30 September, 2008
The Department for Children, Schools and Families has launched the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCISS) today, a new initiative designed to help keep children safe online.
Involving more than 100 organisations from industry and charities in the public and private sector, and reporting directly to the Prime Minister, the Council aims to improve regulation and education around internet use.
Much of its focus will be determined from the recommendations detailed in Dr Tanya Byron's report "Safer Children in a Digital World", published earlier this year.
The watchdog will specifically target online pornography, websites that encourage self-harm, violent games, online bullying and safer search features. The group also hopes to establish voluntary codes of practice for sites featuring user-generated content, encouraging better policing of inappropriate content.
The Council will also be an arena for parents and young people to have a voice in the development of the Child Internet Safety Strategy, to be delivered early next year along with a public information and child internet safety campaign and guidelines for responsible advertising to children.
Today's launch comes after heavy criticism of the monitoring system for the Google-owned YouTube, which regular hosts videos glorifying gang violence, albeit unwittingly.
29 September, 2008
Oxfam has debuted a new format for an 'interactive' outdoor ad campaign.
The activity is designed to harness the British public's creativity to support the charity's mission to tackle poverty and injustice.
People are being encouraged to upload their own advertising slogans to the campaign website. The best of these will be shown on eight 3m-tall digital billboards in prime locations around London within 24 hours.
'We want people to tell us how they think the world needs to change, and these ads offer a blank canvas for them to express that as creatively, and publicly, as possible,' says Nick Futcher, brand manager, Oxfam.
The work is part of Oxfam's 'Be Humankind' campaign, devised by RKCR/Y&R.
24 September, 2008
There are many ways to raise income from supporters online, but very few charities have tried to do more than provide 'donate' buttons on their home pages.
The simplest option is to offer supporters the option to set up card donations or direct debits. If you produce a 'donate page', always include contact addresses and phone numbers for those donors who don't want to use their cards online.
The next most common option is shopping. Charities might offer goods in seasonal catalogues or sell second-hand items online. Some charities offer affiliate shopping - raising money from products sold by external companies.
Many of the big commercial internet retailers offer affiliate schemes, but these seem to have limited viability. For example, some schemes offer a percentage on sales from new customers.
But there are few new customers around for the big retailers such as Amazon. A better bet is internet charity specialists, who give a percentage for every sale driven from your site.
One of the most successful new ways of generating income online is from auction websites such as eBay. Income can be raised by asking eBay sellers to donate a percentage of their sales to charity. Sellers even get a charity symbol to display on their eBay profiles to show their support.
Alternatively, charities can become eBay sellers themselves. This is particularly easy for charities that have second-hand shops, but those that run car boot sales have also got in on the act. Even if you don't have a regular influx of donated goods, you can ask people to donate goods and services for you to sell online.
Whatever you offer, make sure the payment method works - including the automated thank you - and is easy to use for seller and buyer.
19 September, 2008
Google has launched a version of its maps service for mobile devices, now incorporating the street-level imagery of Street View.
Revealing the development on its mobile blog, Google said that the mobile service will allow people to access Google Maps and view photos of shop fronts or restaurants from mobile devices.New features added along with Street View are business reviews and a walking directions service, which Google recently launched on PCs.
Mapping is the latest big thing in mobile, with more users buying better-equipped mobile devices, many of which include GPS. Google's new service is available for BlackBerry and other Java-enabled phones and can be downloaded at www.google.com/gmm
Street View has been a controversial product for Google, because of concerns over the invasion of privacy caused by the fleet of cars sent out to photograph every metre of major metropolises.
18 September, 2008
Sara Kimberley, Precision Marketing
Orange is embarking on a £2.6m integrated campaign to promote its RockCorps charity initiative.
The drive will include TV, print and online activity and is designed to celebrate the initiative that aims to inspire young people to volunteer in charity projects, which is part of Orange’s ‘Together we can do more’ campaign.
The work, created by Fallon, features a ‘dust ball’ that dramatises the work of five young volunteers, transforming the local landscape as it passes to showcase the community work that the group has completed. Along their journey the volunteers fix swings, mend benches and paint murals.
Orange UK director of brand marketing Justin Billingsley says: “Our brand vision is that ‘Together we can do more’ and Orange RockCorps is powerful proof of this vision. This campaign celebrates the contribution that these young volunteers have made in their local communities.
We are committed to being a brand that ‘does’ more than just ‘talks’. Orange RockCorps is evidence of our commitment to the power of relationships to make things better.”
16 September, 2008
A website encouraging donors to give their money to UK charities' international projects was launched yesterday.
Globalgiving.co.uk, a charity, helps donors to search for and give directly to more than 500 projects in 70 countries, mostly in the developing world.
Projects must submit regular progress reports, which donors can access to see how their money is being used. Visitors to the site can also buy gift certificates for friends, set up wedding lists or donate on behalf of someone else.
