Timing was everything

Remember the days when a company could craft a press release and time its distribution for just the right moment to achieve maximum value? The carefully-honed statement could go out just as the markets close, just before they open, on a quiet weekend when it’ll get more play, or during a news-heavy period when nobody will notice. Timing was everything. It’s nostalgic to look back on those bygone days of, oh, last year.

The folks over at AskJeeves probably had timing in mind when they set tomorrow for the announcement of its purchase of Bloglines. But Mary Hodder caught wind of the deal and ran it last Friday in her Napsterization blog,… Read More »

Bill Cobb’s revealing letter to customers

The news today is full of reports that eBay is rolling back some of its price increases and beefing up its customer support. The changes come after customer uproar over the heavily-reported fee increases. A an eBay customer myself, I got the e-mail from Bill Cobb, president of eBay North America. What struck me was the importance Cobb assigns to listening to customers.

Cobb, who has been with eBay only since December, uses the capital “C” when talking about the eBay Community, elevating it to a defined, named space. He credits the hard work of the Community with eBay’s success, then gets down to business, explaining changes the company… Read More »

PubSub offers real-time earthquake info

PubSub is my favorite tool for tracking topics that interest me in the blogosphere. Blogs are what PubSub does, so it was a bit of a surprise to read a press release  announcing the site has a new service: tracking US Geological Survey (USGS) seismological activity and making it available via RSS feed or email update. But it’s just another way to take advantage of RSS.

“We realized our Internet-scale matching and notification system was ideal for making this critical data more easily and quickly available to the average person.  So we’ve developed a system to translate the USGS technical feed into XML—the standard language of the… Read More »

A new refrain: “Where were the bloggers?”

A mythology is growing around instances in which bloggers have jumped on a story resulting in some kind of consequence. Trent Lott stepped down. Dan Rather resigned and other CBS staffers suffered. The manufacturer of a bicycle lock had to deal with the lock’s flaws.

Now, it seems, bloggers are expected to take the lead—or at least participate with great zest—in any number of issues. We saw this recently when Jay Rosen cried, “Where are the PR bloggers?” following the revelation that Ketchum, representing the US Department of Education, had paid pundit Armstrong Williams to publicly support the administration’s education policy.

In… Read More »

Unintentional consequences

This morning, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, a guest on Wolf Blitzer’s Sunday morning interview show on CNN, defending the Pentagon’s development of new Web sites designed to provide information to a global audience. Blitzer asked whether these sites violated President Bush’s new edict forbidding payment to PR agencies in order to promote the administration’s political agenda. Rumsfeld responded that these sites had nothing to do with a political agenda.

Whether that’s true or not, we are going to see more unintended consequences of the Ketchum-Williams-DOE controversy. I’ve encountered one myself. I’ve been doing work for a… Read More »

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