市场营销 | marketing | 마케팅 道德 | ethics | 윤리학

MPs expense scandal rolls on

Reading Time: < 1 minute


MPs expense scandal rolls on, originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

Far from sparing blushes the redacted details on expenses tarred MPs with the corrupt brush, one of the few people to come out of this relatively untarnished was Frank Field who went public with his expenses weeks ago.

The redaction process had the same perception as exercising one’s right to silence in a criminal investigation, making the silent interviewee seem guilty in the eyes of a jury. (And I believe it was this labour government that brought that change to the right of silence into power).

A definite PR FAIL which I suspect will drive a substantial amount of protest votes at the next election against the gravy-train parliamentarians who seem to exist in all of the political parties.

道德 | ethics | 윤리학

Google Czar Dismisses Serfs

Reading Time: 2 minutes

There is a story in the New York Times: On Day Care, Google Makes a Rare Fumble by Joe Nocera (July 5, 2008) of how Google is getting tired of treating employees as special. This is on the back of speculation that the company has hit an upper ceiling in search revenues and is closing offices in the US.

Part of Google’s good reputation not only as a workplace but as cool people is that it is a cool place to work. Google earned lots of karma points with most people I know when the funky photographs of its Swiss offices were circulated in the media and online earlier this year.

When I worked at Yahoo! Europe: our Soho location, subsidised canteen, submarined share options and pitiful supply of schwag (particularly in Europe) did not make up for the high demands placed on us compared to Google’s perks available at their London Victoria offices.

Google is raising the cost of on-site childcare by up to 75 per cent and according to the New York Times article Google co-founder Sergey Brin said he had no sympathy for the parents, and that he was tired of “Googlers” who felt entitled to perks like “bottled water and M&Ms,” when Google employees brought up the childcare issue in a meeting with management.

Google depends on attracting the best talent in the business and relies on having goodwill amongst the wider public to keep it out of the antitrust meat grinder that have harmed previous tech titans like AT&T, IBM, Intel and Microsoft. By the time they realise that the tide of public perception has turned against them, it will be too late. Not even the best PR agency in the world can turn it back, they can only help soften the blows that will be rained down on the company.

The penny pinching is more surprising because Google’s share structure prevents just the kind of shareholder activism that is tearing Yahoo! apart. There is a dual-share structure that allows managers to focus on the future, to build a successful business and not have to worry about obsessive penny pinching to make the quarters numbers.

From a logical point of view this dismissive attitude to workers positions Google with a number of talent acquisition and retention challenges:

  • The optimum time for a Google employee to leave the business is whilst it is still on the up, that way the Google brand has the maximum positive impact on their career. If you leave a business when it is holed below the waterline you are competing for jobs with your colleagues and some of that negative brand karma attaches to your own brand. Expect to see the smart kids starting to jump ship sooner rather than later
  • If you no longer enjoy going to work and it begins to be just about the mortgage, then you will start to look at other employers who can support bigger mortgage payments, like the Microsoft Search team or Amazon’s web services?
  • Unhappy people tend to deliver lower quality work, don’t feel compelled to stay in the office on long hours to give the company 110 per cent on projects. Those that don’t have to work for the money won’t, they’ll leach off you filling an Aerion chair and a slot in the cube farm, or they will leave and do something completely different
  • Word eventually gets out and you can no longer hire the industry Top Guns and Young Turks that you want, instead you have to get in line and duke it out with everybody else
在线 | online | 온라인으로 道德 | ethics | 윤리학

The cyber-lynching of David Motari

Reading Time: 2 minutes

David Motari is a US Marine who allegedly appeared in a video that was posted on YouTube. The clip showed a US serviceman throw a puppy over a cliff or gulley. I am not going to go into the rights and wrongs of this incident or whether the video is a fake, but was facinated and disturbed by the public reaction online.

There was an online groundswell that condemned his actions. A quick Google search showed how many people then researched and published personal details about Motari, his spouse, his friends and family. They listed two telephone numbers with different area codes for him and provided an address in Monroe, Washington State.

Screen shots were taken of his Bebo profile that had a nice picture making him easy to identify. They researched his customised Honda Civic and listed the Hawaii registration number of his vehicle.

They posted his wife’s social network details and that of his sister, these also included pictures. The online mob had spoken and they wanted punishment meted out to Motari, before the military authorities had a chance to respond and investigate adequately.

My efforts to get on to the two domains ( and used by the US Marines to see how they were handling the online reputational aspect of this event was fruitless as the sites seemed to be overwhelmed with traffic (or taken down to prevent hacktivism).

