Thursday, June 28, 2007
IP Democracy informs us that the FCC has released a densely written report on Net Neutrality. When a federal agency releases a lengthy and densely written report, that is usually a sign they are hoping no one will read it. Therefore, we would be well advised to read this report with close attention that we may discover whatever it is they did not want us to discover.
Clearly opponents of Net Neutrality are feeling the heat. John Kneuer, the assistant secretary for communications and information, completely lost it and lashed out at proponents of Net Neutrality at Supernova 2007.
Small companies are the one of the main beneficiaries or Net Neutrality. Small companies, especially Web 2.0 companies, are usually a-political and don’t have significant public affairs efforts. This is not a time to be silent and we must all hope they will understand the necessity of defending their interests.
Save the Internet
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Added to the Tech on the Potomac RSS reader.
With 20 petabytes of storage, and more than 280 teraflops of computing power, TeraGrid combines the processing power of supercomputers across the continent
June 26, 2007 (Computerworld) -- A unique federally funded computing effort is making it easier for corporations to access the largest-scale computers on the planet. Dubbed TeraGrid, the effort spans nine different academic and government institutions and has reached a critical mass this year.
The notion is to combine the largest supercomputers into a global processing and storage grid to tackle the thorniest computing problems. "We want to make available high-end resources to the broadest community," says Dane Skow, who is the director of the Grid Infrastructure Group and performs the operational coordination of TeraGrid from the University of Chicago's Argonne National Lab. "We want to leverage our top-of-the-line equipment for people who don't have the skills to do it themselves."
This is how the Internet started. It will be interesting to see where this goes.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
If you wake me up, you will regret it.
Will someone please give reputationdefender a clue?
Candidate: Story on me is wrong
Back in October 2003, the Princeton Union Eagle wrote that Cheri Yecke, then Minnesota's education commissioner, explained in "advance publicity" for a public hearing that "schools could include the concept of 'intelligent design' in teaching how the world came to be."
Big news? Apparently not. The line was buried in the 22nd paragraph.
Yecke hired reputationdefender to handle this for her, and what does reputationdefender do? Ask that the offending material be removed; but since Yecke has no evidence she did not say such a thing, the paper very properly is standing by its reporter.
If you have been in public life for more than fifteen minutes there is negative material about you on the internet. The proper way to handle that is to bury that information with positive material, generating positive stories and tagging them. You cannot control the internet, but you can move the positive material to the top of the search results.
It is time to embrace transparency and engage the blogosphere on a consistent basis. I have not had a chance to read the now famous article by Ken Silverstein, I will be saying more when I have had a chance. Right now I want to talk to APCO, Cassidy & Associates, and all those who have not worked out that the rules of PR engagement are shifting. The era of front organizations and astroturf is over. The era of crony journalism is ending. Only those who make change their friend rather than their enemy will be able to protect their clients' interests.
This is a good thing, and should be embraced. Money not spent on crony journalism and crony politics is money that is freed up to do legitimate community outreach. This is a good change for our industry and our clients.
As for Ken Silverstein and Harper's, I can only say that what goes around comes around. If you do not want to live in a world where Matt Drudge or some similar character can insert a mole into your organization for the purpose of collecting information with which to embarrass you, then it would be better not to sail under false colors.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Systems integrators fall from grace, but many doubt that government can run without them
Major setbacks for the Coast Guard’s $24 billion Deepwater program are casting a shadow over the use of lead systems integrators on other large federal contracts and could result in a reduction in that contracting approach.
Clearly federal contractors are going to come under increased scrutiny and changes are going to be made. My advice to federal contractors is to make change your friend, not your enemy.
I would also advise primary integrators to increase their public relations efforts including new media strategies.
We used to have a terrific local tech weekly called Potomac Tech Journal. It folded after the Dot.com crash. No other publication, before or since, had done as a good a job of covering the commerical side of Potomac Tech culture. The government contracting sector is well covered, mergers & acquisitions are covered, but technology trends in the commercial sector are currently ignored.
Tech journalism is under a great deal of stress and bad news for tech reporters is bad news for tech flacks. I wrote an article for The Daily Dog about the problems faced by content providers, and why this is a problem for our industry as well as society. It should run sometime in the next few weeks.
