The Guardian’s Terms & Conditions: Worse than Instagram?

The Guardian have launched a new ‘user content’ site in collaboration with EE called “Guardian Witness”, they are now urging users to post their content to the site at The site itself is nice and slick, as you’d expect if EE’s tech team has been involved.

The official announcement is full of comments criticising The Guardian for asking for free content, accusing them of trying to build up a free picture library, etc.

But something else seemed strange to me: throughout the launch article they keep saying that you ‘still own the copyright’ of any content you post. I have read The Guardian’s Ts & Cs before, and that didn’t seem quite right to me, so I did a little more digging.

Here are some notes, plus the key ‘Instagramesque’ part of their terms & conditions:

“You still own the copyright”

As part of the terms and conditions for using the site, they say this:

“You or the owner of the content still own the copyright in the content sent to us”

They’ve also put together a fairly friendly set of frequently asked questions which explain: “You (or whoever created the content) own the copyright to the content which means that you control what others can do with it.”

In their article promoting the site, they also point out in the comments that “the copyright is, and remains with, the creator of content added to GuardianWitness…” and later on in the comments they again say “The creator of the submission always holds the copyright.”

But what do the Terms & Conditions actually say?

Reading the above quotes, you may expect that it means that you, when submitting content, still control exactly who has the ‘right to copy’ any content you post there. What they don’t say in the launch article itself is that, in one of the clauses in the terms and conditions, there is this 50 word snippet:

“…by submitting content to us, you are granting us an unconditional, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free, fully transferable, perpetual worldwide licence to use, publish and/or transmit, and to authorise third-parties to use, publish and/or transmit your content in any format and on any platform, either now known or hereinafter invented.”


Going back again through a few of the key points there:

  • Unconditional – there are zero conditions on how they can use your content.
  • Irrevocable – once you’ve posted content, you cannot ever stop them from using it.
  • Royalty-Free – they won’t pay you anything.
  • Fully transferable – they can in turn pass the right to use your content on to whoever they choose.
  • Perpetual – the right lasts forever.
  • Worldwide – there are no geographical restrictions.
  • Any format and on any platform – your content can be used for anything. They also “reserve the right to cut, crop, edit” your content elsewhere in the terms.

In other words, they may be promoting this by saying you still ‘own’ the copyright, and the FAQs may say they will endeavour to assist in various areas, but according to the terms & conditions The Guardian can do anything they like with your content once you have uploaded it.

They could sell your content, use it alongside ads (in fact the Guardian Witness site is in collaboration with an advertiser, so the content is by default being used as part of a third-party marketing campaign), they could allow anyone they choose to use your photos, videos, text, or any other ‘content’ you submit in any way they choose, and even if it is used commercially they never have to pay you.

How does this compare to Instagram?

This may all sound a vaguely similar to one of the complaints around the big Instagram Ts & Cs issue that blew up late last year. Oddly, one of the differences seems to be that The Guardian’s terms are slightly heavier than Instagram’s.

Here’s what The Guardian said about the Instagram issue in one of several articles about it:

“Instagram photos could be used in advertising, without reference to the owner, with all the payments going to Instagram. There is no opt-out from that use except to stop using the service and to delete your photos.”

The situation here is roughly similar, except that in The Guardian’s case you cannot opt out at all (even if you stop using the service). From the moment you post any content to Guardian Witness, you have granted them an “irrevocable, perpetual worldwide license”.

Keep that in mind when you read this advice, written by the excellent Jo Farmer in another Guardian article about user generated content following the Instagram fallout:

“Brands might be thinking that they can then use that content in future marketing, which might lead to a temptation to write something in the user terms and conditions to the effect that, “any content submitted by users may be used by the brand for any purpose without any payment to the user”.

The lessons we are learning from Instagram and other social media channels is to avoid any ham-fisted attempt to acquire such wide licence rights from your users in relation to their UGC.”


You can read the full terms here:

Feedback very welcome on this, or do share this post if you think it would be of interest to others.

