12 October 2006

Shrinking portfolio…

The name Mark Westaby has been bandied around here on TWL of late. Avid comment readers will remember Mark as the fella who told us that we should stop mucking around, read his mate’s book and learn something about PR, or words to that effect.

Thing is, I didn’t really know who Mark was, or what he did. I do now though. He’s a board director of Portfolio, part of the group that also owns Metrica, the media evaluation people.

Highlighted on Portfolio’s homepage is the press release regarding Portfolio’s leap up the 2005 PR Week 150 league tables to number 14…fee income up 18% year on year to a shade under £4.5m, all the usual guff.

Odd though, I thought, to just have the 2005 league tables highlighted, as I’m sure the 2006 leagues tables were published back in April, and surely Portfolio would want to once again highlight its meteoric rise up the rankings?

Umm, probably not, seeing as it dropped down to number 44 and, to use PR Week’s own words, “was the only agency in the Top 50 to post a double digit decline”. Not even a press release written by the great Peter Bartram could spin that one.

I’m not sure whether this means Mark should spend less time reading books about PR, or more?

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

stop mucking around

Anonymous said...

Mark has forgotten more about 'dropping down the league tables' than any of us will ever know.

sorry, couldn't resist...

Anonymous said...

The only reason Portfolio went down the league table was because we disposed of one of our companies. For legal reasons we couldn't say anything about this, but I doubt you'll understand because you don't appear to exhibit a very mature attitude either to the PR industry or to business.

Now run along and find somebody else to try to rubbish. You've tried it on Peter Bartram, now you're trying it on me.

Why not let us know who you are, or are you frightened that I might know your boss? There's a very good chance that I would, but don't worry because I've got better things to do.

Mark Westaby said...

The post in response to this childish blog was, of course, by me, Mark Westaby. I simply forgot to add my name but I suspect most of you remain anonymous because you want to hide.

....the world's leading.... said...

Hello Marky Mark...top of the morning to you!

Of course we'd "understand"...but people can only understand if they're told, as we have been now. Problem for you, of course, is that your failure to communicate at the time of the publication of the PR Week League Tables ("legal reasons"...whatever) means that anyone reading it (or indeed, writing it, as PR Week itself confirmed) will just assume that you had a really poor year. Which obviously is in stark contrast to your gloating of the year before.

Anonymous said...

>"The only reason Portfolio went down the league table was because we disposed of one of our companies. For legal reasons we couldn't say anything about this,"<

Mark - are you seriously saying that the only reason you didn't issue a press release on your 'diminished' 06 league table performance was because of legal reasons..??? get real.

I also think you are taking all this much too seriously. I don't think anyone has tried to 'rubbish' Peter Bartram - I certainly wouldn't. You, however, are doing a very good job of 'rubbishing' yourself on this blog with your pompous attitude. Lighten up, for gawd's sake...its only a bit of fun...

Mark Westaby said...

You're obviously a real expert. How lucky your company is to have you. Now, I've got slightly more important things to get on with. Bye bye.

figgis said...

"I simply forgot to add my name but I suspect most of you remain anonymous because you want to hide."

Or "I simply forgot my name because I was so very very angry with you naughty children"

I'm very excited by the fact that you know people's bosses - ohhhhh, i bet everyone is awfully scared and cowering at the back of the class. Do you know my boss too? I'm petrified..

More seriously why don't you re-read what you posted and see how you come across. PR is about reputation and you have done yourself no favours with this arrogant, pompous rant.It's more or less the definition of how not to communicate in a digital age

So let's hope neither you or Portfolio are advising clients in this area. Or if you are - watch yourself, your client might read this blog, and that's even worse than your boss finding out surely?

Mark Westaby said...

The trouble is that rubbishing people's work - and Peter Bartram's book was rubbished on this blog so please don't try to deny it - isn't funny. Peter does a lot of work in technology PR and is highly respected by his journalist colleagues, so I'd stay anonymous if I were you.

As for your comments about me, or Portfolio, I won't lose too much sleep over them. They're just not worth the effort.

....the world's leading.... said...

I certainly wouldn't 'rubbish' Peter Bartram per se...but I stand by our original opinion that to have a book about writing a press release run to 168 pages is excessive. I'm sure Peter, being the talented write he undoubtedly is, could've wrapped it up in fewer.

But that's all done and dusted now...old news.

Anonymous said...

TWL,

Any reason you havent covered the comic self-implosion of Prodigy PR?

Even PR Week has got there first, with a story that's utter 'tosh'.

Anonymous said...

twl,

any plans to look into the demise of prodigy pr - even pr week has.

the article smelt more than a bit fishy to me

Anonymous said...

find something else to discuss for goodness sake. Portfolio did fantastically well for a long time but of course that's boring. Let's focus on the bad news, car crash stuff instead shall we.

....the world's leading.... said...

Yeah, that Prodigy PR think smelt like a baby's nappy to us too.

So, you've got an agency with clients and people...OK, so you've had a lay a few off but it's a going concern. What do you do?

Apparently you sack your remaining clients - including a decent brands like Creative and FileMaker - get rid of the rest of your staff and then announce that you're going to start another agency with the same fella with which you've just been working. How's that work?

And not only that, but at the same time you say that you're going to be "opening my own chain of restaurants as well as looking at expanding my property portfolio".

Fishier than the London Aquarium.

figgis said...

"As for your comments about me, or Portfolio, I won't lose too much sleep over them. They're just not worth the effort."

You aren't reacting in that way - in fact you seem very much irked by it in the way you have responded to almost everything.

Also - surely its far better if TWL is anonymous? It wouldn't be half as interesting if you found out it was actually Mr Knowlton having a laugh...

Anonymous said...

I'd say "rubbishing" was putting it mildly. Comments such as those made by 'TWL' and Figgis could easily have cost Peter Bartram and his publisher book sales, to say the least. They have good lawyers, publishers, it will be interesting to see what they do.

....the world's leading.... said...

Yes, that will be "interesting".

Though, we're allowed to voice an opinion, aren't we? I think that's called free speech.

And I doubt that a writer or his publisher's lawyers are going to want to waste their time chasing down every less than glowing review of a book - whether in a national newspaper, on Amazon or a little old blog like ours.

But, like I said, it's rather old news now isn't it? Who knows - the additional publicity might've helped sales.

Anonymous said...

>"I'd say "rubbishing" was putting it mildly. Comments such as those made by 'TWL' and Figgis could easily have cost Peter Bartram and his publisher book sales, to say the least. They have good lawyers, publishers, it will be interesting to see what they do.">

what a load of stunningly-arrogant, complete and utter toss. We are talking about a book of minor interest to a very small section of the book-buying public, not the latest work from Frederick Forsyth.

Please go out and get some 'perspective' - I believe it is available in all good book shops....

figgis said...

Hilarious! Are we in an environment now where opinion is outlawed?

Also - I'm not convinced my comment would have too much impact...do you really think me saying its got 14 steps makes it unique is such a lethal comment?? Must be a worringly weak book if that argument is going to knock it into touch...

http://theworldsleading.blogspot.com/2006/10/old-tricks-for-news-dogs-i-always.html

As to the lawyers...hmm how do you know he and his publishers have good lawyer? Unless of course you are him?

I assume this is from Mr Westaby again isn't it?

Anonymous said...

"I'd say "rubbishing" was putting it mildly. Comments such as those made by 'TWL' and Figgis could easily have cost Peter Bartram and his publisher book sales, to say the least

You surely meant to say increased, rather than cost sales? I for one may well buy the thing just to see what all the fuss is about

Anonymous said...

pack it in Figgis, stop mucking around. enough now

Anonymous said...

Children, children, children. No wonder regular folk think PR people are small minded. Comments on this blog suggest that we all lack important things to worry about. Stop being silly, grow up!

Another agency boss said...

Mark, what's going on? I don't know you personally, but I'm pretty sure you are smart and know your stuff to head up a top 50 agency.

You also work in technology PR and know the score with blogs. I am pretty sure you would never tell your clients to respond like this, so why so thin skinned and what's with this "I probably know your boss" business.

Just thank TWL for the free publicity, set the record straight on the top 150 stuff and talk about some of the good stuff your firm is doing.

As for "anonymous" who said that Peter Bartram's sales are going down and his publishers will be contacting the lawyers, what planet are you on?

I put money on it that Peter Bartram's site has seen a fair few additional visits (from me for one), and if he's as good as other people here say he is, he'll have sent a full review copy of his book to TWL.

figgis said...

>"pack it in Figgis, stop mucking around. enough now"<

i used to say that to my cat.

another agency boss - bravo sir/madam. a spot of good sense in a crazy exchange...

PR-Spod said...

Pompous asses.....complete nonsense.

Can we talk about the PR pants again?

Spoddy.x

Mark Westaby said...

