Friday, August 31, 2007

New Media Tricks Used by Pharma Marketers

Gaming Web 2.0 Sites, Bad Google Adwords, Wiki Edits, Phony Meta Tags, and Other Ways to Get Around the Rules in Online Marketing.

  • Guest: Jeffrey Light, Chairman, Patients not Patents, Inc.
  • Live Podcast Date: Thursday, September 6, 2007, 2 PM Eastern US time
  • Listen Live (or to the audio archive after the show) via the Pharma Marketing Talk Channel page.
Web 2.0, with its user-generated content (eg. wikipedia), blogs, and social networks, is the New WILD WILD West of the Internet!

Marketing Banditos are out there taking advantage of the system, editing content, making comments to blogs disguised as common consumers, designing Google Adwords that flaunt FDA regulations, etc. (see "Web 2.0: The New WILD, WILD WEST of the Internet!").

Self-regulation does not seem to be working. The FDA has its head buried in the digital sand. PhRMA is quiet on guidelines for Internet marketing by drug companies.

We need a new sheriff in Web 2.0 town!

Patients not Patents, Inc. founder and Executive Director, Jeffrey Light, may be just what honest folk are looking for (and maybe the last person the banditos want to see in town).

I will be having a conversation with Mr. Light on a Pharma Marketing Talk podcast, scheduled for Thursday, September 6, 2007, at 2 PM Eastern time. For more information about listening live via the Web or listening to the audio archive after the show, click here.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

To Blog or To Clog, That is THE Question

Recently, I've hit a blogging dry spell and haven't been posting as often as I would like. It's not that I am on vacation like Ed Silverman (Pharmalot) who hasn't posted anything since last Friday.

It's just very slow this time of year. There are not that many news stories and not many people at work reading blogs when they should be working. So, the effort hardly seems worth it!

Many bloggers post at least once per day and more frequently, even during the last week of summer and even if they have nothing to say!

Other bloggers prefer to post only when they have something to say. At least that's what Scot Donaton, Publisher of AdAdge would like to see.

What I don't get is why bloggers seem so hell-bent on establishing a clear set of rules around what does and does not constitute acceptable blogging practices. One of those being the idea that you need to update your blog at least once a day, preferably more.

Says who? Posting for the sake of posting is absurd. I read many blogs, and too often the daily update boils down to something like, "Had a cup of coffee this morning, and it was good," or, "Did you see that piece on the 'Today' show? What was that about?" or "Hey, I've been asked to keynote such and such conference; come see me there and tell all your friends, and by the way I wrote a book and you should buy it." I'm exaggerating, but not by much.

There's a lot of sharp, intelligent insightful commentary on blogs that offer a unique perspective. But the pressure to update them constantly (or face disapproving tsk-tsks) means there's also a lot of meaningless crap and babble, not to mention endless, empty interpretations of news stories that have already received saturation coverage elsewhere.
David Langan, a commenter from NYC, had this to say about that:
Blogs have taught me that my mother was quite right about people who talk all the time... they almost always have nothing important to say. I'm sooo tired of blogs and self-important bloggers. Kudos to you, and long live the clog. Hopefully you're on the front edge of a welcome trend.
Hmmm...sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Read Scot's entire rant here ("Welcome to My Clog").

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Simply Irresistible: Abbott Tampering with Wikipedia Entries

According to Patients Not Patents, a group that "challenges the validity of medical patents before the United States Patent and Trademark Office," Abbott Laboratories is a serial Wikipedia tamperer.

Here's the press release:

Newly available data show that employees of Abbott Laboratories have been altering entries to Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia, to eliminate information questioning the safety of its top-selling drugs.

In July of 2007, a computer at Abbott Laboratories’ Chicago office was used to delete a reference to a Mayo Clinic study that revealed that patients taking the arthritis drug Humira faced triple the risk of developing certain kinds of cancers and twice the risk of developing serious infections. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2006.

The same computer was used to remove articles describing public interest groups' attempt to have Abbott's weight-loss drug Meridia banned after the drug was found to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke in some patients.

