Posts filed under ‘Digital media relations’

We’ve Moved to


By Kyle

Yes, the rumors are true.  We have closed on this site and are officially moving our digital digs to (check out the new design). The new site is also now accessible by clicking on the RaceTalk link in the upper right corner of the Racepoint Group Website. 

We got too big and popular and decided we needed our own domain.  Plus now we can actually take control of all the reigns and take the blog in the direction we want to go.  Expect more of the same including more exclusive RaceTalk Q&A’s.  We’re also looking forward to launching some new RaceTalk created video content that we hope to start populating the blog with in the upcoming months.  

So change your bookmarks to and we’ll see you there.


Our new sister blog: World 2.0 Blog, is up and running at  Check it out and bookmark it as well.  The World 2.0 Blog will pick up on some of the stories we’ve been covering on globalization, sustainability and corporate social responsibility by taking a deep-dive on those issues.


March 26, 2008 at 9:16 pm Leave a comment

Facebook Inserting Itself into Middle East Conflict?

By Ben

Since the state of Israel was established in 1948, the country’s borders have been constantly changing with every war and peace agreement. The West Bank and Gaza strip have been particularly sensitive areas, with a lot of fighting and uncertainty.

However, in Facebook’s attempt to assign a network to the people living in the West Bank, it automatically assigned them to the Palestine network – a pretty bold move.


As one could imagine, pinpointing an entire region as Palestine did not sit very well. Every person in Israel defines themselves differently depending on their background, family, and religion. To label an entire region of people with such different backgrounds and identities seems to go way beyond Facebook’s goal of being a “social utility that connects you with the people around you.”

David Shamah, a reporter for the Jerusalem Post writes, “I think it’s very unfair of Facebook to take sides in an ongoing dispute by making official (the creation of a state called Palestine), something that the United Nations has not even decided on yet.”

After receiving a lot of complaints and being accused of having a political agenda, Facebook has now started to allow people living in these areas to chose whether they’re listed as being a resident of Israel or Palestine.

March 18, 2008 at 12:41 pm 5 comments

Why Press Releases and Web 2.0 Go Together

By George

There is some interesting work happening over at Optaros, a next-generation consulting firm. Optaros helps companies build web sites and back end systems using Web 2.0 principals. The company recently converted its own web site to showcase what it means by Web 2.0.

Full disclosure: Racepoint was Optaros’ PR agency of record for more than a year, but we are no longer are engaged with them.

Optaros’ new web site has a fresh look and feel (although some of the dynamic content looks a bit clunky, especially on the home page). Optaros lists its “8 Principals for B2B Marketing 2.0” in the new age of the web. Most of its principals have been said before, but they present it well. However, number 6 really took us by surprise:

“Stop issuing press releases “over the wire.” The first press release was “put on the wire” on March 8, 1954 by PRNewswire to 12 news outlets in New York City. The pricing model is still based on the number of words with the average press release costing between $500 and $1,000 to put “over the wire”. Instead, email them to reporters/ bloggers to build a personal connection and increase the probability of coverage.”

This is why companies shouldn’t take communications advice from marketers. They simply don’t understand public relations. This principal flies in the face of what is happening on the web (and also contradicts Optaros’ 7th principal, which is to syndicate and actively share content).

In the age of interconnectivity and search engine optimization why would a company choose to limit the distribution of its own news? When a press release goes over the wire – it is automatically picked up by dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of online outlets. These “links” immediately push the press release to the top of Google and Yahoo searches.

When Racepoint launched Ringleader, a next-generation mobile advertising network, several weeks ago, its press release held three of the top spots in the first 10 results in a Google search for the company for more than 10 days. That meant anyone conducting a search for “Ringleader” had a 30 percent chance of clicking on a link to the press release.

That’s a powerful mode of communication. If a company was wise enough to include links to additional content in the press release then it now has an opportunity to engage more directly with potential customers.