No, the 'anonymous' wasn't me -- I've been away for a few days. Hey, why don't you send this round all your tech PR contacts as an example of "how not to respond to a blog"? After all, everybody who ever responds to a blog must get the 'spin' right, mustn't they?! Oh, what a larf (yawn).

figgis said...

I'm afraid I don't have any tech PR contacts. Would you like to send me yours? I'd be delighted to send it round to them for you.

Kasteera said...

Funnily enough Mark I did do exactly that, small world innit?

Anonymous said...

That's interesting because it's against the law to send unsolicited emails without giving your contact details (including a real name) and the ability to 'opt out'. Presumably you did all these things? Otherwise Mr TWL could be in trouble. Btw, this is not from Mr Westaby so please don't accuse him of sending it. Like you, I'll just remain anonymous...

....the world's leading.... said...

Presumably you're referring to Kasteera's comment?

We haven't been sending unsolicited emails to anyone...so I doubt TWL will be in any trouble (any more than usual, at least).

Anonymous said...

>"That's interesting because it's against the law to send unsolicited emails without giving your contact details (including a real name) and the ability to 'opt out'."<

sounds like you've read the DPA without fully understanding it. A tech PR contact list probably doesn not qualify in this case, not least because it contains a list of people who would (not unreasonably) be expecting material from you on a regular basis.

best regards
Arthur .N. O'Nymous

Anonymous said...

Innit a small world, Kasteera, or should I say Kerry? And Arthur, I know the DPA very well. In fact so well that I know what you say is complete nonsense. Microsft take a very dim view of people using their hotmail accounts to send out unsolicited email and with no way of identifying the sender that is exactly what happened. Did you use your hotmail account, Kerry? The same is true for Yahoo Mr TWL...

Anonymous said...

"...Microsft take a very dim view of people using their hotmail accounts to send out unsolicited email and with no way of identifying the sender that is exactly what happened..."

you are assuming that 'Kasteera' has sent these emails anonymously. I don't see any evidence in this thread to support that.

And stop trying to 'unmask' people - its not big and its not clever...

Anonymous said...

I think you've just made my point for me - why try to 'unmask' somebody if they are not anonymous. So, by definition, they are anonymous?! The law says that "each email must clearly identify the sender with a contact name and tel/postal address. A clearly visible means by which the addressee is able to opt-out/refuse further communications must be included with each email." A bit difficult given that we do not actually know who the sender is - although Kasteera is Kerry, I think you will find. The same goes for Mr TWL. Abuse@hotmail.com will be very interested. As will yahoo...

Btw, I do not happen to think what you people are doing is very clever either so pot, kettle and black rather come to mind.

Kasteera said...

Damn you're good. I am called Kerry and I would have remained semi-anonymous if it wasn't for you pesky anonymous commentator!

Anyhoo, I didn't use my hotmail account and no, it wasn't sent round anonymously at all. I can't actually work out why anyone would send out a link to a blog to a random list of tech contacts, by which I assume journalists are meant, anonymously.

It was unsolicited though, in my previous comment I should have corrected Mark and said that the link was sent to my colleagues. They are pretty used to receiving random emails from me so I think I'm safe from the wrath of Redmond for the moment.

....the world's leading.... said...

So that's Kasteera...Kerry...crikey, I dunno...covered off. As for TWL, well, we don't send unsolicited emails. We only ever reply to ones we've been sent, which is hardly unsolicited.

In fact, what about all those people that send us unsolicited emails, eh? Naughty, naughty. But don't stop...we love 'em.

And we're not clever, so we're hardly about to do anything that is, are we? Not like you...you anonymous, sleuthing clever clogs you. The beauty is, you don't have to be clever to set up one of these blog things...it's simplicity itself. You should try it...actually, no, don't...it mightn't be very interesting.

Anonymous said...

This is becoming rather dull now. Too many PR people with nothing to do?

figgis said...

Are you seriously threatening to attempt to get this blog taken down by the possible actions of some people who may have looked at the blog and sent it to other people possibly anonymously but we don't know as we have no evidence?

I am sure Yahoo & Microsoft will be sure to deal with that shortly after the earth falls into the sun.

Anonymous said...

oh my word....the blog is under attack from a jobsworth...

Anonymous said...

pack it in!

Anonymous said...