The site's editors restored the deleted information, but Abbott's activities illustrate drug companies’ eagerness to suppress safety concerns, said Jeffrey Light, Executive Director of the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group Patients not Patents. "The argument that drug companies can be trusted to provide adequate safety information on their own products has been used by the pharmaceutical industry to fight against government regulation of consumer advertising. Clearly such trust is misplaced. As Abbott’s actions have demonstrated, drug companies will attempt to hide unfavorable safety information when they think nobody is watching."

The changes are part of over one thousand edits made from computers at Abbott's offices. The data was obtained from WikiScanner, an independent site that allows users to look up anonymous changes to Wikipedia articles.
According to CL Psych Blog, Wiki Scanner is "simply irresistible" and more people should use it to discover who's gaming the system (see "Amateur Sleuthing"):
"Pharmalot let us know that AstraZeneca had changed the Wikipedia entry for Seroquel (story via the Times of London). Read more at Wired and Forbes. But, why wait around for a journalist to break the story when you can do it yourself? The Wiki Scanner site is a wonderful tool for amateur sleuths such as myself. Wanna see which companies made changes to Wikipedia entries? Here's just one example: Edelman PR made a change to the Wikipedia for Celecoxib (Celebrex) and for Viagra."

Monday, August 27, 2007

Yet Another "Unscientific Survey"?

My friends Fard Johnmar of HealthcareVOX and Envision Solutions and Dmitriy of Trusted.MD are at it again!

They are again hosting a "global healthcare blogger survey," the first one of which was done last year (see "Taking The Pulse Of The Healthcare Blogosphere").

Needless to say, this is a very "unscientific" survey, just like the "First Ever Pharma Blogosphere Reader Survey" (download summary here).

Of course, critics of these kinds of surveys always point to the fact that they are "unscientific" and hint that the surveyors are trying to pass them off as scientific. Never mind that we surveyors never made that claim and, in fact, pointed out that our surveys are NOT "scientific" from a statistical significance point of view. See, for example, the video of an interview I did with Fard about the Pharma Blogosphere Survey (access it here).

If there's one thing bloggers in this pace have in common, it's our belief in science and the scientific method. Science, after all, is the foundation of the pharmaceutical industry that we all love to hate. Maybe we feel that science should serve the public good rather than serve the investment community. But as Mr. Merck once said, "We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. Not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to appear."

But I digress!

I believe in science and I have the degrees to prove it: BS (Chem), MS and MPhil (Biochem). But I also believe that you can learn a lot by using non-scientific methodology. Market researchers do this all the time with surveys and focus groups.

To require scientific rigor in every thing we do is unrealistic and not necessary. It would take too long and cost too much. Sometimes, we just need some quick and easy estimates so that we can make decisions.

Now, I wouldn't say that drug companies should bypass the scientific method when developing new drugs. That would be criminal -- drugs can kill!

So, when Fard and Dmitriy cite the following benefits of their survey, I concur:

"The first benefit of participation is increased knowledge. You will help your fellow bloggers better understand who is blogging about healthcare and why they are doing it. More knowledge will benefit everyone who cares about the healthcare blogosphere."
NOTE: F&D claim that the survey will allow them to make "valid conclusions about the size and shape of this growing part of the global blogging community." I note that they stop short of saying "scientifically valid."

If you are a healthcare blogger who devotes at least 30% of your blogging time to healthcare, you are invited to take the survey:

Click logo to be directed to the survey
Click logo to be directed to the survey

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fluff v. Substance in the Pharma Blogosphere

Back on August 14, I reviewed the nature of the posts to Brandweek's NRx blog after Peter Rost took over (see "What's Brandweek's NRx Strategy?").

I characterized each post as being one of the following three types:

1. Shameless self-promotion,
2. Pharmaceutical industry related,or
3. Fluff about off-topic issues having nothing to do with the pharmaceutical industry.

That analysis covered only the first 24 posts made by Rost. To be fair, I should continue the analysis over time to see if anything has changed. It has!

The second group of 24 posts that Rost made AFTER my critical analysis is very much different than the first group of 24 (see chart).

Most notably, Rost has cut back on the self-promotion and doubled the percentage of posts that are about the pharmaceutical industry (from 21% to 42%). Posts about off-topic issues ("fluff"), however, also have kept pace with posts about the pharmaceutical industry. In other words, fluff and substance are running neck and neck at NRx.

