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Patrick Coffee

I write stuff for Mediabistro and NYMag.com, do freelance consulting work, and waste time on Twitter. You can send me pitches at patrick (at) mediabistro (dot) com or use the anonymous tip box.

GM Recall Scandal Is Actually Increasing Sales

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Here’s one we had to post quickly in the All News Is Good News category, because we’re still slightly shocked.

From a senior Edmunds analyst discussing GM’s current status in The New York Times this morning:

“You’d think it would damage their brand. But it’s actually helping to drive purchases at the dealership. You come in to have your old car fixed and see the new designs and technology, and wind up thinking ‘Maybe I’ll buy a new car.’”

Also:

“G.M. is also quietly offering additional discounts to owners of the 2.6 million vehicles recalled as part of the original ignition switch problem. The automaker has authorized dealers to offer employee prices to owners who inquire about a new purchase.”

It’s true that this is part of a larger trend as the auto industry finally recovers from the recession…but surely the latest wave of recalls and the generally negative response to CEO Mary Barra’s follow-up has led to a decline in GM’s stock prices, right?

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Mindy Kaling Helps Google Teach Girls to Code

Mindy Kaling

Pic via Taylor Hill/Filmmagic for Google

We’re all aware that the tech world faces a gender balance issue that is much more than just a simple “public relations problem”. We recently posted on a coming documentary designed to highlight female entrepreneurs, but Google is spending millions of bucks to address the lack of women in the coding community–and they picked an unlikely celebrity to help spread the message: actress/writer Mindy Kaling.

This morning Kaling explained a bit more about the strategy and her status as spokeswoman for “geeky” girls everywhere in an interview with WNYC’s New Tech City.

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The Ticker: What Makes a Good Tweet; Gen Y on Tech; Facebook Study Got It Wrong; And More

Adam Richman Gets ‘Postponed’ After Suggesting That a Woman Commit Suicide

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Robin Thicke isn’t the only celebrity who had a very bad day/week on social media.

Adam Richman, who was once famous for eating a lot, is now trying to be even more famous for not eating so much. He somehow got slimmer through diet and exercise and proceeded to post pics on Instagram documenting his progress with the hashtag #thinspiration.

Apparently, that tag doubles as a meme in “the pro-anorexia community”, and when an Instagrammer pointed this fact out to him he asked her, by way of an acronym, whether he looked like he might give a f*ck.

It all got much worse from there.

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Facebook’s Own Records Contradict Its Latest Apology

FACE!

If by “people” you mean “Facebook researchers”

We won’t say that Facebook has gotten good at apologizing, but they’re certainly used to it. At this point, even your great aunt has heard about the disastrous effects of a research paper that revealed the details of the company’s “manipulative” emotional A/B testing study. It might be Facebook’s biggest PR challenge to date because, even though it was probably not illegal, many users feel violated somehow.

The damage control line so far has been “it’s all about research” with the ultimate goal of improving the user experience–and that everyone implicitly agreed to play the part of unknowing digital lab rat when he/she clicked “OK” on Facebook’s terms and conditions.

Last night, however, a Forbes story undermined this claim.

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Corporate ‘Fact-Checking’ Blogs: Trend or Fad?

Crack

In the wake of aggressive corporate communications moves like America’s biggest company “fact-checking” New York Times op-eds, we thought we’d check in on BlackBerry, the former best friend of Alicia Keys.

Last week, the company’s SVP of marketing announced the launch of its own “fact check portal”, which is usually the kind of thing reserved for politicians whose enemies will never believe that they have, in fact, seen the birth certificate.

So how is the portal doing so far?

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Twitter (Finally) Calls Robin Thicke a Douchebag

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Ok, I can hear you now.

Yesterday Robin Thicke learned the same lesson that has already turned JPMorgan and Roger Goodell into prime case studies for the ages: Twitter chats pretty much never go well, especially when the fruit at the center of the conversation hangs so very, very low.

This one was so bad that it led journalists all over the country to devote their mornings to locating Mr. Thicke’s most embarrassing stock photos.

How did we do?

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The Ticker: Corporate Conscience; Learning from Failure; Trademarked Memes; And More

PR Newswire Will No Longer Tolerate Your Spam

spam_can-SMWhile The Associated Press announced its plans to use robots to create financial press releases today, PR Newswire went in the (sort of) opposite direction last week with a new regulatory crackdown on spam. We missed it at the time, but now we’re on the case.

This move is interesting in that it won’t be based on algorithms alone: instead, the organization reports that its own editorial staffers will review submitted releases to make sure they deliver real value to readers via “a number of message elements” like original research and substantial analysis.

In other words, no more link-farming or jargon dumps/SEO tricks–in theory, at least…

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Will Robots Write Your Client’s Next Press Release?

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Did you take our headline too literally? Our apologies. Robots will almost certainly not write your next press release…or the one after that, or the one after that.

The Associated Press did, however, just announce a very real “robotic content production deal” with a company called Automation Insights. In fact, the AP even published a Q&A on the matter which very closely resembles…a traditional press release!

Of course there’s more.

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