Author Archives: Jordan Katz

Billion Dollar Baby: Yahoo’s Tumblr Acquisition and PR

On May 20, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer confirmed rumors that the company plans to acquire Tumblr for $1.1 billion. (You may recall Mayer as the one who personally promised not to “screw up” Tumblr.)

Marissa Mayer Tumblr tweet

For those not familiar with the service, take a walk down memory lane with me. Before there was social networking, there were blogs. And at one point in time, the concept of blogging without trying too hard became known as microblogging. In essence, Tumblr is part microblogging, part social networking. Recent estimates say that Tumblr currently boasts 50 billion blog posts, 300 million monthly unique visitors and 120,000 daily signups (as of May 20, according to Mashable). Mayer estimates the total audience for the two sites could reach around one billion people.

With all of that said, will the purchase have an effect on PR and communications professionals and the brands they represent? While it’s still too early to say for sure, the most apparent difference for the communications industry and Tumblr users has to do with the big “a” word: advertising.

Tumblr introduced its ad program last May. According to Todd Wasserman of Mashable, after previously stating that Tumblr was opposed to advertising, CEO David Karp was very particular about the placement of ads, restricting it on a user dashboard so as not to interfere with the Tumblr experience. Not surprisingly, the ads only brought in $13 million last year. (To put that in perspective, consider that Facebook reported ad revenues of more than $5 billion in 2012.)

But according to Business Insider, Tumblr can help Yahoo increase its advertising revenue exponentially by several key factors, including:

  • Selling more ads by using Tumblr’s 120 million daily impressions properly
  • Selling more effective ads that are native to the format of the platform
  • Selling better targeted ads. Tumblr’s social networking properties allow users to follow other blogs and users that are reflective of their interests. With this insight, Yahoo should be able to tap into this information and target ads, much like the advertising on social platforms like Facebook.

So, will the new ad model be worth more than the $1.1 billion Yahoo paid?  How will advertising affect the Tumblr experience? Will it make the platform a viable channel for communicating for/with brands? Only time will tell.

Tell us what you think in the comments below!


Grab a Hold of the Vine for Your PR

It’s been nearly five months since Vine was introduced as a free iOS app and since then it’s become one of the most downloaded applications in the Apple App Store. Vine, introduced by Twitter in 2012, enables users to create and post six-second video clips that can be shared on social networking channels like Twitter and Facebook. vine-app-hed-2013

The very idea of video creation is all about storytelling, while connecting and engaging viewers. But can you do that in only six seconds? Tribeca Film Festival founder Robert De Niro thinks so. In April, De Niro was asked about the effect of technology on the festival and filmmaking itself. He responded by calling Vine an “interesting thing,” and said:

“Six seconds of beginning, middle and end. I was just trying to time on my iPhone six seconds just to get a sense of what that is. It can actually be a long time.”

  • Vine in the News: News outlets are getting in the Vine action, too. In February, Tulin Saloglu, a columnist for Al-Monitor and a New York Times contributor, successfully used Vine to capture terrorist attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. By posting the videos to her @turkeypulse Twitter feed, Daloglu’s films were one of the first attempts to use Vine for journalism purposes.
  • Vine + RyGos: Given Vine’s short form, its success in the world of memes is no surprise. Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal went viral last week, propelling creator Ryan McHenry’s following on Vine from eight followers to more than 15,000 (McHenry also has nearly 4.000 followers on Twitter now—we’re curious to know what the figure was before #RGWEHC hit) and no doubt sparking ongoing spoon torment for RyGos.
  • Vine in the White House: Vine is also becoming political. On April 22, the White House joined the bandwagon, publishing its first Vine video through its official Twitter account by announcing the annual White House Science Fair.

As the app continues to gain momentum, we at DGC are cognizant of the need to begin leveraging Vine with our clients. When pitching media, Vine can be used to raise awareness of pending news in a fun, viral way—you can develop Vine videos to tease hints of potential news announcements to get media buzzing before a big launch. Since Vine only allows for six seconds of recorded footage, it caters to us PR pros looking to get a message across quickly and succinctly.

Vine can also help with clients’ social media channels like Twitter. For your next social contest, consider asking users to submit a Vine video, allowing you to grow your clients’ following by leveraging new and existing hashtags. You can even think about distributing a social media release with Vine videos embedded to give the campaign wider exposure and drive traffic.