The charity will take 10 per cent of all donations to cover costs and social lender Venturesome has pledged £200,000 to kick-start the site.
Many small and medium sized UK charities as well as larger organisations, such as VSO, have projects listed on the site.
"It's a great way for charities to attract new donors who may never have heard of their work and to give existing donors a new way of giving," said Sharath Jeevan, chief executive of Globalgiving.co.uk.
"We are helping donors feel they have more choice and control in their giving and helping charities take advantage of that."
15 September, 2008
The World Wide Web must be controlled to prevent malicious rumours and conspiracy theories being passed off as facts, according to its creator.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee said he was increasingly concerned at how easily the "thinking of cults" spread across the world and become accepted as truthful by mainstream internet users.
Harmful online campaigns had led people to believe that the Large Hadron Collider could cause the end of the world and that the MMR vaccine could give children autism, he said.
Speaking as he prepared to launch a foundation aiming to uphold the Web's founding principles, Sir Tim, who built the world's first website in 1991, said a system rating sites' trustworthiness was urgently needed.
"On the Web the thinking of cults can spread very rapidly and suddenly a cult which was 12 people who had some deep personal issues suddenly find a formula which is very believable," he said.
This had resulted in "a conspiracy theory of sorts, which you can imagine spreading to thousands of people and being deeply damaging," he said.
Sir Tim said his World Wide Web Foundation, which is scheduled to start work next year, will offer kite mark-style branding to websites it deems to be reliable sources of information.
However, he insisted it will not act as a threat to freedom of speech, adding that it will "advance a Web which is open and free."
Sir Tim said the Foundation will also examine fears that powerful corporations and commercial interests could pose a threat to the Web's integrity. "One of the things I always remain concerned about is that that as a medium [the Web] remains neutral," he said.
"It's not just where I go to decide where to buy my shoes, which is the commercial incentive - it's where I go to decide who I'm going to trust to vote," he said.
"It's where I go maybe to decide what sort of religion I'm going to belong to or not belong to; it's where I go to decide what is actual scientific truth - what I'm actually going to go along with and what is bunkum".
Alongside its efforts to separate fact from fiction, the Foundation will also seek to help people in the developing world gain access to the Web.
Sir Tim said it was unacceptable that only 20 per cent of the world's population were online, and that the Foundation would seek to combat the idea that the Web had been "designed by the West for the West for the executive and the teenager in the modern city with a smart phone in their pocket."
12 September, 2008
A million person-strong petition against the new Facebook profile design has failed after the social network began migrating users to its new look.
The petition against the new Facebook has now reached over 1m members with users complaining it's 'confusing' and 'ugly'. A 19-year-old US student started the petition, which is being hosted on the social network.
Up until now users have been able to chose to use whether to stick with the old design or update to the new, but Facebook is now disabling the old version.
Facebook's Mark Slee, the lead product manager for the new site design, said in his blog, "The new design is different, and we understand that some people will be uncomfortable with the changes. But over time, we think people will appreciate the advantages of the new design and the new features it offers."
10 September, 2008
Whatever forms of marketing you use to drive people to your site, it is crucial to think about what they find when they get there. Too many charities simply recreate their offline direct marketing on web pages. This is not going to make the most of your appeal. Online marketing needs to be different - the copy should be shorter and the donate button at the top, not at the end, for example.
The first thing to realise is that you may need more than one web page for your appeal. With offline direct marketing or email, the audience will have seen the main copy before they click through to make donations. Do they want to see the whole thing again? Think about having a short reinforcing message or an explanation of what their donation will do. Most of all, make sure the page they land on explains the methods of donating. They have read the appeal and decided to donate - make it obvious and make it easy.
At the same time, you may have other advertising, on or offline, such as newspapers, posters and banners, which don't have the 'story' because of a lack of space. With these, you should have your ask on the page they arrive on. These visitors have not read the full campaign because they have come from short strapline asks, so they need to see an appeal page. It should still be a short web version of the appeal copy, but this is your chance to convince them. Once they click through, they can then go to the page you created for those in your audience who have read the campaign.
If you have other forms of marketing available - face-to-face, leaflets or TV - you might want more landing pages to suit the message to the one the audience has received. It is crucial to think about what they have already read, heard or seen and to tailor the landing pages to follow up, but not repeat, that message.
09 September, 2008
Arjo Ghosh, chief executive of iCrossing UK, takes a first look at Chrome, Google's new open source web browser. Can it really threaten Microsoft's Internet Explorer franchise?
Chrome is a hugely significant move by Google as it extends further into our daily lives byproviding the platform where we now begin and end our computing journey - the web.
It is also the latest front in the battle of the desktop PC, for so long dominated by Microsoft. By creating a browser Google increases its influence on our use of web software, search, advertising and ultimately all digital media consumption.
