By Linda Forrest
Yesterday, Joost, a peer-to-peer streaming TV service, launched its public beta and the blogosphere is aflutter with comments – some positive, some negative but most fall into the wait and see category. Web-savvy folks have been beta testing this system for quite some time but now, it’s open to everyone.
As with most new content aggregators on the Internet, only time will tell as to whether it succeeds or not, but I’m inclined to agree with Smithick, a commenter on the New York Times’s Bits blog, “Content is king. People will put up with a crappy experience if they can get the content that they’re looking for. Joost will only take off when you can find a majority of topical, popular content on the site.”
Such is not the case at the moment and unless the site quickly supplies users with the content that they want, I’m afraid it will suffer the fate of other once promising P2P sites that couldn’t find a way to rationalize high-quality content with worldwide licensing and copyright issues. YouTube‘s popularity is due in large part to the illegal uploading of copyrighted content, though the Google powers-that-be have quelled the practice considerably since acquiring the site last year.
The idea of allowing users to access the television programming that they want to see, when and where they want to see it remains, for all intents and purposes, elusive at the moment, but with so many vying technologies, PVRs, myriad set-top boxes and P2P TV sites, it’s sure to be resolved in the near future. Stay tuned!
By Jill Pyle
Spam has been invading my inbox for years. Even with filters and blacklists, it always finds a way in. At the best of times it’s annoying, at the worst it hinders productivity.
Since registering for services like Facebook, Twitter, Aeroplan and Google news alerts, my spam count has been trumped by bacn. Bacn (pronounced “bacon”) is a new buzzword used to describe the pesky email notifications you’ve opted to receive but don’t want to read right now. Typical bacn messages include “Bob is now following you on Twitter!”, “Exclusive discount off our U.S. fares” and “Jane wants Sushi Meetups too!” If you don’t make a habit of instantly deleting bacn, it often remains unread and can quickly pollute your inbox.
The worst thing about bacn is that you’ve agreed or asked to receive it. It’s self-inflicted aggravation. Luckily, bacn can be stopped if you take the time to adjust your account settings and notification preferences. Unfortunately, this process can sometimes be more annoying than receiving bacn.
When you register for a new service, pay close attention to your notification preferences. Stop bacn before it starts.
By Francis Moran
When I started this little tech PR agency, the world of online media outlets was still very much in its infancy. And an early fiction we had to deal with was a widely held belief that online media were some kind of a different beast from their print or broadcast brethren, and that only a PR agency that specialised in online media could reach these brave new e-journalists.
Our conviction was that these outlets might well be new but that there was nothing at all novel about a time-tested best-practices approach to pitching them, one based on pegging the natural news value of a client’s story and then pitching it only to those who would see that value. And we were right; from Day 1, our clients enjoyed the same widespread coverage online as they did in other media formats.
Our conviction that online journalists responded to same imperatives as their offline brethren actually cost us a client or two early on because our proposals didn’t specifically stipulate we were addressing them. We’d write that we’d target “all appropriate media outlets,” and assumed our clients were as canny as we were. We quickly learned to expand it to read, “all appropriate media outlets, including online outlets,” and to include key online titles in our list of examples.
Time passed and the requirement to single out these new media types passed with it as everyone learned that the same fundamental principles applied to pitching online media outlets and journalists, and that our phrase, “all appropriate media outlets” included online titles as a matter of course.
Then came blogs.
And the latest entry in a growing collection of what I call, “Francis’s favourite fictions.” Or, “Everything I know that’s wrong about public relations I learned from technology company executives.”
Here’s the latest one, tossed at me a few months back by a seasoned technology marketer who really should have known better. “Bloggers are different,” she insisted. “And only a PR agency that specialises in Web 2.0 social media can pitch them properly.”
Well, that was red-meat bait, and I rose to it. “Give me an example,” I challenged her. And she gave me two names, both of them critically influential bloggers in her company’s WiFi space with whom we couldn’t possibly develop a relationship, she said, because we weren’t a Web 2.0 agency.
I recognised one of the names immediately, and a check of our media contact database confirmed that we knew this guy very well. In fact, we first started successfully pitching to him when he was a columnist at a print trade magazine, then as a columnist for the online version of the same magazine, then as publisher of his own online newsletter, and now as a blogger. And guess what? He is just as pitchable, and he responds to the same things, now that he’s breathing the rarified air of the blogosphere as he had as an ink-stained wretch.
The second name was also in our database, and also had been for years, but we generally didn’t pitch him any more because his blog was the equivalent of what we used to call a rip-and-read outfit. That is, like small radio stations that just read wire copy for their newscasts, he didn’t do any original reporting; he just wrote about things he had read about elsewhere. A useful conduit, perhaps, but not one we’d bother pitching directly; better we get a hit in one of the media he watches and let him write about that. Which he does regularly.
Point is, in my world, the bloggers who count are either bona fide, and often dyed-in-the-wool, journalists making use of this latest communications channel, or they’re newcomers to the game who think, act, and respond to newsworthy pitches, in exactly the same way as journalists.
Problem is, too many people think like my favourite-fiction spinner. So we’re careful to once again add a phrase to our proposals, which these days read, “all appropriate media outlets, including bloggers.” This, too, shall pass.
By Francis Moran
Blame it all on Alec Saunders.
By that I mean, Saunders is in good part responsible for our inflicting on the world yet another PR agency blog.
Over the past year or so, I’ve had several engaged conversations with Saunders, a tech company veteran and compulsive blogger, about the role this no-longer-new social marketing tool can play in a public relations company’s activities. There are two clear sides to that role.
The first, which I will address at greater length in a future post, is the role blogs play in reaching and influencing our clients’ target markets. On that score, I have never needed any convincing, and here at inmedia, we have included the right bloggers in our pitches for as long as there have been bloggers. But, as I said, more on this later.
The second role, around which I have long been much more skeptical, is whether a blog can be an effective outreach tool for a public relations agency or, indeed, for any company. Here, my skepticism lies not so much in the nature of blogs themselves as in the same sort of critical analysis I bring to the consideration of whether any communications tool is appropriate in a given situation.
Saunders thought me a non-believer. Not so. My thinking could well be summed up in the phrase, “A blog if necessary, but not necessarily a blog.”
By which I mean that, just as with any other communications tool, a successful company blog must be as effective as possible and must deliver a competitive ROI. Let me expand briefly.