Friday, November 30, 2007

All good press is good press

Geoff Livingston has a graphic that perfectly illustrates the public relations long tail, with the red part illustrating that which clients will pay for, and the longer yellow tail showing that which is valuable, but not billable. I don’t think that is quite how he would describe it; but currently, that is how clients view social media.

I asked a friend of mine which blogs he reads and he just looked at me as if I were a fool. My friend doesn’t read blogs unless someone sends him a link. He gets his information by doing searches on subjects which interest him. If you want to reach him, you need to be on that first page of results, which brings us back to blogs. One of the blogs my friend has stumbled across is John Boyer’s, which he likes very much. As of this posting, Boyer’s blog has all of four inbound posts. Clearly you do not have to have a highly linked blog to emerge at the top of search results, only relevant content.

Which brings us to the question of what is a credible blog. Clearly that is in the eye of the reader. A blog with many inbound links might be regarded as credible or not, depending upon the reader. A blog with few inbound links might be regarded as deservedly obscure or an undiscovered gem. Several months ago I received an inbound link from Agile CMMI blog, which has a grand total of ten inbound links. Even so, this blog clearly has a regular following as directly I received the link my hit count began to climb. No client would pay for a link from either of these blogs, but clearly such a link, provided the context was favorable, would be valuable for a client.

Those of us who understand social media have much work to do in explaining its role in increasing search engine visibility and brand equity.

One Laptop Per Child vs Classmate

What OLPC Offers That Classmate Doesn't
First, the OLPC is great for classroom use, but that isn't all it offers by a mile. You already know about the amazing tech advances, like the innovative screen that you can use in sunlight. But there is more than that. Classmate actually misses the fundamental point of the OLPC, as far as I'm concerned, which is essentially that kids invariably grasp the tech before the parents and the teachers do, so why hold them back? OLPC is a way to educate kids who have inadequate school resources, in areas where there may not even be any adequate schools or teachers, maybe not any at all, let alone any that know anything about computers.

The key difference to my way of thinking is that One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) was created for the sake of children and to make technology accessible. Classmate was created merely to compete with OLPC, child welfare was a secondary consideration.

My concern is the lack of ergonomic design. Will the next generation be nearsighted with carpal tunnel syndrome?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New to me local PR blog

The PR Guy: Straight to the Point, A Collection of Thoughts on B2B and B2G Public Relations, Marketing and Other Incredibly Exciting Stuff

Like your humble servant, he flacks government contractors. But don't tell him I used the word flack.

Added to the Tech on the Potomac RSS reader.

Google offering customizable search results

Via Greg Gershman we learn that Google is experimenting with a voting feature on search results that allows users to vote up or bury search results they see.

Presumably if this reached critical mass it would alter overall search results. Expect politicians to be the first to use this feature in an organized way. If that works for them it will work for the rest of us.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What to get your entrepreneur friend for Christmas

Why Epiphanies Never Occur to Couch Potatoes is now available for shipping. Amtower was kind enough to give me a review copy and I can say it is unlike any business book I have ever read.

As the housing crash metastasizes into a larger economic crisis, I predict there will be a huge backlash against cynicism and cheap trick marketing. This book will speak to that longing for sincerity, the conviction that business is about providing value for money and not some illusionist sleight of hand.

Note -
available for immediate shipping: Altas Books
shipping soon, but not in stock:

Friday, November 23, 2007

What is CORE?

CORE is a not-for-profit membership association of Internet domain name registrars and registries. Its purpose is to operate, on a cost-recovery basis, a shared registration system (SRS) for Internet domain names. CORE was created in 1997 based on the Generic Top-Level Domains Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in order to launch new names spaces. CORE is highly skilled in the registrar business and in the Registries development. Since 1997, CORE has been active in the development of protocols and methodologies to facilitate access to domain registrations, including a multi-protocol Shared Registration System (SRS) and registration gateway.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

No more astroturf

Help choose the winners of this year's Falsies Awards
Welcome to the fourth annual "Falsies Awards" contest, sponsored by the Center for Media and Democracy to recognize the people and players responsible for polluting our information environment. This year, we are asking you to help identify the worst spinners and propagandists of 2007. Please read through the list of nominees below and rank them. You can also nominate additional candidates in our readers' award section.

