Tim Longhurst's Blog

Entries Tagged as 'Corporate craziness'

as seen on media watch…

June 16th, 2008 · 4 Comments

This evening I received a flurry of text messages regarding my cameo on Media Watch… Now, I didn’t see the show, but it was all about a Today Tonight story that ran a couple of weeks ago…

I was warned by smart people to think twice before giving tabloid TV the time of day…

If anyone saw Media Watch, I’d love to hear your take on it (I’ll have to see it online tomorrow…). Apparently an interview I recently did for the program was used to ‘spice up’ a story Today Tonight had run twice already.

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Category: Corporate craziness

Misleading advertising – making a complaint to the ACCC

February 27th, 2008 · 6 Comments

I was on the Opinion page of the Sydney Morning Herald this morning when I saw a banner advertisement for a “free” real estate service. A few clicks in, it was revealed that there were indeed charges incurred for using this “free” service. So what happens when a consumer compains about false advertising? I decided to find out.

I haven’t made a complaint to the ACCC, but a Google Search quickly led me to:


And pretty soon I was tapping away my complaint. As it involves an online campaign, and online campaigns can update rapidly, I was careful to archive photos and text relating to the complaint on my website, in case the campaign was re-engineered to avoid scrutiny in light of this post.

Here is the wording of my complaint, complete with hyperlinks. The complaint took about 15 minutes to pen, all up. I’ll keep you posted as to manner and speed of the ACCC’s response. It’s worth noting that they require quite a lot of personal information about you to make a complaint. I provided all required information, so I guess I’ll be hearing from the ACCC soon?

This complaint refers specifically to an online banner campaign run by the Australian business, Fairfax Digital, for their ‘Domain Mobile Home Alert’ product.

A snapshot of the advertisement is available here:

It was retrieved at approximately 11.30am on Wednesday 27th February 2007 from the web address: http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/

The claim of the advertisement is:

“Find your next home on your phone for free”

However, several clicks later, it is revealed on an FAQ popup page under the heading “How Much Does It Cost?”:

“You will be charged 55c including GST for each SMS alert that you receive. Domain does not charge you an additional amount to view your alert results via the Domain Mobile site. Your standard mobile network charges for “data retrieval” may apply to access your alert results via the Domain Mobile site.”

SOURCE: http://www.domain.com.au/templates/MobileHomeAlertFAQ.htm#faq

For the purposes of this complaint, this page has been archived at: http://www.timlonghurst.com/criticism/domainmobilehomealert/MobileHomeAlertFAQ.htm#faq

IN SUM: A product advertised as free is charged in multiples of 55c. This product is not free and the advertising deliberately seeks to mislead and deceive consumers regarding the price of the product.

Kind regards,

Tim Longhurst

[UPDATE: (21 October 2015): This page gets quite a lot of traffic and ‘comments’ had become a forum for people to vent frustration on a range of claims they believed to be misleading. Moderating comments on this page would be very time consuming so I’m making this page ‘comment free’. Hope you understand and thanks for visiting!]

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Category: Corporate craziness

If you post it to Facebook, who else are you posting it to?

October 2nd, 2007 · 8 Comments

A few of my friends have been talking about Does What Happens in the Facebook Stay in the Facebook?

The key messages of this video are:

  • Facebook has a very wide-reaching privacy policy that essentially means that whilst you retain copyright over your data, they can use it as if they owned it.
  • Facebook is a fantastic social research tool in that millions of people are posting personal data on a daily basis – they’re uploading it for their friends, but Facebook gets it too, and Facebook will share this data with third party organisations.
  • Facebook has a number of investors that have links to US government intelligence agencies, who are more than likely using data to track individuals and their communication, along with broad trends.

It’s a great case study of how a flash video can be used to convey ideas simply and effectively.

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Category: Corporate craziness

Apple iPhone

January 10th, 2007 · No Comments

stevejobsToday Apple announced it’s first ever mobile phone – the iPhone. It’s still six months away and hardly anyone has touched it, so I’m not sold on it yet.

Forgive me for being cautious, but I’ve heard plenty of stories of ipods dying and people losing all their files – that’s a shame if it’s your music, but devastating if a malfunction destroys your photos, music, contacts and email, which is basically what the iPhone will store, according to Apple. For the users’ sake I hope that the iphone proves to be more stable and reliable that the ipod.

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Category: Corporate craziness

Shove your “sustainability report” in your smoke stack

July 3rd, 2006 · No Comments

There’s a yet-to-be-released study from Scotland that looks set to add to my conviction that Corporate Social Responsibility is a dangerous farce.

Scotland’s Sunday Herald newspaper has run an article under the headline, “Study slams ‘trivial’ social responsibility reports”.

The report is authored by Jan Bebbington and Rob Gray and as soon as I find the full report, you’ll read about it here. In the meantime, here are some teaser lines from the Herald article:

Less than 4% of the world’s 50,000 major companies produce reports on
“corporate social responsibility”, she points out. And the quality of
the reports that are produced is “almost universally trivial”…

The study warns: “The danger is that the very concept on which the
future of the planet depends – sustainability – will be emasculated,
appropriated and destroyed by assertion in the interests of

“We believe we must treat the current crop of
‘sustainability reports’ with the profoundest mistrust as one of the
most dangerous trends working against any possibility of a sustainable

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Category: Corporate craziness