Posts Tagged ‘sued’

City Attorney Dennis Herrera Sues Former Supervisor Michael Yaki for More Than 70 Violations of City’s Lobbyist Ordinance

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Well, I suppose I can’t oppose enforcement of the Lobbyist Ordinance.

[And I'll mention that the "Yaki Compromise" would have had numerous salutary effects and would have saved lives lost due to the horrible Octavia Boulevard project.]

Herrera sues former Supervisor Yaki for more than 70 violations of City’s lobbyist ordinance

Lobbying for Rescue Air Systems, Inc. in the legislative process involving Fire Code revisions, Yaki ‘brazenly flouted a law with which he had no excuse to be unfamiliar’

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 4, 2013) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed suit against former Supervisor Michael Yaki for more than 70 violations of the city’s lobbyist ordinance during the time Yaki was paid to advocate for the interests of his client, Rescue Air Systems, Inc., in the legislative process that revised San Francisco’s Fire Code earlier this year.  According to the complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning, “Yaki flouted the lobbyist ordinance in every way” by failing to register as a lobbyist, failing to disclose the amounts and sources of payments for lobbying, and failing to report his lobbying contacts.  The complaint, which was filed with 15 accompanying declarations from Board members, legislative aides, fire commissioners and S.F. Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White, alleges that Yaki misrepresented his identity as a paid lobbyist when trying to set up meetings with five Supervisors.  

The city’s lobbyist ordinance provides for civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, or three times the amount of compensation scofflaw lobbyists fail to report — whichever is greater.  Yaki himself voted to support the ordinance in 2000 while a member of the Board of Supervisors.

“San Francisco’s Lobbyist Ordinance is a good government cornerstone that brings needed transparency to our local legislative process,” said Herrera.  ”It imposes a simple requirement on lobbyists to disclose the nature and extent of work they do for their clients, and other paid advocates have managed to comply with it thousands of times.  Unfortunately, in the case we’ve filed today, the evidence is overwhelming that Mr. Yaki brazenly flouted a law with which he had no excuse to be unfamiliar.  Our lobbyist ordinance fulfills a very important function in our local government, and its aggressive enforcement is essential to the legitimacy of the law itself.” 

San Carlos, Calif.-based Rescue Air Systems, Inc. manufactures a patented “firefighter air replenishment system,” or FARS, which San Francisco’s Fire Code has required since 2004 for new buildings with a height of 75 feet or more.  When city policymakers undertook their periodic revision to the local Fire Code beginning last year, Fire Chief Hayes-White was among numerous city officials to oppose extending the FARS requirement because the San Francisco Fire Department had never used or trained on the system, and because firefighters “do not have confidence that the air coming from the FARS pipes is safe and breathable, or that the system has been checked and maintained on regular basis,” according to Hayes-White’s declaration.  

Yaki engaged in extensive lobbying efforts over a period of more than a year on Rescue Air Systems’ behalf to retain the FARS requirement.  According to the city’s complaint and supporting declarations, the former supervisor lobbied fire commissioners, S.F. Fire Department officials, staff in the Mayor’s Office, and members of the Board of Supervisors and legislative aides to extend the legal requirement for an air replenishment system that only one company — Yaki’s client — manufactured.  The City Attorney’s Office’s investigation secured evidence of at least 70 lobbying contacts, including more than 10 lobbying meetings with Supervisors and their legislative aides and more than 50 emails to city officials on behalf of Rescue Air Systems’ interests in the Fire Code revision process.  

Yaki’s lobbying efforts ultimately proved largely unsuccessful.  San Francisco’s Fire Commission passed a motion recommending that the FARS requirement be altered to offer developers a choice of whether to install FARS or a firefighter service elevator to facilitate oxygen delivery.  That recommendation was adopted as part of the San Francisco Fire Code amendments unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors in September, which Mayor Ed Lee approved on Oct. 3, 2013.  

The case is: Dennis Herrera in his Official Capacity as San Francisco City Attorney v. Michael Yaki, San Francisco Superior Court, filed Dec. 4, 2013.  Due to the large file size of the 468-page court filing, the complete presskit with accompanying declarations is not being emailed but is available for download on the City Attorney’s website at: http://www.sfcityattorney.org/index.aspx?page=570.”

