Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Have we got a deal for you!

Good Day Readers:

While we certainly sympathize with the British Columbia lady who's suing facebook for unauthorized use of her photograph in advertisements, it could be worse. Consider the plight of Iowan Nick Bergus who now has his name and picture associated with a 55-gallon drum of personal lubricant.
Hey Nick, got any special deals for our readers? Chortle, chortle, chortle, .....

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
B.C. woman sues Facebook for using her photo
Ads began appearing after she clicked the 'Like' button for a group

Monday, April 2, 2012
A Vancouver women is suing Facebook for allowing her name and photo to be used without her permission  in its 'Sponsored Stories' advertising service. (Associated Press)

A Vancouver woman has filed a class action lawsuit against Facebook for profiting from an advertisement that used her photo and profile information without her consent.

Debbie Douez is claiming that Facebook, Inc. allowed her name and photo to be used without her permission for an advertisement that appeared on Facebook last year.

In the notice of civil claim, which was filed in B.C. Supreme Court on March 29, Douez describes how her name and profile photo were taken from her account and used to advertise a service to other Facebook users.

Sometime after she clicked the "Like" button for a Facebook group called "Cool Entrepreneurs," Douez's photo with the caption "Debbie Douez likes Cool Entrepreneurs" began appearing in a sidebar advertisement to her Facebook contacts.

The advertisement was one of Facebook's "Sponsored Stories," which is a service that Facebook began selling to third parties in January 2011. Since January of this year, the "Sponsored Stories" links moved down from the right-hand side of a user's news feed, and began appearing in the user's feed itself.

Lawyer Luciana Brasil, who is representing Douez in the claim, said that Douez was never asked whether she wanted to endorse a good or service.

"If you're going to be using somebody's name or somebody's portrait for advertising purposes, you need to obtain their consent," Brasil said.

"The position that Ms. Douez takes in this case is that her consent was not sought or obtained."

Brasil said the fine print in the privacy section of the Facebook service is not adequate, and that the company's current advertising practice breaches a section of Canada's Privacy Act.

Brasil said that similar class action filings will be made in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Canada has more than 17 million Facebook users.

Facebook, Inc. has a month to respond to the claim filed in B.C. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Nick Bergus: 'How I Became Amazon's Pitchman For A 55-Gallon Drum Of Personal Lubricant'

Raymona Emberson
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Be careful what you link to or you might unwittingly become the spokesperson for a drum of personal lubricant.

At least that's the lesson multimedia producer, writer and University of Iowa teacher Nick Bergus learned after he posted a link to his Facebook page of a vat of personal lubricant for sale on Amazon.

According to a post on Bergus' blog titled "How I became Amazon’s pitchman for a 55-gallon drum of personal lubricant on Facebook," he shared the link for the $1,500 barrel and wrote, "A 55-gallon drum of lube on Amazon. For Valentine's Day. And every day. For the rest of your life."

He was shocked when, a week later, his friends started telling him that they were seeing his post show up as a sponsored story next to their newsfeeds. Sponsored stories are a form of Facebook advertising that turn your friends' "likes" and comments about brands into mini-ads that can be viewed from your Facebook profile.

In other words Amazon had paid Facebook to use Bergus' post as an advertisement for its site, even though he had posted jokingly about the product and hadn't genuinely recommended that his friends purchase it.

Gizmodo writer Kyle Wagner doesn't find the incident very troublesome. "It's far more funny than it is alarming. Look, no personal information was disclosed or traded, no one was egregiously harmed," a href="http://gizmodo.com/5888669/facebook-ads-turn-unsuspecting-man-into-a-pitchman-for-giant-tub-of-lube" target="_hplink">writes Wagner.

It's possible we should all adopt this attitude since as Web-developer Jason Kottke points out, this sort of peer-to-peer advertising is only going to get more common. He writes, "Get used to this...promoted word of mouth is how a lot of advertising will work in the future."

(Just as an aside, a giant barrel of lube is hardly the weirdest thing you can buy on Amazon. Wolf urine, Sigmund Freud action figures and more quirky products abound on the retail website. Read on to see what other weird products you can find at Amazon.com.)

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