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"Every action has an equal and opposite reaction".

Imagine what would have Newton wondered reading his own Law now? Its so full of innocent sarcasm. If an idea is accepted it becomes a pioneering work, or else it goes down in the annals of history unnoticed.

Now that's an unequal reaction for starts! Sorry Sir Newton!

The term "Streisand Effect" is a modern day euphemism for censorship or banning of any information on the Web, coined by Mike Masnick of TechDirt. However, it ends up popularizing the 'under cover' content.

As most of us intelligent minded, ardent Page 3 followers would have put our brains to work already, the term takes its name from the popular Hollywood singer Barbara Streisand.

The 'rich and glam' of the celluloid world are often in the limelight not for their work per say. Instead the amount of negative publicity garnered far outweighs from the good that they do. Its 'prick-a-bubble' situation literally folks! Reputations are a touch and go affair.

This holds true for businesses as well. We'll come to that in a while.

So here's the 'Story of Genesis'...

In 2002, an aerial photography session by Kenneth Adelman of Pictopia.com, of the coastal erosion in California created a huge sensation. Not because the world had suddenly decided to "Go Green".

One among the 12000 images was Streisand's California home, adjacent to the cliffs. Streisand's team filed a lawsuit claiming $50 million as recompensation for invasion of privacy. What followed was, the birth of "Streisand Effect".

Streisand's been maintaining a low profile since her "Timeless" tour way back in 2000. Interestingly, before the legal case kickstarted, the images had been accessed a mere 6 times, out of which 4 times by Streisand's legal team and once by her neigbour. Later the number of views just grew. One can't even burst into open hearted laughter here!

Now we know why any publicity is good publicity.

The law has sufficient safeguards in place. The DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) besides "gag orders" and "super injunctions" while designed to limit the scope of damage actually end up causing The Effect!

An interesting tidbit here.

Attempts to bottleneck information is a round-the-clock activity. It is in fact, a thriving business in itself. Popular search engine Google, according to statistics, receives nearly 2 million URL removal requests monthly but not all of them get converted into Streisand Effect.

The Web is an open space to act and interact. But sadly it has a tinge of black comedy. What happens online, stays online!

But is Streisand Effect a valid marketing tool for businesses we ask? A big NO!!

Company reputations are a sentimental issue. Savvy businesses are abandoning old school marketing for e-commerce and Business-to-Customer(B2C) marketing. While  face to face interaction will never go out of fashion, the client-entreprenuer relationship is evoloving in alternate ways.

Branding and promotion through social media networking is essential for the businesses, especially the small businesses who work on tight budgets and wish for visibility. Reputation building rests on the pillars of professionalism and product quality. If you lack both, what's left to market? Ventures may achieve initial success on this principle but remember neither your investor nor your community of customers is going to be too happy with this approach.

Check out some of these interesting Streisand Effect cases below:

1. In 2008, the famous car manufacturers Ford sued consumer forums for trademark violations, leading to a marked fall in business. As a countermeasure, Twitter was used to rebuild the tarnished reputation. In a similar vein, 2011 saw Spin Magazine accuse a user for using its name on Twitter without permission.

2. The literary and showbiz world is the pioneer of this Effect. True to its originator, books such as Rushdie's Satanic Verses or Taslima Nasreen's Lajja have been banned in particular countries. But alternate avenues to access such literature exist. Artists such as Jim Morrison, Lenny Bruce, Larry Flynn, comedy sites like FunnyJunk, bands such as The Scorpions have faced the heat for "obscenity". Fashion Designer Ralph Lauren attempted to snub the noise made around a photoshopped model, that in turn popularized the cover beyond the targeted Japanese audience.

3. In 2007, technology news site Digg was in the midst of a "cyber riot" due to the HD-DVD DRM key controversy.

4. Tom Cruise's videos about Scientology have been shunned by the Church of Scientology since 2008.

5. In 2012, a student Martha Payne's blog was under the scanner by Scottish district authorities.


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