Email to Marietta school board members: Say “No” to Skoollive kiosks

March 18, 2015
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Marietta (GA) High School. Target of Skoollive marketing campaign.

Marietta (GA) High School. Target of Skoollive’s marketing campaign.

 
From Jim Metrock:  Late in the afternoon of March 17, I received an email from Josh Golin of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood in Boston.  He referred me to a Marietta Daily Journal article by Brittini Ray that said the Marietta City school board was going to vote that night (March 17) on a proposal from a school marketing company called Skoollive. This California company sought to put free standing digital billboards (kiosks) inside Marietta High School.  
 
There wasn’t much I could do.  I knew the board members were not going to be presented with both sides of the story. I would have loved to have been in the boardroom to refute Skoollive’s sales rep.  All I could do was write this quick email and send it to the board members.
 
Sent to:  Alan Levine
Copies to: Jason Waters, Randy Weiner, Jill Mutimer, Jeriene Bonner-Grimes, Tom Cheater, Irene Berens
Mar 17 
Subject: Please consider saying “No” to SkoolLive     
 
Dear Mr. Levine
 
I am writing to you because you are quoted in the Marietta Daily Journal raising concerns about the advertising on SkoolLive’s digital kiosks.
 
You and your fellow board members are right to be concerned about this startup marketing company’s efforts to bring advertising into your school district. I hope you outright reject this proposal or at least give your community several months to hear more about it.  
 
Dr. Lembeck was quoted as saying, “This company particularly works with school systems throughout the nation and in Georgia.” Unless they have signed up a lot of schools in the last week, that may be an overstatement made by Skoollive’s sales rep.  Tonight ask for a list of Georgia schools that have contracted with this company, how long have each been under contract, and the average revenue shared with Georgia schools.  This vendor will give you no information about other Georgia schools. This is a very young company that has very few schools in the U.S. experimenting with their kiosks.
 
A few years ago your school district wisely refused to sell out students to another school marketing company called BusRadio. (They wanted to bring targeted advertising to students (K-12) as they rode the bus. And they too thought your Board would be thrilled with their plan because they would share some ad revenue with you.)   I presented information to your Board and I remember how welcoming your members were to the information my nonprofit Obligation, Inc. had on BusRadio. The public voiced their sentiments opposing BusRadio and your Board told the company to take their special radios out of your buses. (They would install radios on a trial basis hoping school boards would approve.)  BusRadio went out of business shortly after attempting to sign up your district.  School districts quickly caught on to the advertising scheme.
 
SkoolLive wants to place their kiosks in your school buildings for one main purpose. They want your students to generate ad revenue.  Later, this company wants students to actually make purchases from the kiosks.  This is a path that your Board may not want to go down.
 
There are other ways to tell students about school events without teaming up with such a controversial company.
 
These links concern your district and BusRadio.  I would be happy to come to your Board and present an opposing view to SkoolLive’s “win/win” sales pitch.  
 
 
 
Much Oblige for your selfless service to other people’s children.
 
Jim Metrock
president
Obligation, Inc.
P. O. Box 26270
Birmingham, AL 35260
 

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