Do you have more ideas on how Vine can be used by the PR industry? Let us know in the comments below!

Startups Are the Word That You Heard

In a recent piece on Forbes, How to Not Get Left Behind in Startup Land, contributor David Tao discusses the trials and tribulations about working for a startup. Tao says that people need to understand that “practically all startups will go through several phases of change before they find that magic intersection between great idea and sustainable businesses.” And he should know; over the past two years Tao has had four different jobs in the startup world.

Redspin Inc.'s Start-up Week Presentation

For others, startups are a way to start over. Take former advertising exec Tom O’Keefe, who for the past 20 years worked for DraftFCB. In an article posted on April 9 on Advertising Age, O’Keefe discusses how 10 weeks ago he made the decision to move to a startup. Why? Because he wants to become excited again—by ideas and by building something that’s meaningful. It’s a feeling that resonates with many startup entrepreneurs.

Recently, DGC spent time at Penn State University’s Start-up Week, an annual educational get-together of company founders and CEOs, started by Penn State alum and Weebly CEO David Rusenko.

The goal of the event was to provide insight to students about what it means to found a startup and to inspire them to start their own companies.

Throughout the week, Penn State students heard from Rusenko, Reddit/Hipmunk co-founder Steve Huffman, Exec founder Justin Kan and Scribd/Parse co-founder Tikhon Bernstam, just to name a few.

During our time there, DGC sat down with David Carlino, a Start-up Week presenter and Penn State alum, for a look at the life of an entrepreneur.

David Carlino (DC):  Hi, my name is David Carlino and I’m an IST graduate of 2009. Since then, I’ve worked for Network System Architects, Inc., which was a small seven-person company in Colorado Springs. After that, I moved to Redspin, Inc., which is a security company and my focus is on policy and analysis for companies.

DiGennaro Communications (DGC): Why was it important for you to attend Start-up Week?

DC: I think when I was at school, specifically IST, I thought the only option for a job was to work for very large corporations, which at the time, I thought was what I wanted to do. But since then, I’ve realized that I do like to have a little bit of ownership over my work, and I tend to not get that necessarily in the large company environment the way that I’d like to.

I wanted to come to Start-up Week to represent a small company rather than starting your own company, because for me, it’s a much better fit. I have a lot of the stability that I look for and also the opportunity to have ownership over my work. I have a little bit more responsibility, which sometimes is daunting, but for me it’s very rewarding.

DGC: Do you credit where you are now to IST?

DC: I do. I often tell people about my major that was designed with professors teaching us through experience, rather than having a teacher tell you, “This is exactly how it should be.” IST professors let you flounder for a bit, and until they know you can’t get it, you won’t get the answer from them.

In my role, currently, there’s not someone I can usually go to to ask for advice. That’s frustrating if you’ve never done that before, but IST provided me with a lot of experience and the know-how as to what to do to learn about things I might not know about and apply them to situations I’ve never seen before.

This way it’s not as frustrating as it is exciting because I realize I can do it if I keep with it. IST really gave me that level of confidence in my ability to solve problems, and also gave me a lot of experience trying.

DGC: Would you attend Start-up Week next year?

DC: Sure. I would love to. It’s always fun being at IST; the staff is always welcoming. They’re always very friendly. The experience overall was very well organized and very easy to ask questions and get answers.

What are some of your experiences with entrepreneurism? Let us know in the comments below!

The Second Annual IST Start-up Week

DGC is coming to you live from Happy Valley, the home of The Pennsylvania State University.

We’re here covering Start-up Week, a week-long event put on by the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) highlighting the success of its alumni—visionary entrepreneurs and innovators in technology.


Today, we had the opportunity to sit down with IST’s Dean David Hall to get his take on the event, and what lies ahead.

DGC: Dean Hall, can you tell us why IST celebrates Start-up Week?

Dean Hall (DH): Start-up Week allows us to showcase 20-30 examples of successful entrepreneurs, both alumni and friends of Penn State, to our future graduates in a one-week timeframe. Through panels, networking sessions and town halls, we can show our students that you, too, can be successful after graduation. More than that, Start-up Week gives our students the opportunity to network with successful entrepreneurs to make future connections and even potential job opportunities.

DGC: What is the history behind Start-up Week?

