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Bigpond brands Uluru


Am I being overly- politically sensitive or does this kind of graffiti suck bigtime?
BigPond Graffiti/Advertising on Second Life/Aboriginal Sacred Space, Uluru

It might only be a virtual world, it might just be Second Life – but I believe we take our values with us. In-and-out of real world, virtual world, doesn’t matter, we reveal who we are at all times.

I don’t really care for what BigPond reveals about themselves … do you?

Incidentally, BigPond went to a lot of trouble to get permission to use Uluru in Second Life – you are not allowed to walk on it for instance. What the hell happened here? o.O For Gawd’s sake, give the community responsibility but don’t let them run amok…. retain some control!

EDIT: Timely post from blog.secondlife.com – Second Life are banning AdFarms.

The good news therefore, is that Network advertising (Ad Farming) will no longer be permitted on the Linden Mainland unless you have a written agreement with Linden Lab (essentially meaning a license to advertise). Anyone currently operating such a business inworld will need to remove their adverts by the 1st October 2008.

Shame it’s not the islands, just the Mainland.

EDIT: Facebook group – Telstra Defaces Uluru – good going, Jacqui McGirr 🙂
Here’s a video – see for yourself.

EDIT: BigPond have now taken down the billboards and here’s a photo so you can make up your own mind of the distance between Uluru and the billboards – they are kangaroos between the two I think.
I refused an interview and refused permission for re-printing of these photos in Sydney Morning Herald. Unfortunately, Asher Moses chose to ignore my statement. My blog is under the CC – Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. *sighs* I specifically said ‘no’ to the photos. Now they are in the Age too. Bloody heritage media clearly don’t understand copyright. Someone kick Asher Moses – who seems to ignore the fact that Second Life has the most concurrent users EVER last week – naughty doesn’t begin to cover the lack of journalistic ethics.

Oh and someone tell him I am presenting at PANPA on Wednesday – you know, the conference for media proprietors and CEOs of newspapers, opened by Kevin Rudd? Sheesh. Noice case study for my preso 😛

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

30 thoughts on “Bigpond brands Uluru

  1. You have to wonder:
    (a) If anyone would embrace this imagery;
    (b) If anyone would become BigPond customers as a result of this promotion;
    (c) How Telstra/Bigpond would even know if a and b ever occurred?

  2. You have to wonder:

    (d) Why they’d bother considering Second Life’s usage.

    I am surprised Bigpond are still trying to milk this shocker of an investment

  3. @anonymity “While we are talking of ethics Laurel and anonymity. Did you tell the readers you are Gary Hazlitt’s partner in SL..

    Well yes, I did guess I did –here and here. OH and here – though I got into trouble for calling him “Mr SilkCharm” 🙂

    “Did you tell them he used to work for the Pond and is um.. leaving ABC..” As far as I know he still consults to those two companies and many others besides. I believe that both companies continue to refer to him as a leading international Second Life consultant, and that he continues to develop installations in Second Life for major Fortune 500 companies.

    I know it must be challenging for you to understand that a grown woman is capable of questioning the wisdom of slapping billboards over Uluru, but hand on heart, I did it all on my own without the guiding hand of any man.

    Incidentally you confirm what I have already observed in the Bigpond Second Life community – a small group of over-loyal, ‘mob ruled’ vigilantes who are not open to discussing any finer points of social interaction online, and who are not benefiting at all from Bigpond’s hands-off approach. Such cliques are dangerous in a branded environment and – as you just proved – make personal attacks to defend the indefensible and to limit group interaction to those that share their views. I hope Bigpond steps in soon to reign in this ‘attack in defense’ attitude or they will end up with a small – and ever diminishing- group of extremely aggressive right wing consumers hijacking their brand online.

    I recommend you and your other fellow anonymous Pond community members settle down, join the real discussion – “does inappropriate branding in a virtual environment mean anything” – and consider that that question is worthy of discussing without needing to find any hidden agendas.

  4. Lauren,

    Thank you so much for raising this to our attention.

    The blogosphere is a vital way for us to gain important insights.

    The billboards posted near the Second Life Uluru were advertising winners for an in-world competition run by the BigPond Second Life team.