Showing How STRAVA, Inc is Dealing with Its Legal Challenges: Here’s What the “Hyde Street Bomb!” Looks Like

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Take a look at this segment created by the “Strava Community” of troubled Strava, Inc. owners, managers, and/or users.

See? This is a bike trip down Nob Hill through the Tenderloin to the Mid Market:

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Note the innocuous-sounding title: Hyde/Market st.

But also note the URL up there. The name of this segment used to be “Hyde Street Bomb!” But that doesn’t look so hot when you’re in the national news for getting sued.

Oh, here it is, have a go on the YouTube – will the cyclist beat all those cagers in Priuseses what stop for red lights? Hells yes:

Now, do you think that the “Strava Community” might have had an effect on the behavior of this cyclist?

You Make The Call.

And oh, here’s how that Strava webpage looked before, was it just a day ago? Two days ago? I don’t know. But this is quite a recent change. Alls I know is that somebody in the “Strava Community,” be it an owner, manager, legal advisor, person following instructions from a legal advisor, cyclist, or, really, anybody in the entire world, created this segment and/or edited it.

The people at Strava, Inc. aren’t what you call transparent, so it’s hard to tell.

Anyway, here’s your Hyde Street Bomb!

Does registering for Strava and racing down Nob Hill in this fashion make you an “athlete?”

Again, You Make The Call.

So Let’s Hear From Michael Horvath, CEO and Co-Founder of Troubled, SF-Based STRAVA, Inc. – Lawsuit Blog Post

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Well here’s The Statement, from a few days back:

“Stand with Us”

UH, “STAND WITH US” WHILE WE GET SUED INTO OBLIVION? IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT ON THE EVE OF THE NEWS OF YOUR BIG WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT? OK.

“Posted by Michael Horvath on June 17th, 2012″

JUNE 17TH – LOOK AT THE TIMING, JUST BEFORE THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS. MMMM…

Each and every day we strive to improve Strava for you,­ the athlete. We are athletes too, just like you.

LET’S SEE HERE, SIGNING UP FOR STRAVA = BEING AN ATHLETE. GOT IT. YOU DON’T HAVE TO TELL ME TWICE. OH,  WELL I GUESS YOU JUST DID. UH, ALL RIGHT, YOU DON’T HAVE TO TELL ME _THREE_ TIMES.

As the Strava community grows, we all need to follow a few simple guideposts to ensure that Strava’s impact is positive.

GUIDEPOSTS AND NOT RULES? ALL RIGHT.

This is what we, the Strava community, stand for:

NOW WAIT A SECOND, AREN’T YOU THE FOUNDER AND CEO, MICHAEL HORVATH? I THINK SO. BUT ARE YOU A PART OF THE “STRAVA COMMUNITY?” REALLY? BUT _YOUR_ COMPANY IS GETTING SUED THOUGH, RIGHT? NOT THE “ATHLETES” WHAT MAKE UP YOUR USER BASE. I THINK YOU ARE CONFLATING THE OWNERS/MANAGERS OF STRAVA WITH THE USERS OF STRAVA, JUST SAYING. ALL RIGHT, OFF YOU GO THEN…

We know the rules. Laws and rules are created for our protection. Cycling, running and swimming are inherently dangerous and following the law, and common sense, when it comes to traffic, weather, or conditions, reduces our odds of getting hurt or hurting others. It’s as simple as that.

SO, I’LL STILL BE ABLE TO HAVE MY TIMES POSTED SHOWING ME GOING 20 MPH OVER THE LIMIT? CAUSE, YOU SEE, THAT’S NOT FOLLOWING THE “LAWS,” RIGHT? BUT I GUESS, AFTER YOU TALKED WITH A LAWYER OR TWO, YOU’RE TELLING YOUR USERS, THE SAINTED “ATHLETES” YOU WRITE ABOUT, TO FOLLOW THE LAW? OK FINE.

We rest. We listen to our bodies to avoid injury and we inspire in ways other than by being #1. We don’t burn ourselves out. We enjoy our recovery days because they too tell our story on Strava.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH YOU BEING SUED? DOES THIS EVEN BELONG HERE?

