Kel Kelly

Hey, thanks for swinging by my blog.

Whether it's topical news, internet happenings, social media, public relations, marketing, start-ups, mobile shiz or whatever, I promise to wade through the bullshit and give you my unbuffered perspective.

You'll note I never take on a "corporate tone" — whether I'm chatting you up at a party or speaking to the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, my voice never changes. I say what's on my mind and I'm often the champion of the underdog.

I'm a social media junkie and smoke Google Analytics in a crack pipe to get my day going. I hope my immersed insight and offbeat view make you laugh. More importantly, I hope you take a second and share your thoughts by posting a comment. If you have any ideas on how to make my blog better, shoot an email to kel@kelandpartners.com.

Peace out.

Archive for October, 2008

Web 2.0′s Identity Crisis

Oct. 30th 2008

All of a sudden, the term Web 2.0 is getting thrown under the bus like a certain governor from Alaska who is being blamed for the entire GOP meltdown. Michael Arrington’s post, An Ignoble But Much Needed End To Web 2.0, started the pigpile a couple of weeks ago. Since then, many Web 2.0 start-ups have had layoffs and this has fueled the fury over Web 2.0′s imminent death.

Here’s the problem, Web 2.0 as defined by Tim O’Reilly, the man who coined the phrase, is not going any place and will be around for a long, long time. Let’s look at the defining attributes that O’Reilly identifies in his September 2, 2005 post, What Is Web 2.0:

  • The Web as a platform
  • User-generated content
  • Technologies empowering users, enabling participation & aggregating wisdom
  • Services, not packaged software
  • Control over unique, hard-to-recreate data that gets richer the more people use it
  • Trusting users as co-developers
  • Harnessing collective intelligence
  • Software above the level of a single device
  • Lightweight user interfaces, development & business models

To say Web 2.0 is going away is to say that all the above bullets are going away. Homey don’t think so! I highly doubt we are going back to a world of installing software on a PC and having that PC be the only device where we can run anything. That would be one bad acid trip. The Web 2.0 genie as defined by O’Reilly is out of the bottle and there is no putting her back in.

The problem is Web 2.0 is suffering an identity crisis. The term Web 2.0 morphed away from O’Reilly’s original definition and is now solely and iconically defined and associated with the start-up companies that play in the Web 2.0 space. As such, people who see these companies as going away are making the incorrect assumption that “Web 2.0″ is going away. Nothing could be further from the truth. Last I checked, Facebook and its 100+ million membership isn’t going anywhere except up. And oh by the way, TechCrunch is a Web 2.0 company. I don’t think they are going away either.

So where does it go from here? I think what is going to happen is a new term will be created to better label the bullets/attributes cited above and probably include a few new attributes. This will allow for ”Today’s Web” to dissociate itself from the struggling Web 2.0 startups. It’s a classic branding problem. What will that term be? Who the eff knows. I am very interested to see if O’Reilly renames his conferences from Web 2.0 Expo and Web 2.0 Summit to something else. That will be very telling.

How do you define Web 2.0?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 14 Comments »

The Dog That Won’t Hunt

Oct. 12th 2008

My agency probably walks away from more potential new client opportunities than we actually consider taking on. Why? Because of what I like to call The Dog That Won’t HuntThe Dog That Won’t Hunt is the client who is absolutely impossible to get media coverage for. Yeah, they might be doing something that nobody else is doing, but from a “newsworthy” perspective, it’s just a dog. Just because a company has raised a lot of venture capital, doesn’t mean it’s newsworthy. Newsworthy means a blogger, broadcast segment producer and/or print editor thinks it’s of great interest to his or her readers and/or viewers and is worth covering.

For those of you on the client-side reading this and saying, “that’s what we pay you to do,” I suggest you take a deep breath and hear me out. Don’t get me wrong, I believe it’s the responsibility of the PR agency to create news where there is no news. And believe me, we do this day after day as do many other PR agencies. However, in spite of all the strategic creativity and pitching on the part of the agency, there are still hundreds, if not thousands of kennels full of barking, biting and whining Dogs…That Won’t Hunt.

Here’s a good example. K&P received a call just last week from a B2B Web 2.0 company about doing its PR. This was a very well-funded, venture-backed company. The woman who called us, started the conversation by saying the executive team wanted a lot more business coverage and that they were dissatisfied with their existing agency because they weren’t able to get them in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, BusinessWeek, et. al. I know their current PR agency. They are terrific and go totally balls to the wall for their clients. I told my head of Biz Dev the company was the poster child for The Dog That Won’t Hunt fraternity, and I didn’t want to take them on as a client because we would be doing more harm than good.

I think other PR agencies need to consider taking the approach of walking away from new business opportunities if the client is a dog. Whoring yourself out to any client that is willing to pay cheapens the perception of our entire industry. The subsequent scenario is as predictable as Sarah Palin using the terms “Joe Six Pack,” “Hockey Mom” and “You betcha!” in a single sentence: The client will pay the agency six months of retainer, the agency will fail to garner the level of coverage the client expects and the client will fire the agency’s ass. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. The client then walks the earth preaching hate around all PR agencies because of the bad experience they had. I would argue this is the biggest factor that contributes to the client-side’s negative perception of the PR industry.

PR agencies enable the dysfunctional behavior of the dog clients when they sit across the table in a new biz meeting and nod in agreement at the client’s unrealistic expectations. We need to stop the madness, don’t go ugly early and just say no. Be a dog yourself. Take the time to sniff the dog’s ass and really determine if The Dog Can Hunt. You will be doing everyone a favor in the process. The media will start to love PR agencies because there will be less annoying, non-newsworthy stories being pitched. The clients will love us because we won’t be making false promises and they can look to leverage other higher ROI marketing tactics to raise their awareness. The employees at the PR agencies will love us because we are not asking them to pitch some ridiculously non-newsworthy client that causes them to get repeatedly bitch-slapped by the media and the client.

Is your tail wagging after reading this or do you want to bite me?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »