#Amazonfail and a coincidental job advert

This post was originally going to be entitled ‘A picture speaks a thousand words’ and simply put up the image below but felt like it deserved a bit more than that..

Reading this is probably the best place to start.. then come right back..

I’ve been keeping half an eye over the weekend on the steadily building #Amazonfail which is incidentally the top trending topic on Twitter and there are this minute more mentions than even Easter. (For an example of it’s talkability factor, in the past hour there’s been a further 700+ mentions since I carried out the original search.)

Amazon PR Week Job Posting

It’s starting to also garner mainstream coverage now as the traditional press catches up but it is something as far as I know started on Twitter and then made it’s way through the blogosphere shortly after.

What’s happened since then? #Amazonfail was being mentioned 4 times a second barely an hour after the first tweet. A petition was started (which over 15,000 people have signed) a Google Bomb took place, and no I formerly had no idea what one of them was either but it sounds pretty damaging. A Facebook group ‘Boycott Amazon’ has been started. A poll was created with the question being ‘Can Amazon redeem/repair their reputation after #amazonfail?’ A list has popped up featuring all the affected titles – here. Some internet hackers are claiming it’s all their doing whilst the names and numbers of the Board of Directors at Amazon HQ have been published. The CTO has been also been ‘unmasked’ (and remains quiet on the whole debacle). Clearly, this is an issue that’s not going to just disappear overnight.

I’ve rounded up a few posts below. One question that everyone at one stage appeared to be asking was do Amazon have a PR manager in the UK or otherwise to deal with freak happenings like this? The advertisement to my right that I coincidentally spotted in the back of the most recent issue of PR Week would suggest otherwise. I put up the picture on Twitpic and soon after @girlonetrack (an affected publisher) retweeted it to her followers.

A few questions for you..

Do you think this is going to affect Amazon’s reputation at all? Has their silence thus far helped or hindered the situation? What do you think their response should be?

Roundup –

Blogs and Twitter coin Amazonfail by Wall Street Journal

Amazon feel the web’s wrath by Zoe Margolis

Amazon sees censorship decisions magnified through the social web magnifying glass by Becky McMichael

Amazonfail – Easter PR Disaster by Matt Churchill

Amazon = FAIL by Alas, a Blog

#Amazonfail – Timeline of WTF by Anastacia

Amazon Follies by Mark Probst

AmazonFAIL discussion thread at Metafilter

Amazonfail: A call to boycott Amazon by Edward Champion

Amazonfail – Malice or Bumble by Jessica Gottlieb

Amazon has removed it’s customer based reporting of books by Brutal Honesty

Amazon blames a glitch by Los Angeles Times

Midlife chatterers show they like to keep it short and tweet

The following is an article written by Murad Ahmed, Technology Reporter and featured in the British newspaper, The Times, today (Monday, April 13th) so for those that didn’t see it or are over in the US and elsewhere this is for you. (I’ve added in a few Twitter cartoons just for fun..)

Twitter appears to be the embodiment of youth culture with tech-savvy and fast-thumbed teens firing off short updates filled with abbreviations about their lives. But it turns out that the keenest users are the greying brigades of the middle aged.

More mature users, led by famous tweeters such as Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross and Sarah Brown, are the driving force behind the popularity of the site. New research shows that 45-54 years olds are 36 percent more likely than the average to visit the site, with figures from comScore, the internet market researchers, showing that the majority of the 10 million Twitter users worldwide are aged 35 or older.

Twitter Cartoon

Twitter is a social networking and “microblogging” site, where users post short updates – “tweets” of up to 140 characters via the website or a mobile phone. More than 3.5 million people signed up in the first two months of this year.

Celebrities such as Russell Brand and Jamie Oliver are avid users, while Barack Obama used it as a tool during last year’s presidential elections to talk directly and quickly to hundreds and thousands of followers.

Stephen Fry, 51, the actor and comedian whose tweets are followed by about 400,000 people, has become a leading advocate for the service. “I love how Twitter confirms all too often assaulted belief that most humans are kind, curious, knowledgeable, tolerant and funny” he wrote on his blog. (Is your Twitter page a blog in the traditional form? I’m not so sure)

Celebrity tweeters have pushed others towards the site “It’s the role model thing” said Richard Drake, 51, from London. “You see Stephen Fry and think, they’re doing it, so why can’t you?” You’re not teenagers, so you’re no longer following the crowd to the same degree perhaps. “But you think, well, he’s finding it interesting, there’s something happening there, and people my age are doing it.”

Twitter Cartoon
Other social networking websites, such as Facebook and MySpace have also seen an increase in the number of older people signing up in recent months. But the simplicity of Twitter has made it most popular with the golden oldies and 2o percent of all tweeters in Britain are over the age of 55, compared with 12 percent of all Facebook users.

However, it seems that the young are being put off by the increasing number of older users. “I do think there’s a feeling that, if your parents are doing it, suddenly it’s not cool any more” said Jamie Gavin, an analyst at comScore.

