• sgorney

    Any sales pro from the past can learn the corporate email nomenclature and discover C level addresses. It is so easy and standard. This is much ado about nothing. It is a hypocritical policy by twitter who has not enforced the policy for far more agregious tweets from celebs.

  • IloiloKano

    Type into a Google search “gary zenkel NBC email -twitter”, which someone determined to restrict the results to a manageable list might do, and the number one link is to a corporate page titled “Gary Zenkel – NBC”.

    Now if you try to access the Google cache of that page, and you’ll find it no longer exists.

    404. That’s an error.
    The requested URL /search?q=cache:Ac-uyg4oth8J:www.nbcuni.com/corporate/management/executive/nbc-sports-group/gary-zenkel/+gary+zenkel+nbc+email+-twitter&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us was not found on this server. That’s all we know.

    Why is that, when an image of the cached page is clearly displayed on Google’s search results?

    I wouldn’t trust NBC to not have removed previously publicly accessible executive email addresses from view, and to contact Google to have them delete their cached copies, so they can claim previously available email addresses never were.

    How often does such Google caches become no longer available?

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    That page comes up fine for me. As did his other bio page that I linked to in the article. I also see a cached copy.

  • http://twitter.com/AussieWebmaster Frank Watson

    Really mate! This is a blunder by Twitter – regardless of the difficulty of finding the email address – he is a public figure and is reachable through other ways like LinkedIn etc. Americans pride themselves on the ability to challenge everything. 

    We create petitions, start product boycotts, tell people to complain to their local politicians.

    Changes in the television space have been forced by public opinion – shows cancelled or kept all based on consumer feedback.

    As an executive of a publicly traded company – let alone an overseer of the airwaves given with the expectation of public trust – he is answerable and should be available.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    I said I hope his account gets restored quickly. When I shared this story to Google+ and Facebook, I said my story didn’t mean to say that Twitter didn’t overreact. It probably did. There were probably grounds for it to argue back to NBC that it didn’t think the information exposed was private.

    But that’s not what I’m writing about, Frank. I’m writing about whether the email address was widely available in Google, as he stated. Because, as you well know, many people will just assume everything is in Google. Many people, I have no doubt, took that statement and assumed that if you searched for this guy’s name, there was his email coming up tops.

    And that’s simply not appearing to be the case, not as best I can tell.

    Sure, he can be answerable. But you can be answerable without someone inviting the world to email you. Anyone smart enough to get this guy’s email address should be smart enough to know that a mass campaign inviting people to email is going to effectively destroy that email account. 

    And that accomplishes what? That’s much different than a petition, a boycott or asking that a dedicated feedback account get email.

  • IloiloKano

     Are you sure you clicked on the “Cache” hyperlink? I tried it again, and I screen captured the result, along with the entire URL shown in my browser. In the screen cap case, the browser was Mozilla Firefox, but I got the same result with Google Chrome. Here’s a link to my screen capture.

  • IloiloKano

    I don’t know if this will transfer as a clickable link, but I’ll copy the entire Google cache link below for others to try if they so choose. Bear in mind though, it might not come through comments as a properly formed link. Here goes…

  • http://twitter.com/AussieWebmaster Frank Watson

    I would expect NBC to count the emails – they are big in to interacting with the web. And yes it was not as easy as it was intimated but it can be found and is not private.

    We allow these tools we use online to dictate rules – fine but when they do something because they do not want to cross a big media company they should get checked – just like NBC should be told a big population wants live action and are willing to work the times or watch delayed highlights.

    Not showing the tribute to those lost in Munich was just wrong – and to say it was because not relevant is just unthinking – if countries hid 9-11 because it did not happen in their country the reaction would be huge.

    But you are right about the ease of finding the email.

  • http://twitter.com/simonecas Simone Castello
  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    You’re missing the point. I know that page was there. It’s one of the six listed in my second search before. If anything, I found more references than Mashable found.

    The point Mashable was trying to make is that if any reference to his email is on the web, Twitter’s own policy might require it to reactivate Adams account, since he didn’t reveal something that wasn’t already on the web. Indeed, he can probably argue that point himself.

    But the point I was making is that the email wasn’t “widely available” through Google. Adams, by saying that, suggested that anyone could have just searched for Zenkel’s email address — without knowing what it was exactly — and find it.

    That was extremely unlikely to happen, for the reasons I explained above. It’s an important point that I thought worth clarifying. This wasn’t a case where this person’s email address was just sitting out there for anyone to easily find. Most people wouldn’t have found it. 

    In fact, I’m betting that Adams himself didn’t find it through a Google search. Either he had it already in some way, or he’s smart enough to realize how NBC structures its email addresses (typically the first name then dot then last name of an employee) and guess what it would be.

    Technically, he probably didn’t violate Twitter’s rules. Almost certainly, Twitter will restore his account. Almost certainly, many will praise that he’s back and condemn Twitter for how it acted — and it seems to deserve some of that.

