Salesforce.com and Telegraph Media Group Uncover What the Public Really Wants

~ Debate2010 site harnesses the power of crowdsourcing to gauge public opinion ~

London, September 2, 2010 - Salesforce.com, the enterprise cloud computing company, has announced the results of Debate2010, the UK’s first online debating platform, finding that British citizens want to distance themselves from Brussels, ditch the Digital Economy Act and take up arms. Full results are published in a Citizens Briefing Book, which can be found at www.salesforce.com/uk/debate2010.

These findings come from the Debate2010 (http://debate2010.telegraph.co.uk/) website run by salesforce.com and Telegraph Media Group during the recent UK election. Debate2010 was the UK’s first online debating platform, designed to spark discussion and allow the nation to air its views on current trends and topics during the run up to the general election. The Debate2010 site was developed using Salesforce Ideas, a crowdsourcing application delivered in the cloud that enables users to vote on policies and debate topics.

Over the course of the campaign, tens of thousands of people flocked to Debate2010 to post their own ideas, as well as to vote and comment on the ideas of others. With the voting system pushing the most popular ideas to the top of the list, Debate2010 provided a clear overview of what the public really thought of key political issues.

Launched on 23 March 2010, the site ran for seven weeks. During that time it saw a minimum of 20,000 page impressions a day, and reached more than 95,000 page impressions a day at its peak.

Five ideas clearly stood out as of particular importance to the public mind*:

1. Referendum on partial withdrawal from the EU:
Citizens called for the UK to reconsider its role within the EU.

This was a heated issue with many questioning how feasible a change in relationship with Europe would be. For many, the debate was how to properly renegotiate terms to ensure the correct balance of international participation and independent national control.

2. Ditch the Digital Economy Act 2010:
Scores of debaters suggested that a full review of the Digital Economy Act 2010 needs to take place.

They felt the Act was rushed by the previous government and did not fully address the changing nature of cultural consumption of the web. In fact some voters suggested it was counter-productive to the UK’s Digital Inclusion project, which proposed Internet access as a basic right.

3. Immigration and human rights legislation law change:
Participants agreed that immigration and human rights legislation in the UK needs to be overhauled, with the definition of asylum and refugee re-examined.

The majority of suggestions called for a harsher line on those seeking to exploit the UK’s immigration laws, with several calling for mercy and compassion for those fleeing hardship and seeking asylum.

4. Amend firearm laws:
Contributors to the debate wanted gun laws to be amended, with a large proportion of voters wanting the right to bear arms made law. Comments mainly focused on the right of an individual to protect themselves and their family.

5. Tell us the truth:
Citizens also advocated that within the first 100 days of its new term the government needed to “tell us the truth”. This idea called for the new government to be completely open and transparent about the country’s level of debt with the public.

Tim Barker, vice president of strategy EMEA, salesforce.com said: “Debate2010 has shown the power of crowdsourcing as a way for the new government to gauge public opinion, harness ideas and rebuild trust.

“Debate2010 shows how the tables have turned in today’s society as consumers look to be more active and engage with the human-face of stakeholders and brands. The ongoing consumerisation of technology, such as the use of Facebook and Twitter as day-to-day activities for most people, has created a level-playing field for all parties involved in the conversation.”

* Debate2010 allowed users to create ideas, which can then be positively or negatively voted on. The five ideas highlighted shared the greatest proportion of the total positive vote.

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