Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy Chanukah or both or a happy whatever else you celebrate (like Festivus). I ate so much, you’d think I was going into hibernation this winter. If you’re looking for something to keep you entertained while running on the treadmill or to do while everyone is on vacation and off the internet, check out this edition of the Weekly Wrap. Marketing Professionals, Write Guest Posts for Benchmark Email! Do you find yourself more amusing than I find myself? Do you want to see what kind of loose pop culture references my brain will connect to one of your blog posts? Today is your lucky day. Calling all Marketing Professionals, Write Guest Posts for Benchmark Email! 4 Marketing Apps You Aren’t Using Yet (But Should Be) Unless, you’re a hipster. In which case you’ve already stopped using them and are on to something else we haven’t even heard of yet. For everyone else, check out the 4 Marketing Apps You Aren’t Using Yet (But Should Be). Twitter Launching Self-Serve Ads It always made me laugh when I was in college at Indiana and the kids from New Jersey had to learn how to fill up their cars with gas. See, in New Jersey, self-serve is illegal. I wonder if New Jersey will be allowed to participate, with Twitter Launching Self-Serve Ads. Non-Risky Business? The Failure of Funding the Better Mousetrap Well. That’s it. I read Risky Business and now I’m going to have Bob Seger - “Old Time Rock N’ Roll” stuck in my head the rest of the day. Do you want to risk the same fate and read about Non-Risky Business? The Failure of Funding the Better Mousetrap. In Russia: Twitter Bots Attempt to Silence Anti-Kremlin Tweets I can’t read this headline without thinking of the old Yakov Smirnoff joke, “In America, you can always find a party. In Soviet Russia, Party always finds you!” See what else happens In Russia: Twitter Bots Attempt to Silence Anti-Kremlin Tweets. Post-Holiday Marketing: Email Lessons Learned from Cyber Monday What do you do when you’re sick of holiday marketing stories? Write about Post-Holiday Marketing: Email Lessons Learned from Cyber Monday. Best Idea Management Software for Small Business Man. If only idea management software existed in my brain too. I can’t always guarantee it gets to the computer, as a sufferer of Attention Deficit Disorder. Discover the Best Idea Management Software for Small Business. Support Update: View Your Subscribers’ Activity with Email History When segmenting your email lists, one way to do that is by separating your subscribers into their level of activity. How do you see their activity? Find out in our latest Support Update: View Your Subscribers’ Activity with Email History. Public Outcry over SOPA Grows & Congressional Hearing Postponed I was reminded of the power of social media last week. First my newsfeed was buzzing with everyone removing their domains from Go Daddy, due to their support of SOPA. It didn’t take long for Go Daddy to pull an about face and recant their support for SOPA. They’re not the only ones, as Public Outcry over SOPA Grows & Congressional Hearing Postponed. The Future of Small Business: 2012 Marketing Trends It’s like clockwork. Every December, publications feel the need to publish both year end lists and what to look for in the coming year. Can’t we just be in the now? Well...for now you can go read about The Future of Small Business: 2012 Marketing Trends.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), under the guise of implementing much needed curbs against copyright infringement, is actually creating a legislative mechanism where the majority of Americans will be considered felons. Big Brother Sledgehammering SOPA’s outrageous Big Brother sledgehammering approach to copyright protection has been widely discussed, and previous Benchmark blogs can serve as an overview (see below). As the more radical aspects of this legislation place themselves in the public consciousness, the more ordinary Americans are finding them intolerable, inordinate or outright insane. Petitions to kill SOPA have gathered over 25,000 signatures in two days, YouTube’s SOPA-Cabana is nearing a million views, and the Business Software Alliance, which counts Adobe, Apple, Intel and Microsoft among its members, has opposed the Act as too extreme to contemplate. US = China, Iran, et al. At the core of the SOPA regulatory bludgeon is the proposal for the United States to engage in widespread DNS filtering, much as China, Iran, Burma, Kazakhstan and Syria do. The US State Department has actually developed and promoted more than a dozen tools that allow these repressed populations to circumvent the suppressive restrictions enacted by their governments, so it is an irony that is not lost on many that now the United States government itself is in the position of implementing exactly the same barriers to the free exchange of online information across the country’s borders. Circumventions Are Already Available The MPAA has promoted a paper by Daniel Castro, a Senior Analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation entitled PIPA/SOPA: Responding to Critics and Finding a Path Forward. In the thesis, Castro maintains that the number of internet users who apply circumvention tools in countries where DNS firewalls are in place is less than 3 percent, so a similar level of skirting can be expected in the US as well. This prospect may not be fully accurate, as there are already widely available browser add-ons such as DeSopa and Pirate Bay Dancing that blast through the filters by either routing users through proxies or accessing websites through their IP number addresses alone. Immolation of Dissenting Opinions During two days of contentious House debate over the bill Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California) remarked “once the government has the taste of power, the temptation to exert ever greater control over the Internet… will be even greater.” The danger of DNS filtering for strictly copyright infringement could easily be extended to issues that are not as clearcut: a creeping institutional censorship that could immolate the dissenting opinions traditionally acknowledged as the greatest strength of vivacious democracies. The last eleven years have seen a curtailment of personal liberties to the extent that the Founding Fathers are likely spinning in their graves. Thomas Jefferson stated that “the policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits” and “what country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?” Driven by the belated need to establish online copyright respect, SOPA’s legislative supporters are violating the most basic precepts that the nation is based upon. Jefferson “swore on the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” How many current legislators are equally committed to that true liberty? Benchmark Email Blogs on SOPA Follow Benchmark Email’s coverage of SOPA with these previous blog entries: New Congressional Anti-Piracy Laws on the Way Why SOPA Will Fail What the Protect IP Act Means for Internet Users & Streamers The Internet Industry Opposes SOPA: Is It Too Late?
