Fri, 30 Aug 2002 08:17:48 GMT

The Blog – A Corporate Guidebook…
Deborah Branscum is back and has an interesting piece on “Blogging and PR”, in particular on the dangers inherent on allowing employees to blog. She doesn’t believe in corporate blogs: “the very idea of a corporate blog is an oxymoron. Marketers can learn much from weblogs, which represent a true-blue, kick-ass innovation in communication. But the best blogs are written by missionaries, not marketers.”

While I agree that there are issues to be resolved (or at least rules of engagement to be agreed) with respect to employees blogging on the corporate domain I think there are real opportunities.

I believe a corporate blog could be a very useful means of highlighting what is happening at a company (particularly a technology company). The hyperlinked nature of a blog provides a useful summary and archive of what a company is up to. I think that ‘corporate blogging’ serves a much different purpose to the visionary stream of consciousness blog. (That’s a bit of a mouthful). The corporate blog is if you like a guidebook to what’s new. There might be a place for both of them….

Thu, 29 Aug 2002 15:59:02 GMT

When Spamming your customers is acceptable….why PR people gets LOADS of spam
OK I lied, spam is never acceptable. But I have had the most amazing e-mail exchange with one of my suppliers. The supplier in question (I am in two minds about naming them) spams me semi-regularly.

I got sick of it and sent them an e-mail informing them that as we are a customer I don’t appreciate my company receiving three or four spams ata time pushing their services (that we already pay for). The response I got left me speechless…

>”I am sorry for your inconvenience with our email solicitation. I
> will speak with our CEO about your issue, but am not sure that it can easily
> be stopped. You see, this isn’t a email list driven campaign, where we can
> simply take a name/address off of a list. This campaign basically captures
> press releases that are issued on the internet, and attaches itself to the
> release and sends our message back to the sending Party. As such, I’m not
> sure that we can identify in advance of who is or is not a Client and stop
> the process.”

So I e-mailed him back saying that wasn’t acceptable, then I got this priceless reply:

>”Tom: I completely understand! It’s just that with this kind of novel
>approach to soliciting new Clients, am just not sure that I can easily stop
>the monster that we have created. When we usually grab things off the
>Internet, I’m not sure that we can program the spider to differentiate
>between who is or isn’t a Client.”

Can you believe they are this open about spam? My most recent e-mail has informed him that if I recieve one more piece of unsolicited e-mail from him I will be reporting them to SpamCop. Unbelievable, but it explains why putting your e-mail on a press release/web site/ newsletter is a recipe for spam of the e-mail kind. Want to know the culprit?

On a related matter check out spamgourmet for some disposable e-mail addresses and it seems has been hit with a $2.2 trillion lawsuit for junk faxes.

Thu, 29 Aug 2002 13:28:24 GMT

Going once, going twice…..
Thanks to Kevin Dugan who passed on this interesting link. Pittsburgh-based PR firm, Rose, Stein & Associates, Inc., have gone onto eBay to auction “15 minutes of fame”. A PR package that includes “a strategy briefing…wardrobe makeover…media trainer…personal press kit…photo shoot…personal publicist” and most interesting of all “guaranteed exposure to at least two million people”. Conditions for the auction include that you’ve no criminal background. So far there have been 36 bids and it’s up to $1,776, unfortunately not yet reaching the reserve. But with eight days to go, who knows. I’ll keep you updated on progress!

Thu, 29 Aug 2002 07:45:51 GMT

A shamless plug… GoogleMail
Last month I gave GoogleMail as an example of promoting something via Blogs. GoogleMail is a Web Service we created that enables you to do a Google search via e-mail (Simply send an e-mail to with your search terms in the subject line). The only promotion of GoogleMail was via Blogs, no media outreach, no newswires.

The results have been impressive with over 100 blogs referencing GoogleMail. One of the more techie sites completely dissed GoogleMail and created a hailstorm of heated discussion. In the meantime over 30,000 people have used the service and last week the New York Times ran a story on GoogleMail based on the coverage from the blogs.

