Open Policy

“With the click of a mouse, the message was sent. Nike, sports clothing giant and symbol of personal freedom, had created a feature on their website allowing shoppers to customise shoes with words or slogans of their choice. On 5 January 2001, Jonah Peretti ordered a pair of shoes customised with the word ‘sweatshop’ and Nike refused to deliver. But the email conversation between Peretti and the Nike customer services department about why the company wouldn’t allow his request was stored on Peretti’s computer.

Peretti forwarded the email conversation to just twelve friends, but within hours thousands of people had seen the message. Within days the message had been posted on popular discussion sites like and and was seen by tens of thousands of other internet users. Soon, Peretti was getting calls from journalists and TV producers asking him for interviews. NBC’s Today programme flew him to New York to appear live in front of millions of viewers. There was nothing Nike could do to put the genie back in the bottle. Once the message was out, there was no going back…”

To read on and find out why it happened, download Open Policy here.

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