31 July 2006

More Bangalore for your buck…

We know you’ve been waiting with as much anticipation as we have…unable to sleep, butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, can’t concentrate. Well worry not, the waiting’s over, as the results are in from the 1st Unofficial Indian Public Relations Survey!

Given the well-publicised explosion in the number of international technology companies taking advantage of the burgeoning and highly-skilled Indian population, you’d expect a few of the big international names to get a mention. You’d also expect that, with a population of more than a billion people, a fair few PR pros would take part in the survey. And they have…literally 30 of them.

But let’s not worry about the small sample…let’s get into the data.

Well, good places to work are Text 100, Ogilvy, Perfect Relations, IPAN, 20:20 Media, Lewis PR, Bluelotus, Genesis, and Vaishnavi.

Bad places to work are Perfect Relations, yes again, Corporate Voice, IPAN, Genesis PR, and Prism PR.

And that’s it really…before we get into the nitty gritty of money. And guess what? PR People don’t cost much in India!

A ‘good’ salary package for an Account Manager was deemed to be 15,000 Indian Rupees a month…that’s about £172.50 to you. Not going to keep you in heels and make-up, is it love?

A similarly decent monthly salary for an Account Director was 60,000 Indian Rupees…or £690, so you can forget the plasma screen, buddy.

So, small sample, dodgy data. But it still tells us enough to know that your job will be off to India very, very soon. Better get the Imodium in.

28 July 2006

Sometimes you just can't argue...

Chris Lewis, of Lewis PR, is too dull to blog. Not our words, mind; his. He might also be too unskilled, as the link he includes in his post doesn't seem to work. We can't argue though, particularly as he's one of 'those' that chose to name his company after himself.

Perhaps he'd be interested in the services of Blogsitter; a service that will happily look after the blogs that others can't be arsed to. Mind you, Blogsitter says that it will find 'someone who has your skills in the field of your blog' which presumably means someone equally as dull as Mr Lewis.

26 July 2006

I’m sorry, I haven’t a Cluedo….

Congratulations to the Evening Standard for winning this week’s piss-poor journalism award.

Tuesday’s Final edition screamed a front page picture of a Charlotte Maltese, who was murdered by a man she ‘met on the internet.’

The headline of the main story (pg 4) yelled just as loud about Charlotte Maltese being battered to death with a candlestick by lover Martin Inglis, 37, an IT consultant and 'martial arts expert' that she met ‘in an internet chatroom.’

Glossing over the fact that the couple had been living together for at least a couple of years, and split up and then got back together again, The Evening Standard, in its usual moral panic type way, was obsessed with the fact the couple met on the internet.

‘Don’t ever meet anyone you find on the internet,’ was the overt message from the UK’s most right wing tabloid.

Forgot wives and girlfriends that get murdered by husbands and boyfriends they meet at work, in bars, in the supermarket and at dogging sessions in suburbia. Forget the weird-beard Tories that die performing sexual acts involving bin-liners and oranges. Forget the thousands, perhaps millions, of people that live long and happy lives having met via the internet. This girl met her death as a direct result of using the internet, apparently. Don’t use the internet ever, it’s evil….

In short, it's a dreadful article. Who was responsible for it? At a guess, a buffoon, in the office, with a PC.
Truly, madly, deeply...but only..?

The whole Motorola UK pitch post has caused a bit of a fuss it seems. PR Week covered the story (after us, of course), reiterating the rumour that Edelman has picked up the business at the cost of Firefly. But we hear that as part of the original RFP, Moto included a particularly restrictive clause; that any successful agency wouldn't work with any of its competitors. Anywhere. In the whole wide world.

Bit of a tricky one for Edelman this, as we understand it works for Samsung - Moto enemy no.1 - in the US and Korea.

But we could be wrong, of course. In which case, everything's cool.
Don't blame me, it's the heat...