Please note: you can vote for multiple winners in each category and the CMD judges will take the recommendations into account when deciding the falsest of the false.

Please fill out the survey before 5:00 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday November 30, 2007 to make sure your votes are tallied.

The days of creating front groups are over and done with.

Advice for the PR agencies mentioned, if you want to vote for other nominees on this list, do so from your home computer. It would really be humiliating to be caught voting for your competition.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Analysis-powered e-discovery

KM World
MetaLincs has launched Version 4.0 of its Enterprise E-Discovery Suite. The company says the new offering is the first integrated application that delivers all the core e-discovery functions and processes needed to meet enterprise-class requirements associated with litigation and compliance-related investigations.

This is a great time to be in e-discovery.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Great headline writing

Tudor First Hedge Fund To PAC A Punch

White House e-discovery blues

Court orders White House to preserve e-mail backups
The complaint alleges that since 2003 the Bush administration has illegally discarded about 5 million e-mail messages that it was required to keep under records laws. The plaintiffs are demanding that the missing messages be restored using the backup media files and that the administration implement a new “adequate electronic management system.”

The groups’ lawsuits against the Executive Office of the President, the White House’s Office of Administration, and the National Archives and Records Administration have now been consolidated.

Bush & Co. maybe counting on a friendly judiciary to bail them out. Private corporations would be ill advised to make the same assumption. I am not sure it will work in Bush's case.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Remembering security contractors on Veteran's Day

The Spy Who Billed Me
One of the more unusual developments in national security in the 21st Century is our government's decision to indirectly enlist private citizens in combat through contracting out services formerly performed by the military and other civil servants. The $1 billion plus private military industry has recruited thousands into corporate service, service that was also in support of the US war efforts.

I've spoken with scores of these men and with one notable exception, they were all doing it, at least in part, to serve their country. Many have told me they've worked for Blackwater, Triple Canopy and others because they wanted to do something because of 9/11, something to protect their country and families as part of the larger war on terror. And several have claimed that the flexibility of private industry offered them the only way they could do this because of age, family and financial obligations. I take the individuals at their word.

Like Hillhouse, I too have met many security contractors, many are active in local tech organizations. The ones I know work stateside building the advanced software that analyzes the oceans of data that comes flooding in from the field. They also build the communications and security systems that allows this data to travel securely from the field to Washington.

There is something more than a tad hypocritical about a country that creates a vast infrastructure of security contractors, sends them into harm's way, and then starts to moralize about mercenaries. In a democracy we have a collective responsibility for the actions of our government. It is necessary to educate oneself. The best place to start is to read Outsourced, the international thriller that illuminates the Iraq war and the world of security contractors.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Command and Control 2.0

On the ride back from Geoff Livingston’s fabulous book party, I started reading Now is Gone. While I have only read a few chapters, I can tell already that it is yummy and of great value to the newbie and experienced alike. It is a little daunting to think that I compete with this gentleman.

Yet as I read it, I could not suppress the feeling that those of us who embrace social media have become too complacent. We keep saying the old command and control system is dead and was never that great to begin with. We say that too many elite PR pros do not get social media. I am beginning to think they get it only too well.

For those of us who embrace social media, all of our ideas are based on the assumption of net neutrality, a continuation of the present system of open and equal access. We take for granted that anyone with Internet access can visit any site. There is no guarantee that this will continue to be the case.

Anyone who has seen Who Killed the Electric Car understands how an oligarchy of special interests can kill a great product. There is no going back for public relations, anymore than killing the electric car saved American auto manufacturers. But that won’t stop the telecommunications giants and the Command and Control coalition from trying.

The chief beneficiaries on the neutral net, small businesses, academics, research institutions, Web 2.0 start ups and their venture capitalist investors, do not recognize the threat. If the neutral net is to be saved, those who are now complacent will have to mobilize.

Save the Internet Blog

Network Neutrality Squad

International Peace Operations Association Conference

New to me tech policy blog

Mobile Diner a place where wireless and washington meet….