Ageing tweeters also said that whereas Facebook seemed to reveal every aspect of your life – something the young seem more at ease at doing – Twitter was less intrusive, and often is used by people at work. “I only Twitter professionally,” said Ian Williams, 41, an executive at a price comparison website. “For us, it’s just another communications tool. That’s the beauty of Twitter, if you decide something is not interesting or inane, you can stop following it. It’s just not invasive”Twitter Cartoon

8 reasons why an iPhone Gmail app would rock.

via CNET

Tuesday’s release of a much-improved Web client for Gmail on the iPhone and Android handsets was nice, but it’s still got me salivating at the idea of a native application for the iPhone. Over the last year we’ve hounded the Gmail team on whether one was on the way, and the answer is–in typical Google fashion, that there will be no discussion of products that have not been announced.

But that doesn’t mean one isn’t in the works.

So let’s take a look at what a native Gmail application could give us over what Apple is currently offering and is set to release in the upcoming 3.0 firmware.

1. Push delivery/Push notifications
Gmail for Android does something no other client of Gmail does: push notifications. This means that the second you get a message it lets you know with a pop-up. The fastest you can set the iPhone’s Mail application to refresh Gmail is every 15 minutes. So could a native iPhone application do the same thing as Gmail for Android? Probably.

An official Google spokesperson told us that no other platform has this push service (including desktop clients), and the other official Gmail native apps simply auto-refresh every few minutes. With the upcoming firmware 3.0, Google could offer the push notifications of new messages through Apple’s push data stream either in the form of a badge that updates on the app’s icon, or with a small preview that pops up with the first line or two of the message.

2. Offline/Gears
The new version of Gmail for Android has offline reading and composing, meaning you can go through your mail and get work done even when you don’t have a connection. While the iPhone’s Mail app lets you read, save, and compose messages, it doesn’t download a big chunk of your in-box or all of the attachments that come with it, which means you can be out of luck if you can’t get online to view a work document or spreadsheet. Which brings us to…

3. Attachment handling
The attachment viewing of Gmail on the desktop can be an absolute joy. PDFs, PowerPoint presentations and PDFs can be viewed in an HTML viewer that cuts down on the start-up time and the requirement for any special software. While the iPhone can natively view these, it doesn’t include search or the option to save the file locally. A local app could offer both.

Likewise, when composing an e-mail in the native Mail app, adding attachments is limited to photos, which with the upcoming firmware is much simpler with systemwide copy and paste. However, if you’re using the Web client, it’s incapable of accessing your local files, which means you’re stuck using the native app if you want to add or take a quick photo as an attachment.

4. Smarter archiving
Not all Gmail users archive their messages, probably because they don’t understand what it does. Archiving takes a message out of your in-box while keeping it in your account, letting you search for it later. It’s a handy feature, yet the iPhone native mail client gives the impression that we’re deleting messages we don’t want to see in our in-box, something which goes against the very principle of having 7GB of mail storage.

If you’ve set up Gmail using the iPhone’s Gmail setup wizard you can in fact archive messages by selecting them and moving them to your “All Mail” folder. Alternately, for native app users who have set up Gmail using the special IMAP instructions the delete function does not actually delete the message but archives it. Confused? A native Gmail app might make a better differentiation between the two, and let you control what you want deleted and archived from the get-go.

Gmail’s task list

5. A standalone task list
Gmail’s task list is not the most full-featured to-do list app out there, but it’s simple and handy. Having it as part of a native app would let you access it and make edits when offline. Google could even give users the option to create hard due dates for each item, which could be synced up to your phone’s calendar and give you a buzz when they had to be done.

6. Combined contact look-up
Here’s a problem: I have one contact list on my phone and another on Gmail. Sure Google has an official solution that will sync up both and combine them into one massive contact list, but what if I want to keep the two separated to keep my iPhone’s phonebook a little smaller?

A native application would help sort that out by making use of the contacts I have on my phone and giving quick auto-complete-as-you-type suggestions for people on my Gmail contact list. Right now, typing addresses from the native iPhone will only bring up auto-complete suggestions if that person is on my contact list, or if I’ve recently sent them a message.

7. Built-in chat
Chat has become a big part of Gmail’s desktop version, yet on the iPhone it’s relegated to a finger-friendly browser version that will sign you off when you close your browser or switch tabs. That’s not a good solution. Why not build it into a native version of Gmail on the phone like there is on Android?

8. GPS and location awareness
Location is becoming an increasingly important part of mobile apps, and Gmail is no different. When Google puts advertising into the mobile version of Gmail you can bet there’s going to be a play on location. Contextual information from inside of your e-mails is one facet, but if Google can figure out where you are and offer something more targeted, you can bet it will.

More importantly, it will open things up for some fun extras, like being able to announce your location in your signature. This is a feature that’s available in the desktop version, but would be a whole lot more useful when your messages are coming from a mobile phone.

These are just a few reasons the iPhone is long overdue for its own native Gmail app. If you’ve got any of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments.