Google’s Woke PR Comes Unstuck Because Of The Power Of The Pen
COMMENT: Historywillbekind, is a Sydney based PR Company who acts for Google, the only problem is that they appear to not believe in the concept that the “Pen is mightier than the sword”, with the Company deliberately delaying the release of information to ChannelNews, because I suspect we have been critical of their client Google, who is currently under investigation in several Countries for their past actions and anti-competitive behaviour.
4Square Media has been around for two decades and prior to that we owned the largest enterprise and B2B media Company, in that time we have seen several PR companies and brands try to play the isolation and threat game, only to come unstuck as we are a media Company that believes that there is always two sides to a story and that brand spin by PR Companies are not always the truth or accurate.
SmartHouse and ChannelNews have been around for more than two decades and ChannelNews is the #1 web site for the CE industry without any help from Google.
Thre bulk of our 500,000 + unique visitors come in directly or via our daily newsletter and the delay of a press release which other media have been given up to 12 hours earlier is a deliberate act which for Historywillbekind backfired because we already had the story up.
As a media Company we will not let brands or PR Companies representing brands bully us just because we have reported negatively on a brands action in the past. We are a media Company and as an old editor said to me in Fleet Street one day “Your job is to keep the bastards honest.”
At 4Square Media we will go out of our way to find stories on organisations and individuals as the Australian Financial Review did recently when Qantas tried to stop negative stories about their airline.
We have done it with Sony, HP, Google, and Sonos all Companies that have tried to use questionable tactics.
Joe Aston, the fearless voice behind the Australian Financial Review’s rear window column, had a parting blow for former Qantas CEO Alan Joyce recently.
Aston’s critiques of Qantas led to significant tension between the airline and the journalist, with measures like ripping the AFR from the Qantas lounges and removing the AFR from the Wi-Fi network.
Aston stated, “Alan Joyce has a history of those kind of hissy fits.”
As for Historywillbekind they thought it was smart to deliver a press release to ChannelNews at 9.27am last Thursday, hours after we had already reported on the release of the Google Pixel 8, and after other tech media had not only been briefed but supplied earlier with embargoed press releases.
In fact, the bulk of what they announced had already been revealed in a story we published a day prior with the only thing missing was the Australian price.
Jack Hazeldine, Account Manager at the PR Company also failed to return our calls despite 4Square Media praising previous versions of the struggling Pixel smartphone.
Hazeldine ironically is one of the many PR people today who don’t want people to call him with the telephone number going to a recorded message which is not responded to.
If the so called management behind this questionable PR Company, believes that their actions will get results, maybe they should take a look at the actions of other PR executives who have come unstuck trying to get 4Square Media to take down stories or “toe the party line” as it was once put to me.
A lady called Jenny Geddes the former media director at Sony Australia, tried to nobble 4Square Media in the past, by trying to ban us from media stories, and the two men who approved of her actions Carl Rose the former CEO of Sony Australia, and Michael Ephraim, were ironically both sacked after we exposed questionable actions at Sony including being fined tens of millions by the tax office and of late the Australian Competition Commission who took action against Sony’s PlayStation division for trying to rip off consumers over warranty obligations.
In a screaming match with 4SQM she demanded that we take down a story relating to the Company’s financial position.
In fact, she was so annoyed that we did not take the story down that she wrote to other media and marketing organisations to try and discredit us.
When we revealed that the Australian Tax Office (ATO) had issued assessments against Sony Australia for more than $50M, Sony management who were later sacked backed her actions with a letter supporting her actions sent to 4Square Media.
The notion at the time appeared to be that we were a small tech media Company who could be bullied by Sony.
At the time we had in our possession financial notes relating to amended assessments issued by the ATO relating to five years of returns, from 2005 to 2008, as well as 2010.
The total amount of additional tax that Sony had to pay was A$32.7 million, with interest of A$17.7 million there were further penalties totalling A$3.3 million.
Geddes eventually quit Sony as the business was restructured by Sony management based in Singapore.
Another brand that demands 4Square Media take down a story and then verbally threaten us was Sonos.
The problem was that we reported on a brand-new Sonos product about to be released prior to the official release of the product.
The then PR director not only threatened 4SQM, despite admitting that the story was 100% accurate “I still want it down” she demanded.
When we said it was staying up, she not only berated me and my family she told me that she would damage our reputation.
When the product was released, we got the official press release hours after other media, we were also refused a review unit.
WPP PR agency, Weber Shandwick, openly admitted that they deliberately blocked ChannelNews and SmartHouse from a one-on-one briefing because we revealed before the official announcement that Sonos were about to release a new Soundbase speaker, which ironically failed globally.
Senior PR at the time told 4Square management, that when we first revealed that a new Sonos product was about to be released in March 2017, that we had no right to reveal what they deemed “confidential information” which they claim was the subject of an NDA among resellers.
It appears that several resellers, who were being briefed by Sonos on the new device had signed No Disclosure Documents agreeing not to disclose information.
One did disclose it to SmartHouse resulting in our exclusive story.
The same PR director also threatened ChannelNews when we exclusively reported that Sonos US had sacked Webber Shandwick from the account claiming that “Many of her friends work there” and a sacking story “Would upset them”.
In the tech market there are a lot of media Companies who believe that kissing the backsides of brands with only positive stories is the way to go and for brands the bribery of journalists with free products is going to get results.
This is not journalism, and the emergence of AI is playing right into the hands of brands and PR Companies, who in the future are going to be able to write what they like, post it to a web site or social media stream, and wait for AI to grab it.
For some media Companies this is going to be an ideal world, reduced editorial costs and free content.
Out the door will be balance, impartiality and above someone with a pen who can take on organisation such as Google, Sony, and Sonos.
What was it Joe Aston said of Gerry Harvey, when addressing the ChannelNews exposure of the disaster unfolding at his biggest franchisee.
“Gerry wails constantly about Harvey Norman’s share price not reflecting the book value of its assets. It’s called a governance discount, you old turkey, to account for these appalling accounting shenanigans” that are often discovered when dealing with one of Australia’s biggest retailers.
What we do know is that Gerry Harvey likes to buy media in more ways than one, ChannelNews is not one of them that kisses Harvey Normans backside to make a dollar.
We have no debt, excellent profits and are growing, why because readers like balanced journalism and because we are not intimidated by PR Companies or brands and readers want the truth not a party political broadcast from a brand or PR Company who are employing Woke staff who think they are being smart in trying to nobble a PR Company.
As they say it’s as easy to find negative information as it is positive information, and most brands have baggage which good journalists know how to sniff out. People like Joe Aston has bought many a senior executive to their knees, because that’s his job and role, and just because ChannelNews operates in a vertical B2B market does not mean that we don’t have sharp pencils.