In the beginning, Rost was drawing a lot of attention to himself, QA (his other blog), NRx, and his new book (Killer Drug). Now that sales of the new book have waned, so has the promos from Rost.

What about the equal time devoted to fluff?

That's always been a trademark of Rost and probably what brings many readers to his blog and ups his rating in technorati and other blog search engines.

One has to wonder about the quality of readers who gravitate to a blog with topics such as:

  • "Scientists report: Redheads going extinct."
  • "The best Toyota Prius advertising ever."
  • "Secretary fired for blogging wins both lawsuit and book deal."
Nevertheless, mixing personal observations and other "fluff" into the conversation is a tried and true staple of many bloggers. Apparently, readers like the entertainment value of knowing that redheads may be a "dying breed" (pun intended).

There may be a trend to add more fluff to the barbee at blogs in this space. Just recently, for example, Steve Woodruff over at Impactiviti Blog wrote a "fluffy" piece about the Mack v. Rost debate (see "Blockbuster Pharma Blogger Mega-merger Announced!"). Both Rost and I liked the post and wrote about it. No doubt all this increased Steve's readership because he followed up with a flurry of other posts that were on topic about his business.
[I have often noted a spike in readership when I post something edgy. It doesn't last and I question the value it brings to your blog in terms of sustained increased readership. My interpretation is that these are merely one-time curiosity seekers and not readers who will stick to you. If the goal of your blog is to generate customers for your business, these are not the kinds of readers you need, IMHO.]
Rost pointed out that "most regular news are (sic) boring, so we bloggers sometimes have to jazz things up a bit. After all, less than 10% of people 30 and under read a daily newspaper, but they do read blogs" (see "Impactiviti reveals the biggest merger in pharma blogging.")

The "non-Swede" (Woodruff) noted in a comment to Rost's post: "I'm feeling more comfortable now taking on controversial topics, letting some opinions fly, and hacking around a bit. Why not? The beauty of blogging is that it's not just 'objective content' - the message AND the messenger are wrapped up together!"

Frankly, I enjoyed Steve's post, mostly because it involved moi as a major character. It counts towards my 15 minutes of fame. But, I have to wonder what other people thought.

I agree with Steve that the "the message AND the messenger are wrapped up together!" I also agree with Rost that "regular news is boring."

But I prefer the technique employed by Ed Silverman at Pharmalot, who "jazzes" up his posts with iconoclastic images, quips and other indications of his personality inserted WITHIN the story.

In other words, there are two ways to "jazz" up your blog: WITHIN on-topic posts or WITHOUT (ie, separate off-topic whimsical posts).

The WITHIN camp tries to make the news more relevant, interesting and BIASED (ie, the messenger is wrapped up in the message), whereas the WITHOUT camp may be wasting the time of half of their readers (or half the time of all their readers) by devoting blog bandwidth to off-topic jokes, IMHO.

One word of caution: being edgy in your blog and basking in the increased flow of readers is addictive! Once you start down that slippery slope you cannot easily control yourself. At first, your edgy, off-topic posts account for only 5-10% of your total output. But, eventually, you may find that the "fluff" amounts to more like 40-50% of your bandwidth. Then, you know you have entered the Rost Zone of the Pharma Blogosphere!
DISCLAIMER: Bloggers -- myself included -- have a perfect right to run their blogs as they see fit and write about anything they see fit.

Friday, August 24, 2007

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

"Anyone who reads the pharmaceutical blogs and this e-newsletter each week knows about John Mack and Peter Rost. The exchanges between Mr. Mack, of the Pharma Marketing Blog and the Pharma Blogosphere, and Dr. Rost, of Question Authority and BrandWeek NRx, have been reminiscent sometimes of two brothers whaling away at each other in the backseat of the family car (and with some of their readers feeling like the parents in the front seat, wondering if they were going to have to turn around and say something, or ignore it and hope the bickering would soon stop)." -- Cristiane Truelove, Pharma Blogs: Week in Review

Vacation? Real Bloggers Don't Take Vacations!

Ed Silverman, blogger at Pharmalot and previously a reporter at the Newark Star Ledger is taking a vacation!

