13 August 2007

Change of address...

We've moved. This is where you need to be now:


We'd outgrown the old place and, well, we wanted to be near some decent schools.

Come on over and have a look. Excuse the mess. You know what it's like when you've just moved in.

10 August 2007

Where everybody knows your name….

Way back when, TWL happily chuntered away, moaning about general fuck-wittery in the tech PR industry. Over time some like minded old codgers and a few bright young sparks joined the ramblings, and we all hung out together in the lower rungs of humour such as sarcasm, irony and innuendo.

Doubtless some pedant will argue the toss, but it was more of a community than a blog and everything felt very special.

The stat counter crept steadily upwards and, suddenly, TWL hit a tipping point. In bell-end curve terms, the early adopters were joined by the early majority. Or, if you’d prefer, the clock struck 11:00pm on a Saturday night and the nice people sat chatting in a decent curry house were suddenly joined by a bunch of gobby pissheads desperate to be heard but with nothing of any value to say.

We think it started with the RSS feed. Think about RSS. Doesn’t it seem a bit Jabba the Hut? Some fat lazy bastard who simply sets up their PC to suck information into their consume-everything lifestyle. Forget a meander down to the local pub for a chat with some old friends. Give me drip-feed Slug & Lettuce, All Bar One, Rat & Parrot, O’Neill’s and carte blanche to argue. Why have 4% bitter when you can have 6% super lager? Why have a conversation when you can have automated opportunities to spout opinion? Why use subtlety when you can shout?

All too often, in a very English way, we simply find a different local. But this is our pub and we’re going to make a stand.

So don’t be surprised if the RSS feed goes. It seems to have the same effect as bouncers; repelling intelligent people while attracting sink estate vermin donning black slip-on shoes and gelled hair. We’re thinking fuck RSS, fuck Technorati and fuck all those two-bob ‘influence surveys.’ We'd lose points for not having RSS, but perhaps we’ll lose the undesirables too?

To date TWL has only rejected a handful of comments. From now on, in an effort to rid TWL of the Sovereign ring brigade, future comments will be moderated not only for anything approaching libel, but for stupidity and any clear lack of humour. TWL takes up enough time as it is, without having to point out to idiots that they just aren't getting it. It's quicker to hit the 'reject comment' button.

We may end up with a smaller audience, but, it’ll be one with which we're happy to have a conversation...

08 August 2007

This could be handy...

...if it gets populated.

Journoparties...like a calendar. Of press parties. And other events.

You'll be able to avoid clashes or, even better, see what everyone one else is up to.
Global...in a most American way...

So weve all seen the feisty comment from Rachel Bremer in PRWeak, right? She's the head of San Francisco tech agency Spark PR's new office in London. Appears that she's less than impressed with the quality of tech PR over here:

"It seems like there is a need for good PR firms with really solid tech experience in London"

Not that Spark PR's ambitions stop at London. Oh no. Despite the fact that Bremer is currently the company's only employee outside San Francisco, the London office marks the establishment of "European operations".

No, wait. That's not all. Bremer's one-way San Fran to London business class ticket actually represents global expansion. Or so the press release tells me. And Spark PR's home page.

Spark Public Relations...announced it is expanding its global footprint by establishing European operations in London....the new office will be closely linked with the agency’s headquarters in San Francisco and provide clients with highly integrated global public relations services.

“With our European office now in place, we are able to provide superior global service and have a front row seat to the technical innovation coming out of Europe,” said Rachel Bremer.

Thing is, there's already a company in London doing PR for tech clients that calls itself Spark...the lovely people at Spark Communications who kindly helped out with the logistics for our Christmas drinks last year (by 'logistics' I mean getting to the bar early and bagging a load of seats...)

Surely some scope for confusion? I asked Lauren Richards, md at Spark Communications:

"We may get calls from journalists about their clients and we are a bit concerned about them trading on our reputation, but to be fair to them they have considered this and are calling themselves SPR Europe. We just hope this continues and they don’t start calling themselves Spark as this would cause confusion.

