Alleged Facebook Firing Gets Attention of National Labor Relations Board

We talk a lot here at Marketing Pilgrim about how what you say or do online can impact your business or career. In fact, someone even wrote a book about that kind of thing. Since this is such a growth area in the online space you can almost sit back and wait for the next level to be reached because people are screwing up online in droves on a daily basis and of course, where there is stupidity, there are lawyers.

The New York Times reports on a landmark case that is going to the next level as the National Labor Relations Board climbs into the ring over an alleged firing of an EMT regarding Facebook posts about their supervisor

Cigarette Company Sponsors Volcano Relief Efforts

In Indonesia, volcano victims, most of which are suffering from breathing disorders, are being treated inside a tent sponsored by Sampoerna. Americans may not see the irony there, but how about if I tell you that Sampoerna is owned by Phillip Morris and is one of Indonesia’s largest tobacco companies.

It’s not unusual for corporations to pitch in during times of crisis, but what’s got people riled up is the use of corporate logos on rescue vehicles, uniforms and tents. And it’s one thing for the local telecommunications company to pitch in, but a cigarette company?

Indonesia is a country of smokers so it’s even more ironic that the Sampoerna aid station is a smoke-free zone and unlike the relief workers of WWII, they aren’t handing out cigarettes to the masses. But according to an article in Global Post, some people find their presence to be disconcerting.

Gap’s Facebook Places Giveaway: Success or Failure?

This weekend, The Gap helped Facebook Places claim their place as a viable Foursquare contender by giving away 10,000 pairs of free jeans.

On the surface, it seemed simple enough. Show up at your local Gap store on November 5th. Check in using Facebook Places. Show the cashier your check-in acknowledgment and get a coupon for free jeans as long as you’re one of the first 10,000 customers.

But of course, that’s not how it went down. First, the event instructions didn’t make it clear that you had to have an iPhone or Droid in order to check-in (and I hear that older phones didn’t provide the same icon response as newer phones). Other smartphones wouldn’t cut it. Next, they failed to make it clear that each store had a different quantity of free jeans on hand, likely based on the income of that store.

Foursquare Founder to Fall Foul of FTC?

Last Year the FTC revised guidelines governing the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. As you may recall, the big news then was the addition of a rule stating that bloggers who accept free merchandise or services from companies they write about must reveal the terms of that endorsement to their readers or be found in violation of the law. Apparently someone forgot to tell Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley about this.

As discussed at, Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley recently speculated at a panel hosted by NYU, that “the next big thing” will be online social networks creating algorithms that account and weight users’ recommendations which marketers will be able to use to reward the most influential users for mentioning them (ahem… paid posts).

Groupon Seeks $3 Billion Valuation: Get It While It Can?

Groupon is looking for more money to expand its quickly growing business. Anyone in their position would be doing the same especially when the valuation being tossed around is in the $3 billion range. That’s rarified air for sure but one has to wonder how long that air will be available to breath. Bloomberg Businessweek reports

Groupon Inc., owner of a daily coupon website with 20 million subscribers, is seeking venture funding that may value the company at about $3 billion, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The company aims to raise the funding to help it expand beyond the 230 markets where it now operates, said the people, who declined to be identified because the fundraising is private. The company had been discussing funding that would value it in the range of $2 billion to $3 billion, two of the people said.

From Sponsored Links to Ads: What Does Google Have Up Its Sleeve?

Normally, the change of terminology in any company is a pure marketing move designed to breath new life into something that has some wear and tear. Aside from just the “new and improved” kind of changes, you occasionally get a completely different word to make a person think about the product again. Rarely, however, do you see a change like Google is experimenting with as they move to calling AdWords ads just that, Ads, rather than Sponsored Links.

First brought to my attention by Search Engine Land last week that this switch is official, I had some time to think about the possibilities. I will now happily cross-over to ‘speculation land’ and let my imagination run a little wild. So what could this change indicate?

Nielsen Numbers Glitch Results in Low Traffic Numbers

When it comes to online marketing, traffic is everything. It determines what marketers pay per click, which web sites get which ads, and if traffic is low enough, it may keep a site from getting ad dollars at all.

That’s why the latest faux pas from The Nielsen Company may be bigger than it seems. On Thursday, the company sent out a note to all of its clients saying they had been undercounting traffic for the past three months.

The problem was one of long URL’s. One’s with more than 2,000 characters as a matter of fact. They found that their system wasn’t recognizing these URL’s all the time resulting in an estimated 22% decline over the prior year.