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Want to Monitor the Unruly Blogosphere? It'll Cost Ya Plenty to Have a Pro Service Do It For You

Fortune Small Business profiles Umbria Market Research's Buzz Reports, a blogosphere monitoring service, which costs "(roughly) $60,000 a year." The article says that Umbria's rivals, which include Intelliseek and BuzzMetrics, charge fees that "can easily run into the seven figures."

I love the way the article describes the blogosphere as "a vast, unruly, and totally tantalizing mother lode of unvarnished consumer opinion on every product and service in the capitalist universe."

Umbria's next frontier: algorithms that will classify bloggers by ethnicity, location, income, social class and level of education. That's more than a little scary!


BL Ochman | Jan 12 06 6:39 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Edelman/Technorati Blogger Survey: Same Old, Same Old About New Media

edelman_blog_report.jpgEdelman PR and Technorati have teamed up to publish Public RelationSHIPS:Communications in the Age of Personal Media, a 24-page study of bloggers. In their introductions, Edelman CEO Richard Edelman provides a lot of PRese and corporate speak about blogging on one side of the page, and Technorati Exec VP Peter Hirshberg talks about blogosphere growth and trends on the other.

Dear Edelman: show me the clients. As far as I can tell, the only blog project the company has ever done was to add something called Stories of Hope to an incredibly commercial, unbloggy Wal-mart website that happens to use Moveable Type as its database.

Says Edelman: "We see a very different future - one in which PR becomes the essential aspect of communications creating a runway of trust before other marketing disciplines are deployed." Sure sounds like dealing with consumers is a war.

And: "Public relations practitioners must become informed advocates, dedicated to speaking the truth and listening." Umm, isn't that what they should have been doing all along?

The survey itself covers how often bloggers post, whether we trust corporate blogs (somewhat), etc. It concludes, unsurprisingly, that companies and PR firms "have a long way to go to achieve better-than-average levels of trust."

And, it says, unsurprisingly, PR people should pitch bloggers. However, it points out, "the "pitch" approach must now change to participation: a mutual communication exchange in near real-time."

Pitches of news that has not already been transmitted to everyone and her dog are always welcome here. Just please don't do them like this.


BL Ochman | Jan 12 06 12:15 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gone Skijoring -- See You Tuesday

skijoring.jpg
Benny Bix Ochman Labradoodle and I have gone skijoring.

ski·jor·ing (sk jôr ng, -jr-) n. [modif. of Norw skikjøring, fr. ski + kjøring driving]: a winter sport in which a person wearing skis is drawn over snow by one or more dogs. Mush!!!!!!


Categories: Commentary
BL Ochman | Jan 12 06 12:12 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Free Passes to Small Business Tech Summit for 10 What's Next Readers

The Small Business Tech Summit 2006 is about using technology for effective communication. It happens Friday, February 10, 2006, from 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. EST at The Roosevelt Hotel (45 East 45th St) in Manhattan.

The Summit costs $99, but it's free to the first 10 What's Next Blog readers who register and type BLOchman in the promotion code field on the registration page.

I'll be there and hope to see you there too!


Categories: Events
BL Ochman | Jan 12 06 11:51 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

First 2006 PR Pitch From Hell, a Mere 1181 Words

The first email pitch from hell for 2006 arrived today:

[First_Name],

I thought you might be interested in a new study out today showing that consumer satisfaction with virtually all of the top 40 retail websites has dropped over the holiday season. This news comes from a study done by ForeSee Results and FGI Research called the Top 40 Online Retail Satisfaction Index.

My favorite sentence:
High satisfaction scores—how happy people are with all aspects of the online experience when they visit a site—have been proven to correlate directly and tightly to likelihood to return, recommend, and buy. Who'd have thunk it!

Well, of course [publicist] who wouldn't be interested in every one of the 1181 words in your email pitch! Thanks so much for the contact!


BL Ochman | Jan 11 06 4:50 | Permanent Link | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall, Who's the Snarkiest of Them All?

'Snarky' journalism is all the rage now, writes Jon Friedman at Marketwatch, unsnarkily. "Thanks largely to the advent of the Internet blogs, "snarky" commentaries are sweeping the craft of journalism." Really? Wow, that's big news!

Snarkiness, Friedman postulates, "can be loosely defined as demonstrations of criticism, particularly when the target is the establishment, either in the government, the military, corporate America or the dreaded media."

Friedman attributes snarkiness' origin to Mark Twain, (he certainly was a snarky type) the Marx Brothers (sarcastic, biting, quick! but snarky?) and Charlie Chaplin (I'd call that a maybe.) Then he calls Johnny Carson snarky. Nuh uh.

He takes the requisite swipe at bloggers v. journalists: "Once, way, way back during the 20th century, journalism was measured by such quaint qualities as dogged reporting and meticulous fact-checking."

