Russell Buckley from MobHappy, who I respect a lot and who has always provided great, brutal feedback when required, emailed me this morning slapping me around the head regarding a couple of issues I want to air here because I think they deserve a broader forum for discussion, as they touch upon issues I haven’t totally got my head around yet.
The first is regarding a somewhat defamatory entry made in my Wikipedia profile recently by someone who chose to remain anonymous – although, by looking at the IP address, I know who it is. The entry reads:
In 2007 Cameron sold out and excepted cash for comments from Telstra which included running shows about Telstra without owning up to the fact he is accepting money from them. He finally let it slip on the 11th Episode of On The Pod with Duncan Riley.
Now this isn’t the first time people (mostly this same person) has chosen to write shit about me in my Wikipedia entry. I’m not sure what the point of it is. Apparently they either don’t understand that Wikipedia is *supposed* to contain accurate, factual information – or they just want to be a dickhead, annoy me and waste my time. Needless to say, the person who wrote this didn’t ask me anything about what I’m doing for Telstra. He just wrote it up there based on a comment I made on Duncan’s show.
For the record – Telstra engaged my services recently to produce a series of podcast pilots for them which will be run off of their website, not TPN, starting in the new year. I haven’t mentioned it in detail because they have asked me not to – they want to “launch it” in the usual Telstra way with a full PR process. Fair enough. Since they have engaged my services, I think you’ll find I have kept my blogging and podcasting about Telstra agnostic as always – I wrote something as recently as this week saying their NextG wireless card didn’t seem to perform as well as Three’s NetConnect card on my testing. If this is “cash for comments”, then they are getting the raw end of the deal. The ironic thing is that they actually engaged my services, I believe, because they knew I would be an agnostic voice coming in and doing these shows, not somebody who is on the Telstra payroll. I make enough money from TPN that I don’t *need* to take corporate work. If anything, it cuts into the time I have to do TPN work. I take it, though, when interesting projects come my way and when I think the client genuinely shares the same vision I have for what podcasting should be about. In this case, the Telstra team I am working with share my vision. So I’m excited about it.
Anyway, here are the two questions I have about defamatory comments in Wikipedia:
1) What do you think the acceptable procedure is when people write shit about you? Should you a) amend it yourself (making sure, of course, that you log in and therefore put your changes on the record, not like this person or Adam Curry would do) or b) alert the Wikipedia editors about the issue or c) blog about it and hope somebody fixes it for you?
2) At what stage do you think people will realize they can be sued for writing defamatory comments in Wikipedia? I know back in February 2007 a pro golfer Fuzzy Zoeller sued a the owner of an IP address after allegedly defamatory comments were left on his Wikipedia entry. Personally I’m not a big fan of legal alternatives until you’ve tried all other possible avenues, and when I read this thing about me I just though “dickhead” and meant to blog about it but didn’t get around to it until Russell slapped me over it.
The other issue Russell asked me about is my sponsorship recently from Global1Training and the interview I did with Dr John Demartini. I won’t go into details about Russell’s concerns (he can do that here in the comments section if he thinks it’s appropriate) but I did want to mention that I’m doing a follow-up interview with Dr Demartini this Tuesday and would welcome your input into my questions for him. For the record – when I did my first interview with him, I had never heard of Global1Training and they approached me a few weeks later about sponsorship ideas. So if you have any concerns about my interview questions with John the first time around, know that there wasn’t even the suggestion of a commercial relationship until weeks later. And if you listen to that first episode I actually talked with Dr Demartini about getting him back on the show during his next trip to Australia, which happens to be this week. Just in case you were wondering….
The bottom line here is this: I think I’ve been doing this show long enough for regular listeners to know my attitudes towards transparency and integrity when it comes to advertising and commercial relationships. I genuinely value people like Russell calling me out when they are unsure of what’s going on – it makes me realize I need to be constantly vigilant about revealing my commercial interests as early as possible. There is a balance though between revealing them and keeping my mouth shut when I am working on projects for clients who want to reveal them in their own time and way. That’s just business. If I had been writing or podcasting really positive stories about Telstra lately I would feel obliged to reveal that money had changed hands but as I haven’t been doing that, I can sleep at night.