Sunday, 30 August 2009

Passing on contact details of bloggers

I was faced with a dilemma last week – a client asked that we hand over all the contact details of the bloggers with were talking with on their behalf. Apart from the commercial issues around doing this, it felt unethical to pass on someone’s personal details that had been given to us on trust.

I also felt that it might be against the law – or at least contravene the Data Protection Act. So, I spoke to a number of people to get their advice:
1. A handful of old colleagues who now work in public affairs
2. An ex boss who is high up in the PRCA
3. The legal dept of the IPA
4. A journalist who is knowledgeable on the DPA
5. My companies head of CRM and Data Management
6. A handful of bloggers

Summarising everyone’s response:

- an agency/person can’t give out personal details of bloggers that have been entrusted to the person/agency [unless they get explicit permission by the blogger]

- if a blogger has published their contact details, then an agency can give out those details that are publicly available [I know I’m stating the obvious, but sometimes it’s worth doing]

- a network of contacts e.g. bloggers, is the IP of an agency and doesn’t belong to any one client, but is considered the ‘the tools with which an agency trades’

- bloggers would be seriously p*ssed off if an agency give their contact details to a client

- if you already have the publicly available contact details of bloggers, then you might as well avoid conflict and give them to a client, as the client can easily find the details themselves

There was a lot more discussion around the issue with all the parties mentioned above and I’m sure it’s a much more complex issue than I’ve summarised. However, I thought I’d share what I’d found out and the conclusions we came to.

1. You can’t pass on those personal details of bloggers that have been entrusted to you
2. You can pass on publicly available contact details such as email addresses in ‘contact me’ sections of blogs.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Social media usage grows in US

Forrester, the guys behind Groundswell, have issued some new research on Americans participating in social media.
Top line findings are that only 18% of US online adults are not active in social media, compared to 25% in 2008. The main growth areas is in the Joiner and Spectator segments, which kinda makes sense with the growth of social networks in the last year and blogs, podcasts, video sharing sites becoming more mainstream.

As the UK usually mirrors the US internet adoption, I imagine the increased adoption is the same in the UK. It certainly feels that way. Just recently my other half's mum friended me on Facebook. Which was nice.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

iTunes for news papers

News International's declining fortunes is leading Mr Murdoch to start charging for all online news content for all his titles . The Guardian has the story here.

Apart from going against the ethos of the internet i.e. make everything freely sharable and findable, I can't see how it's going to work. I just don't see people paying, say 5p, to access a story in The Sun Online, then paying 5p to access a story in the News of the World then 5p to access the Times. It's not so much the cost, although I imagine it will put off many people, it's the hassle of having to pay lots of different newspapers to read the stories - stories that you can probably read for free on other sites.

I know that paid-for news content works for the and WSJ - mainly because they offer valuable specialist content i.e. business information and insight. However, I can't imagine many people paying for stories about who the latest Big Brother contestant got drunk with [or maybe they will and I'm just showing my age].

What would make me pay Mr Murdoch to read his news online is some sort of iTunes for Newspapers. If I can sign in and get any stories I wanted and pay for them via a single account, then that would remove many of the barriers. Although, I reckon that iNews [I couldn't resist, sorry], would have to include news from all online newspapers, not just News International.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Branded URL shorteners

I came across this nifty little tool on FIR that allows you to create a branded URL shortener. Coke is one of the first brands to make the most of it with coke url.

I know there are loads of URL shorteners out there, but this one is cool because you can include a brand name. This is particular useful for spreading conversations around your brand on twitter - people will see the brand rather than a bunch of letters and numbers.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Monetising wedding video on YouTube

I thought it was a really smart the way Chris Brown's people monetised the Wedding dance video on YouTube that used his song. Instead of getting arsey and telling the creator to take down the video or hitting them with a law suit or something silly and over the top, he took out an ad on the bottom of the video saying 'buy this song on iTunes' and linked to the iTunes store. I'm not sure how many songs Mr Brown sold on the back of the ad, but the video had 17M views, so I imagine it might be quite a few.

I wonder if Rick Astley would now be sitting on a huge wad of cash if he'd done something similar during the Rick Rolling phase?

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Twit Gigs

Two cool things, music and social media, combine to make twit gigs. It's an experiment that involves twitter and a battle of the bands kinda thing. It's been funded [if that's the right word for a brand giving a bursary] by the Smirnoff Night Vision initiative.

It's going to be held at the Vibe Bar in London on August 6 and there will be live commentary via Twitter from and at the event. You can follow it at

It's times like this I wish I still lived in London [then it wears off during my 7 minute commute to work through country lanes].