100 Digital Publishing Influencers

Here’s a list of ‘100 digital publishing influencers’, put together by:

1. Archiving tweets from the #digiconf13 hashtag.
2. Compiling a set of twitter stats for everyone using the hashtag.
3. Running that through peerindex’s (somewhat arbitrary) ‘influence’ ranking tools.

Drop me a note at @danbarker with any questions.

It’s not perfect, but it shows it’s fairly easy to go from nothing, to a rough picture of a group of influencers within a particular area without much trouble.

If you’d like to be added to the list, or have suggestions for some who should, do drop me a note at @danbarker

Google Analytics Realtime: 3 New Features

Google Analytics have updated their ‘Realtime’ features. There are 3 main updates:

  1. Realtime Dashboard Widgets.
  2. Realtime Event Reports.
  3. Realtime Segmentation by Desktop / Mobile / Tablet.

Here are some screengrabs & notes on each of the changes:

New Feature 1. Realtime Dashboard Widgets:

Google have added ‘realtime’ widgets to dashboards. The tool to add those looks like this:


Here’s  how they look within the dashboard:


(minor note: ‘dimensions’ aren’t yet working for me there. I presume they’re fixing this)

New Feature 2. Realtime Events Reports

The second update that’s happened is ‘realtime events’ reports. If you have not used ‘events’ before, they allow you to track anything you like. As opposed to tracking pageviews or transactions, you may track ‘brochure downloads’ or ‘carousel interactions’, or ‘product added to bag’, or ‘checkout error’ or anything other activity that occurs on your website that you’d like to track.

Adding ‘realtime’ event reports is a very nice tweak, Here’s where it features in the menus:


And here’s how the report looks:


Below that is a table of all of the events that have triggered in the last 30 minutes, filterable by keyword. Those are broken down by ‘event category’ & ‘event action’.

I like this change for a few reasons:

  1. It’s really useful for sites that use events for key actions like goals. Rather than getting less meaningful realtime ‘pageview’ data, you can see the events that are important to your business in real time.
  2. An extension of that – you can now add events specifically to view their realtime numbers if that’s useful for you. For example, I’m launching ticket sales for a client. I only want to see ‘ticket sales’ in realtime. Under the regular realtime tracking that’s not really possible. If I fire a ‘ticket bought’ event, I can now monitor that in real time.
  3. It’s fantastic for testing event tracking. Any changes you make to your event tracking code, you can now check them instantly.

New Feature 3: Segmentation by Desktop / Mobile / Tablet

I’d missed this at first, until @thedanfries kindly pointed me to this Google+ post from Aaron Bradley. Realtime ‘Content’ reports now allow you to segment by Desktop, Mobile, and Tablet:


Clicking on ‘Desktop’, ‘Mobile’ or ‘Tablet’ in the above example then drills down to show you only the content viewed by those device types, and updates the table of pageviews to reflect that.


These are 3 fairly subtle feature changes, but each really useful. I’ve already used ‘Event Tracking’ in particular to solve a couple of problems. Subscription – Choose Your Price

It’s very much worth testing the price of your app or service, but also worth trying to avoid having too many different prices visible to potential customers at the same time when you’re running different tests and segmented offers.

Here are 8 examples of different prices for subscription, all found within a couple of minutes searching Google for ‘ft subscription price’, ‘ subscription offer’, etc.









There you go – eight prices – without even taking into account ‘monthly’ vs ‘annual’ rates.

I wonder whether this increases or decreases their results, and whether they’ve taken the “people who see multiple prices” effect into account in their testing.

Google Analytics: Creating Automatic “Bot Alert” Emails

‘Bots’ often cause problems for website owners. Among many negative effects, they often damage the accuracy & precision of web analytics data, and cause website owners to make faulty decisions.

This comes up at least once a month with clients, and I’d spotted the great @peter_oneill, @matt_4ps, & @danieljtruman talking about it on twitter so thought I’d share this.

