too). [Update] Pepsi responds in kind. All within 18 hours.
  http://twitter.com/CocaCola/statuses/2413906945

image 

Pepsi replies:
http://twitter.com/pepsi/statuses/2423584043

image

Pepsi Canada joins in:
http://twitter.com/PepsiCanada/statuses/2423730800
image

And just like that, the world feels like a slightly better place.
Ahh maybe Twitter really is more than just “what I ate for breakfast.”

Thank you Coke and Pepsi for being good sports 🙂

What happened:
– We started the experiment at about 9.42am July 1 in Twitter (Original Tweet here)

image
– There were a significant number of RTs
– Coca-Cola responded less than 3 hours later with the tweet above.

Currently Pepsi have not replied or followed back… but we’re watching 🙂

The Original Experiment/Post:
Oh we all know Coke and Pepsi are age old bitter rivals but this is a new age of SOCIAL and we want to see something change between these arch enemies – even if it is just courtesy. Currently they are both on Twitter but at time of writing neither follows the other (http://www.doesfollow.com/cocacola/pepsi) or (http://www.doesfollow.com/pepsi/cocacola).

Join the fun: Let Coke and Pepsi know what you want: ReTweet this now! image

Coke and Pespi Twitter accounts… why not end the cola wars and follow each other?
It would be like a public hug. (…Then you can go back to being rivals). So who’s first?

image
www.twitter.com/pepsi

image
www.twitter.com/cocacola

Well we want to see it happen… we’ll be watching…!
C’mon show us you have a sense of humour and do the follow!

Oh… The Re-tweets will keep coming at you until you do 🙂

image 

UPDATED Following situation:

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Post by:
-@eunmac


A Celebration of the Gaming Awesomeness of the 1990s

April 24, 2009

I’ve been into games since… oh, I don’t know. The early to mid-eighties and let me tell you kids that you don’t know what good games are about.

The 80s. Oh, the 80s. That was where it all started, but the 90s. Well, that was the era that took games out of the arcades and into gamers’ home. Back in our day, we only HAD 256 colours on the screen and we loved every one of them, let me tell you.

So many amazing games in one decade. Doom, Quake, Monkey Island, System Shock, Syndicate, Tomb Raider, MechWarrior…. ok, don’t get me started.

Gaming site Big Download have been celebrating the Gaming Awesomeness of the 90s with a set of galleries, focusing on two years at a time designed to make grumpy old gamer dudes like me get a bit misty.

Check ’em out.

We Love The 90s (for PC Games):

1990-19911992-1993 | 1994-1995 | 1996-1997 | 1998-1999 | Wrap up


Who is Fake Stephen Conroy? Full list of Suspects.

March 9, 2009

This week the “REAL” Politician, Senator Stephen Conroy acknowledged the “FAKE” Stephen Conroy (http://twitter.com/stephenconroy) via (article on SMH) as “healthy satire” so we thought we would start the cheeky hunt for the person behind the mask. We don’t really want the person ‘outed’ per se as it’s much more fun not knowing, but below is the list of 25 suspects to date:

image Name: Fake Stephen Conroy
Location: Canberra
Bio: I’m a 45 year old politician who’ll do anything to please you, baby. Don’t worry girl, I gots “protection”, and it’ll degrade my performance all night

Firstly, let us pay homage to the Fake Stephen (FSC). He’s actually pretty funny, satirical and most agree that the character is very well written. So… who’s doing the writing? We suspect it’s someone who’s already active on Twitter already – ie; they have two accounts running. At time of posting FSC is only following 69 people so we suspect that the guilty person may be linked to many of these in some way. We trawled various stats, engines and monitored conversations as well as looking through the #nocleanfeed list to come up with the following suspects… 

Update : Although we did discover the real identity of Fake Stephen Conroy during the compilation of the list, we did not include him in there. Unfortunatley the attention appears to have forced his hand  and in fact FSC outed himself a few days ago as Leslie Nasser from Telstra (http://www.linkedin.com/in/leslienassar)

The Suspects behind FST (Fake Stephen Conroy):

