Instant messaging goes on record

Cloud Preservation builds archives of social media activity to help companies meet regulatory and compliance demands

By Rosie Lavan

The beauty of social media is its immediacy. While the world has fallen head over heels for the instant communication enabled by Facebook and Twitter, there is a growing concern about how the increasingly important information transmitted through these channels can be preserved. Cloud Preservation, a joint venture between Tribal DDB Worldwide, the advertising agency, and Nextpoint, which develops cloud-based technology for legal and compliance purposes, has been developed to meet this need.

Cloud Preservation was launched in August. It uses Amazon Web services to trawl the internet, automatically combing through blog posts, tweets, Facebook fan pages and a great deal of other web content to build a comprehensive archive of a company’s web appearances, with snapshots and a full-text search index. Content can then be tagged and exported.

Companies can search, tag and export content gathered in a Cloud Preservation archive

The service is entirely web-based, as Rakesh Madhava, founder and chief executive of Nextpoint, stressed in a recent article in the New York Times. “Because of the explosion of content generated by the Internet, you need to have an Internet solution for it.”

Cloud Preservation is available to companies from $15 a month for a basic service, while full-scale packages can cost between $2 and $3 million a year.

It is pitched very much as a necessary safeguard for legal and regulatory compliance – financial services companies, for example, have recognised the value of preserving web content in order to meet regulatory demands. Archiving web content is crucial for advertising agencies too, who may release huge numbers of social media communications everyday and need to know what they said, when, and to whom in the event of legal challenges or accusations of false or misleading advertising. Such company archives could prove crucial for lawyers mounting a defence under these circumstances.

For both Tribal and Nextpoint, this is a new kind of partnership. Nextpoint’s work in cloud-based technology – that is internet-based computing, where resources are shared and provided virtually, and on demand – has attracted clients including ExxonMobil, Hyundai and Ernst & Young. Madison Avenue-based Tribal DDB bills itself as a “digitally centric” agency and counts McDonalds, Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft among its global clients.

Clearly, Cloud Preservation’s primary significance is to enable companies to develop and document integrity in terms of their online presence. Arguably, though, it also marks a conceptual shift – a new, longer-term way of thinking about the information we are used to posting and sharing on the internet in a matter of seconds.

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