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2010 Olympics Business News for the Vancouver and Whistler regions of British Columbia. Plus, Alberta, the rest of Canada, Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, Montana & California

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Crowdsourcing and Citizen Journalism


Crowdsourcing and Citizen Journalism

If you expect to leverage 2010 Olympics excitement
and boost your company's visibility... plus make a profit
you need the right online communication tools.

It's not hard, or expensive. All you have to do in this era is to integrate yourself into the rapidly growing conversation and network of people and companies interested in the Olympics - and let your website do the talking. If there was ever a time to update your website, this is it.

Many company owners have expressed that they want nothing to do with the Olympics and that they see it only as political grandstanding and a money grab for big business. Well if you think this way and you ignore the 2010 Winter Games you will lose on two counts. Not only will you pay for the Games as a result of rapidly escalating taxes, and in general also pay for a higher cost of doing business in an Olympics region, if you shun the Games you will miss out on the revenue being generated by everyone who is taking a more progressive approach, many of whom could be your competitors.

Ignore it and you take a double hit.

You can't stop the Olympics, and it won't wait for you.

Everyone is talking, locally and globally, about 2010. The topics range from the human rights issues, the environment, child care, and everything in between.

For example, local businesses are worried about Olympic-related strikes and boycotts. They also have to deal with protesters, plus Olympics inflated property values and taxes, and the dirty, dusty, noisy and very costly challenges and inconveniences related to Olympic construction.

These issues undermine businesses in many Olympics regions, and Vancouver / Whistler is no exception.

By 2006, four full years before the big event, small businesses in Vancouver were either being displaced or going bankrupt as a direct result of the frenzied scramble to build Olympics facilities and infrastructure in time for 2010. Meanwhile, big companies like The Vancouver Sun newspaper, and official Olympics sponsors like RBC, Rona, and VISA were, and still are, making a financial killing simply by having their names associated with the Olympics brand. In the summer of 2007 local newspapers like The Sun finally came out of the closet and announced they are being bought and paid for by VANOC. Everyone it seems is in a 100 meter sprint for gold.

Over the last two years my online marketing agency has been inundated by companies trying to figure out how to pan some of this gold for themselves. We are so busy we now rarely publish a newsletter, and even have a hard time keeping this blog updated. Some of our clients have Olympics contracts, and some want nothing to do directly with the Games. As we move closer to 2010, costs for web development in the Vancouver and Whistler regions are skyrocketing just like Olympic-frenzied condo prices did immediately after we won the Bid. Some companies are even desperately resorting to going outside the region for web design help. As usual, there are plenty of cut rate web hacks hanging out shingles, but web marketing and development companies with experience and a good track record are becoming harder to contract as they scramble to keep up.

Regardless of whether you want to sell products directly to VANOC or their spectators, or if you simply want to figure out how to leverage Olympic momentum from the periphery as a promotional tool, if you don't have a well designed web presence it's going to be harder, if not impossible to leverage the feeding frenzy. The opportunities are varied, but the window is narrow. Keep in mind too that eventually VANOC will institute some type of online presence to showcase local companies, and when they do, you better be prepared to leverage it immediately.

Once you have an Olympics region friendly website the next thing you have to do is to position it so it works hard for your company. The newest methods are referred to as crowdsourcing and citizen journalism. Crowdsourcing and citizen journalism will do for the average company what MP3 did for music lovers. It's a twofold process that puts you directly in the driver's seat by providing you with an opportunity to associate your company with Olympics related news. We've all heard the horror stories of Olympics organizations like VANOC bullying companies that even breathe the word "Olympics." Well the days of intimidating the community in an effort to maintain a monopoly are over. Average companies and average citizens now have tools, via the internet, to engage everyone and anyone interested in all aspects of Olympics information and news.

