Doubting “Ako Mismo”

Over the weekend, we saw a very interesting newspaper center fold ad about an advocacy. “Ako Mismo” features very interesting personalities promoting it. Ely Buendia, Angel Locsin, Chris Tiu among others. I sincerely appreciate its cause. It makes everyone think about doing something and not just “saying something” for the country.

And it makes me wanna get that dog tag!

On the other hand, I had some questions in my mind then:

1. Are these artists pro bono, or were they paid to appear in the ad?

2. If they were paid, it definitely sure cost a lot!

3. If it costs a lot, who paid for it? — and we now know it’s Smart Communications.

My doubts are later triggered further with MLQ3’s Twitter update:


Is it possible AkoMismo ads today are trial balloon for possible Manuel V. Pangilinan presidential bid? Who else could afford it?

Today, an email is circulating that supposed to come from Jaime Garchitorena:

To all those that signed up with AKO MISMO!

You are now part of SMART telecoms network for potential campaigns in 2010.

The amount of information they have asked is so detailed that they can track you down to your zip code and contact you any time. In all my years of signing up for information I have never had a site require so much information AS REQUIRED FIELDS.

This makes for a perfect voter mapping database and campaign tool for anyone that wants to pay SMART for the information.

Did you think SMART would pay MILLIONS in production and advertising and talent costs for nothing?

If you refer to their privacy policy that no one ever reads, it states:

AKO MISMO MAY use the personal information you provide to:

• Contact you – either in response to a query or suggestion, or to mail newsletters, documents, publications, etc.

• “Remember” your online profile and preferences;

• Help you quickly find information that is relevant to you based on your interests, and help us create site contents most relevant to you;

In other words the can PUSH information to you which is an important tool in making sure that you can receive even unwanted campaign messages.

• Undertake statistical analysis.

They can use your answers to this PUSH for other mapping and trending purposes.

They also wash their hands of any person “accidentally” cracking the site and getting all your info. If you read privacy policy, again, which no one reads:

AKO MISMO shall not be liable under any circumstances for damages resulting from unauthorized use of information collected from visitors to the site.

AKO MISMO may change this privacy policy to reflect changes in the way we collect visitor information.

As a final warning, their privacy policy claims that you can still access this site even if you do not sign up (again from the privacy policy page):

What if I don’t want to provide personal information?

Providing personal information on the AKO MISMO web site is optional. If you choose not to provide personal information, you can still browse and use the AKO MISMO site, but you will not be able to carry out certain actions.

This is not true. None of the pages are viewable unless you have signed in. This is already a sure sign that their intent is to make you sign up and not just to make you a part of a youth reform activity.

A friendly piece of advice: Go back to the site and change your details please change all the details that pertain to AGE, SEX, and, LOCATION.

Also change your phone number if you like. This is to protect your privacy.

And remember you are still holding on to your pledge of participation in making our country great and they promise not to bar you from accessing the site even if you change your details so you will lose nothing but you will take back your security.

Please pass to all the people you know who may have signed up.

Ingat lang tayo po sa mga ganito.

Salamat!

I’m not insinuating that this campaign is not an authentic, honest way to reach to every Filipino to do something for the country. I just think that there is a lot of questions that needs to be answered.

  • http://www.youthvotephilippines.com Jaime

    Hi Arnold. Just to put the question of identity of sender to rest… It was from me. The whole idea of asking somene to sign in BEFORE allowing them to see the rest of the site is really a “buy before you try” premise with a “no refunds” clause. In its worst case, even if you change your details it still is possible fopr them to retain your original information. Also the idea of creating multiple required feilds for sign in is usually to up the level of security to avoid spamming. The depth of information in teh required feilds prior to sign in is ridiulous and is closer to Phishing than anything else. Feel free to email me if theres anything I can clarify. Thanks!

  • http://www.youthvotephilippines.com Jaime

    Hi Arnold. Just to put the question of identity of sender to rest… It was from me. The whole idea of asking somene to sign in BEFORE allowing them to see the rest of the site is really a “buy before you try” premise with a “no refunds” clause. In its worst case, even if you change your details it still is possible fopr them to retain your original information. Also the idea of creating multiple required feilds for sign in is usually to up the level of security to avoid spamming. The depth of information in teh required feilds prior to sign in is ridiulous and is closer to Phishing than anything else. Feel free to email me if theres anything I can clarify. Thanks!

  • http://arnoldgamboa.com Arnold

    Thanks, Jaime, for owning that email. It was actually very informative.