    But as I also said, it also doesn’t seem to be polite behavior to be tweeting the email address of someone as a form of protest. There are better ways to focus a protest, especially ones that aren’t prone to mistakes.

  • http://twitter.com/simonecas Simone Castello

    I disagree with your “patronising” outlook as many people are quite adept at searches, especially journalists. Plus there is plenty of information online to help you figure out an email address. Ask any job seeker who sends unsolicited CVs to get their break. Even my partner, who is far removed from geekland as you can be, managed to crack the address of a chief exec when he wanted to complain about poor customer service at a store belonging to a supermarket chain

  • http://twitter.com/SunLovingMama Heather

    This seems to be a matter of semantics.  You seem to be equating easily available and widely available.  Anyone who can use Google (or other search engines) *could* find the information providing they aren’t accessing the internet from a place where censorship is a problem.  I did Friday, but I only first heard of Adams and this situation this morning. It wasn’t easy, but I was determined to make my voice heard and found it. As a suburban housewife I have no special access or search engine skills. To many that would be considered widely available despite not being easy.

  • John Ptacek

    Yet Twitter let Spike Lee keep his twitter account after mistakenly posting an incorrect home address for George Zimmerman, which resulted in an elderly couple being badgered. Twitter has seriously compromised their integrity here and should explain itself

  • http://ciarannorris.co.uk Ciaran

    I’d agree that the original tweet was more than a little un-cool (to be honest his tone throughout his comments on NBC seemed a little out of proportion to the crime). That said, the bigger picture here, IMO, is whether NBC was tipped off by Twitter about the tweet – if so, when did Twitter decide to start policing its own users, and is the media deal with NBC the reason for this?

  • http://twitter.com/r_c Ged Carroll

    The event touches on political sensitivities in the UK which were already jacked up by the media hype surrounding Mitt Romney and exasperated an amazingly incompetent NBC PR response.

    But it also raised larger questions about there is reset boundaries over free speech at Twitter? Especially given its role during the Iran green revolution and its stance on those people being investigated because of their involvement in Wikileaks.

    Where is the morality in an organisation that is perceived to stand up to state actors but curries favour with commercial entities? I won’t pretend to know the answers to the issues raised.

  • http://twitter.com/simonecas Simone Castello

    I did post a similar reply as Heather in the sense that it’s easy but it mysteriously disappeared. Is this site censoring comments?

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    You included a link in the comment, and Disqus — our commenting system — decided that made the comment spam. It’s a common mistake commenting systems have. I’ve freed it up.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Yes, just saw the latest news. Really doesn’t seem to be Twitter’s place to be doing that, if that’s what happened.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Adams said it was widely available. He’s repeated that suggestion today, that it was just out there on the web for anyone to find, pointing to the one single link that Mashable found as an example. It’s almost certain no one would have found that page searching for the executive’s email. He almost certainly didn’t find it that way. He’s yet to explain how he found it. To me, that underscores that he didn’t do a Google search to come up with it, nor were others likely to. So the widely available claim doesn’t stand up, which is what I was looking at.

    What you did, I think is still not what the majority of people would do. In his latest article, Adams also said: “it was already easily identifiable to anyone in possession of 30 seconds of free time and access to Google.”

    With some detective work as you did, a real desire to make your voice heard and 10 times the amount of time he said, sure, you figured out the address. That still doesn’t make it widely available.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    I saw the page.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    It wasn’t meant to be patronizing. I don’t even know how you get that attitude when I said:

    “It’s not hard for people who really want to guess at it to know. But it’s not the same as just putting the address out there.”

    Yes, people can figure it out. I said that. I said it wasn’t hard. But that’s not the same thing as saying it’s widely available, the suggestion that if someone had just entered his name + email into Google, up popped the address.

  • http://twitter.com/eenoog eenoog (one-eye)

    Bollocks.  It has always been easily identifiable.

    As someone already indicated, there’s this:

    And then there’s this:http://www.123people.com/s/gary+zenkel and http://www.email-format.com/d/nbcuni.com/I could go on and on.Now if this had been a PERSONAL email address ie one they use in-house, not the one managed by their assistant, then twitter would have a point, but this is utter nonsense.

  • xMVince

    its not that its easy to find on google.. its that the naming convention is pretty easy to guess. anyone that knows anything about NBC emails could figure out Gary’s email, which was the point the reporter was trying to make. if you’re dumb enough to not put such simple conventions together, then you probably didn’t grow up in the computer era (or avoided computers).

  • http://twitter.com/reedfillman Reed Fillman

    So, if he had said he found the corporate email only because he is a good google searcher this article wouldn’t have been written?

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    He did say that. See the follow-up article. And yes, I’d have likely written it in either case. The better question is, if the email address was indeed widely available, would I have written this. The answer is yes, because I’d have liked to have known and shown if that were also true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=535260227 Jeff Kean

    Exactly, took me about 5 seconds to find it. Not to mention half the worlds companies do email in this fashion first.last@company.com. Any 1st year kid in computer class at a jr high could guess it. What is you definition of “widely available” Danny? Just curious.

