Posts tagged ‘Facebook’

Timeline = Time for Social Media Audit, Plan

Auditing what you and your company are revealing is critical to protecting privacy and minimizing potential PR issues.

Continue Reading December 16, 2011 at 11:16 pm 3 comments

Locking Down Key Online Real Estate

Online professional brands are incredibly important assets that you need to control. As the baseball playoffs continue today, fans will flock to However, many may now know that the website was once the property of law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

While this particular situation was apparently resolved without any payout, it highlights the importance of locking down key online real estate, which no longer just includes domain names, but also involves Facebook pages and Twitter handles.

The dynamic nature of the Internet is such that even if you only post a simple website, you need to do some due diligence and anticipate both user behavior and future needs. Your website and online properties are increasingly the best conduits for conveying your company’s message.  Bear in mind, 65 percent of U.S. adults are now using social media, so surely someone is searching for your company.

Cybersquatting and Typosquatting

Cybersquatting is the practice of registering domain names with the intent of forcing a payout from a party whose intellectual property or brand are directly or indirectly associated with the url.  A related practice is typosquatting wherein a site is registered with a url address that is one or two letters off from another site in hopes of misdirecting users or again forcing an organization to purchase the domain.

Each and every business should register all potential deviations of their URL address. These are valuable properties that you need to control. You can then redirect users who make a typo or who guess an address that is not your company’s official url to the correct homepage.

For example, redirects to As such, or could redirect to The cost in doing so is small and the process easy. Compare this to the cost of having a rogue individual redirecting clients to false or misleading information.


While .com is the dominant suffix, .net and .org are the most prominent in a dizzying array of additional web suffixes.  You may want to consider snapping and .org and redirect them to your main website. The White House, which is, once had to deal with the pesky issue of ,which for a number of years was a pornographic website. Yikes!

Social Media Squatters

The practice of cybersquatting is also occurring on social media websites. As rapid adoption of social media continues, more companies are planting their virtual flags on Twitter and Facebook. Even if your organization is not ready to make the jump to an active Twitter feed or Facebook page, it should reserve spaces on these social media networks.

Reserving multiple Twitter handles is free and a sound defensive strategy for both future branding entrees and for public relations efforts. The fictional XYZ law Firm could reserve handles such as @xyzlaw, @xyzlawyers, @xzylawfirm and even @xyzsucks. (It is always a good idea to protect against potential disgruntled individuals.)

The firm could also register Facebook pages of different names so as to own that real estate. However, be aware that you need 25 “likes” to secure a Facebook URL that is shortened, such as

Even if you don’t populate these pages, it is good to own the real estate and the brand extensions.


  • Have you registered all website variations of your company’s name?
  • Have you investigated purchasing .org or .net suffixes?
  • Have you thought about and registered potential typos that could misdirect users?
  • Have you registered domain names that could damage your brand? (i.e.
  • Have you registered Twitter handles for your company and brands?
  • Have you registered a YouTube handle for your company?
  • Have you considered creating a Facebook page and working to get a shortened URL?


Insurance policies can’t cover everything, but they can provide you with peace of mind with respect to many potential disasters. Creating a well-thought out and strategic online plan, complete with strategic real estate buys, can help your business tremendously and provide you with similar peace of mind. Taking the time to be strategic in crafting branding and communications plans is critical.

–  Michael Bond

October 6, 2011 at 10:08 pm Leave a comment

Lack of Ethics Leads to Black Eye for PR Industry

As a public relations agency, we adhere to the ethics guidelines set forth and agreed upon by our industry.  Not only do we owe this to the PR trade but to our clients and journalists, who are bound by their own respective industry ethics.  The key word here is ethics, a concept central to effectively representing clients and building relationships with journalists.

So it is unfortunate that Burson-Marsteller ignored its commitment to PR ethics. The mega-agency created a whisper campaign to get top-tier media outlets, including USA Today, to run news stories and editorials berating Google’s privacy.  Former CNBC news anchor Jim Goldman and former political columnist John Mercurio, both recent Burson-Marsteller hires, were active in the media pitching – until they were asked which client they represented.  The radio signal then went silent.

Burson-Marsteller even approached an influential blogger, Chris Soghoian, offering to assist in writing a Google-bashing op-ed and promising to place it in outlets like The Washington Post, Politico and The Huffington Post.  Again, when asked about the client involved, the radio signal went silent.  So Soghoian denied the request and posted the entire email exchange.

After the email exchange went public and USA Today reported that many claims in Burson-Marsteller’s pitch were false, The Daily Beast’s Dan Lyons became suspicious and eventually outed Facebook as the anonymous client.  Describing the scenario, Lyons wrote:

Here were two guys from one of the biggest PR agencies in the world, blustering aroundSilicon Valleylike a pair of Keystone Kops.