Friday, June 22, 2007
When it comes to lobbying, Google does not intend to repeat the mistake that its rival Microsoft made a decade ago.
Microsoft was so disdainful of the federal government back then that it had almost no presence in Washington. Largely because of that neglect, the company was blindsided by a government antitrust lawsuit that cost it dearly.
Mindful of that history, Google is rapidly building a substantial presence in Washington and using that firepower against Microsoft, among others.
Want to protect your interests but lack Google’s largess? There is another way.
First of all, join your relevant trade association and find the time to get active. Don’t let the big players co-opt the organization. You have overlapping, but distinct interests. Make sure your trade association is responsive to your company’s concerns.
Encourage your employees to be active in their local political committees, not just the ones who agree with you, everyone. That way, no matter who wins the election you will have an effective advocate on the inside. Politicians respond to votes. They need money to win those votes; but votes trump money. If someone on your staff runs the database for the local committee or serves as webmaster, they will have a kind of access to local elected officials that is not for sale at any price.
Google Public Policy Blog
National Journal’s Technology Daily
Verizon Policy Blog
CDT Policy Beta
The Technology Liberation Front
EFF Deep Links
IP & Democracy
Progress and Freedom Foundation
All added to the Tech on the Potomac RSS reader. If you know of other tech oriented public policy blogs, which are locally based, please send me their URL’s and I will add them to the reader.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Financial exhibitionism, coupled with a lack of penitence for stiffing his creditors, has transformed the 24-year-old resident of this sleepy Sacramento suburb into a celebrity among fellow bloggers. But unlike other online celebrities, Serin's stardom comes from a unique source: "haters" who patronize his blog solely to learn what financial missteps he's made today.Since launching his web site last September, Serin has discovered that it can be profitable to outrage and annoy the thousands of people who visit his blog every day. He estimates he was making up to $1,000 a month through Google ads and believes he's on track to make even more through Yahoo's ad network. His notoriety has led to appearances on Suze Orman's and Robert Kiyosaki's advice shows, and he says he's working on a book and advice packet that he'll sell online.
Get the feeling we are looking at Dick Cheney's retirement plan?
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Do you know where your email is?
Chris Abraham on Search Engine Marketing
Domain Name Strategy
- Register domains for multiple years
- Private registration of domain names
- Register all domain extentions (net, com, us, org, etc)
- Register many variations of the domain
- Register misspellings and mistakes
- Domain Forwarding and Masking
- Register domains that counter brand
Chris is more correct than he knows -
Greg Palast: I have Karl Rove's emails
Palast: I know because I have Karl Rove’s emails. No kidding. He and his team aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer. They sent copies of their plans to GeorgeWBush.ORG instead of GeorgeWBush.COM addresses — and, heh heh, they ended up in my in-box. Who says this job ain’t fun?
Has an investigative reporter registered some variation of your company's name? Are you a financial services firm? Is some con-artist receiving your customers misaddressed mail? Are you a security contractor? Is some really ugly customer receiving your company's communications?
This is a perfect example of why you need to hire someone with experience in new media strategies.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
3-D Map of the World Wide Web
Reading Chris Abraham’s posts about search engine optimization, Promotional and Defensive SEO and Your Online Marketing Strategy Requires More than SEM, got me to thinking about how this applies to the world of federal contractors.
It is no secret that the next two years will bring increased scrutiny to federal contractors. The time for online promotion is before controversy strikes. Here are some simple things contractors should be doing:
Encourage your employees to blog. Don’t have a corporate blog, have lots of blogs. This has worked well for Sun and Microsoft, and is something that should be emulated.
Some of your subcontractors and consultants are already blogging. Build an aggregator and link to their blogs. Encourage your other subcontractors and consultants to blog.
Encourage your employees and contractors to use social tagging sites. Don’t tell them what to tag; just encourage them to use tags. Each time an article about your company is tagged, it becomes incrementally more visible to search engines. It is very difficult to move an item to the top of social tagging sites; but it is quite simple to use social tagging to give favorable web pages a tiny kick of Google juice.
