Marissa Mayer Testifies Russian Agents Behind 2013 Yahoo Attack

Marissa Mayer

Nov 8, 2017.  From the Reuters article regarding former CEO of Yahoo Marissa Mayer’s testimony before Congress:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer apologized on Wednesday for two massive data breaches at the internet company, blaming Russian agents for at least one of them, at a hearing on the growing number of cyber attacks on major U.S. companies.

Having spent the majority of the last three years doing almost exclusively InfoSec and Security on the Tendenci SaaS Cloud, not by choice but out of necessity, I do feel a bit of vindication as they confirm the facts. This is DATA people. Not opinion. I see it every day.
Tendenci has always kept logs, but never before have we had to have three (and sometimes four) sets of logs kept in different locations. Log verification, audit, cross references, searching through millions of logs DAILY. Just the expense … it’s frustrating for us in the security community for several reasons:
  1. We can’t talk fully openly about it for confidentiality reasons

  2. We sound kra-kra.

  3. When we do, everyone thinks we are crazy and it’s a conspiracy theory.

It turns out reality is like an idiom, what everyone initially thought was wrong and like so many other things, people get silenced. That shit Cray . Oh, and that reference doesn’t mean what you think it means either. Because Jay-Z is smart as f*ck and he is making a damn point.

All I can say is … what he said. Because THIS shit is Cray.

By World Economic Forum – “An insight, an idea: Marissa Mayer” at Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0,

rosen on wikileaks – stateless news organization

Worth a read on wikileaks Wikileaks, the World’s First Stateless News Organization

Ask yourself: Why didn’t Wikileaks just publish the Afghanistan war logs and let journalists “˜round the world have at them? Why hand them over to The New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel first? Because as Julien Assange, founder of Wikileaks, explained last October, if a big story is available to everyone equally, journalists will pass on it.

“It’s counterintuitive,“ he said then. “You’d think the bigger and more important the document is, the more likely it will be reported on but that’s absolutely not true. It’s about supply and demand. Zero supply equals high demand, it has value. As soon as we release the material, the supply goes to infinity, so the perceived value goes to zero.“

pay to play journalism – all of them?

broken window theoryLike the National Enquirer (who oddly enough just filed for bankruptcy), now everyone is willing to pay for stories. OK, technically it sounds like they pay the interviewee for use of images and video an exorbitant amount to avoid (theoretically) crossing that journalistic line. From the story on the Washington Post on Checkbook Journalism.

“thanks to heightened competition for the next big “get,” journalism’s Thou-Shalt-Not-Pay commandment has lately been taking a beating. News and gossip sites that paid for information have broken some of the biggest and most sensational recent stories. TV news divisions have joined in, spurring an arms race to buy big stories.”


CNN spokeswoman Edie Emery insisted, however, “CNN does not pay for interviews or sources. Yes, CNN did pay a licensing fee for exclusive rights to Schuringa’s cellphone image. Payment for the exclusive license of the image was never a condition of the guest interview.” In fact, CNN did interview Schuringa.


An ABC News spokesman, Jeffrey Schneider, also said the fees were not tied to any promises of an interview. “We compensate a rights-holder for video or pictures that they own in the same way that The Washington Post would pay a photographer for his pictures,” Schneider said.

So who can you trust? IMHO whether paid or based on some agenda, you should always be skeptical of the media regardless of the SPJ code of ethics.

And in disclosure, the WP has agreed to pay me $100,000 to run this story on my blog. OK, actually they are paying me for RIGHTS to use my cc licensed photo top right at some future date. Yup, the photo of broken stuff.

It’s true.

OK, it’s all true except that last part. But if you know someone at the WP, will you send them my address so they can mail a check?

Upcoming Speaking

On the road again. A few upcoming speaking gigs on my calendaraspen airport

Technology Section Conference: T3PR –  Theory, Tactics & Technology for High-Tech Public Relations Conference
June 11, 2010,  10:45″“11:30 a.m. New York, New York
“Personal Brands: The Opportunities and Threats”

CPE By the Sea Conference
June 16, Galveston, TX
“Social Media and Personal Branding”

PRSA Sunshine District Conferene
June 18, Jupiter, FL
“What it Takes to Become Internet Famous”

PRSA Georgia Conference Presentation: The Personal Brand Era

Last week in Atlanta I had the privilege of speaking to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Georgia’s Annual Conference. My topic was The Personal Brand Era.

As Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, “we’re going through a gold rush of branding.  If you get talked about enough in all these social webs/blogs, you can build a brand.”  If the people working for you have a strong presence in social media, so will your company.  This means happier employees and a more profitable business.

My slide deck on the personal brand era is below:

The Godfather, The Undertaker, and Informal Systems

In recent talks I have found an anecdote that has worked well to explain the difference between formal and informal systems that most Americans can relate to. The book The Godfather opens with:

Amerigo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had so cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her. (pg 3)

bridgeThe two young men who did this were set free by a corrupt judge. Amerigo Bonasera, the Sicilian Undertaker, concludes “For justice we must go on our knees to Don Corleone.” The formal American system in this fictional book has failed our Undertaker. So he reaches out to the informal system in his community; Don Corleone. When they meet on the day of Corleone’s daughter’s funeral, a day “that by tradition no Sicilian can refuse a request” (pg 17), Amerigo asks the Godfather to have the men killed. Corleone refuses and rebukes Amerigo for basically being a rainy-day-friend. Corleone says:

“…until this day you never came to me for counsel or help. I can’t remember the last time you invited me to your house for coffee though my wife is godmother to your only child. Let us be frank. You spurned my friendship. You feared to be in my debt. … Now you come to me and say, ‘Don Corleone give me justice.'” (pg 21)

he continues

“Why do you fear to give your allegiance to me? … if you had come to me, my purse would have been yours. If you had come to me for justice those scum who ruined your daughter would be weeping bitter tears this day. If by some misfortune an honest man like yourself made enemies they would become my enemies” – the Don raised his finger pointing at Bonasera – “and then, believe me, they would fear you.”

“you shall have your justice. Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do me a service in return. Until that day, consider this justice a gift from my wife, your daughter’s godmother.” (pg 23)

Justice is delivered on page 53 “… they seemed to be pulps of human beings. Miraculously, said the News, they were both still alive though they would both be in the hospital for months and would require plastic surgery.” – And the Undertaker owes the Godfather.

All of us can relate to this story, particularly if we have children. “I don’t need you! I’m (an adult/in high school/have my own job/etc/etc) now! I can do it on my own!” But really NONE of us can do it on our own, with any level of success at least. It takes support from both formal and informal systems. Success requires support from family, the rule of law, the employer and these days more and more success requires the full support of extended urban tribes.

For Public Relations folks, I like to bring up the shift from formal distribution (traditional mainstream media) to informal distribution (bloggers, youtube, twitter brand attacks). In my opinion, many people in PR and in media DO understand the shift from centralized to distributed (long tail, small pieces loosely joined) media. Yet what they potentially don’t fully understand is the shift in authority from the police to the Don Corleone’s of the world. And let us not forget the Godfather wasn’t exactly a saint, collecting protection money, bribing the police and “knocking off” the competition.

For public relations professionals, the bloggers are hidden (no Bacon’s directory! gasp!). And bloggers are completely biased and proud of it. And have authority far beyond what a small olive importer should have. From the bloggers perspective the world is finally acknowledging their informal system of authority. About time.

Just an observation about the shift from formal authority in the media to a more informal system. And we all need to get to know and be friends with the new kids in town. With respect.

Viral Marketing Described as Link-Bait

While a few of our team attended Search Engine Strategies in San Jose this week, I did not. But I have been reading the newsletters that come out on the sessions.

On session that is worth review is from SEOmoz blog on a formula for creating compelling content by Randfish. Content so compelling that others link to it and therefore help your search engine rank. It is told from the perspective of the web yet it should work off line just as well from a PR perspective.

