About Jonathan Kopp

Jonathan is a Partner and the Global Director of Ketchum Digital. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughters, and is into the social web, progressive politics, cycling, scuba diving and travel. Connect with him on Twitter -- @jonathankopp -- or just about any other social network.

Author Archive | Jonathan Kopp

Social Media Risks & Rewards

Altimeter Group has released a new report stressing the importance of social media risk management. I was interviewed for this paper, along with representatives from leading brands (including some Ketchum clients), like Dell, DuPont and IBM, as well as agencies, like KPMG and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and vendors, like Salesforce Radian6 and Crimson Hexagon. It’s my pleasure to share it with you.

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Digital Challenges Explored at Ketchum Pleon Germany’s “Inspiration Day” Conference

On June 28th, I had the pleasure of joining colleagues, clients and friends in Berlin for Ketchum Pleon Germany’s “Inspiration Day” (#idberlin2012) a conference to explore how technology and the social mobile web are changing the way people and brands communicate. The event fittingly took place at the EUREF campus, a hip, post-industrial complex in the middle of Berlin where researchers and entrepreneurs are innovating to develop sustainable solutions, such as Urban-e’s rechargeable electric bikes, for more intelligent urban living.

Dirk Popp, the CEO of Ketchum Pleon Germany and the vision behind Inspiration Day, invited me to kick things off with the opening keynote presentation. He asked me to frame the day by talking about today’s “digital challenges” and the “next big things” we might expect to emerge from Silicon Valley and other global innovation hubs.

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Ketchum, Access & Zocalo Combine Forces for SXSW

Among the 32,000 digerati who will head to Austin, Texas for this year’s SXSW Interactive festival, Ketchum, Access and Zocalo will be represented by about 25 colleagues from a diverse array of offices, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, the UK and Germany.

We will be coordinating our activities, sharing photos and videos, live streaming all the excitement as it happens (hashtagging our tweets with both #SXSW and #Ketchum so you can follow along), and submitting daily posts to the Ketchum Blog for more in-depth observations and insights.

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What Does ‘Respect the Internet’ Mean to You?

What Does ‘Respect the Internet’ Mean to You?

Once panelists from this year’s “Respect the Internet” exited the stage, we took them to the green room with the goal of getting them to answer one question: “What does it mean to respect the Internet?”

A few highlights from their responses are below, but you’ll want to watch the short video to hear from more panelists and to get more in-depth responses.

And when you are done, feel free to answer the question by leaving a response in the comments section.

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Now Companies Can Get on the Same Page with Google+

Roughly 100 days ago, Google launched a new social network, Google+, and, after gaining 40 million registered users in an amazingly brief time, they have now taken it to the next level by launching Google+ Pages. These are roughly the equivalent of Facebook pages, and they’re open to anything nonhuman — brands, companies, organizations, publications, TV shows — you name it.

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Attend Respect the Internet on Oct. 6

Is heavy-handed, one-way, brandcentric marketing clogging up the arteries of the Internet, barging in on our personal space, and ruining the social Web?

Do we really want to be friends with brands? Do we want to be viewed not as people but as “consumers?” Are we reduced to demographics and psychographics, or has the Internet reshuffled the deck, as we self-identify and self-organize around common interests and shared beliefs, regardless of geography, age, gender and race.

Do we use social networks, or are we being used by them and the advertisers that finance them?

What, if any, is the proper time, place and manner for commercial speech on the social Web?

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Facebook’s Smart Move with Smart Lists

I’ve been hearing a lot of questions surrounding Facebook’s latest offering, “smart lists.” In this blog post, I plan on answering some of those questions. So, take a seat, take a deep breath, relax, and let’s talk Facebook.