Link to discussion groups relevant to your industry and encourage your employees, subcontractors, and customers to participate in them. Don’t worry about negative posts, disgruntled individuals will find such sites on their own. Promoting these sites within your company will increase the chances of favorable posts, and help build community.
Consistent application of these methods will insure that the first page of search engine results reflects favorably upon your company.
Washington's own Trend Watch did not make the rankings even though its Technorati authority is 275 and has 33 subscribers on Bloglines.
It seems to be modeled on Todd And's Power 150 Marketing blogs. Even though any such ranking will be flawed, this sort of thing requires a great deal of work and helps to build community.
Marketing Conversation is now added to the Tech on the Potomac RSS reader.
Waxman's staff report notes that the Presidential Records Act requires the president to ensure that all "activities, deliberations, decisions, and policies that reflect the performance of his constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties are adequately documented ... and maintained as presidential records" and charges that White House officials used their RNC e-mail accounts "in a manner that circumvented these requirements."
Using email accounts on the Republican National Committee server to conduct official government business could be judged as a evasion of the Presidential Records Act.
Private Sector Development Blog
World Bank President
Tech on the Potomac, PR, marketing, public policy, and tech blogs of the Greater Washington, DC area
The first production version of NIEM appeared in June 2006. It used Justice’s Global Justice XML Data Model as the foundation, but is being expanded to cover other common items relating to criminal justice and law enforcement.
Perhaps the major area of change is the unification of namespaces, a term applied to collections of tags.
The first version of NIEM had two main namespaces, Universal and Common.
Universal components were items that would be common to all parties using NIEM. Common components were items that existed in more than one domain.
If you are building software for the criminal justice market, write towards Universal and avoid Common where possible. It will make it easier to sell and install.
Monday, June 18, 2007
There are several next steps that should be pursued in the investigation into the use of RNC e-mail accounts by White House officials. First, the records of federal agencies should be examined to assess whether they may contain some of the White House e-mails that have been destroyed by the RNC. The Committee has already written to 25 federal agencies to inquire about the e-mail records they may have retained from White House officials who used RNC and Bush Cheney ’04 e-mail accounts. Preliminary responses from the agencies indicate that they may have preserved official communications that were destroyed by the RNC.
Imagine yourself the Chief Information Officer for a federal agency and you are presented with a inquiry from the Oversight and Government Reform Committee for any email you may have originating from the Republican National Committee. How would you know? Where would you look? This is a great content management story.
Move aside, HUMNINT and IMINT, we've got contracts to execute! We'll find bin Laden: that's clearly outlined in the scope of service.
There has been extensive destruction of the e-mails of White House officials by the RNC. Of the 88 White House officials who received RNC e-mail accounts, the RNC has preserved no e-mails for 51 officials. In a deposition, Susan Ralston, Mr. Rove’s former executive assistant, testified that many of the White House officials for whom the RNC has no e-mail records were regular users of their RNC e-mail accounts. Although the RNC has preserved no e-mail records for Ken Mehlman, the former Director of Political Affairs, Ms. Ralston testified that Mr. Mehlman used his account “frequently, daily.” In addition, there are major gaps in the e-mail records of the 37 White House officials for whom the RNC did preserve e-mails. The RNC has preserved only 130 e-mails sent to Mr. Rove during President Bush’s first term and no e-mails sent by Mr. Rove prior to November 2003. For many other White House officials, the RNC has no e-mails from before the fall of 2006.
Obviously there will be several investigations coming out of this. Those investigators will have to sift through mountains of evidence, employ advanced technology to recover other evidence, and generally search for needles concealed in fields of haystacks. Presto Vivace does not currently represent clients who officer that sort of service, but this is a great time to tell those stories.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
US Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, could be imprisoned within weeks after a US judge ruled he would not delay Libby's prison sentence.
District Judge Reggie Walton's decision will send Libby's lawyers rushing to an appeals court to block the sentence and could force President George W Bush to consider calls from Libby's supporters to pardon him.
No date was set for Libby to report to prison but it is expected to be within six to eight weeks.
That decision will be left up to the US Bureau of Prisons, which will also select a facility.
