Saturday, February 24, 2007

Google - on the verge of being really useful

I have a problem. On semi-regular trips abroad I am struggling to find an effective way of catching up on emails. I hate carting a heavy laptop around and so a PDA/phone seemed the answer. A Sony Ericsson P910i does the job with one drawback – it doesn’t have any spam filters and over a 24 hour period I can collect upwards of 200 messages – 95% of which are spam.

It seems that within the last 6 months spam has really blossomed and unfortunately my primary addresses have been hawked to all the least disreputable sources – a throwback to when the email address was clearly displayed on our website.

The answer seemed to be offered by the effervescent Google through their Google Gmail package, with its built in spam filters. All looked fine on setup and between desktop and mobile perfect synchronisation. But the forwarding of email from a POP server to Gmail is on limited availability. Other email forwarding options exist but seem to necessitate the forwarding computer being left on – not an ideal option when one is away for a week or so.

Please Google – you promise on your site to roll this Outlook collection option to Gmail in new future. You have a great opportunity to promote your use to a audience beyond search. I, and I am sure others really need this option and would be happy to pay for it.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Online adspend points the way for PR

As part of my duties to the International group of the CIPR it was off to the House of Commons last night to hear a talk by Baroness Buscombe, the new DG of the Advertising Association. Not immediately relevant to media research but what she said was of great interest to the PR industry.

While she is keen to maintain standards it was also very apparent that content has to be king and if this means pushing the boundaries, then so be it. With advertising revenues from traditional media falling like stones, so cutbacks in all areas of content are occurring. If magazines are unable to sell as many ads they are not going to make up the short-fall with more editorial content. Instead the two will be mirrored, in effect leading to less traditional media sources with which PR can engage.

During this meeting I had the sense that there was an elephant in the room – metaphorically that is…. and it goes by the name of Google, which sucks up a quarter of all online adspend, bypassing whole ad agency machine.

I really wanted to hear about the ways the ad agencies can deal themselves back into the online adspending and more importantly what PR needs to learn from this situation.