TechNewsWorld recently asked me, “How does Facebook’s new “smart lists” differ from Facebook’s previous options for organizing friends?” “Facebook used to enable users to sort their friends into lists, but adoption hovered at about 5 percent or less. The simple reason is, it was a tedious chore to manually sort your contacts.” In the article I was quoted saying, “Facebook used to enable users to sort their friends into lists, but adoption hovered at about 5 percent or less. The simple reason is, it was a tedious chore to manually sort your contacts.”

Allow me to build on this, by sharing the rest of the exchange.

TechNewsWorld: Facebook will do some of the sorting automatically, grouping friends according to geography, school, etc. While this could be beneficial to users with lots of friends, it seems any sort of automation of this process could be problematic. Why not give users the option of using its automatic sorting feature?

Kopp: With automation, Facebook is making it easy to get started with “smart lists,” based on intuitive groupings. “Smart lists” are optional. No one has to use them.

TechNewsWorld: It seems Facebook always wants to foist its improvements on users instead of letting them decide for themselves. Is this an indication that Facebook is nervous about Google+ and wants to neutralize one of its chief advantages?

Kopp: Facebook’s “smart list” feature seems similar to Google+’s circles with one big difference. Facebook is giving users a head start by automatically sorting your friends based on intuitive categories, like where you live, went to school, work, etc. Users can customize and refine those lists, but Facebook is going to start out making it super simple.

More about Facebook versus Google+:

On one level we can compare and contrast Facebook’s and Google+’s features as social networks, but this comparison might be a red herring. Yes, Facebook dwarfs Google+ as a social network. But Google dwarfs Facebook. So these two players might be operating on completely different paradigms with distinct objectives.

For example, Facebook’s model is based on advertising. It’s free for users and supported by fees from ad sales. Google+, so far, remains ad free, so it’s entirely built around the user experience, links, content and search.

The folks at Facebook are as smart as it gets. I give them a lot of credit for introducing smart lists – and the new subscriptions feature, too, for that matter. They’ve heard user complaints, and they’ve responded. Their primary motivation is likely customer service.

Yes, it’s reasonable to view smart lists as a competitive response to Google+’s circles, but it may just be driven by the desire to enhance user experience. Was the timing influenced by Google+? Possibly. But often where we suspect conspiracy, it turns out to just be coincidence.

If you have any other questions, I’m happy to answer them – here, or out across the social Web on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.

See you online!

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Why Should PR Pros Care about Google+?

With all the social media world abuzz about the emergence of Google+, I’ve been asked a lot questions recently about what Google+ will mean to the social media landscape and what it will mean to the practice of PR. Here I boil down my answers to five of them.What do you think so far about Google+? And what does it mean with relation to Facebook, Twitter and the other social network platforms out there? I would love to get your comments. 1. Why should PR pros care about Google+?The people we want to engage with and the conversation we seek should always matter more than the channel, itself. But when it comes to interacting with today’s consumers, it’s important to surround them with all major avenues. In a mere month of beta period, G+ amassed more than 25 million users — a milestone that took Facebook three years to hit. And it’s growing rapidly. Size and adoption rate alone make G+ a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps more important, G+ is seamlessly linked to other Google services, from search to video to its ad network. As a result, content posted to G+ has a direct and immediate reach and impact across the social Web.

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If David Letterman Were a Digital Geek

Recently, I wrote a blog post (“Dot What?”) and was interviewed in PRWeek about ICANN’s new scheme for radically transforming generic top-level domains (gTLDs) to go beyond the current dot-com approach to a more free-form structure that will enable people to create Web addresses in almost any name and language, up to 63 characters long. Under the new regime, one could use an existing suffix, like .com, or create a unique alternative (imagine, for example, if Starbucks were to register .coffee), or even conjure up a new website with no suffix at all.

The more I think about it, the more firmly I believe this is a dumb idea. With that in mind, and with a nod to David Letterman, here are my top 10 reasons why ICANN’s new scheme will fail – and fast.

10. D.O.A.: With hotlinks, link shorteners, QR codes and app buttons that direct users straight to Web content, I’m not sure how relevant any domain names will be anymore, not even the venerable .com.