It is hard not to believe that the Bureua of Prisons has already given this considerable thought. I have no idea what they will do, but I suspect it will be very much by the book.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Government bond yields in the eurozone and the UK soared to fresh multi-year highs on Wednesday as investors nervous about rising interest rates continued to dump bonds.
A later story is more encouraging:Bonds stabilise as yields draw in investors
Except for this part:
“It’s not the end of the sell-off in bonds, but the market has stabilised and we have seen some buying from pension and insurance accounts,” said Gerald Lucas, senior investment adviser at Deutsche Bank.
Signs of reduced bond buying interest on the part of Asian central banks and other foreign investors has been one factor behind the sell-off. But the sell-off pushed up yields and that attracted investors who favour low-risk investments.
I don't think that our political leadership has done anything to prepare us for what is to come.
BB: Most PR people (unfortunately) don’t understand what an editorial mission is. Can you explain how FCW’s mission guides your efforts on a day-to-day basis?
CD: FCW’s task is to provide people with information that helps them do their job better. That’s the short version. Information technology is in there too, but just as IT is increasingly embedded in just about everything that everybody does, FCW is expanding beyond just IT.
Late last year, of course, FCW’s parent company, 1105 Media, purchased the former Post Newsweek Tech Media, which included Government Computer News, Washington Technology, the FOSE trade show, and Defense Systems. As a result of that, we have reoriented the publications slightly — actually just emphasized the directions that the publications were going already. GCN is now ‘the technology authority.’ Washington Technology focuses on the business aspects, and FCW is a more policy/management focused publication.
This is very useful to know when deciding what story gets pitched to which publication.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The Internet was about information and education, not promotion, because it gave people unprecedented control over the messages to which they were exposed.
It was about earning attention rather than demanding it. It was about dialogue rather and conversation rather than monologue. And it was about multiple stakeholder groups rather than customers alone.
It is the quality of unlimited bandwidth and reader driven choices that makes the Web different from all other media. You have to earn attention on the Web, which makes it peculiarly a PR medium.
Peer to Patent is the the Community Patent Review pilot. You are among the first to join the "open revolution" and sign up to become a Community Peer Reviewer!
To create an account, please provide your first and last name. To foster a sense of belonging and trust within the community, we encourage everyone to display their full names. You may use a pseudonym, if you prefer.
Once the pilot goes live, you will be able to subscribe to specific patent applications and learn more about the Peer to Patent community.
For more information and updates about Peer to Patent, visit the project website http://dotank.nyls.edu/communitypatent.
You can e-mail us with questions or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the USPTO project I discussed earlier, to use social software to review patents. This has the potential to address many of the problems with the current patent system.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Federal Financial Management News Web Log, which has been going since 2005, but which I only discovered after the author was kind enough to alert me as a result of last week's radio broadcast. Just when I think I know all the local blogs I discover a new one.
Both will be added to the Tech on the Potomac RSS reader. While the reader is for PR, marketing, and tech blogs, I also include government oriented blogs, though not political blogs.
New Media Nouveux Full Program
Success in the City Web site
FAIRFAX, VA--(Marketwire - June 11, 2007) - Success in the City's New Media Nouveaux conference is the social media conference on how to make your audience fall in love with you, your message and your business.
Success in the City's New Media Nouveaux Conference Features:
-- Insights, tips, strategies, plans, processes and resources for
conquering the new media revolution.
-- Nationally renowned speaker Toby Bloomberg, author of the Diva
Marketing Blog will keynote. Toby's
a national speaker and facilitator of social media and traditional
marketing discussions for organizations like the U.S. Olympic Committee and
-- Second keynote speaker Geoff Livingston, CEO of Livingston
Communications, is a marketing strategist whose book, "Now Is Gone,"
focused on social media will be released in October. Called a local
blogging "guru" by The Washington Post, Geoff's Buzz Bin blog is a nationally recognized public relations blog.
-- Three expert panels focus on businesses using social media, tips and
suggestions on how to engage in new media and what's next.
-- Working lunch will provide attendees access to speakers and panelists
for in-depth discussions about new media strategies.
