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High-Tech Public Relations and Alan Zeichick - Analyze This!

I received the strangest email notification, alerting me to this blog written by Alan Zeichick

When I landed in Athens, Greece, on Sunday, October 13, 2007, the last thing on my mind was writing a blog entry about high-tech public relations, until I heard from a PR agent on the day of my arrival. In the past 10 days or so we have been working with her on a breaking news story that is currently under NDA. I was so impressed with her professionalism and her passion for perfection that yesterday I posted a blog entry, recommending the agency she works for, to technology companies that are searching for a highly qualified public relations firm.

Within minutes of my blog entry, I received the strangest email notification, alerting me to another blog written by Alan Zeichick, "co-founder and editorial director of BZ Media, which publishes SD Times and Software Test & Performance, and which also produces the Software Security Summit, Software Test & Performance Conference, and EclipseWorld. Also president and principal analyst of Camden Associates." That's what his bio says.

In his blog, entitled "SYS-CON Redefines News Into Promoting PR Professionals," Alan writes, "Thanks, Engin, for sharing this news with us! And congratulations, Mariana, for convincing the editors at SYS-CON Media that you, yourself, are worthy of such a high-profile story written for their audience of software developers. That’s quite a coup for the up-and-coming high-tech PR diva!"

Analyze This!
Well, I happen to know Alan from many years ago when he and his partner Ted used to publish a bi-monthly tech newspaper called SD Times. I don't know if he is still printing that paper; I am hoping he is, because when I looked at his Alexa ratings this morning, I saw a consistent flat line on his Website traffic, which spans more than five years, all the way to today.

I respect Alan as someone who used to compete with SYS-CON more than 10 years ago, and I would never call him an "idiot" publicly, even though he writes cute but clueless blog posts such as this one. I do however feel the need for someone to explain to him the basics of "high-tech publishing 2.0" since he seems to have missed the boat on that subject. Here we go then, as simple as I can summarize it:

1) Old school media companies, which do not exist anymore, used to hate PR firms, believing that they stole advertising dollars from their pockets. Alan's blog still shows signs of that fossil belief, which, in itself, explains why he and his SD Times is at a dead end today.

2) Print magazine publishing, especially in high-tech, has been a thing of history for more than five years. If you look at the Alexa ratings, no one seems to be reading Alan's SD Times either. Guess what though Alan, the little accidental traffic you are getting at your Website is coming mainly from the activities of reputable high-tech PR agencies like Citigate Cunningham and others.

3) The blog entry I posted yesterday was not the first time SYS-CON published a story on high-tech PR, in this case recommending the services of an agency and a professional. Alan will not know that until he learns how to monitor his competition.

4) SYS-CON offers half million online articles (that's 500,000 stories) to its 90,000 daily readers, which is more online content than any other technology Website offers.

5) SOA World readership consists of 47.4% management and decision makers, not developers. And here comes the potential shocker for Alan - Google News syndicates more than 15,000 user-generated SYS-CON News Stories per month, all created by and originating from highly respected technology communication firms.

... and Analyze That!
SYS-CON archives contain more than 350,000 user-generated press releases and news stories written by high-tech PR agencies. This is three out of every five high-tech press releases ever published in the past five years. With this kind of experience, SYS-CON editors know which agencies and agents are among a list of firms they can comfortably recommend and which ones to stay away from. Recently, a PR industry Website published a list of firms and individuals they recognized and honored this year. I have a list of my own. When I browse through their list below, I see some individuals and companies that I respect and recommend; I also see companies that I do not care to hear from. If I recommend a firm, that means it generally is an educated recommendation and is not just another blog entry written for the sake of writing a blog page.

Their List: Jodi Amendola, Amendola Communications; Sonia Bovio, Brodeur; Laurie Rubenstein, Cdigix; Joseph Mondy, CIGNA HealthCare; Amira Rubin, CooperKatz & Company; Brian Parrish, Dodge Communications; Michelle Perkins, DPR Group; Kelly O’Brien, Intermarket Communications; Don Jennings, Lois Paul & Partners; Ted Weismann, Lois Paul & Partners; Audra Tiner, Metia; Cathy Spencer, Mulberry; Steve O’Keeffe, O’Keeffe & Company; Caryn Marooney, OutCast Communications; Glenn Goldberg, Parallel Communications Group; Patrick Brightman, SGW; Kimberly Stoddard, SHIFT Communications; Hilary Ives, Softscape; Josh Inglis, Strategics; Jerry Gowen, Symantec; Bob Dirkes, Tech Image; Dan Green, Tech Image; Lawren Markle, Tech Image; Jon Boroshok, TechMarcom; Matthew Podboy, VOCE Communications; Joe Austin, Ventana.


My final lunch in Santorini with the street cat Bella at our table.

It seems to me that Alan was a little confused with my bio as well, since I see him highlighting my "travels" as well as residence on a "long lost island" in the Bahamas.

If it's any help, I am typing these lines on my BlackBerry while I am sailing from the Greek Island of Santorini to the Greek Island Mykonos. And once I return to the office from my home on a long lost Island, you will see a new online SYS-CON product - called Ulitzer - that will revolutionize online publishing. Until then, so long Alan, and the best of luck to you. Now please allow me to end today's blog entry with the same message as yesterday.

More Stories By Engin Sezici

Engin Sezici is a travelling blogger-at-large, who held corporate positions at SYS-CON Media from 1995 through 2004. Engin, who retired in 2004, likes to travel through Europe and Greek Islands, reports on technology subjects from around the world and lives on a private island in the Bahamas wih his twin brother when he is not on the road. You can reach him at engin(at)sys-con.com.