Archive for the ‘The Political Weblog Movement’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at April 30, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Well, maybe it is a bit.. but only to the extent that in some small way I may have contributed to a festive, carefree air on the evening of 16 April

Independent – Pandora: Blogger ‘Guido Fawkes’ is led off to the Tower: (Guido Fawkes)… the famously thirsty troublemaker, real name Paul Staines, was up before the beak at Tower Bridge Magistrates Court last Thursday. He admitted driving while under the influence and without insurance after being stopped by the Plod in the small hours of 17 April, driving his wife’s Volkswagen fast and swerving across lanes in south London. He was breathalysed and found to be almost twice the legal limit. Asked by District Judge Timothy Stone whether he had an alcohol problem, Staines said: “Possibly.” Sentencing is on 15 May. It is his fourth alcohol-related offence and second drink-driving reprimand – he was banned for 12 months in 2002 – requiring the judge to consider a jail sentence.

I’m declaring a zinger competition in a vain effort to jump on board this bandwagon or witch hunt or piffling trifle whatever he plans on calling it before swiftly jumping off again. Then we’ll crack on. Promise.

I’ll start a sequential list here. We can argue and vote later:

Unity: “Do they have internet access in Wormwood Scrubs?”
Justin McKeating: “What’s the libertarian argument for driving whilst uninsured and over the legal limit for alcohol?”
Tim Ireland: “Would it help if I turned up as a character witness?”
Bob Piper: “Not only will the judge be considering a custodial sentence… but Gordon Brown has intervened to freeze his wages.”
Professor Paul: “That explains his visitor figures. He sees everything double all the time!
OneHourAhead: “For the story in the Independent go here, for schadenfreude go here, here, here or here, for no comment go here or here.”








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 29, 2008

Category: Consume!, The Political Weblog Movement

[NOTE: a lot of this will seem familiar to most regulars… but I’ll only be mentioning one obvious name that came up recently anyways.]

The CIW (Coalition of Immokalee Workers) recently found a spy in their midst. They have also been the victim of a series of anonymous comments questioning their honesty, integrity and motives.

See if you can spot the cleverly hidden smear in this statement from Burger King denying their involvement in such things;

“I have no idea what should be secret about helping farmworkers” – Keva Silversmith, spokesperson for Burger King (source)

An entertaining intervention from Mr Silversmith, but the man to watch here is Steven F. Grover, Burger King’s vice president in charge of food safety, quality assurance and regulatory compliance (i.e. ethics).

Steve Grover was last year compelled to withdraw several claims and suggestions that he could not substantiate about the CIW pocketing money meant for workers.

Soon after that, someone was making very similar claims anonymously:

Take a look at this comment by ‘Activist2008’ under an article by Amy Williams:

Activist2008 wrote:

Unfortunately, with a little research you will find that the CIW is a self-serving attack organization that has no real members. See their IRS filing form 990. (http://dynamodata.fdncenter.org/990s/990search/esearch.php ) The CIW creates conflict and spreads misinformation to reap millions in cash. As I read in your article Burger King supports the CIW’s goals and has has tried to work with the CIW. Why don’t you question that with the CIW?. Sounds like you support the unquestioned internet extortion tactics the CIW is so good at. For 6 years the CIW protested YUM, McDonald’s and now Burger King and the workers in Immokalee are not seeing a single penny of the money nor audits. The CIW has accomplished nothing in the last 6 years with its self-serving missinformation and attacks. The CIW is not helping the workers by speading this missinformation and asking others to follow in its self serving attacks.

3/6/2008 1:18:28 PM

Now take a peek at a comment by this same individual under another article by Amy Williams about these and other anonymous attacks being traced back to Burger King:

Activist2008 wrote:

What a paranoid rant, I have never seen such a crock. For the record my comments are my own and have nothing what so ever to do with Burger King. I like how you attack your reader s freedom of opinion and speech! Sounds like my poor little opinion has really made the CIW mad along with their little writer. Tells me that the CIW has something pretty big to hide and might just be up to no good? Instead of the paranoid rant how about proof that the workers are really getting the money the CIW says they are. I suspect changing the subject is a lot easier than that proof!