Somehow, his article sounds more bitter than snarky. Snarky involves cleverness.

Wikipedia has a better definition: "Snark refers to a pejorative style of speech or writing. It could loosely be described as irritable or "snidely derisive"; hence, 'snarkish', 'snarky', 'to snark at somebody'. (The Urban Dictionary refers to it as a contraction of "snide remark".) It could less politely be described as 'bitchy'."


BL Ochman | Jan 9 06 3:38 | Permanent Link | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Google Video Store: The End of Commercials on TV?

fire_fart.jpgSay godbye to commercials on TV shows. Who'll watch them once we can see the same shows on Google? We already pay for cable, and hardly ever watch any of it. Now we'll be able to pay to see just the shows we want, with no ads. I bet it comes out cheaper, given how little is worth watching on TV these days.

At CESOn Friday, Google announced that its new Google Video Store will let people rent or buy downloadable videos online. Among other content, the new service will feature prime-time and classic hits from CBS, without commercials. Additionally, content from Google Video can be viewed with a new player that can be downloaded for free from any playback page.

Launched early last year, Google Video's site claims it "is the first open video marketplace where any video producer, large or small, can upload their content and distribute it for free or at a price. Video prices are set by the content provider with no minimum or maximum dollar-limit. Owners also have the choice to offer their content with or without copy protection – enabling them greater control over its distribution." No copy about royalties or other payments to actors, musicians, etc.

The Google Video Blog spotlights contributors to the upload program.

Let's hope Fire Fart isn't the highest level of video downloads (as it were) that we can hope for.


BL Ochman | Jan 9 06 1:41 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

PRSA Charging $100 for Workshop on How to Win Silver Anvil Award

silver_anvil.jpg
PRSA's Silver Anvil is one of the most prestigious awards in flackdom. I've won a couple in my time. But these days, if you want to learn how to win, PRSA expects you to pay $100 to get tips at a seminar or $125 for a webinar.

It's $300 to enter the competition. Then they suggest that you to cough up the cash to learn "how to prepare a stronger Anvil entry", and "Identify (and act on) what the judges are looking for."

Shouldn't that information be included in the entry fee, FREE, and on the PRSA website. Or do the erudite evaluators they think they'll keep out the riff raff this way?

The Webby Awards and other awards go out of their way to tell you what they're looking for right on their sites.

PRSA
Silver_Anvil


BL Ochman | Jan 9 06 1:03 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

World Trade Center Memorial Fund Calls for 9/11 Stories

The World Trade Center Memorial Fund is collecting individual's 9/11 stories on its website through the Story Builders program. It will take me a while to be able to add mine, but I do want to be part of the archive of that day of hell.

I've posted about it a few times, including here, here and here.


Categories: Commentary, News
BL Ochman | Jan 9 06 12:20 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Diamond Pet Food Contamination Kills 76 Pets, and Company Inaction Makes Matters Worse!

pet_food_recall.jpgMSNBC reports that contaminated dog food from Diamond Pet Food has killed at least 76 dogs.

Watch the Diamond Pet Food brand die as this news spreads unless a caring and effective crisis plan is put into effect immediately.

Calls to the company Customer Info Center - 866.214.6945 - get a recording that says they are currently experiencing a large volume of calls and asking you to leave a message. Absolutely an inadequate response! Get the executives and a group of veterinarians on the phone immediately!

It Is Absolutely Inexscusable That Diamond's Site is Not Up to Date!
Absolutely inexcusably -- because this problem has been known and getting worse since mid-December -- the Diamond Pet Food website is not up to date and its servers seem to be overloaded, causing the site to go down regularly.

In December, Diamond Pet Food recalled 19 brands of dog and cat food for being contaminated with aflatoxin, a naturally occurring toxic chemical by-product from the growth of the fungus Aspergillus flavus, on corn and other crops.

Pay the bills
The company needs to:
- apologize and assure the public that they are on top of the problem. Right now their last statement was made in December!
- immediately institute a recall information blog,
- get its executives online to keep consumers up to the minute,
- bring in veterinarians who can advise consumers whose dogs may have eaten the contaminated products
- start a fund to cover the vet bills and death expenses of affected pets.

The Diamond Pet Food website "about us" states Diamond is one of the nation's leading manufacturers of super-premium dog and cat foods and is the choice of top breeders, kennel owners, and sporting enthusiasts.

Update: Cornell Veterinary School Diamond Pet Food situation information site here
- Dec. 30 FDA Statement
- BusinessWeek online update
-Technorati list of blog posts

DiamondPetFoodRecall, Diamond_Pet_Food


BL Ochman | Jan 9 06 11:47 | Permanent Link | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

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