Parties can see red if users don't check first

One of the oddest emails to pop up in my email last week was entitled: Red Alert, Daily Deals from The Warehouse. Now, at first I could only see Red Alert and I wondered aloud why on earth the Labour Party had emailed me at my private address and what it was all about.

You see, Red Alert has been the name of the Labour Party blog for several years. Lately, local MPs David Clark (Dunedin North) and Clare Curran (Dunedin South) have competed with Trevor Mallard for space on the blog which lets the MPs write about things they find important, but that might not see the light of day in mainstream media.

Whether The Warehouse Group was aware of the faux pas or not remains a moot point. But I bet that neither the Big Red retailer nor the Labour Party was very happy about the name.

It seems The Warehouse was claiming to be the first Kiwi retailer to offer daily deals, with most other providers run by media companies and specialist websites.

Red Alert will offer consumers specials for a limited time and many would not be available in some stores. The deals would be first available from 10am to 10am the following day on a first-in, first-served basis.

In what appeared to be somewhat of an understatement, a retail analyst said The Warehouse ran the risk of blurring its brand by entering the cluttered daily deal space.

Mackline believes the retailer runs the risk of blurring its brand because it did not do enough research into who was already using the "Red Alert" name.

First use appears to be in favour of the Labour Party, but whether The Warehouse will put up a fight about the name remains to be seen. It is just another example of organisations believing that a trademark can be for their exclusive use - without checking, of course.

• In case you missed it, the Law Commission released a report with recommendations for reducing the harm caused by cyberbullying.

The recommendations included:

- Creating a new offence targeting digital communication that is grossly offensive or indecent, obscene or menacing, and which causes harm.

- Amending existing laws to ensure their provisions apply to digital communications.

This would include making it an offence to incite a person to commit suicide, whether the person does or not.

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Establishing a communications tribunal to provide speedy, efficient and cheap access to remedies such as take-down orders and cease-and-desist notices.

- Requiring schools to implement effective anti-bullying programmes.

Justice Minister Judith Collins said taking further action to reduce the impact of cyber-bullying was a priority and she looked forward to working through the report's recommendations with her colleagues.

Ms Curran, the Labour Party communications and IT spokeswoman, said cyberbullying was all too common in the virtual world, and more needed to be done to address the problem.

"It is important people, and children in particular, are free to enjoy the internet without fear of bullying and intimidation."

Labour would look closely at the Law Commission's report and consider its recommendations.

The party was fully supportive of the work Net Safe did, and was committed to finding workable solutions to help protect people online.

"But at the same time, we must guard against heavy-handed attempts at online regulation.

"Historically, the internet has proved hard to control through legislation and we must proceed carefully.

"It is essential that while we deal with online issues we also protect the spirit of a collaborative and open internet," Ms Curran said.

• Stringsof.me sent me an email to say it was celebrating its first birthday so I went and had a look.

I did not join, but the basis of the New Zealand-based social media site is that users are asked a different question each day of the year, tapping into their creative side and sense of the world around them. On the same day in subsequent years, the same question is asked again.