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To think that BT's "Campaign for Child Line" is scheming?

(24 Posts)
Katvic Sun 31-Aug-08 21:31:14

OK, so I got this e-mail from BT (my ISP)screaming at me "You can Help Children in Distress".

OK, I thought. How?

"ChildLine urgently needs more people to answer the phone to help children in distress. Your help won't cost you a penny. All you have to do is sign in to BT Yahoo! and use the BT Yahoo! search engine. When you complete a search we'll make a donation to ChildLine (*1)."

O-K.... I prefer Google search to BT Yahoo! search, but go on. If it helps Child Line.

So what do I do?

"To start helping Childline now, follow these easy steps:
1) Log in to your BT Yahoo! Home Page.
2) Simply click on the 'Make BT Yahoo! Your Home Page' link at the top left of the page.
3) Start using BT Yahoo! It's one of the best search engines around. "

Whoa there ------ make BT Yahoo my Home Page? I prefer the BBC News page... They snuck that in a bit quietly, didn't they?

Oh - go on, then. For a while. Until you reach your target...What is your donation target exactly....?

Aha! The small print at (*1)...

"Terms and conditions
1. Only applies to searches completed by clicking on a sponsored link.

BT will donate 5% of online advertising revenue from this promotion to ChildLine, a service provided by the NSPCC, registered charity numbers 216401 and SC037717 via the NSPCC Trading Company Ltd. BT expects to donate at least £100,000 plus VAT to ChildLine."

NOW JUST A MO.... angry

This isn't a Kindness-of-our-hearts-donation for "searching" at all. They are NOT going to pay up, just because you search using BT Yahoo!

This is a 5% peanuts donation for all that luvvery advertising revenue they are hoping to generate through you *clicking on sponsored advertising links*. And for the £100,000 they will hand over to ChildLine, you will have raised a big fat £2,000,000 for big fat BT...

I'll repeat that: £2,000,000 for BT. But they'll pass on 5%. Big of them, eh?

Plus you will have
1) Increased their hit rate on their own site by making them your home page;
2) Diverted traffic away from Yahoo Search's main rivals such as Google, so that Yahoo! can boast more hits and do their competitors down.

Yeah, sure, £100,000 is a lot of money, but so is £2,000,000. 95% more money, by my calculation. This (IMHO) is sharp practice aimed at raising far more profit and commercial advantage for BT Yahoo! than revenue for Child Line, and it simply trades on the charity's name to sucker us into complying.

SHAME on you, BT.

Or am I being unreasonable?

bran Sun 31-Aug-08 21:34:02

Nope, YANBU.

hecate Sun 31-Aug-08 21:34:35

No. You are not BU. Big businesses are ruthless. Nature of the beast.

Katvic Sun 31-Aug-08 21:39:18

Yes, hecate, I know they are ruthless and always seeking 'leverage'. But I really object to them using children's charities to twist our arms in this way.

Is there nothing sacrosanct?

hecate Sun 31-Aug-08 21:40:29

Not to big business, sadly, no.

Habbibu Sun 31-Aug-08 21:41:04

Nice reading of the small print. That is quite vile.

Katvic Sun 31-Aug-08 21:41:19

Plus I think that they are bordering on misrepresentation:

"When you complete a search we'll make a donation to ChildLine"

Since when did 'complete a search' = 'click on a sponsored link'? And that's the only way they'll pay up.

undercovercat Sun 31-Aug-08 21:45:25


PeaMcLean Sun 31-Aug-08 21:47:57

5% is quite good. Many big companies give less than 1% of their total profits to charity.

Think of those packets of marg which say they're supporting whatever charity and then when you read the small print it's peanuts compared to the pack price. Or the "charity" Christmas cards which give 1p per card.

BT are sadly one of the better ones when it comes to donating to charities. Not defending big business but just saying company generosity is still more words than action.

Habbibu Sun 31-Aug-08 21:49:05

Pea, I think what I don't like is that it's works out essentially as a money-making scheme for BT dressed up as a Childline appeal - it's not a donation of current profits, after all.

Katvic Sun 31-Aug-08 21:54:39

Yes, I take your point PeaMcLean, but at least when you buy marg you get the product!

