June 7, 2012 11:16 am

Warning: Online content can seriously damage your reputation

Three days, three different stories, three examples of online content catching out the unwary…

Trial and error

Exhibit A comes, appropriately, from a courtroom. A Norwegian courtroom, to be precise, where a judge at the trial of Anders Breivik – the man (or psychopath) responsible for killing 77 people, many of them teenagers away on camp, last year – was caught on camera playing online solitaire.

Ernst Eielsen is one of three judges hearing the case. During testimony from a Swedish professor, he was seen playing cards on his computer – a picture that has, predictably, become Internet fodder.

‘The judges are attentively following what is being said and what is being presented to the court,’ said an Oslo court spokeswoman. ‘There are different ways of staying focused.’

Which is true, but given the high-profile nature of the trial and the global interest in it, Mr Eielsen is doubtless wishing he’d chosen some other way of staying focused.

Nooking the books

It seems it’s not only ebook publishers seeking to gain an unfair advantage from the trend away from traditional, printed books. Now, the manufacturers of ebook readers appear to be getting in on the act…

The Nook is the e-reader made by Barnes and Noble and is in direct competition with Amazon’s better-known Kindle. And so fierce is that rivalry that even the mention of the word ‘kindle’ is strictly verboten in Barnes and Noble-land.

‘So what?’ you say. Well, it seems that this sort of anti-kindle sentiment even extends to changing classic works of literature – as blogger Philip Howard discovered when reading War and Peace on a Nook:

‘As I was reading, I came across this sentence: “It was as if a light had been Nookd in a carved and painted lantern…” Thinking this was simply a glitch in the software, I ignored the intrusive word and continued reading. Some pages later I encountered the rogue word again. With my third encounter I decided to retrieve my hard cover book and find the original (well, the translated) text.

‘For the sentence above I discovered this genuine translation: “It was as if a light had been kindled in a carved and painted lantern…”

‘Someone at Barnes and Noble (a twenty year old employee? or maybe the CEO?) had substituted every incidence of “kindled” with “Nookd!”

‘I was shocked. Almost immediately I found it hilarious… then outrageous… then both. It is definitely clever…’

Sure enough, all eight instances of ‘kindle’ in Tolstoy’s masterpiece had been changed to Nook in the Barnes and Noble electronic version. A software cut-and-replace mistake or clever content marketing? You decide, but we bet ol’ Leo himself wouldn’t be amused.

Going soft

We all do things we wish we hadn’t, but most of us don’t have our mistakes plastered all over YouTube and turned into viral content that will haunt us forever.

For one American woman, though, that’s not the case. At a charity softball game in Wisconsin, famed American Football player Donald Driver of the Green Bay Packers threw some of his sports gear to cheering fans.

One of Driver’s target recipients was clearly a young boy later identified as Stephen Wagner. Only… a nearby grown woman barged across, grabbed a shoe and ripped it out of young Stephen’s grasp.

Happily, Driver later saw the footage – hard to miss as it was plastered all over both mainstream and online media – and, after taking to Twitter to identify Stephen, met up with the lad to give him replacement shoes, plus a jersey and a baseball bat.

‘Glad I could put a smile on his face,’ Driver said, adding: ‘Let’s remember the woman who grabbed the cleat from Stephen is human. We all make mistakes.’

Whether the woman in question has learned from her mistake, though, is questionable. She supposedly wrote on her Facebook wall: ‘Donald is missing a shoe!!! thx Donald!!!!!’

We say ‘supposedly’ because that page has now been taken down. Funny that.


The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.



  • News & Views Don’t Forget to Pat the Dog

    Don’t Forget to Pat the Dog

    A few days ago I posted an article called The Stupidity of Silence where I suggested that ceasing all contact when someone doesn’t give you what you want is a really dumb strategy. Here’s another one. We’re looking to sell our house at the moment. Part of the process is interviewing real estate agents. Theirs is an incredibly competitive business where all they’re offering is reputation and the perceived ability to persuade people to buy. The first agent who came […]

    Read more →
  • Content Marketing How to Make Your Content Actionable

    How to Make Your Content Actionable

    Content is not a magical formula that will make your target audience find your product and then breathlessly buy from you. The power of actionable content comes from your ability to attract the right audience, enabling them to interact with you and then to elevate that relationship to the next level i.e. for them to become a customer. So, how do you make your content actionable? Most importantly, you must give the reader, viewer or listener a sense of how they […]

    Read more →
  • News & Views The Stupidity of Silence

    The Stupidity of Silence

    It always astounds me when people in business don’t follow-up with a simple thank you email or even a note – when was the last time you received a handwritten thank you note? – after we’ve had some type of interaction.

