Give Me Media

How Google sent United Airlines stock plummeting
September 11, 2008, 2:45 pm
Filed under: Google, PR, search marketing | Tags: , , ,

I’ve been watching a fascinating story unfold in the US this week charting how a mixup on Google sent the share price of United Airlines plummeting by a massive 76 per cent. The event triggered an emergency halt in trading earlier this week as automated trading systems began a mass sell-off of United Airlines stock.

It all came about after a nearly six-year-old story detailing the airline’s bankruptcy filing in 2002 on the Sun Sentinel’s web site found its way back into Google’s news cycle which in turn was picked up by Bloomberg and the rest, as they say, is history. The Tribune Company, which owns the Sun Sentinel and other US newspapers has since removed the offending article from its archives.

I read the story before it was removed and despite it being clearly dated from 2002, and was clearly related to events in 2002 it still managed to wipe $1bn of the value off the airline in a matter of minutes.

Above all this shows just how important Google has become in the communications landscape today, and its no longer enough to simply assume that as long as your profile in the traditional media is good, that you can ignore what’s happening online, and in particular what Google thinks of you.

The United Airlines example will not be the last, and for people in the communications industry arguing over the technicality of Google’s algorithms that contributed to this, and how the story got republished is missing the point in a big way. What Google thinks of your brand, and how it is represented has a massive impact on your bottom line, so it’s about time you did something about it. Just ask United.


Yahoo’s new ad network – but is bigger really better?
September 8, 2008, 2:28 pm
Filed under: marketing, MSN, online advertising, Yahoo! | Tags: , ,

Yahoo’s relaunch of its online ad network, which now claims to reach more than 80 per cent of the web’s population, may be good news for the investors as it tries to keep pace with Google’s relentless ad network growth, but beyond being a positive bit of PR for a company that needs it, is it actually what the online advertising market actually needs?

The latest Bellwether Report made grim reading earlier in the summer and in a tighter economic environment, while the Internet is escaping marketing budget cuts, it is being squeezed with online budgets seeing their smallest upward revision since 2003. The issue therefore is not whether Yahoo simply fight with Google and provide as broad a reach, but what is it actually going to do to bolster the online display ad market? What fresh value will it add to the market? And how will it help marketers justify continued investment?

Beyond all the obvious Yahoo-owned properties, the new ad network boasts offering space on more than 100 top comScore-rated web sites. That’s all well and good, but what difference does that really offer a market looking to make its display advertising more effective? Online display advertising can have more of an impact than simply brand building, but it involves thinking a bit more creatively about the issue than simply buying up space on the 100 most visited sites.

In fact carpet bombing the most visited sites on the web is a nothing more than a hit and hope exercise if you’re response rates is your goal. Fortunately, some marketers and media buyers are beginning to realise that looking outside the top 100 most visited sites, they can find specific sites that offer access to energised audiences that are far more receptive and responsive. One of those smart chaps is a friend of mine in the online ad industry and he uses the example of a pet food brand advertising online, and the different response levels it would get running ads on MSN, Yahoo etc compared to investing the same budget in a handful of pet-lover web sites.

He also told me he was amazed by how many media buyers and online marketers still don’t get it, despite the pressure on their budgets. So while Yahoo can be applauded for the impressive reach and scale of its revamped network, the real question is, do marketers really need it right now and isn’t it a bit late to the game?

Attention all graduates!
August 11, 2008, 10:21 am
Filed under: Diffusion, PR, PR jobs | Tags: , , ,

At Diffusion we naturally believe that Public Relations offers one of the most stimulating, rewarding and intellectually challenging career choices for graduates.  We’ll be opening applications for our 2009 Graduate Programme in December, but due to impressive client growth we have an opportunity for two exceptional graduates to join the Diffusion team this September.

So what are we looking for? Well we’re not ashamed to say our standards are very high – you will need a First or 2:1 degree from a leading University. What’s more important than what you studied is a genuine interest in communication. That means a passion for the media, for writing, for speaking and a demonstrable understanding of the PR process in the 21st Century.  As you’ll be joining an agency at the leading edge of innovation in digital communication, an enthusiastic and natural affinity to all things online is essential.

PR is an industry where people buy people, so as well as holding all these attributes you also need to be likeable, engaging, and credible, generate trust and ooze common sense and creativity. As we said, our standards are high.

