Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blog Review Part III: Countering a Blog Attack

In my previous post we talked about the 10 Rules for Responsible Blogging by Daniel Scocco. Now, let’s talk about Countering a Blog Attack on your business by Christopher Elliott. If you have been a victim of blog attack, try to recall how you responded to the assault and compare them with the eight tips we have here.

8 Tips for Countering a Blog Attack on Your Business
By Christopher Elliott

While blogging gets a lot of positive press these days, it also has a dark side. There are bloggers out there who can be mean-spirited, uninformed, and partisan cyber-thugs who attack your company for no apparent reason.

The resulting online flames can singe employee morale and burn your company’s reputation. Unless, of course, you have an effective response that can neutralize these self-appointed critics.

"Don’t overreact," says Paul Argenti, a professor of corporate communication at Dartmouth’s school of business. "Don't get angry or become unprofessional. And don't take it personally."

Here are eight tips for fending off irresponsible or angry bloggers.

1. Monitor blog activity about your company. If you don't know what they're saying about your company, how can you defend yourself? The sooner you know that something negative is making the rounds, the sooner you can address it.

Catwizkers: Know what blog, blogging and bloggers are and scan the environment, include the web!

2. Know that nothing on the Web "just goes away." "The biggest mistake small-business owners make is thinking that eventually a negative comment will go away," says Cord Silverstein, senior vice president at marketing communications firm Capstrat. "What they do not realize is that the Web never forgets. No matter how long ago a negative comment was placed online, it will be stored by the search engines and will be … found by your potential customers."

Catwizkers: Always remember, you are not perfect and you are not always safe. The attacker will always be somewhere waiting for the opportunity to strike!

3. Respond as soon as you can when a blogger goes on the offensive. That's the advice of New York-based Victoria Grantham of the marketing firm Rose Communications. "Respond in a timely fashion with relevant information," she says. You have two choices: Make a statement in the forum in which the original criticism was posted (for example, leaving a comment on a blog), or publish something to your own Web site.

Catwizkers: A prompt and educated response will surely provide the blogger something to think about!

4. Rebut with a strategic post of your own. Often, the most effective response to an attack is to post a rebuttal to your own blog. If you don't have your own blog, consider starting one. Bloggers pay attention to other bloggers, and a counter post is far likelier to be effective than a polite statement made on your company Web site. There is nothing wrong with responding to negative blog posts in a matter-of-fact way, Fact-check and fact-correct. Also, be transparent, and never disguise your identity when blogging or responding to a post."

Catwizkers: If symptoms persist, use your blog! Don’t know? then learn how!

5. Ask your friends for help. Develop a social network consisting of your clients, employees, and stakeholders on your company Web site. Loyal customers are likely to be the first to go on the counter-offensive on your behalf. And in the end, that can be far more effective than a solo effort to defend your reputation.

Catwizkers: If you are a good friend, a fine boss and a respected leader, you will never be alone!

6. Don't go for a perfect score. If you try to respond to every negative comment about your company, you'll slowly drive yourself mad. Rather than trying to counter every argument made online, spend your energies only on the important ones—and the rest on running your company. Your best bet is to focus on the legitimate criticisms leveled against your organization.

Catwizkers: Set your objective and be strategic!

7. Call in the pros, if necessary. Calling in the cavalry may be necessary if your business is being seriously harmed by a blog attack.

Catwizkers: If you cannot do it, get somebody who can, right away!

8. Protect your company against future attacks. You can do that by getting to know the bloggers who have ganged up on your company and—are you still sitting down?—befriending them. "Build a relationship," Leave comments on their blog, respond to their posts by e-mail, be visible on online review sites and make yourself accessible to them. You'd be surprised at how responsive bloggers will be to your efforts. Don't sit there helplessly while bloggers destroy your business. By paying close attention to what's being said about you, responding quickly with a polite and professional rebuttal, and using all the tools at your disposal, you can successfully repel a blog assault.

Catwizkers: Learn your lessons well and do the right things, right!

Remember: To avoid blog clot, don't panic, don't over-react and don't over-act. What do you think?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blog Review Part II: Responsible Blogging is Self Regulation

 Lets talk about Responsible Blogging and Countering a Blog Attack.

First, it is interesting to capture the value of these 10 rules written by Daniel Scocco and published at

As I have pointed out earlier particularly concerning Ellaganda, bloggers must carefully examine their facts, foresee the potential implications of their blogs and manage the comments that their blogs will generate. I know that Ellaganda now sees the value of these rules but she still feels a little bit weak, shy and mystified due to the awesome, overwhelming and blog-crushing responses she got in this part of the web. Let’s check at least numbers 1, 3 and 4 and think about being a responsible blogger.