4/13/2008 9:42:57 PM

We’re really in familiar territory here, aren’t we? There’s an added highlight posted under the equally convincing username ‘humanrights’…

humanrights wrote:

I note that the CIW is always attacking and trying to pick a fight with Burger King, Subway, Whole Foods Chipotle and others? If the CIW was truly about helping workers why are they always on the attack, picking fights and so totally paranoid. Any real human rights group that is truly out to help workers would be happy to have a big company attend their meetings. The company might learn something! Now the CIW is calling that spying! Clearly the CIW must have a lot to hide and I don’t believe they are out for the workers at all.

4/15/2008 3:45:28 PM

Activist2008 was also active on YouTube under the name ‘activist2’. This since-deleted comment was made 3 weeks ago under this video of a CIW demonstration and press conference

activist2 (wrote):

The CIW is a self-serving attack group with no real worker members. The CIW creates conflict and spreads misinformation to unquestioning duped supporters via the internet. The CIW reaps millions in cash from unknowing or duped supporters. Burger King does not hire tomato pickers, you might as well protest yourself for buying tomatoes in the supermarket. The protesters are supporting the CIW extortion tactics to line the CIW’s pockets. Who is really exploiting the workers!

Again, I ask you to compare these comments with a recent view/position expressed by Mr Steven Grover…

Independent – Slave labour that shames America: “We see no legal way of paying these workers,” said Steve Grover, the vice-president of Burger King. He complained that a local human rights group, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers “has gone after us because we are a known brand”. But he added: “At the end of the day, we don’t employ the farmworkers so how can we pay them?”

Now we’re near the really fun bit, and some very, very familiar ground. Watch this:

One month ago, ‘activist2’ posted the following to another CIW video

activist2 (wrote):

The CIW is a bunch of fools who don’t have a clue how the world works. People need jobs and these folks are protesting the wron people.

But the most interesting entry is this entry from two months ago by ‘surfxaholic36’ under that same CIW video

surfxaholic36 (wrote):

The CIW is an attack organization lining the leaders pockets by attacing restaurant companies. They make up issues and collect money from dupes that believe their story. To bad the people protesting don’t have a clue regarding the facts. A bunch of fools!

That second comment was made using the YouTube account of… the daughter of Steven F. Grover, Burger King’s vice president in charge of food safety, quality assurance and regulatory compliance (i.e. ethics)!

Amy Williams – Daughter of Burger King VP says dad wrote anti-coalition postings: Although Shannon Grover also uses the name surfxaholic36 – mostly on social networking sites – she said the anti-coalition posts are her father’s alone. “I don’t really know much about the coalition and Burger King stuff,” she said, reached by phone at the family’s Miramar home Friday. “That was my dad. My dad used to go online with that name and write about them.” Asked if she’d ever written about the coalition online, she was adamant: “No, that was my Dad. That was him.” Steven Grover did not return calls to his home or office, nor did Burger King spokesman Keva Silversmith respond to calls and a request to speak to Burger King CEO John Chidsey.

Click here and scroll down for the rest of that article (it’s under a mirror of the AP article)… oh, and do look out for this comment that appears to be an authentic intervention from Mrs Grover. Watch closely as she plays the victim, lays the smear and makes her threat:

mdmom2008 wrote:

This is a little girl, far from 18 years old! This reporter and publication choose to cross that gray area and speak with her, without parental concent. The reporter, according to my daughter, did not make it clear that the was a reporter, only giving her name and that she was from Ft. Myers. I, as her mother, am livid that the Senior Managing Editor Cindy McCurry Ross allowed reporter Williams to expose the screen name and personal name of my young daughter, exposing her to the dangers of the internet. I am even more so apalled, as Ms. Ross states that she is a mother too, and she understands, but it seems she is more interested in producing this type of yellow journalism, than protecting children and tomatoe pickers alike. She also refused to give me the steps involved to get Shannon’s info. She suggested she close any use of identity they used. So, this child who as you can imagine, has not been to PR training was frightened and still recovering from this incident.

4/28/2008 1:47:59 PM

Later in that same thread, ‘humanrights’ makes a welcome return…

humanrights wrote:

Well it looks like this totally proves what surfxaholic36 was saying. The CIW and their writer at the News Press are far more interested in attacking Burger King and anyone associated with the company than helping farm workers! What does all this have to do with helping farm workers at all. Comrad Williams you ever heard of free speach? My guess is you do not think much of it and would stamp it out if you could.

4/28/2008 10:53:54 PM

Yes, that’s the spirit. You keep reaching for that rainbow… and a bloody spell-checker!

(ahem)

I would like to make my position on this clear if I may:

This was a clumsy, blunt, and downright dirty PR campaign to begin with.