"And so for the first time since Pharmalot began earlier this year, we are taking an official vacation break. What does this mean? The usual flow of news, views and chattiness will be suspended until after Labor Day. Generally, this is a slow time of year, and we all need a respite now and then. You understand."
No, Ed, I don't understand. It's because everyone thinks like you -- "it's a slow time of year" -- that they decide to take vacations and thereby ensure it's a slow time of year!

Your blog is YOU. It's not like when you were a reporter, you know. Then you could take off as much time as you liked. The paper would continue to be published and the readers would never know the difference.

I depend on you Ed! When you're gone, I've only got the WSJ Health Blog to point out what stories are important. But they are not as prolific as you are, Ed! They only do 2 or 3 posts per day, whereas you do -- what? -- maybe 10 per day! That's at least 50-60 stories I will miss will you're away!


Pharmalot needs a pinch-hit blogger to take over when you are away. Have you asked Rost if he's available?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Impactiviti Blog Joins the Club and Gets Sense of Humor!

I love Steve Woodruff, author of Impactiviti Blog. I really do!

So I hope he doesn't get angry when I point out that, until recently, his blog did not give a hint of his sense of humor.

As recently as January, 2007, Impactiviti Blog stuck to its knitting, which frankly was to showcase Steve's expertise in the area of pharmaceutical training. That's how Steve really makes his money, you know:

"Impactiviti provides traditional fee-based consulting, as well as something unique - free consulting with training clients on their needs, followed up by targeted recommendations" (see About Impactiviti). [Plug for Steve. So, Steve, what will it take to get my Pharma Marketing Blog on your blogroll?]
Several of us bloggers also started out that way. For example, I started my other blog, Pharma Marketing Blog, to help promote my newsletter and other services for pharmaceutical marketing experts.

While Steve was sticking to his knitting, the Pharma Blogosphere experienced its BIG BANG and many new, edgy pharma blogs were born. That's when I started this blog to keep track of it all and to give me an outlet to talk off topic and engage in some gossip about these new bloggers.

Many serious bloggers, like Steve, found themselves being left behind as the bang reverberated throughout our sphere. To keep up, some bloggers had to get edgier and talk off topic about issues that had little if anything to do with their knitting.

One other blogger that comes to mind is Cary Byrd over at eDrugSearch, a blog/website whose mission is to help consumers find cheap drugs from reliable Canadian sources (listen to my Pharma Marketing Talk podcast interview with Cary: "Can You Find Reputable Canadian Drugs Online?" Listen to the audio archive here.).

Many bloggers in this space have gotten onto the "MacRost" bandwagon and boosted their visibility by creating clever photoshop collages, keeping track of book sales and blog ratings, and generally devoting at least a portion of their blogging bandwidth to the Mack v Rost saga.

Some other bloggers -- notably Jack Friday over at PharmaGossip -- have remained aloof from the brouhaha.

Finally, someone -- Steve Woodruff -- has gotten what this is all about: total world domination by the Mack-Rost machine! Steve even came up with the idea of a "Blockbuster Pharma Blogger Mega-merger" between Mack and Rost. That was his "Biggest Pharma Blogger News Ever to be Unveiled," which I helped him promote here on this blog yesterday (see "Biggest, Most Gigantic, Absolutely Monumental Blogger Announcement Ever!").

Frankly, I misjudged Steve. Here I thought he was a serious guy, sticking to his knitting. Lately, however, he's gotten more interesting and his Impactiviti blog quietly moved into the circle of the Inner Planets of the Pharma Blogosphere. [Another plug for Steve. I ask again, what will it take to get my Pharma Marketing Blog on your blogroll?]

When Steve made his "Biggest Ever" announcement, both I and Rost, thought he was being serious. I thought he might be announcing a merger of his company with a big name outfit or maybe The Neilsen Company, which owns BrandWeek and other properties of dubious merit. I even wished him success and hoped we'd all get some good news from him.

But what do we get? A bogus, but very humorous, Pharma Giles style post about a "mega merger" between Rost and Mack that Steve dubs "J.P. MacRost."
"Now blogging under the name J.P. MacRost," jokes Woodruff, "the two have become 1 expansive psyche of blogging bluster, threatening to overwhelm the entire pharma blogosphere with their combined fulminations, self-promotions, and appeals to readership numbers.

"In fact, they are about to announce their new combined site, The Pharma Egosphere, where the new MacRost will continue to seek world domination through blogging bloviation."
This is not your father's Impactiviti!