  Suspect Modus Operandi Suspect Rating
1 image DuncanRiley
Tipsters think that Duncan is a hot candidate for FSC. That cheeky smile which looks almost identical to FSC’s may hold the key.
9/10
2 image[99]  Warlach
A serious suspect, Warlach has been around long enough to know the tricks. Known to have created fake twitter accts in the past. Is FSC his creation?
9/10
3 FullTimeCasual
A new entry on the list but a red hot suspect. His suspicious lack of a photo in his twitter avatar may mean he can slip into the darkness easily if found guilty.
9/10
4 image DHughesy
We have been informed that this infamous Aussie comedian may be practicing using FSC for some cool new comedy about Twitter. We suspect FSC’s words are too big for Hughsey, but he still makes the list.
8/10
5 image[95] BarrySaunders
Normally gets highly involved in twitter conversations but not with FSC. Makes him look like a real suspect in this case.
8/10
6 image[101]  Servantofchaos
Respected blogger and Tweeter, possesses a similar sense of humour to FSC. A prime suspect.
8/10
7 image TrevorYoung
FSC insiders say suspect is based in Melbourne. Trevor Young’s writing skills certainly fit the bill as a PR WARRIOR…
8/10
8 image[106]  Mspecht
Definite candidate for the job and big nocleanfeed enthusiast. No twitter history with FSC makes him a suspect.
7/10
9 image[114]  Turnbullmalcolm
What better way to oust the current government than being the mastermind of the FSC twitter account? Must be a suspect.
8/10
10 image Wolfcat
Should have been in the list earlier – has been active on Twitter for a while and knows the tricks.
8/10
image[115]  cameronreilly
Top 5 Tweeters according to Grader.com, long history in the interwebs and definitely would have no fear of being FSC.
8/10
image[76] JonoH
First person who FSC followed. Must be a prime suspect.
8/10
image[107]  Jimboot
One of the more active people in ‘nocleanfeed’ a hot tip to be FSC.
7/10
  image renailemay
The only published interview with FSC was conducted by the Editor of ZDNet.com.au. This makes him an instant suspect. Is this man the Peter Parker of Twitter? Hmm…
7/10
image_thumb[26] Silkcharm
She has her mitts in everything else social so makes the list by default. Very few msgs to FSC makes her a prime suspect.
7/10
image[107]  Jimboot
One of the more active people in ‘nocleanfeed’ a hot tip to be FSC.
7/10
image[109]  Trib
With a mass of followers and outspoken character, he’s conveniently located in Canberra. Is he the real FSC?
7/10
image[106]  Mspecht
Definite candidate for the job and big nocleanfeed enthusiast. No twitter history with FSC makes him a suspect.
7/10
image[127] JJprojects
With 3000+ followers, a twitter junkie, nocleanfilter advocate put JJ high on the suspect list.
6/10
image[113]  Nickhodge
Microsoft’s local pin up Twitter Star has a dry earthy wit similar to FSC. Talks to FSC a lot, but could this be a cover?
6/10
image[111]  andrew303
Known to have more than one twitter account, is Australia’s most followed person on Twitter the guilty party?
6/10
image[96] Stephen Conroy (the real one)
The perfect double bluff?
You see… he’s not on Twitter, …or is he?
6/10
image[108]  Bronwen
Describes herself as combatant, maybe FSC is Bronwen’s side project. No contact with FSC to date – is this an alibi or evidence?
6/10
image_thumb[18]  Aramadge
News.com.au reporter that may see FSC as an interesting side project for a forthcoming story.
5/10
image[86] Granleese
First person to respond to my request for information and leads about FSC. Makes him an instant suspect.
4/10
image[112]  Mpesce
One of the last remaining people with a cross on their avatar’s mouth, is this inventor the real inventor FSC?
4/10
image_thumb[21] Mumbrella
Journo Tim Burrowes loves controversy so why not create it himself? Perfect motive with timing similar to launch of his mumbrella blog. Did FSC attract a few extra visitors?
4/10
image[97]  Acatinatree
Filmmaker. Active, lots of followers. Has a sense of humour. FSC might just be a side project for her…?
4/10
image[100]  markpollard
Strategist, highly active in Twitter, His no fear cheeky sense of humour puts him on the list.
3/10
image[105] KevinRuddPM
He doesn’t use his own Twitter account too much – possibly because he’s so busy running the FSC twitter account.
3/10
image[110]  eunmac
As the author of this post, this could just be a diversionary tactic. Maybe I am FSC, or maybe not? Hmmm.
3/10
image[119] OzDJ
Came up as the first suspect when I used a Twitter tool to find similar people to FSC.
3/10
image[91]  Eskimo Sparky
Husband, Father, Political impersonator? Is an instigator of prior twitter crimes such as Velociroflcoptersaurus.
3/10
image_thumb[20] Stilgherrian
Political, outspoken, but would he send so many tweets to FSC?
3/10
image[98]  Likeomg
Social Media Advisor at Amnesia and copywriter. Would certainly possess the skills but may be too occupied by other things.
2/10
  image JoelyRighteous
Has not been posting much recently. Possibly to distracted by his FSC account?
2/10
  image Davidlmorris
Very quick to dismiss some of the suspects on the list. Is this the real FSC revealing himself inadvertently?
2/10
  image LesleyWhite
Conveniently “wishing” she was on the list may make her an outside possibility.
2/10
image[131] Julian Cole
He manages to get his name on every other list so may as well stick him in this one just in case he is FSC…
2/10
image[123] DanWarne
Another journalist for the SMH active on Twitter. Pops up on FSC’s follower list too. Is he just interested , or IS IT HIM?
2/10
image SpellrUs
Claims he should be a suspect. Always struck me as being too much of a nice guy, but you then again, those are the ones you have to watch…
2/10
image_thumb[19] ProBlogger
Too busy tweeting tips to be a real suspect, but may be a dark horse in the matter.
1/10
  image InJoke
There is no chance that InJoke is the real FSC, but they felt that it would help them with the ladies if they made the list. OK good luck with that…
0/10