    We have now removed these billboards.

    You are very correct in stating BigPond takes the image of Uluru in Second Life very seriously. This is why we do not allow avatars to climb or fly over it.

    While the billboards were also placed away from Uluru, with quite some space between them and the rock, unfortunately the angle of the screen grab did not show this.

    Once again, thank you so much for raising this to our attention. Blogs, such as yours, are always of great interest to us.

  5. @anonymous
    “Secind Life? Try getting a First Life.”- One might retort “Try getting a Spellchecker”? Or even “Leaving st00pid comments? Try getting a First Life.” … but that would be rude.

    @Ben stop thinking broadcast ‘numbers of eyeballs’ hon. Second Life is excellent for research and development for what’s coming.

    @anonymous 2 – not surprised it was taken down.

    @Peter (Telstra) thanks for the quick response. I’ve added an image that gives people the ability to decide for themselves how close the boards were. I think the challenge is for a company to remain engaged with the community, ensuring mutual happiness with the way the brand is delivered in that environment (rather than a hands off approach). Community admins – particularly on BigPond and other similar sims – need a form of accountability to safeguard themselves, the company and the community.

  6. Incidentally I’ve just declined permission to Asher from SMH to use this stuff – too much negativity about SL from heritage media, I’m not encouraging it.

    Funny, people confuse Commons licensing with ‘free and available’ *winks*

  7. wonder…it wasnt even on Uluru…one of my Best Shots was in those photos for eveyone to walk around and see at the Billabong..and I’m glad the Pond Estates has events that avi’s can enjoy… why not write about all the wonderful things that happen there..

  8. Hi Bonnnie, I think the community is great and it’s wonderful that you have won some Best Shots.
    But there is appropriate and inappropriate use of virtual space. Billboards adjacent to an Aboriginal Sacred Space is not appropriate – especially when BigPond has 13+ islands complete with art galleries they could’ve used.

    I do write positively on this blog about virtual worlds (I have been a resident of SL since 2005) and as I said, turned down an interview SMH because I get tired of all the negative press. I will be on Alice Springs ABC Drive show this afternoon, on this matter – mostly to talk about the positives and negatives of handing a company brand over to the community.

    While the Admins need some more monitoring (you would know as well as I some of the issues there), The Friends of the Pond is one of the best social networks in Second Life – the members just need to be mindful that their activities do not bring negative attention to their hosts (BigPond) or the broader Australian community.

    Most of the negative press about SL comes from branded environments and it’s because the companies are too hands-off with their management of the community. As a manager of virtual worlds (yes, plural) I see it all the time – neither control at one end, nor complete dissociation work: management AND engagement is the key.

  9. Thanks for your comment but the inworld team that volunteers in the pond estates are really wonderful and create lots of enjoyment for everyone who comes and live in these islands like I do. Popping into a sim for one issue makes me hesitate to see that you understand our community and how great it is. How do you think Friends of the Pond is such a social network I would hate to see us lose what we have here on the Pond Estates because of an out of focus photo and Uluru being misinterpreted for the Billabong. It makes me upset when someone gives a view when they are not part of the interactivity of the group on regular basis and have basically taken a hit at the Pond Estates for nothing but sensationalistic journalism.

  10. Thanks anonymous that says it all I wonder what the topic would be on vampires and furries and nekos and slavery!!!! Lets get real if we are gonna talk about this.

  11. Laurel,

    I regularly search blogs for content on Second Life. The Aussies are in the news a lot lately blog wise. The recent opening of the Bigpond Kiosk was blogged in many places last week. Today I found your blog. I disagree with many things that you have said. I have always found that Second Life is unique for many reasons. I have been able to “build” houses here that I would never have the opportunity to do in Real Life. I first arrived in Second Life on the BigPond Islands as I chose that option when signing in i.e. Australian. I was given no end of support by the avis on the islands both in the BigPond Team and just regulars. I disagree that there needs to be more monitoring of the Admin team. Their events are always great socialising events, and seem to run smoothly. If there is a problem for instance LL problems with logins etc, I normally learn about it first from the Friends of the Pond Group.

