Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Internetmarketing .... for the government?

Most internetmarketing fuzz until now is concentrated on "sales". Internetmarketing tries to answer to questions like "How to sell your products on the internet?", "What is our company's rating on the internet?". So it has primarily been a business thing.

On the other hand as internet has become such a powerful media it is and will be taken into use by the public sector as a really effective tool for "letting the world know the Truth". Until now the public sector has used internet as a media channel for relatively "little" projects. For example promoting the country for tourists or having news portals that have government's press releases. The propaganda portals, like for example Kavkaz Center or some Arab news portals, have been only for global-political smalltimers. But this is due to change and besides plain news portals there is much more to internetmarketing. And this is really scary and awful, but the FSB-s, CIA-s, KGB-s, Hisbollah's, parties, defence secretary's, newspapers will soon take the other internetmarketing tools into effective use.
- They will do Search Engine Optimization
- They will have people filling the newspaper commentary pages.
- They will have forum posters
- Videos on YouTube
- Bloggers
- Facebook, Orkut, Linkedin etc. groups
- Campaign web sites
- Newsletters
- ...
Last but not least, if done professionally it becomes impossible to distinguish between propaganda and real news, to distinguish whether a comment was written by a real person or by a professional secret-service writer. They will not tell you straight out "The One and Only Truth" but give you hints and links and make you question your opinions.

So internetmarketers! Don't hesitate to (internet)market your services to the public sector! :-) Besides all kind of state propaganda there are a lot of good campaigns that also need proper marketing.... "Say no to Drugs" and "Stop eating trashfood" etc.

Here is the harsh example of internetmedia - the Russian-Georgia crisis.I follow(ed) the news about it from many different news sources. As I am fortunate to understand 4 languages (EST, FIN, RUS and ENG), I read the news and commentaries from:
Finnish, Estonian, Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, British, US news portals. I also read the comments and opinion articles. And it really is amazing how different the picture is that is painted by different newsportals or countries. Media specialists could do a whole research on the issue. Also in this conflict there were some new means for information distribution used. Probably they were spontanuous acts of the public... There were multiple "Support Georgia" groups in the social networks, YouTube is full of different video material, there were newsletters, spam, special news pages like this.

....if selling your products on the internet through "writing positive user comments on the forums" is morally right then it probably is also OK to bend the truth a bit if it is in line with the partys political or economical objectives?


Priit Kallas said...

Well, I wouldn't say that this is new. NGOs and not-for-profits have done SEO and internet marketing pretty much from the start.

I would say that a country as a whole can't do internet marketing as the goals would be too vague. But in separate sectors they already do.

Estonia already buys internet marketing for tourism through visitestonia.com. So do a lot of other countries.

I have tried to sell the idea to some professional associations. Idea being that if Estonian companies in one field of activity would focus their SEO effort they would gain a lot of visibility in search engines.

Let's say that Top10 would be Estonian companies. Everyone will win. The problem is (of course) that the company in the tenth spot will win less than than the first one and so they will never reach an agreement.

On the gov level it is easier but as soon as it touches businesses and requires their cooperation the same old "he will get more than me" will kick in.

Märt Ridala said...

I heard a rumour that "Georgia the country" did some SEO to get before "Georgia the US State" in Google search.

That was before the war with Russia. I guess after the 08.08 there is no problem with that anymore both with Google.... and in people's minds.