    An update: I tried to edit my information and it wont. Either it’s a programming error (a bug of sorts), or that’s the intention.

  • http://arnoldgamboa.com Arnold

    Thanks, Jaime, for owning that email. It was actually very informative.

    An update: I tried to edit my information and it wont. Either it’s a programming error (a bug of sorts), or that’s the intention.

  • http://talk.philmusic.com Jim Ayson

    I’m a Smart employee, but I’m reporting this as a netizen. I did my own sniffing around here about AkoMismo.org when the chismax hit the blogosphere and what turns up is that it’s an advocacy project run by DDB Cares – a corporate social responsibilty arm of the ad agency DDB. Smart has nothing to do with it. SMART-PLDT Foundation is a supporter of the campaign but it ends there. Guess DDB in true dramatic ad agency fashion wanted to have a teaser campaign first before the grand reveal.

    Jaime probably means well but has an over active imagination. SMART runs a number of websites that legitimately collect customer information (not to mention, as with all telcos, a database of subscriber accounts) – there is no need to resort to a sneaky campaign just for the purpose of obtaining info.

    The official statement: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/infotech/view/20090505-203271/Smart-denies-owning-patriotism-campaign-site

  • http://talk.philmusic.com Jim Ayson

    I’m a Smart employee, but I’m reporting this as a netizen. I did my own sniffing around here about AkoMismo.org when the chismax hit the blogosphere and what turns up is that it’s an advocacy project run by DDB Cares – a corporate social responsibilty arm of the ad agency DDB. Smart has nothing to do with it. SMART-PLDT Foundation is a supporter of the campaign but it ends there. Guess DDB in true dramatic ad agency fashion wanted to have a teaser campaign first before the grand reveal.

    Jaime probably means well but has an over active imagination. SMART runs a number of websites that legitimately collect customer information (not to mention, as with all telcos, a database of subscriber accounts) – there is no need to resort to a sneaky campaign just for the purpose of obtaining info.

    The official statement: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/infotech/view/20090505-203271/Smart-denies-owning-patriotism-campaign-site

  • http://arnoldgamboa.com Arnold

    Thanks Jim. I think we can give Smart the benefit of the doubt and trust their statement.

    I do share Jaime’s point that this should be something legitimate than just a tool for some people, otherwise, the youth will experience volunteer burnout.

  • http://arnoldgamboa.com Arnold

    Thanks Jim. I think we can give Smart the benefit of the doubt and trust their statement.

    I do share Jaime’s point that this should be something legitimate than just a tool for some people, otherwise, the youth will experience volunteer burnout.

  • Jim Ayson

    Arnold – Yes, let’s leave that for the site owner to figure out.

    In the meantime, it might be a good idea for Jaime Garchitorena to retract his accusations about Smart.

  • Jim Ayson

    Arnold – Yes, let’s leave that for the site owner to figure out.

    In the meantime, it might be a good idea for Jaime Garchitorena to retract his accusations about Smart.

  • Izah

    hi! just passed by this blog.
    this campaign has been creating a stir. you might want to read this.

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/infotech/view/20090505-203271/Smart-denies-owning-patriotism-campaign-site

  • Izah

    hi! just passed by this blog.
    this campaign has been creating a stir. you might want to read this.

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/infotech/view/20090505-203271/Smart-denies-owning-patriotism-campaign-site

  • se7en

    Just passing by.
    I was just wondering.. bakit parang minanamadali na accurate agad lahat sa website ng AKO MISMO? Bago lang to e. It needs more updating pa. And malamang it’ll take a while.
    Hindi ba parang friendster turned campaign for HELPING Filipinos lang naman to? Bakit sa mga site like friendster or facebook wala tayong doubts sa security and privacy ng personal infos? Or pag nagreregister tayo for an email address di ba personal infos din ang nilalagay?
    Is it because international website kasi yung mga yun kaya mas trusted? hmn….

    Wag sana magkaron ng crab mentality lalo na kapag para sa ikaaayos ng bansa natin.
    Give them the benefit of the doubt my friends. Wag natin dumihan ng pag iisip lalo na kung wala pang alam about the whole target of the campaign and its website.

    Kayo Mismo… Wag siraan ang kapwa pilipino.