So what do we offer?  Firstly a commitment to training and development.  At Diffusion you won’t spend most your time scanning coverage and writing reports. We will ensure you receive intensive education in PR practice so you can also quickly start making a genuine and satisfying contribution to the success of client campaigns.  As well as internal training from some of the leading PR practitioners in the UK, we also invest in external training in areas such as video production and web design, equipping you with the skills that are essential for pioneering PR today.

Our culture is supportive and open and we thrive on creative ideas, entrepreneurial spirit and humour. By joining a young and rapidly growing agency, you will be perfectly placed to enjoy rapid career and earnings growth.

Do you think you measure up? Then please send your CV and a covering letter to Daljit Bhurji, Managing Director, Diffusion at  

For more information on our Talent Management approach and benefits packages click here.

Closing date: 28 August 2008: No recruitment agencies please

Why .anything is a bad idea
June 30, 2008, 2:49 am
Filed under: Brand protection, Domain names, ICANN, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

The news last week from Paris that ICANN is about to blow open the entire domain name industry got me thinking, mainly along the lines of why on earth this would be a good idea, given that history is littered with examples that suggest it is not.

So why would opening-up the domain name market even more be a good idea? ICANN started going through a similar motion back in 2001, when it feared that the .com ‘real estate’ was quickly going to run out. After the launch of .info (which has been reasonably successful) ICANN decided it was a good idea to launch industry-specific domain suffixes. In principal you might think this makes sense, but in practice, suffixes like .museum and .travel proved to be massive flops with both consumers and brands.

When it comes to surfing the web, there is a huge disconnect between what ICANN wants and what the public’s collective consciousness is willing and able to accept. For consumers, the standard expectation remains .com, and no matter how liberalised the market becomes, brands will never stick two fingers up to .com domain and only secure their .brandname address instead. We’re too far gone for that to ever work out.

Industry-specific domains have struggled for that reason.

Country code domains such as .uk, .de, .fr etc have enjoyed success simply because they assure the person looking for a website that the information they will find will be relevant to their local market and in a language they can understand. They provide a genuinely useful filter. A .anything policy would provide a completely useless filter.

As for the threat the new plans will pose to brands -and a lot has been made of it in the press this past week – but in fact at $100,000 to set up your own domain, the price tag will remain largely prohibitive for any large-scale cybersquatting, domaining or speculator activity. Besides, and perhaps more worryingly for ICANN, brands have already shown some resistance to the never ending process of defensive registrations in response to yet-another-new-suffix-launch. You just need to see how much lower take-up of .asia was compared to .eu just a few years before, that it seems domain suffix fatigue may be setting in.

Complicating the system even further under the guise of liberalisation suggests whatever ICANN is trying to achieve, it is not going about it in the right way.

The Telegraph and its widgets

The Daily Telegraph is making strides in implementing its online strategy after the latest ABCe figures revealed that the Mail Online had overtaken it to become the UK’s most popular national newspaper site in May, with 18.7 million unique users.

Crucially, the Telegraph isn’t just thinking that having a Facebook and Twitter presence is the key to a great digital strategy, like so many of its rivals. What the Telegraph has realised is that just as social media allows individuals to consume media in a more fragmented and personalised way, so they can actually benefit from that, by allowing individuals to follow personalised sections of Telegraph content. The dream for content owners trying to fight against falling traditional media circulations, is being able to segment and offer their content online to their audience in a completely personalised way. It’s quite an involved process to achieve that when you consider how broad a national newspaper’s coverage is, and how many segments that could be, but the Telegraph has taken a big first step on that road, and with these widgets is making an important stride into the mobile space too.

What is worth noting about the Telegraph’s approach is that six of its eight new widgets are all designed to drive traffic and engagement with Telegraph TV – the online video that’s become so important to all the major newspapers. Beyond that, there’s a breaking news widget and a toe in the water with a slightly more ‘niche’ European Championships Football widget. Apparently there are plans to launch further specific sports and business widgets shortly.