GoogleMail was a pet project that I believe has proved that communications is changing and many would say for the better! One word of caution however, while I believe blogs provide a powerful medium, I also believe that as more PR people try and influence them there is going to be some trouble…..blogs can be very personal affairs… so be careful out there and remember the basics of good communication never change.

Tue, 27 Aug 2002 07:32:23 GMT

The Java battle gets really nasty..and that’s just the publishers
The publishers of Java Developer’s Journal and Java Pro, Sys-Con Media and Fawcette Technical Publications respectively, have taken the gloves off in the battle for advertising revenue. Following an e-mail from Fawcette claiming that Sys-Con was cited for false circulation figures, Sys-Con has gone out on the offensive to address Fawcette’s claims with a full press release response. It looks like this might get worse before it gets better. [More from Sys-Con on the matter]

Tue, 27 Aug 2002 07:25:28 GMT

The Art of Corporate Blogging…what about some guidelines?
As we know there have been a huge number of articles on the blog phenomenon, from general IT press, to the implications for PR. The blogging theme has now moved to ‘corporate blogging’ or how blogs will impact corporations, knowledge management and communication. Dylan Tweney has a good piece in Business 2.0.

So now everyone’s blogging inside their organization, what are the issues with regard to the company’s liability for disclosure of confidential information, financial regulations etc.? If it’s something you are thinking about, check out the corporate blogging guideline’s from Groove’s founder Ray Ozzie which raise interesting issues such as the impact of employees blogging during the SEC-sponsored quiet periods at the end of athe financial quarter and much more.

Tue, 27 Aug 2002 07:03:54 GMT

When the PR becomes the story…you get two months inside
The ‘Celeb’ NY PR Lizzie Grubman, who famously mowed down sixteen people outside a niteclub in the Hamptons and then drove off before being found by police two hours later, has been given a two month jail sentence and two hundred and eighty hours community service. Of course the repercussions don’t stop there as there are also a multitude of multi-million dollar lawsuits pending against her.

The Internet (as always) has all the details, here’s the indictment and there’s even a Lizzie Grubman parody site. Of course the New York media haven’t missed any opportunities to enjoy her discomfort.

Fri, 23 Aug 2002 09:09:37 GMT

Dan Gillmor, Phil Gomes and the blog as the corporate communications medium

Interesting piece in Dan Gillmor’s blog on PR and blogging. In the piece, which highlight’s Phil Gomes and his recent article on blogging, Mr. Gillmor recommends that companies look at encouraging CEO’s to undertake blogs – as he points out that corporate web sites rarely provide the information he and his colleagues are looking for in putting together a story.

So he suggests blogs as a means of letting people know what’s new at the company and on the website. Good advice.

So what are the chances of your CEO writing a blog? Minute? So how about you as the corporate communicator managing the blog? Or for you as the consultant offering it as a service? Think through that one.

On Mr. Gillmor’s comment on Web site press rooms, the best advice I have heard on the design goals for an online press room is that is should: “Provide everything a journalist needs to write a feature on your company without contacting you.”

How many of us can claim that? [Comments?]

Fri, 23 Aug 2002 08:56:53 GMT

Mmmm…I see from your CV…
The PR profession draws from every walk to life. The varied nature of the different industries we represent creates opportunities for very different people to succeed in this profession and that diversity is a real strength.

Yesterday, the British Guardian carried a story about a PR practitioner who has been accused (only accused) of insider trading. My first reaction was that given our profession’s access to sensitive information prior to public disclosure we have a remarkably good record at behaving ethically. It’s rare to hear of a PR person being accused of insider trading, in fact I can’t recall an instance.

But the story has even more color than I first thought, the PR professional in question, Tim Blackstone, has a coloful personal and professional past. He is the brother of the British arts minister, Lady Blackstone and he started as a PR consultant following a career in financial journalism and prior to that was a soft porn actor.

Don’t you love the diversity of this business?

Further coverage at the BBC.