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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

who controls your image or brand ?

Okay, for anyone that doesn't like fairy tales - we have web 1.0 - which was like the beginning - I will add a link HERE to go into more depth on my history of internet marketing for those that are interested.

Permission wasn't generally asked in 1.0 marketing in the early days (spam and spyware didn't exist as we know it today at the big bang of hotmail - spam came later in the evolution) then at 1.5 a change happened 'permission based marketing' came in it came in after lots of complaints from customers about unwanted e-mail - permission based of marketing still happens today (it's when you agree to accept a newsletter or agree to let a social network use your photos) - then came along web 2.0 which is largely seen as the culture of sharing and trust - Ning, Facebook and Twitter are all example of permission based networks - where the network owners can use your photo for positive reasons.

When photo sharing goes bad (yes not all companies are nice I'm afraid)

An example I can give is in the dating scene - there is a negative practice (well known in marketing circles) of companies taking a persons image from one database and using it without permission on a number of other databases - they tell you it is for your benefit as they have millions of potential people that they can match you up with - Woow! you think - I'm gonna be everywhere.

What they are failing to tell you is that these databases aren't all the type you would like to be associated with (there is another agenda - they own some seedier databases that earn them a lot more money and they know people flock together - so for example if they fill it with pretty girls it attracts male customers)

From a consumer perspective - would you be happy for a widow to find a new love on-line and meet new people ? - I'm sure most people would say that's nice, the power of the Internet used for good things etc. - then how would you feel if you then found out that ladies photograph was going to be used in a way she had no idea of - plastered all over "adult" websites that cater to all kind of twisted fantasies by people of all age groups ?

If you are a person with ethics and follow any code of conduct - you might realize that this is a breach of permission based marketing - you'd not sign up your mother or sister for such a service would you ?. Hard sale marketers might say - they put their image on-line in the knowledge that it might be used (and abused) - hard luck, get over it - view it as a learning experience - move on already.

My argument would be that while celebrities, politician's and successful people are rightly or wrongly still classed as fair game - if you are going to use someone else's face for your own sales campaign and / or in a negative manner - you tell the person in advance that you plan to say something nasty about them, so they don't look like a rabbit that has just hit an electric fence - when they read about it over breakfast!

This is especially important in the 'trusting' medium that web 2.0 is - you are encouraged to share on trust which slightly bend around the 1.0 permission based marketing this doesn't mean you can use it for negative purposes - you are being allowed to handle a persons image in trust that they won't do anything nasty/un cool to it - not nail it to a dart board for people to take shots at it.- The darts might all hit the bulleye and logically make sense - but they don't save the perception (and possible reaction) of the giver if they are not warned that a person is running an ad campaign using their mug!

click on image to enlarge it:

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