Breaking Update:
Suspects were seen changing their avatars to that of Stephen Conroy’s – presumably to protect their real identity.

 image
Above: View in Tweetdeck as some of the accused changed their avatars.

If you are on the list but you strongly wish to deny that you are not fake @stephenconroy post a comment with your full denial and alibi.

If you really are fake @stephenconroy (and not on the list and would like to be, follow @eunmac on Twitter and DM a message. We will keep it a secret.)


Fake Virals, Social Objects and Naked.

January 29, 2009

Today I presented at the 6th Annual Future of Digital Advertising for the IAB and AIMIA (#foda09 on Twitter). I talked about a few things, shared some insight on what I thought (hopefully) could help the digital industry further itself this year.

The main body of my preso was on the digital consumer and how brands need reconsider their approach, especially when using social as a tool. I discussed social objects – good ones, bad ones, great ones. I talked about Digital Brand DNA- something that Joe Crump our Razrofish NY Creative Director has pioneered with his ‘Digital Darwinism’ presentations.

In the last year I have come to believe strongly that great digital creative usually contains 7 digital brand genes that Joe Crump identified. See his full preso and video from Cannes (here):

– AUTHENTIC
– ADAPTIVE
– RELEVANT
– TRANSFORMATIVE
– FRESH
– IMMERSIVE
– SOCIAL

OK, so what about that Naked / Witchery Viral? (I’ve embedded their YouTube campaign in case you missed it). It’s clearly a bigger story than I realised (the SMH and Naked have both been in touch with me today as a result). The thing is, I like Naked as an Agency  – I like the way they challenge, stand up, break things, and do things that are counter intuitive. I know the guys well and we’ve worked with them many times on probably 6 or more different clients. In fact they’re one of the best agencies in town to collaborate with especially when it comes to their open approach to digital.

So what’s wrong with the above and why bother raising it, especially in a public forum? Well as you may have gathered my problem is not with Naked at all, it is with fake viral in general. In fairness, Naked were one example of a few I showed. QLD Tourism and Nike were both raised. We have a mountain to climb to be accepted (as advertisers and brands) into the new consumer landscape and these social channels are theirs, not ours. I know that consumers genuinely welcome cool clever intelligent advertising – but I cannot see any evidence that they like being deceived routinely. Comments below the videos often do the talking, especially when the deception is revealed.