Here’s a quick Google Analytics ‘Custom Alert’ to help you spot some bots before they’ve caused lots of damage. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it helps flag when it may be happening, allowing you to delve in & investigate further, and to then filter out the traffic if it is indeed a problem.

The Problem

Here’s an example of what bot traffic looks like, when isolated from all of the rest of the traffic on a site:


Just there, it’s a robot sending around 375 visits per day. That’s not huge, but it’s roughly 11,000 visits over a period of a month, none of which converts, all of which has a 100% bounce rate. That causes the following issues:

  • It totally skews our bounce stats
  • It skews our conversion stats too.
  • All of the surrounding metrics like ‘per visit value’, ‘% new visits’ become misleading.
  • Stats by region/browser/etc are often messed up, as bots tend to favour one particular region/browser.
  • It does all of the above in an unpredictable manner, and is time consuming to look for.

 The Solution: How to alert yourself when this is happening?

One solution to alert yourself when this may be happening is as follows:

  1. Set up an ‘advanced segment’ to spot ‘new, direct, bouncing’ traffic.
  2. Set up an alert so that if that ‘new, direct, bouncing’ traffic ever increases massively, Google Analytics sends you an email.

Here are those 2 steps:

Step 1: Create An Advanced Segment

Usually, but not always, bots follow this pattern:

  • They visit the site ‘direct’.
  • They don’t store cookies, so are identified as ‘New’ visitors.
  • They record as 100% bounce rate.

Not all of that traffic will be bots, but we know if it jumps considerably there is a much higher likelihood that it’s a bot than if any other type of traffic jumps.

In order to isolate those people, we’ll set up an advanced segment:


(if you’re lazy, you can simply click this link to create the above:

Step 2: Set up the Alert

Following that, set up an alert to fire off an email when traffic leaps from your new ‘may be a bot’ segment:

To set that up, go to the following in Google Analytics: Intelligence Events > Overview > Custom Alerts > Manage Custom Alerts > Create new alert.

Once there, copy the following:



That essentially says “Please pay attention only to Direct Traffic, where that traffic is New to the site, and where it Only Views One Page. While you’re paying attention to that – if it’s more than double what it was last week on any given day – send me an email.”

Depending on your site’s traffic pattern, you may want to increase/decrease that ‘100%’ value.

Not perfect, and it won’t catch everything, but better than not spotting anything at all.


That’s it. Set that live & – when that ‘new, direct, bouncing’ traffic that is often caused by bots doubles – you’ll get an email telling you. From there you can investigate further & filter it from your google analytics data if it is indeed a bot.

Do post any thoughts you have on this, or any other solutions.

100 Web Analytics People to Follow on Twitter

I thought I’d put together this ‘100 Web Analytics People to Follow on Twitter’ list. Click on any of their @names to jump to their Twitter profile.

The people on the list are all gathered from the #measure hashtag, and are ranked automatically by PeerIndex’s black box algorithm. If you’d like to be added to the list, drop me a note at @danbarker. And do retweet if you find it useful.

(If you’ve got this far, you’ll have noticed there are a few more than 100 on the list! I noticed that for some reason the tool had resulted in the list being a bit ‘male’ heavy so I sought to even it out a tiny bit – if you have any more suggestions for people to include do let me know).

If you’d like to be added to the list, or have suggestions for some who should, do drop me a note at @danbarker

And do hit the Retweet button below if you found this useful:

Google’s Chromebook Pixel Strategy

Google’s new Chromebook Pixel is very, very high spec, and very expensive.


The most common response so far seems to be: “Why would you pay more than £1,000 for a chromebook??”

The answer to that is – I think – 2 things. The first is immediately obvious, the second is not obvious.

1. Trying to ‘out-Apple Apple’

This is fairly obvious. The ‘Pixel’ is very light, fairly thin, and very high resolution. If you remove the OS, those are basically the main attributes of a (forthcoming) Macbook Air Retina.