  • http://twitter.com/SunLovingMama Heather

    See, this is where we disagree. It is available to anyone who wants to actually look for it, as I did, with internet access.  That’s a pretty wide availability.  Your assumptions about how much effort anyone would be willing to put into looking for it doesn’t change it’s availability.  The point is about the availability of the address, which you have already demonstrated, not the assumed lazy research habits of the average Joe.  His comment about it taking 30 seconds may be hyperbole or it could be that he assumes people searching aren’t better educated in diaper rash than internet query.  Either way, it still is available to everyone with internet access.

  • http://twitter.com/catfitz CatherineFitzpatrick

    Why all the word-salading here, Danny?

    If the email address is not listed on NBC’s corporate page as a public contact, then it’s not fair game.

    We all get it that it’s possible to dredge up officials’ emails some times by creatively searching on Google with the domain name or the name of the person plus the word “email” or whatever.

    That doesn’t mean that you can fetch it up and then sic “The Internet” on that person, as you yourself concede.

    “Not widely available” isn’t the issue at hand; what this really has to mean that it is not available as a public matter on the official site under “staff” or “contacts” — and that’s it.

     Twitter did the right thing, because Adams was flashmobbing an official like a common Anonymous script kiddie. It was disgraceful. They should have kept the ban in place for at least some time period.

    That NBC is then flashmobbed by “the Internet” to undo it is disgraceful too.

    This is like the “7 million” people of “The Internet” who flashmobbed Congress so that SOPA couldn’t even come to a vote.

    I don’t want to live in a country where flashmobs rule via social media.

  • George Bounacos

    For whatever it may be worth, a simple jigsaw.com (Salesforce.com’s data directory) has apparently had the info for some time.  

  • DillardNelson

    Indeed, he can probably argue that point himself. &#x43A&#x73hLaz&#121.&#99o&#x6D

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    I don’t disagree with you, Catherine. I made it pretty clear in my story that I disagree with the idea of anyone taking anyone else’s email and tweeting it out, “public” or not:

    “I don’t think sharing people’s email addresses is cool. I don’t need a Twitter policy that may or may not prevent it. Common manners should suffice”

    But Twitter didn’t suspend him for trying to do a flashmob type of thing. They suspended him under the provisions about privacy, which in turn are pretty specific that it doesn’t matter whether an email address is listed on a staff page or not — list it any place, and it will be considered public.

    And I have issues with that, too, which I explained in my follow-up post:

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    I did, and I also saw where he also claimed it was “widely listed,” though as best we can tell, it was listed online in only one place at the time he looked.

    The search you did is giving you that because the relevancy of that page has risen and also because you’re getting pages that are clearly not being filtered out. 

    Go back and look. You’ll see pages that are in your results, with dates that seem to be old, but they’ll have mentions of the current flap. That wouldn’t have happened when he did his search.

    It’s very, very difficult to go back and recreate what search results would have been. It’s absolutely correct that the query I did (which is what I think many would have done) wouldn’t be what he did. 

    In fact, I explained in my postscript what he did (or what he remembers doing) and why for what he did, yes, it makes sense that he got to that single page out there in a way that I think most people wouldn’t have done but which would have made him assume that everyone would get.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Jeff, my definition of widely available on Google would be that I enter the guy’s name, the word “email” and I find his email address without much difficulty. I think that’s reasonable.

    It’s not widely available on Google if I have to start thinking hmm, what’s the format NBC uses for emails? Should I use that in addition to other search terms?

    It’s not relevant whether you can guess at the address, because that’s not going to the point of using Google.

    Finally, an important point completely missed in all this. He didn’t know that he’d found the address. He came across an address that pretty much seemed like it should be the executive’s. Same format, same name, going to the NBC domain, so it probably was him.

    But he didn’t know officially. He didn’t have any confirmation of that on the NBC site itself. Regardless, he tweeted it out — and it could have been the wrong one.

    So widely available? Assuming you did the right query, and got to that protest page, is it still widely available when some source you don’t know, that doesn’t look particularly trustworthy lists and address?

  • Paul Cullum

    It’s funny. Had the similar thought when first read about this. Although I interpreted his statement to mean widely available instead of widely listed. I tried searching in a date range that preceded the Olympics.  I searched for ‘contact nbc email zenkel’ and the first hit I got was a site that called for an NBC boycott back in June of 2011.  They seem to list many NBC email addresses.

    This was the site.  It seems a little crazy:

    I found using “-twitter” to remove twitter related results unhelpful.  Most pages mention twitter somewhere.  I guess they must be popular for sharing or something.

  • agbagb

    It’s always worth reversing the argument.  If Zenkel – as the responsible executive – had said to a jouno, “Hey if the public don’t like this time-lag policy, they can email me! My address is easily available on the ‘net”, then Zenkel would have been denounced as, well, disingenuous at best.

    Nevertheless the hierarchy of “who did the wrong thing” here is led by NBC, Zenkel and Twitter, pretty much in that order, imho.