New Guns N Roses = Free Dr Pepper? But wait, there’s less…

Want that free Dr. Pepper coupon? Hurry up...

Want that free Dr. Pepper coupon? Hurry up!

Today’s sleazy, shortsighted marketing move is brought to you by Dr Pepper. This company made a grand, fun, high-profile gesture and got considerable positive publicity for it. But then, they made it such a hassle to cash in on their offer that the truly cynical nature of this marketing ploy is laid bare.

In the world before the internet, they might have gotten away with it. But online, people do talk.

Apparently, today — and today only — you can get a coupon for a free Dr Pepper soda. And you can thank Guns N Roses singer Axl Rose for it.

…That is, you can get the coupon IF you jump on it before 6 pm ET today, and if you jump through a bunch of hoops. And if the site doesn’t crap out on you. Then you wait 4-6 weeks for your coupon to arrive in the mail. Once you get it, you’d better use it fast!

Here’s the backstory, and why this could become a perfect example of anti-marketing in the online age…

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links for 2008-11-24

  • "The United States has squandered more than $10 billion on Pakistan since 9/11, and Pakistani intelligence agencies seem to have rerouted some of that to Taliban extremists. American forces periodically strike militants in the tribal areas, but people from those areas overwhelmingly tell me that these strikes just antagonize tribal leaders and make them more supportive of the Taliban.

    "…President Asif Ali Zardari seems overwhelmed by the challenges and locked in the past. Incredibly, he has just chosen for his new cabinet two men who would fit fine in a Taliban government.

    "One new cabinet member, Israr Ullah Zehri, defended the torture-murder of five women and girls who were buried alive (three girls wanted to choose their own husbands, and two women tried to protect them). “These are centuries-old traditions, and I will continue to defend them,” Mr. Zehri said of the practice of burying independent-minded girls alive."

  • I'm doomed….
  • "Is it possible for someone to create a malicious filter without having access to your Gmail username and password? No, however, they can force you to create the filter without your knowledge.

    "The blogosphere is buzzing about a Gmail Security Flaw that has caused some people to lose their domain names registered through GoDaddy.

    "What you should do if you have a Gmail Account? Check your filters and make sure that nothing seems out of the ordinary. If you’re using Firefox, you can download an extension called NoScript which helps to prevent you from becoming a victim of one of these attacks. Overall, though, be cautious.

  • "As many of you already know on November 2nd,’s domain was stolen from us. It took us about 36 hours to get the domain back. As we have pointed out earlier the hacker somehow managed to get access to my Gmail account and from there to our GoDaddy account, unlock the domain and move it to another registrar.
  • Important Firefox security plugin. Among other things, it can protect you from havig hackers insert unwanted forwarding filters into your Gmail account.

    "Operating NoScript is really simple. When you install NoScript, JavaScript, Java, Flash Silverlight and possibly other executable contents are blocked by default. You will be able to allow JavaScript/Java/… execution (scripts from now on) selectively, on the sites you trust. Notice that you shouldn't disable JavaScript and Java using Firefox settings, i.e. Tools|Options|Content|Enable JavaScript and Enable Java options have to be checked (JavaScript and Java enabled), otherwise JavaScript remains disabled everywhere even when allowed by NoScript"

  • "The incident raises a thought-provoking question regarding free hosting of live broadcasts — what could sites like possibly do to prevent live-streamed snuff films?"
  • personal document management service I might want to check out… Has anyone used this? I hate paper.
  • "Taking your old intranet content and migrating it into a new software system is doomed to failure. If your website isn't working then ask this question: why isn't the website working? Nine-times-out-of-ten it will be the content.

    "Content migration-and its first cousin, website "redesign"-are all about pouring sour old milk into new portal jugs. At some stage, we have to address the core web management challenges. Why do we have such bad content?