    I also have read the SMH article regarding this matter, which seems to be using both your captured picture of the photographs mentioned and uses a link to your site. Without your blog there would be no negative press about Second Life. Whilst you say you declined to be interviewed for this article, when people link through to your blog from the SMH article, they wlil mostly just read the blog and not the comments, and have adverse features of SL to read.

    Finally, the nature of the sims on Second Life is that each sim borders others particularly on mainland or when in a group such as BigPond has. The competition photos seem to have been on the sim behind the pub at BigPond Islands, totally separate to the Uluru land. The angle of the photo is such that is blocks the Uluru skyline, but you could take photos of other advertising around the Pond and represent it so. So the four sims bordering Uluru Sim should be empty void places as well? That BigPond take the time to represent indigenous Australia with Uluru at all is a wonder and a great thing culturally for Australians, that some people wish to bring down this venture with cheap shots is something I find distasteful. I wonder if you do drive time in Alice Springs, have you climbed Uluru in real life, disrespecting the views of the indigenous people that own it?

  12. Hi Laurel,

    “Incidentally I’ve just declined permission to Asher from SMH to use this stuff – too much negativity about SL from heritage media, I’m not encouraging it.”

    You may be interested to know that your post and pics have been used despite your declining permission – see here:
    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/09/08/1220725906421.html

    I don’t know if this makes me some kind of tattle tale 🙁 just thought you had a right to know if you’re being quoted.

    Thanks for the great post.

  13. Hi,

    I run The Metaverse Journal, an Australian virtual worlds news site and wanted to make a comment. I’m astounded by the comment above that by Laurel publishing her original story has created the end product of a negative story. It’s a farcical position to take and if applied across the board would mean no issues are discussed. My take is that both Laurel’s original post and the SMH story seem reasonable to me.

    On the Pond social groups, I’m not a member of any but try to drop in on the Pond sims at least once a week and i agree that it’s a very close knit community. I’ve written a story on this before but i love the fact that one of the most popular social areas there is outside the Billabong Bar around the campfire – truly an aussie social experience 😉

  14. Lowell,

    for those wondering what Lowell wrote his blog was here http://www.meta.restofurl. I have seen Lowell about the traps once or twice. Laurel, what persona do you use in Second Life, perhaps I will come up and have a discussion some time.

    Lowell whilst I understand what you are saying about freedom of speech, what I am pointing out is that her views have been picked up by a mainstream media format, and will be sensationalised. Whilst She may not be responsible for the further denigration of views on Second Life, her words in response to later comments, such as those from Bonnie, in my opinion start the blame game and specifically name in that instance the Admin team. Whilst she says that she managers Virtual World(S) I wonder if she has much interaction with branded sims on the Management side of things.As a long time client of the BigPond Islands, and a member of the Friends of the Pond Group, I personally prefer a Management style such as they adopt. If i had real time people from the BigPond Team telling me how to live my life on the BigPond Islands I would no longer spend time on their sims, this is my Second Life, it works because of the interactivity of everyday people. As far as I have seen, this includes the admin team known to us, we are all part of a community, I would hate to ruin that with the bureaucracy of Real Life Management. I guess at the end of the day any publicity is good publicity for BigPond and this will go the route of all the articles over the past 18 months, mired in dust and in the “who cares” pile. I would like to thank Laurel however for an interesting day!

  15. My blog is not negative about Second Life but does – as Lowell points out – bring up issues to be discussed.

    Incidentally I only knew about the billboards because I was sitting in Second Life when it was being discussed. The discussion – one guy didn’t like the boards, others said it was ‘just pixels’ made for an interesting discussion.

    My issue with SMH and Asher in particular is that they aren’t in SL, have no understanding and don’t report correctly. Ever. *shrugs* they don’t add to the conversation they exploit.

    To the others, you may think that Second Life is unimportant, that what you do there is of no relevance and that nobody cares but I think you are wrong. It’s not ‘just’ pixels anymore than a news report is ‘just’ words’. This is about values, shared values in fact and in world/out of world respect. Showing it means being mindful of others and allowing others to speak – shoving up billboards is not the choice I would’ve made to demonstrate that.

    @Cass thanks for bringing it to my attention. Wonder if I should ring Asher’s editor and have a whinge? Would they listen?

