One month ago, I reported that BetFair silenced their PR chief (Mark Davies) by moving him to regulation affairs and asking him to shut up his voluble gob. Office politics played against him. Too bad.
Well, as Mark Davies can’-t live in the dark (away from the limelights), he has resigned, and started off his own company, Camberton —-so as to do what BetFair was recently forbidding him to do (PR). I wish him good luck, with 2 caveats.
#1. Mark Davies’-s true love is in fact journalism. But it doesn’-t pay, unless you do TV prominently. If Mark had bollocks, he would go into journalism.
#2. Mark Davies is a SEO virgin (“-Camberton”- is of course notably absent from Google), who was taking tips at BetFair from the world’-s crappiest SEOs. Mark Davies will have to learn web marketing. (I am not even sure Mark knows what “-SEO”- stands for.) And there’-s the WordPress factor. Mike Robb got it, but Mark never did.
Leaving BetFair is a good thing —-provided he can learn in the open what he couldn’-t learn while at BetFair: Marketing 2.0.
The reason is that with my job at Betfair having recently changed so that I have responsibility for regulation but no longer for our public positioning, I have been asked not to blog about industry and company issues. Rather than stop writing completely, I have only been publishing things which cannot be construed to be a Betfair view.
Why did BetFair demote a brilliant spin doctor?
Makes no sense at all. Absurd.
Loic Le Meur:
#2 – Do not pick a PR person, be the spokesperson of the company.
The best person to represent the company is not a PR person and even less an external one. It is YOU. You, the founder, you the CEO. Look at Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, they are the PR machines. Does Michael Arrington himself need a PR person to represent himself get TechCrunch known? If you launch your startup, you need to be the one representing it because you have the vision and the passion. If you are shy, get over it. Get training. Try a daily video for example
#3 – Participation is NOT marketing.
The most important asset that a startup CEO has or should build is his community. It has nothing to do with marketing. [It] took me 8 years since I started blogging in 2003 to have a community and it is no marketing. It is about sharing every day thoughts, tips, advise, learnings with the community. It is about a continuous dialog with thousands of friends that will gladly help you building the company if you do not consider it as marketing. Of course, you can talk about your products and it may be good marketing at times but it should not be artificial. Marketing fails in communities.
#6 – Do not see bloggers and journalists as target either, they will ignore you.
Make sure that the PR team DOES NOT RESEARCH individual preferences for contact before they reach out, they will tell you what everybody knows about them and you will contact them in the most boring way possible. Take bloggers. Everybody tries to pitch Scoble and Arrington. They are tired of the same formatted boring pitches that come to them exactly the same. They are my friends and if I had tried to pitch them like hell they would have never have. Relationships with journalists and bloggers are the same as real life. They take years. Approaching them artificially with a strong sales pitch is the best way to make sure these relationships will never happen.
#7 – Do not measure success and traffic from PR.
It’-s like if you tried to measure your relationships with your friends! Build strong links with your community, learn from them everyday, enhance your product. If you get coverage from the smallest blogger go and comment to thank him. Do not be obsessed by numbers and results, it is long term relationships that matter.
When I read Loic Le Meurs post, I thought to myself, “-Nigel Eccles read that post months before I did.”-
InTrade’-s PageRank is now 7 / 10 —-while all the other major prediction market firms are at 6 / 10.
- It shows that the prediction market approach is paying off. Do provide journalist-friendly objective probabilistic predictions (expressed in percentages –-not those fucking decimal odds), and the media will link to you, thanks to all the free-market economists who love your model and act as unpaid publicists for you. Make sure your website can resist under heavy traffic loads on Election Day, and during the occasional days where important news break. Then, milk out all this free publicity. Run registration ads allover your exchange website to attract new traders. Make money. Invest in IT —-but don’-t let the IT maniacs complicate your prediction exchange too much (as BetFair did).
- Long-term, the InTrade model (based on the prediction market approach) should be more profitable, in theory. Because of legal impediment, InTrade is not as profitable as it should be, alas.
The P.R. industry sucks.
It also true for the field of prediction markets. InTrade-TradeSports and BetFair-TradeFair should embrace open blogging.
Previous blog posts by Chris F. Masse:
- Kudos to BetFair’s e-mail marketing team?
- Conditional prediction markets about oil price and SegWay sales… Like the idea, Robin Hanson?
- Justin Wolfers [*] is the most cited prediction market economist
- The Orb @ Texas Tech University
- IS IT SAFE TO LOCATE A PREDICTION EXCHANGE NEAR A RIVER???
- RIVER RISING. POWER PLANT CLOSED. IOWA ELECTRONIC MARKETS AT RISK? DEVELOPING…
- U.S. COAST GUARDS DEPLOYED TO SAVE THE IOWA ELECTRONIC MARKETS