Fake Viral for Nike feat Taylor Momsen

image

I’m a big believer in being able to make mistakes in the search for progress (digital is a tough gig, and there are new things we learn every day so mistakes do happen), but why the same mistake over and over? I also can’t understand why the elements of risk associated with generating negative brand sentiment in consumer channels are not better understood. As I tried to point out today, the 2.5m tweets per day, 915,000 blogs per day are heavily indexed by Google and can quickly produce negative organic search results. Let’s face it – search is very important, especially if you are a digital ROI client. Why would any company want to see their first page of Google results polluted with negative blog posts about their brand? The reality is that the social media sword cuts both ways.

Unfortunately the knock on effect is that negative news like the above often impacts other agencies, especially digital ones. I’ve seen brand managers get nervous when they see things like this in the news and subsequently make rapid judgement that the social medium is too volatile and uncontrollable. Budgets get withdrawn. We all start to lose – and that’s where I have a problem, because we know enough about social now to start doing things differently, and do it right.

What’s the solution?
So here’s the thing – Fake Viral is completely possible, and without deception. There have been some great examples from the US. Here’s one from Coors:

Here’s another ad for Coors, deliberately designed to breed consumer imitations (of which there are many). Great use of Social Object Theory:

Rolling Rock ran a hilarious campaign on Moonvertsing (here) which although potentially controversial produced a great digital response. Again completely Fake but with full disclosure from day one. I could go on, but it’s late and I think you get the picture right?

 

In Conclusion:
There are better, bigger, broader opportunities to engage consumers using social media that can still be authentic, mysterious, realistic. Yes it’s a creative challenge but if we can start to get this right there are big wins for consumers, clients and agencies alike. Naked aren’t the first, and won’t be the last to feel the heat on this issue – but they’re a great agency and will rise above it. I do hope that in the future the industry will adopt some of Joe’s 7 digital brand genes, it’s a good place to start.

@eunmac


Australia’s Internet filtering too ambitious, doomed to fail

December 8, 2008

Ars Technica have written an excellent article attacking the various approaches the Government are considering for implementation of their proposed internet filtering system.

It’s tough being a government these days; who has the energy to clean up the Internet after a hard day’s work bailing out the financial sector? Not the Australian government, it seems. Rather than actually doing something about illegal content, they just make a list of it and tell ISPs to filter everything that’s on the list. Sidestepping the murky political details and—for the moment—the civil liberties problems inherent in this approach, let’s take a closer look at the technical aspects of such a plan.

Read the full article at Ars Technica.


Beautiful data : visualization links and examples

December 4, 2008

I’ve said in the past that some of the best Creative Directors of tomorrow will be those who also appreciate the usefulness of data and analytics. This may seem to be a contradiction in terms but in a digital world, a creative mind that is able to find meaning in spreadsheets, graphs and data may discover ‘gold’ that can compliment, add to, or even originate new ideas.

Unfortunately creative people are usually visual beasts who thrive on imagery, not numbers. (Ugghh!) It would be nice if we could decode ‘matrix style’ data into meaningful insight that allowed us to see patterns and trends. The good news is that there are tools and people that see data in a different way – I’ve listed some of my favourites below:

Data visualisation examples:
image
http://www.number27.org/work/maps/index.html

image
http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/

Other resources and examples:

http://marumushi.com/
http://infosthetics.com/
http://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager
http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/
http://demo.qlikview.com/
http://www.neoformix.com/Projects/TwitterStreamGraphs/view.php
http://blog.instantcognition.com/
http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2008/06/citysense-reality-mining-iphone.html
http://www.setpixel.com/
http://www.swivel.com/
http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/treemap-history/index.shtml
http://www.issuecrawler.net/

I know there are those who disagree with me on this, and I understand their viewpoint as I am also a huge believer in the expression “Knowledge does not always give you Insight”. Despite the difficulty in adapting to thinking in this new way I have become quite happy spending time in Excel etc and after a few hard years it has become my friend not my enemy.

Iain
(Exec Creative Director, Amnesia Razorfish) – (
twitter/eunmac)


Ooyala. Video Killer or just the worst name in web history?

September 10, 2008

Ooyala. Not the first time we’ve seen a new technology stamped with “built by ex-Google people”, (recently Cuil) but hey we’ll look at anything new when it comes to online video. OK let’s start with the worst bit: What’s with that name? Did they not teach URL strategy at Google? I’ve already forgotten it three times and keep having to look at the top of the page to remind myself. Say it with me… OO YAAAA LA or something like that. Spelling it after a couple of hours at the pub could be very tricky.