  • se7en

    Just passing by.
    I was just wondering.. bakit parang minanamadali na accurate agad lahat sa website ng AKO MISMO? Bago lang to e. It needs more updating pa. And malamang it’ll take a while.
    Hindi ba parang friendster turned campaign for HELPING Filipinos lang naman to? Bakit sa mga site like friendster or facebook wala tayong doubts sa security and privacy ng personal infos? Or pag nagreregister tayo for an email address di ba personal infos din ang nilalagay?
    Is it because international website kasi yung mga yun kaya mas trusted? hmn….

    Wag sana magkaron ng crab mentality lalo na kapag para sa ikaaayos ng bansa natin.
    Give them the benefit of the doubt my friends. Wag natin dumihan ng pag iisip lalo na kung wala pang alam about the whole target of the campaign and its website.

    Kayo Mismo… Wag siraan ang kapwa pilipino.

  • Ramon M.

    jaime’s concerns are well-founded, jim, so i suggest you don’t dismiss them as mere products of an overactive imagination. (not to delve into that, here’s a quick thought on a polar opposite scenario: the lack of imagination will get you into bigger trouble in life.)

    he has the right to warn everyone else of that concern because they are VALID. in fact his email could just as easily protect even you jim from internet exploitation in its various forms. so there’s no need for your hostile, defensive tone.

    se7en, i agree with you na dapat walang crab mentality. which means that if you could help another filipino protect himself/herself from unnecessary vulnerability online, then by all means do so.

    my hat’s off to jaime and arnold for posting the words of caution.

  • Ramon M.

    jaime’s concerns are well-founded, jim, so i suggest you don’t dismiss them as mere products of an overactive imagination. (not to delve into that, here’s a quick thought on a polar opposite scenario: the lack of imagination will get you into bigger trouble in life.)

    he has the right to warn everyone else of that concern because they are VALID. in fact his email could just as easily protect even you jim from internet exploitation in its various forms. so there’s no need for your hostile, defensive tone.

    se7en, i agree with you na dapat walang crab mentality. which means that if you could help another filipino protect himself/herself from unnecessary vulnerability online, then by all means do so.

    my hat’s off to jaime and arnold for posting the words of caution.

  • camilla

    Hi, may i give my POV? It’s one thing to question the intention of AKO MISMO, it’s another thing to make allegations without even doing intensive research to back up his “theories”. Jaime’s email started with:

    “To all those that signed up with AKO MISMO!

    You are now part of SMART telecoms network for potential campaigns in 2010…”

    If Jaime’s intentions are pure, he should have inquired to the moderators of the website first before he reached to any conclusions. There’s a portion in the website where anyone can contact the moderator. I’m not saying that he shouldn’t have cautioned the public, I’m just saying that he could have done that without polluting the public’s mind with nothing but rumors.

    And btw, if you still want to know more about the movement, the FAQs in their website is now available. You can click “who’s behind ako mismo” even without signing up.

    Ako mismo naniniwala ako sa Ako mismo.

  • camilla

    Hi, may i give my POV? It’s one thing to question the intention of AKO MISMO, it’s another thing to make allegations without even doing intensive research to back up his “theories”. Jaime’s email started with:

    “To all those that signed up with AKO MISMO!

    You are now part of SMART telecoms network for potential campaigns in 2010…”

    If Jaime’s intentions are pure, he should have inquired to the moderators of the website first before he reached to any conclusions. There’s a portion in the website where anyone can contact the moderator. I’m not saying that he shouldn’t have cautioned the public, I’m just saying that he could have done that without polluting the public’s mind with nothing but rumors.

    And btw, if you still want to know more about the movement, the FAQs in their website is now available. You can click “who’s behind ako mismo” even without signing up.

    Ako mismo naniniwala ako sa Ako mismo.

  • http://deejaycmos.blogspot.com laocee

    AKO MISMO dedma lang. ang daming kelangan i-fill-up! how can we get those dog tags?

  • http://deejaycmos.blogspot.com laocee

    AKO MISMO dedma lang. ang daming kelangan i-fill-up! how can we get those dog tags?