Exactly how much of the anonymously-delivered portion Steve Grover was directly responsible for remains unknown, but he either knowingly posed as his daughter in order to anonymously smear the CIW or (more likely) was doing a little work from home and – like Grant Shapps – used the wrong account during this sock-puppeting attempt.

For that alone he deserves sacking.

Unless of course Burger King are a bunch of bastards who reward such behaviour, in which case Grover should get a raise and his daughter should get a pony (or a car, depending on how old she is)… if she can be convinced to play ball and keep her mouth shut in future.

UPDATE (10pm) – I just spent a few lazy minutes trying to find out how reporter Amy Williams might have made the Grover connection and/or discovered the number for the family home. I got very far, very fast. I tried it again from another angle and quickly ended up with the same information, plus some added details for Mrs Susan/Susie Grover… who will probably shout at me if I show you those details and the names and photos of both of her young daughters that she herself has published online alongside a nickname/email used by Shannon, thereby (*dramatic pause*)… exposing her to the dangers of the internet!

[Psst! At that same location, Steven Grover also makes a contribution which neatly ties everything back to his role at Burger King; the page displays the bulk of Steve’s work IP address next to his entry which is in the range 65.174.40.112-119 and most likely to be 65.174.40.114 specifically.]

UPDATE – A lovely round-up from The Consumerist

UPDATE – Oh, and I really should mention that while Burger King is using the cheapest of tricks to cheat workers out of a pennies, they are also launching a $170 burger in the UK. Class.

UPDATE (30 Apr):

1) My tracking reveals that a few people from the Burger King Corporation dropped by last night. One of them had a bit of a poke around. Hello Burger King, peeps. With you in a sec…

2) All comments from the latest Amy Williams article were deleted at some stage last night. Since then, a number of other comments have been published screaming about the right to free speech, liberal Nazis, etc…. it never gets old, does it? Emailing, watching and waiting today to see what happened to the old comments.

3) Mrs Susie Grover has removed some of the sensitive material that she herself put on the web (this time, it was her turn to exploit Shannon in pursuit of a buck) but I won’t be linking to it or even dropping hints about where it can be found, as it still reveals their home address, Susie’s mobile number and a fax number which is actually their main phone number at home. (She’s the wife of a VP and she can’t afford a dedicated fax line? Burger King must be squeezing every penny.)

4) Most of Mrs Grover’s gripe is likely to come down to the reporter initially assuming that young Shannon was 18, because Shannon claimed to be 18 on one of her main online profiles. If the Grovers can’t be bothered to check their daughter’s public profiles – when not using them to engage in flame warfare for their corporate masters – then they’ve only got themselves to blame and they have no place playing the victim or waving little Shannon in our faces (again).

shannon profile data

5) Psst! Mr and Mrs Grover! You might want to have a quiet word with Shannon about toilet-papering people’s houses. Seemingly harmless pranks like this can end in tears. Perhaps Steve can sit down with her for a bit and teach her how to treat other people with kindness and respect.

6) Hello again, Burger King peeps. Will you be firing Steve Grover over this smear campaign or not? Normally, I wouldn’t expect you to, but a VP using his daughter’s YouTube profile to smear activists looms before you as an international PR disaster. Just something to think about.

UPDATE – One of the photos published by Mrs Grover is a classic of the ‘family portrait at the mall’ genre (right down to Vaseline on the lens), and I wanted to share it with you. I tried a version using facial pixelation, but that seemed too creepy. This is better, yes?

Steve Grover








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 28, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Something in this article about (username) Harriet (password) Harman caught my eye…

BBC – Spoof blogger attacks Harman site: Last year, Conservative housing spokesman Grant Shapps was targeted by hackers who broke into his YouTube account to post a message under his name saying the party could not win the Ealing Southall by-election.

Beg pardon? Who did what in the where now?

The person who wrote this article about (username) Harriet (password) Harman clearly did so after scanning, but not reading, this article. Even if one takes Shapps at his word about this – and very few people do – the version of events published on the BBC website is wrong, wrong, wrong, as a mere glance at the comment involved should make clear:

“Okay, realistically we’re not going to win though. Especially since the Tories have just received 5 defecting Councillors from Labour. Don’t quite know how they’ve done it, but the Tories have stolen a march on us this time.”

As you can plainly see, the person making that comment is not posing as Grant Shapps saying that his party (the Conservatives) could not win the Ealing Southall by-election.