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Is an adaptive bitrate the golden bullet?

Rant over, is it any good? Now there’s a stack of features on Oothingy’s site to benefit businesses and advertisers. It works with multiple serving platforms and has great analytics. Yes, that will keep a few people pretty happy as we all like more numbers to crunch, but in the recommendation age, the consumer holds a lot more power over the growth of technology platforms.

Let’s face it… every single successful web empire (eg: Facebook, Google, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr) made it there by putting the consumer first. Yes I get that this is more of a B2B offering, but remember that YouTube really killed it by allowing some groundbreaking comsumer features such as easy affiliation which made it the defacto video player for millions. Does Oojimaflip have anything that will significantly benefit the end user or content creator? OK, yes, there is one thing I did really like: the benefit of adaptive bitrate (meaning the video will fine tune itself to the users internet connection) but this is not something average users will notice if they already have a decent connection. The watermarking feature is handy for those wanting to stop their vids being shamelessly ripped. Bottom line, OOjamadoodah’s video player, appears to be a more bandwidth efficient video player with a rather nice analytics engine, but lacking in advanced social media capabilities. Let’s hope they’ll come up with some more front end features soon because the market is probably ready for someone to take the video player experience to another level.

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“Help – can someone read what the banner says underneath us? We keep forgetting our own name.”

Ooyala means cradle in Telugu, a Southern Indian language. We like the name because it demonstrates what we are doing — cradling a new form of innovation.


Newsflash – World may end on Wednesday. Internet expected to experience problems as a result.

September 10, 2008

Today, the CERN atom-smasher / particle accelerator will open for business. This will probably generate a super black hole and destroy the universe (read more here). We’ve looked into this and calculated that doomsday may also have a devastating effect on the Internet.
 
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Some of our programmers here have raised the flag that if the world is destroyed, this will cause serious problems for most ISPs leading to widespread browser failure. Experts believe that even Google’s new Chrome browser could be affected if the world is sucked into a black hole.

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Is Google worried it’s new Chrome Browser might be destroyed by CERN? Google’s homepage logo today suggests that something sucks.

Note: There is a useful test online to detect problems with CERN:
http://hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com/

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So, if you’re worried about the fact that you may not only be killed, but you may also be denied some higher than normal traffic to your Facebook page (quite normal when you die) you may want to go to Switzerland and form a protest group in the few days left before the serious tests begin in a month.

But if that sounds like too much trouble, just watch this video. Maybe the view count will go up and someone will notice that the world is about to end and save it:

The Particle Physics Rap. Yes it’s really bad and proof that Physics is still very very uncool.


Five digital technologies that will change the marketing landscape

September 2, 2008

Here’s an article I wrote for AdNews last month – it was edited down for publication so here’s the full thing. Uncensored:

We all keep hearing about the pace of change and how much we need to constantly shift our businesses both as agency or client. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to look with so much going on; an ever expanding web and new devices appearing daily in the consumers lounge and pockets … all places we need to harness for marketing success.

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Batteries… soon to have a 30 year gap between recharging?

One thing’s for sure, it’s going to get more complicated, not less so I thought I would share five of the key technologies that are set to change the digital landscape in a significant way within the next ten years… here’s my TOP 5:

Read the rest of this entry »


Massaud Airship Hotel Fake : Manned Cloud likely full of hot air.

August 27, 2008

Fancy flying around he world in 10 days onboard a luxury flying hotel? Well you may have to wait longer than expected. This story has been floating around the web for about 10 months and has made many mags and press, but time seems to be telling that it looks more like a little publicity stunt for architect Massaud (here).

Web Chinese Whispers? Proving again that some web consumers are willing to adopt, believe and blog things that have very little grounding in fact – and then copy and paste madly, there really is very little to suggest this was any more than a ‘concept’ but the web and press have made it look like this project is really happening. I’m happy to be proved wrong, but I’m betting this is a tall story from Massuad that went a little too far…

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Early Daily Mail Story here that fueled many blogs (did they really believe this?):
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-511843/The-flying-hotel-Thunderbird-2-The-700ft-super-airship-gently-float-world.html