The Age has hired big blogger downunder, James Farmer, to run its community initiatives. Great move by The Age and good move for James. Congrats. James has been a huge help to me in getting content distributed to the Education audiences I frequently speak to.
A&R are one of the most highly regarded independent PR agencies in the Valley. At least one part of that statement stands, but not the independent bit. Edelman is the new owner, completing a much needed strengthening their tech capabilities that makes them a real force now in the Nth American tech market. Bizarrely the story is running on PRWeek and on Steve's blog, nothing on Edelman or A&R.
Edelman's tech footprint also includes Zeno with long-term clients like Oracle. So it's now Next Fifteen with brands like Bite, Outcast and Text 100 pitted against Edelman with Zeno and A&R. Are we looking at the two break-away holding company brands in tech worldwide?
While Edelman will have to deal with the inevitable integration issues that come with any merger(retaining clients and staff, and dealing with conflicts - the big three), what it looks like they are going to do is similar to Next Fifteen - that is, keep the brands independent and fuel their growth. Merging Edelman's tech group into A&R solves another issue - the conflict with Microsoft.
More than anything though, this looks to be about fueling growth through talent acquisition. I meet with plenty of agency heads and they are all saying the same thing. Can't find great talent, can barely find good talent. This is a talent starved market.
I like companies and products that have the guts to say "we suck" or something close to it. It's very un PR. It says to me, "hey, we want a best of breed product and we're going to work our butts off to give it to you."
Do companies actually pay for this kind of knuckleheaded advice? The last we thing we need is companies getting in touch publicly with their inner suckiness. Just give me something I want to buy and shut the hell up. I have enough friends.
Frankly, I don't have the time to hang about reading companies navel gazing on their own products. As Steve says at the end of his post, actions speak louder than words. And, as a Yahoo shareholder I'd rather see focus on execution than dissent. Just cause Microsoft is doing it doesn't mean it is right for others.
The problem with this kind of internal activism is it mostly points to problems and not solutions. In fact, they probably can't even speak to the solutions. All this has done is encouraged me to stick with iLife for all my personal stuff and not continue to play with Yahoo 360. Is that what Yahoo wanted - Less participants?
At the end of the say I'm OK with a company talking about its shortcomings so long as it is talking about what it is doing about them and not whineing. Make your 'bitch lists' action lists and we would all be thrilled. The tone and nature of this kind of dialogue is rich and important to internal teams - IMHO, it adds little externally.
I'm glad Steve feels better for it. I feel worse, worse for Yahoo - a company with products I really like.
Steve has provided answers to my questions in the comments section - so here goes a quick update:
Rubel reports that Edelman has a deal to "fast-track the development of localized versions of their offering in German, Korean, Italian, French and Chinese." I'm not sure what this means so a couple of questions for Steve & Co.:
Is Edelman paying or funding software development at Technorati? What specifically does fast-track mean? Or to use Peter's words "support"? Is this a case of simply paying to lock-up Technorati for a period of time? Or as Stowe alludes to, is this about getting Technorati some needed cash for global expansion? Edelman is paying to accelerate Technorati's deployment in Europe - as such the probably deserve the short exclusive they are getting.
What does "exclusive" mean? Does this mean the only way to get access to pre-beta Technorati in those countries is via Edelman? The success of so many Web2.0 properties - Technorati included - has been predicated on getting not particularly robust products into the market allowing people to participate. Isn't this going to turn a public tool into a proprietary one for a period of time - is it about, at least initially, supporting the growth of the blogosphere for Edelman clients? Why not open it to everyone? Reading between the lines of Steve's remarks it seems unlikely that Technorati could have done this as quick without Edelman's support - so, fair game on the exclusive. Ultimately we benefit from a faster time to market on Technorati services.
Doesn't this call into question Technorati's independence and neutrality. I'm sure its just a coincidence but Steve's favorite blogs are featured on Technorati's home page this morning. In fairness to Steve, this is a rolling banner. Fair response from Steve. This will be an issue for Technorati going forward.
It is great that Edelman is lending its weight to such an important initiative. I'm a big fan of Richard and Steve. But fortunately they aren't the only ones so this does seem to run counter to the notion of "participatory" and open.
While a propriety lock-in to Technorati's international versions is a terrific coup for Edelman - and I am sure is a very profitable commercial relationship for Technorati - doesn't it leave bloggers and other companies as deeply engaged in the blogosphere out in the cold? Steve's comments point to this accelerating the availability of services - Edelman's price is cold cash. Our price is that they get a bit of an exclusive for something we have to wait less for. Seems fair in the context of the commercial realities of the blogosphere.
I'm frequently asked what blogs I follow regularly. The simple answer would be to direct people to my blogroll - but I haven't updated that in ages. Another item for the "to-do on a rainy day" list. So, I'm going to start a short series of posts with my top ten blogs in different categories.
My blog reader is a bit like the New York Times Sunday edition - very diverse. I enjoy the serendipity of stumbling across all kinds of relevant content. So I'm going to start with the practical - the marketing and PR blogs I scan daily.
I keep my hundreds of feeds in different folders - these are pulled from my "Read Today" folder and are the ones I spend time on most.
Micro Persuasion: I look at Steve's blog mainly for breaking Web2.0 and PR news. I'd say I read it less as a blog and more as a source of news. I also like what Jeremy as to say over at PopPR and also Johnnie Moore.
Holmes Blog: I breathed a sigh of relief when PRWeek launched in the US - it just seemed so wrong that all the US PR Industry had was a facsimile newsletter. Saying that, Paul's writing on PR issues and trends is unmatched - the .pdf Holmes Report is a must to subscribe to.
Armadgeddon: AR is the least appreciated element of the communications and marketing mix - yet the analysts are as, if not more, influential than the media. The dialogue is good and the observations relevant - if not a tad AR-biased. Some of the posts on transparency and the relationship between Analysts and paying companies are off the mark in my mind.
James Governor: Not a marketing or PR blog but James' observations on AR and marketing are very thoughtful.
The 463: A tech policy blog. We need more of them. Also read Tim Dyson's blog - leader of Next Fifteen, the mother ship for brands like Bite and Outcast.
The Long Tail & Gladwell: Again, not strictly marketing blogs but that is the lens through which I look at them.
Boeing's early results suggest that the rewards outweigh the risks. The company's two public blogs give Boeing a direct link to the public, something the 91-year-old company has never had before. And executives are starting to use internal blogs to get conversations going and allow employees to raise issues anonymously. "I've always been a big believer in open and honest dialogue that gets the issues on the table," says James F. Albaugh, the chief executive of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). He championed using blogs at the defense unit's meeting of 1,000 executives in February. "I was a little concerned and I had no idea how it would turn out, but I'm sold on it." - BusinessWeek
I'm often asked for what RSS feeds I subscribe to - this normally results in me sharing my OPML file. It's really easy to export it from NetNewsWire. Steve has a good overview of this in a post this morning so I'll let you read that.
Like Steve, I agree there is going to be lots happening in the coming year in relation to sharing RSS feeds - including this effort. Putting together an OPML file of feeds for their respective communities is one thing that every marketer should be doing.
China is the world's second-largest Internet market after the United States with more than 110 million users. A survey by Chinese search engine Baidu.com put the current number of blog, or Web log, sites at 36.82 million which are kept by 16 million people, the official Xinhua news agency said on Saturday.
The number of Chinese bloggers is expected to hit 60 million by the end of this year, Xinhua said, quoting a report on China's media industry by the prestigious Tsinghua University.