Archive for the ‘business’ Category

Data Protection Commissioner Office – We’re FOI excempt, so screw you

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Or words to that effect. My god what an ignorant bunch of people in that office.

As you may be aware the Data Protection Commissioner’s Office investigated Bank of Ireland’s losing of four laptops. BOI won’t publish the report. I tried to do an FOI to get details of this report but was told rather smugly by their media person “You can’t find details of our FOI Officer because we don’t have one. We don’t come under FOI.” It was suggested I send in a request anyway and they’d consider it. So I did and it’s below. Their answer came back two hours later, which is also below. They really considered it for a while didn’t they?

Thanks for the call. What I was looking for and which I wrongly assumed I could get under FOI was the report sent to Bank of Ireland about their laptop thefts. RTE last week reported that the Data Protection Commissioner’s Office delivered a report to Bank of Ireland which included recommendations to prevent future data loss. Bank of Ireland said they would not release that report. I was looking for said report but obviously with the commercially sensitive information removed. I doubt that all the report is giving away BOI’s IP.

I also wanted to get details of the costs involved in putting that report together. Numbers of staff and manhours involved.

And the reply:

As you are aware, no regulations are currently in force specifying this office as a body to which the Freedom of Information Acts apply. As a matter of good practice and with due regard to the privacy of the parties involved, we endeavour to keep both data subjects and data controllers informed of the progress of investigations. This does not apply to your request. Having reviewed your request, I won’t release any of this information to you.

I made it very clear that I wanted non commercially sensitive information. Suddenly everything is commercially sensitive?

Why is the Data Protection Commissioner using taxmoney to write reports for non-Government organisations and then refusing to disclose a single sentence in the report? Were they under FOI they’d have to disclose everything in it that is not commercially sensitive and even then it can be argued with appeals.

What’s worse is the DPC refuses to disclose the work and costs involved in creating this report. I think the public have a right to know at least this. How is this information breaching privacy? It’d be nice to see how much money was spent on behalf of Bank of Ireland’s screwup. Bank of Ireland’s profit before tax was €1.93 billion for the year ended 31 March 2008, by the way.

I’m meeting some EU folks in a few weeks where they’ll be asking about ComReg and the DPC. Once again I’ll be happy to point out what a useless shower they both are.

Good luck to the the 3G Dating Agency on Dragon’s Den

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Romi Parmar from the 3G Dating Agency was on to me about the Dragon’s Den tonight. Wish him luck. Tonight, BBC 2 at 9pm.

Romi say he’ll over in Ireland next week with some operator meetings and speaking at a Telecom Investor event taking place at the Burlington from about 6pm Tuesday and trying to make it down to Cork for another event on Thursday evening.

Here be a dragon kite:
Photo owned by exfordy (cc)

M50 Enterprise Programme – Applications sought

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Via Niall:

The M50 Enterprise Programme at Synergy Centre, ITT Dublin, Tallaght, is a one year full-time programme designed to help entrepreneurs with a high technology or knowledge-based business concept to get their company off the ground and growing as quickly as possible. The next programme will commence the first week of November 2008. For more information on the programme visit the programme website – – or call Nicola on 01-4042221. Deadline for applications is 26th September 2008.

They’re starting to get it!

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Yesterday we had eircom set up a YouTube channel and show off a vid and now we see that the Sunday World have their own video channel and a vid:

Fun times!

New funky lighting at the new eircom HQ

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

via eircom is a time lapse vid of the LED lighting in their new HQ which opens in September. Wouldn’t it be nice to do a photowalk of that at night? Better still imagine if they ran a competition inviting people to programme the sequencing of the lights? Keep watching as the lighting changes become more swish:

TechLudd comes to Cork (at last) Thursday 28th August

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Anton just confirmed that TechLudd is going to be at the Cork Airport International Hotel on Thu evening August 28th.

People from Cork, Waterford, Kerry and Limerick should consider coming along to this. Companies can also demo their products. Come along, g’wan.

Online Marketing – The Art of being Subtle

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

When you start your car in the morning you know from the sound in the first few seconds whether there’s something wrong with it or not. When you’re driving it you can tell if something is wrong with a tyre by the feel from the car as it moves. These things are probably too subtle for someone that doesn’t drive your car. They’ll know the ways of their own car, not yours.