-- A full program is available online at the Hinge Web site (PDF).
-- Interested parties can register online.
Futurists Panel: Aaron Brazell, B5 Media; Sean Gorman, FortiusOne; Brian Williams, Viget Labs; and Jody Roth, Redstones as moderator.
Businesses Using Social Media: Jill Stelfox, Defywire; Angela Drummond, SiloSmashers; Cynthia de Lorenzi, Success in the City; and Jen Sterling, Hinge as moderator.
Specialists: Jennifer Cortner, EFX Media; Alice Marshall, Presto Vivace; Qui Viaz, Ogilvy; and Andrea Morris, Write Ideas Marketing as moderator.
-- The New Media Nouveaux Conference will be held Friday, July 13 at 8
a.m. to 3 p.m.
-- Tower Club, 8000 Towers Crescent Drive, Suite 1700, Vienna, Va. 703-
-- Cost $295
You can support the work of Presto Vivace Blog by taking our reader survey. Better yet, you can support your business by hiring Presto Vivace for New Media Strategies.
Social Media has taken off, and the most mature aspect of social media is blogging. How is it used in industry for both internal and external communications, for outbound marteting/PR and strategy development? Is Second Life the next generation of blogging? In government, in secure environments, the feds are beginning to share ideas, ask questions and more. The IBM Center for the Business of Government has a blogging study coming out at the end of June: The Blogging Revolution: Government in the Age of Web 2.0. Guest Geoff Livingston has a social media book coming out this fall - Now It's Gone.
We all had a great time recording the show and hope you like it.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
When it comes to snooping in cyberspace, internet giant Google is the online world's biggest brother, according to a new report. The California-based company, famed for its enlightened style of management, is painted in a less flattering light in the first attempt to rank internet companies on their respect for users' privacy.
The human rights campaign Privacy International, which conducts an annual audit ranking countries according to how they respect their citizens' privacy, has analysed the world's leading internet companies.
The public isn't ready yet, but privacy is going to be the next killer ap.
Responding to the consequences of privacy breaches is going to become a PR speciality.
Search Engine Land blog suggests that Privacy International may have a conflict of interest as it has a Microsoft representative on their Board. This illustrates the importance of such institutions in shaping public opinion.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
Blogs can be very useful in that respect. Even a low traffic blog can improve your company’s search engine visibility. Particularly if you use social tagging (del.icio.us, Digg, Reddit, etc.) to boost the effect of a favorable blog post.
This is difficult to explain to clients. A favorable blog post on a low ranking blog with some social tagging seems a very poor substitute for having your picture on the cover of BusinessWeek. But to the unblinking eye of Google, that blog post will be working for you for months and years to come. Moreover, blogs are increasingly driving editorial judgment, so blog buzz often works its way up the media food chain. You can receive a mention on a blog, six months later a reporter could be researching an industry trends story and find that blog post, leading to a mention in a feature article. The effect of good blog post will continue for months, even years, after it is written.
Figure out who your customers are and where they go for their information. This forces PR to mirror sales strategies in order to reach the people that could benefit from said product/service. Different people go to different places for information. First determine where you want to be and then work backwards from there.
I take a certain pride in my background as a sales representative. Most PR pros are trained in communications or have a background in journalism. Working in sales concentrates your mind as to why companies want PR, to increase their market share.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
All of these people have a say in the purchase, and who has the most say is not always a question hierarchy. Sometimes the CFO will be so desperate for a solution that he will drive the process. Sometimes the technical support representative will see the need for a new system, and bring the others along. Until you get in the room, you have no way to identify the real decision maker. Moreover, before you ever get in that room, many conversations have taken place as to whether an additional capability is needed, and if so, who is the preferred vendor.
Blogs can begin that conversation. Blogs are a store window that prospective customers can “shop.” Prospects have the opportunity to get acquainted in a no-pressure situation. It is for that reason they are such an effective tool for networking.
To hear more about blogging in the government market, tune in tomorrow at 2 pm on WFED 1050 AM in Washington - simulcast on www.FederalNewsRadio.com on Amtower’s Off-Center Observations.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Marcy Wheeler, did one better. Her book, Anatomy of Deceit, grew out of her blog. The company which published it, Vastar Publishing, was created by Jane Hamsher and Markos Moulitsas, especially for the book.