This is a crucial time of the year. Sure, it’s the homestretch for your holiday marketing. It’s also the time you need to make the key decision to eat healthy between Thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays, or just let loose and start anew in the New Year. Today I can help you with one of those things. The Internet Industry Opposes SOPA: Is It Too Late? SOPA sounds like a delicious restaurant. I wish it were, and not the Stop Online Piracy Act. See why The Internet Industry Opposes SOPA: Is It Too Late? How to Generate B2B Content It’s not as easy as turning a crank on the ol’ content machine (because they don’t exist). Check out these easy tips on How to Generate B2B Content. Facebook Dominates amongst India’s Social Media Users Did you know that Facebook Dominates amongst India’s Social Media Users? Benchmark Releases New Email Marketing Manual for Consultants If you were to consult with me, I\'d say you should check out our new email marketing manual for consultants. That’s right, Benchmark Releases New Email Marketing Manual for Consultants. How Facebook’s Privacy Policies Freely Sold User Data Oh no! Find out How Facebook’s Privacy Policies Freely Sold User Data. Why Video Is Dominating the Market and How you Can Get in on It I want to make a joke about dominating being in two separate headlines this week, but I also like my job. Make your own, then discover Why Video Is Dominating the Market and How you Can Get in on It. Try These Great Email Marketing Holiday Tips for Your E-Commerce ...but where are my tips on how to get more presents? Work on those, and Try These Great Email Marketing Holiday Tips for Your E-Commerce. How a Maverick Took on the Online Privacy Violators & Won Oh. So that’s what the Dallas Mavs are doing during the lockout. What? What do you mean not that type of Maverick? See How a Maverick Took on the Online Privacy Violators & Won. Self-Publishing to Get You Noticed and Build Your Brand This is also known as the Kardashian Method. Learn about Self-Publishing To Get You Noticed and Build Your Brand. 2011 Christmas & Holiday Email Templates from Benchmark Email See what has me cheery this holiday season (I know you’re all dying to know). Check out our 2011 Christmas & Holiday Email Templates from Benchmark Email.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is House Bill number 3261 and is unquestionably one of the most misguided and potentially dangerous pieces of internet legislation ever proposed by the US Congress. SOPA’s aims are to force ISPs, search engines, payment processors and ad networks to block access to any website deemed by any judge to be a “rogue.” Unfortunately, many judges have shown an appalling ignorance of the most basic functions of the internet. If Supreme Court Justice John Roberts can ask “what is the difference between email and a pager?” then the legislation is up for overwhelming misinterpretation and heavy-handed enforcement by a gaggle of lower judges in any given district in America. The leading hardware and software corporations have finally taken a stand against SOPA, but their prolonged dawdling may have rendered their opposition futile. Unintended Consequences The Business Software Alliance (BSA), which counts among its heavyweight members companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Intel and Adobe, recently issued a statement opposing SOPA in its current form, stating that it “needs work” before it should be implemented as the law of the land. Warning that the legislation “as it now stands… could sweep in more than just truly egregious actors,” the BSA went on to state that “the bill would have to balance key innovation, privacy and security considerations with the need to thwart the threat rogue websites pose,” as current “SOPA provisions might have unintended consequences.” The tone adopted by the BSA was in stark contrast to statements of just a week earlier when the Alliance offered support to the Act. The Current Copyright-Violating Web Is Untenable The vast majority of sober and level-headed internet observers have to admit that the current situation where movies, TV shows, music albums and other copyrighted content becomes freely available within nanoseconds of their release is untenable. Entertainment content is produced at high expense with an expectation that the venture will produce a profit, and it is simply not feasible to spend $100 million-plus on a media production just to give it away for free. However, the BSA is finally realizing that the impact of SOPA is too draconian to contemplate. Croon Elvis & Commit a Felony Let’s assume in a SOPA universe that your garage band creates a YouTube video where you’re playing an Elvis, Beatles or Lady Gaga tune. Congratulations, you have just committed a felony. We’re not discussing a slap-on-the-hand simple fine situation but a crime comparable to arson, robbery, or burglary. This is not for playing a copyrighted video clip from the original artist, but just strumming out their chords on your $50 guitar while crooning the lyrics! The liability is not limited to criminal charges against your band alone, as SOPA levies responsibility against the carrier of the copyright-infringing content, so YouTube can legitimately be blocked from all US access. Given that if all the copyright infringing videos on YouTube were removed there might be nothing left there but “awwww” videos of kittens, puppies and babies, it is clear that the internet industry needs to take a strong stance against this clear and present danger. Impossible Copyright Determinations SOPA’s limits are unknown and at least at this juncture, effectively unknowable. Is the use of a trademark word a SOPA violation? Would posting the statement “Let every Champion Pledge at this Time to be United in Joy and Cheer” be seen as violating six trademarks? Would every website that allows public posting be responsible for policing every element to ensure copyright adherence prior to making the content public? Although it’s obvious that the post of a full rip of the Puss In Boots movie is a copyright violation, how can anyone determine whether the soft music playing in the background of a video clip is under the jurisdiction of the RIAA or a tune the video creator composed and played? SOPA attempts to perform microsurgery with a sledgehammer, and the BSA’s previous support was nothing short of baffling. It seems that the internet industry has finally woken up to the threat posed by this Act… but it might be too little too late.