  • http://www.youthvotephilippines.com Jaime

    Hi Arnold.
    Since you were kind enough to respond to me via PM Id like to send you this note at the tail end (?) of this issue.
    As this issue slowly comes to a close and the tempest in a teacup subsides let me tell you how this started.
    I sent the email to friends of mine who are in the advocacy sphere. This was sent to private user groups which I myself was a member and not as an email blast to everyone in my directory. My intent was to warn people I personally knew of the dangers of a loose privacy policy. To clarify with Camilla, at the time of the first writing the CONTACT US page of AKOMISMO was not yet accessible without signing up therefore the only branding associated with AKO MISMO was SMART ( via the TVC).
    After the SMART denials of ownership I sent another email to the same group of people where I mentioned that I took the statement of SMART on the literal “ownership” of the site at face value i.e. I acknowledged that they did not own the site. Unfortunately the same group did not see it fit to forward that email to as many people. But to also be perfectly candid I also said in that email that without ( at that time) any information coming out with regards to the ownership of the site and the number of ex SMART people involved with the project there seemed to be a more than casual relationship between the 2 companies and I was still skeptical about where the security of the data.
    Later on, with some research by others better than me, it was discovered that the AKO MISMO site seemed to be hosted on PLDT servers. Also the domain name was discovered to be “owned” by someone who had worked closely with SMART before and was a TRIBAL DDB employee. There was an attempt to contact the owner of the domain via a check on the domain registration details but the phone contact number was a dead local number and the contact email address was a gmail account.
    Considering the lack of information from both SMART and DDB at that time, the complexity and vagueness of the ownership and hosting issues, and the seemingly intentional fudging of ownership data there was no other way (for me) to see it.
    Now if this were a STATIC site and no sign ups were involved, the whole thing might not have even been worth writing a warning about. Because of the “strategic “ mystery that the owners had shrouded the site with and the fact that the there were so many details that seemed to lead back to SMART, not the least the prominent branding on the TVC, it was not unreasonable to see it as a SMART project and a sloppy sign up and privacy policy from a company like that was disturbing. Therefore, as a youth issue advocate and an IT practitioner I felt like a very dangerous product to be sitting out on the web unquestioned and so it was important for to warn my local groups about the site.
    As a final note, if you look at most of the blog sites that carried this topic, you will note that THE SAME CONCERNS( and more) were expressed by other bloggers ( both IT and non IT) almost a full 24 hours BEFORE my email hit the blogosphere. It just so happened that my email ( not blog) was the most circulated.
    Last Thursday I spoke to DDB via Tony Samson, DDB spokesperson and also ex long employee of PLDT , who asked me for my help by giving inputs as to how to reinvent the technical details of the site. As of this writing I have not been contact by DDB.

  • http://www.youthvotephilippines.com Jaime

    Hi Arnold.
    Since you were kind enough to respond to me via PM Id like to send you this note at the tail end (?) of this issue.
    As this issue slowly comes to a close and the tempest in a teacup subsides let me tell you how this started.
    I sent the email to friends of mine who are in the advocacy sphere. This was sent to private user groups which I myself was a member and not as an email blast to everyone in my directory. My intent was to warn people I personally knew of the dangers of a loose privacy policy. To clarify with Camilla, at the time of the first writing the CONTACT US page of AKOMISMO was not yet accessible without signing up therefore the only branding associated with AKO MISMO was SMART ( via the TVC).
    After the SMART denials of ownership I sent another email to the same group of people where I mentioned that I took the statement of SMART on the literal “ownership” of the site at face value i.e. I acknowledged that they did not own the site. Unfortunately the same group did not see it fit to forward that email to as many people. But to also be perfectly candid I also said in that email that without ( at that time) any information coming out with regards to the ownership of the site and the number of ex SMART people involved with the project there seemed to be a more than casual relationship between the 2 companies and I was still skeptical about where the security of the data.
    Later on, with some research by others better than me, it was discovered that the AKO MISMO site seemed to be hosted on PLDT servers. Also the domain name was discovered to be “owned” by someone who had worked closely with SMART before and was a TRIBAL DDB employee. There was an attempt to contact the owner of the domain via a check on the domain registration details but the phone contact number was a dead local number and the contact email address was a gmail account.
    Considering the lack of information from both SMART and DDB at that time, the complexity and vagueness of the ownership and hosting issues, and the seemingly intentional fudging of ownership data there was no other way (for me) to see it.
    Now if this were a STATIC site and no sign ups were involved, the whole thing might not have even been worth writing a warning about. Because of the “strategic “ mystery that the owners had shrouded the site with and the fact that the there were so many details that seemed to lead back to SMART, not the least the prominent branding on the TVC, it was not unreasonable to see it as a SMART project and a sloppy sign up and privacy policy from a company like that was disturbing. Therefore, as a youth issue advocate and an IT practitioner I felt like a very dangerous product to be sitting out on the web unquestioned and so it was important for to warn my local groups about the site.
    As a final note, if you look at most of the blog sites that carried this topic, you will note that THE SAME CONCERNS( and more) were expressed by other bloggers ( both IT and non IT) almost a full 24 hours BEFORE my email hit the blogosphere. It just so happened that my email ( not blog) was the most circulated.
    Last Thursday I spoke to DDB via Tony Samson, DDB spokesperson and also ex long employee of PLDT , who asked me for my help by giving inputs as to how to reinvent the technical details of the site. As of this writing I have not been contact by DDB.

