Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Don't be surprised if suddenly you hear a lot about a site called Culturecloud. There's about to be a big faux grassroots push. Check out this ad on a journalism jobs board:

Immediate Freelance work for

The pay is $100. Here's the two-part job description:

1) Find 30 interesting Internet sites and post to their message boards
about Culturecloud, creating links in those postings back to Culturecloud
content. Write smart, interesting posts that are relevant to those sites.
The links can be to a specific article or topic page on Culturecloud. The
posts need to be decent so that we are not seen as spamming the other
site. They should also spark readers' interest in checking out
Culturecloud. Naturally, before posting and creating links to
Culturecloud, you will need to spend time on the Culturecloud site to find
relevant content to link to the message board posts.

Keep a list of posts you make.
Keep a list of the email addresses of those message board contributors, so
Culturecloud can use them later in an email campaign conducted by a
marketing agency.

2) Send the attached invitation to join Culturecloud to 200 people you
know, asking them to invite their friends, and send Culturecloud the list
of those e-mail addresses.
The site is interesting. According to its Who We Are, it was started by Michele DiLorenzo -- no other info, but chances are the same person who has a long history in new media with Viacom, Vulcan and Casey-Werner.

Culturecloud is sort of a blogging and photo-posting site juiced up with a a wide set of tag clouds respresenting both subjects being discussed on the site and those discussing them. The clouds are pervasive -- on the home page, on individual posts, etc. The idea is to create a cloud of ideas that will entice people to explore many other links and entries on the site. Of course, the ads will follow.

Nice use of tags and tag clouds. But I'm not sure people would be so eager to discuss the topic off site if they knew their e-mail addresses were being harvested for a marketing campaign.

So be warned.

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At 2/5/07, 5:01 PM, Anonymous michele said...

I saw your post, I'm the Michele DiLorenzo you think I am, and I wanted to clear up something in your post: we do not, and never will, harvest emails for marketing purposes. I care passionately about honesty and privacy and Culturecloud has been built to reflect those principles. The clouds etc are a democratic way of putting out a people’s newspaper. We just launched a couple of weeks ago and need some help getting out the word.

I was hoping to hire some freelance journalism majors to help build the right culture for culturecloud. I figured they are by both inclination and training the right kind of people to be at the heart of cc. My intention was to create a place for debate and discussion and to build an organization that leads by example—obviously email harvesting would go against that. I’d like people to take a look at the site—form their own opinion of it and if they like it pass it around. Michele

At 2/5/07, 5:30 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

Well, here was the wording of your ad:

Keep a list of the email addresses of those message board contributors, so
Culturecloud can use them later in an email campaign conducted by a
marketing agency.

That's pretty plain language.

So, no, you may not be harvesting then from Culturecloud. But your ad says create posts elsewhere, entice people to respond and then harvest those e-mails. If I respond to one of the posts you have paid to have someone place elsewhere, shouldn't I know that I might well get a marketing campaign aimed in my direction as a result? Pray tell, what is the difference?


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