Added to the Tech on the Potomac RSS reader.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Defense Industry Daily
VIVACE is a very large research & technology project funded by the European Commission that was launched in January 2004, grouping 63 companies and research institutions from the aerospace sector to improve 7 key areas of the product development process, providing solutions in "Design Simulation", "Virtual Testing", "Design Optimisation", "Business and Supply Chain Modelling", "Knowledge Management", "Decision Support" and "Collaboration in the Extended and Virtual Enterprise". By using the latest innovations in advanced simulation and modeling techniques, it hopes to provide the means to improve knowledge about the product prior to its physical development, reducing development costs, shortening time to market, and improving product quality.

A well selected name.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

Presto Vivace PR, compare and contrast

Things Turn Ugly in the ‘Hacks vs. Flacks’ War
Journalists often call publicists “flacks” and publicists call journalists “hacks,” though rarely in earshot of one another. But the gloves came off last week after Chris Anderson, the executive editor of Wired magazine, chided “lazy flacks” who deluge him with news releases “because they can’t be bothered to find out who on my staff, if anyone, might actually be interested in what they’re pitching.”

“I’ve had it,” Mr. Anderson wrote on his blog on Oct. 29. “I get more than 300 e-mails a day and my problem isn’t spam. ... it’s P.R. people.”

After picking the fight, he then made it personal, posting the addresses of 329 unsolicited e-mail messages he had received and telling the senders that he had permanently blocked them.

Every year or so I do an unscientific survey of reporters and editors from the government trade press to see which PR firms are most respected and most helpful to both their clients and the publications. I email people I work with in the press and simply ask their opinion and I guarantee their anonymity.

There were no big standouts (no company with more than 2 votes). The best recommendations in terms of how the reporter or editor referenced a PR firm were for Alice Marshall (PrestoVivace; one reporter called her the best he had worked with) and Evan Weisel (W2 Communications, one reporter noted he does lots for his clients and adds actual value for the trade press). Other reporters just sent lists, or had shorter comments. And while I did not ask for it, a few gave me negative feedback. Instead of sharing the negative, I simply took a point away from the company referenced.

Making the cut (alphabetical: Advice Unlimited, Alice Marshall/PrestoVivace, BrainBox, Borenstein, Boscobel, Fleishman Hillard, Hosky Inc, Larkin and Associates, OKeeffe, Strategic Communications, and Welz and Weisel.

Here at Presto Vivace we cannot guarantee to place your story, but we can guarantee that the editor will open our emails and give your pitch serious consideration.

Friday, November 02, 2007

New to me defense news

Small Wars Journal
Defense Industry Daily

Workshop on Economics and Information Security: call for papers

Via Emergent Chaos:
WEIS 2008
Information security requires not only technology, but a clear understanding of risks, decision-making behaviors and metrics for evaluating business and policy options. How much should we spend on security? What incentives really drive privacy decisions? What are the trade-offs that individuals, firms, and governments face when allocating resources to protect data assets? Are there good ways to distribute risks and align goals when securing information systems?

Submissions due: March 1, 2008

Standards as a business strategy

Team “OpenSocial” To Take Facebook Down
It is being reported that Facebook may not be allowed the clout they have been receiving recently after all. Tomorrow, Google will begin heading up an alliance of social networks that will begin opening up their sites to outside software developers. This group will introduce a common set of standards for this practice, according to The New York Times.

The group includes Orkut, LinkedIn, hi5, Friendster, Plaxo and Ning. Since it opened its site to outside developers last spring, Facebook has had over 5,000 small programs built to run on its site.

The plan was supposed to be unveiled at a Google party tomorrow night, but people briefed on this, let the New York Times know about it and Google confirmed to the publication.

An anonymous source said to the NY Times “It is going to forestall Facebook’s ability to get everyone writing just for Facebook.” OpenSocial as the platform will be known is “compatible across all the companies,” according to that same source.

This is a good example of the use of standards to acquire market share.

I don't understand why the source for this article was anonymous. What was the point of the leak? Just to show off?

Great branding!

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