It’s being able to feel those subtle things that separates the amateur from the experienced person and it’s subtley that’s needed when you’re trying to market to people online, on social networks and everywhere else where the flocks are a a-flocking to these days. It comes as no surprise that the Web 2.0 consultants of last year, who previous to this were probably mobile web consultants and wap consultants are now telling companies how to market to the Facebook generation without getting the feel of them. They’re now rebranding themselves as social media consultants by the way though they’re fecked if they can actually explain it without using buzzwords.

Face your friends with beautifully clear skin
Photo owned by Uh … Bob (cc)

Chris Brogan is a great “brand”, he writes some great stuff but his latest blog post has led me to unsubscribe from him. In it he gives nine ways to promote your blog posts. 9 ways of pissing off people to varying degrees. Oldschool marketing at its very worst. Quantity not quality. Engagement does not mean harassing. It’s online chugging.

Automated Twitter posts when you create a new blog post, FriendFeed silo crapola, LinkedIn status changes advertising a new blog post etc. The one that’s truly insidious is where he says leave “constructive comments” on blog posts that are relevant to your own post and change your website address to be the one of your blog post.

find a recent blog post that has related information. (Now, this is different than what you MIGHT normally do, so pay attention). In the URL part of the sign-up form, put the link to your post, not your blog in general.

A slightly better version of what this joker has been trying. Most blogging platforms don’t have a field for “Blog Post you wish to pimp to readers of this blog” but they do have Website Address, how utterly rude and ignorant to use it to pimp a blog post.

It’s like this. If you have to go and track down blog posts that fit into the same bracket as your latest blog post then you shouldn’t be commenting on those posts should you? If you don’t happen across them or are already subbed to these blogs then you’re just a manual version of the blog spam robots out there. You leave comments on blogs to add to the conversation, not hijack it.

He also suggests “Stumbling” your own posts on Stumbleupon but points out this is rude so go off and stumble a few non-you blog posts and sites and then Stumble your own. Totally against the open philosophy of Stumbleupon and other services. Why not just say “in a conversation about yadda, only whore your business once in every ten sentences”. Sneaky social selling.

This advice is on a par with people that sell links from their blogs or write sham reviews for pay per post or linkbait 15 other bloggers in a post to get adulation or rewrite someone else’s work and tart it up as an ebook which you’ll only receive once you sign up to their newsletter. Big massive, super, extra bonus FAIL.

Cpatain Fail
Photo owned by pinguino (cc)

These gobshites that are all about quantity.

There’s far too many snakeoil salespeople acting as social media consultants that haven’t one iota of how people interact online because they don’t do it themselves. What they do instead is come online, blog themselves up, leave comments going back to blog posts they’re written, tie their blog posts into Twitter and spam people they’ve added there, do the same on Facebook. They don’t interact or engage.

Online marketing does not = Finding New Online Gathering Places + Old Skool Marketing to them
There is no real interaction, there is no hanging around and experiencing the flow of a system. It’s the person that goes “Hi how are you? Great, now let’s talk about hamburgers, do you like hamburgers, well let me show you a new way of cooking them.” You’re a mark to them, you’re a target, you’re a mole that needs to be whacked over the head. They don’t care how you are, the question is just an in to your attention.

Rules and Balance
Then comes a backlash from this bad marketing and businesses think you can’t talk yourself up in these new spaces or self-promote. You can. But there’s a balance or rather an imbalance. People in these spaces act differently. Like every local bar has its own ways and etiquetteso do onlin audiences and like bar to bar it varies from online space to online space. People don’t mind you automating your blog posts in Twitter (well most don’t) once your account is not all about the blog posts and nothing else. You need a mixture. More interactions and less automations but you can have both. Even without automations, letting us know about every blog post you wrote isn’t very nice is it? If your blog is good, we’d be subbed already right?

Recently a company with a blog spammed bloggers via email about something that really was not relevant. The reaction was “but we’re bloggers too” and it wasn’t arrogance it was ignorance. Never was it thought “if we were good bloggers we wouldn’t need to send this by email, we’ve have stuck it on the blog which is well read (since we’re good bloggers) and it would have been picked up and redistributed from there.” While it can be good for discipline, boxes to tick can ruin the fun. Twitter check. Followers check. Arsekissing comments to build rapport and get followers back, check. Spammed followers about eBusiness newsletter, check.

