A few thoughts on #askthechancellors and why Osborn is a better bet than Ken Clarke


1 It was compelling viewing

2 But not for everyone – at its peak the programme had two million viewers, that’s seven million less than Corrie

3 Osborn is clearly the weakest link. The best gag of the evening came from some wag who said he looked uncomfortable as it was probably the first job interview he has ever had to face

4 Darling did well – He came across as someone who really did care about people and their problems

5 But Cable came out top – He might look like a ticket inspector, but he sounded honest, knowledgable and I think this was reflected in the way he topped the C4 and Guar polls

6 However each side claimed that their man won – Bizarrely Osborn walked it in The Times poll

7 Cable should join the Labour party – he is so much closer in spirit to Labour than neo Thatcherite Clegg and his front bench

8 People who voted for Cable won’t necessarily vote Lib Dem – I think the Lib Dems might steal a few votes from the Tories but not many (Labour’s core vote is, according to many pollsters, very solid). This is a straight fight and no matter how popular Vince is the Lib Dems will get squeezed.

9 Kenneth Clarke was a nightmare in every ministerial post he held – He might be an amiable old duffer, but he was a terrible minsiter. People have very short memories

10 Twitter might just be saving live TV – which is great news for advertisers. More here


Bye bye blog networks


When Shiny Media was its height in 2007 we prided ourselves as being the UK, nay Europe’s, largest blog network. Egged on by our VCs we launched a whole raft of new blogs and quite probably bit off a bit more than we could chew. The blogs themselves were in excellent niches. We had a social media blog, a Twitter blog and a personal finance blog all of which might have gone on to great things. The trouble was from a commercial/advertising perspective it was becoming increasingly difficult to handle the 40 or so titles we already had. Still 40 blogs was nothing. Weblogs Inc, which in many ways provided the original template for Shiny, had nearly 80, while B5 Media boasted over 300.

As time has gone by almost all of what we used to call blog networks have evolved and become something different. Aol, which bought Weblogs, rationalised the blog count choosing to focus on hero sites like Engadget. Even Gawker Media ditched several sites to focus on its core areas of gossip, games and gadgets.

However, perhaps the most telling sign that the blog network has become a Web 2.0 dodo is the story of B5 Media http://www.b5media.com/. Early this year it began to roll up all those blogs into portals. And now it has just four sites. The traffic from the original blogs has been directed to the portals. In effect it has created four large sites with huge readerships that are much more focused than its disparate blogs and designed to appeal directly to advertisers. The restructuring of B5 hasn’t been without controversy and at least one of its original founders now thinks that the company is doomed http://www.duncanriley.com/2010/02/17/the-end-of-b5media/. However the development of the mega portals was probably inevitable.

In early 2007 there was a serious discussion about wrapping all Shiny’s fashion blogs into one portal. There are many technological, political, financial and editorial reasons why this did not happen, but had we succeeded we would have boasted the second biggest fashion site in the UK at the time, a very real rival to Handbag.com

It is becoming increasingly clear that the way forward for indie new media companies is to shoot for general big traffic sites. This inevitably gives the publisher bigger sites with more readers and greater visibility to advertisers. Online content that is too niche simply doesn’t attract enough traffic to make it sustainable for small publishing companies. Ironically it can work pretty well for individuals especially in the B2B arena – like Mobile Marketing Magazine http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.co.uk/ – or if consumer facing titles can add a retail or strong affiliate elements to their sites like retrotogo.com http://www.retrotogo.com/ . There are of course hundreds of individual blogs doing very nicely thank you monetised by groups like Glam.

Both content business I am involved with are now working on larger portals. Anorak Publishing is building Anorak anorak.co.uk into a men’s lifestyle portal and Shiny Media has five sites that it is developing into portals. The issue though is how do you create portals that still cover the niche content areas that you have spent the last few years developing. It is less of an issue for Shiny now as many of its original fashion titles have new owners, but is something that must have been at the forefront of minds of the B5 Media team.

So was the blog network ultimately a failure? I don’t think Jason Calacanis’ bank manager thinks so (or Nick Denton’s for that matter). For me it was the publishing equivalent of what Google were trying a few years back – create lots of new entities and see which ones work. Almost every blog network might be gone, but there are a lot of websites that came out of those networks that are thriving.

Ten Web Services I thought I’d use but haven’t – Google Buzz, Twitter Lists, FriendFeed


Great post from Anna at Shiny on ten web services that she got excited about but hasn’t used. I’d agree with a lot of them, especially FriendFeed, Twitter lists and all types of Google apps. I thought I’d use Google Side Wiki more, but nope, just not got round to it.

It only goes to show how quickly the gloss can wear off new exciting apps and services.

Btw I think she is wrong about Foursquare and Brizzly

Is anyone still using Twitter lists?

EXPOSED: UK’s most checked in Foursquare PR agency


Great feature from Rax about how UK PR companies don’t get Foursquare, much of which I agree with. I think there are some fantastic opps for brands in Foursquare and good to see companies like John Lewis and Starbucks getting involved.