Instead, the person making that comment is posing as a Liberal Democrat saying that their party could not win the Ealing Southall by-election.

Jonathan Calder has similar concerns about this poorly-researched nonsense appearing on the BBC website.

I’ve emailed the BBC about it, but have yet to receive a reply.

(Oh, and sorry for the quiet week. I forgot my nicotine patch on a Sunday and a Tuesday two weeks back and made it through most of both days without noticing, so I figured I’d press ahead and have a go at cutting off the regular nicotine supply a little bit earlier than scheduled. Like about 6 weeks ahead of schedule. I’ve been off the patches since the 18th. The only side effect involves brain. Cannot put words together goodly all time. Make blogging tricky.)

UPDATE – The entire ‘Shapps’ paragraph I’ve quoted above has been removed from the BBC article (see comments).

UPDATE – But, as Alex notes, the paragraph was ‘disappeared’ with; “no apology to those of us who complained, no clarification, no correction”.








1. National Service is going ahead, but I can’t sit around forever waiting for the money situation to get better, so, with Clive’s help, I’ve built a little cash machine to help things along. That’ll be with you shortly.

2. As you’re probably aware, the more ridiculous aspects of SOCPA are soon to be binned.

3. Blair’s coining it in while playing The Great Statesman, but he hasn’t killed anyone lately, so I’m happy to leave him to it. Even if he does manage to buy a burial plot with armed guards and electrified fences, I doubt even that will keep me from somehow pissing on his grave.

4. Bush is finished and has been since the 2006 mid-terms.

5. The year or so of bloggage about Iain Dale and Paul Staines (and their overlapping team of wannabe thugs) looked very closely at the techniques used in their ongoing efforts to enjoy power without accountability… and from here it looks as if we’ve finally reached the bottom of their bag of tricks.

[Psst! Iain and Paul: Don’t get your hopes up, you lovable miniature media barons. There are still some loose ends flapping and an almighty wrap-up to come, and I guarantee that you’re not going to like any of it.]

So the time has finally come for a new ongoing project at Bloggerheads.

I have two projects in mind:

UK Libel Law

UK libel laws as they stand make it very difficult for any British citizen or resident to host their website in this country without fear of being silenced with quasi-legal threats (yes, even from total tosspots who can’t afford real lawyers). Overseas hosts are also prone to intimidation, and they most likely won’t give a flying toss about who is and isn’t legally entitled to what, because you’ll just be an unwanted headache to most of them.

After the Alisher Usmanov affair, I did some poking around to see what kind of support bloggers and other web-publishers could expect from the UK hosting industry we would most likely have to abandon en masse if this kind of thing continues… and I didn’t get a nibble.

There were some fine print and television journalists batting for us here and there during the whole Usmanov thing, but challenging the status quo on something this big requires hefty editorial support. I don’t like our chances.

The short version is as follows: if bloggers want to change or challenge the UK libel laws, those of us that do choose to stand together against this kind of nonsense will on our own.

On the surface of things, it’s also a wee bit dry as a subject. But, then again, so was SOCPA to an extent. I’m sure that with some teamwork and creativity, we could paint some well-deserving individuals and organisations into some interesting corners (i.e. give those with the power to change it reason to do so… or at least something to think about).

Murdoch Watch

I’d like to (finally) devote some serious time to this by creating a purpose-built multi-author weblog that documents the many ways that The Sun newspaper manipulates and betrays their readers and the public in general.

There are now some excellent writers in the blogosphere with sufficient background, experience and credibility to take this on. I’d be devoting a good portion of my time to it, and there are a few people I already have in mind that I’d like to invite to do the same.

Of course, we’d probably have to host it overseas (see above), but part of this would be the development of a working [outlet]-watch from scratch for instructional and inspirational purposes anyhow (“You can do this, too for the Murdoch outlet nearest you. And here’s how…”), so I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t start afresh at Blogger.com or the like, just to prove it can be done and done well.

[Psst! Just in case you’re not aware, a FOX News watchdog already exists.]

So, over to you lot…

One of the things that I care about most in politics is levelling the playing field; those who wish to engage honestly from any side should be able to do so without being silenced, shouted down, shoved aside or sabotaged.

Which project do you think is most likely to take us forward on that front? Or do you have some ideas of your own?

Now’s the time to speak up if you have something to say.

UPDATE – Please note that I’ll be out for most of Thursday April 17th, so if you’re relatively new here or it’s your first comment, your 2p worth probably won’t be cleared for publication until late afternoon. Cheers all.








