Sergey Brin, Jack Dorsey, Chad Hurley, Jimmy Wales, et al. to U.S. Government: DO NOT Emulate These Oppressive Nations – Malaysia, China, Iran

free speech

Malaysia is one of the three countries (the others are China and Iran) cited by the leading US Internet entrepreneurs in an Open Letter to lawmakers in Washington. The Open Letter opposes the proposed Protect IP Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which US lawmakers are currently discussing.

According to the letter, both Acts threaten to “give the US Government the power to censor the web using techniques similar to those used by China, Malaysia and Iran.”

The signatories of the Open Letter include Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google), Jack Dorsey / Evan Williams / Biz Stone (co-founders of Twitter), Elon Musk (co-founder of PayPal), Chad Hurley (co-founder of YouTube), Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn), Jerry Yang (co-founder of Yahoo!), and Pierre Omidyar (founder of e-Bay).

Sergey Brin posted on his Google+ page on why he supports the Open Letter:

In just two decades, the world wide web has transformed and democratized access to information all around the world. I am proud of the role Google has played alongside many others such as Yahoo, Wikipedia, and Twitter. Whether you are a student in an internet cafe in the developing world or a head of state of a wealthy nation, the knowledge of the world is at your fingertips.

Of course, offering these services has come with its challenges. Multiple countries have sought to suppress the flow of information to serve their own political goals. At various times notable Google websites have been blocked in China, Iran, Libya (prior to their revolution), Tunisia (also prior to revolution), and others. For our own websites and for the internet as a whole we have worked tirelessly to combat internet censorship around the world alongside governments and NGO promoting free speech.

Thus, imagine my astonishment when the newest threat to free speech has come from none other but the United States. Two bills currently making their way through congress — SOPA and PIPA — give the US government and copyright holders extraordinary powers including the ability to hijack DNS and censor search results (and this is even without so much as a proper court trial). While I support their goal of reducing copyright infringement (which I don’t believe these acts would accomplish), I am shocked that our lawmakers would contemplate such measures that would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world.

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Online Videos are modern day time suck too: Over 200 BILLION Videos Viewed Globally In A Month

online video

A total of 1.2 billion people (15 years and above) watched 201.4 billion online videos in October 2011 alone, according to the latest comScore report.

It is not surprising that Google Sites (with YouTube as the key driver) is the top global online video destination, with 88.3 billion videos viewed during the month. Youku, China’s YouTube, is in distant second with 4.6 billion videos viewed and VEVO is third with 3.7 billion videos. Users of the world’s most popular social network, Facebook viewed a total of 2.6 billion videos on the platform.

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Snapshot of Social Networking in Malaysia

social networkingFacebook with 250 million users and these users are sharing over 10 billion photos. YouTube is streaming 1.2 billion videos a day, worldwide. The number of worldwide unique visitors of Twitter catapulted from 19 million in March 2009 to 32 million in April 2009 and each day, Twitter users are generating roughly 18 million updates. And according to comScore, social networking penetration rate worldwide was 65% in the month of May 2009, or 734.2 million Internet users across the globe accessing at least one social networking website during the month.

Malaysians love Social Networking too

There are about 16 million Internet users in Malaysia and IDC Research projected Malaysian Internet users will reach 20.4 million by 2012. In March this year, the number of Facebook users in Malaysia surpassed the one million mark. Kuala Lumpur SkylineRecently, a brief survey by YouthSays, Malaysia’s largest youth community website with over 160,000 members, showed 95% of a total of 900 respondents have Friendster’s account, 90% with Facebook and 38% with Twitter (This survey was presented at the recent Malaysian Media Congress 2009).

In Malaysia, the social networking penetration rate was 66.6% in December 2008 (see Table below), behind only to Singapore (74.3%) and South Korea (68%).

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Social Media Marketing and Malaysia’s Biggest Brands

Social technologies enable the creation of conversational platform for businesses to engage in richer interactions with customers. Traditional mass media lacks interactivity and information flow is dominantly unidirectional, from brand owners to consumer.

However, the new social media enables consumers to connect with one another and brand owners to co-create brand experience. Global corporations like Procter & Gamble, Dell, Coca Cola and many others are already adopting social media as part of their brand building infrastructure.

What about Malaysia’s biggest brands? Are they using social technologies? How are they using the conversational media to listen and interact with their customers?

To answer the questions, I’ve investigated social media plays of companies listed in Malaysia’s Most Valuable Brands (MMVB) 2007, created by the Malaysian Association of Accredited Advertising Agents, in collaboration with Interbrand. This exercise involves searching for the brand names in social networks (Facebook, Friendster, MySpace), video-sharing site (YouTube), online photo-sharing site (Flickr) and microblogging (Twitter, FriendFeed). The results are presented in the “Social-ize the Brands” table below.

Notes to the table:

  • “Rank” is the actual ranking in MMVB 2007.
  • Giant and Dutch Lady, which appeared in MMVB 2007, were omitted as both are non-Malaysian brands.
  • Only initiatives created by brand owners are considered to provide a better indication on the importance of social media marketing to the brand owners.
  • For more on how MMVB’s Brand Value is calculated, read here.