9. Search=Start: No one types Web addresses into their browsers anymore, now that search is the new start. Google has morphed from a means of discovery to a tool for navigation to content people already know they want. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see the writing on the wall.

8. Hard to Beat .com: Why force users to type .cocacola or even .soda when three simple letters — .com – will do. That little acronym has become so ubiquitous, it’s even earned its place as a dedicated button on many computer and mobile keyboards.

7. Chaos and Confusion: If we strip away the standard name.com structure, “www” might as well stand for “Wild West Web,” with zero predictability. It will take a lot of retraining to get Internet users to type anything besides .com (if they type a URL at all!).

6. At Best, It’s a Hedge: The Coca-Cola Company will still have to own coke.com and coca-cola.com as well as coke.soda or drink.coke.

5. Vanity: Custom TLDs don’t serve the public’s interest. They serve only to stroke the ego of the domain owners. This is the Web 3.0 version of the vanity plate. Welcome to the vanity domain.

4. Past Is Prologue: Beyond .com, .org, .net, .edu and .gov, ICANN has already blessed us with more than a dozen other TLDs, including .info and .biz. Quick! How many successful websites can you name that end in .pro?

3. Sticker Shock: Applications start at $185K – not exactly the sweet spot for small and mid-sized businesses, to say nothing of regular Joes and Janes.

2. Scams: It will be no time before the guys who write those bogus emails from millionaire descendants of Nigerian kings will expand their franchises. Set your spam filters to high alert for emails linking to “online.banking” or some other such nonsense that’s suitably dressed up to seem legit.

1. If It Ain’t Broke: If ICANN really wants to sell this thing, they have to tell us why and serve up an urgent reason to ditch .com. For any of you who think we’re running out of .com options, come find me. I’ve got a storehouse full of hot .pro models that will fit you like a glove – at prices you’ll love.

That’s my top 10, but trust me, there’s more where these came from.

For now, we need to cut away for a word from our sponsors. But stick around for more great stuff just after the break, including Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra!

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Dot What?

In 1998, ICANN – the nonprofit Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers – started governing the organizational naming structure of the Web with eight generic top-level domains, including .com, .edu, .gov, .int., .mil, .net, .org and .arpa. In 2000, ICANN added 14 new gTLDs, including .biz and .info. But, by and large, these newer domains have been slow to catch on.

Today, ICANN paved the way for what will be the biggest change yet for website naming. Starting on Jan. 12, people will be able to register website addresses in almost any name they want and in almost any language, up to 63 characters long. They will be able to use a suffix, like “.com,” or alternatively use a one-word Internet address with no suffix at all.

As Sam Holmes reported, “the dot-com era is over. Welcome to the dot-anything age.”

In a world where most Internet users are non-English speakers, the new rules will likely usher in a wave of domain-name globalization, with generic top-level domains (gTLDs) being created in non-Latin alphabets, such as Chinese, Arabic and Russian.

And in a world so driven by marketing and commercialism, it will likely spark a wave of naming innovation. For example, instead of a starbucks.com, Starbucks might control the domain “.sbux” and assign Web addresses such as “drink.sbux.” They could also opt for addresses with no suffix, such as “starbucks” – or even “coffee” – alone.

ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom declared, “The Internet’s addressing system has just been opened up to the limitless possibilities of human imagination and creativity.”

Perhaps.

On the other hand, critics are posing some strong challenges to today’s decision. The new naming rules will undoubtedly be messier, and consumers will likely get confused as they try to navigate around the Internet. Likewise, individuals, companies and other content creators will also be confronted with the new legal costs of protecting their intellectual property against infringement by domain-name prospectors (known as “domainers”).

Will the coming website name flexibility unleash an era of unprecedented innovation, as ICANN expects. Or will it merely cause new headaches for consumers and windfalls for lawyers?

Tell us what you think.

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