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					                            FASHION AND BEAUTY PUBLICISTS
                                         PANEL DISCUSSION
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PIERCE MATTIE: Hi everybody. I‟m Pierce Mattie from Pierce
Mattie Public Relations. I want to take a quick moment to introduce
some of the Pierce Mattie team that is with us tonight. Lauren
Branche is on camera. Michael Rogers is our agency Vice President,
coming out of the door right now. Kristen Herberger, who you‟re
going to be hearing a lot from today, is one of our Senior Beauty
Publicists. Josh Blaylock is our Financial Comptroller. Nikki
Walker, everyone knows Nicky. And then Ivy Cartagena is pretty
new with us and she‟s also on the Beauty Teams, one of our
Publicists.


So this is a unique environment. I‟m sure a lot of you read about us
on Gawker this past week. ... there have been a lot of jokes going
back and forth. But there‟s 50% of you are bloggers, and the other
50% of you I would say are either publicists or you‟re marketing
products that you would like to have on a blog or read by a blog. So
it‟s kind of neat to have everybody in an environment like this one.


I am going to introduce first Julie Fredrickson. She‟s co-founder on
Coutorture Media. Did I pronounce that correctly?


JULIE FREDRICKSON: Coutorture.
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PM: Coutorture. Philip Leif is also co-founder of Coutorture. And
then we have Kristen Herberger who I previously introduced as a
Beauty Publicist for Pierce Mattie PR. So the schedule-- we‟re
actually 20 minutes behind schedule already-- will be guest
registration, cocktails. And then we‟ll be going into the roundtable.


For those of you that are ghost bloggers this evening, and you don‟t
want to be identified, we are on camera. And everything that you‟ll
be asking will be on the microphone this evening. So it will be shot
live. If you have a private question, you can ask at the end of the
roundtable. You can come up to Julie or to Philip or to Kristen if you
don‟t want to be identified, especially if you work for a print
publication.


So looking at the overview of the schedule, we have some roundtable
rules I want to quickly highlight. Each category will be open for no
more than three questions from the attendees. I will select you to ask
your question. If you have been asking more than one question-- I‟m
sure some of you are in here ...the toruting guest who like to ask a ton
of questions, you will be pushed to the back of the list after your first
questions. And ...then will be moved forward in order to go out with
your next question.


You will come up to the microphone to ask your question. I will also
then appoint the person I think is appropriate to answer your question
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on the panel if you did not identify who that question is directed
towards. And that‟s pretty much it. Does anybody have any
questions? Okay, so let‟s get started.


The first thing I would like to have is Julie and Phil kind of give us an
overview of their industry, the blogging community, and then talk a
little bit about your company.


JF: Well, Coutorture Media was founded only four months ago at
this point. We are a network of 172 different fashion, beauty and
perfume blogs. We work to foster relationships between bloggers and
the outside world, and also work to keep our community really
cohesive by promoting different kinds of opinions, and really giving a
lot of technical and even emotional support to the blogging
communities. Phil, if you want to add anything else.


PHILIP LEIF: Sure, apart from that, we also work on behalf of the
bloggers, both as a whole and individually, to help media interactions
with publicists, with product vendors, and any other forms of media
interests that would be beneficial to them.


PM: So tell us, when you were sending out the blog, I‟m sure it was
kind of accidental, and it‟s one day you love it, and the next day,
you‟re like, “I really wish I wouldn‟t have started this,” how did it
organically start for the two of you?
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JF: Coutorture Media actually came out of my personal experiences
during the most recent Fashion Week in February. I had posted a lot
of blogging carnivals. A blogging carnival is a space where bloggers
come together to share opinions on a given subject, and all of that
content is aggregated into one spot. And it became so difficult to keep
track of so many different bloggers as the material came in and grew
during Fashion Week that it became apparent that there needed to be
one entity to work to house it all. So Coutorture came out of the
frustration most of us felt by being all these small entities trying to
reach out and have a voice, but not really having any effective means
to do so.


PM: Does anyone have any questions for them right now in their
community? Blogging? No? So, we‟re going to go on the second
topic, which is respect for fellow bloggers and publicists. Let‟s look
at number one. How can bloggers and publicists be respected and
work together? And I want Kristen to first answer this one.


KRISTEN HERBERGER: I think that‟s sort of the purpose of why
we‟re here tonight is to sort of talk about ground rules and some
issues that we‟ve all run into. Or we haven‟t run into any issues, then
it‟s interesting to learn about them, because as publicists, we‟re used
to just speaking with editors, whether online or print. And it‟s their
job to use publicists in a way to get the information they need and the
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products and etc. But bloggers are a completely different, new wave
of media. And therefore, the rules are completely new.


So, some of the things that we want to address tonight are about, you
know, should bloggers receive gratis samples? And if they do, should
they say where they get them from? And should it be the same open
door policy that we have with editors? And I personally believe yes,
that it should be, because of the fact that the way bloggers present the
information is completely transparent. And it‟s an honest opinion.
And people value this information. And it‟s another way to reach
people that we at Pierce Mattie very highly value.


In the past, basically, in the last couple of months, Julie and Phil both
came to a holiday event that we had a couple months ago. And it was
a completely new idea for them to come to this event. But it was a
genius idea at the same time because they need the same information
that editors need. And they‟re writing about the same things, and
basically at the same time too. So it‟s very important for the door to
be open, and for it to be functioning, and bloggers to be on our contact
lists and so forth.


PM: Thank you, Kristen. Let‟s go on to fact checking. Often, we
know in print media, we‟ll get the call that there‟s going to be a
product featured or mentioned. The fact checker calls in from the
Copywriting Department to confirm placement. With blogging,
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because it‟s so viral and so live, the fact checking department doesn‟t
exist. And often, sometimes things aren‟t technically fact checked,
although there are those upper blogs that are definitely doing the fact
checking. Phil, tell us a little about how bloggers are becoming at fact
checking. And what are some of the new policies in place for
verifying information?


PL: Well, it‟s kind of an outdated question because a lot of the
beauty bloggers don‟t have an easy channel to access, you know, sort
of a reference for information about products. It‟s someone buying
something off of the shelf, and using it, and telling other people what
they experience without an overly accessible way to reach other facts
or ways to get information from a representative, there really isn‟t a
good way for them to fact check.


And frankly, given the nature of the media, that it is in many cases
deeply personal, and that it is pretty much live the instant they think
about it and get to a computer. Without a very, very convenient way
to do that, basically won‟t-- Unless they‟re really physically damaging
their audience or some other horrible debacle, they don‟t really have
the accountability that an editor would have. So they don‟t have the
liability. So again, without the convenience, there‟s no real incentive
for them to do so.
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JF: Actually, if I could add something-- I think that this makes the
role of publicists even more important because you want to become
the first source of information for the bloggers. When they decide
they want to write about something, they need to know that they can
come and find that information, because they want it. They want it to
be fact checked. They want it to be accurate. Because if they don‟t
serve their audience, the audience doesn‟t come back. So it‟s in their
best interest to have the correct information. So having something
like a fact sheet to give that to them is very, very critical, and the
bloggers desperately want it.


PM: Does anyone have any questions right now? Yes?


P J GACH: Hi, my name‟s P J Gach. I write for a publication. It‟s
not a blog. It is an online magazine at present. Different ...(inaudible)
portals, we‟ll be picking up two more. I have a question in regards to
fact checking. What I used to do when I have a story of mine that‟s
published, goes live or whatever you want to call it, I in turn will
generally send a PDF to the publicist. Now, what I want to know is
do the publicists prefer that PDF copy sent to them of the article? Or
do they just want a URL? What is easiest?


JF: Before it goes live?
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GACH: ...(inaudible) live, because I can‟t send you the ...(inaudible)
version because I have to upload it to a proprietary software system.
My editor checks it. But I just did recently an article on
...(inaudible).com, and ...(inaudible) I just sent a URL. But normally,
I would send to a publicist a PDF. I mean, is that preferable to send a
copy of the article in a PDF form? Or do you prefer to get just the
URL? That‟s what I want to know.


JF: I prefer a PDF just because it‟s a little bit more sturdy than the
URL. Sometimes it‟s a lot more dependable. But I think that might
just be a personal choice, whatever works best for someone.


PM: Kind of going back on fact checking, the one sad thing, which is
also a positive thing about blogs, is even if the owner of the blog
makes a mistake and they want to take that away and retract it off
their blog, those RSS feeds that pick up so much of the blog
information-- Today it‟s on one blog, and then tomorrow it‟s on ten
blogs, and then Wednesday it‟s on 100 blogs. Julie, talk to us about
how bloggers can take information back. And if there is a way for
them to take away those RSS feeds that come up.