  • http://www.youthvotephilippines.com Jaime

    another update…as of thisafternoon there is now a “cancel account” option on the AKO MISMO site. Congrats to AKO MISMO developers.

  • http://www.youthvotephilippines.com Jaime

    another update…as of thisafternoon there is now a “cancel account” option on the AKO MISMO site. Congrats to AKO MISMO developers.

  • Gilbert

    Actually I signed up already… and after these issues about akomismo came out how I wish I did not sign up.

  • Gilbert

    Actually I signed up already… and after these issues about akomismo came out how I wish I did not sign up.

  • Gilbert

    I just cancelled my account. How will i know that all the info about myself that I submitted to “ako mismo” were deleted from their data? Well I just hope that this ‘ako mismo” org will use all the info that were submitted to them for better cause the way they projected in their ad…

  • Gilbert

    I just cancelled my account. How will i know that all the info about myself that I submitted to “ako mismo” were deleted from their data? Well I just hope that this ‘ako mismo” org will use all the info that were submitted to them for better cause the way they projected in their ad…

  • Von Santillan

    As if you didn’t know, this is merely a ploy to sell ‘dog tags’ at a hefty price… it’s simply a marketing scheme to exploit the youth, who should be rightfully informed nonetheless that no changes will ever happen to this country (for the good) if potential candidates themselves won’t change.

    ‘Ako MIsmo’ should rest on the shoulders of those in power (or those who would be in power). Not the youth, who’s basically just in for the ‘party’ call.

  • Von Santillan

    As if you didn’t know, this is merely a ploy to sell ‘dog tags’ at a hefty price… it’s simply a marketing scheme to exploit the youth, who should be rightfully informed nonetheless that no changes will ever happen to this country (for the good) if potential candidates themselves won’t change.

    ‘Ako MIsmo’ should rest on the shoulders of those in power (or those who would be in power). Not the youth, who’s basically just in for the ‘party’ call.

  • jason santos

    What happens now to Ako Mismo? it seemed to have lost steam along the way. The ad agency angle should have been explored further. What kind of people are they? What kind of managers do they have? Are they credible people to carry out these so-called social change/awareness programs? Or are they just milking the clients dry? Ask the people who have come and gone from that agency and you would know if they are indeed sincere, credible and trustworthy advocates.

  • jason santos

    What happens now to Ako Mismo? it seemed to have lost steam along the way. The ad agency angle should have been explored further. What kind of people are they? What kind of managers do they have? Are they credible people to carry out these so-called social change/awareness programs? Or are they just milking the clients dry? Ask the people who have come and gone from that agency and you would know if they are indeed sincere, credible and trustworthy advocates.

  • http://twitter.com/arnoldgamboa @arnoldgamboa

    AkoMismo could really be a legitimate cause. But, due to lack of strategy perhaps, it is perceive by a lot as just a dog tag selling scheme.

  • http://twitter.com/arnoldgamboa @arnoldgamboa

    AkoMismo could really be a legitimate cause. But, due to lack of strategy perhaps, it is perceive by a lot as just a dog tag selling scheme.

  • http://armyforums.com Military forums

    My conclusion is simple: Ako Mismo is an Investment.Is it possible for a corporate firm to spend a lot of money for nothing? advocacy? Even foundations are not purely intended to help. They are propaganda machinery to create the picture of "buy our products 'coz we are giving our profits (some) back to the community"..

  • http://armyforums.com Military forums

    My conclusion is simple: Ako Mismo is an Investment.Is it possible for a corporate firm to spend a lot of money for nothing? advocacy? Even foundations are not purely intended to help. They are propaganda machinery to create the picture of "buy our products 'coz we are giving our profits (some) back to the community"..

  • http://customer-service-outsourcing.info Nedra Hurst

    Hello,this is Nedra Hurst,just identified your Post on google and i must say this blog is great.may I quote some of the article found in the site to my local students?i am not sure and what you think?anyhow,Many thanks!

  • http://customer-service-outsourcing.info Nedra Hurst

    Hello,this is Nedra Hurst,just identified your Post on google and i must say this blog is great.may I quote some of the article found in the site to my local students?i am not sure and what you think?anyhow,Many thanks!