2. Positioning Chrome OS In the Eyes of Manufacturers

This is less obvious I think: The Chromebook Pixel is as much about encouraging other manufacturers to build high-spec Chrome-based laptops as it is about selling a product directly.

Android has been extremely successful on phones & tablets, partly because it spans the full market, from very cheap, low-spec phones, to things like the Nexus 4, Galaxy S3 LTE, etc.

Chrome-based laptops are seeing lots of success, and have risen to (for some retailers) 10% of all laptop sales. At the moment though, all Chrome-based laptops are very low spec, almost throwaway machines. Manufacturers are getting nicely into the pattern of churning out these low-spec laptops, and that is where they see them: low end. But Chrome can only grow so far as an OS when it is strictly confined to the bottom end of the market.

To convince manufacturers to produce higher spec Chrome-based laptops, they could spend tens of millions lobbying manufacturers, sat in partnership negotiations, offering funding pilot projects, etc.

Or – as they have done – they could simply release their own laptop at the very top end of the market. Doing this firstly gives them the control to make sure the first ‘high spec’ chromebook is high quality. More importantly, it changes the positioning instantly in the eyes of other manufacturers, encouraging them to think of Chrome OS in different terms, and produce higher spec models themselves.

Google Analytics – Hours & Days Report

Here is a free Google Analytics report showing visits, pageview, bounce rate, and visitor type metrics in a couple of ways you don’t often see them:

  • By ‘Hour of Day’
  • By ‘Day of Week’

There are 2 versions of the report, one for ‘all sites’, and one for ‘ecommerce’ sites:

Background & Description

Here’s an example from the report. Below, you see I’ve sorted it by ‘visits’ descending, and this tells me that Hour 21. (9pm) was the most popular within the period I was looking at. (eg, I could be looking at a period of a month, and it would add up all of the visits within each ‘9pm’ hour to come to the total ‘134,108’):


These are useful for everyone, but especially for content sites or anyone interested in ‘content marketing‘.

The 4 tabs in the report cover:

  1. Hour of Day – when do you get most visits/pageviews. If you set the timespan on this over (say) a couple of months, this helps you figure out when you’re most visited. Experiment with post times, try and fill in the ‘quiet’ gaps, etc, and see how you can improve based on the data.
  2. Day of Week – very similar to the first tab, but for day of week.
  3. Day + Hour Combined. If you sort this descending by number of visits, it tells you very quickly which ‘hour of the week’ your site is most visited.
  4. ‘Linear’ Date + Hour. This shows you, over any period, which were the most popular periods on the site. (in other words, rather than saying ‘9pm was the most popular over the entire period’, it would say ‘9pm on 7th january was the most popular single hourly period’).

You can apply the Google Analytics Report to any account/profile by clicking this link: . If you have an ecommerce site, this version contains revenue/transaction/conversion metrics:

Mobile Device Orientation

Which way do people hold their phones/tablets when browsing websites? Here’re the results of a little experiment in ‘Mobile Device Orientation’. There are only about 1,500 visits here, but interesting nonetheless:


This shows info ‘on load’ of pages, but it is broadly similar on this site when factoring in people who rotate the device after the page loaded.

I’m about to roll this out for a couple of large sites, but thought I would share the stats before I do so. If you’d like any more info drop me a note!

Marketing an Ecommerce Site on a £10k Budget

Here are lots of good, useful, interesting answers to the hypothetical question: “How would you market an ecommerce site on a £10k per year budget?”.

£10k Marketing Budget Challenge

What would you do if you had a fixed £10k budget to market an ecommerce site for the next year?