We kudo sportsmanship. We all want to get kudos by being great at our sport. We are courteous and treat others with respect. We earn our spots on the leaderboards through clean competition.

UH, KUDO IS NOT A VERB, RIGHT? OK YOU KNOW THAT BUT YOU’RE BREAKING NEW GROUND, OK FINE. UH, IS BIKE-RIDING A SPORT? I THINK I’M SEEING THE PROBLEM HERE. WAS CHRIS BUCCHERE ENGAGING IN SPORT WHEN HE WAS GOING WAY TOO FAST ACROSS MARKET STREET? SHOULD HE HAVE BEEN? IS DRIVING A CAR DOWN MARKET STREET A SPORT? SHOULD IT BE? I DON’T THINK SO. AND IF MEMBERS OF THE “STRAVA COMMUNITY” AREN’T COURTEOUS AND RESPECTFUL, DO THEY GET COUNSELING OR SOMETHING? OR DO THEY JUST GET KICKED OUT? CAUSE  I CAN THINK OF A FEW OF YOUR MEMBERS WHO HAVEN’T KILLED THEMSELVES/OTHERS, SO, YOU KNOW, THEY’RE NOT AS WELL-KNOWN AS SOME OF THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE STRAVA FAMILY, BUT THEY DON’T MEET YOUR STANDARD AS STATED HERE – THEY AIN’T COURTEOUS/RESPECTFUL AT ALL. AND LASTLY, DOES “CLEAN COMPETITION” INCLUDE RUNNING RED LIGHTS? I’M NOT SURE.

We think ahead. We showcase a lot of awesome data about where we go, who we work out with and how hard we push ourselves. If we don’t want everyone to know what we’re up to, we take the necessary privacy precautions before we upload, like setting privacy zones and choosing who can follow us and what they can see.

UH ISN’T THIS A MISH-MASH OF THREE DIFFERENT CONCEPTS?

We’ve got each other’s backs. We watch out for one another. The community does what it can to keep things safe for everyone by looking out for potentially dangerous situations and flagging segments as hazardous.

SO, SELF-POLICING IS THE ORDER OF THE DAY AT STRAVA? HEY, DIDN’T THE “SOUTH PARK DESCENT” GET FLAGGED AFTER KIM FLINT’S DEATH? I THINK IT DID. BUT DIDN’T IT COME BACK, COURTESY OF THE “STRAVA COMMUNITY?” YES IT DID, AND WITH HIGHER SPEEDS THAN WHAT KIM FLINT “ACHIEVED.”

If you want to be part of the Strava community, we’d like you to stand with us and take these guideposts to heart.

SO, YOU’RE GOING TO START KICKING PEOPLE OUT? ALL RIGHT. I DON’T BELIEVE WHAT YOU AND YOUR LAWYERS ARE SAYING HERE, BUT ALL RIGHT.

AND YOU STILL HAVE NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT KIM FLINT OR CHRIS BUCCHERE?

ALL RIGHT.

Now, let’s hear from Paul Kapustka of Mobile Sports Report:

“Something tells us that if lawyers are getting involved, it’s not going to be as simple as a statement on a blog to prove that Strava.com’s competitions didn’t cause harm. Or that the bad apples aren’t a part of the Strava.com community. There are going to be many who decry the lawsuit as some part of a nanny-state weirdness, but there is probably some legitimate question to be asked whether or not a site that promotes virtual competitions on real streets and trails is responsible for the participants’ actions, much in the way a 10K race must take out insurance to cover its runners. I have a feeling this may be the tip of the iceberg for such sites like Strava.com.”

Our PG&E Energy Monopoly Attempted Suicide Last Night – KABOOM at Beale and Mission HQ – Call Before You Dig, PG&E!

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Ah let’s review.

- Remember when a mid-level PG&E employee* threatened me at an event sponsored by the Presidio Trust, told me that I should take one of my PG&E-related posts down because, I was done told, “It would be your interest to take that post down?” And I was like, well what does that mean? Oh that’s right, Gentle Reader, you don’t remember, but I do. Strike One. 

- And remember when PG&E killed eight people near SFO last year? Strike Two.

