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....the world's leading....

gossip site for people working in or around technology PR

Last Build Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2018 01:09:20 +0000


Mon, 13 Aug 2007 07:26:00 +0000

(image) 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.

Fri, 10 Aug 2007 09:04:00 +0000

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...

Wed, 08 Aug 2007 12:40:00 +0000

(image) This could be handy...

...if it gets populated. 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.

Wed, 08 Aug 2007 10:25:00 +0000

(image) 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.

Tue, 07 Aug 2007 19:47:00 +0000

(image) Sturgeon, fuckwit...updated...

Will Sturgeon...hack turned Lewis 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?)

Tue, 07 Aug 2007 17:08:00 +0000

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.

Tue, 07 Aug 2007 12:04:00 +0000

(image) Just stick the PowerPoint on the SatNav...

Lovely idea from Nick Booth hidden in a Response Source request for

"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...

Tue, 07 Aug 2007 06:21:00 +0000

(image) 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?

Mon, 06 Aug 2007 07:46:00 +0000

(image) Cash for for answers... 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.

Thu, 02 Aug 2007 11:39:00 +0000

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?

Tue, 31 Jul 2007 12:46:00 +0000

(image) No cake? No comment...

If you're a tech PR and you didn't get one of these today you might as well pack up your devices and find another profession. It's a first birthday cake, courtesy of ITPro.

It's a generous gift too. Given the weight of the delicious jam sponge, our scales tell us that each would have cost £1.45 to send.

Picture Chris Green in the postroom last night. "One for a tech PR, one for me. One for a tech PR, one for me. One for a tech PR..."

Happy birthday ITPro..!

Tue, 31 Jul 2007 11:34:00 +0000

(image) A day in whose life..?

A while a go we published a post about a typical day in the life of a tech PR exec. It obviously banged the bell of truth for many people...comments flooded in, other blogs pointed to it gleefully. Hell, there was even a call to add TWL to the reading list of PR degree courses...

Well, there's another Day in the Life in town. Compare and contrast...

Tue, 31 Jul 2007 07:54:00 +0000

(image) Brace yourself Figgis…

...because this post is about Edelman.

And to ensure we don’t fall foul of the self-righteous transparency brigade, let me state the bleedin’ obvious – this post is part of Edelman’s ‘editorial sponsorship’ to drive awareness of its ‘PR brain of Britain’ competition.

Doubtless this is another ‘unpleasant surprise’ for some readers. If you don’t like it, look away now. Or imagine you’re watching telly and the adverts come on. Pop out to the kitchen and make a cuppa. Or pretend it’s Sunday evening and Heartbeat has just started. Go upstairs, log on, and start delegating Monday’s To-Do list.

And if you’re worried that Edelman may take your most insightful 600 words and ‘resell’ them in some VAR type way to the highest paying client, either don’t participate or just be thankful that, finally, someone listened - albeit while mugging you in broad daylight.

With the caveats out of the way, here’s the update. Remember the overly-complex sliding scale of reward associated with the competition? Well it turns out that the top end prizes are seats at Edelman’s 2.0 Weekend Summit in Berlin.

Some of Edelman’s biggest hitters will be there, and a host of special guests that in a Glastonbury type way are yet to be announced (persuaded/bribed/blackmailed). Although it could be a jolly clever drip-feed PR strategy. But probably not.

There’s a case study on Wal-Mart, which should be fun for 2.0 fans, a ‘hands-on' session that involves 'execution' and some crisis simulation which presumably involves overturned chairs and broken tables. Or maybe that’s the Wal-Mart case study. Oh, who knows? Suffice to say, it should be a pretty useful weekend for anyone wanting to bamboozle their colleagues and clients with a whole load of new buzzwords.

The weekend will doubtless be eased along with copious amounts of alcohol during which surely everyone will wonder whether they should joke with Corneila Kunze about her unfortunate surname.