Thinking about the incident and the response, gave me some questions to mull on:

  • What happens if its not a puppy in the future but, instead say someone is accused of killing a child? For instance, the IHT recently had a report about an investigation of a marine who had been accused of raping a 14 year old girl on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa – charges had since been withdrawn
  • How far will the online lynch mobs go?
  • Are the people publishing details like those of the Motari family inciting a third-party to commit an assault or worse?

I get the sense that we (online users in western society) entered moral territory that we don’t understand the full impact of yet.

We have yet to wrestle with the great individual and collective responsibility that comes with having access to the internet and all its services. At the moment too many people treat the web as a playground and it concerns me that stupid and senseless acts may happen before this lesson is widely learned.

Some links to provide a bit of background on this story:

  • A sample blog posting in praise of the cyber mob – “But let this be a lesson – if you piss off nerds on the Internet, they not only won’t care if the infractions were legitimate or not, but they’ll make your life a bitch and half. Vigilante justice for the win!” This is just one of many reactions.
  • The link on Digg with over 3,500 comments at the time of writing
  • The 300 news stories that Google News found on the incident
传播媒体 | media | 미디어 道德 | ethics | 윤리학

Media ethics 2.0

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Blogging has some challenges as a media. At the moment the media blogosphere consists of a number of ‘cottage industry’ micro-publishers and a number of progressive traditional media companies.For many of the larger companies blogs offer a cheap CMS (content management system) especially when you consider that in order to have got on board web 1.0 they may have spent tens of millions of dollars for the software infrastructure of their main site.

It is often taking them a while to work out how to make the most effective use of blogs and how to monetise them.

Their conventional approach and the larger infrastructure of dedicated sales and editorial teams means that they are largely the same as their previous incarnation.

This includes to varying degrees an amount of checks and balances such as the separation of editorial and sales. The fact that these work most of the time makes slip ups noticable and newsworthy.

In fact Michael Heseltine writing in this months Management Today (which celebrates the magazines 40th birthday) pointed out that the only time the management team at Haymarket Publishing had allowed commercial interests to sway editorial judgement had been when they created a mock-up of the first Management Today and featured the chairman of the British Institute of Management.

Ok, but in reality this separation isn’t practical for most micro-publishers. Rather than trying to pretend that the separation is there why not provide the consumers with complete transparency so they can see who pays for what. Its not just how much they pay, but what proportion of the micro-publishers income they represent.

Let’s face it if you get the majority of your home loan payment and the groceries put on your table by a sponsor, you are not likely to frag them. Readers can understand that, they are media literate and can make allowances.

Its time for a new set of media ethics, will any of the digerati have the guts to embrace it?

市场营销 | marketing | 마케팅 道德 | ethics | 윤리학

PR: getting to gripes

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The US Council of PR is about to talk about the thorny issue of client conflict according to Tim Dyson soon, and Edelman a PR company that has a number of conflicted clients under its roof had decided not to renew its membership. Connection?Some six years ago when I worked at Edelman we used to say that two was a conflict but three was a specialism. This was particularly true with regards to the roster of management consultancies that the technology team had on its books: Arthur D Little, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and DiamondCluster International. I worked on both Cap Gemini and DiamondCluster at the same time.

It is interesting that Tim Dyson of NextFiveteen mentions Edelman’s expertise in conflicts yet fails to mention his own agency Bite, who in London have Samsung, Toshiba and Apple all in the same building.

Indeed I write this not to be critical of Edelman’s approach. Instead I just wish there were some clear standards on what was deemed an acceptable way of managing conflicting clients.

Is the expertise of Bite’s London office not making it around the network despite Clive Armitage and Judy Wilks moving Stateside over the years? And could this targeting of Edelman have anything to do with Richard spurring some cheque book driven growth with the purchase of A+R Partners? ;-)

As an industry, PR spends a lot of time talking about the value of brand to our clients, but what about our own agency’s brand? I had an interesting experience on Thursday evening at the T3 birthday party; ran into a PR person who was reluctant to admit where they worked.

Not the usual banter about being reluctant to admit that they were a paid shill in the company of journalists. Not that they tried to hide the fact that they were an in-house PR person so that I didn’t try and beat them into signing a three-year rolling agency-of-record contract with my employer. They were concerned by the reaction of their peers (ok me and my team mate Alex) if they revealed the agency where they worked.

That’s pretty poor, how can we as an industry expect to be the brand guardians of our clients when we are reluctant to admit where we work?


I am going to close out further comments on this post now as both sides have made their point and there is no point in having a flame war by proxy. Understandably if you feel that I curtailing the conversation email me at the address listed in the header and I promise to post the best views for and against editiorial censorship on blogs.