Press releases are more important than ever. The mistake in Optaros’ thinking is believing that press releases are written for the press. That’s old-fashioned thinking for company touting to be Web 2.0. Press releases are now for everyone: customers, prospects, partners, investors, employees, bloggers, social networks, reporters, editors, and analysts.

Companies should be writing more of them – and distributing them widely through the wires, through RSS, through aggregators and social bookmarking services, and, yes, even directly to reporters when a reporter has asked for a copy of one (and generally before its been widely distributed).

(And on another note: Optaros clearly doesn’t understand how to develop relationships with the press either. One sure-fire way to get off on the wrong foot with a reporter is to clutter up her inbox with press releases she didn’t ask for.)

There’s little doubt that the industry needs to rethink the way they write press releases. We agree with Optaros that companies should kill the corporate voice and engage with everyone in a more straight forward, plain-spoken manner.

Here are some additional details about our philosophy on press releases.

It’s refreshing to see companies like Optaros opening up and communicating better. They are setting an excellent example for other companies to follow.

But they should leave the public relations advice to the experts.


March 17, 2008 at 3:39 pm 3 comments

Bloggers Banned?

By Ben

Dallas Mavericks owner (and former ‘Dancing with the Stars’ participant) Mark Cuban has instituted a new policy of banning bloggers from the team’s locker room. According to an AP article, “the policy was put in place after Cuban decided to keep out a reporter for The Dallas Morning News whose primary job is writing for the newspaper’s sports blogs.”

As one can imagine, this decision has been met with complaints throughout the blogger community. TrueHoop, an ESPN blog, posted an email exchange it had with Cuban about his decision. Other bloggers have posted open letters to Cuban’ about his decision, such as this one where Los Angeles Times blogger Andrew Kamenetzky says the ban is a slap in the face.


Ironically, Cuban posted a response to the outrage in his own blog,

“Some out there will take this as my not “liking” blogs. Ridiculous. Its the exact opposite. What I don’t like is unequal access. I’m all for bloggers getting the same access as mainstream media when possible. Our interview room is open to bloggers. We take interview requests from bloggers. I’m a fan of getting as much coverage as possible for the Mavs. What I’m not a fan of is major media companies throwing their weight around thinking they should be treated differently.”

Cuban also manages to throw in his own opinion on blogging:

“Newspaper blogging is probably the worst marketing and branding move a newspaper can make. The barriers to entry for bloggers are non existent. There are no editorial standards. There are no accuracy standards. We bloggers can and do write whatever we damn well please. Historically newspapers have set some level of standards that they strived to adhere to. By taking on the branding, standard and posting habits of the blogosphere, newspapers have worked their way down to the least common demoninator of publishing in what appears to be an effort to troll for page views.”

While many are questioning whether this new policy was put in place just to ban one specific blogger from being in the locker room, Cuban has certainly created some chaos, and a distraction from his team’s recent drop in the standings.

March 12, 2008 at 2:08 pm Leave a comment

Corporate Social Responsibility — Getting Beyond Philanthropy

By Peter Prodromou

People can find something to criticize about everything, including the transparency of Bono’s “Red” campaign. The Red campaign was started a little over a year ago and includes corporations like the Gap, who donate a portion of sales proceeds from Red branded merchandise to help with medical issues in developing countries. It seems the New York Times has questions about how much of that money is getting to these countries.

The Times article comes on the heels of Dell Computer joining the campaign and publicizing its participation during a Super Bowl ad.

That’s the problem with today’s brand of corporate social responsibility (CSR). It simply too sporadic and even if it isn’t — the way it’s executed leaves people with the best intentions open to criticism. This trend points to the glaring need for companies to reform their views and execution on social corporate responsibility. Companies today need to ingrain in their DNA and their corporate positioning the spirit of CSR.

We applaud Dell, Gap and every other participant for joining the Red campaign. Now we ask them to be truly bold. They can begin by reframing their corporate images around a handful of the most important issues in the world today – whether the environment, solving poverty or something else. They should think not only about giving, but empowering societies by developing and providing them with the tools they need to elevate themselves.

