Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for July 2006

In PR the real grass is always much greener…

Since I started in PR back in 1991 one of the constant issues I’ve seen discussed and batted around is the low barriers of entry to this profession. The phrase used to be “anyone with a typewriter and a phone”.

Although the professional bodies do a lot of good work there just doesn’t seem to be an appetite for regulation.

I personally think this is one (and only one of many) of the reasons for PR’s poor image. There’s a lot of bumblers out there with no ethics. Astroturfing is a great example. People adopting false identities, creating non-representative representative groups. It’s about as far away from “conversation” as you can get.

There’s some good news. Trevor Cook and Paul Young have kicked off a new anti-astroturfing initiative.

Of course this raises the question, can we stop astroturfing? I fear the answer is no. The very people who run these “campaigns” (and remember typically these campaigns aren’t just B2B PR, normally they are issue of public interest that affect you, your family, friends etc.) are the same people who would never support this. But that doesn’t matter IMHO.

What matters is that PR people are taking the lead in calling out this practice. I hope the next stage will be to publicly attack examples of astroturfing as they emerge.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 17, 2006 at 8:17 am

Posted in General

Shock: PR person communicates badly… call the cops

This post leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

When a respected PR practitioner, who I have acknolwedged has in many respects been leading the way in online communication (as far as the large agency set go in any respect), takes time to write a pontificating post that takes a swipe at a competitor, I think it smells bad.

Now let’s be clear, GCI were well out of order, whether “Chris” is a Summer intern or an Account Director it doesn’t matter. The comment was ridiculous and shows GCI needs to do a better job educating it’s work force. They deserve a public slapping. We’re clear on that.

However, was that one comment a big enough issue for Mr. Edelman to (shock) publish a second post in a week? Is it an issue that is likely to shake the profession to it’s core? Is it the first time this has happened on a blog? Is there any more room on the pulpit? [Mr. Edelman is not the only one from the agency taking a pop.]

Well the answer to all those questions is no.

It smacks of opportunism.

I think Mr. Edelman should keep the number of a local glazier handy just in case. Maybe he can start writing posts about the everyday “malpractice” that is inflicted on journalists, bloggers and consumers every single day. That would keep him busy.

Chris at GCI, you are a bold boy (and probably not the brightest tool in the box), but I don’t condone the opportunism.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 13, 2006 at 9:03 am

Posted in General

Is there something rotten in the state of Dellmark or Blogmark?

Jaysus what a crowd of preening self-appointed “experts” we have spawned up here on the InterWeb.

Oh you know them….

Dell, an oft maligned target of the Web 2.0 glitterati, have kicked off a blog. Now this is excellent. The company is making an effort to get a voice out on the Internet. Is it perfect? Eh no. Is that the most important thing? No.

What’s most important is they are getting out there. What’s most important is that they are willing to have a discussion.

The reaction from the blogerrati, many of whom are jumping hysterically all over their efforts, belies the immaturity of this thing we call blogging.

Get over it folks.

Well done Dell, keep working on it. Listen to feedback, engage in conversation and learn.

Some measured commentary from Kevin Dugan, Shel Holtz and Andy Lark.

Did I miss the election where all the experts were voted in?

Written by Tom Murphy

July 12, 2006 at 1:39 pm

Posted in General

Press Release 1.5.1 Alpha

You know there’s a bubble coming.

In “Interweb time” the bust was a long time ago and the frenzy of “Web 2.0” start-ups and services would seem to predicate an Internet Boom 2.0.

This is particularly obvious when you look at some of the new services.

How about a press release distribution service that offers to send your press release to bloggers.

Feel free to read that line again, it is what it says.

Now a service like that could only be set up by someone who hasn’t spent a lot of time blogging. Because believe me, after a couple of months of blog posts the PR spam e-mail will start to arrive promoting irrelevant companies and products that you have no interest in.

Why would you sign up to recieve these releases? Let me re-phrase that. Why would anyone in their right mind think that you, a blogger, would sign up for the service? Beats me.

According to themselves, The WeblogWire came about following a challenge to:
“build a viable web startup in 1 week, while spending no more than $500.”

I hope they gave the $450 they had left over to their investors.

Darren Barefoot put his $50 where his sarcasm was and posted a press release over the wire entitled:
“Marketer Intends to Write Blog Post Criticizing The WeblogWire”

The press release was duly published but was pulled soon after. He’s still waiting for news of his $50….

Come back Tom Foremski all is forgiven 🙂

Written by Tom Murphy

July 12, 2006 at 1:12 pm

Posted in General

Hey it's July 09, 2006…

Greetings. Busy July so far. Hence slow posting.

Doing some thinking about this blog, but more about that anon. In the meantime, here’s some interesting stuff I’ve been reading recently:

  • David Parmet illustrates why PR will always have image issues.
  • Jim Horton has a link to to an article that looks at the changes taking place in our “audience”. Meanwhile John Wagner advises you’ll need a customer plan for potential blog issues.
  • The Hobson and Holtz Report continues, podcast 152 is now online.
  • Philip Young asks what is New PR?
  • Piaras Kelly has a link to a video of a really interesting presentation from Guy Kawasaki on start-ups.
  • Stuart Bruce reports on the CIPR’s Northern Conference.
  • Brian Oberkirch is now blogging at:
  • Derek Miller has some great resources on Presentations.
  • Congratulations to Stephen Davies on his new role at Edelman. In fairness they are walking the walk and with Stephen they’ve landed a great guy.
  • Oh an of course congratulations to the Azzuri..

Written by Tom Murphy

July 9, 2006 at 10:25 pm

Posted in General