JF: Well, once it‟s been published, it‟s true. It is out there, which is
again why I would reiterate the point that you need to become a first
point of information if you want to interact with online bloggers. It‟s
very critical that they can have that, because once the information
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goes out, it can be picked up. This is not to say that you can‟t retract
the information. I definitely have deleted posts when I felt I made a
mistake or it wasn‟t relevant, or it was too contentious. But once it‟s
gone out-- Phil, you can probably speak better to the technical
aspects-- it can get picked up.


PL: Yeah, it comes under basically a flaw in the way blogging was
designed five or six years ago when it first started to pick up, where
the only real way to copy and paste information is to copy and paste
it, like you do in Microsoft Word. There‟s nothing built into the
system that lets you track where your information is going.


Since then, however, there are number of tools online-- we can get
into it now, later, if you ask any questions-- that let you track exactly
where anything is being mentioned and helps defusing. You can‟t
necessarily track information-- The blogger doesn‟t have their post on
a leash. But you can find out where it‟s spread. You can identify the
other errors and do some outreach to have people ...(inaudible) correct
those.


Oftentimes, at least with RSS, if a blogger makes a change, that‟s
registered by the RSS feeders. ...(inaudible) desktop application. So
it‟s not hopeless. It just takes a little more work after it‟s been
published.
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PM: Does anybody have any further questions? Fact checking,
blogger publicist respect? No? Okay, so we‟re moving on to
circulation. We often know, in print media, with broadcast media,
with radio, who is reading, watching, listening to all of our media
outlets. With blogging, it‟s kind of a gray area. They‟re not audited,
technically. There are various ways that you can kind of see what‟s
going on. But let‟s have Phil talk about the average circulation of
some of the blogs, how they can be audited, and then we want Julie to
talk more about the blogs within your group, and just some of the
average surfs on those also.


PL: Sure. The audience of a blog can range from 1 to 10 to 10,000 to
100,000 people a day. There‟s no standard for it. ...(inaudible)
something about their cat, it can be with other family or the whole
world could love that cat. There‟s no average circulation. I would
say, within Coutorture, they range from about 60,000 visits a day to
maybe 10. Overall, the network in total drives between 500,000 and
600,000 visits a day across all the blogs.


This is going to come as a surprise to probably both publicists and
bloggers alike, but you can actually audit and get traffic for any
website on the Internet. There are a number of third party sources.
Amazon publishes data about traffic for every site that with a little bit
of middle school algebra you can translate into a fair exacting portrait
of ...(inaudible). Again, it‟s a little bit obscure behind ...(inaudible)
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technical background. But the information is there. And any forms of
reference company, any blogger who knows exactly how much they
produce, and how many have used their content ...(inaudible).


JF: I can actually tell you exactly who read my blog and where. I
can tell you how many people within say ...(inaudible) read my blog
today. There are-- And I do check. So it‟s not that-- It was a pretty,
say, taboo, to have bloggers reveal their information in terms of
circulation. You didn‟t want to do it. And now that there are third
party tools where you can actually go and ...(inaudible), that‟s
definitely changing.


And one of the services we offer at Coutorture is we do hand held
processing, saying look, this is how a story diffused, this is how many
people read it. So there are people out there that can help you with it.
This is something we do offer as a service to our bloggers and people
who interact with our bloggers, because we do believe so much in
accountability in terms of the numbers. And if the blogger wants the
number to be up there, we will make sure that we know who is
reading them, how they‟re being read, and how they‟re being diffused.
Because it‟s valuable information, both to the blogger and to the
publicist.


PM: Do you want to explain a little bit more about diffusing? Often,
when we see a blog, and it‟s really relevant for that hour, and then
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maybe tomorrow, it‟s not so relevant, and by next Monday, it‟s kind
of dead. How do things diffuse, and if something is diffused, and you
want to bring new life to it, is there a way that a blogger that can kind
of reactivate a diffused post?


JF: Yeah, it‟s actually very interesting because one of the brand
differences between new media and the print publications is that when
you have a magazine, the most you can really do with that is you can
tear out a page and hand it to a friend. When it‟s online, anyone can
take the information and run with it. So if I write a story on how I got
eyelash extensions, the next day ten people could have taken that
story, taken all of my photos, all of my links, and then said, “This was
cool. This is neat. I really want to talk about this. This is a
fascinating product.”


So there is so potential because all the information is public. You can
actually see the HTML. Bloggers know how to do this, take the links.
And it gives tremendous potential for stories to be broken, because
there are-- There‟s a diffusion curve, just like there is in any industry.
There are the trendsetters, the early adopters, and then the mass
market. And there are a lot of blogs who specialize in breaking those
stories.


So if you have a new product and it‟s something that you can‟t
necessarily get out to the mainstream, a great way of seeding the story
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is by finding these blogs who break the new stories. And then their
friends will find it, and the friends of their friends will find it. And it
eventually hits that mass market point. And it happens very quickly.
And sometimes, yeah, ...(inaudible) and technical will pick it up and
it‟ll be over. But sometimes it will explode. And it can make or
break the product.


PM: And Kristen, we know at Pierce Mattie we have clients that only
care about the highest circulation. They only want to be in the million
plus books. How would you as a publicist explain to a client that this
is a really great blog, and it‟s important for your brand to be featured
or written up on a blog, but the circ‟s is really low? I can‟t even tell
you really what the circ is on that blog.


KH: Well, I think the main point that I would want them to know is
that this is a highly respected blogger. This is their history. These are
the topics they usually focus on. These are some of the other brands
that they‟ve featured and tried. I‟ve personally contacted this blogger
before. She‟s a huge fan of your brand. Lots of industry types read
this blog. It doesn‟t necessarily have to be a million or anywhere in
that realm.


In that respect, you‟d be more about quality, and the actual piece
that‟s being written on it. Because you have to remember that, at the
heart of it, bloggers and editors, you‟re writers. And that‟s, we hope,
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why you went into the business is to write because it‟s your passion,
especially for bloggers „cause it‟s not as edited. So usually, you‟ll get
a longer piece on your product on a blog.


And it‟s a very personal experience from the blogger standpoint too.
So it‟ll really hit home if the client actually reads it and recognizes the
importance of blogging, which I don‟t think that they do at this point,
because they‟re so consumed with editorial, which is understandable.
But again, this is a completely new concept. And I think that in time
it‟ll catch on, as it‟s calling a lot of us. And we hope it‟s only going
to get bigger and bigger for everybody, including all of our clients.


PM: So maybe having like a tip sheet from the publicist to the clients
to kind of educate them?


JF: Yeah. Use some of the numbers and offering up the techniques,
that we can track it for you and see how it diffuses. How many hits a
day this site gets. Maybe that information is pertinent to them at first,
and then sort of explaining our point of view afterwards.


PM: Okay. Thank you, guys. Does anyone have any questions on
blog circulation, impressions, etc.? Okay. So moving on to posts, I
think Julie would know better than anybody, especially with your
blogs, who on average is the stereotypical person that‟s commenting
on the blogs, who‟s posting the remarks?
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JF: The posts or back ...remark comments? „Cause there‟s rhetoric
in blogging. The post is the actual body, which is the article. And
then the comments are the bits that come out of the article that the
readers of the blog will be posting.


PM: Excuse me, the comments.


JF: Commenters are generally the most passionate of the particular
readers of a given blog. They‟re ...(inaudible) have got to know the
blogger, and are very actively involved. I know many of my
commenters. I‟ve actually met them personally.


And I know that when I say something about a product like recently, I
wrote about a pair of booties. They‟re these gel booties. And I must
have had ten comments, people asking about these booties because
they know my pedicure history and things like that. So they get very
involved in my product consumption, because they too are consumers.


And they‟re very passionate consumers, the kind of consumers that
will actually go out and buy a product because a blogger has said
something, because they are going to trust what a blogger has said,
because they‟ve gone through my consumption history. They
understand my needs and how those needs are relevant to them. So it
gives a more fuller picture.
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Like you said, when something‟s written up in a magazine, it might be
a little blurb, “Hey this is a great color.” But I will tell you how the
color lasted, how long it lasted, what I liked about it and what I didn‟t
like about it. And this entire product narrative then comes alive. And
the commenters then are in it because they want to understand the
narrative of the product, because they too are consumers.


PM: I often see two different types of remarks. I see the remark
that‟s kind of blowing hot air up the blogger, and they‟re like
reinforcing the blogger‟s idea. And then I see the other kind of
remarks where they‟re-- I call them like “the last word Lucy.” They
just want to get the last word in on whatever that post may be. How
can a blogger-- There‟s a lot of you that in the audience that are kind
of new to blogging. And it‟s a critical remark. It‟s someone who‟s
actually making a statement about your statement. I would you, Phil,
educate a blogger on being receptive to all kind of remarks as long as
they‟re within reason on your new blog?


