Can you keep a secret? It seems that Black Sabbath fans can’t…

sabbath-2-50(Before we go any further, let it be said that I am a big Sabbath fan, and this is more of a post about the capabilities of Social Media than about the band or their fans.)

On Friday 4th July, Black Sabbath will play Hyde Park with their British Summer Time Black Sabbath Time gig.

Tickets cost from around £69 (what happened to the days when I could go and see them for a mere tenner? Am I THAT old?)

However, in a deal with the event organisers, employees of that company could buy tickets for a massively discounted £2.50. Everyone was told, undr pain of death, that the link for the £2.50 tickets was to be kept private and not given to anyone outside of the organisation.

It’s 2014, Social Media is more popular than ever – can you guess what happened next?

Of course, the link was leaked.

Twitter went mad:



Facebook, Reddit, Google+ and other social networks followed suit. Before long the link had been forwarded thousands of times and thousands of fans were snapping up those £2.50 tickets. And who can blame them? A fiver for a couple to see Sabbath. Faith No More, Soundgarden, Motorhead and more heavy metal legends?

Some wondered whether it was legit, but most people were happy to possibly lose £5 against the chance of a great offer.

How did Hyde Park events react?

To my mind, in the best way they could – they agreed to honour the orders. A post on their Facebook page states:

Hi All, A staff ticket offer was leaked earlier today and some members of the general public were able to purchase reduced price tickets to certain Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park concerts. That offer has now been stopped.

“If you were lucky enough to purchase a ticket from this offer rest assured that your ticket remains valid.”

 What a brilliant response! Had they refused to honour the tickets, social media would have gone into overdrive, slating them and spreading the word.
By agreeing to sell the tickets at the price on the link they’ve gained respect and loyalty, and people are tweeting and posting positive things. Look out for when the tickets actually start arriving – I bet Hyde Park hashtags will be trending in no time.
They’ve turned a possible PR disaster into a PR win – kudos to them!

Where did it go wrong?

Well, let’s face it, in this day and age, a publicly accessible link such as that was not going to stay a secret for long, was it?

It only takes one employee to send the link to a friend, and before long it has snowballed exponentially. From one little tweet, millions of people can be reached through retweets and posts on other social networks.

I’m shocked that Hyde Park didn’t at the very least password protect the link – it wouldn’t have been bomb proof, but it would probably have saved them a few thousand pounds (although let’s not feel too sorry for them, I’m sure they’ll still make millions from merchandise, drinks / food and usual price tickets, plus of course sponsorship so they’re not going to feel this too badly.)

It seems to me that someone or some people just didn’t think – or of course, this could be a very clever PR ploy to gain positive PR 😉

What can we learn from it?

A number of things:

  • If you don’t want it shared, don’t make it publicly accessible – protect it or put it on a company intranet.
  • You can’t control Social Media – once it’s out there you’ve lost control of it.
  • How you react can be the difference between positive and negative feedback – reputation management is key.
  • Your author was offline in meetings that day and missed out on her £2.50 tickets – RATS! 😉

Did you get cheap tickets? Let us know when they arrive in the comments below!

LinkedIn Password Hacking – what LinkedIn is saying and how to avoid it in future

I’ve avoided the whole furore over the recent LinkedIn password hacking problems, as it’s been covered everywhere else. However, chatting to a client this weekend, and mentioning that I received an email from LinkedIn explaining that my password may have been one of the ones compromised and how to address the problem, he replied that he hadn’t received an email, yet when trying to login was told his password had indeed been compromised.

So, here’s the email in full, as some of you may not have received it but may need it 🙂

We recently became aware that some LinkedIn passwords were compromised and posted on a hacker website. We immediately launched an investigation and we have reason to believe that your password was included in the post.
To the best of our knowledge, no email logins associated with the passwords have been published, nor have we received any verified reports of unauthorized access to any member’s account as a result of this event. While a small subset of the passwords was decoded and published, we do not believe yours was among them.
The security of your account is very important to us at LinkedIn. As a precaution, we disabled your password, and advise you to take the following steps to reset it. If you reset your password in the last two days, there is no need for further action.
1. Type directly into your browser
2. Type in your email address and press Sign In, no password necessary
3. Follow the on-screen directions to reset your password
Note: Do not reuse your old password when creating your new password.
If you have been using your old LinkedIn password on other sites, we recommend that you change those passwords too. We appreciate your immediate attention to resetting your password and apologize for the inconvenience.

If you have been compromised, there’s how to fix it – at least for now.

I’ve always told clients that one of the best ways to secure your accounts is to regularly change your passwords, yet how many of us religiously do this? I know that I don’t do it as often as I should, that’s for sure.

Which is why I was delighted to see the latest free offering from one of my virtual assistants, Leigh Quantrill – she’s offering a password change reminder service that will email you regularly to recommend you change your passwords; it’s free, it’s not a sales list and it could be a welcome reminder that saves your accounts from being compromised in future. You can find out more about it here: Password Change Reminder Service.

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Malware on your WordPress site? Here’s how to fix it!

At the beginning of 2012 I was unlucky enough to have quite a few Wordpres sites hacked and infected with Malware. This meant that anyone visiting them was seeing a rather nasty message telling them that my sites shouldn’t be accessed and could infect the users computer. Not nice… not nice at all.

After 2 weeks of trying to sort this out with my hosts, I turned to Twitter for help. And Twitter users were very helpful. Lots of people pointed me to tutorials on how to fix it myself, which would have been great had I understood any of them (my lack of knowledge not bad tutorials I hasten to add!)

What I wanted was someone who could help me, not charge me the earth, and get my sites up and running again.

In came my knight on a white steed, Keiron Skillett from BetterWebSpace – within an hour we’d chatted on Skype, sorted out what the issue was, and he set about fixing it. 3 hours later it was sorted, and within a couple of days the warnings had disappeared. I didn’t have to mortgage my house to fix it, there was no drama, he took over and sorted it, leaving me free to run my business.

Of course, you may not want to pay someone to sort it for you (although I would hazard a guess that the money you’re losing by having a hacked website is much less than Keiron would charge to fix it), in which case, here is a great tutorial on how to fix it yourself.

Once you’re fixed, you’ll want to make sure your WordPress install is secure and hopefully unhackable – Blogmistress Babs Saul has some great posts on this here: Securing WordPress.

It’s a fact of life that there are nasty people out there exploiting every hole they can in your WordPress security, but with the help of Keiron (on Twitter at @Keiron

) and the tips from Babs, you’ll be well on your way to fixing that malware issue and making sure it doesn’t happen again.


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