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Posts Tagged ‘Tim Armstrong’

AOL’s Tim Armstrong Gives Sincere Apologies

Or so says Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times in the first episode of his planned series #ApologyWatch (and yes, we know that others used the hashtag before him).

We like how someone just had to make the “we have too many lawyers in this country” non-joke and the way CNBC’s backing music serves as an Academy Awards-style call to wrap it up, already.

But yes, Lawrence Spiegel and Sorkin made some valid points about balancing the importance of waiting to ensure that there’s meaning behind the apology with the public’s desire for an immediate response in the social media era.

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AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Failed PR 101

Today in CEOs Behaving Badly: We understand why AOL chief Tim Armstrong was a little upset at the unfortunate struggles of Patch, his well-meaning $300 million experiment in hyper-local news content. He promised AOL that the venture would turn a profit by year’s end, and in order to bring this about he seemingly had no choice but to fire hundreds of the writers, editors, and managers at more than 400 individual Patch sites around the country.

But this hardly excuses the commission of a cardinal PR sin: letting his temper get away with him during a 1,000-strong conference call and firing an employee for taking a photo during his speech. It was mild as outbursts go, but it was recorded for the ages and distributed to every media outlet around.

This wasn’t just any employee, by the way; it was Patch’s creative director Abel Lenz. The fact that such a Trump-worthy incident was terrible PR should be obvious to all, but we’ll go into a bit more detail:

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TechCrunch Reporters Speak Out About CrunchFund

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TechCrunch writers are speaking out about the news that TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington is launching a $20 million venture capital fund, CrunchFund, news that has been met with criticism and confusion since it was announced.

Writer MG Siegler’s post “TechCrunch As We Know It May Be Over” warns AOL against bringing in their own EIC to replace Arrington, saying it would be a “a colossal fucking mistake” and says he’s letting “our readers, know before you find out via a press release.” Writer Paul Carr defends the site against a separate column in the Times that also questions the ethics of the launch. (TechCrunch’s Carr previously wrote a column criticizing the move though supportive of Arrington and the site.)

Both writers talk about the journalistic independence that TechCrunch reporters have, and it’s both interesting and insightful to read these two columns about the situation. But it would be better for TechCrunch if there was a more cohesive message coming from the company leadership on what’s happening.

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A Look Inside AOL’s Social Media Strategy

As AOL continues to evolve its product offerings and business model, the company is also evolving its social media strategy.

Matthew Knell, director of social media at AOL, was one of the featured speakers at the Community Manager Meetup, which took place this past Tuesday evening in New York. Knell is an experienced digital media strategist who also knows how to code (i.e. he can build things, too). His career has taken him from large companies such as JetBlue and MTV to start-ups such as CafeMom.

“AOL is a lot of things to some people, and nothing to others,” said Knell during the start of his interview with Katy Zack, PR manager for SapientNitro. “It’s an umbrella of brands, and is a lot like a TV network.”

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Arianna Huffington Outlines The Prospects For HuffPo and AOL

In an essay on The Huffington Post discussing the site’s merger with AOL, Arianna Huffington, HuffPo co-founder and now president and EIC of The Huffington Post Media Group, speaks to what is most important to the newly merged media outlet.

“By combining HuffPost with AOL’s network of sites, thriving video initiative, local focus, and international reach, we know we’ll be creating a company that can have an enormous impact, reaching a global audience on every imaginable platform.”

(As with The Daily, we wonder if that means new pitching opportunities for publicists. Note, the New York Times pinpoints the AOL sites that will likely disappear and the staff adjustments that will probably be made.)

Moreover, the acquisition gives AOL a jolt that it needs. Huffington also addressed that in a video she and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong recorded for AllThingsD.

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AOL Announces TechCrunch Acquisition, on TechCrunch

After days of speculation, AOL’s acquisition of Michael Arrington‘s TechCrunch is official.  As the media fishbowl attempts to uncover the dollar figure–and former collaborator Jason Calacanis calling Arrington a “sociopath”–we can’t help notice the way it went down.  AOL CEO Tim Armstrong rushed the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt (said to be their best revenue stream) this morning, while the press release headered by his own byline went live on the blogTechCrunch, not AOL’s.

So does TechCrunch still think AOL’s PR department is clueless?  Arrington will presumably have to work with corporate communications and other departments to ensure smooth integration, as well as receive the most sizable of checks.