Steve even did some Photoshopping of his own and came up with a screen image of what the Pharma Egosphere might look like:

Close, my friend, but no cigar!

Rost, now that Steve has outed us, we have to come clean and tell everyone what our plan has been all along.

While I work out the details of the announcement with Rost, stay tuned for
The REALLY Biggest, Most Gigantic, Absolutely MOST Monumental Blogger Announcement of ALL Time!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Biggest, Most Gigantic, Absolutely Monumental Blogger Announcement Ever!

Seems that writing a post to a blog in the Pharma Blogosphere is not enough these days. It now has to be preceded with a post that announces the post!

Not only that, but it has to be spun as the "biggest", "most important" thing since sliced bread! Of course, a certain Swedish Spinmeister perfected the technique.

About 50% of the time, however, the announced post does not live up to the hype.

The latest such announcement comes from Steve Woodruff over at Impactiviti Blog.

Are you as excited as I am?

What is Steve going to announce? He already revealed that he's NOT Swedish. That's pretty big news. Maybe his company is going to be acquired by The Neilsen Company.

Seriously, I hope it is good news for Steve and not something like another pharmaceutical whistleblower -- this time in a training department -- revealing shady practices to the world via a blog.

All I know is it better damn well be the BIGGEST or the next time someone claims they will have the "Biggest Pharma Blogging News Ever to be Revealed" nobody will give a crap!

'Round the Sphere: China, TV Ads, and Malls

Wow! The Blogger servers were down over one hour this morning, right after I posted about FDA testing TV ads in malls across the USA (see "FDA at a Mall Near You: The Manchurian Connection") and after sending an email notice to thousands of my subscribers notifying them of the new post. Talk about bad timing!

BTW, if you are a subscriber, I love you! I really do!

Other bloggers in the Pharma Blogosphere had comments about the proposed FDA survey of consumers.

Ed Silverman over at Pharmalot, for example. gave the details as revealed by the FDA in the federal register -- a wonderful book, BTW; not too much murder or mayhem.

Ed, who may not believe in coincidences, questioned whether the announcement was in reaction to "a study in The New England Journal of Medicine [that] found that FDA policing of advertising has declined steadily in recent years." (See "FDA Will Examine Those Upbeat TV Ads").

Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists out there, but the FDA has proposed and may have even conducted a number of these "mall intercept" studies. I point this out in my blog over there at Pharma Marketing Blog (did I already mention my post to Pharma Marketing Blog on this topic? Yes? No? OK, here it is.)

Jacob Goldstein over at The WSJ Health Blog introduced the topic this way:

"A lithe woman dances her way through a field of flowers, or whatever. Maybe her hair’s blowing in the wind. She’s definitely smiling–a lot. Meanwhile, the monotone voiceover tells you about horrible things like diarrhea, swelling and heart disease. So what’s the real message about the drug being advertised–the woman’s winning smile or the announcer’s warning?" (See "The Pictures Are Happy, the Words Are a Bummer").
Other, less imaginative bloggers in the Sphere (who will remain nameless), came late to the game and more or less re-iterated what Ed already said about the link between the NEJM study and the FDA study. At least one of these other bloggers got the basic information wrong and reported that 2,000 people would be studied when actually only 1,020 will be surveyed (2,000 will be screened, but not all of them surveyed). Small point, but good journalists -- like Ed and Jacob -- get their facts straight!

But no blogger, other than myself that is, made the connection between this proposed study and China.

What caught my attention in the FDA announcement was that no-one who was able to read Chinese would be included in the study.

Whaaa! Is this racial discrimination? Has some law of the land been broken? Why exclude Chinese citizens over the age of 40, all of whom I assume read Chinese?

I am not going to reveal the reason for this here or how recent news about China imports come into the picture. You'll have to read my post over there at Pharma Marketing Blog to find out.

BTW, another story I linked to the FDA announcement was the one that was written up in the Newark Star Ledger and summarized by -- guess who! -- Ed Silverman over at Pharmalot, which is owned by -- guess who! -- the Newark Star Ledger (not that there's anything wrong with that!).

That story was about the measurement of saccadic eye motion, which provides a kind of window into subliminal thoughts (see "Drug Ads Are Ignored In The Blink Of An Eye").