"It is generally tough for the smaller US-led PR firms to start up in the UK as the market is quite different, which is why they generally acquire. For example, the Neva Group (which got bought by Weber Shandwick) never managed to grow above two people in the UK and that was when the technology market was booming in the late 90s. However, we’re sure SPR have researched the market thoroughly, and obviously many US firms have succeeded in Europe."

Yes, it is true that Spark PR in Europe is calling itself SPR Europe...that should help.

I hadn't heard about the Neva Group before. Mind you, with a name like that it couldn't have been a huge surprise things didn't work out. Strapline: "Neva say Neva" perhaps..?

Anyway, TWL welcomes Spark PR to London...whatever it's called...and we're looking forward to seeing how this tech PR lark should really be done.

07 August 2007

Sturgeon, fuckwit...updated...

Will Sturgeon...hack turned Lewis flack...now blogging. Here.

(NB: the 'fuckwit' in the headline does not refer to Will, it refers to my picture editor. As in, "I said Sturgeon, fuckwit, not surgeon..." Still, grabs the attention, doesn't it?)
Not much use in the tech media...


I noticed 'THHB' pop up in our comments earlier. "Who's that?" I thought.

Ladies and gents, I give you, The Hot Hack Blog!

The comment wasn't, oddly, in relation to our post about the ZDNet team. It was on the one about Nick Booth.

I'm saying nothing.
Just stick the PowerPoint on the SatNav...

Lovely idea from Nick Booth hidden in a Response Source request for ComputerWeekly.com:

"Does anyone want to give me a car briefing? That's where you pick me up at 8am from my house, and give me a briefing as we drive from Kingston to Sutton. The return journey is also available. It's mobile working in its truest sense. And there may be a story in it. Terms and conditions apply."

Let us know if you take him up on his, um, kind offer...
Community help….

Whilst racking their brains on new ways of making cash, ZDNet has decided to push its ZDNet Community. A forum for IT people where they can debate things with their peers is a cracking idea and, doubtless, a good money-spinner if they get it right.

Which is doubtful, given the flyer we’ve just seen.

As anyone that has tried to get a time-pressed IT director to do a case study will know, these guys don’t really like or trust ‘the press.’ So using a forum attached to a big publishing house is a big ask, especially one that’s notorious for hysterical click-friendly headlines.

Expecting these IT guys to happily chat with journos about their issues is an even bigger assumption. Inviting them to turn up at ZDNet’s online pub, the White Hart, to join Rupert Goodwins, Tom Espiner, Peter Judge and Charles McLellan for a virtual drink is the height of optimism.

We’re not sure of the conversation in the picture, but it looks to us as if Goodwins is making a bold claim about his appendage. The look on Judge’s face suggests he might be wondering if that’s really the table leg he’s wrapped his foot round. Meanwhile Barry from EastEnders is intent on flogging an old Cortina to McLellan.

We're also not sure if anyone other than white males are invited to the White Hart. What we do know is that the four of them are eeking out the last dregs of their drinks waiting for a PR to turn up.

The back of the flyer is no better.

Give it three weeks before you see:

billynomates: bueller?
billynomates: bueller?
billynomates: bueller?

06 August 2007

Cash for questions...cash for answers...

...cash for simply turning up.

Apparently, in China, it's normal practive for hacks to receive cash payments - known as 'transport money' - from PR companies for attending press events.

I read that the practice has been criticised as it "skews coverage in an increasingly competitive news market". It also seems, however, to enjoy official endorsement as the payments - also know as 'hongbao' by hacks (or 'red envelopes') - are based on rates agreed with China's Public Relations Association.

I think it's a great idea. Hacks get to supplement their pitiful incomes, PRs can guarantee a nice piece of coverage. There's no downside.

There is..? Editorial intewhat? Don't know what you're talking about.

02 August 2007

When two and two makes 3...

I've just seen the PRWeak story about Guy Middleton - managing editor of Mobile magazine - being appointed as head of corporate communications at 3. As the story succinctly puts it:

"He has worked in tech and business journalism for ten years, but has no PR or ­comms experience."

I've got more than a decade's technology PR experience...what do you reckon the chances are of my being appointed managing editor of, say, Computing?

Slim, I reckon.

Does that devalue the job of PR? Or should we be proud that the industry has attracted a senior journalist to its ranks?