Today, I’m in Paris. I’m working with the Mozilla Europe team to prepare for the imminent launch of Firefox 4 and Firefox Mobile. And this prompts me to write here on the subject of privacy – a hot topic and one on which your organisation can lead, to your customers’ advantage and yours.

Mozilla is a global, non-profit organisation dedicated to making the Web better. It emphasises principle over profit, and believes that the Web is a shared public resource to be cared for, not a commodity to be sold.

This means that whilst Internet Explorer must justify its existence to Microsoft, Safari to Apple, and Chrome to Google, Firefox is only answerable to you. Many consider Mozilla to be the sole reason we’ve all moved on from the terrible browsing experience Internet Explorer 6 gave over 90% of Web users back in 2003. And now Firefox is the most popular browser in Europe.

Back to privacy. Do you know what information your browser is reporting about your browsing habits? Do you know that some high profile websites add as many as 100 tracking devices to your computer?

Now, lest you think this is some kind of hippy essay, I’m a capitalist. I believe the for-profit motive is the best mechanism we’ve found to date to improve life. But we’ve also seen in recent times that some free markets require a bit of intervention now and then; a spot of regulation. Indeed, a recent Business Week article identified how free-marketers are as fond of regulation as they are more widely reported to dislike it.

To date, we have witnessed an arms race to get the most detailed personal profile of customers / prospects / users / visitors. And there’s a reason my biography on the Meanwhile website says: “Some say Philip can see a halo of ones and zeros around people’s heads. Which is just as well, because therein lies marketing nirvana.”

Yet, as information technologies become increasingly pervasive, as more interactions of many more types are logged and sent back to base, it becomes rapidly obvious that high levels of “spying” or “eavesdropping” risk some of our most cherished characteristics of liberal democracies.

Mozilla has lead the conversation with what’s become known as the Do Not Track feature. Once set by the user, owners of websites should take note and do exactly what this feature says on the tin – cease tracking.

Will your organisation demonstrate its authenticity? Will it live up to those brand values that head up your marketing and PR strategies? Will you comply with the spirit of Do Not Track? Will you make sure your technology partners do so on your behalf? Will you accrue the reputation as leaders in this regard?

Or will you just await the legislation in each part of the world?

A bientot. Philip and the MarCom Professional team.

Eight out of ten cat owners are wrong

by Graham Jones of Internet Psychology

Do humans really have a head for numbers?

Eight out of ten owners say their cats prefer Whiskas. (Other pet foods are available.) Do you remember this famous advertising slogan? Maybe Pedigree Pet Foods would have done better if they had said “80 per cent of cat owners” instead of “eight out of ten”. The reason, according to new consumer research is that even  though we know that the two figures represent the same numerical proportions we somehow feel that 80% is bigger than 8 out of 10. More...

Mobile Engagement Accelerates Media Fragmentation

by David H Deans of Digital Lifescapes

As momentum in the mobile phone market swings clearly in favor of smartphones, more people are adopting mobile apps, while device performance increased and yet prices continue to drop.

Meanwhile, the majority of U.S. mobile service subscribers still have a feature phone. But eMarketer predicts smartphone ownership will rise from 31 percent this year to 43 percent by 2015. Nearly 110 million Americans will have a smartphone by the end of 2015.

"Smartphone owners already command the majority of marketer attention," More...

Location Based Offers (LBO) – valid business model or just more L-BS?

by Andrew Grill of London Calling

Following on from my recent post on “Foursquare fatigue”, and the recent launch of Facebook deals in the the UK, I thought it would be a good time to look at these initiatives, from both the consumer angle as well as the retailer.

Anecdotal discussions with a number of retailers as well as consumers point to the fact that Location Based Offers (LBO) are still in their infancy.

Indeed I was chatting to a couple of people at Social Media Week last week right after a representative from Groupon spoke, and two separate experiences with the up and coming group savings offer website. More...

Mobile advertising’s success lies on the second screen not the main screen

by Andrew Grill of London Calling

I have Twitter CEO Dick Costolo to thank for a new analogy to debunk pundit thinking on mobile advertising. Yesterday in Barcelona, Dick gave a great speech at the annual Mobile World Congress.  You can watch his 30 minute speech online, where “registration” (for spam collection) is required but it is free.

