Thursday, May 19, 2011

Desperate Measures by Facebook / Burson-Marsteller Raise All Kinds of Red Flags

One of the most exasperating phases new parents experience happens when their kids hit 3 or 4 years old and the parents get the dreaded call from the daycare or babysitter reporting that their precious child has bitten another. It happens when the little ones are angry or feel powerless, and they don’t have the tools or maturity to know how to respond. Eventually, children grow out of this stage pretty quickly. They begin to understand right from wrong and that they shouldn’t hurt someone else when they themselves are upset or are feeling threatened. Parents get to stop saying, “No biting” and “Play fair.”

Apparently, someone at Facebook and Burson-Marsteller never learned that lesson.

Here’s a rundown on recent events.
  • Facebook hires Burson-Marsteller for a particular job and says not to reveal their name (Red flag #1).
  • Burson-Marsteller launches a “whisper campaign” to get news stories and editorials about Google’s Social Circle feature in Gmail claiming privacy infractions (Facebook pot calling Google kettle…).
  • Burson-Marsteller offers to ghost write stories for bloggers (Red flag #2).
  • One FTC blogger asks who the client is, Burson-Marsteller replies: Nope, can’t tell (Red flag #3).
  • Blogger publishes email exchange (na na na na boo boo).
  • USA Today investigates the stealth claims about Social Circle and finds them false.
  • The you-know-what hits the fan.
  • Burson-Marsteller releases a statement blaming Facebook, admitting the actions were against Burson’s own policies and they should have “declined” the assignment. (Note the policy about not undertaking work “intended or designed to mislead”).
  • Facebook releases a statement Burson-Marsteller, claiming “No 'smear' campaign was authorized or intended.” (It’s not me, it’s you.)
  • Burson-Marsteller deletes negative comments from its own Facebook page (Seriously?).
A firestorm of stories and commentary has erupted online and in the mainstream media. Here are some highlights.
Ironically, the same week Burson-Marsteller won the Holmes Report award for U.S. Agency of the Year. And it doesn’t even look like the two Burson-Marsteller employees involved in this mess will even get a time-out.

Monday, May 09, 2011

New Pew study looks at online behavior on news sites

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has released results from an in-depth study of the top 25 U.S. news websites to examine audience behavior, specifically how users get to the top news sites, how long they stay during each visit, how deep they go into a site, and where they go when they leave.

Jim Romenesko summarized a few highlights that I found interesting from the Navigating News Online report:
* While Google search, Google news, and other aggregators are the top way into news sites, “social media is rapidly becoming a competing driver of traffic.” Facebook drives almost 8 percent of the traffic to the Huffington Post and between 1 and 7 percent to the other 24 studied.

* Eight of the top 25 sites attracted more women than men, including the Huffington Post, which also had the greatest proportion of young adults.

* At all the sites, casual users who come only a few times a month account for most of the visitors. “On average, 77 percent of the traffic to the top 25 news sites came from users who visited just one or two times.” At, for instance, 85 percent of visitors came one to three times in a month; three quarters only once or twice.
For more information, you can read Jim’s post, “New Pew report confirms truisms about online behavior, has surprises too.” Read "The 5 must-knows about how readers navigate news online, drawn from new Pew study,” by Rick Edmonds. Or go directly to the PEW report, Navigating News Online.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

PR News Round Up ~ May 5, 2011

From PR Daily News Feed
The 5 most widely circulated newspapers in America
The Audit Bureau of Circulation released its newly revised audit, and it includes a significant change in the way circulation is measured. Read more.

From PR Daily News Feed
Is NPR unclear about the definition of public relations?
The network is airing a monthlong series on PR. So, why is its latest installment about ad campaigns that are directed at Asian-American audiences? Read story.

From Ragan's Daily Headlines
Can you really measure a speech?
By Angela Sinickas
Did your speech impact your audience? Three ways to find out. Read story.

From PR Daily News Feed
Students: The 9 things that matter more than GPA
Sure, your grades are important, but once you graduate and hit the office, these skills far outweigh your grade from stats class. Read story.

From PR Daily News Feed
6 alternatives to sending a press release
Instead of blasting a release to the media, trying winning coverage with one of these techniques. Read story.

From PR Daily News Feed
10 useful and inspiring websites for writers
You know about Grammar Girl and Copyblogger, but are you checking out these lesser-known destinations for wordsmiths? Read story.

From PR Daily News Feed
The 8 reasons I love #Twitterchats—and why you should, too
Three benefits, four tips, and one indispensible chart about Twitter chats. Read story.

From PR Daily News Feed
The 10 hottest magazines, according to Adweek
How many editors and contributors do you know at each publication? Read story.