- And remember when Mayor Ed Lee* recently started going on about how “City Family” member PG&E is a great local company who gets it?” Strike Three.

Oh well.

Now, here’s the scene last night at 7:00 PM as I was swinging by the FiDi to pick up my special lady friend at an area law firm. Workers were just setting up the cones. And then a paramedic was telling me, “This one isn’t PG&E’s fault – somebody was digging.” Well yeah, but that somebody was PG&E itself:

Click to expand

Isn’t it ironic, dont’cha think?

Oh, and this was all right in front of Pacific Gas & Electric Building, one of San Francisco’s tallest, you know, at 77 Beale:

“The Pacific Gas & Electric Building is a 150 m (490 ft) skyscraper located at 77 Beale and Mission streets in the financial district of San FranciscoCalifornia. Completed in 1971, the 34 story building is headquarters for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the main utility provider for Northern California, and has been host to a nesting pair of Peregrine Falcons since 1987. List of tallest buildings in San Francisco

Isn’t it ironic again, dont’cha think?

Hey, PG&E, why don’t you eat your own dog food and CALL BEFORE YOUR DIG?

Via Daedrius

The easy-to-remember phone number is 811, you remember?

In short, I just can’t believe how much you suck, PG&E.

Straighten up and fly right PG&E.

*A member of San Francisco’s dominant political faction (aka Downtown) along with fellow members Willie Brown, Chamber of Commerce, Gavin Newsom, real estate interests, PG&E, and you know, all those non-profits, among others.

Dennis Herrera Throws Down: PG&E San Bruno Blast Hearing Supports His Lawsuit – Plus Rob Reiner Hearts Dennis

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Here’s the news of the day from City Attorney Dennis Herrera:

“Herrera says NTSB hearing on San Bruno blast offers ‘devastating indictment’ against PG&E, regulators - Findings strongly support Herrera’s July 14 notice of intent to sue CPUC, PHMSA regulators

SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 30, 2011) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera has issued the following statement in reaction to today’s National Transportation Safety Board meeting in Washington, D.C. to discuss and adopt the pipeline Accident Report relating to the natural gas pipeline explosion and fire that occurred in San Bruno, Calif. on September 9, 2010.

“NTSB’s report offers a devastating indictment, not just against PG&E, but also the California Public Utilities Commission and federal regulators for their failure to reasonably enforce safety standards,” Herrera said. “These conclusions point to the lax regulation that has enabled PG&E to flout regulations and safe gas pipeline operating practices for decades. NTSB’s report thoroughly supports my office’s allegations in my notice of intent to sue and in our comments to the CPUC. It makes clear that both agencies have a great deal of work to do to better regulate gas transmission pipelines and protect public safety. I commend the NTSB staff for its thorough investigation and comprehensive findings, and NTSB members for unflinchingly adopting the staff’s recommendations.”

More than half of the recommendations adopted by the NTSB today are directed at government entities — including CPUC, DOT, PHMSA, and the Governor of California. NTSB has indicated its intent to publish its synopsis of findings, probable cause, and recommendations at the following URL following today’s meeting: 

http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2011/san_bruno_ca/index.html

On July 14, 2011, Herrera took the first step toward suing the California Public Utilities Commission and federal regulators for not reasonably enforcing gas pipeline safety standards as required by the federal Pipeline Safety Act. The notice of intent to sue is a legally-required precursor to civil litigation by San Francisco, which will seek a federal court order to compel the CPUC and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to enforce federal pipeline safety standards in an effective manner.

PG&E runs three major gas transmission lines — including the very same line that failed catastrophically in San Bruno last year, and another that dates back to the 1930s — under nine high-population-density neighborhoods in San Francisco where hundreds of thousands of people live and work, according to Herrera’s 14-page letter. Major facilities threatened by the failure of these inadequately inspected transmission lines include numerous schools and recreation centers, San Francisco City College, and San Francisco General Hospital, which typically contains more than 5,000 acute care patients and visitors, medical professionals and staff. Significant stretches of Highway 101 and Highway 280 additionally run over the antiquated lines.