DH: Start-up Week began as the brain child of David Rusenko, an IST alum, who is currently the CEO and co-founder of Weebly. Together, we collaborated to create an event that provides an opportunity for rising stars in the technology field to discuss a wide array of career options that students may be interested in pursuing.

DGC: How can alumni who are not here get involved with future Start-up Weeks?

DH: As Start-up Week continues to become an annual event for IST, we invite alumni to come attend and be a part of the excitement. Our alumni are our biggest asset; we continually look for ways to inspire our current students by our successful alumni. By attending Start-up Week, our students get a firsthand view of life after school.

DGC: What are you most excited about at Start-up Week?

DH: During each of the presentations, IST is videotaping the sessions for future use in the classroom. And that’s something that we base our entire curriculum on, real life problems and real life solutions. We are constantly asking our students to come up with creative solutions for real organizations. IST believes that established companies benefit from the fresh set of eyes of our students. And in fact, it’s that entrepreneurial spirit that Start-up Week is based upon.

We’ll be attending more sessions, networking events and the annual Hackathon today, so stay tuned. For more information on Start-up Week and a full schedule of events, visit

SXSW 2013: Hey You—I mean, Hey Big Fish

South by Southwest is finally upon us. We at DGC know that conference attendees have a hearty appetite for the latest and most innovative social media technologies. In fact, many of the social apps we all know and love were first introduced at SXSWi, including GroupMe, a group messaging app that later sold to Skype; Foursquare, a location-based social network; and even Twitter, just to name a few.



If you’re not able to attend, there’s a new tool that can still put you at the heart of SXSWi’s social conversations without ever having to leave the comfort of your room. Say hello to Hey Big Fish, a new web app that helps identify the trends, people and topics that carry the most influence at a large event, like SXSWi.

Hey Big Fish helps users discover the hottest topics, trending news and field experts by analyzing Twitter activity, measuring influence based on peer engagement and showcasing a ranking of people, topics and content in a simple dashboard.

The app helps those at the conference  too by finding people with whom to interact and allowing them to discover the topics and influencers that matter most to them.

Here are some tips for how to best use Hey Big Fish:

  • Click here to access the mobile Web app:
  • Use the platform to discover the most buzzed-about news in general or on specific topics of interest, such as Web design or big data.
  • The platform will help you learn who is the most influential on specific topics
  • Start a conversation with someone new
  • See where you rank in the SXSWi pond and track your rise as you engage

While Hey Big Fish is still in its infancy, we’re excited to see this app take off with a little earned media. Bottom line, use Hey Big Fish to join the conversation via any relevant SXSWi hashtag (#SXSW, #SXSWi, etc.) and track your influence—or your brand’s influence—at the event.

You can bet we’ll be tracking DGC’s influence! Will you? Let us know in the comments below.

Tech Talk: The Magical, Mystical, Wonderful World of Cloud

The cloud’s popularity has been gaining momentum as businesses continue to need ways to store, process and access information quickly. And as its reputation grows, we at DGC have wondered what effect the cloud has had—and will continue to have—on the public relations industry as a whole.

It may surprise you to learn that the cloud isn’t exactly a new concept for PR. Since the introduction of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter (both of which are cloud-based platforms—read the text box for more info!), we’ve been using these mediums to help leverage different forms of communication for both clients and consumers, including posts, blogs, tweets and everything in between. These tools allow us to create and disseminate clients’ media exposure quickly, efficiently and in real-time.

Social media sites aren’t the only cloud-based platforms the industry is using. Tools like Google Analytics help to gauge whether a clients’ website has incurred increased traffic during a news or product announcement. Other tools such as bitly—a URL shortening service—enable us to track a particular website’s stats through click-throughs. And as any PR professional will tell you, this kind of information is crucial to evaluating and reevaluating continued public relations efforts. 

The very nature of using cloud-based platforms helps to keep us—and our clients—informed during PR campaigns. In fact, we’re continually made aware of the kind of exposure our initiatives have had in the viral community (the public likes to voice its opinion, you know). And, cloud-based platforms allow us to respond to positive commentary or correct negative backlash.

As the PR industry continues to move forward, one thing’s for sure—identifying and using cloud-based platforms helps to increase clients’ reach and exposure. So, as I like to say: go, run, do…and get on the cloud!

Have you used the cloud in any of your PR initiatives? Let us know in the comments below.

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