It is completely ethical, legal, and easy to develop legitimate news stories regarding the Olympics that will subtly tie your company to the Games in your region. A good example is this blog. Every time you read it you connect me and my companies with the 2010 Olympics. There is nothing stopping your company from doing exactly the same thing, except in your case, the news you provide could be more upbeat if that is what suits your needs. You also do not have to go to the great length we do here to reach people interested in the Olympics. Your goal is not to produce and publish an Olympics related book like we did, you simply want to reach out and connect with people, and there are a growing number of tools available that make it relatively easy.

One new communication tool in particular, in fact one of the biggest independent news networks in the world, is based right here in Vancouver. It's a company called Basically, it is a crowdsource website that allows average people to report the news. The term "crowdsource," is simply an online process that allows thousands of people to get together online to report and discuss a newsworthy topic. It could be about snowboarding, politics, garbage strikes, boycotts, the BC Place roof collapsing, cost overruns, or anything in between. You choose.

If you were to simply slap the five rings and torch on your website and associate your company directly with the Games the Olympics police would soon crash through your door. However, when you do so under the auspices of reporting news, you are protected by legislation recognized in North America and most of the free world as "fair use." Mainstream newspapers, television, and websites all leverage this "fair use" strategy, and you can too.

2010 Winter Olympics & Paralympics logos

Anyone reporting about, or even critiquing the Olympics can legally place Olympic logos in appropriate places when they refer to 2010.

   Like this! provides Olympics related news and criticism, and as a consequence, we are legally within our rights to display Olympics logos for news identification purposes. We also take direct quotes from print publications, television, or websites and discuss them in either a news format, or simply as a form of criticism. Like any publication though, you cannot slander or libel anyone. You must know and abide by the law. and a small handful of progressive companies can easily and inexpensively (most are free) provide the infrastructure you need to reach out and touch someone. They bring you the news that your local newspaper and television companies often refuse to report because it might offend their advertisers., with a huge and growing global presence of thousands of reporters in 140 countries, was named by Time Magazine as one of the Top 50 websites for 2007. I interviewed Michael Tippet, founder of, about crowdsourcing and citizen journalism for an article that was published in Check out these links to get a better understanding of the tools you have available today. Tippett explains quite clearly the process and tools, and why average people are interested in reporting the news.

If you don't yet have an Olympics-friendly website or a
modern day communications strategy, what are you waiting for?

Contact your web developer today!

If you want the whole story ...

Talk to us before you talk to them ... - the book

Citizen Journalism

We don't
BREAK the News
We FIX it!

Talk to us before you talk to them.
Leverage Olympic Momentum

Available at Duthie Books
4th Avenue in Vancouver Kits

1st printing no longer available at
CHAPTERS locations in Vancouver

Inukshuk Vancouver / Whistler

Own the Podium?

The official creed (guiding principle) of the Olympics is a quote by the founding father of the modern day Games Baron de Coubertin. He said, "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

The Olympic motto consists of three Latin words Citius, Altius, Fortius, which means, "Swifter, Higher, Stronger." The 1924 motto is meant to encourage athletes to embrace the Olympic spirit and perform to the best of their individual abilities.

No where does it imply that winning the most gold medals for your country is part of the agenda. In fact it implies exactly the opposite.

The IOC maintains that it doesn't actively encourage countries to collectively win the most gold medals, but on the other hand they also don't institute anything to ensure that the Games are not turned into corporate money grabs.

In fact, IOC sponsorship and partnership business models encourage a win-at-all-costs mentality. It is the reason they have doping, fraud and bribery scandals.

The IOC invites young people to compete in the Olympics using the original Creed & Motto. But when it comes to delivering on the promise they fall incredibly short.

The Olympics today isn't as much about sport as it is about money and profit.

Priorities changed over the years and so too should their Creed & Motto.

If athletes go for the gold, and the IOC goes for the gold, and corporate sponsors go for the gold, and governments go for the gold, and considering that you will have to foot the bill for their gold, why should you be edged out of the race?

Move to the starting line.

Own the Podium?
Own Your Home?

Real journalism consists of
what someone doesn't want published,
all the rest is public relations."
George Orwell

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