  16. Following your links to twitter etc, I believe I have found your In world name its SilkCharm Sachertorte? I will look out for your comments in world 🙂

  17. Eveyone seems to be “Pointing the bone” so to speak..dont you all know that “The Dingo Did it!”..this blog is quite a laugh..i cant believe some of you take it so serious..get a life..but most of all Get a Job..and if you dont like second life..maybe you should delete your account and stop taking photo’s..but then again..what else would you have to winge about?

  18. Hey Laurel, I used the pic because I received advice that you can’t claim ownership of a screenshot.

    In either case, i’ve linked to your blog and i’ve credited you underneath the photo.

    Please contact me if you’d like to chat further.

  19. What a worthless beat up..
    1) It is a virtual world, not the REAL World.
    2) If the great snake is upset, she can tell you herself.
    3) There is nothing correct about the PC Nazis going around telling other people what they can and can’t look at..

    Get a REAL LIFE, Wake up to yourself, ..

    SAD, Sad

  20. As one of my readers wrote on my blog recently.

    Dear Anonymous, I’m sorry, your opinion is as valid as your identity. You work out it. Grow some balls or keep walking.

    Keep bringing up the good stories Laurel.

  21. @Asher, you rang me and asked permission to use the photos, I said no, you used ’em anyway. *smack* don’t make excuses kiddo. Either you have some journalistic ethics or you don’t. And sack w/e crap lawyer-wannabe that told you you can steal images if they are screenshots.

    @anonymous get a first life yourself, trolling blogs is not living. And no, I don’t intend to delete an avi I have had in SL for 3 years and as a member of the Pond community since the beginning just because someone sticks up billboards in the wrong place.

    @richard please explain what real life is – is it ok to put advertising smack bang on Uluru if it is on TV for instance? Or what about a photoshop ad in a magazine? Perhaps faux co-branding Uluru with a major company is not important for Australia at all – in spite of the thousands that coming to the SL site from overseas?

    @Julian Jed White once said on Twitter “I could never figure out why Anon was such a great writer in print but such an idiot online 🙂 ” Hear Hear 🙂

    I wish Priscilla from ANTAR was around – she is always good to give an Aboriginal Native Title perspective on things. But I think she is o/s atm. 🙁

    By the way the radio interview with ABC went well – it’s being aired in Alice Springs and didn’t get into anything negative about Second Life or BigPond, just a general “hows this for a discussion?” point of view.

  22. While we are talking of ethics Laurel and anonymity. Did you tell the readers you are Gary Hazlitt’s partner in SL.. Did you tell them he used to work for the Pond and is um.. leaving ABC.. From reading all the Metaverses statements regarding that dilemma… no wonder you tried to involve the in-world team.. Sour grapes.. Great opportunity to cause problems using your so called power in the media.. Putting everyone down in your blog who didn’t agree with you… when you’re a real journalist and don’t use your own articles for your boyfriends ends we may appreciate you. May be you could have suggested that the Egyptian theme used in the pond be replaced as it is so un Australian. At least the best shots was photos of in world enjoyment.

  23. Laurel,

    First, the declaration of interest. I’m a journalist, so you can now consider my point of view to be biased and dismiss it.

    However:
    – The SMH’s use of the pics isn’t particularly a reflection of Ahser Moses’ ethics, if the decision is made by his editor.
    – As you know, the Copyright Act permits the reproduction of copyright works as part of news reporting. See here.
    – As you also know, the Creative Commons license also explicitly states that it does not override “fair dealing” use of copyright material. I’m sure you know this, because it’s at the bottom of the Creative Commons page you link to yourself.

    So, what the SMH has done is within the law and normal practise, and wasn’t Asher’s final decision. Where are his ethics at fault?

    Richard Chirgwin

  24. It's a virtual representation of Ayers Rock, political correctness has gone mad. Stop being so emo & get a real life! Do you get upset at Warbook IGN's too ?

  25. @ Richard Chirgwin
    Hi Richard. Let’s not confuse legal and ethical. In my opinion, Asher is in the wrong because by asking Laurel’s permission, he implied permission was needed, and that he’d abide by her decision. Which he didn’t.

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