PL: That totally depends on where the remarks comes from.
Generally, if it comes from just a random reader, unless it‟s very rude,
a blog will let it stand, because that‟s simply how it works. The
trouble is when someone who has a vested interest in a product comes
along and comments, because even if you have some extra
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information, and you actually genuinely want to help, that‟s perceived
very negatively.


Generally, in that circumstance, it‟s probably not to comment and
contact the blogger individually, because bloggers see their sites,
probably rightly, as a very private space. I‟ve heard it referred to as
someone‟s living room. You don‟t just want anyone coming in and
saying what they have to say. You have to be invited in. And once
you‟re invited in, you have a lot more freedom.


So unless you have at least some personal contact with a particular
author, it‟s probably best to let things be, at least in the public space,
until you have that relationship. Because rightly or not, bloggers get
very, very reactionary when they perceive any sort of violation, even
if it was done with the best intent.


PM: Great. And going on to consumers posting on blogs.
Obviously, with the situation last week with Pierce Mattie, there‟s
been a huge debate, right or wrong, between publicists posting on
blogs-- and I‟ll let Kristen share her opinion, and then Julie‟s opinion
on fellow marketers on blogs, and then I‟d like Phil to talk about
fellow bloggers that are either in or out of their network posting on
blogs. So let‟s start with Julie first.


JF: What am I commenting on?
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PM: You are commenting on bloggers that are blogging with-- Well,
Kristen‟s doing publicists on bloggers, you‟re doing marketers. So
product manufacturers.


JF: Generally, I actually as a law, like to have a manufacturer
comment because I think that it adds value to my post. If I have
missed because I couldn‟t contact them-- I do like having that. But if
it‟s not about your product, if it‟s another product-- The one I had
written about eyelash extensions, and I had four different eyelash
extension companies then post comments on the post, saying, “Well,
my eyelash extensions are better.” And I didn‟t necessarily feel like
that was appropriate to be put in a comment.


If you think they‟re better, tell me. I want to know about it. I want to
hear all the information. And if I think they‟re better, I want to write
about it. But it can be tricky to maintain that balance of if you have a
product, and I‟ve written about a different product, even if I see that
you‟re adding value to the information below the post, it‟s probably
best to contact me. And I think this is, generally, as Phil said, it‟s
better to have an interaction with the blogger. And bloggers write
back very quickly, almost always. You‟ll get a response within a
couple of minutes sometimes. Check.
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Don‟t say, “Well, my product is better to use for this and this and that
reason.” It‟ll come off seeming as a pitch. Even if you genuinely
believe it to be true. It‟s always best to err on the side of caution.
And then if it really is, you‟ll get an entire post out of it, instead of
just a comment.


PM: And Phil, how about fellow bloggers constantly posting, or
infrequently posting remarks on your own blog that are kind of within
your network, or maybe even without your network?


PL: Generally, if another blogger posts a comment, that‟s fine,
because you can then go to their blog and reply. There‟s some
accountability to the readership. They don‟t simply get lost in the
shuffle. If they say something terrible, you can say something terrible
back, or say ...(inaudible) back and forth if you want to.


PM: Or positive.


PL: Or positive. It happens less than you think. Basically, it comes
down to two people interacting over something. If you want to have a
civil interaction, you both ...(inaudible) both have blogs. You‟re just a
commentator. You are not in a position of weakness, but it‟s a
different agreement, a different understanding.
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Likewise if a company has a blog, and they address someone else‟s
blog post on their blog, that‟s a much more constructive engagement
than simply making a comment, which as a blogger and as a
participant, you do have the obligation to, if not make it a stronger
stand, make it an equal stand. Address it on equal footing versus
simply starting on the corners for whatever reason.


PM: And Kristen, how do you feel about publicists putting remarks
on blogs?


KH: I feel that it has to be handled very delicately for several
reasons. From the publicist‟s standpoint, you have to be careful of
other clients out there reading you pushing another product. From the
bloggers‟ standpoint, they don‟t want any falsified information, or any
pumped up, bloated information on their website, just as it seems as
though you‟ve been pitching the blog.


But a whole „nother standpoint would be I‟m a publicist that‟s in the
beauty industry because I love beauty products. I‟ve loved them my
whole life. That‟s why I do this. I mean, I talk about lipstick and
cream all day. You‟ve really got to love it if you‟re in this industry.
So why wouldn‟t I want to talk about things on a blog? It‟s an open
forum. I can speak freely.
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But again, you have to be very careful. I think that it‟s important to
pay attention to the other comments on the blog, and sort of read the
threads and go back and see what other people are commenting on,
and join in on conversations, and not just post a random blog that‟s
three pages, single space about a topic that no one had mentioned
before.


So I think it‟s important to actually join the community, as a publicist,
to remain authentic as well, because that‟s part of the issue about
upsetting that apple cart is that people are reading that website for an
authentic, honest opinion. And if you‟re going on there and just
posting because of your job, or because you feel as though you have
to, then you‟re going to upset the blogger.


And I think like Phil and Julie both just said, it‟s probably important
to initiate a relationship before you start posting, and to be honest and
say who you are, too. The idea of commenting anonymously is
something tricky and dangerous, and it can upset people. It can upset
the blogger. To someone reading it, it sort of takes away the value of
what you‟re saying, because if you‟re embarrassed to say who you
are, then it‟s sort of like, how can I trust you at the same time?


I think you just can‟t jump in head first. I think that you have to sort
of tiptoe around it a little bit, and tread lightly, definitely.
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PM: Okay, thank you. And let‟s talk about ghost. At the
...(inaudible), you talked about ...(inaudible) and ghost blogging.
There are several of you that are in the room tonight that don‟t want to
be identified. You have a blog, and you don‟t have your face on your
blog. Then there‟s those of you that just love having your face on
your blog, and we‟ve seen several of your faces all over several of
other people‟s blogs. Phil, let‟s talk about ghost blogging, and either,
they‟re a ghost on their own blog, or they‟re posting remarks and on
other people‟s posts, and they don‟t want to be identified. Is the
community going to accept them in full? Or is there a level of “Who
are they? And will they trust them.”?


PL: Well, it depends. Some people see blogs as a way to extend their
identity online. It‟s a very effective way. If you have a MySpace
page, you can put up a blog, and ...(inaudible). It‟s all a way of
extending your presence, either a corporate presence or personal
presence onto the Internet. That‟s a very useful tool.


At the same time, if it‟s a presence you don‟t want necessarily
attached to your person-- for instance, you‟re publishing an
anonymous blog detailing terrible embezzlement scandals happening
in your company, but you want the word to get out, that‟s a good
reason to be anonymous. It just comes down to what you‟re
contributing.
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If you are the anonymous lipstick blogger, but your lipstick reviews
are impeccable, no one can fault you for that. If you‟re the
anonymous lipstick blogger, and you come off as kind of a press
release, people will fault you for it. It really comes down to what and
how you‟re contributing because that‟s ultimately all people see.


PM: And on to spam. Does anyone have questions before we go on
to spamming about posting or replying or making remarks?
Anybody? You guys are so quiet. Too much white wine, I guess,
before we started.


__: I have a question. It‟s very simple. What do you do with your
group of blogs, when your blogs get comments that are just rather
nasty? Do you leave them on? Do you delete them? What are your
rules of censorship on nasty comments?


JF: It really depends. One of the great rules of the blogosphere is
don‟t feed the trolls. Because you will ultimately be fighting a losing
battle, because like Pierce said, there are some people who just want
to have the last word. And they want to be belligerent and obnoxious.
And ultimately, they‟re not going to be respected for it. But you‟re
going to waste a lot of emotional energy on the process.


Generally, if I think the comment adds something, even if it‟s saying,
“Well, I thought your review was terrible because this is my
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experience with the product,” I‟ll let that stand. But if they swear at
me, or if they‟re unnecessarily angry, you know, not in my house. It‟s
a public space, sure, but it‟s a public space I control. The park closes
at 11:00.


PL: If I could just add to that, I would say, if it‟s irrelevant or a
personal attack, you simply quietly delete the comment. If it‟s relevant
and a personal attack, you make a decision. And if it‟s relevant,
regardless of what else they have to say, you leave it and either
respond in kind or simply let it stand as a matter of record.


I mean, if it‟s too rude and sort of offputtingly so, people won‟t listen
to the commentator because they don‟t have as much credibility as the
blogger. Again, it...(inaudible) in terms of their presence versus the
blogger‟s. A blogger usually comes out on top.


PM: And there are select blogs that don‟t allow any remarks, ever.
Either they don‟t have them, or when their comments get a little out of
hand, they shut them down, or they might make a statement and they
don‟t want to hear the last Lucy making the remark. So they‟ll just
immediately close the door. How does the blogging community feel
about those people that really just close the door and don‟t allow other
people to make their remarks?
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JF: It‟s really considered bad form. The point of blogging is to have
feedback, because it‟s supposed to be authentic, and you want to
interact. There will definitely be times where you will close comments
because things have gotten out of hand. But to never allow comments,
almost inevitably will backfire because readers that don‟t feel they can
interact and then they won‟t come back. And the reason readers come
to you is because they want to have a real experience with a product
or with a subject.


