Dangers of the Internet

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      In today’s society, we find that the internet is becoming more

and more contaminated with false identities, information spills, and

blogging incidents. The articles assigned to read reiterate the dangers

of the internet and what could happen to users.

      Companies such as Wal-Mart and Sony have had problems with

blogs they had set up. In one situation, Wal-

Mart blogs that were supposed to be set-up for

employees and their families were actually

controlled by Edelman public relations

representatives. At the time, the blog was

anonymous and readers were unaware of the

blog intruders. In another situation, Zipatoni public relations company

created a fake blog to promote Sony’s Playstation Portable. Using a

                       fake hip-hop artist persona named Charlie, the

                       blog created a story based on Charlie’s cousin

                       Pete who yearned for a Sony PSP for

                       Christmas. However, in some cases, company

                       blogs can be hugely successful. Sun

                       Microsystems has created an accomplished blog

with honesty and candidness.

      Not only are companies using blogs to promote products and

companies, but false identities are helping corporations break into
internet endorsements. With the use of fabricated personas and

unrelated spokespeople, companies are slyly and secretly promoting

through viral buzz and internet advertising to reckless and

unsuspecting internet users.

      Promotions aren’t the only aspects that are causing trouble on

the internet. Companies who have acquired important and valuable

consumer information must also be careful of who is able to obtain this


      In the case of America Online, the attempt

to create an innovative research website turned

into a public disaster. In the beginning stages of

the AOL research site, search data from

subscribers was accidentally released to the

public. In the proceeding months, AOL

conducted an investigation and issued a formal apology to everyone

                       involved in the incident. A similar security

                       problem occurred with MySpace when private

                       comments and photos were able to be viewed by

                       other users. Before MySpace was able to fix the

                       problem, blogs and articles all over the internet

took advantage of unaware MySpace users by describing how to

perform the specific hack to obtain the private information.
      Due to all of the internet problems and leaks of private

information, the Federal Trade Commission has creates many rules

and regulations to protect users and keep companies and advertisers

under control.

      The FTC recently fined the website Xanga for using a loop hole to

allow children under the age of thirteen to create Xanga accounts

without parental permission. The

underage accounts included postings of

personal information, which goes against the FTC standards. In

addition to paying a fine, Xanga has since increased security and

safeguards on the website.

      Popular food companies Hershey Foods and Mrs. Fields Cookies

                      also had trouble with the FTC when they were

                      fined for collecting personal information from

children without parental consent. In both cases, the

food companies were directed to delete all of the

obtained information as well as report to the FTC on a

regular basis and solve the outstanding consent


      Even when the company attempts to give internet users more

power and control within advertising and promotions, problems can

arise that can escalate to a public relations crisis.
                              When contestants were encouraged to

                        send in videos for a Malibu Caribbean Rum

                        contest, a winner was named without even

                        announcing finalists. Contrary reports from the

                        Malibu Rum company confused customers and

contestants and led to many complaints that the contest may have

been rigged.

      In another commercial contest with the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV,

many contestants sent in anti-Chevrolet

advertisements to the contest website. Although

some of the videos were negative and quite

harsh, the company purposely left them up on

the website, saying that they expected both positive and negative

feedback in the contest.

      In the end we can see that although internet promotions and

advertising are largely growing and successful fields, they have also

led to public disasters requiring immediate attention and action.

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