Well if you were married to someone high up in London Underground, you might get a bit punchy now and again. This from yesterday's Boston Globe:

Former Big Dig spokeswoman Jodi Matthews will be arraigned today in East Boston District Court after she was arrested yesterday at Logan Airport on a charge of disorderly conduct. A State Police trooper arrested Matthews, now a senior vice president with the public relations firm Weber Shandwick, at Terminal B at 4:55 p.m. Matthews, 42, of North Andover, was at the airport with her boyfriend, Peter Zuk, the former project director of the Big Dig who is now chief programmes officer for London Underground . Matthews, a member of the Governor's Committee on Physical Fitness & Sports, was placed under arrest and taken to the State Police barracks at the airport, where she was booked and then released pending her arraignment.

24 July 2006

Are the bunnies pining for Warren?

Guy ‘Guy Goma’ Kewney – being a bit of an irascible techie – sets his email client to ‘display text only.’ Indeed he argues that “many email clients do this automatically, for the very simple reason that graphics are normally not embedded in the mail, but have to be downloaded from the host server - and this betrays the IP address of the machine.”

Which meant that his invite to Bite PR’s PlayBite Bunnies bash (its annual shin-dig, this year at a secret location, apparently, which we take as spin for “forgot to book somewhere and ringing around desperately to find somewhere, anywhere, just not Lupos”) arrive as an empty email.

Guy laughs at Bite’s stupidity but, if you’re feeling generous, it might have been a clever way of ‘inviting without inviting’ Mr Kewney. Which may, of course, be related to his assertion that the “moniker is derived from the undoubted fact that the executives at Bite PR usually include more than their fair share of young women with nice figures.” Nice.

There again, maybe PlayBite Bunnies are simply missing the Warren, his online nous and his whole-bottom decision making.

21 July 2006

Valcon Towers is a-changin'...

It seems that, as the legal ruminations and cogitations continue over the future of VNU, it's starting to become clear that all looking pretty bleak for some of our best known tech journos.

The rumours have begun that up to 25% of staff currently working across VNU's range of titles may find themselves out of work come the end of the summer. How true this is remains to be seen and it's, as yet, unclear which titles will suffer the most. Some would argue that many can little afford to lose any more decent staffers as it feels like the company has only just recovered from the last rash - many will remember the departure of Steve Ranger, Colin Barker et al.

On the flipside, however, there is a sniff of a suggestion of a revival of the ill-fated VNU Newdesk......it didn't work first time around.....the rumour is that those in the know want to cherrypick some of the best from around the business to make a go of it. Watch this space.

19 July 2006

Bean counter or bean eater...?

I just read Stuart Bruce's biography. I don't know why; I guess I was intrigued as to the background of the self-styled 'PR guru'.

His biog tells me that before starting one of those dull PR companies named after its founders he took care of the PR for Grant Thornton, 'one of the world's largest accountants'.

Brilliant! Maybe Grant's related to the chocolate people?
You say goodbye, and I say hello…Moto...

As we pointed out a while back, three-quarters of a million pounds of PR retainer is the sort of money that changes a business…and it’s about to have a fairly dramatic effect on two of London’s PR agencies.

Motorola has made its decision and, if you’re a company named after a glowing insect and a resident of Fulham which has looked after the account for a number of years, it ain’t good news. It ain’t good at all. You’re crying into your beer.

On the other hand, if your name’s Edelman (along with your sister Jackie Cooper) you’ll be popping the Champagne corks.

And sadly, as a number of good PR execs inevitably have to leave the Coda Centre and the chaps down Haymarket way start hiring like mad, the real winners appear to be the recruitment consultants...unless Mark Mellor and Stuart Smith get together and have a smart conversation.
PR (out of) Business…

Is the star that burned like a 40-watt bulb about to be snuffed out? Here are the rumours we’ve heard…

PR Business is finished as a weekly mag, but may relaunch later in the year as a monthly. Founder board member Lord Chadlington (of Shandwick fame) is thought to be no longer involved after losing confidence in the magazine’s direction…so it looks like it George Pitcher’s show now (Luther Pendragon). When you think about it, given these fellas are such an 80s throw-back it’s little surprise the mag looks so dated and they didn’t understand why a useful website might be a good idea…that’s what too much black leather and chrome does to the mind.