Dick said that calling Twitter a microblogging service misses its transformative impact. Like calling an automobile a “horseless carriage”.

In the same way, saying that 20XX is the “year of mobile” More...

The 2011 Twitter Brand Bowl: And the winners are…

by Brian Solis of

Super Bowl XLV is now in the history books. 2011 is the year that the Green Bay Packers reclaimed the NFL Championship. And, it is also the year that now holds the record for the most viewed television broadcast of any kind in U.S. history, attracting an audience of over 111 million viewers.

While many watched the game, it is the advertisements that spark conversations online and offline. Going back to Apple’s 1984 commercial directed by Ridley Scott that introduced the Macintosh, the Super Bowl is now as much about football as it is about the ads that support it. More...

Blocking Facebook and Corporate Regime Change

by David Meerman Scott of David Meerman Scott

I'm wondering when will companies that block employee access to social networks go through the same sort of revolution as Egypt? I think it will be soon. These companies are ripe for uprising.

I was fascinated by Sunday's 60 Minutes piece on Wael Ghonim, Google's regional marketing manager for the Middle East. He talked about how Egyptian people came together via Facebook.

Watch the interview with Wael Ghonim and Egypt's New Age Revolution.

Here's a Ghonim quote that interested me the most: More...

Changes to Pages signal yet another change in Facebook’s attitude to brands

by Danny Whatmough of Wildfire

I’ve blogged before about the differences between Twitter and Facebook.

The former is a very open platform where everyone is encouraged to see everything. Twitter is a blank canvas where individuals and brands (and fictional characters, animals etc. etc.) can decide how they want to use the tool (and the user generated creation of things like RTs, hashtags and even follow Fridays demonstrates this nicely).

Facebook on the other hand has, from the start, approached things from the opposite direction. More...

Twitter for business workshop deck and cheat sheet

by Stephen Waddington of Speed Communications

Here’s a deck for a workshop that we run for clients and prospects on Twitter for business. There’s also an accompanying Twitter Cheat Sheet for Business that has published. It’s basic stuff but is a good introduction for anyone that hasn’t used Twitter before. More...

Meanwhile, a new approach to marketing and PR consultancy

by Philip Sheldrake of Influence Crowd LLP

I've teamed up with some very useful chaps to form Meanwhile. We're defining venture marketing. Before I explain that further, I'll elaborate on the main trends that make me think Meanwhile is precisely the right approach at the right time.

In short:

Previously distinct disciplines are converging
There is a renewed focus on measurement and evaluation of marketing and PR related programmes with boards demanding an unprecedented level of accountability
A new framework must emerge placing influence at the heart of business strategy. More...

63.2 Million People in the U.S. Own Smartphones

by David H Deans of Digital Lifescapes

comScore reported key trends in the U.S. mobile phone industry during the three month average period ending December 2010. The report ranked the leading mobile original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and smartphone operating system (OS) platforms in the U.S. market.

The December report found Samsung to be the top handset manufacturer overall with 24.8 percent market share, while RIM led among smartphone platforms with 31.6 percent market share.

For the three month average period ending in December, 234 million Americans ages 13 and older used mobile devices. More...

71 Top Online Customer Communities: The Big List

by Vanessa DiMauro of Leader Networks

Online customer communities are everywhere -- you just have to look for them -- sometimes in unlikely places. Because they are dedicated to serving customers, often they are not evangelized to the general public or consumer audiences. But they are alive, well and thriving within many enterprises.
By way of definition, when we say "online customer communities," we mean an interactive, often gated, website that a company sets up for customers to collaborate on topics of mutual interest.
And, we are NOT including customer service websites; More...

PR Filter continues search for relevant press release content

by Stephen Waddington of Speed Communications

PR Filter from Realwire finds press releases for journalists and bloggers based on the content that they’ve published online. It’s a bid to kill PR spam. When I log in a web page displays relevant press releases from all the major wire services (BusinessWire, Marketwire, Realwire and Sourcewire etc) and major media and technology web pages.

This week PR Filter added a search function to the platform to enable anyone to search its firehouse of 15,000 press releases per week.

I caught up with Realwire boss Adam Parker (@aparker) today and asked him what lay behind this development behind this development. More...