Herrera’s July 14, 2011 notice letter outlines San Francisco’s prospective legal action, detailing the manner in which CPUC and PHMSA: (1) failed to enforce federal regulations mandating that pipeline operators maintain adequate records to enable the operator and regulators to ensure that pipeline conditions are not a threat to public safety; (2) failed to enforce federal regulations requiring that gas transmission pipeline operators identify all “high consequence areas” in which pipeline failure would result in significant harm to people and damage to property; (3) failed to enforce federal regulations mandating inspections of gas transmission pipeline integrity for pipelines susceptible to manufacturing and construction defects or other risks; (4) failed to ensure that CPUC had staff sufficient in number, training, and experience to adequately fulfill its obligations to regulate and enforce pipeline safety regulations; (5) failed to ensure that integrity management inspections of gas transmission pipelines in California are performed with sufficient frequency and thoroughness to ensure pipeline safety; and (6) failed to require PG&E to correct violations found in audits of PG&E’s integrity management practices.”

Man, that PG&E has issues, huh?

In lighter news, Rob Reiner explicates his ardor for Dennis Jose:

“I’ve been active in statewide politics for decades.  I chaired the Prop 10 campaign in the 1990s to create the groundbreaking “First 5 California” program, which delivers critical services to millions of children from birth to age 5. I took on big developers to save our state parks and wildlife.  And I fought big tobacco to protect public health, and to reduce its influence in Hollywood.

But it was as co-founder of the American Foundation for Equal Rights—which initiated the federal legal challenge to Prop 8 that eliminated marriage equality in California—that I had the opportunity to work closely with San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

And that’s why I’m endorsing Dennis Herrera for Mayor of San Francisco.

Not all San Franciscans fully appreciate the extent to which California looks to their city for strong, progressive leadership on issues that make a real difference in people’s lives—like civil rights, the environment and consumer protection. But we do. 

That’s why what’s at stake in the 2011 San Francisco Mayor’s race is so important to all Californians.  Dennis has a serious plan to create jobs and make San Francisco a model of a 21st century city.  His proven record of leadership and professionalism is best suited to continue San Francisco’s honored tradition as a beacon of innovation and progress.

Will you join me in supporting Dennis Herrera by making a donation of $10, $35 or $100 today?

Dennis Herrera filed the first government lawsuit in American history to challenge state marriage laws that discriminate against lesbian and gay couples. His principled advocacy for the broad societal imperative of ending any-LGBT discrimination continues to make a persuasive difference in the courts in our fight for marriage equality.

A strong advocate for early childhood services, Dennis shares my conviction that government can and should do more to support schools, children, parents and teachers. And his record of accomplishment on consumer protection, the environment and public integrity is unmatched

Dennis has the best plan to make San Francisco a model 21st century city—and to continue San Francisco’s tradition as a beacon of innovation and progress.

I believe that Dennis is the right choice for San Francisco. Will you help him become San Francisco’s next Mayor by making a donation of $10, $35 or $100 today?

Thank you so much for your support of Dennis.

Best,

Rob Reiner

P.S. There are only 70 days left until the election and every dollar makes a difference, can you chip in and donate $10, $35 or $100 today?

Only 70 days?

Wow.

Crappy “Bauer’s ‘Intelligent’ Transportation” Update: “Upgrades” Wedding Limo to Corporate Van – Gets Sued by S.F. Bride

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Let’s just say that long-time Yelper Rosie S is not a fan of Bauer’s Limousine / Bauer’s Transportation / Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation. Why? Well, ’cause they sent a tacky van instead of a proper limo to her wedding a few months back. Check the excerpts:

The 10 passenger limo I ordered did NOT arrive. Instead, they sent us a VAN! The morning of my wedding. Not what I ordered.

I contacted the company when I returned from my honeymoon–note: they NEVER contacted me to explain the situation nor to apologize–and they said:

“I have checked with our operations department as to what happened this day and it appears there had been a mechanical issue with a regular stretch limo so they made the last minute decision to upgrade the vehicle to a limousine van.  This was our next best option at the moment.  I sincerely apologize that a regular stretch did not appear, but this was viewed as a free upgrade to the original vehicle reserved.”

