All Attack on Arrington

Michael Arrington is being raked over the coals because he does not like Tello. Well, he does not like the marketing of the service thus far.

And, well, that's his perogative (he can do what he wants to do).

After a ton of comments, though, let's take a look at this.

First, Jeff Pulver is on the board, and he has been blogging for quite a long, long time. If there is someone that understands the value of blogging, it is Jeff and I would hope that he would have shared that belief with the company. Does that mean the company needs to blog? No - that just goes back to "not every company needs to blog, but needs to be aware of blogs" argument that I like to have with PR bloggers that only get blogs.

But, it might not be Tello acting with less than common sense, but its PR firm that might not know or understand the blogosphere. That is quite a possibility. Or, they might have just been under orders to concentrate on MSM moreso than blogs - and that is the right of the client, and does not mean the client needs to listen to the agency's counsel.

Yes, presence is an issue that has been written about quite a bit. I have even written an article about it from a video conferencing angle. If presence does work, it is going to be either amazing or intrusive. Or, likely, both. And, well, the biggest competitors are going to be Cisco and Microsoft, among others.

The best way to get on the radar screen for presence - which is a tricky thing to explain, really - is to go with the hardcore, main business press. That is what the strategy looks like so far. And, they did land some good press.

I wish Tello luck - but hope the company and its PR firm are not behind the comments on this blog. Whether you like Arrington or not should not be the issue, but discussing the post on its own merits should be.



  1. Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks for the rationed argument. Actually, it's my agency, LEWIS, which is handling the PR around the launch of Tello.

    Since this is a B2B proposition, the approach in the main has been to focus on the business press. And that's why BusinessWeek, Forbes, WaPo, SJMN, WSJ etc have covered it. That's where Tello's prospects are in the main.

    Of course, you want to approach key bloggers too, so several, including Om Malik who Mike mentions, were - and continue to be - approached as part of the program.

    Mike has come under fire here for leaping to the conclusion that you either go for MSM OR blogs. And that to prioritize one, negates the importance of the other, which is not true. With any start up with finite resources (from spokespeople, to marketing team, to PR spend) you need to focus.

    Mike didn't like the fact this firm opted not to have a blog on day one. Again, that's a matter of opinion, which he's perfectly entitled to. But it doesn't mean it won't ever nor does it mean that corp blogs are without value. Just that you have to decide where to put your effort. With a launch of this scale, a blog wasn't the first priority given the target audience and resources.

    Actually, on balance, his post isn't that negative - he likes the idea but wants to see the service deliver - reasonable. The service is actually live, so he can test it out. (I've mailed Mike about that).

    There are some comments that perhaps Tello has been flaming Mike for his post. I can tell you that is nonsense. It makes no sense to do that - it's unethical and ill-advised. Again, I've pointed that out to Mike, so he can be reassured.

    Also worth noting that every blogger and journalist who requested a briefing received one on launch day - this included the AP.

    It's been a great launch. One regret might be to have briefed Mike beforehand and to have saved him from this flaming - most of which is not about Tello but a broader discussion. I'm not sure Tello is specifically a Web 2.0 company, though clearly that moniker seems to be being applied to the firm by some.

    As you know a launch is a process, not an event. Mike's feedback has been good and taken on board (specifically some blog coverage hadn't made its way onto the press room on day one, which irked him, so we've made sure it's up there). I know many bloggers have written about the company positively. Shame it was the touch point for Mike to get some feedback of his own from his readers. Perhaps he was a little hard, but he softened his position when it was pointed out - and that's what conversations are about.

    Perhaps we all learned something. I know our team did.

  2. Morgan, I knew it was your agency, Lewis PR, because I clicked on the press releases. Just didn't feel it needed a link. But, my first thought after reading your response was: why didn't he just post this to his own blog with a trackback to me and Arrington?

    But, Morgan, I disagree. There's no reason to differentiate between MSM and bloggers when it comes to resources. While I hate the A-list, and think most are fools, there is a definite PR sense that you approach those that write on the space the same time you approach the media (except in cases of embargoes).

    And, all launches are events. The processes put in place for launches are the same put into place for events, with long term thought. And, when you do a press room, you aggregate all the press (well, usually positive press) and post. There's no reason to differentiate from MSM and blogs - both are being read by people.

  3. I believe there is a difference between bloggers and MSM for product/web site launches. No one influential ride the New York subway reading a blog from a laptop commuting -- they read newspapers, even if it is curled up in a quarter section. The old and influence businesspeople quote journalists, not bloggers when they want to talk about a new product they read about. That's just the way it is.

    Frankly, the Techcrunch thread is the result of what I see is a big battle of bloggers vs MSM. Right now, MSM will win because they take their work seriously while the blogosphere is still puppies.

    I can assume companies like Tello created marketing plan and want to execute it by the book. PR is only a component of a marketing plan. I seriously doubt in any marketing plan, there is a line that says "Get bloggers to discuss our product" as they want to control how users perceive the product.

    With that said, my impression is the blogosphere is like a 'hype machine' similiar to pre-Super Bowl affairs. While those affairs is nice for established executives to party-hardy under the guise of marketing buzz, it's not adivisable for startups to allow a chaotic blogosphere communicate their unlaunched product and services. IMHO.

  4. Morgan, one thing that came up this morning: it's a blog, why did you email Arrington? Why did you choose to address the issues here, instead of TechCrunch? Arrington reads his comments (and replies). You sending him emails to clarify things makes me wonder if Lewis does understand blogs.

  5. Anonymous - the only way marketers can control how users perceive their product is by producing a fantastic product. Not by telling them what to think via carefully composed marketing messages.
    There certainly should be a line in the marketing plan to encourage bloggers to discuss a product. If nothing else, that will help you dominate the search results for your keywords or category for months to come. Bloggers' comments tend to be more prominent on Google than those from the business press (which are often behind a password-protected or paid-for site). That's one very practical reason for engaging bloggers.

  6. Perhaps Morgan did not post a comment on techcrunch because his IP address would be the same as other comments left on that post :-)

  7. Have to admit, I thought the same thing Anon.

    But, let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

  8. Hey annonymous. Why don't you reveal who you are so that we can understand who you are coming from? And for that matter, why is it that the nastiest comments on Michael Arrington's site were left also by people who did not identify themselves. And while we are at it, Morgan, how do you know that the people posting anonymous comments at TechCrunch have nothing to do with Lewis PR--unless you know who they are?

  9. I'm using the latest Firefox browser, and your text appears very tiny. Why?