    1. We allow the organization to publish puff, fluff and vanity, instead of focusing on the needs of our customers/staff.
    2. We don't hire web content professionals. Instead we find the most junior person in the department and give them the job of managing the website.
    3. We don't see the Web as a unique medium-we just take print content and print thinking and shovel it onto the Web.
    4. We don't review and quality control. We have practically no processes to take old content off our website."

Can you commit journalism via Twitter?

Today on Twitter Tips, Jason Preston asks:

“Journalism requires that stories been constructed, facts be tied together, narratives presented, and context created. In short, journalism is the big picture.

“No one would argue that you can get the pig picture in 140 characters. But what about aggregate tweets? One person over a long time, or many people over a large subject?

“Is Twitter a viable, standalone medium for journalism?”

I think this quesion misses the mark regarding the nature of journalism. It confuses the package with the process. That’s understandable, because in the history of mainstream news, journalists and news organizations have often taken a “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” approach to revealing their own processes. When all the public sees is the product, it’s easy to assume that’s all there is to journalism.

Here’s the comment I left on his post:

Hmmmm…. I do journalism, and I know a lot of journalists, and I’ve seen what Twitter can do. It seems to me that any medium — from Twitter to broadcast news to smoke signals — has potential journalistic uses.

Journalism is a process, not just a product. For many professional journalists and other people who commit acts of journalism, Twitter is already an important part of their journalistic process (i.e., connecting with communities and sources, and gathering information). And it can also be part of the product (i.e., live coverage of events or breaking news, or updates to ongoing stories or issues)

So yes, Twitter CAN be a real news platform. As well as lots of other things. Just like a newspaper can be the Washington Post, the National Enquirer, or a free shopper’s guide. It all depends on what you choose to make of it.

And also: These days, almost no news medium is “standalone.” Every news org has a web presence, and many have a presence in social media, and also in embeddable media.

…That’s my take. What’s yours? Please comment below — or send a Twitter reply to @agahran

links for 2008-11-22

  • Tweetake allows users to backup their twitter profile including your followers, people whom you are following, friends and your tweets.
  • "Personalize any video with text bubbles, hyperlinks, product placement, real time in-video chat, video karaoke and more."
  • The socialist party takes a stand on polyamory — and it's a pretty clear, sound one. Cool! Although I would have preferred if they said "intimate" rather than "sexual."

    "Socialists should neither advocate monogamy nor polyamory–that is, having more than one sexual relationship at a time. These are personal decisions for individuals and couples to decide for themselves. There is nothing implicitly radical about polyamory or reactionary about monogamy, but their forced imposition from outsiders is reactionary and moralistic. Leftists ought to stand for the freedom to choose any consensual sexual arrangement, including marriage."

links for 2008-11-21

  • "Beginning in January 2009, Bulletin subscribers will receive the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists magazine in its new digital format only. To save on the steeply rising costs of paper and postage, the Bulletin will no longer produce a print edition of its magazine.

    "Through individual Bulletin accounts, subscribers will be able to book mark articles, set up news alerts, browse by subject and author, and more. Starting in 2009, subscribers will also have full, searchable access to the past 10 years of Bulletin articles and source documents."

  • "Gays and lesbians — especially gay men — have practically perfected the art of the short-term romance. Even in longer-term relationships, we have a history of leaving them with grace and determination, rather than dragging out unhappy situations for years and years. Again, I think that's a good thing.

    "Staying in a relationship is not anyone's duty. Saying so apparently invites pathologization. It hardly needs saying that holding this position is not a medical or psychological problem. It's simply an observation based on my belief that — in the absence of a compelling collective goal — people shouldn't make themselves unhappy if they can avoid it. I see a lot of people in sad, late-stage relationship disintegration, who think they're doing something noble by staying. It's not noble."