If you need a refresher on the perfectly opaque entry criteria, click here. For those that enter but don’t get selected to attend, delegates are staying at the Intercontinental in Berlin. In true World Cup fashion, feel free to turn up outside the hotel in the middle of the night with the loudest oompah band money can buy…

Sun, 29 Jul 2007 13:26:00 +0000

Great 2.0 bores of our time….

“It’s such a brilliant time to be in PR…..I mean, the whole social networking thing is completely revolutionising the way people interact….it’s rewriting the rules of engagement……and PR is at the forefront of it…..just look at the success of MySpace, although of course it’s Facebook that’s really hot at the moment….he’s only 23 you know….a friend of mine knows him….the social media dynamic is seeing small groups of people that have a similar interest coming together…’s really quite earnest…..and for companies to engage effectively they must be really transparent…..there’s a two-way dialogue that advertisers really don’t understand…..they are stuck in broadcast mode, not engagement….PR really is overtaking advertising…….have you seen my Facebook profile….need to apply the Long Tail principle… lots of people still buy David Bowie’s back catalogue…..there is a lot of money to be made by selling just two or three copies of something every month….you must really keep your own blog before advising others on running one….but of course it’s more than just blogs…..RSS……Flickr, Facebook and….um….mobile applications….yes it’s more than just kids using IM….it’s about citizen journalism….when you watch the news now, have you noticed how even the BBC will use video content shot by witnesses…just normal members of the public…everyone is a potential journalist….and comment, of course, that’s what the blogosphere excels in…it’s the democratisation of opinion…’s such a great moment to be in PR….”

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 06:32:00 +0000

(image) At least they're not colour blind...

Did you see Chris Green's little rant yesterday?

He thinks that some people should be banned from using technology. These include people that shout at their mobile phones on the train, colleagues who print their emails to read, his sister who breaks everything she touches and, of course, Text 100:

"In this job, I never cease to be amazed at how badly some people, who have no excuse, use technology.

"For example, I’ve just received a press release from an agency called Text 100, that addressed me as “Dear Green” – thus ensuring that said press release will be deleted without ever being read, let alone turned into a news story.

"Clearly that PR agency could do with sending some of its staff on a basic course on how to do a mail merge properly."

Wed, 25 Jul 2007 09:02:00 +0000

Big agency big hitter in big action...

It's not often that we get the opportunity to show you one of the UK's top tech PR pros in action...but today we can. Here's Mark Jackson - most recent of our Q&A subjects - doing what the top men and women in agency do best...spouting off in front of PowerPoint.

Jackson's presenting the findings of Hill & Knowlton's research into what influences IT decision-makers. Watch it and learn. Or perhaps don't.

Or, like me, simply wonder whether there's actually anyone in the room with him. I mean, there's no applause at the end or anything...

Tue, 24 Jul 2007 07:54:00 +0000

There is no try...

I see that Bruce has started a new PR agency. Just look at his little face at the champagne launch!

I can't imagine where the inspiration for the name and logo came from...

(image) (image)

Good luck Bruce...and may the Force be with you.

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 15:53:00 +0000

New blog, new blog..!

Even more bloody reading to do.

I've just spotted a new blog. It's called Under Strict Embargo and is written by Daljit who's just left Hotwire to "take some time out, re-familiarise himself with Jeremy Kyle and start his own blog..."

Seems quite drastic.

Take a look, post a comment.

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 09:43:00 +0000

(image) Anyone fancy a beer...?

For those that missed the original post or aren't friends of ours on Facebook (and why not?) and therefore didn't receive an event invitation or, frankly, have just forgotten, we're off out for a beer this Thursday evening...and the first one (which for me at least will be the size of the one in this picture) is on Matthew Ravden, PR man, author, blah, blah, blah...

We'll be upstairs in the Crown and Two Chairman pub on Dean Street, Soho, from about 7.00pm. In the event that the upstairs is closed, or there's a private party on (I haven't checked, obviously) we'll be downstairs.

Look out for this man....


(It's Ravden, not some dodgy bloke who frequents the Crown and Two...)

