Yahoo wins round in Oregon nude photo court battle

According to the Associated Press and the Mercury News:

PORTLAND, Ore. — Yahoo has won a legal battle over removing nude photos that an Oregon woman claimed her boyfriend posted on its Web site without her knowledge or permission.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirms that Internet service providers such as Yahoo are generally protected from liability for materials published or posted on their sites by outside parties.

Cecilia Barnes had filed a lawsuit in 2005 in Portland, Ore., claiming her boyfriend not only posted nude photos, but also created a fraudulent profile and posed as her in an online chat room to solicit sex.

Although the court says Sunnyvale-based Yahoo isn’t liable for those actions, it left open the possibility that Barnes could sue Yahoo over whether it had promised to remove the photos and the profile.

While I’m happy that Yahoo! won its appeal after stating that the loss “‘threatens significant mischief’ to other Web companies” the final line in the AP release is what has me worried.

it left open the possibility that Barnes could sue Yahoo over whether it had promised to remove the photos and the profile.

Barnes next suit– win or lose– will likely influence and change the way that users interact with companies on a daily basis as one “bad apple” (or in this case, rogue agent) ruined the bushel. Rather than allowing their agents to provide more of a customized experience for each user, it’s possible that agents will be forced to adhere to an even more robotic, contrived speech that compels them to respond only to black and white situations– creating more frustration for users who approach companies with “grey” issues.

Looking for the full story on the Yahoo/Barnes case in Oregon? Find it after the jump.

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Lucky at Your Service

Personally I’m a big fan of the iPhone and shopping. So, when Lucky Magazine (which I also happen to be a fan of) found a way to combine shopping and the iPhone, I was intrigued.

Early last week, Lucky released an app called “Lucky at Your Service” which essentially acts as a virtual personal shopper, and checks the inventories of your local stores. The catch? The only merchandise currently available within the app are shoes featured within the March edition of Lucky Magazine. Perfect if you love shoes, not so perfect if you were looking to snag a handbag or a myriad of other items featured within the pages of Lucky.

At this time, the app is free to download and according to the New York Times:

Lucky […] has even hired a call center, staffed with 20 to 200 representatives, who will confirm that the shoe is available and set it aside, text-messaging a shopper that, say, Jessie in the second-floor salon shoe department at the downtown Nordstrom has set it aside.

In their article, NYT also addresses a valid point: in an economy where few people are shopping, is an iPhone app that targets shoppers, really a formula for success? My answer: if they incorporate some sort of “sale alert” mechanism, then yes.

Lucky At Your Service

Lucky At Your Service

Lucky is one of the few publications that can successfully pull off a mobile application like this, in an economy like this, and that’s due in large part, to their core demographic: shoppers.

Lucky is, and always has been, a magazine targeted towards people who love to shop.

The entire magazine reads like a giant advertisement, and positions itself as the ultimate shopping guide. People who subscribe to Lucky are people who like to shop– they’re not just in it for the fashion, like people who subscribe to other fashion or style magazines. When you couple this with the fact that readers of Lucky actually enjoy shopping, and statistically have more money to “burn” than their average Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Elle, and Glamour counterparts, it makes sense. Releasing a social application like Lucky At Your Service targets this specific demographic in an incredibly unique way, and caters to a niche audience while providing a useful service that no other magazine has done. In addition to this, Lucky has found a way to keep their magazine relevant: by tying in the application to the magazine itself, as opposed to the website, they are promoting consumption of their “bread and butter” as opposed to a free resource, like the website.

And to that, I say kudos– and happy shopping. Now, if they’d only expand it to at least include handbags and other critical “accessory” items, I’d be happy.

Social Media: Conversation for the greater good

A friend of mine used to work for the Los Angeles County Department of Health and would often tell me about their proposed initiatives and how they were working on new ways to spread the message about health issues using social media.

Like many companies, they followed the typical route:  creating a MySpace page and/or a YouTube channel, and would regularly publish content. However, unlike most companies, any Health company or Department has the added luxury of having to sell a “product” that is often incredibly “unsexy,” which often results in lower CTRs and a harder sell. They also bear the burden of marketing a product that people are often unable to interact with or, in some cases, are ashamed to interact with.

Think back. How often do you scan the internet, looking for the latest public service announcements? Probably never. And, if you’re like most people, if you do see one on TV, online, or anywhere else, you probably don’t talk about it with your friends or family because it just doesn’t have the same “appeal” as talking about the latest movie trailer or tv show you watched, right? For the few of you who said that you DO actually talk about the PSAs you see on TV with someone you know, 9/10 chance that the PSA you watched had to do with drugs or alcohol. And the person you talked to? Your child/parent/dependent, right?

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Fortune Encourages You To Tell Your Recession Story

Fortune, like many publications recently published an article highlighting ten unemployed Americans, and their search for a new job “Fortune: The New Jobless“. (Disclaimer: I was one of the 10 featured in the article) Like most articles, Fortune included a link that enables readers an opportunity to “discuss” what they’ve read.

However, instead of discussing the stories that are contained within the article, Fortune opted to encourage readers to engage with the article, and publication in a different way: by sharing their own story.

To me, this creative use of social media enables users to engage with the content in a much more intimate way; and, in turn, creates much more genuine commentary.

After the jump? Snippets from Fortune’s “Talkback: Tell Your Recession Story”

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7 Tips For Finding a New Job

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to chat with a few people about job hunting strategies. One of the most common questions I’ve been asked has been: “How do you stay optimistic?” and, “What strategies are you using?”