Here is the link-bait presentation with a summary below (go visit the presentation for the REAL content):

  1. Researching a Sector’s Link-Worthiness
  2. Discovery of “˜Big’ Players in Your Field – Technorati and Google Trends with your keywords
  3. Targeting YDDS (Yahoo!, Digg,, (maybe also
  4. Targeting Offline Media – hire PR expert
  5. Selecting a Content Focus
  6. Melding Branding and Viral Elements
  7. Targeting Keywords/Search Traffic
  8. Look at Examples of “˜Brilliant Ideas’
  9. The Value of a “˜Web 2.0′ Look & Feel – "The  right "look and feel" will earn links"
  10. Elements that Encourage Linking
  11. Pre-Launch Public Relations
  12. Managing Launch Traffic – do not respond negatively
  13. Continuing to Get Value from Linkbait – "Update the content with timely information."

Quote of the Day

"Press releases are created by committees, edited by lawyers, and then
sent out at great expense through Businesswire or PRnewswire to reach
the digital and physical trash bins of tens of thousands of

Silicon Valley Watcher

Excellent Use of Corporate Blogging – Over My Dead Body

A frequent question from public relations professionals when discussing "corporate blogging" is "who should blog?"  Lutz is a good case study with good dialog like this, as are McDonalds and channel 9 and Sun. Those blogs are relevant to the company yet they contain individual voices.

Slashdot picked up this great post by a Microsoft Developer that shuts down a possible future crisis. with words like:

Back-door nonsense

Two weeks ago BBC News published an article speculating about a possible “back door“ in BitLocker (
The suggestion is that we are working with governments to create a back
door so that they can always access BitLocker-encrypted data.


Over my dead body.

Now that is a good crisis response. And PR would never have written "over my dead body" in a press release. I love it! And it helps Microsoft. Its all good.

A tip of the hat to KT for the links!

PR on Blogs – What are they saying and how should I respond?

Pr_on_blogs_panelTwo days of total public relations immersion (yes I will join PRSA…).  My panel is Engine Overhaul – New Technologies Open the Door for New PR Opportunities at 9:00 AM.

To prepare I have been asking folks "what do you want to see covered?"  In a conversation with Danielle Ezell, APR of 20 Hats PR in OKC, she said it boiled down to two questions:

  1. What are they saying about a subject?
  2. How should we respond?

A bit more concise than my planned presentation.  Yet a direct answer is possible.

  1. Use Technorati to search a subject.  Example search for Radio Shack.:
    another option is to set up google alerts for the same terms.  Or do both.
  2. How to respond?  Join in the conversation.  Don’t talk down.  Respect first and be genuine.  Read naked convesations for a good introduction or go straight to cluetrain for the psychology.

There.  Now I can skip my panel and keep drinking coffee.  Or not.

update: added the photo.  The PPT slides should be posted on shortly.

update2: My PPT slides on New Tech and PR on our site as well. 

Nike PR – Media Orchard Dis’s Kobe Bryant

Via this post on AdRants, Media Orchard has rewritten Nike’s new Kobe Bryant ad with some more … er… factually correct copy writing.

This was a PR disaster waiting to happen for Nike given their strong female constituency. 

Here is the rewrite from Media Orchard.  Now we just need the style-like-brokeback to the future mashup on YouTube!

Media Orchard on Nike Kobe Bryant Commercial:

Hate my selfishness.

Hate my lies, my infidelity.

Hate the fact that my high-powered attorneys got me off and humiliated my accuser when I was charged with rape.

And hate that I’m loved, because America only cares who wins the damn game.

My regrets to Karl Rove for getting pulled into this.  He is probably innocent.

And if Nike is looking for who they SHOULD sponsor, I have a suggestion for an amazing athlete.

Speaking at PRSA Southwest District Conference Mar 2-3, 2006

FortworthrodeoflagI will be speaking on “Trends in Public Relations Technology: Harnessing the Chaos to Encourage Collaboration and Engagement“ later this week at PRSA’s Southwest District Conference in Fort Worth Texas (reg here).  I will be joining Scott Baradell, President, Idea Grove and Jennifer Peper, Vice President,, Inc. 

Not sure if I’ll have time to make it to Billy Bob’s or the botanical gardens, but I will be there in spirit while talking Public Relations and Tech at the conference.

