Sunday, March 30, 2008

Quoted about podcasting in The Press of Atlantic City


I was quoted in last Sunday's Press of Atlantic City, in Amy Kuperinsky's Life section article, "Planet Podcast: Where everybody's a DJ and everything is worth a discussion."

It's great to see podcasting becoming more mainstream.

Do broadcasters have any moral responsibility when advertisers are selling snake oil, and the broadcasters know it?

A lot of the cable channels are carrying commercials for over-the-counter "weight loss" products, particularly one called Lipozene. These snake oil products are being produced by companies that are under investigation, or being sued, or in some way are being questioned for fraudulent claims by the Federal Trade Commission. It only takes a look at Wikipedia or Google search to figure this out.

And yet the advertising continues. So the question has to be why are broadcasters willing -- nay, enthusiastically, ecstatically happy -- to be complicit in these efforts to sell largely worthless products to the American public?

Has broadcasters' sense of morality and the notion of operating in the public interest become so diffuse that they don't care that someone is damaging their reputations by selling useless products on their airwaves?

Are they so interested in revenue that they have no problem taking money for advertising time because they themselves are not making claims for these products?

Whatever happened to truth in advertising, and what happened to the spines of media companies when it comes to rejecting deceptive or fraudulent ads?

I guess we all know the answer to that!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

LOB Podcast #36: Doug Hay of Expansion Plus discusses search engine optimization at Third Thursday in New York, March 20, 2008

This podcast features a live remote recording from the inaugural meeting of Third Thursday New York at the Heartland Brewery, Fifth Avenue and 34th Street (Empire State Building), New York.

The presenter was Doug Hay, President and Principal of ExpansionPlus, an online PR and marketing firm based in Los Angeles, who spoke about search engine strategies. We also interview Richard Nacht, host and founder of the Third Thursday New York group, and discuss the upcoming New Communications Forum, April 23-24 in Sonoma County, California.

New York, New York, USA - Thursday March 20, 2008: Posing after the session were (from left): Sally Falkow, APR, Senior Fellow, SNCR and co-founder of ExpansionPlus; Richard Nacht, Senior Fellow, SNCR and host of Third Thursday; and Doug Hay, president and principal, ExpansionPlus.

Photography Copyright οΎ©2008 Steven L. Lubetkin
More photos at Steve's Flickr site

Download the podcast here (66.4 mb stereo MP3 file, 00:47:09 duration).

Send comments to or call our podcast comment line, +1-856-861-6146 (Europe and UK, +44 020 7193 6146)

Keywords: lubetkin, cherry hill, third thursday, nacht, falkow, hay, expansion plus, new media, business, social media, search engine strategies, seo

Friday, March 21, 2008

Inmates dangerously close to running the asylum, and we're letting them...

Every once in a while I get very contrarian about this blogging stuff, and today is one of those days.

One of my Twitter buddies alerted me to a posting on CrunchNotes, the companion to Michael Arrington's hugely popular TechCrunch blog. (Find it yourselves, I'm not going to contribute link-love to someone whose only aim is to embarrass someone.)

In this posting, Arrington ridicules a PR person for a Washington firm for emailing him and requesting permission to reprint something from the blog -- and for a price quote on obtaining reprints.

This is a very standard practice for the mainstream media. If you print an article from the Wall Street Journal's online edition, it comes automatically emblazoned with a warning that you can only use it for your personal needs, and must purchase a reprint from them if you want to use it for other purposes (so much for the mainstream media's attempts to kill "fair use", but I digress).

Let's be clear here: Someone actually respected intellectual property enough to ask the content owner for permission to use the content owner's content.

But instead of a rational, professional answer, Arrington posts a lightly redacted copy of the email (by lightly I mean he blocked out the signature and email address, but "accidentally" left the writer's name in the reply block ("On XXX, Jane Doe wrote:...")

The key here is that Arrington is trying to make the PR person look stupid. That's grossly unfair in this instance.

The PR person was doing her job protecting her client from what I suspect would be guaranteed misery that Arrington would inflict in his blog if they dared to quote him WITHOUT asking permission.

In this world where "gotcha" drives blogging, you cannot communicate with some bloggers on any level.

If you send them a press release, they blog about how clueless you are for sending them a press release.

If you don't send them invitations to press junkets or nice toys, they blog about how clueless you are about their influence and how important they ought to be to your clients.

Why do we even bother with these people?

We need to take the conversations above the "gotcha" level.

But I don't know how to do this. Bloggers like to be snarky and even mean, especially when there is a PR pitch involved.

We need to move the blog conversations beyond what we don't like about "the process," so we can actually get to the conversation about the things, whatever those things are.

Way too much energy being wasted on ridicule and criticism. I remember having a teacher in the eighth grade whose technique was to ridicule kids instead of teaching them. That sure works. NOT.

If you blog and don't like the way people (PR people especially) approach you, how about helping them by explaining yourself instead of ridiculing them publicly?

What do you think?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Help a reporter, help yourselves!

Peter Shankman, the New York publicity maven and author of Can We Do That?, a book describing how to create effective outrageous publicity stunts, has moved his "If I can help a reporter out I will" service for PR pros off of Facebook as the list of participants is bumping up against FB limits on the size of a mailing list.

Peter gets a lot of calls from media types looking for people to interview. Sometimes, he says, he just doesn't have a client who fits theirneeds, so he throws it out to the immediate world of PR people that he has invited into If I Can Help. Sometimes he asks people to route the requests through him, and sometimes you can contact the reporter directly.

He asked folks to publicize the fact that the service has moved, so there, consider it publicized.

You can join Peter's newest iteration of Help a reporter at

If you want to hear more about how he got it started, and his book and a bunch of other stuff, listen to our Middle Chamber Books podcast interview with Peter here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hard to believe we missed this when it was posted...

Last summer, I attended BlogPhiladelphia, the first of two social media "un-conferences" held in the City of Brotherly Love. While there I recorded several interviews with bloggers, tech gurus, and other participants, which have made their way into some of our podcasts.

I also got interviewed about podcasting by some guys with, but I never managed to find where they posted the video. Yesterday, a random video search brought it up through the AOL video portal. Amazingly, a Google search on "Lubetkin" never surfaced it (like most people, I probably didn't drill down through enough pages, but what does that say about the success of Ziddio's SEO capabilities -- and it can't be a question of financial resources, since they are closely connected to, if not wholly owned by Comcast!)

Anyway, here's my Ziddio about Podcasting 101 and why we like making high quality podcasts for our clients. Enjoy.