PM: We have a blog. We‟ve had it for probably about three or four
years now. And for awhile, we did not allow people to make remarks
on our blog, not because we didn‟t want to hear from them but
because we didn‟t have the manpower to delete all the remarks that
were spamming to our filter, it actually crashed our server several
times. It was making email very, very slow, etc.


On average, Julie, how many remarks-- You know, because a lot of it
is the spam, which we‟re going to go into next. But how many would
one post get on average with all that stuff that you have to delete?
Because you have to sit there every day. It‟s like pulling weeds out of
a flower garden and pull and pull and pull.


JF: Well fortunately, just like in gardening, there are weed killers.
There‟s something called Spam Karma that deletes almost all of the
spam. I can‟t say the last time I saw something for penile implants
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because it‟s just my-- my spam filter catches that. Very rarely will
something ever get through it because the technology has evolved
where it never shows up.


So spam isn‟t generally a problem. What I view to be a spam is a
comment that is, say, by a marketer, which is very much, like, “Buy
this product. This is the link. Go and go and go.” Other than that, we
really aren‟t getting a lot of spam because there are filters that catch
that now.


PM: On that topic, so now we‟re officially onto the topic of
spamming. I always view spamming as, the sky is blue and you take
that sentence. And then you spam that out to the top 50, 100 blogs. If I
said, “The sky is purple,” on one site, “The sky is blue,” on another
site, “The sky is red,” on another site, I wouldn‟t necessarily view that
as spamming, because I‟m still talking about the sky, although I‟ve
highlighted different colors. So you‟re kind of saying the opposite,
that that is still in a way spamming. Is there an official definition of
spamming?


JF: Well, that‟s the tricky part because it has to be within context,
always. And you can say, if I was talking about how the grass is
green, and you‟re saying, “Well, the sky is blue,” I‟m going to say,
“Well, and ice cream has no bones. What‟s the point here?” So it‟s no
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so much that it‟s spam as that it detracts from the overall experience
for the readers.


And so you can label it as such because it‟s not really adding and it‟s
taking away from the overall-- You read it, and it‟s, like, “I thought
she was talking about grass. Why is Pierce talking about the sky?”


PL: To draw a finer distinction, spamming proper(?) is when
someone automates commenting across a number of sites or emails.
Like, you get email spam. Those are all done by some guy‟s computer
in Russia who sends them out in batches of ten thousand. It‟s the same
with comment spam. It‟s actually becoming very lucrative for
spammers to leave fake comments. Some are more convincing than
others, across a number of blogs...(inaudible) the same way you get
spam emails of varying types across a number of email accounts and
people.


Because of that, and it has gotten to be such a problem, to address an
earlier point on the ...(inaudible) blogs who have shut down comments
for just that reason. It can become too much. As long as you disclose
the process behind why you close comments or with a particular
comment-- For instance, your...(inaudible) says, “Any irrelevant
comment or any comment that leads as a product pitch will be
deleted.” Other‟s corporate blog or personal blog, that‟s fine. It‟s not a
matter of-- And also it comes down to what the blogger wants to
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allow on his or her site, for whatever reasons. Those reasons could be
particularly opaque. But as long as the process for what is allowed is
transparent, that gives you a framework to interact with the site
constructively. That said, that isn‟t a widely adopted practice yet. And
reliance on vague community standards is why we‟re having this
discussion about spam.


PM: Is there good spam?


JF: There is definitely good spam, and not just in the tasty variety. If
someone really is coming and saying out of the blue, “Hey, I need to
direct you to this,” and if it‟s tangentially relevant, then I‟m getting
something from that. So, you know, it might sound like spam. If I had
said, “Well, the grass is green. And how does the grass grow? Well, I
think the grass is getting nutrition from something in the sky.” And
you‟re, like, “Well, the sky is blue and also the sun is in the sky, and
the sun feeds the grass.” I‟d be, like, “Well, you‟re talking about the
sky, but I was kind of interested in the grass,” and then I have this
whole, “Oh, I can go and talk about photosynthesis now.” So there is
definitely value in leading towards a product in that manner. But be
careful with it.


PM: Going on to, how should bloggers react. At first, I‟d like to hear
from Kristen. If you‟re a publicist and you just love something, this
wrinkle cream, and I go in the office, there‟s no wrinkles from it and
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we‟re not doing Botox anymore, and it‟s just the best wrinkle cream
on the planet. And everyone in your department, all five of your girls,
are just on the blogs talking about this product. And the blogger the
blog site owner feels that this spam, how do you feel that this blog site
owner should kind of respond to what your girls have been doing?


KH: Well, I think the most appropriate thing would be to get in touch
with someone at the agency, and starting up a dialogue with them and
sort of say, you know, “What is your agenda here? I don‟t mind a
couple posts, but five every hour is a bit much.” And as a publicist, I
would say, “I‟d be happy to send you some so you can see why we‟re
so passionate about it, and then post a comment yourself about it if
you‟d like.” But I just think that the main point is that the doors of
communication should remain as open as possible.


PM: So you would encourage the blogger to call the PR firm. There
are some bloggers here in the room, and they‟re phone-phobic. They
don‟t ever call people. They also don‟t meet people. And everything
that they do is on their blog. They eat, sleep, breathe, fight, love on
their blog. Julie, how do you think that, if you have a blogger that‟s
just phone-phobic, mute, the muting bloggers, what is the next thing,
option that they could do with the publicists?


JF: Well, blogger certainly wants to be able to be reached out to, or
else they wouldn‟t have started a blog in the first place. And
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generally, that medium is email. I‟m very much one of those people
that prefers to have something by email, because then I have a record,
that I can say, “Well, Kristen said this about a particular product, and
thus I think that this might be relevant to the entire post. She said,
„Well, it takes away wrinkles in this way.‟”


Whereas if I hear it on the phone, I don‟t necessarily know that‟s
information that I can then take because it could have been said idly in
conversation. I think most bloggers view-- you‟re to be more
accountable if it‟s on paper. And email is, for better or for worse,
paper.


PM: Do you think that Kristen then runs that risk of having that
email copied and pasted-- which I‟ve actually had happen to myself.
And I‟ll literally put at the bottom of the email, “You cannot [audio
cut-out] any way, shape, or form.” And then there‟s a legal disclaimer
at the bottom, “This is a private email.” How would a publicist or a
marketer or an associate not get that email posted? Because
sometimes it‟s very private and it might not be ethical, the content
that‟s in that email. So you would never want to have that released
onto the Internet.


JF: I definitely had that happen to me where I said something in an
email conversation and someone re-posted it. So it needs to then say
at the bottom, you know, “This is private,” blog-able, or ask first. I
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think that‟s a really great way of doing that. You can say, “Alright,
this is the public information. This is the press release. This is the
information I have told you. You are now allowed to take that and re-
blog that information.”


But it‟s definitely something you should make clear. Because when I
deal with a publicist, I assume the information being given to me is
for the purpose of informing me about a product, and thus I can use
that information to write the review of the product.


PM: But see, on the opposite end, like when we do phone interviews
with magazine editors, and our client‟s not available so we‟re doing,
the Q&A, we‟re posing as the brand expert, we‟re kind of restating the
press release, the beauty editor will kind of quote us, verbatim. And
we‟ve seen our press releases and our verbiage over the phone appear
in the top glossy publications time and time again. And we‟re, like,
“Wait a minute – that paragraph sounds really familiar. I think I wrote
that paragraph.”


But usually that editor will say, “I‟m quoting you verbatim, what you
say over the phone.” Do you as a blogger encourage or discourage,
take that communication to the next level with Kristen and say,
“Kristen, I got your information on the wrinkle cream. I‟m going to be
using that exact email in my blog”? Or do you think that it‟s okay for
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you to take that email and run with it? Because she didn‟t say you
couldn‟t post it.


JF: If it‟s something that‟s a press release, yeah, I think that that
should be information that I should be able to take and re-post it
because it‟s something you are giving out to the public, saying, “This
is the public information.” It‟s called public relations for a reason.
And if I have that piece of information, I want to be able to use that.
Otherwise, there‟s no point in me getting the information.


PM: And what about a response to a question that you had that was
kind of adlibbed and semi-scripted?


JF: Right. If it‟s adlibbed, then yeah, there‟s definitely a lot more
wiggle room. And I want to know that, “Well, ...(inaudible) like that
was using a metaphor to help you get a better explanation of
...(inaudible).”