2006 PRSA Southwest District Conference – New Technologies Panel

Ed Schipul CEO, Schipul – The Web Marketing Company

Fri 3-Mar-06 9:00 AM to Fri 3-Mar-06 10:15 AM

The image at the top?  That is an actual photo of me joining a panel at a recent event.  Really! Or maybe it comes from the Fort Worth convention and visitors bureau site.  You decide. <g>

Blogs are your Inbred Cousins – NY Mag Linkology Visual

Blog060213_linkology_560The image on the left is a "Linkology" map from the New York Magazine article called Linkology by Stuart Luman.  High res PDF version of the visualization of top blog relationships chart.

The point of the linkology article (although it is really more a list with a paragrah intro) appears to be that breaking into the A-List, to be one of the top read blogs, is tough.  Perhaps even tougher than breaking your news into traditional media.  A public relations professional pitches stories in old world media to writers and editors.  News media are looking for something NEW and actually have a NEED for the PR Professional. 

On the flip side, blogging is basically a conversation and we tend to go back to the same watering hole on a regular basis for our conversations.

But back to the graphic.  I don’t think it is fair that the image shows only links between those blogs.  Why not show it more like a network diagram?  In fact, based on the visual it looks like a the good old boy’s club, yet I know that boing boing links out to other random (wonderful?) sites almost hourly.

Hopefully the challenge for bloggers is like the challenge for PR professionals; be interesting and be honest and hopefully the story will develop legs.  If that doesn’t work host a huge party and just throw money at the problem.

And oh ya, I found the linkology map through this Doc Searls blog post.  And he is one of top 100.  I am not.  So I am telling nobody about the popularity of others to perpetuate the blog club.  Go figure. <g>

brandchannel: The Search Is Over: Google Wins in 2005

Brandchannel_global_brand_surveybrandchannel just released their 2005 Readers Choice Award Results for top brands.  It is a must read for those in advertising and public relations.  The top 10 global brands are (visit the site for the full list and geographic break downs – link above and below)

For the public relations professional these results are huge.  Note that Google does virtually no advertising, nor does Skype, Starbucks or Firefox. 

In fact while I don’t have the exact numbers, it looks to me like 40% of the top readers choice global brands are primarily built on word-of-mouth marketing and public relations.  Wow!

  1. Google
  2. Apple
  3. Skype
  4. Starbucks
  5. Ikea
  6. Nokia
  7. Yahoo!
  8. Firefox
  9. eBay
  10. Sony

<rant> Now if brandchannel would JUST GET AN RSS FEED I’d be happy!  Aarrrgh.</rant>

Via Dina – Google – Countries are known for

DinacountrysociologygooglemapPR is mostly about opportunities, but some PR opportunities are created.  It is a well known technique to create a survey that might be controversial, or at least "interesting" and use that as fuel for a press release perhaps even annually.

This enterprising individual generated great blogosphere coverage by graphing an interesting google query.  Via Dina, the graph (to the left) is generated from a google query with alternating countries.  I doubt a scientific method of sociology was applied, but it passes the "I find it interesting" test.  Great job Radio Blogs.

Just to repeat, literally, this press was generated from a map with labels and 50 to 100 searches in google.  That simple.  Strategy is more important than press releases when it comes to public relations.

Saint Arnold Fermenter – Naming Rights on eBay is Great Public Relations

SaintarnoldbeerfermenterSome brands enjoy a disproportionate amount of warm fuzzies.  It helps if you sell beer and your product literally makes people happy.  So no surprise that St. Arnold Brewery is one of those brands that enjoys love from their customers. 

Saint Arnold is well known in the Houston area for their brewery tours where everyone gets a free "half cup" of beer.  But if it is a St. Arnolds mug it doesn’t matter how BIG your beer stein, you still get a "half cup."  So basically what you have is repeat offenders showing up with giant mugs (portable barrels with handles?).  Very odd for a first time attendee who of course wonders what the heck is with these people!

Saint Arnolds is now auctioning off the naming rights to their new fermentation tank.  Great public relations and with the bid at $1501 as I write this that is real money.  Here is the eBay listing.