Of course, I had already interviewed Lee Weinblatt, the inventor of the technology used to measure saccadic eye motion in subjects viewing print and TV DTC ads, in a July 25, 2007 Pharma Marketing Talk podcast (listen to it here -- it's quite entertaining and educational).

And I first published a synopsis of the technology in my FREE Pharma Marketing News e-newsletter (see "Stop Wasting $Millions on Ineffective DTC Ads!").

Order the Full Article Reprint - $6.95

Or you can subscribe to the newsletter and get it free!

Here's an unbiased review of my newsletter by my publisher:
"Each issue of Pharma Marketing News is packed with facts, opinions, and case studies based upon interviews with experts in the field of pharmaceutical marketing. Highlights of presentations from industry conferences, contact lists for experts consulted, and links to references help subscribers keep up to date on best practices and network with their peers." -- John Mack, Publisher
I also have T-shirts, cups, mouse mats, pens, etc. with the Pharma Marketing News logo and "Question Everything" slogan on them.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Record Number of New Subscribers Anxious to Read My Review of Killer Drug!

Thanks to some free promotion from spinmeister Peter Rost, a record number of new subscribers have signed up to receive their free issue of Pharma Marketing News.

This month's issue, which will hit the eStands at 8:00 AM this morning (subscribers only) features a review of Rost's new book Killer Drug plus the novel, Big Pharma.

Contributing to these reviews are the following bloggers:

The subscription is free: SUBSCRIBE HERE and get this issue delivered to you FREE!

See a synopsis of this month's issue: August Issue of Pharma Marketing News: Wasting Money on DTC, Time to Rethink How to Engage Physicians, Whistleblower Novels

As you can see, it's not all about Rost!

Friday, August 17, 2007

'Round the Sphere: Coffee and Gossip

I like learning the personal interests of bloggers in the Pharma Blogospehere.

Just recently, for example, I learned that Steve Woodruff over at Impactiviti blog is a coffee connoisseur!

"...I can say that I have just had the best coffee I'VE ever enjoyed in New Jersey..."

Not being a resident of NJ, I can't say whether or not this is faint praise. But the place where he got his coffee is in Lambertville, which is just across the river from me. Since I am just now running out of my Bucks County (PA) Coffee -- the best coffee I have ever enjoyed in PA! -- I thought I'd head on over to Lambertville for dinner and pick up some of that NJ coffee along the way!

Meanwhile, Peter Rost is continuing to burn up NRx's bandwidth with off-topic posts and shameless self-promotion. Other bloggers than myself, including Pharm Aid, are getting fed up with it:

"Since coming to Brandweek NRx, I have received so many self-promotional e-mails from Rost I almost started filtering him," says Pharm Aid, "...but then thought better of it. I've decided to blog about his self-promotion..." You can see the latest post here.

Rost himself continues to "interview" bloggers in this space -- preceded, of course, with a grandiose announcement. His latest interview is with "Jack Friday," aka Insider, at PharmaGossip (see "THE MAN BEHIND PHARMAGOSSIP").
"Jack Friday is a British male, in his 50s, and he has spent his career in the pharma industry," says Rost. "In fact, he’s worked for both Schering-Plough and GlaxoSmithKline, and he still makes his living working for the drug industry."
Boring! Tell us something we all don't already know!

I find it more interesting that Jack Friday is a diehard Chicago Cubs fan.

BTW, Jack states "I know I can trust [Rost] to protect my identity."

Ha! Have you read the Question Authority "TERMS OF USE AGREEMENT AND PRIVACY POLICY"?

Oh, I forgot. NRx is not Question Authority...NOT!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What's Brandweek's NRx Strategy?

First, let me apologize to Peter Rost and Brandweek for starting a rumor that Brandweek is distancing itself from the NRx blog since peter Rost has taken over (see my original post here).

It seems I was mistaken that the logo was changed by dropping the "BrandWeek" portion (see Fard Johnmar's interview with Jim Edwards, former NRx blogger, here). And on the site, Brandweek NRx is prominently mentioned. However, it is still difficult to find that link by clicking on the Neilsen Company name at the bottom of the NRx site.

