Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Our own industry wikileaks

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Interesting package

I had a very interesting package waiting for me this week when I returned to the Bam Creative offices, after my recent leave.

An anonymous package containing the entire client list for a competing Perth web company. No note, no handwriting, just a typewritten address on the front of the envelope, mailed form the city, to make it harder to trace.

It contains the company name, primary contact name and phone, their postal address and email address for every client (I’m assuming) of a competitor.

I did what most people I would hope would do; I called the victim company, and let them know what had happened. I haven’t read it, nor will I be using it for any gain of my own.

Meanwhile, I also mentioned this on Twitter. Following that mention, I had five other Perth based web companies let me know that they had also received the same package. They all mentioned they had shredded it, or returned it to the victim company.

Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here, and assume someone is wanting us to use the information to hurt this other company. This is sad and frightening on a number of levels.

Firstly, they believe some of the recipients would actually use this data. I don’t believe they are giving us the credit we deserve – we’re an ethical bunch here, and not interested in mining other companies contact lists to approach their clients.

Secondly, if it is an existing or former employee, what are the chances, if they get found out, that they’ll ever land another job in the industry here? Imagine if you knew they did this at their last place of employ – what’s stopping them from doing it again, this time to you?

Thirdly – the damage of having client contacts details revealed like this is possibly an area the Privacy Act would also cover. Even unwittingly, the victim company could get into trouble over this behaviour.

My twitter buddy, Steven Clark, has written a blog post about this experience over on his blog – I recommend you check it out.

If you were the person who sent this to me, as well as at least five other companies, then shame on you. I’d hate for you to be the owner of a business, and have this happen to yourself. I’m assuming you no longer work there, but if you do, then my advice is to find a new job. Thanks but no thanks; we’re not playing your unethical game.

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Posted in Business, Industry | 27 Comments »

Review: Dymo LabelWriter 450

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

DYMO LabelWriter 450

I was recently lucky to be given the opportunity to get my hands on a DYMO LabelWriter 450. I’m not known to take products for review purposes, having turned down the last few because they didn’t interest me, but being the stationery and office supplies geek I am, I couldn’t pass up this great opportunity.

The package arrived recently, and when I unpacked it, I became a fan of the LabelWriter, just on aesthetics alone. The device looks straight out of a science fiction film; curvy and cool looking, a great item to have on your desk.

We own a small handheld label writer at home, and I was expecting something similar – was I wrong! This little DYMO beauty has all the features…

  • Cross platform – both PC and Mac out of the box
  • Print one to hundreds of labels (a whopping 51 labels a minute)
  • Thermal printing – no ink/toner worries or mess
  • 600 x 300 dpi print resolution
  • Small desk footprint – doesn’t take up much room
  • USB connection and power cord included

Keen to give it a go, I spent a few minutes working out how to load the labels and plug it all in without reading any of the provided instructions – once I had it all hooked up, I checked the manual to be sure, and voila – for someone who has never used a USB label printer before, I guessed right, it was intuitive to install.

Included is a DVD with software for both Mac and Windows, which was handy, because in the last few weeks, I’ve tried the LabelWriter 450 out with both. Installation is quick, and the designer in me was impressed with the range of standard design tools that are built into the DYMO software.

The LabelWriter 450 works well on both my office PC running Windows 7, as well as the Apple MacBook Pro at home. Its compact, lightweight design makes it easy to carry from one to the other, and doesn’t have that beige ugly look that other label printers and devices sometimes have.

I’m soon going to have everything at both home and the office nicely labelled – it’s a cinch to use. I must admit, I haven’t tried printing address labels yet, but with an inbuilt address book, and merging functionality, I can see great uses if you do short run mailing as well.

You can even print straight from Outlook, Word, Excel, all the usual suspects, without having to go back to the DYMO software, which is super handy too.

In summary, if you’ve got a stack of files, boxes or tape/CD media that needs sorting out, or regularly send mail to various contacts, the LabelWriter 450 will make those chores far easier, and perhaps even enjoyable.

I’m glad I did accept the opportunity to try out the LabelWriter 450 – it’s a great little device, and really handy for those organisational types such as myself.

More information can be found here on the DYMO website.

Disclaimer: I was provided a Dymo LabelWriter 450 for review. As always, I made it clear to the supplier that this does not mean that it buys a positive review. Any reviews I do are based on my actual experience and beliefs; which are not affected by offers of free product.

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Posted in Business | 4 Comments »

Google AdWords trickery

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Google screengrab

I’ve previously written blog posts and articles about some ethical dilemmas that face small businesses, particularly web companies, in the last few years, such as my posts about design theft particularly around websites copying our work. There’s another topic that I’ve now had some personal experience with; using trademarks or business names in advertising on Google results.

But first some quick background for those less web savvy. Google has a great system called AdWords, which we’ve worked with before, having used it for advertising both our business, as well as on behalf of a number of our clients. Basically, you can define what keywords and phrases you want to display your advertisement under, and craft an appropriate advertisement to show.

It’s all pay-per-click, so it’s low risk (if you know what you’re doing!), and can be great for short term promotions and the like.

Now, in the past, we’ve had clients become excited when you say they can choose the phrases the ad will appear under. For example, in our own case, we’ve used terms such as ‘Web design perth’, ‘website design perth’, ‘perth web design’ and so on.

It doesn’t take long for a few people to realise that you could do the nasty on a competitor by using their trademarks, business or product names as your target terms. Thankfully, this is where Google has a fairly good trademark policy in place. Not only is it unethical (which our clients normally quickly admit), it is against Google AdWords policy.

I’m not a lawyer, but it looks like it could be against Australian law, as claimed in that famous case a few years ago ‘Trading Post v ACCC‘, where the ACCC said that using a competitor’s trademark to target AdWords campaigns was considered misleading conduct.

So it came as somewhat a surprise recently to find out that two of our fellow Western Australian web design companies are doing the same thing to us.

See the screen grab above – when you search on Google Australia for “bam creative” you’ll currently see two advertisements targeting a trademark and company name which Bam Creative Pty Ltd owns.

On one hand, it could be considered flattery they’d go to all that trouble to target people searching our company name, however on the other, people could say it could be called devious, misleading and possibly, illegal.

What do you think? Is this sort of advertising fair game or not? Comments welcome!

Posted in Business, Marketing | 8 Comments »