Fri, 20 Jul 2007 09:10:00 +0000

You wait all day for a bus……and then two come along at once.It’s a cliché, and an old one at that (but then I suppose they all are). It’s not one of my favourites. It’s usually delivered by some old curmudgeon and almost always headlined with the pessimist’s favourite one-word sentence: “Typical” (fragment, consider revising…please).I hate “typical” more than I hate the cliché, truth be told. “Typical” is the word used by those old (or old before their time) who believe that the world is full of shit and that most of it falls on them. “Typical” means that something else has come along to reinforce their view that nothing good will ever come of it (“it” being everything). I wish some old crooner would release a cover version of Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” but replace every “ironic” with a “typical”.“A free ride when you’ve already paid?”“Typical”The thing about clichés, however, is that every now and then they turn out to be accurate. Though (and I realise now that I’m digressing from my original digression, which is new ground even for me) the PR team for Transport for London might actually tell you that they’ve done some research to disprove the cliché and that, in reality, you wait 16.8 minutes for a bus and then an average of 1.34 turn up at once.Anyway, you’d no doubt been waiting months for one of the outstanding TWL Q&As with a power-broker from the UK PR industry and, guess what? Two have come along at once. Well, within a week or so of each other.Yes, that’s right. After our “chat” with the boys from GolinHarris, we’ve had another one with big-wig Mark Jackson, head of Hill and Knowlton’s tech practice in the UK. We say big-wig but, of course, if you read Jackson’s new blog that we pointed out the other week, you’ll know that he’s a man in no need of any sort of toupée. In fact, it sounds like he's got more hair than he wants...Jackson’s been part of the UK tech PR scene for years, having had stints of varying lengths at a selection of tech outfits before landing at monster Hill & Knowlton. As usual, we emailed him a bunch of questions and he answered them. Here’s the chat. It's quite long but, hell, it's a Friday...TWL: Just how big a penis do you need to run the UK corporate technologies practice at H&K?MJ: Apparently it’s not just about size; it seems experience is quite important too. Which is where I think I can add some value given I’ve been doing technology PR for coming up 16 years. That makes me a reasonably old hand and also means that there’s not much I haven’t seen, from the boom years of the dotcom bubble to the trauma that followed.TWL: And just how much does the UK corporate technologies practice have to practice? Surely you’ve mastered it by now?MJ: The global technology practice is the largest single practice in H&K. It represents a huge part of our business so, to some extent, we must have done something right. However, as readers of your esteemed pages will acknowledge, we have to continue to learn or risk being stuck in the time warp that disciplines such as direct mail (or even, arguably, advertising) face. One such area is social media. I don’t mind admitting that I’ve been a cynic of using blogs in a business to business context because until recently I hadn’t seen any evidence to suggest they had the slightest impact on clients’ businesses. However, we recently carried out a study of what really influences technology purchasers and it shows that 38% of those we surveyed in[...]

Thu, 19 Jul 2007 16:44:00 +0000

(image) Jonny, give Steve a couple of extra points...

...'cause he always buys the doughnuts when he comes into the office.

Surely someone's got to take the piss, at least a little bit?

Oh, that'll be us then...

Yesterday afternoon I noticed a Facebook status update from David Brain at Edleman which said, "David Brain is writing a blog post that will get him flamed..."

Interesting, I thought (well, a bit).

Then I saw the blog post itself...and there was a story in PRWeak about it today too. It was about Edelman's Social Media Index, essentially a league table of the Top 30 most influential bloggers, but factoring in their broader use of social media than simply their blog (so things like Facebook and Twatter).

Guess what? Steve Rubel...who happens to work for Edelman...came out at number 1! How extraordinary.

OK, in his blog post, Brain did say that Rubel topping the table was "vaguely embarrassing" and he did try to counter the fact by stating that "I think he needs to do some client work some time" (ho, ho) but really..?

What I found particularly amusing about Brain's post was that, in time-honoured O-level exam style, Edelman showed its working out...and rather the first league table (the one without Edelman's fancy homebrew weighting) Rubel only came in at number five!

Quite right Brain. Throw that one back in Bentwood's face and send him back to his desk until he's got it right...

