This isn't the first online auction that Golden Palace has won - they also get a ton of press for the other things they have bought, such as the McDonald's Lincoln Fry for $75K and the Mother Mary Grilled Cheese. There's a ton of press about what they have bought, and it has brought name recognition in a competitive field.
According to the "if-they-spell-your-name-correctly-it's-good-publicity approach," this is a good strategy. People know about Golden Palace. Do people know it as an online casino? Or, is it known more as that online casino that buys the funky stuff on eBay and travels around the country with them? Or, do they know them as an adware company?
My thoughts are that while it's great to get name recognition, is this translating into increased membership?
I IM'ed Ben Silverman of PR Fuel and BenSilverman.net (very funny blog by Ben on his life) because I knew he would be good for a soundbite. Plus, he always brings a good perspective as a former NY Post journalist, the original DotComScoop and someone that is on the PR side while still writing.
They're not going to stir up positive press because they're an online casino, basically a rogue operation... they're involved in gambling, a vice, which isn't on the top of most people's list when it comes to positive story subjects.Silverman has a very, very valid point. What touchy-feely stories can you write about an online casino? The investigations by the US government on the legality? That person X lost a ton of cash, and now can't pay his mortgage? That it's becoming like porn, where people are claiming their credit cards were stolen?
So, Golden Palace gets name recognition in a way that works for them - the any press is good press strategy. This is a great strategy for a casino, however, this strategy doesn't work for everyone, and shouldn't be the first part of a PR strategy.
If you think back to the dotcom days, a lot of PR firms were just media machines, throwing up as much crap as possible at the wall - sorry, pitching to everyone under the sun - and hoping for the best with as much press as possible. I call it the quantity, yardstick approach.
That isn't a strategic campaign, and usually does not help a company. Strategically, you want to target the right press with the right messaging. I call that the quality, on message approach. Have a few message points you want the targeted media to pick up, to reach the right, optimal audience.