Today’s mail brought a review copy of Outsourced, the international thriller about security contractors by R J Hillhouse. I’ve only read a few pages and I am already transfixed. I predict it will be read with close attention in certain circles.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
The topic this week is Big Bang for Small Bucks: Blogging in the Government Market, with guests Geoff Livingston, Alice Marshall and Debbie Weil.
The Office of the Director of Intelligence's PowerPoint presentation has been up and down, on and off the Defense Intelligence site all day. One time it did reappear with new document properties, indicating that it had been saved again today.
Who is running the website over there?
Monday, June 04, 2007
Also being considered is a series of screenings for Wall Street analysts and hedge funds who, Lehane said, may want to see the film to help with investment decisions.
A truly novel way to promote a documentary. Michael Moore runs circles around the rest of us.
NEW YORK -- Search terms related to music and technology are most likely to return sites with spyware and other malicious code, a new study finds.
This is very clever of McAfee, to put out a study of search engines and spyware. It is a clever way to build their brand.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Friday, June 01, 2007
WASHINGTON — Detailed plans for the new U.S. Embassy under construction in Baghdad appeared online Thursday in a breach of the tight security surrounding the sensitive project.
Computer-generated projections of the soon-to-be completed, heavily fortified compound were posted on the Web site of the Kansas City, Mo.-based architectural firm that was contracted to design the massive facility in the Iraqi capital.
The images were removed by Berger Devine Yaeger Inc. shortly after the company was contacted by the State Department.
You really don't want to be on the receiving end of that sort of phone call.
Twenty out of 30 respondents are forty years or older. Fifteen are president or owner of their company, five are project managers or leaders of process improvement, the rest are, in descending order, independent computer consultants, programmers, and sales/marketing.
The Washington Post remains the most popular source of technology news, with 41% of the respondents naming it as a favorite source. The New York Times was a distant second, with 33% of the respondents naming it as their favorite source for technology news. In descending order, the remaining favorites were:
Washington Business Journal
Software Development Magazine
The Wall Street Journal
Federal Computer Week
MIT Tech Review
Google Tech News
Yahoo Tech News
Government Technology Magazine
Government Computer News
The Pew Internet & American Life Project.
The following sources had a single mention:
The Baltimore Sun
The Baltimore Business Journal
The following sources were volunteered as an other choice:
PC Magazine (two mentions)
Tech Crunch (two mentions)
Read/Write Web (two mentions)
Christian Science Monitor
Potomac Tech Wire
Scot Finnie Newsletter
One responded listed various mailing lists.
Most interesting for a PR professional were respondents who listed news releases from software/hardware manufacturers and, as one respondent put it, “and sometimes even Microsoft itself!”
Only seven of the respondents, or 28%, read blogs. I suspect that would have been higher had the sample been a younger group. Of those that read blogs, Slashdot was by far the most popular with Tim Bray’s Ongoing, Jon Udell, and Lou Rosenfeld also being mentioned. Javaranch, Newsvine, Scoble, Joel on Software and Washington’s own CMS Watch were volunteered as other, significant as these were not prompted choices. CMS Watch was the only local blog that was mentioned.
Twenty-two, or 78.6% of respondents participate discussion groups. This is not surprising as discussion groups were the primary way I publicized this survey. DCPubs was by far the most popular discussion group. This either demonstrates the influence of DCPubs, or that their members are more willing to respond to surveys. In descending order the most popular discussion groups were CPCUG lists, DC Web Women (this one surprised me) Netprenuer Ad-Marketing, The Langa List (which is now part of WindowsSecrets.com) Tech Republic lists, and PRSA members and nonmembers. Volunteered in the other category:
Wemaster World (two mentions)
Lassosoft's various discussion groups
U2U forums on Adobe.com
Netpreneur Talk the Talk
Only seven respondents use social tagging sites, with del.icio.us being the most popular, followed by Digg, Orkut, and Newsvine.
This sample size is far to small to have any statistical significance; even so it offers insight into local tech culture.