It may seem like more work to start with but if you want to market online in 2008 either spend the time to learn the subtleties or hire crowds that do. Maybe ask those social media folks for links to their Facebook, Twitter, Blog etc and see how they’re using them.

Mulley’s Google Rapid submission tool

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Big massive argy bargy on the e-business mailing list of late with the moderators shutting down discussion in the end. All around the new offering from Omniserve which offers a very cheap way (and I consider it good value for money) for a business to get a website designed and up online quite quickly and designed well for search engine indexing. So far so good.

Well. Apart from the claim that they have a rapid submission tool that will get you indexed by Google within minutes. Now that’s subtle. Well. It’s marketing. Old style. Read the smallprint. It’s not in the live Google index. Nor the results, it means Google will check out your website quickly.

Today Eoin Costello explained how this rapid submission tool works… he links to you from the company blog. Yes, it’s a blog link. Again for those down the back. This Rapid Submission Tool is a link from a blog. Google visits his blog every few minutes, it follows links he creates. Bam, your site is indexed but not in the index.

Isn’t Fluffy links from this blog doing the same thing? Google visits this site every few minutes too. Want to be indexed by Google within minutes? Sign up for the Fluffylinkulator now!

People were well entitled to query what this “tool” was about and whether this “technology” was credible but people on the eBusiness list got the bullshit answer (not from Eoin mind) that you see the Government make “talking Ireland down” when people give out about jobs, the housing market, broadband and everything else. It now appears that questioning means you are talking things down.

QVALDA Motofestival 2008
Photo owned by soosalu (cc)

Check out the Mulley Fluffy Google Rapid Submission Tool, mornings from 5-6am, only on your station, Mulley dot net

A blog/feed reading list for Irish PR/Marketing people

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

I know this is done by some PR folks in the UK, where they pre-populate Netvibes accounts with 20-30 feeds of blogs and sites about PR and Marketing so I wonder what would people recommend in an Irish context?

For Irish PR and Marketing people dipping their toes into reading blogs and feeds using a feedreader, what would be the 20 feeds you’d suggest that they read? Mixing it with local and international, business and fun?

Seth Godin would have to feature.

Locally and more onliney perhaps Piaras Kelly and Cybercom, Richard Hearne too, Paul Dervan and for a fresh and cranky (and so honest) take on the interpipes and all that, there’s Sabrina Dent.

From the UK check out Simon Collister, Drew B and Will McInnes.

He probably blogs too much but Jeremiah Owyang is full of social media/webby goodness.

Irish Business Blogger wise you can have:
Keith Bohanna
Pat Phelan
Murphy’s Ice Cream
Worldwide Cycles

A much longer list of Irish Business Bloggers.

Who would you recommend on a list of 20? Different lists for different industries? Even for businesses big or small I’d make it mandatory to have off-topic fun blogs in there too. Afterall we’re all meant to be a little more social these days and differing perspectives are important.

Tut tut tut

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Around the corner from my house there’s a quaint little village going on with two pubs, a bank, a butchers, a coal merchants and a post office. There’s a busy road cutting through the middle of the village though. At the back of the Post Office is the Lavanagh Centre. A school for kids who are disabled. They do great work in that school/centre. Our little village has been made a little bit accessible for the high proportion of the students that have canes, crutches and electric wheelchairs and so all the steps have slopes to them etc and we have a pedestrian crossing.

And then we have these gobshites park across the pedestrian crossing, the only safe part of the little village of Ballintemple where people can cross to the bank, butcher, pub and bus stop.

Money before accessibility

Many of the patrons of the Lavanagh centre get the bus into the City Centre and the only safe way to do that is via the pedestrian crossing these morons blocked. You can’t see it in the pic but the van is parked on to the sideroad too so someone has to step or drive on to the sideroad, drive around the front of the van and blindly walk or drive on to the main Blackrock Road and then move about six feet and then go straight across to get to the ramp at the other side.

But then these mutts wear uniforms and think they’re rent-a-cops so that’s more important, right?