Saturday, March 25, 2006

Burn Hot, Burn Fast - Skype's PR Demise?

I like Skype. I like the woman that initially launched the service via PR, and she did an amazing job. She understands mainstream media, I got her to work with bloggers and consumer generated media (or whatever you want to call it) after a lot of ignoring her requests ... but she's no longer with them, so I feel I can write this without any contradictory feelings...

Skype is blowing it, particularly in the public relations department. Yahoo! recently beta launched Yahoo! Messenger with Voice ... and nothing really came out from Skype or its PR department or firm. While that might not be true in the mainstream press - and, well, I do read that as well - it was the blogs that first broke the Y! VoIP news, particularly Om Malik, and I read no messaging or statements from Skype. Instead, just radio silence. And, it was the blogs that made Skype ....

Now, Skype is being sued using the RICO Act ... something usually reserved for Mafia, drug dealers and other undesirables.

Andy Abramson first broke the story - who says PR people can't break stories, and here's a man that shows that Intel sees the importance of bloggers by including his photo in the Intel Developer Conference keynote - and Om quickly reported the news.

Granted, this story just broke ... but I wonder how silent Skype PR is going to be this time around. Now that they are part of eBay, they are using a firm that - through personal experience - either does not understand, or is afraid, of blogs.

And, well, I recently took part in a Bulldog Reporter audio conference on blogging and working/pitching bloggers ... and it was telling with the silence and number of people that a lot of PR firms and people don't know what to do and are scared.

What do I expect to see - well, when you are sued under RICO, what can you really do? Skype does have a group of blogs, and could launch a crisis communication blog ... but that will really be up to eBay. But, if the silence on Yahoo!'s VoIP product is any indication, the silence on this issue will just be as deafening ... and for a voice product, that speaks volumes.
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