IdeasCampaign – Is it really that good of an idea for you?

Those of you who are regular readers here will probably have guessed that I’m a little bit cynical – but will eventually come around to a positive. Like identifying rip offs and bad value around the country, but then proposing ways to avoid them and save yourself some cash.

I have to admit that when I first read about the IdeasCampaign that I started out fairly cynical. The immediate connection to a PR company (stated as only lightly involved originally, and now totally behind it) had me wondering  – as always, you’ve to “follow the money” to work out the real motives.

The clincher for me, and the reason I’ll be avoiding IdeasCampaign and suggesting that you do likewise, is in the terms and conditions on the site:

In submitting an idea you also agree to its publication in any form by The Ideas Campaign. By submitting the idea you are thereby granting The Ideas Campaign the perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right to use, reproduce, copy, modify, edit, translate, publish, display, post, transmit, distribute, sell or part company with your submitted idea without any compensation to you, anonymously or in the aggregate, for internal or external purposes, alone or as part of other works in any form, media or technology.

So, you have a good idea. The people behind the IdeasCampaign think it’s a good idea. So they’ll go off and sell your idea “without any compensation to you”. If you do have a good idea, why would you subject yourself to that?

Now I know why, as I noticed last night, there is no way on the website for you to actually see any of the ideas submitted via the site. With such terms and conditions, there’s no way they’ll share the ideas submitted in case there is a money making gem in the middle of it.

What I’m still pondering is how these people, Amas and Aileen O’Toole, managed to get this project actually launched via Prime Time last night, and heavily covered again on Morning Ireland this morning. I wonder how aware RTE were that they were really promoting a (and providing a huge amount of free advertising) money making effort for a private company rather than what the site originally described itself as (but now removed) as a personal aspirational project from Aileen O’Toole (now the Campaign Director!)?

And now the positive note. There are plenty organisations out there, good and bad, that can help you develop a business idea that you have.

Go to your local county enterprise board and talk to them about it – the couple that I’ve dealt with in the past are inundating me with e-mails now telling me what they can do for people with business ideas and looking to set up small businesses in these difficult times.

In the meantime – don’t give your good ideas to the IdeasCampaign. Unless of course they change those terms and conditions.

Updated: No sooner had I this published than I find that they’ve changed their terms and conditions:

In submitting an idea you also agree to its publication in any form by The Ideas Campaign. By submitting the idea you are thereby granting The Ideas Campaign the perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right to use, reproduce, copy, modify, edit, translate, publish, display, post, transmit, distribute or part company with your submitted idea without any compensation to you, anonymously or in the aggregate, for internal or external purposes, alone or as part of other works in any form, media or technology.

Well, they’ve changed the terms and conditions, but not a whole lot. Maybe hold off still from submitting your ideas. See how everything pans out. As far as the website says now, they’ll start sharing some of their 450 ideas (submitted so far) with the general public next week.

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11 Responses to IdeasCampaign – Is it really that good of an idea for you?

  1. Robert Browne March 6, 2009 at 20:42 #

    Saw the interview on Prime Time, Visited the site and was genuinely gobsmacked at the audacity of these people basically robbing any good ideas out there. The terms and conditions roughly translated read: “You had a good idea, it is ours now, thanks very much for your good idea. Your idea is now our idea! Goodbye! ” How Mark Little and Prime Time would fall for this nonsense is absolutely beyond me.

    These people are asking people to suspend their critical powers of thinking and just give them any ideas they have. Only complete idiots would give these people their “ideas”. I have an idea for them, it is called a guillotine and I am looking for volunteers to try out the prototype, maybe the staff at Ideascampaign.ie would like to give me a dig out. Oh! and for my negativity let me send a cash donation….

  2. le craic March 6, 2009 at 21:37 #

    I think it’s a good idea and fully behind anything that tries to do something positive. I have a few ideas myself and will be blogging about them. If the terms and conditions were removed from the site and everything went public from the get go – would you still have an issue with the idea? Seems to me that the t&c’s would have to be there to prevent someone down the line sueing the state for a share of (for example) some cost savings or revenue raising measure that came about from the ideas. e.g. let’s take the George Lee 1c tax on texts. Supposing this idea was submitted through the site by Johnny Doe and there were no terms and conditions. After a year, the tax raises x million in revenue. Johnny Doe decides – hey this was my idea – I want payback. he takes a court case – judge rules that he didn’t give explicit permission to use his idea – therefore state must pay him for his idea. That’s why i think the terms and conditions are there.

  3. Robert Browne March 7, 2009 at 02:31 #

    The ideas are intended by people who post them to be of benefit to members of the public. Therefore the Act of posting them should have the effect of putting the ideas into the Public Domain, full stop. The ideas should then be available to anyone who is interested to try them out. Be they whacky, serious or just good ideas.