After reading a lot of articles on the subject, and doing a lot of searching myself, I figured I’d share my tips here:

  • Network, network, network. Find people on sites like LinkedIn who have careers you’d like to have, or are at companies you’d like to work at. If they look as though they’re receptive to “random connections” (i.e. they have a substantial network size, or say they’re interested in making new connections) send them a connection request and outline your interests in the request. Be succinct and polite. Also, people are more likely to connect with you if you have something in common– a past employer, a friend, etc. If you can establish that from the get-go, be sure to include that in your connection request. Meeting and connecting with new people is the best way to find a new job: most jobs are secured through internal referrals. By expanding your network, you exponentially increase your odds of landing your next gig.
  • Ask questions. Take this opportunity to learn something new. Check out a Question/Answer board on a job site and see what types of questions employers and potential employees are asking. Check out boards that are specific to your niche/market and answer questions that you know the answer to. But be careful: only answer questions you know you know the answer to, and you know you can provide a solid, clear, and awesome answer to. Think of this as a mini audition/interview. These Question/Answer boards stick around for, well, as long as the Internet is around– if you say something offensive, or just wrong, it could come back to haunt you. Be sure that you’re putting your best foot forward and this could be your ticket to meeting new people, and securing a new job.
  • Read more »

Huggies & JWT: Online Advertising Done Right

Back in July/August of 2008, Huggies launched an ad campaign aptly called “Geyser,” which featured a young father carrying his son into a bedroom for a changing, and then, well, being “hosed” down by a “geyser” of, well, you get the idea. The commercial was a hit online, and according to an article by BrandWeek, published in August of 2008, the ad received 1.3 million aggregate views on sites like “YouTube, Spike and Meetup.com.”

As of late, the commercial has reappeared on cable television as well (initially I thought it was a Superbowl advertisement, which caused me to research the ad– I hadn’t come across it online). While researching the ad, I not only came across the initial advertisement, but also a “mockumentary” entitled, “Inside the Diaper.”

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Forbes Publishes Top Twitter Celebs: Omits Women

forbes-logo-largeToday, Forbes published an article on the “Top Twitter Celebrities”– featuring the names of both online and offline stars. The lists, which are broken down into two categories: Celebrities (10 on this list) and the Most Influential Twitterers (10 on this list).  The two lists feature a total of two women: Britney Spears and Tina Fey– both in the celebrity category. The parent Twitter article also features a link to The Web Celeb 25, a list which features only one woman– Heather Armstrong.

Let’s take a quick look at Forbes’ selections for females: in one corner, we have a pop-princess (who doesn’t actually tweet herself– her “people” do it for her– we know because they sign the tweets) and a comedian, who tweets sporadic, but funny messages. As a whole, these women neither define the product nor the “active”demographic that Forbes was going for.

According to a Time article, back in August 2008, Twitter’s userbase was rougly 63% male, and 25.9% of the site’s users are between the age of 35-44. (Be sure to read Time’s article for great demographic information on the types of people who use Twitter– it’s not who you’d think).

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Review: Sysomos

sysomosLast week I spoke with Steve Dodd and Nick Koudas of Sysomos, a social media tracking/monitoring service. They walked me through their product, features and showed me how it could be successfully implemented in a business or even by someone with a successful personal brand. Below is my review. Please note that this review is based on a presentation given to me by the Sysomos team, and I have not had an opportunity to actually try the Sysomos product or implement it firsthand.

Structure of this review: I’ve broken down the core elements of the product into categories and have reviewed them based on their merit. I’ve also included a brief review of additional features that are “added bonuses” or things you’d expect to see in a service like this towards the end of the review.

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Hiring trend: Social media– contractor?

With the economy in dire straits, it seems as though many companies are turning to hiring on social media strategists as consultants instead of full-time,  full-salary (and benefits) roles. Though this is a bitter-sweet turn of events for the social media field, it’s also a great opportunity for true pros to prove their worth, all while having the flexibility of bouncing from company to company.

Why this is good for social media: By continuing to offer positions (though they’re contract positions) it proves that companies are still willing to spend some of their limited budget on social efforts, and understand their value. By offering the position as a contract role, the company is able to save on their end by not having to pay for pesky things like benefits and contributing to your 401k.

Why this isn’t good for social media: By failing to completely integrate a team member into a brand or company, that team member (or in this case, social media strategist) isn’t given the opportunity to truly embrace the brand in a way a “full time” employee might. They’re also (potentially) seen as a much more expendable line-item in the company’s budget. Read more »

Social Media-ites: Don’t be a zombie

Check out this great post from Michael Pinto over at Fanboy.com on how Social Media “Experts” are the Cancer of Twitter (and Must Be Stopped)

Here’s a quick snapshot of the article:

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Nearly a day goes by on Twitter without yet another social media “expert” choosing to stalk me. At first it started innocently — back in the day (about a year ago) various techie friends started to declare themselves social media gurus because they decided to hang out on Twitter and Facebook all day. And now an army of their offspring monitor Summize in search of human flesh.

Now the first symptom of this disease was what I call “social media deafness”, a state that occurs when a person’s social graph exceeds 500+ virtual friends. The result is that the person is a mile wide, but an inch deep. Suddenly the friend you use to know develops amnesia like symptoms and starts ignoring your direct messages — what was first simple Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder becomes full blown zombie like state.

The zombies then seek each other: You’ll always notice that of the 5,000 followers that a social media expert has that all 5,000 of them are also social media “experts”. Their only form of conversation is to quote each other and live tweet conferences where they gather. Like any good Ponzi scheme the lead zombies can make a good living feeding the hopes and aspirations of the worker level drones who parrot their every blog entry.

Read the full post here

Let this serve as a reminder to those of you who are “social media” experts/specialists/strategists that it’s ok to be human. In fact, it’s welcomed.

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