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 15, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Gotta be out today. Let me leave you with some excellent posts…

Complex System Of Pipes – Pop Goes The Ego

The UK Today – The Blogger’s New Stats

… and the following thought from the mind of a paranoid obsessive:

So Iain Dale is launching a new magazine for the political classes. If he’s to gain ground on the print advertising front, he needs to play down the importance/significance of The House Magazine and publisher Dods (example).

Now take a look at how the online advertising outfit MessageSpace communicates their claims of importance/dominance in the ads that run when they don’t have any paying ads to speak of:

The House Magazine falling into rubbish bin (David Cameron version)

The House Magazine falling into rubbish bin (Gordon Brown version)

One of life’s happy little accidents, no doubt.

After all, it’s not as if Dale and Staines collude on any of this.








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 14, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Iain Dale and Paul Staines publish their stat-porn each and every month. Now they claim that they’re not blogging anything about their numbers and what might be wrong with them because it will bore their readers.

:o)

Just one of many bullshit claims that have turned up since Dale and Staines started following stalking this story around Teh Interwebs and putting forward under comments on other blogs the case they should be making as posts on their own damn websites.

You can see Dale and Staines on the loose in the comments thread under this post, but for the biggest laughs you really want to check out Iain Dale’s behaviour in a Haloscan comment thread that followed this post at Lenin’s Tomb.

(Yes, I can confirm that it’s really Iain Dale on the loose in the latter thread.)
(Yes, I plan on moving on shortly. It looks like we’ve finally reached the bottom of their bag of tricks.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 14, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

You may recall that, during a discussion about Paul Staines’ and Iain Dale’s confusion over the difference between a ‘visit and a ‘visitor’ and how this impacted on MessageSpace’s traffic claims, that Mr Kelly Nightingale, Managing Director of MessageSpace appeared to be a little bit confusedabout the difference between a ‘visit and a ‘visitor’.

We didn’t hear from Kelly Nightingale again, but Mr Jag Singh, Chief Information Officer for MessageSpace, did eventually come around (in another thread, mind) and explain that it was ‘mistake’ and that he would “make sure MessageSpace is more careful to recognise the distinction in the future”

That was over a week ago. Welcome to the future…

I had planned to reveal some sums this morning, showing where MessageSpace’s claim that they reach “more than 700,000 readers” each month might not add up, but – after a healthy start – MessageSpace suddenly stopped cooperating. The last I heard from them (after their kind provision of a list of publishers* as at May 2007, when they claimed to have taken their last sample ‘proving’ this) was when I asked for a current list of publishers on Friday afternoon.

[*Publishers = sites carrying MessageSpace advertising. Not all of these are blogs, despite what MessageSpace’s advertising might suggest.]

The sticking point appears to be the inclusion of the popular website Popbitch in the claims of regular/current reach, when in fact Popbitch does not carry MessageSpace advertising regularly or currently, but only occasionally. And one of the few occasions when Popbitch just happened to be running MessageSpace ads was… yep, you guessed it; during the two-week sample taken in May 2007. This is kind of like a kid with height issues who insists that you measure him while he’s on the trampoline; “Measure me NOW… no, wait (boing) measure me NOW… no, wait (boing) measure me NOW… no, wait (boing)…”

But I did find a few interesting nuggets while visiting the website of the company with “nothing to hide” in search of something that might tell me how many publishers they have at the moment and who those publishers might be. I may as well share them with you while we wait for MessageSpace to come around once more…

The first thing I noticed was that – since the discussion(s) linked above (i.e. within the last week) – the MessageSpace website had been updated.

This page used to claim that:

“Publishers on the MessageSpace network show 4 million adverts a month, to more than 700,000 unique readers.”

It now claims that:

“Publishers on the MessageSpace network show more than 9 million adverts a month, to more than 700,000 readers.”

The only way is up, baby.

Still, a ray of hope. Perhaps the page designed to show the current list of publishers (which has been blank for well over a year) had also been updated…

Nope. Still blank.

*sigh*

Anyway, while poking around the archived version of the site, I also noticed that they were claiming to reach more than 700,000 readers per month before their May 2007 sample.

Check out this page, captured on March 14 2007

So now, if I’m to do the sums properly, I need data relating to any sample(s) taken before May 2007, as well as the current list of publishers.