Naming rights to new Saint Arnold fermenter

Become a saint! Win the naming rights to our newest fermenter. It is our first 120 bbl fermenter (that’s 3,720 gallons), twice the volume of our existing tanks. To put that into terms you can understand, that’s 1,653 cases of beer. The tank to be named is prominent to the tasting area. This means people will be thinking of you while enjoying a good beer. Then you can join the previous winner, St. Gonzo, along with our other saints Adrian, Brigid, Columbanus, Dorothy, Edmund, Florian, Gall, Hildegard, Idesbald, Jacobus, Lawrence, Matthew and Nicholas (all are actual saints of brewing). The proceeds will assist us in purchasing even more fermenters so we won’t run you out of beer.

In the disclosure category, Dan Keeney (a client of ours) sent me the link to St. Arnold as I believe they are a client of his.  But hey, if I could afford it, I’d be all over that fermenter.  Of course I’d probably have it signed with someone else’s name for fun, but what the heck?!?

update: And the winning bid was US $4,002.00 by elsambomeister

Mainstream Public Relations Will Grow Even If They Don’t “Get It”

Tom Foremski in an interesting public relations and tech article predicts a major shake up disruption in "mainstream PR."  I find fault with his logic but I do applaud his thinking and would rather suggest that adding historical elements would solve the logic problem leading to an alternate result.  A result in fact that is opposite; that mainstream PR agencies will learn and adapt and integrate SEO and Social Software into strategy and tactics just like they learned that new fangled medium called "radio" a while back.

First, Tom’s logic:

Disruption in mainstream media but where is the disruption in the mainstream PR industry?
. . .it’s coming

<snip>The companies are able to reach many of their customers through search engine marketing–and that drives revenues. Yet those same companies want to be visible in the media, in news stories, features, radio and TV shows–because they believe this will drive revenues.

If the companies know that mainstream media is inefficient at advertising and therefore of less value in helping to drive revenues. . . why do they believe there is great value in being mentioned in the mainstream media?


-Companies can sell their products and services with a far lower cost of sales these days, because it is easier than ever to reach their customers directly through search engine marketing and blogs.

-This means there that there is far less value offered by mainstream media and mainstream public relations in the product and services sales process.

The flaw in the argument is of course the assumption that mainstream PR agencies only obtain coverage for their clients in the mainstream media. 

For example Bernays was known for starting his PR campaigns with a memorable event and using a multi pronged approach to obtain coverage across media.  An interesting event will be covered by all sorts of media both online and offline.  Having a sound foundation for your PR strategy, even if you are NOT tech savvy, will generate BETTER RESULTS in the current media environment.  Radio expanded PR because it was another new media.

Now, I don’t doubt that the mainstream PR agencies are a bit clueless (nice title tag Ogilvy!) when it comes to tech.  I wrote an article for PR Tactics last year and recently submitted another.   Our tech savvy PR agency in Dallas keeps telling me to simplify.  I reply "but isn’t RSS already simple?" – and the answer is consistently "no".  They challenge me to clarify the message.  I get frustrated and try to improve knowing they are correct.

PR works for reasons articulated best here.  Mainstream PR, along with the rest of the PR industry, will continue to grow.  That is my prediction.  And I am sticking to it.

Publishers (and PR people) now responsible for fact checking AND truth?

"I rely on the publishers to define the category that a book falls within and also the authenticity of the work." – James Frey commenting on "The Man Who Conned Oprah"

The above quote is from the NYT piece on the Frey controversy pointing out that everyone is basically responding to his lies (he falsified information in his … ahem … "biography") with "hey, cool, everyone does it."  But the coup de grace has to be Mr. Frey asking the publisher to fact check his autobiography and abdicating responsibility if they have not done so.

This reminds me of the lessons learned in Power Public Relations by Saffir on PR Professionals verifying the authenticity of information given to you by your clients. 

In closing, what we need here is the truth – which leads me to Steven Colbert which I will leave you with.

"The truth hurts. Fortunately for America, I’m a masochist." 

Steven Colbert Opening quotes