Horrendous company, terrible service, awful fleet of cars if they have seemingly frequent “mechanical issues.”  Do yourself a favor and STAY AWAY FROM BAUER’S unless you want to get ripped off and disappointed!  Especially on your wedding day….

Can you believe that? Now, if I were running a crappy limo / transportation / “intelligent” transportation company, I’d feel bad about my fail whale exploding all over a wedding and I’d apologize and then I’d give a full refund, but that’s just me.

Now, speaking of crappy, how about them Bauer limousine van / bus / whatever drivers on the 101?

Speeding? Sure, we’ve got to get you to the church (or wherever) on time! But signaling? Not so much. You see, there’s no money in signaling:

Click to expand

Rosie says that the Bauer people didn’t respond to her until after she filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court, Small Claims Division. Oh well.

Now, judges might be sympathetic to plaintiffs in a situation like this, but you never know how they’d rule. Sometimes what’s in the contract is what matters and sometimes not so much. Oh well.

But I believe the gist of Rosie’s story – I don’t think that she’s committing Yelp fraud, I don’t think that she owns a rival cheesy “intelligent” transportation company or that she’s sponsored by one.

Speaking of which, there’s somebody on Yelp saying how great Bauer’s is but he neglected to add in or update the little tidbit that Bauer’s is a “sponsor” of his. Oh well. I’ll give you one guess how many Yelp stars he gives to Bauer’s IT.

Did you guess cinco?

You’re right, mi amiga/o. (And actually, it appears that purported “Luminary” and “City Bright” writer at the San Francsico Chronicle’s SFGate.com Zenophon / Zennie62 is incapable of ever giving anything less than five stars on Yelp. How sporting!)

Anyway, good luck Rosie!

New Fling Chocolate Bar Tastes Surprisingly Good. Plus, It Cures Eczema

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Not too long ago Mars, Incorporated introduced a new “women’s candy bar” with an interesting, somewhat patronizing marketing campaign - read all about it here in a post from January 2009. But now that Fling’s available in stores, you can try it for yourself. And guess what, I’ve tried it myself, but I’ve got to be careful what I say because the United States Federal Trade Commission is working on new rules that would hold bloggers liable for the statements they make about products. Oh noes! This is no April Fools joke – it was written up on CBS5 Eye on Blogs, so it must be true.

Now it just so happens that a few weeks back, Mars, Inc. sent a dump truck full of Fling Bars over here and filled up three of my spare garbage cans (yes I put new liners in first) full of these Twix-like ”chocolate fingers.” Wow. First of all, they’re surprisingly good – lightweight and a little pricey for what you get but very tasty. Second of all, these Fling bars cure the skin disease excema! Cleared it right up – it was all gone by April 1st, can you believe it?!?

Mmmmmm…..fingers. Nothing wrong with the hazelnut version. Dee-lish:

Click to expand.

So, leave no doubt, I endorse Fling chocolate bars because they taste great (as well they should since they’re six times smaller than a regular chocobar) and also because they cure excema.

I must say, this encounter with viral marketing worked out much better than last time, when those phonies at Butler, Shine & Stern up in Marin County pulled their fake giant Indiana Jones Lego ball routine. Now let’s all hope I don’t get sued by the FTC.

I’ll keep you all posted!

Advertisers in the US are bracing themselves for regulatory changes that they fear will curtail their efforts to tap into the fast-growing online social media phenomenon.

Revised guidelines on endorsements and testimonials by the Federal Trade Commission, now under review and expected to be adopted, would hold companies liable for untruthful statements made by bloggers and users of social networking sites who receive samples of their products.

 

The guidelines would also hold bloggers liable for the statements they make about products.

 

If a blogger received a free sample of skin lotion and then incorrectly claimed the product cured eczema, the FTC could sue the company for making false or unsubstantiated statements. The blogger could be sued for making false representations.

 

“This impacts every industry and almost every single brand in our economy, and that trickles down into social media,” said Anthony DiResta, an attorney representing several advertising associations.

 

Advertisers have significantly increased spending on social media and word-of-mouth campaigns, even during the recession. Through blogs and services such as Facebook and Twitter, companies are able to communicate more directly with consumers. Spending on social media marketing reached $1.35bn in 2007 and is expected to reach $3.7bn by 2011, according to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.”