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Posts Tagged ‘Valleywag’

Your First #Ferguson Pitch

shutterstock_87109075Ed Zitron told us this would happen and we were skeptical, but yesterday Valleywag posted on PR promoting a client’s community alert-style smartphone tool as an “app for the Ferguson riots.”

While Sam Biddle predictably called it the worst thing ever of the week, we are conflicted. (The author of said pitch spoke to us back in February for a post on House of Cards‘ portrayal of the political communications game.)

The product, as we understand it, allows citizens to take pictures of crimes complete with geolocation info so they can more effectively alert law enforcement.

How good or bad is this pitch, though?

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Valleywag Will Continue to Make Your Tech Clients Sweat

valleywag-touch-icon-200x200If you have big tech names or promising startup clients on your roster, you may flinch each time you hear the word “Valleywag.”

Don’t count on that changing anytime soon. In a new interview with New York magazine, head tech muckraker Sam Biddle promises that–while his online persona is not an accurate representation of himself–he will continue trying to make your tech clients nervous with more than a little help from anonymous tipsters.

Most importantly, he does use Uber…no matter how much he may hate the company and everything it stands for.

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Startups Like Airbnb Are Getting Better at Addressing Viral Scandals

airbnbAllow us to overgeneralize in writing that tech startup founders can sometimes come across as…what’s the word…aloof. Arrogant. Condescending.

Maybe all that adulatory media coverage goes to their heads. The point, as Valleywag reminds us every day, is that they don’t always respond to challenges in the most effective or sympathetic way.

Yet a PandoDaily post this week argues that companies like Uber and Airbnb are getting better at crisis communications, and we have to agree.

You probably read the viral story about one Airbnb client whose apartment served as the set for a “XXX Freak Fest” (NSFW). Rather than dismiss his complaint as the cost of doing business, the company changed his locks, paid for his hotel stay and wired him thousands of dollars to cover the literal clean-up cost.

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Man Sues New York Tech Firm for Sexual Harassment

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Today in Unfortunate Headlines news, a former account coordinator at a Manhattan tech PR firm has filed suit against his co-workers and his boss. The legal matter addressed in the suit is (alleged) sexual harassment and its dismissal by company executives.

Sound familiar?

We won’t go into too many details as you can read them in the complaint itself:

We’ll just say it looks like a bit of a mess.

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Can HBO’s Silicon Valley Improve Silicon Valley’s Reputation?

Yesterday HBO debuted the trailer for Mike Judge‘s sitcom Silicon Valley.

Looks like a Big Bang Theory/Workaholics mash-up: they’re nerds, but they aren’t one-dimensional punchlines; they’re Millennials, but they don’t spend all their time figuring out how they can manage to do less work.

In an amazing coincidence, Napster/Facebook guy Sean “Don’t Call Me Justin” Parker used the same weekend to offer a pitch-perfect demonstration of why SV may want to update its operating system.

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Can PR Spending Predict a New Tech Bubble?

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Earlier this week the San Francisco Chronicle published a sort of insider’s perspective on how the state of tech PR could reveal a pending Silicon Valley “bubble”—and they asked a couple of our favorite contacts to weigh in.

Tech’s venture capital take in 2013 was its highest since 2001, leading some unnamed observers to both wonder whether there’s a new bubble approaching and, if so, when it might burst. As white-hot industries begin their rapid fall back to earth, PR budgets are usually the first to get cut—so market experts look to the communications industry for clues regarding the health of Silicon Valley at large.

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Uber and the (Negligible) Cost of Bad Publicity

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Chances are that any recent news you’ve read regarding taxi service app company Uber was bad.

The company has recently suffered a string of very negative stories including:

  • Accusations from drivers (which Uber calls “freelancers”) that the company was stealing their tips
  • A case in which the company argued that the California government cannot regulate its business practices since it is not a transportation company (it simply happens to help cab drivers meet up with people who need a ride)
  • Angry complaints from both coasts about the “surge pricing” model that boosts rates by as much as 500% when users need the service most as opposed to, say, establishing a base rate like New York’s yellow cab service
  • An incident in which a driver hit and killed a 6-year-old girl; her family has filed a wrongful death suit against the company

The most recent story is the worst, though.

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Former TechCrunch Writer Offers ‘Startup PR Advice’ for $300/45 Min

You should probably know that Jason Kincaid once covered startups for TechCrunch. He’s the guy whose blog post prompted Evernote CEO Phil Libin to write a nice damage control follow-up last week.

He’s also now a pricey PR consultant, as Valleywag revealed this afternoon by sharing a link to the Google Helpout page advertising his services.

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Find out what his rate will get you after the jump.

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HBO’s New Sitcom Will Entourage the Tech Set

shutterstock_110088764For a quick minute last week we had a theory that Sam Biddle of Valleywag and Evan Spiegel of Snapchat were engaged in a battle of wits to determine who could most successfully make the archetypal Southern California startup dude look like a douchebag.

We quickly deposited that theory in the overflowing “dumb thoughts we had today” box, but now it looks like the guy behind Beavis and Butthead might just beat them both to the punch.

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Pando Daily Journalist Lands PR Gig with Tesla

One thing we learned about the world of tech journalism this week: Pando Daily (or at least Paul Carr) really hates Valleywag. In Hack Turned Flack news, the latter also let us know that Hamish McKenzie will leave his journo gig with the former to take a job in PR with Tesla.

That’s Tesla of the renewable, highly flammable automobiles and the CEO eager to do his best impression of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall.

We will now follow the latest chapter in the attempt to market electric cars to the masses with great(er) interest. And if you’re wondering how McKenzie feels about Elon Musk‘s “shoot the messenger” strategy, consider this headline:

Why Elon Musk Is Right to Fight the Media

Should be an interesting year.

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