Above all this shows the Telegraph’s open approach to digital and clear understanding that it’s not just about pushing people through the front page, or amassing a number of fans on a Facebook page or twitter feed, but giving people direct access to the content they are really interested in, in the way they want it. We’ll just have to see in the next two or three months how big an impact that will have on the ABCe figures…

Diffusion is hiring!
May 8, 2008, 8:43 am
Filed under: Diffusion, PR, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Can’t get no satisfaction? Following a string of recent client wins the Diffusion team is growing! We are looking for talented and ambitious individuals to help drive and implement next-generation communication campaigns built around our media relations, Social Media and Search marketing core. Please see our current vacancies below. We’re always on the look out for the best talent across the industry so if you’d like an informal chat about how we could help grow your career, drop me an email.

I thought PR was about more than just endless cold-calling? We’ll we think you’re 100 per cent right. At Diffusion we’re looking for a candidate who wants to build their career within a 21st Century PR and Communications agency. As an ambitious graduate with a strong academic record, you will have over a year’s PR experience under your belt either in-house or in agency. You’ll also be an enthusiastic ‘digital native’, with familiarity with all things Social Media second nature.

Working across our Digital practice you will have an insatiable hunger to get real results through both media and Social Media relations. You will have equal enthusiasm for both consumer and business campaigns, for household names and new start-ups, relishing the challenges they each present.

At Diffusion through our commitment to training we will future proof your career. You will be equipped with both the traditional and online skills needed to deliver communication campaigns that really connect, both today and tomorrow. As a crucial part of a new agency you will have a unique opportunity to rapidly grow your career in a dynamic, entrepreneurial environment and carve out your own niche. Or you could carry on updating that call-round report.

To apply and for further information, please send your CV to For more information on our Talent Management approach and benefits packages click here.

Closing date: 5 JUNE 2008: No recruitment agencies please.


You really need a fresh challenge. With over three years as a PR professional you have an address book bulging with media contacts across the digital media, marketing, technology and national press. You have a real interest in how brands are using the web to engage with customers and a real desire to represent the companies who are pushing the boundaries of marketing services innovation. As an account manager you have demonstrated you can build relationships with senior decision makers based on trust, honesty and confident and considered client counsel.

Now you’re asking yourself – what next? As a Campaign Manager at Diffusion we promise you three things: innovation, responsibility and real job satisfaction. By working with leading players in our Marketing Services practice, you will be given the opportunity to help shape and deliver innovative campaigns. These will use your skills and love of media relations enhanced through the latest techniques in Social Media and Search.

You will be given the responsibility to manage and grow your own team and portfolio of clients through extensive involvement in new business development. You’ll not only get job satisfaction from doing brilliant work with great colleagues for fantastic clients, though we think that always helps. Through our commitment to Talent Management we offer fast-track career development to the brightest and you’ll be rewarded with a progressive salary and benefits package. Is this the challenge you’re looking for?

To apply and for further information, please send your CV to For more information on our Talent Management approach and benefits packages click here.

Closing date: 5 JUNE 2008: No recruitment agencies please.

Are newspapers really on the brink of extinction?

That’s what an interesting article in the latest edition of The Economist claims, specifically looking at the US newspaper market. The piece uses the faltering fortunes of the New York Times as a case in point, citing slipping circulation figures and advertising revenues being down 12.5 per cent on the same time last year. Now the two are, to a large extent linked. What is to blame, I hear you ask? well nothing other than The Big Bad Internet offering free, 24/7 news coverage and taking with it a share of the classified advertising newspapers relied on for so many decades.

But that’s the bad half of the story, the good half of the story is the vast oppotunity the The Big Bad Internet is offering media companies. People’s habits have changed, and the 24/7 news market moved away from newspapers a long time ago to TV and cable news networks. It’s just gone online too in the past five years. So what’s the big problem? Well there isn’t one if you accept how media consumption has changed and adapt. London’s Daily Telegraph has done so and seen it’s web site traffic surge.

Newspapers will never die – there will always be a huge market of individuals who like the experience of leafing through a newspaper, and getting stuck into more detailed news analysis and features. Those same people will likely be getting their breaking news fix online. I can say that with confidence because I am one of those people.

The key for newspapers is to understand that dynamic and look at what kind of publication you are, want to remain and adapt to reach your audience through the channel they want to receive you through. IDG is one media house that’s done that successfully and is doing very well out of it. Now it’s time that others follow suit, rather than moan about how traditional media consumption no longer exists.

Change, is after all, a good thing. Isn’t it?