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