    This happens with Public Domain Software where “source code” can be used by anyone without fear of being sued.

    All this legal jargon, is a subterfuge, for someone or some group gaining control over other peoples ideas.

    Presumably, It is not the intention of people who post ideas, to simply, hand over control of the ideas to the people who claim to be “operating” the site as a public service.

    If that were to happen, you are talking about people franchising other peoples ideas!

  4. le craic March 7, 2009 at 20:10 #

    Been thinking a lot more about it and the terms and conditions are bothering me now – I’d like the group to clarify the reasons for it – and also, for transparancy, to have all ideas published.

  5. valueireland March 7, 2009 at 21:45 #

    @Robert Browne – Many thanks for your detailed comments. I think we’re pretty much in agreement at the rights individuals would be giving up by submitting their ideas in their good faith to a website which doesn’t reciprocate such good faith (in its actions, unlike its touchy feely stated goodness).

    I have a theory about the RTE PrimeTime, and Morning Ireland, involvement. According to Maman Poulet, the Government Press Office is putting serious pressure on RTE to cut down on the negativity and to big up any positivity they can.

    So, if Fianna Fail were to decide, with their new American website developers/political strategists, that an IdeasCampaign (that specifically blocks out whingers) would be a good idea, I guess pressure from the Press Office on RTE could feasibly have meant a launch of a website could take place
    on PrimeTime – instead of Tubridy Tonight or The Late Late Show as would have been the case in days gone by.

    @le craic – I’ve seen your comments on Gavins Blog as well. I can see where you’re original optimism came from – and the optimism of many when they first hear of this IdeasCampaign – and to be honest, it’s something that I would share in personally as well.

    As an avid reader of Michael Lewis, I always think back to his book from way back in 2000,
    The New New Thing. In this, he wondered where the next big thing was going to come from – we’d already had the age of computers and the age of the internet. He was wondering where the next boom money making business was going to come from. He didn’t really realise at the time that the new new thing in
    2000 was going to be international global finance.

    And now that that’s gone, we’re back in the position where that book becomes relevant again – and particularly in an Irish perspective. The whole country is crying out for the new new Irish thing.

    And that’s why it’s so disappointing that the IdeasCampaign is preying on that desperation. As you saw from Thursday night on Twitter, the main thing that struck me was the fact that they weren’t immediately sharing the submitted ideas. The terms and conditions served to increase my scepticism about the whole thing.

    If my guess is correct about who’s behind all this, then the original inclusion of the word "sell" with regards to the T’s & C’s would tie in completely since as far as I know, that would be a relatively American angle to take. Certainly, to my mind, any individual who may have set up such a website with the originally stated noble intentions of Aileen O’Toole would have had other things on their mind with regards to the proposal rather than ensuring they captured sales rights to any ideas submitted.

  6. le craic March 7, 2009 at 22:23 #

    just to add to the above – that it may well turn out that your theory is correct – I’m a bit naive maybe when it comes to politics.

  7. valueireland March 8, 2009 at 01:18 #

    🙂 le craic – And I do love my conspiracy theories. Did you hear the one about the landing on the moon and 9-11?

    I hadn’t seen that piece by Mark Little. Is this even related to IdeasCampaign – it strikes me as just work they might have done for the Prime Time programme, otherwise I wonder why none of this was covered anywhere on the IdeasCampaign site?

  8. le craic March 8, 2009 at 15:22 #

    Little explains how Aileen O’Toole came to launch the campaign on Prime Time.

    “Aileen called me to see if we might launch her campaign where it started: in the Prime Time studio.”

    I really don’t see government hands in this.

  9. FP March 9, 2009 at 12:17 #

    If it’s ‘by citizens, for citizens’, as O’Toole claims, then surely the ideas should be published.
    It’s quite jarring to experience the site and see the ‘Add Your Idea’ link with no corresponding ‘See The Ideas’ option.

  10. Paul April 4, 2009 at 19:10 #

    I see that Anglo-Irish Auditors Ernst & Young are on the Ideas campaign Advisory group so big confidence on costings front then!

  11. valueireland April 5, 2009 at 21:15 #

    @Paul – yes, this was highlighted to me a couple of times by other readers.

    I’ve had enough really of this Ideas Campaign. They’re manipulating the media by utilising their connections, and as you point out, by bringing in people like Ernst & Young, they’re just giving the usual “in crowd” a way to get directly to the Cabinet table.

    Think of it.

    Given the Anglo fiasco, Ernst & Young are probably likely to get short shrift from the Government.

    How better to rehabilitate themselves than to become involved in a so-called “grass roots” campaign?

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