Chatter in the PR world will be about whether or not TechCrunch can retain it bigfoot status in the startup media scene, and whether or not founder Michael Arrington’s hardline approach to embargoes and exclusives will hold.  Let us know if you think the deal harkens a kinder, gentler TechCrunch.

AOL CEO: Social Media For Us ‘Is A Distribution Platform’

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong was interviewed by Fortune‘s Poppy Harlow at the publication’s Brainstorm TECH conference this past weekend. Harlow asked about AOL’s social media strategy, noting their failed investment in Bebo, which took place before Armstrong joined as CEO.

“Social for us is a distribution platform,” said Armstrong, adding that social media ties in well with the company’s content strategy, since so many people use social networks to share content.

PR pros should be keeping tabs on AOL’s content sites, as the company has said it plans on hiring hundreds of journalists.

Digg.com PR Head Leaves for AOL, Re-Joins Old Yahoo Boss

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Kiersten Hollars, director of communications at social networking site Digg, has left to join AOL. The connection? Hollars was plucked away by her old boss at Yahoo, Brad Garlinghouse. Garlinghouse is now President of Internet and Mobile Communications at AOL.

Hollars’ new role is senior director of corporate communications, reporting to both Garlinghouse and EVP Corporate Communications Tricia Primrose. “This is more about working with Brad again, and nothing about Digg,” Hollars told TechCrunch, who broke the news. This is the second high profile PR hire made by AOL this fall. PRNewser reported exclusively on September 24th that Caroline Campbell joined the company from Porter Novelli. Campbell has ties to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong from their days together at Google.

Meanwhile, Digg is looking for a replacement.

Caroline Campbell To Join AOL as VP of Corporate Communications

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PRNewser has learned that Caroline Campbell will join AOL as VP of Corporate Communications. Campbell previously was a VP at Porter Novelli. Prior to Porter Novelli, Campbell served as Senior Manager, Global Communications & Public Affairs at Google.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, formerly head of advertising sales at Google, continues the trend of bringing former Google employees to AOL. Campbell’s first day at AOL will be October 19th.

Advertising Week Opening Night: “It’s Not Just the Ad Trades Anymore”

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AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, Fox Interactive head Jonathan Miller, R/GA founder Bob Greenburg, Interpublic CEO Michael Roth, Crispin Porter and Bogusky’s Chuck Porter, and many more we didn’t immediately identify were on hand for Advertising Week’s Opening Gala last night. (We were on AgencySpy’s turf, after all.)

The event moved this year to Times Square from Rockefeller Center. Bonus: use of giant flat screen in Times Square. Minus: The opening video played on the flat screen had an error and instead just showed random images of the crowd and podium.

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Sunshine & Sachs, who is handling all PR for Advertising Week, had a team on hand, including partner Shawn Sachs. One S&S employee told PRNewser that the “Crash Test Dummies” costumes (pictured above alongside other brand icons in the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame portion of the event) were actually filled by S&S staffers. She was kind enough not to reveal their identities.

PR man (he still runs an agency, Plesser Holland Associates) turned video blog founder (Beet.tv) Andy Plesser had his video gear set up in the middle of it all. After the Time‘s Stuart Elliott declined him an interview, Plesser was quick to remind us that Beet.tv is up for an OMMA Award in the “Video-sharing” category. He said the site is doing “more original video than just about anyone as far as I can tell,” with 150,000 video views a month and recently inked distribution deals with TechCrunch and Huffington Post.

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Back to Sunshine & Sachs – the agency found itself managing yet another busy day of events. Sachs informed us that Ken Sunshine was at another client function, a ribbon cutting at the new permanent site for the Frank Sinatra school of arts featuring Tony Bennett and Susan Benedetto. S&S also managed a press conference for the innovative $1M Netflix contest, which pitted teams of engineers in a three-year contest to improve the site’s movie recommendation system. The press conference drew coverage in hundreds of outlets.

Sachs told PRNewser, “Companies announcing news around it [Advertising Week] is a vital sign that you have a living event.” Heather Lylis, who runs the Advertising Week account for Sunshine & Sachs said they had registered more than 200 press and that people had flown in from across the country. “It’s not just the ad trades anymore,” she said, citing involvement from CNBC, Bloomberg, BusinessWeek and The Wall Street Journal.

[Photo Credit: Matt Van Hoven]