In March there was considerable coverage of Vitrue’s announcement that using their social platform, they planned to bring age verification to some Twitter accounts. The idea is that liquor companies wanted to be on Twitter, but they were concerned about having under-age followers.
Now we are starting to see age verification in action.
I recorded a short video of the process as it relates to the Woodford Reserve Twitter account.
I have an email and call out to Vitrue to confirm that this is their software in action. There is no Vitrue branding on the verification on the page, so it could certainly be done by someone else.
The system isn’t 100% perfect. In Woodford Reserve’s case their account is public and anyone can view their tweets by going to their profile page.
If a liquor company’s account was private, this would be a pretty ideal solutions at least in terms of meeting a high standard for age restriction. Since Woodford’s account is public, anyone can retweet one of their tweets and those tweets can be seen by anyone in their stream.
The industries solution seems to be to add a disclosure in their tweets. Since we are dealing in 140 characters, the disclosure are likely only readable by those familiar with SMS style abbreviations (ironically those people are often young).
Based on seeing other tweets in the industry, “Msg421+” likely means that the message is intended for those 21 years of age or older.
“BrbnWskyWRDist” likely means Bourbon Whiskey, Woodford Reserve Distillery.
It feels a bit like figuring out what a custom license plate is trying to say. The disclosure comes at the end, so the “damage” is already done.
I don’t fault Woodford Reserve at all for their approach. Dealing in 140 characters is difficult, and many alcohol producers are on Twitter with only a “21+” disclosure in their bio.
Alcohol marketing on social networks is a real issue. @free had to turn down an excited sponsor because their brand was a winery. It would have been a great sponsorship, but I didn’t feel comfortable doing it with the @free audience that tends to skew young.
It will be interesting to see if more liquor brands begin to adopt an external age verification system.
Thanks to Bryan @CentroCigars to mentioning his experience which led to this post.
This is an evolving issue, and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In a complaint filed Friday in Manhattan, Perfect 10 claims Tumblr failed to remove unauthorized photos posted by its users. The company, which sells nude model photographs through a magazine and website, says Tumblr not only turned a blind eye to copyright infringement but that its staff uploaded images themselves to jumpstart the business.
This case may help address issues around fair use and safe harbor provisions for image hosts, but there are two potential distinctions from Pinterest.
1. If Pinterest has figured out a way to promptly address DMCA takedown notices, they will avoid this aspect of any potential court ruling. Scaling DMCA takedown processing is a key to the new breed of image aggregation sites, and Pinterest has taken steps to do this.
2. It is unlikely that Pinterest employees ever pinned Perfect 10 photos, but it is possible they pinned images they didn’t have the rights to. When copyright issues came to the forefront in February, Ben Silbermann the CEO of Pinterest, actually modified his board to remove images he might not have the rights to. Pinterest is certainly aware of this issue, and it likely has circulated some guidance to their employees.
This week I posted a video that addresses why Facebook purchased Instagram. While the ability to track who we are connected with (i.e. the social graph) certainly was a key to this purchase, I talked about how images are a big part of the future of the web. Cases like Perfect 10 v Tumblr will help determine the ways we access images and how site are able to aggregate this content.
A beach wrap by Victoria’s Secret is one the most pinned images on Pinterest this year. Despite that, Victoria’s Secret got minimal traffic since the image that went viral wasn’t actually on their site. A considerable amount can be learned by this popular pin.
The most popular pin of the year?
There is no way to determine the most popular pin on Pinterest. No leaderboard or official release from Pinterest exists on the topic. But I can say that I have seen this image pinned more than any other pin by the people I follow on @free; three times more than the closest pin. And I have seen it pinned over a hundred times in the past two month. Just when I think there is no way that that it can get pinned again, it does. Despite the popularity of the pin, I wasn’t able to find the actual product until @KC_Laura answered my request for information on Twitter.
The image below on the left is a single product shot from Victoria’s Secrets’ site. The image below on the right is five of the different product photos (all on the Victoria’s Secret site) placed together vertically.
If Victoria’s Secret would have taken the time to put together the images they paid to have taken and placed them one after another in a vertical manner, a number of people would have pinned it, and I believe it would have still gone viral. Yes, some pinners would pin it without linking back. Yes, scammers would have caught on to the popular image and used it to divert traffic (they did this anyway). But by providing this image as a photo booth style vertical image, they would have gotten considerable traffic. Pinners are generally fair and want to provide a relevent link. Since this image didn’t exist on the Victoria’s Secret website, pinners couldn’t pin it and by the time they saw the image, they likely didn’t know where to look.
I spent a half hour going through pins of this image and none of them link back to Victoria’s Secret”s site. Most traffic went to other image sites (Google Images, Tumblr, etc) and in a few case the link went to a Pinterest 404 error since a scammer had been using it.
Not too late for Victoria’s Secret and other businesses to take advantage.
It goes without saying that Victoria’s Secret should have a Pinterest account. They currently don’t. Attractive models wearing seasonal styles and lingerie are very pinnable. Victoria’s Secret also invests in having photographers take multiple photographs of the same model, and those images should be combined and placed on the the product pages in order to provide “original source” pin options. Their shoppers are on Pinterest in overwhelming numbers, and they pin many product images without any prompting. By being on Pinterest, they can be the ones who introduce apparel to their audience, and thus control where the links go.
The case of this viral pin also show that brands need to at least monitor Pinterest. Monitoring lets businesses learn what products are popular, but also the image format that people like best.
All business interested in Pinterest should consider providing pictures that are photo booth style. Multiple images can tell a story, and when they are arranged vertically, they command more space in people’s feeds. Something to consider the next time you are putting together images of products or even just images to go with a blog post.