PL: If I could add to the earlier point, I think something‟s
...(inaudible) how do you respond to a blogger when there‟s no
channel for communication. The answer there is to simply ensure that
before you pitch to a blogger or comment, there is a channel of
communication. Maybe you have something to say, but you don‟t
know how to respond if the blogger, you know, reacts in some way
you didn‟t predict.
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You need a way to make sure that you contact them. So an ounce of
prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don‟t pitch to bloggers or find a
way to contact them. Open the communication beforehand, not as a
reaction.


__: On a lot of the blogs that I visit, I notice that there is no, like,
contact...(inaudible). It seems like the only way to get in touch is to
put a comment. So I just wanted some...(inaudible) [laughter]
bloggers just don‟t want to have that initial interaction and then--


JF: No, it‟s a very good question. Some bloggers don‟t want to be
contacted. And then you are forced to do it through the comments. But
this is a practice that‟s increasingly changing. And I think the bloggers
want to be involved with publicists and want to write up these
products and want to have the products given to them for the review.
They have to be accountable. I think that this is just a ground rule that
more and more of us are laying out. I have a contact me page. I lay out
my ground rules for everything that occurs on the blog.


And also when a comment is posted, it goes straight to my email. So
your comment will only show up as a comment. The comment will
get moderated most of the time.
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PM: Does anyone have any questions about spamming or
comments/remarks?


__: If you do receive sort of an unsolicited fact sheet, information,
release from a marketer or publicist, do you as a blogger consider that
spamming? I mean, I can imagine you can get hundreds of those a
day.


JF: Yeah. Under no circumstances should you say, “Dear Beauty
Blogger, I like your beauty blog.” Most bloggers will probably give
you a big, you know, “No. You don‟t. You don‟t know who I am.” So
it‟s very important to do a little bit of the research first. And if you are
pitching, make it sound like a pitch. Don‟t try to-- You can‟t fake
familiarity. Bloggers are used to getting the pitches in the emails at
this point. So you either have to err on the side of, “Hey Julie, I really
like what you wrote on AlmostGirl”-- that‟s my personal blog--
“…the other day about the gel booties. Here is something that I think
might add to that dialogue on deep moisturizers.”


But if it‟s going to be just a straight pitch, make sure that it looks like
the actual pitch. And yeah, I probably get-- It can range. There are
some days where every ten minutes, I‟m getting a product pitch.


PM: But then there‟s that level. Like, we‟ve seen when we pitch
other forms of media. If we do a bad pitch, it happens, you‟re tired. It
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could be somebody new to public relations. You know, often if you do
PR, everyone‟s kind of, like, 35 and under. When you look at the
pitch letters, editors just laugh and Condé Nast and Hearst. Like,
...(inaudible) file, like, bad pitch letters and look back on it and tell
jokes.


But the publicist never gets publicly mortified because they did a bad
pitch. It‟s kind of just, like, “Oh, you know, the girls at blah, blah,
blah. They have so many spelling errors on everything that they do.”
Or, “They pitched me a men‟s deodorant on a women‟s publication,”
or vice versa.


Did anyone see on Gawker, it was probably about six months ago,
there was a KFC pitch on the new chicken campaign that they were
doing. And I felt so horrible for the junior publicist because Gawker
decided to ruin his career that day. They took his pitch letter and they
put all of his contact information on the-- But they did leave out the
last digit on this cell phone number, which I was going, “Oh, that‟s
nice.”


[side remarks]


I‟m, like, “He‟s so fired.” But actually the pitch letter was pretty good.
But what they were making fun of the fact was that someone from a
very large PR firm that has the KFC account would wire a release
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over to Gawker when a lot of us work on Bacons software. And if
they are under media of(?) lifestyle or food-- which Gawker is media
lifestyle. It‟s not food. Let‟s say the KFC client‟s, like, “I want the
lifestyle publications.”


So Gawker comes up on Bacons and it could send off, like, 2,000
pitch emails. It gets wired out to 2,000 media outlets. And then
Gawker just gets upset and decides to mortify that publicist.


__: Can I make a comment? The problem with that is that publicists
should be pitching more targeted publications. They should be going
through that media list and saying, “Ooh, I probably shouldn‟t send
this KFC release to Gawker.” And that‟s when writers, journalists,
bloggers get pissed off is when they get something that‟s completely
inapplicable to anything they would ever write. And I‟m sure if that
were a celebrity sighting for Gawker, it would have been, like, “Ooh,”
and not making fun of the publicist.


JF: I definitely want to say something. With bloggers, you can get
really targeted. There are blogs. If you have an organic line of beauty
products, there are definitely blogs that talk about only organic
beauty. You can go right to that source community, which is why--
You know, you can send out the blast. And there‟s not necessarily
anything wrong with sending out the blast, but if you really, really
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want to reach out to the right ten people who will buy that product,
blogging won‟t allow you to do that.


PM: Does anyone have any questions before we move on to dangers
and risks? Let‟s start with, what is not okay to say, no matter how hot
it gets on your blog. I‟d like Phil to take that question.


PL: Sure. The problem with blogging is that anything, any form of
media – a picture, text, or comment – can be altered. ...(inaudible)
does this all the time now, and without a context to make you look
any way the blogger wants you to look.


For me, the best and only way to respond to nasty comments, nasty
reviews is to simply be very polite and very matter-of-fact. That‟s
...(inaudible). Anything outside of those parameters, will probably get
you in trouble, because you are interacting in someone else‟s territory.
They control any information that you give to them, how it‟s
presented and even down to what it says. If they want to make it look
like you can‟t spell, can‟t use articles properly, they‟ll do that. People
can be mean.


So again, strictly matter-of-fact. Ideally you have your own public
space, like your own public blog to respond in context in a place they
can‟t alter. Or if you‟re a little bit unscrupulous, alter their
words...(inaudible) them, which will probably only get you into more
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trouble. Things will escalate. So again, simply be matter-of-fact and
simply be factual. Anything outside of that will get you in trouble.


PM: Is there like the absolute three don‟ts Julie that a blogger just
should never, ever, ever do no matter how upset they are or how bad
of a day they‟ve had, or how much they really want to ruin a brand or
a publicist or a marketer or a fellow blogger? What are the absolute
„do nots‟?


JF: Well first off is do not swear, ever. Maybe the blogosphere,
things are a little laxer, but it will only come back to haunt you. I
definitely have told a commenter, “Well, that was a bitchy comment.
I‟m deleting it,” and have that be a whole thing. Never do it. It‟s
ridiculous how out of hand things can get.


And it‟s not like print doesn‟t have this problem, too. Things are taken
out of context in print. And fortunately, you‟ll always have recourse
there. If something is misquoted in The New York Times, that‟s that
and that‟s there. And you can send in a letter to the editor, but it‟s not
going to be shown within the context.


So in blogging, you actually counterintuitively have a lot more
control. You can spin much more rapidly because you can put out
your information, have your own blog, even your own comments. But
things that bloggers should never do, never post without checking –
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ever. If you have an issue that is problematic, you said, “Well,
someone is spamming me. This is terrible. I‟m really pissed off, so
I‟m going to make whoever did that to me suffer,” don‟t. Contact the
person first. Most bloggers know this. Some bloggers know this and
choose to ignore it.


PM: And what if you have tried a product, publicist sends you
something and it wasn‟t really for your skin type or maybe you didn‟t
read the directions? But I‟m sure all bloggers read directions. But it
just didn‟t agree with you, and you have this horrible reaction,
cortisone cream, you‟re at the doctor‟s the next day getting a shot.
What would you suggest that the blogger do?


JF: Actually I can tell a story about Allure. This is very funny. Allure
recently had an article on beauty bloggers. And one of the beauty
bloggers, Lipstick Is My Crack, said that a product she really liked
was the Mr. Clean bleach pens, because she thought that if you used
them in a certain way, very carefully, they could erase self-tanning
lines.


And she told Condé Nast...(inaudible) legal department, “These are all
of the qualifications. You must wet it like this. You must apply it in
this manner. And if you are not very careful, don‟t do it. This is an
unqualified response, because I am not a chemist. This is not a beauty
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blog product, but you can do it like this.” She went through all the
disclaimers.


Allure just said, “You can use it like this.” Some girl read it in Allure
and got a chemical burn. And this happened in Allure. So it‟s not like
all--


[audio „skips‟ until end of file]


END AUDIO FILE 1
BEGIN AUDIO FILE 2


[in progress]


PM: --at least until after the thing launches. So my question is,
sometimes as we‟re reaching out to the regional press or newspapers,
we‟ll send them the photo and we‟ll send them the information about
it. And if they want to write about that, then they can. Should we
never do that with bloggers since they‟re reviewing it so intimately? Is
that something we shouldn‟t even consider, sending without being
able to back it up with product?


JF: No, I don‟t necessarily think so. It‟s just that if you do have a few
samples, figure out what bloggers are big. SheFinds is very big. She
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gets a lot of traffic and know that there are certain blogs that you
might to tap(?) because of that.


But there‟s no reason-- I‟ve definitely blogged about products that I
haven‟t personally experienced, but I would qualify it by the fact that
these are-- this is how the product is described. This is the photo. I
can‟t vouch for it, other than that particular information, but it sounds
really cool.


PM: Or simply follow up in your initial pitch and say, “When this is
available in stores, we will send you a sample.”


JF: And that way, you will get even more press on the process,
because it will be, a) this is coming, this is a new product. And then
once the blogger actually receives it, they are able to then bring that
subject up. And chances are, the reader‟s going to remember. And
you‟ll have even more of a person who will then purchase the product.


PM: Does anyone have any questions about sampling?


__: Hi, I‟m a blogger. I have a question in terms of, when you build a
relationship with the publicist and the blogger, and you‟re sending
free products and therefore, you know, you‟re going to write about it
in your blog, how do you navigate between, like-- Say you get the
product and you just really don‟t like it? But then sometimes you have
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a relationship with the publicist...(inaudible) friendly. Do you just
abstain from reviewing it? Or do you try to buffer your bad review?
Or how do you handle situations like that?


PL: There‟s really no obligation on either end. Publicists don‟t have
to send you samples and hear something that you would disagree with.
Your only obligation is to tell the publicist so. If you have some kind
of horrible...(inaudible) reaction that the world needs to know about,
unless babies die or something, that‟s something you should write
about. Anything short of that, you simply...(inaudible). Publicists
understand that their products won‟t work for everyone and life will
go on.


I think ultimately telling the truth and engaging the publicist first
before making a decision to write a review which is either
disingenuous or negative is the most constructive way to go forward.


PM: Kristen...(inaudible) I know we‟ve talked a lot in the past couple
weeks about new bloggers. And they feel anxiety, like, oh my gosh,
they sent me something. They don‟t even have to acknowledge that
we sent them something.


KH: Well and I even sort of felt that initial, “How does this work?”
kind of thing when we initially started talking to each other. It was,
like, “Should I inundate them with a giant bag of Pierce Mattie
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things? Or should I”-- So I‟m touched that you just didn‟t really
know. So I found the best way to deal with it was to just sort of speak
to the person, find out what their interests were. I mean, obviously
there‟s a blog out there called Scentzilla. They only do perfumes. So
they don‟t want my skin creams or my lip glosses.


Again, it‟s just about learning the individual ins and outs of these
sites, and also learning what other brands the agency has as well, too.
It‟s not just me. There are 15 other people that work here that have
great brands as well that could work for someone that I really don‟t
know that much about. You know? So I just think the information
spreads, it‟s a good thing. Exchanging contact information just-- You
never know where someone is going to help you down the road and
vice versa.


__: I don‟t have a blog, but I was interested in starting one. But I was
a little surprised to hear that, like, you wouldn‟t write a review that
wasn‟t favorable. Because I thought that was the appeal of a blog, that
you get a very honest opinion. You know, there‟s always like lip
plumpers. People always wonder, “Does it really work?” And if it
doesn‟t, I want to say, well, maybe it didn‟t work for me, to not write
it just because it‟s not nice or not...(inaudible).


JF: It‟s not that I won‟t ever say negative things. My policy is that,
you know, it‟s not helping me, it‟s not necessarily the product‟s fault.
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And I think it‟s because beauty is very, very personal. I‟ll give an
actual physical example, ...(inaudible). I had used this moisture mask.
I got dandruff from it. It was tragic. And it was, like, “Oh, that‟s
because I have fine hair. I don‟t need to moisturize my hair like this.”


I wasn‟t going to tell the world, “Barracks(?) gives you freakin‟
dandruff! It‟s horrible! Don‟t buy it!” because it‟s not serving anyone.
But if it‟s a product that‟s designed to moisturize really dry skin and it
didn‟t do so, I‟m going to tell you that. But it‟s very much within a
particular context of a particular product. I think it‟s very important
because beauty is so personal. You have to acknowledge that.


PL: You‟re not checking a box that says, “This product was good.
This product was bad.” You‟re writing a review. And ultimately your
only obligation is to yourself and your readers. If you write something
very mean-spirited that will affect your relationship with the publicists
[simultaneous conversation]--


__: So just to clarify, if it was meant for your hair type specifically,
like, it‟s supposed to help you out and it didn‟t, so that you would say
it didn‟t help you, but it might work for somebody else?


PL: You tell the truth.
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JF: Yeah, you tell the truth. Recently, I reviewed the Sun Silk
products that just came out. I got one for my particular hair type. It
was to give volume. And it kind of worked, but it smelled kind of bad,
and it was this nasty yellow color. The whole experience wasn‟t really
particularly positive.


So I said, “Look – it‟s really good for the price point. I did get some
volume out of it. But overall it was-- there‟s kind of a funky smell. It
wasn‟t as effective as I would hoped, but here are the pros and cons.”


KH: Again, I think it‟s that apple cart that you don‟t want to upset. If
there‟s a blogger out there that‟s outside of your community, and
someone sort of on their own that feels they can be as expressive as
they want to be, and they‟re dangerous, I‟m not going to send them
anything anymore. I‟m going to be leery. I‟m going to pass the word
around here. I mean, it‟s just the nature of the business that you
always be respectful of each other.


PM: Let‟s go on to blogging versus print media. The first one is, will
blogging take over print media? I would like Phil to answer that one.


[side remarks]


PL: Ultimately blogging is just a way to publish information, just
like you publish information on paper ...(inaudible) and off to a
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magazine or publish it every day, now it‟s a newspaper. The same
concept can be transferred from one medium to another to another.
Naturally each medium has its own benefits and has its own flaws.


When you deal with a magazine, you don‟t simply deal with the
fashion pages. You deal with the magazine. You deal with an editorial
staff. You deal with a marketing staff. It‟s a construct more than an
object. If Vogue tomorrow decided, “No more print. We‟ll publish
everything in Vogue, one article a day on the website,” that makes
Vogue a blog, but you‟re not dealing with Vogue the construct any
differently. And ultimately, that‟s the distinction. It doesn‟t matter if
blogging is taking over print media or print media is going to crush
blogging with overwhelming force.


At the end of the day, you have a product. You want to get a message
out about it. And that message is contingent on people‟s experience
with it. That‟s really all that matters. How they choose to publish it,
how they choose to distribute it is up to whoever is managing the
media. There are benefits to blogging which are inherent in the fact
that it‟s electronic, that you don‟t have a magazine. But that‟s kind of
trivial. Ultimately, it‟s you dealing with the construct
and...(inaudible).


PM: I think there‟s that natural fear that print is dead. Looking at YM
and Teen People and Elle Girl, we all have this phobia of, like, “Oh
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my gosh, all of these periodicals are kind of going online.” Julie, do
you think that there‟s a way that a top publication like a Lucky or an
Elle or even regular People Magazine could use a blog in conjunction
with their site? Because often when I go to some of these websites--
You know, iVillage is great. But there are some really great top,
glossy magazines. And I go on their website, I‟m, like, “Is that run out
of another country?” Because it‟s not even relevant to what it is on the
newsstands today. So there‟s a huge disconnect between, like,
...(inaudible) and the website. But is there a way that maybe a print
periodical can actually reinforce and use a blog so there‟s synergy
between both?


JF: Yeah, no doubt. And I think more and more magazines are
coming to terms with that. You can‟t just launch a blog and call it--
We‟ll use Glamour as an example. Glamour just launched a bunch of
blogs. And people are kind of disenchanted. It doesn‟t really feel like
an actual blog. It just feels like this is the magazine put online.
There‟s nothing wrong with that. You just shouldn‟t call it a blog
necessarily. Other magazines like Jane have done a better job with it.


And a lot of magazines are really, really working to get to that point.
It‟s not going to happen overnight, because ...(inaudible) construct.
There‟s the editorial team, the marketing team. Like, I learned
yesterday that Lucky Mag has to buy ad space on LuckyMag.com.
They can‟t(?). It goes through Condé Nast.
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So there‟s certain barriers there. And ultimately, things will change. I
think there are a lot of untapped synergies. And eventually, we‟ll have
more full experiences with magazines and blogs. And there will be
different points of entry.


PM: Kristen, can you just...(inaudible) because you‟ve been in the
industry for a long time. We know that when you pitch a publication,
the print editor will often say, “I‟m not going to put that in. But I think
the website editor will put it in.” And that happens all the time. How
do you as a publicist kind of keep track, like, “Okay, so, Marie Claire
said no. Marie Claire online maybe said yes,” and then you have to do
more research to kind of figure out, what are all Marie Claire‟s blogs.


KH: How do you mean?


PM: As a publicist, how would you, not manipulate, but really
strategize that pitch if the client is Marie Claire...(inaudible) like,
“You have to get this product in Marie Claire,” and the print editor
has said no? Do you take the same content that you pitched to print?
Or do you tweak it to kind of fit more online?