I would like to point out that Shiny Red shinyred.co.uk http://foursquare.com/venue/601713 has 98 log ins and 6 uniques which makes us the number one PR agency for Foursquare log ins. We have also written several times about Foursquare on our blog too http://www.shinyred.co.uk/tag/foursquare/

I guess we are not listed as we are owned by The Red Consultancy – even so that gives Red 115 check ins.

By the time you read this the race will be on and we’ll be number nine, but some great points Rax

Five ever so slightly embrassing but rather cool things about being a dad – #dadtime


1 There’s quite a good chance at some point in your life that you’ll
get to play Father Christmas – which is an utterly incredible
experience. My three year old now thinks that I am Santa.

2 You get to inflict a lifetime’s worth of musical/sporting/political
prejudices on innocent minds. Seven year old’s favourite music is JLS,
but also Nancy Sinatra, The Shangri-las and Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Three year old constantly refers to dog poo as Tottenham.

3 You get to think young again – Model villages, steam train rides,
slides in swimming pools suddenly become perfectly acceptable again

4 You can pinch your child’s scooter – A highlight of my week is when
I pick up my three year old from nursery each Wednesday. She always
wants to race daddy home on her scooter – what kind of father would
say no?

5 You are someone’s hero – They will wise up in time, but for a few
years you get to be Superman, Einstein and Cesc Fabregas all rolled
into one

Postive parenting video Wayne’s Story gets awards nomination

Last summer Shiny Red ran a really great campaign to promote positive images of young parents for a govt sponsored project called Parentcast. One part of the campaign was a very touching video about a young Hackney dad called Wayne.

I am really pleased to say that the video didn’t just notch up over 30,000 views on YouTube it has been nominated for an award too.

Great work from both the video team and from the Shiny Redders too

Here’s the details…

A short video telling the story of Hackney based father and rapper Wayne Raysom has been shortlisted in two categories at the International Visual Communications Association (IVCA) Awards.

“Wayne’s Story” is a portrait of Wayne –from North London – and his son Cyrius, as he strives to to be a great dad and play an active role in his son’s life. Wayne’s film is part of a nationwide campaign ‘Everyday Adventures’, a series of short films and animations series to help other young parents through some off the challenges of parenthood.

The film has been nominated in the Motivational Training & Charity and Not for Profit categories in this years’ IVCA awards, Europe’s largest and most prestigious celebration of the best in corporate and public sector communication.

Scientists find going bald really screws you up


Just got this very enlightening email

I never knew that

19.03.10 The Bald Facts: The Psychological Aspects of Hair Loss

A survey commissioned by Hair Restoration Group DHI Global Medical found that 41% of those suffering from hair loss, felt “psychologically disturbed”. Nearly half of those interviewed felt a full head of hair was important for aesthetic reasons, with 11% stating that hair plays a role in attracting the opposite sex. A third of hair loss sufferers even said they would give up sex if it meant they would get their hair back! The majority of those interviewed felt that hair restoration would improve their quality of life and be a good investment in their personal life and career!

Results also showed that an amazing 64% of their patients experienced hair loss before their 25th birthday, with 6% having hair loss problems between 16-20 years old proving that it’s not just men in the 40s who suffer from baldness! However, 60% of men do have a chance of losing their hair, but nearly 50% of women will also be affected by permanent hair loss, while only 20% of women will completely escape hair loss or thinning during their lifetime.

Hair Loss Facts – Did You Know?

Did you know that hair is the fastest growing tissue in the human body? The average person has approximately 100,000 scalp hairs and inside each follicle grows one to four hairs! On average we lose 100 to 150 hairs daily and new hair continues to grow as long as the follicles remain healthy and intact. Hair will grow at a rate of about half an inch – 9 millimetres – every month and the maximum length hair can grow to is about 25 inches, about 0.7 metres.

So, what causes hair loss?

* Scalp bacteria
* Stress
* Poor nutrition
* Genetic baldness (men and women)
* Hormonal imbalance

DHI Global Medical Group Founder, Mr K.P. Giotis has been exclusively engaged in the field of hair restoration since 1970 and is a pioneer in the treatment of hair loss. In 2002 DHI Medical Group was one of the major innovators in Follicular Unit Extraction. After years of refinement, DHI replaced FUE in 2004 with the DHI No Touch Technique™, a pioneering treatment for hair loss with no pain, no stress, no scars and no scalpels.

Quote from Mr K.P. Giotis:

“Hair loss can cause a huge amount of psychological distress for men and women across the UK. It can affect an individual’s social and professional confidence which can have a direct result on their quality of life. This need not be the case when effective hair restoration techniques are readily available. ”

Mr Giotis is a member of the American Society of Cosmetic Surgery, the founder of The International Hair Society (IHS) and has spoken at numerous medical and non-medical Forums. Mr Giotis has published papers in The Hair Transplant Forum and other respected medical journals and holds several patents on its hair implanter and method by leading an international team in the Research and Development field of ‘hair multiplication’ and ‘body hair transplantation’.

Mr K.P. Giotis or one of the team at DHI Global Medical Group will be available for interview to discuss the psychological aspects of hair loss.