Imagine a cleaner world brought to you by a Green General Motors, or a future bastion of democracy in the developing world with entrepreneurialism powered by accessible computers. That’s the true spirit of CSR – the kind companies must focus on to lead and compete in the 21st century.



February 7, 2008 at 7:27 pm Leave a comment

It’s a Brave New World (2.0)

By Peter Prodromou

It’s been nearly 80 years since Edward Bernays changed the face of PR by marching a bunch of women down Madison Avenue smoking cigarettes. Yet even with the passage of time, you could argue nothing’s changed. Companies and governments still use the same tired approaches to publicize their agendas:

1 Part Wall Street Journal + 1 Part Charitable Act = Successful Reputation Management

The problem with that formula is that the world has passed it by.

The Wall Street Journal is still important and, let’s face it, who can argue with the righteousness of charitable acts? But the reality is, today’s audiences are more fragmented, sophisticated and connected than ever. The power of the internet and digital media has given everyone and anyone the power to drive perception. At the same time, the public is more issues driven than ever. Just think about how many of your friends and neighbors talk about the environment… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The companies and countries that are going to define this century are going to need more than economic might and an audience with print and broadcast media. They’re going to be tapped into those issues and, equally important, they’re going to have to understand the value of new technology and web media for not only communicating a story, but creating conversations and on-on-one constituent relationships.

They’ll do it through digital media, blogs, forums and other discussion sites. They’ll do it visually, using the web to spread their message far and wide. Most important, they’ll do it credibly with true commitment to the issues that concern the public today and through true relationship building.

So who’s getting it right? Think One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) – empowering people all over the globe to gain access to knowledge and talking about it on the web, as well as through traditional media. Think British Petroleum, moving to transform from an old oil company, to a next generation energy resource – and is proud – and daring enough — to talk about it.

These are the organizations that give you hope for a better tomorrow and a view into real leadership. These are the model organizations that work now or will work with World 2.0.

February 6, 2008 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

OLPC Raises More Than $35 Million

By George

From November 12 through December 31, One Laptop Per Child ran a charitable campaign in North America called the Give One Get One.  It was simple.  Buy two of OLPC’s XO laptops (often called the $100 laptop) for $399 U.S. dollars and you get one; while the second is shipped to a child in a developing country.

The campaign is a case study on the effectiveness of public relations in building awareness, creating consumer demand and driving action.  OLPC is a non-profit organization and couldn’t afford a fancy advertising campaign to spread the word about G1G1.  So they turned to Racepoint Group.

We have been working with OLPC for more than a year — doing pro bono communications work.  But the G1G1 campaign was different.  The public relations campaign we created for G1G1 would be augmented by a small (but very creative) advertising campaign (publications and broadcasters agreed to run these ads and short videos as public service announcements).  But we were primarily on our own in building awareness and driving traffic to the G1G1 web site where consumers would be able to purchase the amazing XO laptops.

We had already done a remarkable job in media relations for OLPC — but now we were tasked with directly impacting sales.  We had to move beyond the core technology and business writers and focus on consumer press.  The goal of G1G1 was to reach consumers — directly.  There was the added difficulty that consumers could only buy the XO in one place — a web site built by OLPC.  Consumers wouldn’t be able to go to a store to look at, touch, or play with the XO.  In fact, we wouldn’t even be able to tell them exactly when they would receive their XOs.

A difficult challenge, indeed.

But our campaign generated thousands of articles and broadcasts — from a feature in People magazine to appearances on “Good Morning, America” and FOX-TV and hundreds of blog posts.  For the month of December — OLPC was everywhere.  The results speak for themselves.  OLPC sold more than 160,000 XO laptops and raised more than $35 million dollars.

Proof that when public relations is done right — it can create a powerful impact.

January 10, 2008 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

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