KH: Yes, because there‟s a timing issue there. It‟s not only versus--
You know, most magazines that are online, it‟s usually about a month,
I guess. So it is going to be a timing issue. But I feel it‟s the same kind
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of story though. It‟s the same kind of pitch. It‟s the same concept
really. It‟s just a matter of time.


PM: Julie, take the next one. Are beauty and fashion print editors
fearing bloggers, or are they loving them?


JF: Well I think that there initially a lot of panic of, you know, “They
took our germs,” from the South Park episode of-- You know, there
was this ...(inaudible) there‟s a panic. And I think it was just
completely unnecessary panic. Because blogging, it‟s an adjunct. It‟s
a different kind of publishing platform. And nothing is ever going to
change the initial experiences of picking up a magazine. I can‟t view a
website while getting a pedicure. My laptop would frizzle out and die
with the water.


I think that editors are now starting to learn that there‟s a lot of
information they can get from blogs. You can write stories about
blogs. Blogs are constantly a fascinating source to all sorts of different
kinds of editors. Of you can get information from blogs. Sometimes
something a blogger might write about is intriguing...(inaudible).
Blogger discovered something ...(inaudible) because the blogger is
closer to the street, “I think this needs to get into my publication.”


So there‟s a lot of really productive relationships that I think are
starting to form. I definitely talk to a lot of editors of various
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publications that are interested in what we‟re doing and how we‟re
doing it and how they can be involved.


PM: When we discuss, like print beauty & fashion editors, there‟s a
phobia for them to post remarks. We know, like, the whole Jolie thing
from last year, where they‟re just, like, “I‟ll never go viral with my
communication skills because I don‟t want to lose my job.” Why
don‟t more beauty and fashion print editors take the initiative to kind
of reeducate that medium and say, “It‟s okay if I‟m posting online or
if I‟m going to do some remarks online”?


PL: I think the biggest distinction is between the publishing industry
and the content industry. What blogs have done is that they‟ve given
anyone a means to publish information. This means if you are in the
magazine business, you‟re either on the content side or the publishing
side. There‟s a lot of infrastructure required to get magazines printed,
sell the requisite ad space, postage, and so on and so forth. That‟s a
publishing problem.


Beauty editors and writers solve the content problem. You‟re
generating reviews, reviewing products. You‟re generating all sorts of
information that fits within a publishing platform. So if you‟re a very
talented makeup reviewer, it doesn‟t matter if someone hires you to
write online or in print or skywriting or what have you, because your
content is what has value.
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The major stabilization(?) is that blogging has opened up publishing
to people beyond the sort of fortress of the magazines. And that‟s
scary to a lot of people in publishing, but ultimately it should be
reassuring to people in content.


PM: Does anyone have any questions on blogging versus print
media?


__: I don‟t have a question, I have a comment. I‟ve written for a blog.
I‟m the star writer for an online publication and I also freelance with
print. Let me tell you something – depending upon who I am writing
for, when I‟m talking to publicists or clients for even basic
information, when I was working for the blog, it was, like, banging
against a cement wall: “Oh, you‟re a blog? No information.”


Online, sometimes I‟ll get information. Sometimes I‟ll get samples.
Sometimes I‟ll get help. Great. When I‟m working for certain print
publications, I have a truck parked at my front door. So now, it does
matter who you‟re writing for. It‟s a great idea to say that, “It doesn‟t
matter if I‟m writing for Vogue or if I‟m writing for a blog. The
content is the same and I‟m going to be treated the same by the
community.” The fact of the matter is, they‟re not. I mean I‟ve seen it
firsthand.
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PL: The way that [simultaneous conversation] now is a distinction.
However, if you are the daily(?) Kennedy(?) editor, someone is going
to cater to you because daily Kennedy has a very wide circulation. If
you publish something in your community newspaper, even though
it‟s printed, you don‟t carry as much weight because it‟s a content
medium. You can publish something by email...(inaudible) you‟re
going to be listened to. If it‟s Vogue, you‟re dealing with a circulation
of two million. That is a loud voice.


JF: And I think what‟s critical is that you have to understand that not
everyone is educated on the number yet. And once people are
educated on the numbers, things will change. When I say to a public
relations firm, “My community drives half a million impressions a
day,” that‟s all I need to say. It‟s not, “Oh well, you‟re a blog so you
don‟t matter.” It‟s, “That‟s half a million impressions. I want half a
million eyeballs.”


__: Well the online publication that I work for now, we have one
million readers a month, every month. We‟re consistently in the top
ten North American websites. Each city portal that we‟re in, we‟re the
number one. And yet when I deal with publicists on certain things, it‟s
still, like, “Oh my god – you‟re online?” But yeah, when I‟m doing
articles for either the dailies that I write for here in the city or if I‟m
writing for a magazine, it‟s a completely, completely different
attitude. And I‟m sorry, but print still is king. I know magazines are
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folding. And I know magazines are going online. But trust me – when
it comes to publicists, print is king. I‟ve seen it [simultaneous
conversation]


PL: ...(inaudible) because the industry is changing. But do you see
that more as an issue with publicists or an issue with the media?


__: Both. I see it with both.


JF: I don‟t see how this is really a problem with the medium, because
it‟s really not something really that different. It‟s just you interact with
it slightly differently. And because it‟s new, the ground rules aren‟t
written. But eyeballs are eyeballs. I mean, when it comes down to it,
do you want to sell more product? And whatever helps you sell more
product, that‟s fine. Honestly, a tiny mention in Vogue isn‟t going to
sell as much product as a large mention on a blog that gets a lot of
people talking, because it‟s just more eyeballs are interacting with it. I
think businessmen, businesswomen understand that.


PM: Also the real estate in the magazines has gotten small. Like, we
as publicists are, like, “Oh, so-and-so, your lipstick is going to be in
the November issue of Cosmo. We‟re really excited. We‟ve worked
on this for, like, three months.” And it comes out, and it‟s like a
schmear. I‟m, like, “That‟s not that lipstick.” And there‟s an 800
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number. And it‟s, like, “So-and-so‟s red lipstick.” I‟m, like, “This
isn‟t going to do anything for their business.”


But if you look at the print media, that‟s really what it‟s come down
to, is that they have to cram as much on the page as they can, make it
look really, really pretty, and make sure that they get all 800 numbers
correct. And, you know, their real estate isn‟t there.


__: Hi, I‟m Genevieve from the Brahma Group. I think this is a matter
of-- It‟s the trickle down effect. Because a lot of clients really still do
want that glossy page and they really feel like print is where they want
to be. And they don‟t want to hear anything about anything that‟s
under, like you said, a million circ or two million circ, for that matter.
And we‟re actually here; we‟re all from the same agency. One of our
clients ...(inaudible) great blog...(inaudible) 200 minutes in a week.
And now they don‟t even want to hear anything about publications.
And they‟re, like, “Bloggers, bloggers, bloggers!” [laughter] So I
think it‟s an education process, not only for ourselves and for people
who are non-bloggers, because, you know, a year ago, it‟s, like, “You
do what? What does that mean?” So I think it‟s a matter of educating
your client probably, because--


PL: It‟s a simple case of business value. Right now, it‟s kind of the
fault of the blogosphere that we don‟t or haven‟t developed sufficient
means to prove the value of a blog mention. The means for tracking
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and the means for conversion are really just starting to mature. And as
that happens, because, you know, the Internet‟s really popular now,
those eyeballs, those buyers are there. And if we see mind reading
online, does that mean print is obsolete? Of course not. But we‟d still
run it by two million people a month. But the space is growing. And
as publicists with clients who want to make money by selling
products, that‟s a whole new pasture for you guys to start(?) on(?).


JF: ...(inaudible) resources. I mean one reason Coutorture Media
exists in the first place is so we can help do that education. We are a
service to our blogger. So the bloggers can educate all of the people
who are marketing, pitching and selling products that, hey, we have
eyeballs. We care about products. We want to sell the products. We
love them. We‟re consumers and we want to be involved in that
process.


I mean, there‟s no reason that you can‟t reach out to us and say,
“Alright, give us the numbers,” because we have the numbers. We can
help you understand the confusion and tracking potential.


__: I was just getting ready to ask that. Because someone who isn‟t
...(inaudible) how would you suggest you verify those numbers?
Because quite frankly, anyone can make up and say--
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JF: Anyone can. And metrics are very-- You think that it would be
very opaque, but it‟s not true. And e-numbers can be checked and
third-party verified. You can go to Alexa and decide exactly where
things are. You can go, when you‟re done with this, decide exactly
where my personal blog stands and say, “I don‟t want a product to
appear on ...(inaudible). She doesn‟t drive nearly enough traffic. Five
thousand people a day is nothing.” And then you can go out and find
that, “Oh, SheFinds is 10,000 people a day. I want my product on
SheFinds.”