Here there is no cost to BT. They don't have to make a product; or ship it. They are simply out to make freebie money with a big-name campaign, with the co-operation of you, the fall-guy.

And in the process, they will collar the advertising revenue and hit-rates of other search engines; or other home page sites (sites maybe like this one) which might rely on revenue earned when you travel to on-line shopping sites from their location.

I still think it stinks, I'm afraid. I think the wording is sneaky, and the deal misrepresented.

ChukkyPig Sun 31-Aug-08 21:55:11

I think this is misrepresentation as well. The large print says that you just have to use the search engine. The small print says you have to click on a sponsored link - which is something I for one never do.

So I could have made it my home page and used the search engine thinking I was donating and helping when all along nothing would've been happening.

Complain complain complain to the advertising standards people! Go on it'll make you feel better...

PeaMcLean Sun 31-Aug-08 21:55:35

You're right habbibu, businesses don't do anything unless it benefits their business. But that's why businesses get involved in supporting charities - they don't do it to be kind.

Staff doing dress down days and fundraising at work? Helps morale and reduces staff turnover. Supporting the local community through working with schools? Creates good PR so that they find it easier to recruit.

Annual reports now are full of companies demonstrating their corporate social responsibility, but it's only to keep the shareholders happy. It would be much easier for them if they didn't have to do that whole carbon footprint / ethical employer / community support thing.

Cynical? Me? Sorry. But I bet Childline are still bloody glad of the cash.

Habbibu Sun 31-Aug-08 21:57:58

I take your point, pea, but I suppose I don't mind the PR/Staff morale issues as it's not such a blatant cash raising scheme.

policywonk Sun 31-Aug-08 22:02:55

I saw a BT van with Childline's logo on the other day and didn't know what the connection was... I do now. Thanks for the info Katvic. For me, it's the mendacity about the sponsored link click that pisses me off. Why not email BT a link to this thread?

Katvic Sun 31-Aug-08 22:04:43

Point is, I for one wouldn't change to BT for my homepage or used BT Yahoo! search if it wasn't for the thought that I was helping Child Line. They know that's the case fopr the majority of people who switch as a result of this campaign.

But I'm not helping that much, really, am I? And they know that, too. That's why they hid it in the small print.

I'm not buying anything of worth to me; in fact it would be mildly inconvenient. And I don't click on sponsored links.

When I find that by far the majority of the benefit is simply going to BT, and yet it is dressed up like a 'Blue Peter Appeal' (since when did they keep 95% of the proceeds?) I get cross.

Katvic Sun 31-Aug-08 22:06:10

I mailed them. They replied:

"You appear to have contacted us with an issue about Broadband. Please refer this to our Broadband Department as we are unable to help.


policywonk Sun 31-Aug-08 22:07:27

LOL <hollow>

Katvic Sun 31-Aug-08 22:08:15

(Should have said that my mail was sent yesterday - an e-mail setting out much more succinctly my objections to their campaign)

PeaMcLean Sun 31-Aug-08 22:10:30

BT are a bloody nightmare to get in touch with. Considering they're about communications. Ever tried speaking to a real person by phone???? Not an effing chance. They do make me very cross.

Katvic Sun 31-Aug-08 22:12:08

May try again using a different address.

If I link to this thread, they won't sue MN or anything, will they...? I hear it's been a problem in the past... wink

Habbibu Sun 31-Aug-08 22:12:19

pw - I have just sighed with pleasure at "mendacity". You do have a lovely turn of phrase.

policywonk Sun 31-Aug-08 22:16:59

Aw thanks habb. It's one of my favourite nasty words! (I subscribed to the Bad Science podcasts the other day and thought of you.)

Katvic, I don't see how BT could complain about libel re. this thread (anyway, is it possible to libel a corporation?). The previous unpleasantness re. Gina Ford occurred when a poster on here accused GF of strapping babies to rockets and firing them into Lebanon* - a fairly cut-and-dried case!

*GF never did any such thing, of course.

ChukkyPig Mon 01-Sep-08 13:45:44

Katvic honestly contact the advertising standards people I'm sure you'll get more joy than from BT themselves. Put that you are doing that in your email as well that might make them give a sensible answer.

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