New FriendFeed Coming Soon, Found in Web Stats

A new version of FriendFeed is in the works, perhaps not so surprisingly in itself, but it might be coming pretty soon. MG Siegler over on VentureBeat got it confirmed, after spotting the domain in his Flickr traffic logs. It is getting harder and harder to keep web apps secret, I’ve had clients in the past who got unwanted attention to online services in an early stage, for instance.

It could, however, work the other way around. Since a lot of bloggers are watching their statistics closely, this could be a way to leak information of a new service to get some bonus coverage before going out flexing the PR muscles?

Apple Launches Non-Blog Blog

Apple have had a lot of issues with the follow-up to .Mac, called MobileMe. The worst would be that 1% of its users didn’t have functional mail, something I’d say is quite an issue, given the fact that e-mail is the key to the whole thing. This has, of course sparked a lot of questions and such for users, without anywhere to turn.

Until now. A bloggish news page called MobileMe Status is keeping track of what is going on with the service.

Steve Jobs has asked me to write a posting every other day or so to let everyone know what’s happening with MobileMe, and I’m working directly with the MobileMe group to ensure that we keep you really up to date. In the 14 days since we launched, it’s been a rocky road and we know the pain some people have been suffering. Be assured people here are working 24-7 to improve matters, and we’re going to favor getting you new info hot off the presses even if we have to post corrections or further updates later.

No comments section or anything, but still! I hope this is a step towards the new information age for Apple, because they suck at keeping in touch with their users. Why isn’t there an official Apple blog? Why would there be? Well, this is a good explanation:

For example, when I was waiting to download the iPhone 2.0 software upgrade legitimately, I really wanted to know why it was not available in the iTunes Store even though the website and iTunes said that it was available. A quick note on a blog like this would have calmed me down. That was not nearly as big a deal as the rest of the problems that day, but I think Apple could have saved some of its good name by communicating earlier.

UK companies aren’t clear on new “fake blogging” laws

British companies which pretend to blog as ordinary members of the public, or post multiple positive reviews as if from consumers, are now breaking UK law, yet many don’t know anything about the new legislation, according to Brands2Life.

Its director, Gareth Thomas, said that, “Most people don’t know about this law,” adding, “there is a misconception that these devices are clever, but they can backfire.”

The new Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations legislation came into effect at the end of May 2008.

Drew Benvie, director at Hotwire, said, “This law change affects everyone in PR. If customers have any presence online, it’s definitely their business to know about it.”

(Via PR Week)

Berocca sends out Blogger Relief Packs

Berocca Blogger Relief Pack contents

The concept may not be that new, but a couple of weeks ago a colleague introduced me to Berocca’s Blogger Relief Pack. I signed up with one of my blogs, and yesterday received the pack.

Berocca Blogger Relief Pack contents

While it’s not the complete answer to managing the stress of blogging, a tube of Berocca and a nice glass to drink it in is welcome, and the quirky stress toys are amusing enough.

I must make it clear that I’m not on any kind of commission here, though if the Blog Herald makes it onto the “featured blogs” section as a result, so much the better.

Berocca’s welcome letter says that “this is just the start of what we’ll be doing with bloggers and we have exciting plans for the future. If we’re doing something that’s cool, worth blogging about and relevant to you we’ll be in touch, but we promise we won’t spam you needlessly.”

Freebie toys and gadgets from companies are nothing new, and it’s fun to get a few perks for blogging now and again. Companies wanting to get their products in front of more niche influencers (rather than mainstream journalists and other media people) isn’t new either. I just hope that they keep it as real and as fresh as possible.

Oh, and any other companies who want to send me free food, drink, and iPhones gadgets, feel free!

Blogging from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Stephanie Stockman is a NASA contractor working at the Goddard Space Flight Center, which is cool by itself. What’s even cooler is that she’s blogging it, talking about rocketships in voice and text, as well as posting photos, something every space nerd should follow for sure. Her blog is Geosteph, which incidentally is her Twitter nick as well. Check it out.

I found out about Stephanie’s blog via Blonde By Design, which in turn ended in my web browser via Twitter, that oh so magical microblogging service that keeps me fed with news stories and interesting links, as well as time-consuming chitchatting.