PR Business is looking for a new editor…any suggestions for candidates? It’ll need to be someone with the ability to find the financial backing to put some proper resources and reporters in place.

Best of all, Colin Farrington, CIPR Director General is thought to be furious about the editorial in last week's issue about his Colonel Blimp-like views on blogs. Would he have withdrawn their support from the mag (i.e. their database for distribution which is what the mag uses)? PR Week's been cosying up to the CIPR since the launch of PR Business (PR Week used to be free to members, then went paid, now will be free again). Any scent of backroom deals?
Maggie May....stay….

Tech PR is a tricky old world.

Maggie Holland - not the right-on-home-made-trousers-Maggie-Holland-your-dad-might-be-thinking-of-Maggie-Holland, but the porcelain-doll-look-a-like-ex-Computing-left-to-head-up-Write-Image’s-customer-evidence-offering Maggie Holland - has left the-UK’s-foremost-tech-PR-company-ha-ha-ha-smoke-and-mirrors-www.write-image.co.uk.

“I know,” you say, she’s left for tech PR company Lighthouse-that-was-bought-by-‘Rainier-on-your-wedding-day’.

But, no. She’s left there again to join….IT Pro….the UK’s most prolific not-launched-yet IT trade publication.

Goodness only knows the wild whirlwind which rules Maggie’s life, but the Lighthouse website can’t keep up with her (nor, indeed, it’s long since departed clients such as Simon ‘now-at-PA-Sports’ Edwards, Julia ‘not-there-anymore’ Legg and Jennifer ‘no-longer-in-that-role’ Ahnberg).

Good lord, how on Earth is a poorly paid AE meant to keep their Excel spreadsheet up-to-date?

18 July 2006

Beware blog reading burglars…

Far be it for us to laugh at the misfortune of others, but this did make us chuckle.

As you know, dear readers, here at The World’s Leading we’re fans of Chris ‘King Kong’ Green and regularly check out the big fella’s blog.

On Tuesday last week, Chris regaled us with his excitement about receiving his brand new wireless router at his home in ‘leafy Ruislip’, and how he was setting it up and connecting it to a WiFi-enabled laptop, and that it was sitting on his shelf in the space reserved for his ‘new Brother DCP-340CW printer will be going – once I find time to actually take it out of the box’.

‘Crikey’ we thought, ‘it sounds like Green’s gaff is a showcase of technology’.

Then, less than 24 hours later, this:

‘Not a good day by a long shot - spent much of today sorting out the aftermath of a break-in. Still working out exactly what has gone missing, but so far we have identified as missing a large amount of computer, audio and video equipment, some computer games, a Monopoly set plus a few strange things like furniture and decorative items that while not worth much financially, will be a bugger to replace.’

Seems like we weren’t the only ones impressed by Green’s collection of hardware.

Christopher…we’re sorry to hear about the break-in and hope it doesn’t cause you too much trouble. Be careful out there...the criminals are reading.

17 July 2006

Jonathan King [sic]…

Have we been too hard on PR Business? We’ve been less than enthusiastic about the hard copy and positively scathing about the website. But perhaps we’re being too flippant about the difficulty in creating a brand new publication and the pursuit of the very highest levels of journalistic quality?

Or perhaps not.

Avid readers of The World’s Leading will remember our recent post highlighting the launch of a new blog called ‘Whatever…’ by the good people at Johnson King. PR Business caught up with the story in last week's issue. Well, kind of, as it seems to have inexplicably confused a tech PR agency with a infamous child-fiddler and producer of rubbish pop songs, by telling us that the new blog:

“…features regular postings from the agency's staff and is designed to reflect Jonathan King's commitment to straight talking and genuine industry insight".

Thing is, convicted pervert Jonathan King seems to have his own blog on his web shite (intended typo) King of Hits. Rather inappropriately his blog is called Deep Throat (no link love here, that's for sure) which, frankly, makes us feel sick.