Storified by dan barker· Wed, Feb 27 2013 14:58:33

Twitter #Ecommerce Q: What would you do if you had a fixed budget of £10k to market an ecommerce site for the next year?dan barker
@danbarker 1) Hire a part-time writer that understands the brand and social. 2) Produce and distribute shitloads of quality content.Chris Lake
@danbarker what @lakey said plus a good customer based post-order email strategy and ways to maximise UGCAlex Moss
@danbarker Need to show ROI to gain next contract. Your decisions become crucial – what provides more return – PPC, SEO or CRO?Future State Digital
@dergal @danbarker I’d probably do the same. You’ve only got a year to build the business, just don’t spunk it all in the first 2 weeks.Matty Curry
@danbarker produce lots of words and pictures relevant to market & put them online w/value add for subscribers.Ruben Lightfoot
@danbarker Depending on an agreeable CPA, it’d be PPC. Then again, I am biased :-)Shaun Causer
@danbarker develop an email mkt strategy that coincides with your social media and web content strategy.Matthew Adams
@danbarker Hire a freelance/part time copywriter and generate as much quality and meaningful content as possibleMike Upton
@danbarker Got to capture the status quo first. To be honest, 10k on improving stock control could "make money" for the clientFuture State Digital
@danbarker conversion optimisation 1st, then some retargeting and look-alike modeling campaigns. Not sure if 10k will take you very far thouKarine Nascimento
@danbarker save it all and go large in December :)Rob Barham
@danbarker for the next year, eh? I like the PPC method, so long as it was tailored + reinvestable. Content might take too long to pay back.Charlie Southwell
Interesting in the response to that ‘£10k marketing budget’ question – Lots of people define ‘conversion optimisation’ as marketing. You?dan barker
@danbarker I agree. I do it, and ‘marketing’ is in my job title. There ya go!Michel Hendriks
@danbarker Normally comes from same budget "pot" but of course you need traffic before you can testRob Barham
@danbarker conversion optimisation assumes there’s already traffic.Ruben Lightfoot
@SEMantiks @danbarker my view is that as we know nothing about this "ecom site" we’re marketing, building on-page value is key.Ruben Lightfoot
@SEMantiks @danbarker but if the site is good and tells a good story, CPA PPC is a good way to ensure good ROI.Ruben Lightfoot
@rubenlightfoot @SEMantiks @danbarker indeedy, as long as you have a good product and decent site, your priority should be volumeMatty Curry
@mattycurry @rubenlightfoot @danbarker I’d agree Matty, like Dan said, where does UX and conversion optimisation end and marketing start.Shaun Causer
@danbarker optimisation part of marketing. So are surveys, usability + other market research, I think. Original q more about promotion.Tim Leighton-Boyce
“@timlb: @danbarker optimisation part of marketing. Usability I would qn!!Mark Pinkerton
@timlb @danbarker Dan – nice topic. Im not sure it does fall under Marketing.. I’m getting some ideas for a blog post… 🙂 Great convo!Daniel (WebAnalyst)
@SEMantiks @mattycurry @danbarker Broadly, UX & CRO = changing what you already have. Marketing = Adding something new.Ruben Lightfoot
@danbarker Content, content, content, social and email. In that order.Dan Goodfellow
@danbarker Test and develop conversion funnel, build an audience through blog and email, then SEO and landing pages.9.9k. £100 for beerDaniel Truman
@danbarker Point 2 – blogging, wordpress, tweeting and linking without spamming and using these keywords can still help with traffic drive!Eddie Stopford
Thoughts? RT @danbarker: What would you do if you had a fixed budget of £10k to market an ecommerce site for the next year?Chris Lake
@lakey @danbarker Pray your sales target isn’t >£1m!Andy Harding
@lakey @danbarker Get another job.Manley
@lakey @danbarker spend it on wine then panic.Alexander Velky
@AlexanderVelky @danbarker Most realistic answer yet.Chris Lake
@danbarker outreach to influential people to promote the product/ brand. Maybe a nice gift basket of product.Mike Robertson
@danbarker depends on the sector. If it was seasonal and I’d get another 10k next year, I’d probably blow the lot on in season ppc.Joshua Geake
Nice! @dergal put together his thoughts on "what to do with a fixed £10k marketing budget": #thedigitalsdan barker