Andy Harris' iPhone lying in state

Thanks to Andy Harris for permission to use this photo.

In case you didn’t see on Google news recently (as I write, it’s still on the UK edition of Google news), there was an apparent survey which claimed that 54% women preferred men who had an iPhone. The survey was released through Newswire & Google scraped it onto its front page of the Sci/Tech section.

Now, according to Robin Wauters of TechCrunch, it turns out that a digital marketing agency, called StickyEyes, has supposedly done this survey, and then issued it on behalf of a mobile phone distributor (Phones4U).

But Phones4U got a nasty shock when they found out that the survey, because StickyEyes, it seems, hadn’t got permission from Phones4U to release the survey. And worse, Phones4U are denying that they even gave StickyEyes the remit to do the survey.(See Robin Wauters’ article on TechCrunch FFI).

So, I guess you’d call it a case of non-permission marketing.

And now Apple has apparently muscled in, asking Newswire to remove the story – which it has.

What’s the take-away here? Well, there are several lessons.

Firstly, outsourcing always carries some risks. Secondly, good, transparent communication between different parts of your business are key.  And finally, clearly-defined & understood parameters for the remit of the outsourced company’s decision-making and independent actions are obviously necessary.

So, will StickEyes get this mess ‘unglued’?

To be honest, I don’t want to finger-point here, because it’s all-too easy for things to become flakey around the edges in the fast-moving online world.

Now all I want to do is find out about the survey results, to see how reliable the data are – as a Physicist by training, reliability of data is always the first question I’m looking to answer :).

After all – I haven’t got an iPhone. Not that my wife minds at all 🙂

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