Here are two former journalists, working for one of the world’s largest PR firms, making false claims and refusing transparency.  Only after Facebook admitted its role, did Burson-Marsteller release the following statement:

Now that Facebook has come forward, we can confirm that we undertook an assignment for that client.

 The client requested that its name be withheld on the grounds that it was merely asking to bring publicly available information to light and such information could then be independently and easily replicated by any media. Any information brought to media attention raised fair questions, was in the public domain, and was in any event for the media to verify through independent sources.

Whatever the rationale, this was not at all standard operating procedure and is against our policies, and the assignment on those terms should have been declined. When talking to the media, we need to adhere to strict standards of transparency about clients, and this incident underscores the absolute importance of that principle.

Too little, too late.  As Media Bistro points out, Burson-Marsteller should have refused the campaign:

For publicists, one of the many lessons of this story is that, as a PR professional, sometimes you have to discuss alternatives or decline a client’s request when the work is improper.

One the six core tenets of the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Code is “honesty.”  PR firms are expected to “reveal the sponsors for causes and interests represented” and “avoid deceptive practices.”

If Burson-Marsteller had followed this tenet, been upfront about its client and used solid facts when pitching, the story would have ended quite differently (avoiding the black eye the PR industry wears today).   As PRSA points out on its blog, “the ironic thing is that Burson-Marsteller got exactly what it wanted: a big article in USA Today talking about privacy concerns with Google’s services.”

–          Chuck Brown

May 12, 2011 at 7:15 pm Leave a comment

Facebook Advisory: Is Your Employment Profile Linking to the Right Company Page?

The problem is that when Facebook made one of its many upgrades, this little linkage seems to have slipped through the cracks. So now it’s up to you to fix the problem.

Continue Reading February 14, 2011 at 11:59 pm 1 comment

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to a Twitter Post….

Good thing the Delaware debate topped headline news because it certainly trumped this little gaffe by the Meg Whitman campaign.  Perhaps, if the separation of church and state issue had not arisen between Coons and O’Donnell, this (what I think is humorous) post would have caught a bit more attention:  Note: As of 4:46 yesterday, it still had not made it to the top of my Google news.  I caught wind of it via Facebook

While the mud is a slinging as we’re knee deep in the election, I hope both camps can call on their senses of humor and chuckle at this.  Well, at least we know that one electric guitar playin’ hopeful is smiling.  She just might be the next YouTube sensation – all in the name of one little typo. 

P.S.  Note to all:  check your links before hitting send, tweet or post.

–          Jen Klein

October 20, 2010 at 4:50 pm Leave a comment

Start with Social Media by Conducting an Audit

Most people are unaware of the amount of personal and professional data they are publishing. Educating employees also lets them know that you are aware of what they are publicly doing on these properties.

Continue Reading October 13, 2010 at 10:26 pm 3 comments

Real Time PR – In the Know Means in the “NOW”

I have dinner plans tonight, which means I’ll miss the American Idol final results show. What are the odds I’ll find out who the winner is before I get to watch it? Pretty good if I pick up my handheld or get near a computer.

Continue Reading May 26, 2010 at 5:05 pm Leave a comment

Grooming Them Young – A Social Network with Training Wheels

For all you professionals holding out, here’s yet another indication that social networking is here to stay. Users are becoming interested earlier and starting younger, and there’s now a site, similar to Facebook, that caters to six- to- 10-year-olds.  Togetherville was launched as a way for children to mimic their parents’ communication styles.  While under the wing of mom and dad and keeping a similar model to Facebook’s (likely what the kids will “graduate” to), children can have a network of “friends,” update their “status” (from a list of options) and play interactive games.  It’s a model that’s built upon safe communication and parent management, and it’s already generating a fair amount of buzz.

 This is yet another indicator that social networking will continue to dominate how we interact with our peer groups. Granted, children this young likely won’t be using it to get their daily news feeds or for event planning or job searching, but they will become very familiar with networks as a way to communicate.  And they will be just THAT MUCH MORE sophisticated with social networking use once they hit the professional world.

 –        Melinda Hepp

May 20, 2010 at 11:32 pm Leave a comment

How Many Facebook Fan Pages Does One Firm Need?

Include personality, such as adding pictures from the firm’s most recent softball game. It’s this touch that really creates fans of the firm anyhow.

Continue Reading May 18, 2010 at 9:06 pm 1 comment

New Technology, Newspaper Wars and a PR Junkie, Oh My!

With newspapers struggling so hard to stay afloat and magazine sales in the toilet, I felt a sense of nostalgia for the “olden days” of media when the daily paper arrived at your doorstop rather than your in-box, when you could open your morning paper and indeed it was the news of the day rather than the news of last night, and when the Sunday paper was the size of an encyclopedia rather than the size of well, Apple’s, sleek, new gadget.

Continue Reading May 3, 2010 at 7:54 pm 1 comment

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