15 July 2006

….the world’s leading….cliché

"Cricinfo is the world's leading cricket website, ranked number one in all of its major markets."

Really, how hard can that be?
It’s a nano industry….

Everyone seems to know everyone in tech PR. Everyone has taken a tough time from Steve Homer, everyone has worked on BT. Everyone has had one year when they didn’t have to go to CeBIT.

According to PRJS (an unusually good, and nice, recruitment company), there are around 30,000 PRs in the UK, spanning in-house and consultancy across both the public and private sectors (PR Week has a circulation of around 16,000 by way of judging its performance as a near monopoly).

Asked to estimate the number of those 30,000 that are in the tech sector, PRJS suggested around 15 per cent (only fair to point out here that this was no more than an off-the-top-of-your-head guess).

Which means that there are, roughly, about 4,500 tech PRs.

….The World’s Leading….is receiving an average of 1000 unique visits per week, which equates to one-in-five tech PRs every week (chances are a further one-in-five are rural-based sole traders that aren’t connected to broadband yet, while another one-in-five are currently on maternity leave).

The purpose of this isn’t to blow our own trumpet (which, if we could, we’d simply lay in bed doing all day long and never actually go to work), but to let you know that it’s worth sending us the occasional email about a new client win or something similar that you’d like others to know about.

Yes, of course, we may gently mock what you send in - especially if it’s full of marketing diatribe. But, equally, given that PR Week’s technology page seems to be totally unaware of any technology companies that don’t advertise on TV, there are not many other places that will mention your new £5K a month client that develops and sells software migration tools, WLAN testing equipment or enterprise storage systems….

12 July 2006

Like an IT journo dream team...

We've managed to secure a bit of a scoop on VNU’s podcasts, webinars and Bryan Glick. Here's everything you need to know:

More changes at Computing, where managing editor Bryan Glick has been promoted to editor. In his new role, Glick will take overall responsibility for running Computing's online operations. According to VNU, he will continue to "work closely with" editor-in-chief Toby Wolpe, who will carry on editing the print edition.

In addition to running Computing's web presence, Glick will also become the editorial point man for VNU's B2B webcasting efforts at the company's new studio complex in Broadwick Street. In this new role, Glick will presumably find himself working with the editors of IT Week and CRN.

Robin Booth, publisher of Computing, suggests that Glick's promotion signals that "activity on the Internet has [now] been given the same status as [the] successful print publication".

One additional interpretation is that Computing -- and VNU's B2B Portfolio -- needed a senior editorial staffer to replace the title's now-departed technical editor Chris Green, who played a significant role in developing the company's approach to podcasting and web seminars. Green resigned from Computing in April before defecting to Dennis in order to launch IT Pro.

Curiously enough, VNU's press release doesn’t mention Computing Business -- the 35,000 circulation A4 monthly magazine launched under Glick's editorship last November.

In an email, Glick told us: "We drop an issue in August anyway, so there's no hurry. But I will gradually hand it over to someone else, as yet undecided, as work picks up in the new role."

Glick's redeployment looks similar to VNU's earlier rearrangement of editorial responsibilities in its consumer tech portfolio in December of last year. Those moves involved putting Rob Jones, formerly editor of Personal Computer World, in charge of online output across all of VNU's consumer-oriented web sites.

Simultaneously, Dylan Armbrust, editor of Computeractive, was promoted to editor-in-chief of VNU's consumer portfolio, taking on ultimate responsibility for both print and online platforms.

Now that’s plagiarism….full respect to Fullrunner….great service, nice people….

PR Burubbishsiness…

When Simon Collister let us all know that the long-awaited PR Business web site was up and running, a veritable ripple of excitement navigated its way around the voluminous interior of The World’s Leading HQ (a Kim Jong-il-proof bunker somewhere beneath Carnaby Street…but I give too much away already). We were all set for a regular tsunami of new and views; of controversial opinion and comment upon which to base our own ridiculous responses, mickey-taking and general mirth.