Social-ize the Brands: How Malaysia’s Most Valuable Brands are Embracing Social Media

Rank Brand Industry Brand Value, US$ Million Social Media Marketing
1 Maybank Financial 2,764 All You, All New Maybank2U.com Blog
2 Public Bank Financial 1,967 None
3 Maxis Telecoms 1,521 Maxis Facebook Group | Maxis Communications Facebook Fan | Hotlink Facebook Group
4 Genting Leisure 1,315 Genting City of Entertainment Facebook Group | Genting WorldCard Facebook Group
5 Celcom Telecoms 1,167 Celcom Facebook Fan
6 CIMB Financial 981 None
7 Astro Media 946 AstroTV on Twitter | StadiumAstro on Twitter | AstroFootball on Twitter | Stadium Astro Facebook Fan Page | Astro Chinese Programmes Channel on YouTube | Astromalaysia’s Channel on YouTube
8 Hong Leong Financial 888 Hong Leong Bank, HLLB Facebook Group
9 Perodua Automobile 700 Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd Facebook Fan
10 DiGi Telecoms 600 DiGi Facebook Group Page | DiGi Telecommunications Facebook Fan | DiGi’s Open Hearts Open Mind Program | DiGi D’podCast | DiGi Yellow Coverage on YouTube | DiGi Desktop Agent
12 Malaysia Airlines Airline 493 Living Malaysian Hospitability Blog | Malaysia Airlines Facebook Fan | MASwings Facebook Fan | MASwings Facebook Group | MAS Charter Flight Attendants Facebook Group | MH = Malaysian Hospitality Channel on YouTube
13 Sime Darby Property 437 Sime Darby Facebook Group
14 TV3 Media 315 MyTV3 Roverz Facebook Group
15 Petronas Oil and Gas 264 Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) Facebook Group | Galeri Petronas Facebook Group | Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra Facebook Page
16 YTL Property 210 YTL Climate Change Week Facebook Fan | YTL Community Channel on YouTube
17 RHB Bank Financial 187 RHB Bank Facebook Group
18 Ambank Financial 187 None
19 AirAsia Airline 95 Just Plane Thoughts AirAsia Blog | Tony Fernandes CEO Blog | “AirAsia.com Travel Wish List” Facebook Application | AirAsia Facebook Fan Page | AirAsia Air Crew Facebook Group | AirAsiaGroup Enthusiasts Facebook Group | AirAsiaGroup Channel on YouTube | AirAsia Vista Gadget
20 The Star Media 91 Citizen’s Blog
22 Kurnia Financial 83 None
23 Proton Automobile 68 Corporate Comm @Proton Facebook Group | Corporate Comm Proton Facebook Fan
24 MAA Financial 67 None
25 Affin Bank Financial 65 None
26 Padini Fashion 61 None
27 Parkson Retail 36 None
28 Sunway Property 25 None
29 Mamee-Double Decker Food and Beverage 25 None
30 Bonia Fashion 22 None

Some Observations

  1. Big brands adopting social media marketing
    • About 60% of Malaysia’s most valuable brands are leveraging social utilities like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
  2. Conversations with AirAsia
    • The budget airline has the most interesting and purposeful usage social media marketing tools and are ‘designed’ to engage with its target audience.
  3. User-generated content
    • AirAsia is tapping into the power of bloggers with its blog, “Just Plane Thoughts.” Besides contents posted by 16 AirAsia bloggers, the site also encourages its readers to post their travel stories and comments. Although the blog is moderated, negative customer comments also get posted. Newspaper The Star also allows its readers to post up contents on its Citizen’s Blog site.
  4. Conversational vs Informational
    • AirAsia’s blog is more conversational than its competitor Malaysia Airlines’ Living Malaysian Hospitality, which is geared towards providing corporate news.
  5. Facebook rules
    • The fast-growing social network is by far the most used social utility among the biggest brands in Malaysia, followed by YouTube. Facebook ranked 8th in Malaysia’s Alexa Top 100 Sites; YouTube ranked 4th (as of Oct 19 2008).
  6. Tweet with Astro
    • The use of Twitter is gaining popularity among enterprises. Astro, the subscription-based satellite TV provider, is the one and only Malaysia’s big brand on Twitter.
  7. Bank with blog
    • Malaysia’s largest bank, Maybank, is the first Malaysian bank with a blog; uses its “AllYou” blog to complement its online banking site, Maybank2u.com.
  8. Blogging CEO
    • Tony Fernandes of AirAsia is the only Most Valuable Brand’s CEO with a blog.
  9. Not-so-social lifestyle
    • Consumer-oriented retail brand, Parkson and apparel brands – Bonia and Padini – are notably missing in the social media sphere.
  10. Financial-ly not social-able
    • Financial institutions dominated the MMVB list, with 32% representation. However, out of the eleven big brands that are not using social media, six of them (or 54%) are from the financial industry.
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