*deeper sigh*

But here’s the really fun bit…

If you visit the main page of the MessageSpace website and click ‘partners’, you can see for yourself what they’re currently claiming on their recently-updated website:

MessageSpace claiming 4 million READERS per month

A claim of 4 million readers per month. On the front page of their website. So much for their being more careful in future…








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 10, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Iain Dale has refused to answer this question:

Iain? Care to make a statement? There is going to be an opt-out facility [for Total Politics], isn’t there?

Iain Dale has also shown that he can become very confused about valid readership figures, and even remain confused when it is explained very carefully to him.

So here’s a little something that I hope will help him stay out of trouble:

Total Politics: The Opt Out List

This opt-out list, currently managed by Clive and myself, is designed to:

1) Help Iain to avoid any claims he may later regret about the actual number of people who read his magazine.

2) Provide choice for those people who don’t want Iain Dale’s ‘politically neutral’ magazine clogging up their mail slot.

3) Save a few trees*.

Share and enjoy. Let’s help Iain Dale to be as honest as possible with his potential advertisers, and save a few trees* while we’re about it.

[*May not apply if Iain’s magazine is going to be made from recycled toilet paper.]

[Psst! Iain! If you start your own opt-out list, we’ll happily retire this one.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 10, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

I’ve been pondering on what Professor Paul said recently under comments

So Dale & Staines are a sort of bloggers Milli Vanilli?

… and I think he might really be onto something.

Let’s begin with a quick look at the component parts of Milli Vanilli:

Teh Look

Leather jackets and bicycle shorts do make a powerful statement. They say; “I am as cool as The Fonz, and by the way, here is my cock.”

Teh Dancing

Running on the spot makes you look a bit silly, but doing it tandem with someone else apparently looks quite nifty to some people.

Teh Singing

Technically acceptable, if mediocre and lacking in soul.

Teh Music

Ditto, but good enough for entry into the pop charts.

But when you combine all of the above, suddenly your singles are Top Ten and you’re getting a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

Even individual components begin to look individually impressive. Teh Dancing, for example; doing energetic motions while you also appear to be singing in tune is enough to impress most people.

But take away one single component that turns out not to be real, and suddenly as far as the market is concerned, this is all you’re good for:

The important thing to remember is that Milli Vanilli could sing (a bit) and the people who sang for them could sing (a bit better) but neither charted higher than 76 outside of Europe after the backlash.

I guess the point I’m trying to make in a roundabout way is that Paul Staines is quite good at muckraking (he used to do it for a living, you know) and Iain Dale is quite good at village gossip (and championing a standard of blogging that he himself doesn’t subscribe to)… but that’s as far as it goes.

Any status of super-stardom is either imagined or the product of invention… and, crucially, this is the part that could render what they are capable off irrelevant to most people.

Just a thought that occurred. Make of it what you will.








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 10, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Heh. A few people have piped up mentioning a recent email from Google to all Google Analytics users, and I just got a copy myself in the early hours:

Dear Google Analytics users,

We are writing to let you know about a change in our service offerings. If you have logged into your account recently, you may have noticed that you can now choose to share your Google Analytics data. By providing data sharing options, we hope to provide you with transparency, control, and new services based on your preferences.

To learn more about data sharing settings, visit our FAQs: http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/answer.py?answer=87515

We’re also happy to announce industry benchmarking as the first new feature available to those who opt to share their data. Benchmarking lets you compare your metrics against industry verticals.

To enable this optional new feature, an administrator on your account will need to make the following selections on the Google Analytics data sharing settings page:

1. Log into your account. You’ll see the yellow data sharing settings box on the Analytics Settings page.

2. Click the “More data sharing options” link within the yellow box.

3. Select the second checkbox to specify that you want to share your data “Anonymously with Google products and the benchmarking service”. You can also choose to share your data “With Google products only” to take advantage of advanced Google advertising products and services as they become available.

The industry benchmarking feature is currently in beta. Once you have enabled benchmarking, it may take up to two weeks before the categorized, aggregated and anonymized benchmarking data shows up in your reports.

For more information on the benchmarking service, visit our FAQs: http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/topic.py?topic=13909

In addition to the new benchmarking service, opting to share your data will also enable you to take advantage of new advanced Google products and services as they become available. We think these services will offer greater insight and sophistication to users who have opted to share their data. However, if you would prefer not to use these services, simply specify on the settings page that you don’t want to share your data.

Sincerely,

The Google Analytics Team

Given recent developments, I find this to be downright spooky.

Back soon with a pressie for Iain and, later, some sums for MessageSpace.








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