What do we get? An empty vessel of a website. Most of the links in the menu point to pages bereft of any content and nowhere can I find a story that’s been added since the end of June. Click on the ‘Advertising’ link and your computer immediately starts downloading a megabyte of pdf only to then tell you that it’s broken (mine does, anyway) and the ‘Events’ and Special features’ links seem to deliver you straight back to the page you were on. Some special feature that…

And there appears to be a grand total of four jobs advertised on the site (don’t be taken in by number five…that’s a dummy).

In fact, the only page with any great content is the ‘About us’ one. Yes, that’s the one that says:

“The company’s website has been developed to offer a real interactive data source providing a mine of information, job opportunities and access to routine tasks such as subscriptions and classified ad booking. Current news is up front and all the content of previous issues of PR Business is indexed and archived. A key feature is the ability to search for all aspects of professional practices bringing up access to case studies, how-to features and where-to-go advertisements.”

What a load of rubbish.

11 July 2006


Some, umm, great publicity for Weber Shandwick over the last couple of days. Its role as lobbyist to BNFL during the (seemingly quite successful) campaign to increase Britain's number of nuclear power stations has been highlighted by the likes of the BBC and the Guardian, as has its long involvement with the nuclear industry and the fact that a number of its previous execs (e.g. Gordon Brown's brother...) now work in the industry itself.

I never realised that Weber Shandwick was so heavily involved in the nuclear industry. Still, it explains a few things...not least of all this:

I don’t like to talk about it, but…

I see from the Guardian that the world of worthy fundraising is looking to jump firmly onto the online bandwagon, as it carries a feature looking at how charities might make better use of the web to prise even more money from the already constantly badgered populous (hey, here’s an idea…why don’t I get all my salary paid directly to a number of charities every month and then I can try and beg it back from them?).

Niall Cook, a director at Hill & Knowlton, seems to be very involved…he’s chairing some discussion on the topic at the Institute of Fundraising’s annual conference, and says:

"Blogs, podcasts, the development of new online communities - all of these are about grassroots action and getting the voice of the ordinary man heard. More than ever before people want to engage with the world around them and charities now have the technology available to make those connections."

I think Niall might be stretching it a bit to link an increased desire by people to ‘engage with the world around them’ and being pitched to by numerous charities, but there you go.

So, prepare for the onslaught. Not only will you be dodging fluorescent bib-clad commission-driven artificially cheery charity extortionists as you navigate the high street, you won’t even be able to escape at your desk as our fundraising friends wake up to the online world.

I think it should be called blegging.

10 July 2006

They’re my statistics and I’m taking them home with me….

Lighthouse Analyst Relations MD, Duncan Chapple, is not a man with whom to trifle.

Lighthouse’s annual survey of vendor opinion on analyst services concluded that vendors find – in order – Forrester, Gartner, Ovum, Aberdeen and Burton the most influential (yes, that really is Aberdeen in fourth place…).

This clearly piqued the head of research at one analyst firm, presumably not one from Forrester. He asserted that the central hypothesis contained a scientific flaw and sent a terse note to Lighthouse, before crying into his hot milk before bedtime.

Full of academic outrage, Duncan threw on his smoking jacket and trod downstairs heavily to the study in order to author the type of riled riposte that only an analyst could, including the succinct killer paragraph:

“A small firm probably won't win as much influence in a year as a large firm. That is real. In our opinion, it's the right way to show the data. There is an option, which we dismissed. The option is that instead at looking at the changes from year to year, we could look at the rate of change. For example: firm A goes from influencing 5% of firms to influencing 10% of firms; but firm B goes from influencing 0.05% of firms to influencing 0.15%. Our current method makes it look as if as firm A has increased the most. We think that's right. The option would be to focus on the fact that Firm B has had a larger percentage growth, but it's still tiny. We think it would be much worse to say that firm B has increased its influence the most. That's our approach, and we stick by it.”


Come on lads, get over it. Statistics are rubbish, and are only of use to simplify a technology story for national media. Even then you generally have to use leading questions and favourable analysis for them to serve their purpose. So stop pretending any of the twisted number crunching you do actually means anything, and if you have a problem with each other just have a fight in a car park like real men.