10 Rules for Responsible Blogging
by Daniel Scocco

1. Check your facts: technology makes it incredibly easy to produce and share content nowadays. The result is that information is spreading like fire through social networks, bookmarking sites and blogs. Unfortunately we are talking about both correct and incorrect information. Make sure to check your facts before publishing posts or articles, else you might not only look dumb, but also misinform and damage other people.

2. Respect Copyright Law: people wrongly associate online content with public domain content. Did you know that every published material is copyrighted even if it does not show a copyright notice? More importantly, even if you remove the copyrighted content after the author contacts you the copyright infringement will still exist. Learn the basics of the Copyright Law to avoid costly mistakes.

3. Consider the implications: as mentioned before information on the Internet spreads like fire. Consider the implications of what you write, and remember that once you hit “Publish” you will immediately lose control over those words.

4. Control the comments: anything that is published on your blog is your responsibility; that means that you should control not only the information that you include on the posts and articles but also what your readers add through the comments. First of all you could create a comment policy and attach a link to the comment form. This will ensure that readers are aware of what they can and can not say in a comment.

5. Give credit where credit is due: always reference your sources. If you do not want to mention an external website on your content just add a link at the end of the post saying “via:”. This practice is not only important under an ethical point of view, but it also ensures that readers can eventually dig to the root of the facts. Secondly even if you are using free templates or open source software like Wordpress make sure to credit the authors.

6. Disclose professional relationships: if you work for a company or institution disclose it on the “About” page. Explicitly declare that the views expressed on the blog are yours and not the ones from your employer (unless you are blogging for that employer, obviously).

7. Disclose sponsored posts: sponsored reviews represent an efficient way for advertisers to build buzz and for bloggers to earn money. It is essential, however, that you make your position regarding those posts transparent in front of your readers. First of all you can insert a disclosure notice at the end of the sponsored post. Secondly you can create a dedicated page on your blog outlining how sponsored reviews will be treated and what the readers should expect from them.

8. Be transparent with affiliate links: many affiliate marketers use techniques like “link cloaking” so that readers are not able to identify affiliate links. While this method might increase your revenues on the short term it will probably be a bad idea over the long run. A deceived visitor is a lost visitor. Focus and on creating value for the reader and you will not even need to hide your affiliate links; if people believe in your work they will certainly accept your recommendations for products.

9. Respect Tax Law: bloggers and webmasters tend to equate online money with tax-free. If you earn money through donations on your site you will need to pay taxes. The key factor is whether your blog is a hobby or a business. There is no definitive answer for this question, but a good starting point is whether your earnings are higher than your expenses. Do not forget to take into consideration the contributing writers as well.

10. Avoid “blackhat” methods: there will always be people trying to game the system, trying to find the shortcuts. Guess what, there are no shortcuts. If you want to make your blog or website popular or profitable just work hard and the results will come. What is more important, the results from hard work are solid, they will not vanish over night. By “blackhat” methods we mean trying to cheat social bookmarking sites (i.e. buying Diggs), trying to cheat search engines (i.e. hiding text behind images) and the like. Those methods certainly will bring some benefits, but they are not sustainable. It is like building a sand castle, sooner or later the sea will catch up with you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Blog Review Part I: Be a Real Blogger, not a Troll

Is Ella Rose a blogger or a troll? I have examined Ella’s article “Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo? (A special report from a volunteer). I have dissected it “blog by blog” to determine what went wrong. Here is my opinion on the blog:

As you now know, initially Ella wrote:

“I’m asking your help to spread the word. Tulungan po ninyo akong ikalat ito. Beyond this, we should also demand action. I disabled a plugin so you can copy the photos of relief goods rotting in DSWD warehouses.”

I reviewed the article but failed to see pictures of “relief goods rotting in DSWD warehouses.” All pictures show relief goods in perfect condition. I am also surprised why Ella quickly called for help to spread the word [virus as others call it] without further data gathering and verification.

Then Ella wrote:

“I never imagined that my post will stoke a hornet’s nest this big. Not in my wildest dreams. It’s plain to see that it’s out of my hands. People reposted and it became viral.”

Ella, we have to take note that earlier you wrote: “I’m asking your help to spread the word. Tulungan po ninyo akong ikalat ito.” Ella, for whatever reason, you grew inconsistent here. While at first you asked for help to “spread the word,” now you seem surprised of the results of what you wanted to happen. Ella seems to be a confused troll [Wikipedia says - In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

Ella also said:

“I therefore conclude, social media rule.”