  • Gmail just rolled out themes today. Here's their help page on that
  • Social Semantic Web: Where Web 2.0 Meets Web 3.0, at Stanford in March, is part of this series. "Symposia will be limited to between forty and sixty participants. Each participant will be expected to attend a single symposium. Working notes or AAAI technical reports will be prepared and distributed to participants in each symposium. In addition to invited participants, a limited number of interested parties will be able to register in each symposium on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration information will be available in December.
  • By Tim Berners-Lee, 2001. A bit old, but still a good and fairly non-geeky explanation of what kind of difference a semantic web can make.
  • Semantic web conference I'd like to attend. March 23-25, 2009
  • Upcoming conferences on the semantic web worldwide.
  • "But the loss of professional news-gatherers, prompted by technological upheaval and a poor economy, painfully harms Michigan's welfare. The consequences are overlooked because newspapers are lousy at reporting on themselves.

    "Consider: It isn't bloggers who put Detroit's mayor behind bars this year. Newspaper reporters did that.

  • 1. Make sure your tags are relevant to your content. Seems obvious but this takes some thought to get into the minds of users similar to keyword discovery.
    2. The more tags the merrier. I see no penalty for using all your available tag space.
    3. Spread your tags out among your clips. Adding more tags can help snag some tail.
    4. Use adjectives. Remember lots of folks are browsing and they’ll use adjectives to find what they are in the mood to view.
    5. Have some category descriptor tags. It’s important to remember YouTube’s default search settings are Videos, Relevance and All Categories.
    6. Match your title and description with your most important tags. Basic SE

How to start a Twitter hashtag

More and more people are covering live events and breaking news via Twitter — and usually there are several Twitter users covering the same event. Hashtags are a handy tool for pulling together such disparate coverage.

A hashtag is just a short character string preceded by a hash sign (#). This effectively tags your tweets — allowing people to easily find and aggregate tweets related to the event being covered.

If you’re live-tweeting, you’ll want to know and use an appropriate hashtag. Earlier I explained why it’s important to propose and promote an event hashtag well before the event starts. But where do event hashtags come from?…

Doyle Albee, maven of the miniskirt theory of writing, asked me:

“I’ve used hashtags a bunch, but never started one. If, by some chance, there are two events (or whatever) using the same hashtag, does everyone searching just see both until one changes, or is there some sort of registration or vetting process?”

Here’s my take on this…

Continue reading

links for 2008-11-20

  • "Welcome to the Semantic Web Conference Corpus – a.k.a. the Semantic Web Dog Food Corpus! Here you can browse and search information on papers that were presented, people who attended, and other things that have to do with the main conferences and workshops in the area of Semantic Web research."
  • "This morning I posted a few words to my Twitter account about PC Magazine’s decision to cease print publication…

    [The environmentalist in me isn't sad to see stuff like this (PC Mag print edition dying)]

    "My Twitter posts also get fed automatically to my Facebook account, where Tom Regan, a smart and talented journalist and media thinker I know, posted what I thought was a profound comment:

    >“I have a feeling that with the (Christian Science) Monitor and now PC Mag going in the online direction, it’s just the start of a tsunami over the next two years. The current economic situation, more than any other factor, will accomplish what a decade worth of net evangelism has failed to do.”<

  • "The Times apologizes for under-reporting the effects and dangers of media consolidation, perhaps due to our own efforts at media consolidation: The Times owns almost two dozen regional newspapers, a number of television and radio stations, and partial shares in the Red Sox and the Discovery Channel. We now recognize this conflict of interest. No newspaper should concern itself with maximizing profits, and the paper of record should be held to an even higher standard than the rest of the publishing industry. Over the next two months, The Times will voluntarily trust-bust itself, thus contributing to the independence of American journalism."
  • "One of the new jurno jobs in Webworld is community manager. It’s rapidly becoming a must-hire at news organizations, and it can be an opportunity for journalists to do journalism at non-news organizations. (”Community manager” seems to be the term that’s sticking. It’s also been called “social networking coordinator”.)

    "What does a community manager do? That job’s still evolving, so it’s defined by the organization and/or the journalist…."

  • A new dream-sharing community launched yesterday called Pillow Patter

links for 2008-11-19