PL: Right. But within that, you need to consider, again, because you
target products to people who are receptive to them, whether a blogger
has the right audience, whether a blogger‟s audience is other bloggers
who spread the message-- Again, it‟s all about tailoring your needs
and the needs of your clients, which you can do much more finely in a
space, you know, hundreds of different websites with hundreds of
different ever-finely divided audiences than you can with one mention
in one magazine, which is kind of a shotgun approach to marketing.


__: So you don‟t feel like it will get competitive in a respect where,
sometimes you have to promise an exclusive to someone and say,
“Hey, I‟m giving this to you first. I haven‟t given it to anyone else. I‟ll
wait until you print it.” And then, you know, you disseminate it to
other people. Do you feel like it might be like that to a bigger blogger
if you go to someone who‟s smaller--
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JF: It‟s a good question. It‟s funny. We also represent a lot of
streetwear blogs who talk about sneakers. They much very much view
it as exclusives, which all the rest of us think is hysterically funny
because it‟s not an exclusive. The second it goes online, anybody can
take it. And they do take it. Streetwear information infuses like no
other. Our streetwear blogs actually get more traffic than all the
Condé Nast magazines, all of them in terms of the actual hits. It‟s
amazing. And that information will spread far and wide.


PM: We‟re going to take one more question. We‟re going to close on
blogging costs. Some of you are new to blogging and want to know
how much does it cost to start a blog? Can I make money off my
blog? I‟d like first Phil to kind of set the groundwork for, if someone‟s
going to be launching a new blog this year, what‟s the projected cost
for a blogger?


PL: Well it‟s like anything else where you can make it as expensive
as you want. You can start a blog on a free service for no money. The
only thing you put into it is your time, that‟s whatever value you
assign to it. If you‟re a corporation, you probably want to pick a better
service which has more options, maybe hire a designer. And you can
spend, you know, upwards of thousands of dollars on your blog. If
you hire writers, assume their costs.
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So really, again, it‟s like any other sort of publishing platform. You
can make it-- even start with no money and no cost except your time
and put as much polish on it as you‟d like.


PM: When you look at systems, like, I‟ve seen some people that,
they‟re, like, “Oh, I have a blog.” Like, “Really? I‟ve never seen it
come up on any search engine, ever.” Yahoo, MSN, obviously
Overture(?) didn‟t do anything for their website and their blog isn‟t
doing anything for their website. How can the bloggers that are in the
room tonight, kind of make sure that their blog is optimized? Is there
something that you wouldn‟t recommend that they buy for their blog
because it‟s just not going to ever be picked up anywhere?


PL: You can‟t pay people very much. But you can(?) pay people
money to optimize your blog. That‟s kind of ...(inaudible). You can
take a lot of steps to make sure that your blog slowly becomes more
popular, one is simply by blogging really well. This gets more people
linking to you, commenting on what you say, which is what the search
engines ultimately value. I mean, at the end of the day, Google is
smarter than any of us. And they know best how to make sure that the
most relevant information is at the top. So maybe best way to be a
popular blogger and to get more search engine traffic is to be the best
source of information. It‟s kind of magical, but there isn‟t that much
you can do apart from participate and gain more credibility by your
contribution.
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PM: Why is it that, like, Google is so blog-friendly and Yahoo is not
as far as how they‟re being received? You can search for certain blog
posts and they‟ll come up really fast on Google. And then on Yahoo,
you have to go four to five pages in to kind of find that blogpost.


PL: It‟s kind of complicated, like everything else having to do with
technology. But the basic answer is that Google works better. There‟s
a reason it‟s everyone‟s favorite search engine. That said, there‟s still
a lot of people who use Yahoo and Lycos and...(inaudible). There are
also a number of sectionalized blog search engines. One is
...(inaudible). Google has its own specifically blog search engine and
more and more, simply because it‟s more frequently updated
information, even though it‟s not necessarily authoritative
information. Search engines are segregating blog results into their
own category...(inaudible) sufficient rank, which is probably good for
searchers worldwide, because they want the best information, if it‟s on
a blog or a website or in an email or wherever.


Something interesting that is happening is that certain company like
Fox now, which owns MySpace has licensed Google to run that
search engine, to be the search engine behind MySpace. So all of that
information is indexed. So if you post something on your MySpace
blog, that will ...(inaudible) results, however it feels to...(inaudible).
Again, it‟s something that‟s beyond your control as an individual. And
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you just simply have to have confidence that by being slowly
recognized by your community, you will get more popular.


PM: A lot of publicists that are here had to actually set up blogs for
their clients as part of their PR program. And other bloggers that are
in the room probably want to know this answer as well. When you‟re
setting up a new blog, or even an existing blog that needs a facelift,
how can you make money off your blog, like, accepting advertising?
Realistically, what is the project ROI if you do decide to take paid
advertising on that blog? How much can they possibly make?


JF: The answer is, not a lot. I‟m sure that many people are familiar
with the whole long tail phenomenon, like, “What‟s happening with
the long tail? I heard that the long tail is important.” That doesn‟t
mean that one individual in the long tail is important. It means that all
together, you‟re important.


So really you‟re not going to make a lot of money from a blog. I keep
a very popular blog. And, you know, it‟s not ...(inaudible) personal
blog and I don‟t have advertising things on it because the couple
hundred bucks I‟d make a month just aren‟t worth it to me. It‟s not
worth the hassle of putting up the advertisements. It would gum up the
space. It just looks kind of ugly. Whereas if you‟re really popular, like
a Gawker, you can make a decent amount of money off of it. But then,
you know, you have to go out and sell the ad space.
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So I think that that‟s a may make money off of the actual blog. The
value you‟re getting is that the information is being put out there. And
a corporate blog, you are the first source of information. Google will
eventually recognize that and it will go to you, so that you can have
the information and it will always be there. And the value is of course
being the most visible, because we live in an attention(?) economy.
And if you want to be the person who‟s recognized, the blog gets
recognized so that when you have something, I‟d say, “Alright, we
need water. I‟m going to go to get Fiji.” So the trick is, keeping
yourself visible. That‟s the value, not necessarily from the advertising.


PM: Does anyone have any questions on making money with your
blogs? No? Okay, we‟re going to close this evening with just a couple
last comments on what‟s beyond blogging. Is it MySpace, you know,
Friendster is kind of last year? I‟d like for Phil to kind of elaborate on
the viral community as a whole, what‟s next after the blog
phenomenon.


PL: Sure. It breaks down in two ways. Basically what do you want to
get out of having a presence online? If you want to get laid, you‟re
probably going to go to MySpace. If you want to become a popular
video(?) reviewer, you‟re going to start a blog.
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There are a number of new services cropping up which make it very,
very easy to ...(inaudible) my MySpace ad to make friends to show
products. Maintaining a blog is a lot of work – simply in the way it‟s
presented, keeping editorial schedule. It‟s a lot of work. It takes a
solid(?) commitment(?) of time to have a popular blog.


There‟s a new crop of products coming out which, I don‟t want to call
it „blogging lite‟, but make it very easy to capture products that you
find online and post them to a community. They‟re called social
bookmarking sites, but they‟re for products. So you‟re browsing the
Web. You‟re on ...(inaudible) dot com and you see this great message
about it. You click a button and you enter the site and post it to a
website. You now have a way to show products that‟s not blogging
and not MySpace.


What‟s happening now is that all of these little-- these discrete(?)
communities, like you have your MySpace page and you have your
blog and you have your account on this bookmarking service
...(inaudible) products...(inaudible) to come together, probably in the
next six to 12 months. A number of services are going to come out
that make it very, very easy to let information flow from one spot to
another, either corporation providing product data that‟s easily with
blogs to be posted or someone taking sort of their social space and
their commentary space and putting them together. So the short
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answer is that, there will be more and more opportunities for people to
share more information on products with less effort.


JF: The great thing about this is, you can see what‟s happening. The
ultimate goal is of course to get people to products. You know, you
have a product. You have people. How can they come together?
Everybody‟s trying to solve that problem. Blogging was a step in that
evolution of solving the problem, how to get products to people.


We have a lot of theories on that...(inaudible) developing some
technologies because we have bloggers and we have products. And
we want to have better interaction to facilitate that. So they‟ll be some
pretty exciting things happening. It‟s just a matter of waiting for the
technology to develop.


PM: I thank you Kristen. I thank you Julie. I thank you Phil. We‟re
going to leave the office open for about 15-20 more minutes. There‟s
a ton of white wine, red wine, and fresh fruit in the conference room.
You guys can freely approach the panelists. Their bios and contact
information are on the backs of their business cards. Their email
information is there also. I thank everybody for coming this evening.


[applause]


END OF PRESENTATION

				
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