I took most of the day off yesterday to spend time with my family – and was I surprised to see my inbox when I got back to it! As a fellow blogger, I understand the importance of a fast, accurate response to issues raised in the blogs. Unfortunately, in a case of the cobbler’s family not having good shoes, I haven’t done enough to monitor what has been said online about me and some of the companies I am involved with!
A few blogs have questioned the relationship between two companies I am involved with: CustomScoop and NetVocates. Rather than speculation, I want to take a moment to share with my readers a little information:
1. CustomScoop and NetVocates are entirely different companies. I am a founder of both, but the companies have entirely different missions. There are different people involved, different clients, and different technology.
2. CustomScoop provides an online news clipping service – and has since 2000. I am no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of this company, although I am still an investor.
3. NetVocates was founded earlier this year to provide online analysis and advocacy services to clients. What does this mean? NetVocates gathers data about blog posts of interest to its clients, uses proprietary software to blend multiple data sources and electronically sort the information. We then have a staff of experts who review the information to provide reports to clients outlining trends in the blogosphere of interest to our clients.
4. For some – but not all – clients, NetVocates works to develop advocacy programs. These programs can take many different forms – steps the client might take to communicate more proactively through its own blog, to work with bloggers to provide information on products and issues, or to address misinformation published in blogs.
5. We have a few basic principles we ask all of our staff and the activists we work with to operate under. First, we ask our activists to only engage on issues they actually believe in. Second, we ask everyone not to lie about anything. Third, we ask our activists not to create multiple online personalities to engage in blogosphere conversations.
6. Have we ever made mistakes? Sure. Do we learn from them? You bet. So does everyone else in this new world of reaching out to bloggers. Most firms that are navigating these waters hit a rock or two, and we haven’t been (and won’t be) any different. All we can promise to do is watch out for rocks and communicate clearly when we hit one.
7. “You say who you’re speaking for.” That’s the draft standard proposed by WOMMA for this industry and that’s the policy NetVocates will enforce with its staff and activists. Period.
I know I’ve been a bit verbose, but I wanted to make sure I hit all the key points I had seen in various posts. Hopefully this helps answer the questions that have been raised.
(P.S. Google is a great tool, but there are other people named Chip Griffin out there. For instance, I wouldn’t know how to make a knife if my life depended on it.)