Anyway, the Blonde By Design post in question really wants us to send our names to the moon, a PR stunt (or similar funny idea that doubles as a PR stunt) headed by NASA, with June 27 being the deadline for name submissions. A pretty cool thing by itself.

So there you have it, a bunch of space reading on your Friday surf list! Aren’t blogging wonderful? Enjoy!

Colleen Coplick Talks PR over at BloggerTalks

I recently interviewed Colleen Coplick about taking over Buzz Networker, and there I said that an interview with her focusing on PR was due on BloggerTalks. Well, it is up now, and Colleen shares her views on paid reviews, PR agencies sending out samples, getting famous in the social sphere, how to write a great press release, and more.

Check it out, over at BloggerTalks!

Followup to PR Agencies pitching Bloggers – an Interview with Justin Kistner of Voce Communications

Last week, I blogged a story about how to pitch bloggers in response to a post by Marshall Kirkpatrick over at Read Write Web about the best way for PR firms to pitch that website and its bloggers.

I was able to spend some time last week interviewing Justin Kistner of Voce Communications via email about PR firms, the shift of attention from mainstream or “old school” media to bloggers, and some thoughts on the PR industry as a whole.

[Read more…]

Marshall Kirkpatrick outlines the best ways for PR firms to pitch Read Write Web – but it’s really a manifesto for pitching bloggers tech stories

I’ve been a long-time reader of Read Write Web (RWW) – even back in the day when it was just Richard publishing fantastic tech news and insights from his vantage point in New Zealand. It’s become an even better blog since he’s added writers like Marshall Kirkpatrick and Sarah Perez. In a post today, Marshall shares some tips about how PR firms can pitch stories to RWW:

Here at ReadWriteWeb we get piles and piles of pitches for coverage from companies all day long and they almost always come in by email. You’ll notice that only a tiny percentage of those pitches result in write-ups here. How can you increase your chances of getting written about here or on other tech blogs? In this post we’ll discuss five ways that companies often try and fail to get our attention and one way that almost always works.

He goes on to outline the ways that they don’t want to be contacted: Direct email, Twitter, Instant Messaging, Phone Calls, & Facebook.

The one right way? RSS Feeds.

In particular, Marshall asks why more PR firms aren’t using technologies like RSS – and asks why they aren’t sharing client feeds via OPML:

PR people, please send us the RSS feeds of your clients’ blogs and news releases.

The information that comes through these feeds is obviously public and there’s no embargo – but if we didn’t see something interesting in an embargoed email then we’ll see it in RSS. Likewise, many companies blog about things that they might not consider cause for a press release but that we definitely want to write about.

The full fire-hose of company news and updates for us to pick out what’s interesting, someplace outside of our email inboxes, free of dreadful press release rhetoric (skip to the second paragraph where details usually are, then skip past any executive quotes and hope there are readable details somewhere) – that sounds like a dream come true. I know that’s where I get most of the stories I write about, not from email pitches. Send both, but company feeds are likely to be looked at more closely.

Amen Marshall, amen. I would kill for OPML files such as this from PR firms covering the areas that I’m interested in writing about – here and elsewhere.

Some perspective on how bad this problem can be – even for publications like The Blog Herald – which is significantly smaller than RWW, by the way.

I was the editor of The Blog Herald from February 2006 when we acquired the site through the end of November 2006 when we sold the site to Splashpress Media. During that time we had an email address setup for news tips at tips at blogmedia dot biz – and I actively encouraged PR firms to email us press releases – but stated that we preferred RSS information.

To this day – almost eighteen month after leaving the editor position here, we still get stories pitched to us at that email address – often on topics that aren’t in any way, shape, or form what we’re interested in blogging about. I never once was sent a RSS feed or an OPML file. And I can’t remember a single story that we ran based on an email pitch from a PR firm – the quality was extraordinarily poor.

I’m not a PR expert – but if I was running a PR firm today – I’d at least find a way to embrace the not-quite-so-new-now technology like RSS and OPML. I’d find a way to use twitter to contact and interact authentically with newsmakers like Marshall and others.. and I’d certainly stop relying on methods that made the industry successful in the past (email, fax, etc) and learn to move with the times.