Ella, this is nothing new. Unfortunately it is only now that you are realizing this.

Then finally today, Oct. 25, 2009, Ella started to loose potency as she wrote:

“Everyone has seen and heard what I had to say. All I did was ask the right questions that sparked a controversy. No hidden agenda. It has even come to the point that I am being maligned as a person. My words are being twisted and each point I say is discussed endlessly.“

Ella, your error was that you really did not asked questions, much more the right questions. You had your speculations and you quickly asked people to “spread the word” and “Ikalat ito” as you said. In my opinion it is outright malicious. You need not complain now. You have maligned others hence it is not surprising that those you have maligned will respond. They feel that your words twisted the facts hence it is not surprising that those who were affected will respond to fix what you have twisted, and yes it could be endless.

Ella further wrote:

“I am just a blogger who wanted to know what’s going on. I did not accuse anyone of hoarding. There were never any allegations of pilferage. I did not even claim to be a “balanced, responsible journalist”. There were no interviews granted to any news agency. Still, “news” was released about my stand on the issue.”

Ella, you are not just a blogger who wanted to know what’s going on. You are actually a troll. You really did not accuse anyone of hoarding or pilferage because you really cannot. But I believe your article and the manner by which you presented it have falsely maligned the DSWD organization, its officials and employees through your malicious imputations and speculations. You cannot really claim to be a balanced, responsible journalist because you are not but you can easily qualify as a troll. You could have done better if you chose to be a real blogger.

More from Ella:

“After my first post about DSWD, I had nothing more to say. Most of all, I have no intention of putting the hard-working DSWD employees in a bad light.”

Ella, again your error. You are really a troll [get back at my definition above]. You published to provoke and disrupt then you say, you have nothing more to say. That you have no intention of putting the hard-working DSWD employees in bad light. But you just had. In fact not only the DSWD officials and employees but their families and the country as well. It is really difficult when you fail to recognize the potential damage that your blog can do. More difficult to accept the actual damage you have done. That is the reason why we really need to be careful about our blogs.

Ella further said:

“Secretary Cabral said her piece and I published it. I also believe in hearing both sides of the story. I’ve said mine and I’ve aired hers and all your comments.”

Ella, there is nothing new with this. Bloggers really have the responsibility to manage responses and comments.

Then finally Ella wrote:

“All that I ask is for people to take their part in this issue: volunteers. DSWD, and myself. Wherever you fall in this category, do your part. I am not the issue. DSWD has a problem deploying relief goods. I know each of us have our own stand regarding this situation. Don’t let this cloud your judgment of anything other than what’s important — getting the right help to the people that need it most.”

Ella, you could have made such statement before you published your article and asked others to spread it. I did not find this objective in your original post. What I read was your call for people to spread the word and “ikalat to” and your litany of malicious imputations and speculations. If this was your purpose, you could have given justice to your blog and to the network if you put it forward earlier as your main agenda. Your blog was an unguided bullet, something like “to whom it may concern.” You really did not have a good purpose and clear target. It was only meant to provoke and not to solve any issue. You could have established your blog in a proper perspective and framework.

I read this Blogger's Code of Conduct in Wikipedia. Hope bloggers can get something from it to enforce civility on their blogs by being civil themselves and moderating comments on their blogs. Author O'Reilly said, "I do think we need some code of conduct around what is acceptable behavior, I would hope that it doesn't come through any kind of regulation it would come through self-regulation:

1. Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.
2. Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
3. Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
4. Ignore the trolls.
5. Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.
6. If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.
7. Don't say anything online that you wouldn't say in person.

Ella, Be a real blogger, not a troll.

Relief Goods Rotting in DSWD Warehouses?

"xxx relief goods rotting in DSWD warehouses." - Ella Rose de los Santos.
Ella, I did not see any "rotting relief goods" in the pictures you posted.
Maybe you posted the wrong pictures. Please check.

DSWD Statement on the Relief Goods Issue

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) manages the National Relief Operations Center (NROC) which is the facility for processing and storage of relief goods that are purchased by the Department or donated to us by generous individuals both here and abroad. The relief goods are released to our Regional Offices or directly to evacuation centers or to the local government units as they are needed and requested by these entities. They are delivered in trucks, many of which were lent to us by private companies or by military vehicles. Some of the goods are shipped by air from nearby Villamor Airbase.

When typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng hit the country, we received and are continuing to receive donations. Our warehouses are indeed full, inspite of the fact that we have distributed 500,000 food packs and 200,000 clothing packs as well as thousands of sacks of rice, blankets, beddings, and items of personal hygiene in the past almost 4 weeks. That is the reason why when asked if we still have enough goods, my constant reply is yes, so far we do, thanks to the many kind-hearted individuals and organizations as well as countries who responded and are still responding to the plight of the typhoon victims.

There are no rotting relief goods in our warehouses as we do not keep perishables there and the relief goods that are there, save for the donated old clothes are quite new since they have been either recently purchased by us or have been just donated.

Our goods are repacked by volunteers who are there because they want to help. But they are volunteers and report when they have time to help us. Sometimes there are two hundred of them and sometimes there are only a dozen. However many or few they are, we appreciate their presence and their assistance. Weekdays are usually quiet but on Saturdays and Sundays, the students, along with others who work Monday to Friday, including our own employees, are there.

Our staff at the warehouse work round the clock even now, making sure that the requests for relief goods are met in a timely manner. They work hard, they work quietly and they work humbly and I feel bad that they have been subjected to public vilification that they do not deserve.

I do not recall having talked to an Editor of Philippine News. I do remember my secretary telling me that someone was on the phone asking why there were no volunteers working at the warehouse. My reply was we do not own the time of the volunteers.

I wish that I could have prevented the deaths from typhoons but in fact, they have nothing to do with the relief goods that we are in charge of. Most of the deaths were from drowning or injuries sustained during the typhoon. Some died of illnesses. We are not in charge of rescue nor are we in charge of health and to the best of my knowledge, none of the deaths was due to absence of or delay in the delivery of relief goods.

We would like to assure all of you that the relief goods will reach the intended beneficiaries as they become necessary and will be used only to assist them. However, the relief goods don’t all go out at the same time and an empty warehouse is not proof that the goods were used properly just as a full warehouse is not evidence that the goods are being hoarded. If you visit our website you will find updates on our activities related to typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. It includes an updated list of donations received and goods released from the DSWD warehouse.

There are many aspects of disaster response. They include recovery and rehabilitation and in both instances, goods and other resources are still needed. In the initial reaction to a calamity, people will want to help and as we saw recently, they came in droves, offering their time, their talent and their resources. We want them to know how much we appreciate them for what they have done and what they are still doing. But further down the road, when the initial flush of generosity gives way to donor fatigue, there will remain only a few hardy NGOs and volunteers and the workers of the DSWD and other government agencies to continue the job of helping the disaster victims back on their feet. Judicious use of resources at the outset is imperative lest we face the situation of even greater want after a period of relative plenty. We at the DSWD wish to assure you that your trust in us is not misplaced. Thank you.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Be a Volunteer!

The Department of Social Welfare and Development needs 160 volunteers per day to do repacking of relief goods at the DSWD National Resource Operations Center [NROC], Chapel Drive, Pasay City. For more information, volunteers may visit and connect to the following links or Volunteers may also call 9318101 loc. 405 and 9512805 or 09212193646. Be a Volunteer, Register Now!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I am Catwizkers.

Let's talk about what's happening.

The Senate is irrelevant?

The World Bank refuses to provide its report to the Senate.
Hofman is not arrogant.
World bank has provided its report to "relevant" authorities in the Philippines, and therefore the report cannot be shared with the Senate.
The Senate may be too proud. Hofman's letter only said that the report has been provided to relevant authorities. It was Senator Mirian who said that "ergo" the Senate is irrelevant. Basic argument, di ba? Ka immature naman yata?
Why can't the Senate accept this?
Why does the Senate always want to be relevant in almost anything? Are they doing all the relevant things for the people?

We have a copy of the report provided by the World Bank to the DOF and the Ombudsman.
Why not require these offices to present the report. Let the head of these agencies testify. Aysus!

Si Senator Ping naman, he can be very relevant if he comes out with real and credible witnesses and evidences rather than just the incredible innuendos. Nanghihinayang at nabibitin din naman kami sa ginagawa niyo. Mag-iingay sa simula tapos wala naman pala. If you are really serious with your accusations then, be relevant - do a "complete senate-like work." Senator, relevant ba yan?

Another very relevant observation:

People implicated in any controversy will now have a new response to querries from the media - "I will consult my doctor." It's no longer the famous line - "I will consult my lawyer." Galing ano?

Sometimes we do not have to create noise to be relevant. Our actions will make us relevant.

Only God is relevant to everyone, everywhere, anytime.