Sometimes, comments to posts get overlooked. I don’t want this one, about Forbes Magazine’s sloppy reporting and editing, to be missed.
The other day, I noted that Tom Taulli’s story on blogging in the current issue – particularly a quote of Bob Wyman of PubSub, “seems to have been strangely edited, perhaps by an editor who is clueless about blogging. Some of the comments seem clearly to have been taken out of context. Or maybe Taulli really doesn’t get blogs.”
Says Wyman’s partner, Salim Ismail, in a comment on my post:
Very perceptive of you… “In a quote no doubt taken out of context…..”
Yes, the quote was taken out of context… especially in that it wasn’t Bob’s quote, but mine. You very rightly have noticed Bob would be much more complex and accurate – it’s generally impossible for him to be otherwise… (I work hard at balancing him out a bit :)
And, the response was to a different question (around how companies can better understand bloggers rather than get ‘noticed’.)
I think we should applaud Forbes for at least more objectively reporting the space (subjectively speaking, of course)
Posted by: Salim Ismail at January 27, 2006 11:34 AM
In endless debate, deadtree journalists love to bash bloggers, saying we’re not really journalists, that we can say anything we want because we have no editors, we don’t have a code of ethics, that our reporting is sloppy and inaccurate, blah, blah, blah.
Don’t they have editors at Forbes?
Dear Forbes: You need to post Taulli’s notes from the interview on their website.
Or kiss your credibility, at least about the blogosphere, goodbye.
UPDATE:: Tom Taulli emailed me what he says is “my interview I did with Pubsub via email.” It doesn’t identify who said what, and Salim Ismail says the quote was his and not Wyman’s. I’d still like to see Taulli’s notes for the story. Here’s the document Taulli sent:
Background on the company? How did it get started/idea for the company?
PubSub is three years old, and started due to a chance meeting between Salim Ismail & Bob Wyman (they ended up sharing an apartment in early 2001). Bob is the technology brains and vision and Salim had business experience and money.
In the 90s, we had millions of readers of the Web, but relatively few publishers. The rise of blogs is resulting in millions of readers and millions of publishers, resulting in a requirement to match all those newly published events with the consumers who want them.
The ability to track millions of events in real time has only existed in the financial markets, where the ROI exists to build billion-dollar systems to solve this problem.
Enter PubSub. PubSub has built a matching engine that can reconcile new information events against stored queries at the rate of 3 billion matches per second (several orders of magnitude faster than existing databases technology). Launched in 2004, PubSub today receives about 3 million newly published blog posts a day from over 21 million sources. Its engine performs trillions of matches per day to notify users who are interested in tracking those sources in real time.
Bob Wyman built predecessors to Lotus Notes and built the first known wide area network hypertext system (which was installed at CERN). He has been thinking about this problem for many years, and PubSub has built only known matching engine of its kind.
What are some of the general trends about blogs?
Blogs tracked by PubSub.
Oct 04 5,000,000
Apr 05 10,000,000
Aug 05 15,000,000
Dec 05 20,000,000
Worldwide estimates for blogs are in the 50-70 million range, and we believe it’ll cross 100 million in the next 4-6 months.
Blogs are stratifying into layers. The top layer is a small number of essentially ‘professional’ writers self-publishing their work. The next is a larger number of hobbyists and professionals focused on a particular topic. The third layer is a vast number of people using blogs to self-publish for their friends.
The next major evolution in blogging is called Structured Blogging (www.structuredblogging.org), which is a set of open source plugins for major blogging platforms. Rather then just text entries, the toolset allows bloggers to enter structured data (offers to sell, job announcements, DVD reviews, restaurant reviews, etc). The underlying data is then syndicated through the blogging ecosystem, allowing search engines to use that information. There are enormous implications for how data on the internet will redistribute once this takes hold (and it has started already). Over 50 companies (see the list on the site) are adapting their products/services to support the initiative.
How can companies reach out to blogs to market themselves? Strategies? Pitfalls?
The best way of reaching out to blogs is for companies to both track blogs and publish them.
Tracking tools like PubSub allow companies to monitor what’s being said about them, their products, their competitors and topics important to them. For instance, we track all mentions of RSS as talked about by the top 1% of bloggers. Companies should set up ‘subscriptions’ for keywords and phrases relevant to them.
Another tool is PubSub’s linkranks. Companies should track themselves and see how bloggers rate them. Here’s are links tracking Dell, Apple and Forbes(!)
To get noticed by bloggers, companies should appoint internal bloggers and start them blogging.
Any blogs published by companies must be authentic (see www.scobleizer.com) otherwise the effect will be negative.
Also, companies can sponsor blogging events and meet the bloggers themselves to see what makes them tick.
Here’s our email exchange:
Here’s how it went: I got the story idea while in New York a week ago, when I met with the founder of Indeed.com. I really liked his story about how his new company got picked up by an influential blog.
As I do with most stories, I used Profnet, which is a service from PR Newswire. It allows me to send out a query to firms/PR firms to get possible sources. For this story, I got about 100 responses to my query. One came from the PR firm of PubSub. Actually, they have been pitching me for a long time. But, given the company’s service, it seemed like a good fit.
In most cases, I prefer doing interviews via email. It really means reducing the possibility of misquotes. And, the questions I posed to PubSub were the same ones I posed to the other sources in the article.
Unfortunately, there was miscommunication between myself and the PR firm and the source got mixed up. It should have been Salim that the comments were attributed do (well, that’s according to the company anyway).
This does happen from time to time. WSJ, Businessweek have mix-ups and usually there is a Correction section to deal with this. The nice thing about the Web though is these mixups can be corrected quickly. For example, in a piece I did two weeks ago, I misspelled Autobytel. The company’s PR firm saw this, emailed me and it was fixed immediately.
In the case of my blog article, it came out early morning on Wed. And, if you check out PubSub, they even list my article on their web site:
Yet, it was not until today that I got a call from the company’s PR firm saying that I need to quickly put out a fire that was erupting on the blogs. It was actually difficult to understand what she was saying. I was pretty much clueless. She said it was critically important that I correct things and go on the blogs.
I asked her to send over the blogs and it was uncanny how fast she got back to me with an email on it. While on the freeway, I pieced together what I could from the blogs. I have to say it’s been a miserable day.
I always try my best to write these columns. As much as I can, I try to research things, contact companies, contact experts and so on.
Here’s the email the PR person sent me:
The blog posts and WebProNews piece are below. As I mentioned, it might be a good idea to engage in a discussion with the bloggers on this to help them understand your POV and the quote discrepancy.
Feel free to call with questions or anything else. Thanks again, Tom…
B.L. Ochman’s blog:
Doc Searl’s blog:
PAN Communications, Inc.
From: B.L. Ochman
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006 6:57 PM
To: Tom Taulli
Subject: RE: blog story
hi tom: thanks for the email.
with whom did you do the interview?
Bob Wyman left this comment on my blog:
“BL, You are correct. I never said those words.
Salim said on my blog:
“Yes, the quote was taken out of context… especially in that it wasn’t Bob’s quote, but mine. ”
Internet Marketing Strategist, Fortune 500 Blog Consultant
From: Tom Taulli
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006 6:27 PM
Subject: blog story
Here is my interview I did with Pubsub via email, attached.