07 July 2006

Like an IT journo dream team...

We've managed to secure a bit of a scoop on Dennis Publishing's new enterprise IT website, IT PRO. Here's everything you need to know:

IT PRO will go live in mid-July, focusing on news, reviews, group tests and features for UK business IT users, budget holders and decision-makers.

IT PRO is staffed by Editor Chris Green, who recently joined Dennis from VNU's Computing, and News Editor Iain Thomson, who joined from VNUNet.com. A third member of the editorial team has just been recruited and will be introduced shortly.

In addition to the in-house editorial team, IT PRO has pulled in an array of freelance support to populate the site's eight news and review-driven sections.

Three of these sections -- storage, security and mobile -- will be edited by well-known IT writers Ambrose McNevin and Guy Matthews. Marcus Austin, the former editor of Internet Works and the UK edition of Business 2.0, will provide content on business intelligence and internet. Alan Stevens, a regular contributor to PC Pro will cover the server and networking markets. The remaining channel, Applications, will be managed in-house.

Channel editors will be filing around four or five news stories in each section every week in addition to producing a number of features, comment pieces and tutorials on topical technologies and IT issues.

Additional news coverage will be generated by IT PRO’s in-house news team, with support from freelance news stringers in key overseas markets including the US, Australia and China, and from Reuters.

Reviews will play a major role at IT PRO, with the site providing more standalone enterprise reviews and group tests than any other UK title, and Green himself will oversee the commissioning of reviews. IT PRO will cover software, hardware and services for enterprises with some focus on SME solutions at the larger end of the market. This strategy will ensure that IT PRO and PC Pro minimise any overlap in coverage.

Video and audio will also play a major part in IT PRO's editorial strategy. The site will go live with a number of high-profile video interviews with leading figures in the business IT world, along with video product first looks, video opinion pieces, and a weekly news-in-review audio podcast. New product first looks will be added on a Monday, new interviews on a Wednesday and a new podcast every Friday.

So there you have it...sounds like a recipe for success to us.

05 July 2006

Like a proper blogger...

Guess what! We've been pitched to. That's right, The World's Leading has received a press release. It's come from the rather splendidly named Natalie Shamshoum at Johnson King.

What a laugh, I thought, if we'd been pitched a press release from a company that claimed it was 'one of the leading...' but of course, they'd never be that silly, would they? Off I scurry to the Johnson King website to find that...no, they haven't been that silly. The homepage tells me that Johnson King is 'one of Europe’s foremost providers of public relations services in the technology and telecoms sectors'. So that's OK then. Mind you, stick 'foremost' into the Microsoft Word Thesaurus and the first suggestion chucked back is 'leading'! Everything's well with the world.

I digress. Back to the press release. The big news is that Johnson King has started a blog! It's called ‘Whatever…’ I love the use of the ellipsis in the blog’s name…where did they get that idea? Very original.

They have a ‘self-styled Blogmeister General’ (oh dear) called Joe Banks. Joe says:

"We thought long and hard about what we wanted this blog to be before launching it. There's a trend among PR agencies to have their own blog - but more often than not, they either just feature links to news stories without comment or are the product of an anonymous corporate culture. We really didn't want to just jump on the bandwagon, but instead wanted to produce a blog that was interesting and engaging, and actually said something.

It was also really important for us that it gave a voice to everybody at Johnson King, reflecting the depth of expertise and quality of thinking that we pride ourselves on. It is my hope that 'Whatever...' becomes a destination site for anybody involved in technology, PR or the media."
It's a bit of a funny thing to launch a blog in this way though, isn't it? Normally, I'd have thought, you just start one, make it interesting, word of mouth kicks in and before you know it, you've got yourself a lovely new highly-paid job (hey Mayfield?).

Maybe nobody's been reading Johnson King's blog? The first post was, after all, published on June 6th...and it would seem that the few comments that have been posted have all come from Johnson King's own people.

Still, we've done our bit. Best of luck.