It's too early to take a definitive view on whether Chrome is the "Internet Explorer (IE) killer" and while my colleague and chief technology officer Paul Doleman has been involved in pre-public Chrome betas for some months, the public version is only just available and so I'm focussing here on privacy issues and the browser's open source credentials.
On the latter point, I have to say that Chrome is a superb internet citizen. For example, it picked up the fact that I had IE 8 and then seamlessly integrated all the functionality that I liked, including Facebook assets, all my history and elements that make the browsing experience personal and productive.
User experience is very positive. I like the very clean interface which you can personalise and the visibility and accessibility of recent activity. Organisation and display of this search information is quite intuitive and Chrome "learns" from your recent behaviour.
From a web development perspective, I like Chrome's ability to pick any web page element, right click and inspect the elements source code quickly and easily. This highlights in a nice and structured fashion how the page is constructed and so makes web development easier and problem-solving faster.
With the primary issue, privacy, I think Chrome has made significant advances with its Incognito mode. We have barely scraped the surface of the privacy issue up to now and in the next decade I think we face a huge challenge with levels of cyber-crime dwarfing current criminal activity.
Chrome claims to stop websites sharing our information and the spread of malware but is it really anonymising our online behaviour? I looked into the caching levels on my PC, checking the file structures at all levels to see if caching was visible and the good news is that I could find no caching and no IP addressing. As far as I could measure, there also seems to be no traffic going to Google either.
While the public beta is considerably faster than the ones my colleagues have been testing privately, it's still slow. Right now, after five tabs are opened, the browser starts to grind. I'm sure Google will sort out the threading issues pretty promptly but I'm surprised they are there at the start.
How does it compare to Firefox 3.0 or IE 8.0? Take one key example - IE8 beta 2 has context sensitive, right-click accelerators. I can highlight the key name and address on the page and I can email it, map it, search Wikipedia, translate and more. IE8 and Firefox with Ubiquity does this now.
Google Chrome has to catch up and fast!
07 September, 2008
Yahoo! has shelved Mash, its fledgling social network service touted as a potential rival to Facebook.
The web giant will close Mash on 29 September 2008, at which point users will no longer be able to access information they have stored on the service.
Yahoo! Mash went live in September 2007, enabling users to edit each other's profile pages. Yahoo! promoted the beta version of Mash as a ‘new approach to profiles that brings people together and keeps things interesting'.
The project did not, however, evolve from an invite-only phase and Yahoo! has decided to end the venture before it officially has launched.
Last year Yahoo! announced that it would shut down another of its social media services, Yahoo! 360, and merge it into ‘a more integrated profile experience'.
05 September, 2008
Nearly 80 per cent of consumers will be shopping for Christmas presents online this year, due to the economic downturn, according to new research.
Over 60 per cent of shoppers said they are more likely to shop online for Christmas presents this year, with 77 per cent of shoppers planning to carry out half or more of their Christmas shopping online, due to the rising crisis in the economy.
A major reason for this trend is consumers’ belief in the competitive prices available online, with 79 per cent of respondents satisfied with the competitive pricing available from e-retailers.
The research comes from Interactive Media in Retail Group’s (IMRG) key industry indicator and benchmark of e-retail customer satisfaction, E-Customer Services (e-CSI) Index, as part of a joint venture with eDigitalResearch and ipoints.co.uk.
The research also shows 89 per cent of shoppers research Christmas shopping options before buying in-store, while 59 per cent stated they plan to research gift options in-store before buying online.
eDigitalResearch director Chris Russell says: “While customer satisfaction is currently high, e-retailers shouldn’t become complacent. With the demand for Internet shopping set to reach a record high this Christmas, e-retailers need to ensure that they have the appropriate resources available to respond promptly to customer requests. Customers often email product or delivery queries before they decide to purchase online and it is important that these queries are answered within 24 hours in order to ensure satisfaction and boost loyalty.”
01 September, 2008
Amnesty International UK has launched a community website for its Protect the Human campaign as part of a strategy to develop its online communications.
ProtecttheHuman.com has been set up to promote information about human rights and encourage people to take action. Users can view Amnesty's current campaigns and get more involved in its work.
In the coming weeks, users will be able to embed YouTube videos in the site and create discussion groups for specific areas of interest.
"Amnesty is already a community of hundreds of thousands of people who feel passionately about issues such as freedom and justice," said Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK.
"ProtecttheHuman.com is all about giving that community an online home – somewhere people can share views, have an argument or tell others about a film or story they've found."
Charlotte Hillenbrand, account director at design agency Made by Many, which worked on the site, said: "We want to show that social media can bring a lightness of touch to raising awareness of an important subject such as human rights. ProtecttheHuman.com opens up a channel of communication between Amnesty and its supporters like never before."
The website is the beginning of a campaign by the organisation to develop its online communications. Next year Amnesty will develop tools such as widgets, blogs, galleries and events calendars. Web and new media manager Sara Ashton said: "Our digital engagement strategy is a big investment area for us."