    Read more →
  • Email Marketing Features What you Need to Know About Email Marketing for Mobile

    What you Need to Know About Email Marketing for Mobile

    It’s no secret that smartphones and tablets can no longer be ignored by email marketers—and there aren’t many more marketers out there doing so. It is a massive part of customer communication and revenue, but do you know just how massive? The following statistics come from all corners of the globe, and from many different industries. While they keep changing everyday, some are quite shocking. Here’s a brief description of everything you need to know about the power of email […]

    Read more →
  • Digital Marketing Features How to Reduce Your Media Spend & Achieve Better Results

    How to Reduce Your Media Spend & Achieve Better Results

    Digital marketing has changed the media landscape forever and marketing budgets are being spread across channels – mainly digital – that previously didn’t exist. The problem is that optimisation is not as simple as it was before; if you’re not careful, your spend can get out of hand. By optimising each of your channels, you can reduce your media spend and achieve better results – all the while proving a positive return on investment (ROI) for every dollar you spend. […]

    Read more →
  • Features News & Views Digital Marketing Lessons To Be Learnt From Donald Trump

    Digital Marketing Lessons To Be Learnt From Donald Trump

    Donald Trump teaching you marketing lessons? Seriously? Yes, seriously. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has made the race for the White House fascinating. And fascinating doesn’t happen by chance. Exceptional marketing combined with good old fashioned, in-your-face salesmanship are central to the success of his campaign – so far. So putting aside your opinion on his politics, let’s look at what can be learned from Trump’s ‘Making America Great Again’ campaign. Know Your Audience Contrary to the opinion […]

    Read more →
  • Digital Marketing Features How to avoid digital dead ends

    How to avoid digital dead ends

    Have you ever noticed that so-called ‘express lanes’ on the road or in stores are often slower than the normal lanes? While I know it’s easy to go on auto-pilot when performing mundane chores like driving or shopping, it amazes me that people so often follow the actual signs instead of reading the signs around them. Because we humans are inherently disengaged, conflicted or uncertain as to what we should do in many situations, we’re attracted to people and things […]

    Read more →
  • Social Media When the Social Media Circus Leaves Town

    When the Social Media Circus Leaves Town

    David Bowie died almost two months ago. Soon after, we posted about the tawdry British reality TV show making money from his ex-wife’s reactions. Inevitably, her presence on the show at the time and her response to the news created a social media firestorm. Focus, of course has moved on to the latest deaths, tragedies, political intrigues and sporting victories / defeats. But it’s worth pondering the enduring impact that not being news has on the people who were previously at the centre of […]

    Read more →
  • Entertainment News & Views Chris Rock’s Oscars Lessons for Marketers

    Chris Rock’s Oscars Lessons for Marketers

    Did you see Chris Rock at last night’s Oscars? Man, he nailed it: loose, funny, topical, irreverent, black. Hang on, what was that? Black? You can’t say that! That’s, that’s, well that’s racist! In isolation it’s jarring to refer to someone’s skin colour or any other personal feature when judging work they’ve just completed. Of course, it’s also completely irrelevant. But let’s back up a bit. This year’s Oscars were all about race. After the nominations were announced in January there […]

    Read more →
  • Entertainment News & Views Surreal Reality TV

    Surreal Reality TV

    Few of us over the age of 40 have not been saddened by the death of David Bowie this week. Whether you liked his music or not, he was undoubtedly an original talent who had a profound impact on much of the culture of the 70’s and 80’s. Contrast the outpouring of love and nostalgia we’re now seeing due to Bowie’s passing with what’s happening on UK’s Celebrity Big Brother. By sheer coincidence, Bowie’s ex-wife Angie is currently a ‘resident’ […]

    Read more →