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Digital Without a Soul: Black Ops on Twitter in the Philippines

By on Sep 27, 2014 in Digital Publishing | 11 comments

How Distasteful, Obvious, Sad, and Desperate Some People Can be Rant mode: On. Just recently Smart Communications launched a free Internet offer of (30MB daily) for their prepaid subscribers. It’s definitely a game changing offer because it opens up a lot of opportunities for Filipinos who can’t afford expensive data plans to the Internet (not just limited to Facebook). There are limitations though like not having access to video streaming, peer-to-peer downloading, and OTT messaging. However everything else in the Internet is now open to Filipinos with a Smart prepaid sim. The day after the offer black ops on social media started to happen (click the link for screencaps and detailed explanation on Unbox). Twitter accounts with foreigner profile pics, usually beautiful women, with no followers and no following, start replying to people on Twitter who mention “Smart Free Internet”. In their replies they attack the brand and the offer, sometimes even with their own hashtags. The name of the game is to individually discourage users to avail of the offer and to slander Smart’s brand by trying to get their hashtags to trend (not that trending matters these days). If you want a live demo of this happening, check out this account. The account only tweets if there are Smart launches and it has no followers and it barely follows anyone. Red flags that the account is fake and obviously made to fool people into thinking that they’re talking to an actual person with legitimate complaints when it fact they are being deceived and lied to by a black ops group/organization. Hopefully this post gets to reach the person who actually hired the group to do black ops. My message for you is this — you are deceiving your consumers with fictitious accounts. You’re making fools out of them by making them feel they’re talking to real people when they’re not. This is digital marketing without creativity and with no soul. Instead of doing stuff like this just come up with a better offer, inform everyone about it, and let the consumers decide. Disclaimer: For total transparency — I work for Di9it which is partly owned by DM9 JaymeSyfu which is an agency that services Smart. The views expressed in this post does not represent my company or that of DM9 JaymeSyfu. This is my personal take on the issue and consistent with my advocacy against this practice. I’ve always maintained an anti-black ops stance and have spoken publicly about this in several industry...

Why Constantly Building and Launching Stuff is Awesome

By on Sep 14, 2014 in Digital Publishing | 4 comments

Every major professional milestone of my career so far can be traced to a blog or site that I put up during that phase in my life. It all started a little over a decade ago when I was with Level Up Games, the leading game publisher in the Philippines. I put up a gaming site called Waukster.com and it became a daily source of stress, inspiration, and joy for me, hehe. Imagine having to read and approve hundreds of comments from gamers who would freak out and curse each time there was a technical issue with the game. Anyway, after my time with Level Up, I closed the site though in hindsight I probably should have kept it running since there are only a few gaming sites in the Philippines today. When I was finally starting to fully embrace the world of digital marketing, I put up New Media Philippines. I started writing and sharing everything I knew about digital and it surprisingly gained steam as the eBook that I wrote which was hosted on that site was downloaded over 30,000 times (crazy). It also opened the opportunity for me to do consultancy work and several employment opportunities presented themselves as well! Eventually I stopped consultancy and had a short stint with Friendster before eventually moving to TV5. It was here that I rediscovered my passion for technology and despite people saying that the gadget/tech scene was already crowded with a multitude of Pinoy bloggers, I got together a few partners and we put up Unbox.ph. Fast forward three years later the site is now among the top tech sites in the country reaching over 700,000-900,000 unique readers monthly (WILD). Following Unbox, we put up two more sites, UnGeek (Pop Culture) and Unpacked (Travel). The best thing I’ve learned about constantly building and launching stuff is that you gain confidence, experience, and the knowledge to scale. With our digital publishing business (Unbox, Ungeek, and Unpacked), we have a fairly small team consisting of John, Tim, Jamie, Colin, and myself. For our podcasts we’re usually joined by our good friends from the tech industry: Eason, Nicole, and sometimes Alora. But you know what? Great things truly start from small beginnings (Go Milo). The best thing I’ve learned about constantly building and launching stuff is that you gain confidence, experience, and the knowledge to scale. Your gut feel gets validated and this translates to the energy and excitement you need to be able to create pitch presentations, deliver them to investors, and eventually grow what you started into something closer to what you dreamed about. Sure there are times that we fail and stumble, but truth be told, overcoming these setbacks are what separates the dreamers from the doers. I started blogging and digital publishing more than 10 years ago and I am absolutely thrilled to finally take this thing to the next level. I can’t share details yet but hopefully this post marks the beginning of another incredible milestone....