Wed, 18 Jul 2007 22:05:00 +0000

(image) Peter’s got a nice gaff….

As if Chris Green hadn’t already served a warning, Peter Judge alerted burglars all over London to his “lovely house,” where his lodger’s room is “really big.”

A 'lovely house' full of 'really big hi-tech kit' no doubt. To give the burglars a helping hand, London Lite (prize to anyone that can find the article online) even published a picture of Peter’s house on Brixton Hill.

Peter has had to take a lodger in “as there has been a bit of a downturn in technology journalism,” which is a bit odd given his regular gig with Techworld, owned by IDG, which just launched Computerworld, which is vying with recently launched IT Pro, which is battling with freshly purchased Computing and revamped IT Week, which are competing with a refreshed Computer Weekly, a redesigned CBR, a stalwart Info Age, and a suite of CNET publications that have just moved to plush new offices, and The Register at its new place in trendy ‘Noho’. Tough times indeed.

Sounding just a little bit like the beginning of a new Hollyoaks storyline Peter says he “registered with two websites and spent half an hour every day scanning pictures of women looking for rooms to rent.” Freaky.

Anyway, next time you see Peter, get him to buy you a drink – he’s up £400 a month these days. The only real downer is that there’s a bit of a queue for the bathroom in the morning. No surprise given his Germanic lodger’s penchant for “playing period instruments” might mean some of Peter’s extra tax-free cash being spent replacing the bathroom rug….

Tue, 17 Jul 2007 12:06:00 +0000

The power of the press release headline...

When scanning your eye down the headlines of press releases on Sourcewire, which of these two are you more likely to click on?

New white paper on leachate pump selection and operation


World's first nude, figurative and erotic art boutique opens online

Something to think about when you're next sticking a release on Sourcewire, eh?

Having said that, I reckon the pictures attached to each could probably work for either...


"Help, my house is flooded..."


"Don't worry sweetheart, I'll have you dry in a jiffy..."

Tue, 17 Jul 2007 09:22:00 +0000

UK PR bloggers giving up the ghost..?

I've had a funny gut feeling recently. To be honest, I should probably stop with the cabbage, broccoli and mixed bean baps.

No, no...a proper gut feeling. And it's one that is shared by Collister and some bloke called Rob. It's the feeling that, in recent months, the number of blog posts being produced by UK PR bloggers has been falling steadily.

Happy as I usually am to rely on gut feelings, this time I thought I'd do a bit of analysis to see if my intuition holds true. And I'm happy to say that...confirming my confidence in my inherent top-class perceptive does!

I counted up the number of posts made by nine of the higher profile UK blogs over the last 12 months (took me bloody ages, to be honest...). These were the blogs from Benvie, Pullin, Bruce, Waddington, Collister, Davies, Smith, Dyson and Lewis 360. OK, so Dyson isn't a UK blogger, but I figure that quite a few UK-based PRs read his thoughts. Links for all these blogs can be found on our blogroll, apoart from Lewis 360.

Here's a graph (I know you love a graph) with all the blog posts added up, month by month:


See what I mean? Sure, it looks like a decent March weekend in Val d'Isere, but the trend is obvious.

Now, I'm not saying this is a bad thing. Over the past year, any number of new UK PR blogs have popped up and with their posts and even with a declining number of posts from established bloggers, there's still plenty of rubbish to read. But do you think it might end in a heap at the bottom?

I've got another graph for you too. It's a bit messy...though I quite like it...and shows the number of posts from each of the blogs I looked at (and I've thrown TWL into this one as well, because we come out looking quite good...). You can see that some bloggers (e.g. Wadds, Lewis, us) have maintained a relatively steady level over the past year, others have been in decline (e.g. Bruce, Benvie, Smith) and a couple (Collister, Davies) appear to have lifted their game in recent months.


However, the big question, of course, is: "Have I got too much time on my hands..?"

And I think we all know the answer to that one.

Mon, 16 Jul 2007 07:07:00 +0000

Interesting headline...

"LewisPR killed Second Life"

Let's hope so, eh..?