A vote of confidence of a kind

PR Pros are Top Targets of Cyber Attacks

PR people and administrative assistants are top targets of cybercrooks, according to the latest Internet Security Threat Report issued by Symantec, the electronic information protection company in Silicon Valley.

Cyber criminals targets those people because they are viewed as stepping-stones toward top business executives, high-level government officials and Hollywood A-listers, said Kevin Haley, Symantec’s director for security response.

It is a recognition of our influence, of a kind.

Also, a reminder that we must be vigilant in our security practices.

A PR pro sat down to write a post, what happened next was pure click bait

We have all seen those headlines, the ones that grab our attention, but tell us nothing. They are the online equivalent of those most dubious publications we see at the grocery store check out line, and just as credible.

If you want to establish are reputation as a provider of a reliable product or service, steer clear of manipulative tactics. Even when they take the click bait, readers instinctively understand that they are not being treated with respect.

Selling is above all about building trust, and manipulative tactics never inspire trust.

One million dollars for Senator Claire McCaskill

Democratic Senator: Debt Is Going To Make U.S. “Not A First-Tier Nation Anymore”

Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill railed against the national debt, speaking in Kansas City as part of her “McCaskill on Main Street” tour on Wednesday. McCaskill said the debt would “put us in a position where we’re not a first-tier nation anymore,” calling it “irresponsible.”

“I do believe a $17 trillion debt is irresponsible. I do believe that,” McCaskill said, while adding that she supported raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment insurance.

In July of 2010 Warren Mosler offered a one million dollar challenge to anyone who could prove that it was possible for the United States to go broke:

Middletown, Conn. (June 2, 2010) – Warren Mosler, Independent candidate for US Senate, knows for a fact that, operationally, there is no such thing as the US government running out of dollars, being dependent on foreign borrowing, or potentially facing a solvency crisis like Greece, and he has pledged $1 million of his own money to any of his Senate opponents on the ballot who can prove him wrong.

“Those concerns are due to pure fear mongering from supposed experts. They have no factual basis, and they have become the true obstacles to the return of full employment and prosperity” said Mosler, who added “and there is absolutely no financial reason to cut Social Security or Medicare benefits.”

No one has ever come forward to collect the million dollars for the simple reason that it is impossible for the United States, or any other nation with a sovereign currency, to go broke.

We are losing our place in the world not because of federal debt; but because of the collapse of the American middle class. Efforts to cut the deficit are just making matters worse. Everyone should read Joe Firestone‘s book, Fixing the Debt without Breaking America: Austerity, the Trillion Dollar Coin, and Ending Debt Ceiling, Sequester, and Budgetary Crises. It explains how our fiat currency system works, how austerity is killing our economy, and how the $60 trillion dollar coin can end debt theatrics once and for all.

The future of shakedown content

PR Insider: The Rise of Hidden Paid Content

A recent report from eMarketer shows the way advertising dollars are increasingly being allocated; traditional advertising is slowing, and sponsored content is picking up momentum. In 2013 there was a 22 percent rise (from 2012) in dollars spent on sponsored content, and by 2017 they predict that number will double, reaching $3.1 billion.

These are hard times for the news business, or they would never entertain the idea of sponsored content, even less market the product.

So what’s next, shakedown content? As in, nice little company you have there, it would be a shame if anything were to happen to it, such as a seven part investigative piece on everything that is wrong with it. It would be shame if every dissatisfied customer and former employee were given a chance to trash you company in print. That is the logical next step from sponsored content.

Advertising on Facebook

Jim Edwards has an interesting story about a small business that ran up a huge tab with Facebook advertising.
This Man’s $600,000 Facebook Disaster Is A Warning For All Small Businesses

Facebook does not allow audits.
Brar began disputing his bill with Facebook. He wanted his clicks audited by a third party, to see how many were genuine. Then he discovered that Facebook’s terms of service forbid third-party verification of its clicks. That’s something all advertisers should be aware of before they spend a penny on Facebook: Facebook has operated this way for a long time, and has a page for advertisers explaining in more depth why third-party click reporting may not match Facebook’s click counts. Essentially, Facebook suggests, if clicks are not measured in exactly the same way over the same time intervals then there will always be discrepancies.

I would advise against doing business with any online firm that does not permit independent audits. Trust us is simply not an adequate response.

In my limited experience with online advertising I have either purchased fixed space advertisements or put ceilings on my expenditures, so that I could manage my advertising budget. Ceilings prevent a big tab, and you can always use your website’s analytics to evaluate whether your ad campaign is working or not. If it is not producing at least some leads it is clearly ineffective and needs to be pulled.

What web designers could learn from Barry Gordy

Barry Gordy was reported to keep a cheap auto radio in his office for listening to proposed Motown songs. He knew that most people would listen to songs on cheap radios and so that is how he wanted to hear them.

Most people are not going to see your website on a large screen over a T-5 connection. Even if yours is a business to business site, appealing entirely the business and government market, it does not follow that they will be accessing your site from their desk at work. They might, as is common at IBM, work from home. They might be traveling. They might be looking at it from their smart phone or tablet at a coffee shop.

Your site needs to be attractive and easy to use by every conceivable possible device.

Rotor Rooter’s clever YouTube advertisment

This clever ad was served to me while listening to my favorite music. It engages our attention because it provides useful information. It communicates that Rotor Rooter is a capable company and inspires confidence in their capabilities. It plants their name in our mind in a way that associates itself with problem solving. In short, it does everything an advertisement should do.

So what is the software version of this ad? I would think tips for common trouble shooting, complete with screen shots or other visuals which would make the solution instantly apparent to the viewer.

PR basics; make it easy for a reporter to contact your company

This post is for the benefit of business owners rather than my fellow PR practitioners. Recently I have been looking at many websites for local companies who are leaving out critical information on their websites. I am seeing many news sections that lack contact information.

Put yourself in the shoes of a reporter scanning your website. They turn to the news section of your website and begin to read your releases. At the bottom of each release that reads for more information please visit …www.websiteurl.com. For a reporter on your website this is very annoying. Who should they contact to ask additional questions? It is just easier to write about a company that posts their contact information.

A reporter needs specific contact information, not marketing@websiteurl.com is no contact at all. A reporter needs a name, email, and direct phone number. Without that they cannot do their job.

NBC Sports online communications FAIL

So I went to the NBC Olympics website, and clicked on the link that said complete opening ceremonies, and found that I only got a 30 minute temporary pass. Worse, I had to sit through 20 minutes of NBC hype highlighting assorted athletes plus a cliche fest about Russia, and any number of advertisements, then an interview with Obama, and now it is stuck with 5 minutes to go and STILL not a glimpse of the opening ceremonies, which is what I wanted to see. NBC Sports is SUCH a fail.

How to explain net neutrality and FCC regulation

In this interview RJ Eskow talks to Josh Levy about how the FCC changed the way broadband internet service providers are regulated. Levy makes it clear that under Michael Powell the FCC changed the way broadband was classified. Levy dances all around it, but he never uses the phrase common carrier. That is what citizens need to understand. Telephones are classified as common carriers, therefore telcos have to connect all calls to any number without preference. Originally broadband providers where classified as common carriers, under Michael Powell that was changed. It needs to be changed back. Citizens need to ask the FCC to classify internet broadband providers as common carriers, but they can’t do that when Levy fails to provide them with the necessary information.