Weather Channel naming winter storms

The Weather Channel posted an internal marketing pitch, I mean feature article, about why they've deemed themselves the official naming entity for big winter storms. From the article:
During the upcoming 2012-13 winter season The Weather Channel will name noteworthy winter storms. Our goal is to better communicate the threat and the timing of the significant impacts that accompany these events. The fact is, a storm with a name is easier to follow, which will mean fewer surprises and more preparation…

This is an ambitious project. However, the benefits will be significant. Naming winter storms will raise the awareness of the public, which will lead to more pro-active efforts to plan ahead, resulting in less impact and inconvenience overall…

Finally, it might even be fun and entertaining and that in itself should breed interest from our viewing public and our digital users.

"Why The Weather Channel is Naming Winter Storms" (Thanks, Gil Kaufman!)

UK record industry spokesman wants you to know why his employers are going after Pirate Party execs personally

Last weekend, I posted about the UK record industry lobby's strategy of legally threatening executives of the UK Pirate Party over the party's Pirate Bay proxy. Now, Adam Liversage, BPI Director of Communications, wants you to know that his employers had no choice but to threaten the personal finances of Pirate Party officers:

The facts are that despite our efforts over a number of weeks to resolve the matter amicably, Pirate Party UK continued to make clear that they had no intention of removing the proxy to The Pirate Party.

The Pirate Party claims the opposite. I've never known the Pirate Party to knowingly utter a falsehood. I've never known the record industry to knowingly utter a truth, so you make up your own mind.

Our solicitors then wrote to PPUK's National Executive seeking legal undertakings that they would remove the proxy. 'Pirate Party UK' as an entity cannot give undertakings - it has no form of legal personality and it isn't incorporated - so the proper legal course is to write to the members of PPUK's National Executive personally.

The subsequent allegation made by Loz Kaye that BPI has threatened him or other party officers with "bankruptcy" is completely untrue. We have not "individually sued the party's executives" as you assert - we have asked for undertakings to remove the proxy. At no time have we threatened "bankruptcy", so your subsequent narrative about "corporate bullying" and "terrorising people who organise against them" is, in our view, difficult to justify.

So, they're not threatening bankruptcy, they're just talking personal legal action against individuals under statutes that they wrote, bought, and paid for, where the fines involved are designed to bankrupt the losers. But they're not threatening bankruptcy, oh no.

Finally, Mr Liversage, whose employers are funded by companies that stole $45 million in royalties from musicians using a Canadian legal shell-game, routinely fiddle their accounting to their artists, and who ran off-the-books "third-shift" pressings of CDs that could be sold without ever paying royalties to artists until the Sarbanes-Oxley act made their execs personally criminally liable for the practice, wants you to know that:

There is nothing principled in Pirate Party UK helping The Pirate Bay defraud people who earn their living in the creative industries. They have a right to be paid for their work like anyone else.

Where does Assad's online army come from?

Syria's brutal Assad regime has damned few allies left in the world, but one of them, Russia, is governed by a dirty-tricking ruling elite who've made a science out of manipulating Internet opinion. This may explain the weird, stilted pro-Assad astroturf army who appear in any discussion of the regime's atrocities to explain that it's all a Jewish conspiracy.

And on like that. SyriaTribune maintains a YouTube channel stocked with clips from — surprise — Vladimir Putin’s Russia Today portraying Assad as the victim of a bloody-minded western conspiracy. A self-described French intellectual named Thierry Meyssan — author of 9/11 The Big Lie — reveals that TV images purporting to show Assad’s massacres of civilians were prepared by the CIA, along with White House deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes, and “aims at demoralizing the Syrians in order to pave the way for a coup d’etat.” The #FakeRevolution hashtag on Instagram provides pictorial, meme-filled boosterism for Bashar, like a screengrab from Time’ app kindly telling user mybubb1e to stop voting for Assad for Person of the Year or Hillary Clinton with flames shooting out of her eyes and ear, courtesy of Bashar4Ever.

Meet the Assadosphere, the Online Defenders of Syria’s Butcher [Spencer Ackerman/Wired]

MPAA seeks UK sock-puppets to help them screw over TVShack's likable, innocent owner

Richard O'Dwyer, creator of the legal UK website TVShack, faces extradition to the USA (even though TVShack is probably legal in the USA too). As usual, the MPAA has managed to get lawmakers to do their bidding so well that it has made them look like the villainous corporate scumbags everyone suspects them of being. A freshly leaked memo described by TorrentFreak documents Big Content's strategy for winning hearts and minds:

“The overall media coverage has been and will continue to be challenging,” the MPAA writes.

They mention the petition of Wikipedia founder jimmy Wales, the Demand Progress campaign, and note that a recent survey showed that 95% of the public does not support the extradition. According to the MPAA, public opinion is skewed because people are being led to believe that TVShack was operating perfectly legal in the UK.

“To counter these assertions, the MPAA and its allies need a coordinated effort to focus more on the criminal activity involved in the operation of TVShack and other similar linking sites,” the MPAA notes...

“Ideally, this would be done through third parties – but finding third parties – especially in the United Kingdom – has been very difficult so far, so the MPAA must be prepared to respond to media requests on the issue and set the record straight to counter the misinformation campaign by our opponents.”

MPAA Recruits “Surrogates” to Support Extradition of UK Student

Computer-generated PR spam trying not to look like computer-generated PR spam

PR people sometimes say "I loved your coverage of x, perhaps you'd like to hear about y!". The idea is to ensure that I, Esteemed Journalist, know that I am worthy of personalized attention, rather than being an entry on a mailing list.

Some of them, however, are trying to have their cake and eat it, too. I've started getting emails that contain computer-generated personal touches. Computers trying to copy what humans would say to avoid looking like computers!

Here's one that just came in. He/she/it even tweeted me about an unrelated subject--a nice proofing touch--shortly before the email came in. Needless to say, the pitch is terrible. As the named sender might be a real person, I've changed the name to spare them the embarrassment.

Hello Rob,

My name is [horse_PR] and I work with BlueGlass Interactive, Inc. During SOPA, I found a particular interest in, "Infographic: Hollywood's long war on technology." This infographic did a great job at presenting SOPA, in a way that the average consumer could understand.

I noticed a good portion of your site is dedicated to Gweek and Computers. I thought you might enjoy a related infographic, "12 Cities to Find an IT Job." With product and service development growing, more IT jobs are emerging across the states. This IG reviews the top 12 cities that are currently growing and hiring in the IT realm. I believe a good portion of your readership would find this IG to be a great resource!

Do you agree?

I'd love to have you feature this on BoingBoing. I've attached the IG for your review. I look forward to receiving your feedback!

Kind Regards, [horse_PR]

BlueGlass turns out to be an infographic/SEO/marketing outfit: the business model is to make ads look like content, then pitch them to sites as free editorial. The visual complexity of infographics helps conceal or transmute advertising material, and their linkbaityness makes it easy to get them picked up and linked to. I've fallen for it, once before! In this case, the offered infographic advertised the IT recruiter that presumably paid for the service.

Given that I am making hay of BlueGlass's incompetence, I thought it only fair that I publish this infographic in full. It may be seen to the right.