I'm a journalist, Kerry, so it's my job to find these things out. Call me an old-school journalist if you like. I've known Peter Bartram and Mark Westaby for a long time (they don't know I'm doing this). They're good guys and Portfolio is a very good PR company. While this is a very poor blog. There's nothing clever about it, you see. Just do a bit of looking around and then criticise anonymously. Very poor.

I think you could do worse than mail all of your contacts, Kerry, pointing out what a cr*p blog this is. Legally, of course.

And this Figgis character - very aggressive. I think I know who he/she is as well...

Figgis, I don't actually care if this blog stays or not. It would not be missed. But remember that journalists have long memories. Upset a journalist and they tend not to forget... You do work in technology PR, I believe?

....the world's leading.... said...

"There's nothing clever about it, you see. Just do a bit of looking around and then criticise anonymously. Very poor."

Excuse me for pointing out the bleedin' obvious, but isn't that exactly what you're doing here..?

If you don't like it, don't read it...and take your not-so-thinly veiled threats somewhere else. There seems to be plenty of people that do take what we write in the spirit that it's intended...i.e. not an altogether serious dig at some of the more ridiculous aspects of the PR industry.

Anonymous said...

1. Yes, Mark, everyone has emailed the link to their friends in the PR industry. Not quite the 'I shagged my scretary' type e-scandal, but it has raised a few guffaws.

When in a hole, stop digging.

2. I can't believe anyone would feel threatened by a blog called TWL. It's a gossip site, and a damn fine one at that. Don't take it seriously.

3. Threatening people anyonymously is stupid. Either flop it out on the table or go away. And if you don't play nicely I'll have to get my ginourmous schlong out. That'll make you cry, so run along.

4. Keep up the good work TWL.

And if you don't like the blog, then go read something else like 'Pedant Times' or 'Journal for the Seriously Sanctimonous'.

Kasteera said...

Weird I don't remember asking who you were, partly because I respect your right to be anonymous but mainly because it doesn't actually matter.

As for the rest of your comment, well I have an early news year resolution not to respond to trolls.

...TWL.. for the record I love your blog and would miss it greatly, as much as I miss Spin Bunny.

figgis said...

>And this Figgis character - very aggressive.<

Really? I thought I was just being a tad sarcastic. But please, enlighten me as to my aggresiveness and I'd be happy to tone myself down, as that's really not my bag and I hate to be misunderstood

>I think I know who he/she is as well...<

Well if you've narrowed it down to me being male or female you're certainly on the right track, but no more clues my little friend!


>Figgis, I don't actually care if this blog stays or not.<

then why the emphatic and indeed..aggressive..attacks and threats to report it here, there and everywhere? You act like someone who cares very much.

>It would not be missed.<
By you, maybe not. But the world is a wonderful place full of different opinions. Personally I'd miss it

>But remember that journalists have long memories. Upset a journalist and they tend not to forget... <

An aggressive threat?

>You do work in technology PR, I believe?<

Er no, sorry my little fruit no. Once upon a time perhaps...

Also, surely if you look at the posts here, the aggression is all yours, rather than mine? As a journalist I am sure you understand the power each and every word can have - reread your posts and mine and look at who is the aggressor.

Adieu for now.

Anonymous said...

crickey - journalist threatens PR person shocker! I imagine they're trembling with fright.

Fiona Blamey said...

*pulls up an armchair, warms hands on the flames*

I do like this blog.

Mark Westaby said...

"Yes, Mark, everyone has emailed the link to their friends in the PR industry..."

I have no idea who this anonymous journalist is and neither do I care. Now please leave me out of this as I have better things to do.

....the world's leading.... said...

Yeah, that's a fair point...the anon journo did explicitly say that he/she wasn't Mark or Peter Bartram, so that was a duff assumption to make.

And, as this string scrapes its way to nearly 50 comments, let's leave it there, shall we?

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, that Prodigy PR think smelt like a baby's nappy to us too.

So, you've got an agency with clients and people...OK, so you've had a lay a few off but it's a going concern. What do you do?

Apparently you sack your remaining clients - including a decent brands like Creative and FileMaker - get rid of the rest of your staff and then announce that you're going to start another agency with the same fella with which you've just been working. How's that work?"



SSoooooooo much more to it than that. All goes back a good year or so. start digging Liberty Communications.

Anonymous said...

Best blog ever!

Anonymous said...

if it's all so amazing and you're such a guru, pray tell why everyone above AD has walked out of your company. You must be such an inspiration. Now shut up.

dribble said...

I come to worship at your shrine. I hear your ADs are leaving in droves. And all those there wish they weren't.