09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Believe it or not, the above hexadecimal number is the hottest topic on T’internet right at this moment. It’s been the cause of what is being described as an internet riot at Digg. It has been featured in the New York Times. There are songs immortalising it. [youtube]L9HaNbsIfp0[/youtube] It is appearing in disguise in posts on forums, blogs and boards all over the place. Why? What possible relevance can this have to online marketing? Strictly speaking, it’s an online PR issue. One of many issues really as it has got so incredibly huge. 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 is the key that unlocks HD DVDs. Using that code, someone with a modicum of knowledge can copy HD DVDs. If you don’t already know, Digg is effectively an online magazine whose content is voted for by its’ readers. Stories about the HD DVD key got voted onto its’ front page. And then Digg made the HUGE mistake of trying to remove the stories. Censorship. That’s a red rag to a bull in the online community and that is where the sport started. Every means possible to get the code onto Digg started to happe: it was hidden in Magic Eye pictures, immortalised in song, registered in usernames and lo and behold, Digg was the story, not the code itself. Obviously, Digg was trying to handle issues of copy right. This wasn’t the way to do it. Defensive PR strategies are something any brand has to start considering. This is an example of how not to do it. I shall be watching keenly to see how Digg handles this.