Perhaps Brandweek is laughing all the way to the bank. Rost claims that "BrandweekNRX beats every record in pharma blogging" and that the blog gets 6,000 unique visitors per day! Whether or not this is a lasting trend or just a spicy spike in curiosity seeker readership remains to be seen.

Rost lists the TOP TEN pages that readers of NRx have looked at. Leaving aside the home page, about 50% of these pages are devoted to either Rost's self-promotion of his book or of Brandweek NRx "breaking" stories. Only 2 pages out of the 8 (excluding the home page), or 25%, involve stories about the pharmaceutical industry.

Since Rost took over NRx, there have been 24 postings (see list below). I find that there are 3 types of posts (see chart):

  1. Shameless self-promotion posts (58% of all posts)
  2. Posts about the pharmaceutical industry (21% of all posts)
  3. Fluff or posts about off-topic issues having nothing to do with the pharmaceutical industry (21% of all posts)
To quote Rost about his TOP TEN list: "It should be noted that any snapshot like this one overemphasizes recent articles, but may give an overall good indication of readers' interest, and if followed continuously, helps us develop exactly the kind of stories you want to read about."

It's amazing that so many people would want to read "exactly these kind of stories!" NRx's 6,000 daily readers are obviously Rost fans from whom I expect to get hate mail as a result of this post.

If Brandweek's strategy was to get a quick jump in readership no matter who those readers are, then it has succeeded! It may more like a tactic than a strategy, however. I still remember Rost saying that his assignment may be temporary. Perhaps Brandweek intends to sell NRx and the pumped up readership can only help.

List of Recent NRx Posts
  1. 8/1/2007: [Self-referential post] "The media world reacts to Brandweek hiring a blogger."
  2. 8/2/2007: [Interview of Christiane Trulove about journalist bloggers; nothing about pharmaceutical marketing.] “The Med Ad News editor has a secret . . .”
  3. 8/2/2007: [More about bloggers and journalists, nothing about pharmaceutical marketing.] “Congressional panel approves legal shield for bloggers.”
  4. 8/2/2007: [About pharmaceutical whistleblowers; links back to Rost’s Question Authority blog] “Pfizer terminates three executives in HIV division - Ropes & Gray investigates allegations about illegal marketing”
  5. 8/3/2007: [Self-referential post] “Unbelievable.
  6. 8/3/2007: [Self-referential post] “Med Ad News comments on BrandweekNRX interview with - Med Ad News”
  7. 8/4/2007: [Self-referential post; no discussion of issues raised] “The most effective marketing.”
  8. 8/4/2007: [Typical Rost Fluff – images and links to mp3 files; references “Pharma Spies,” which may be a blog hosted anonymously by Rost; not real discussion or analysis] “Imagine anti-commercials . . .”
  9. 8/6/2007: [Self-referential and a waste of BrandweekNRX space; nothing whatever to do with Pharma marketing] “BrandweekNRX blows the whistle on the "Pharma Blogosphere Survey"”
  10. 8/6/2007: [Self-referential] “Pharma Industry blog "Drug Wonks" Reacts to calls to fire Rost”
  11. 8/6/2007: [Scant 150-word post with self-referential links back to BrandweekNR and Question Authority] “Pfizer HIV drug approved shortly after three HIV executives terminated.”
  12. 8/7/2007: [Self-referential ad] “Expect the unexpected at BrandweekNRX”
  13. 8/7/2007: [Petty Gripe and self-referential post; nothing about the pharmaceutical industry] “The creator of the Pharma Blogosphere Survey blows a fuse”
  14. 8/7/2007: [At last a pharmaceutical related topic; Rost took up the story after it was published on PharmaGossip earlier in the morning] “Free drugs are here! What will this mean for you?”
  15. 8/8/2007: [Self-referential post] “Pharmaceutical Executive follows BrandweekNRX's lead”
  16. 8/8/2007: [Self-referential post; takes credit beating NYT to the story while it was PharmaGossip that wrote about it first!] “The New York Times follows BrandweekNRX's lead”
  17. 8/8/2007: [Shameless Self-promoting ad] “Read tomorrow's news today. On BrandweekNRX.”
  18. 8/8/2007 [Fluff: Rehash of old QA story about a whistleblower who was not even an employee at a pharmaceutical company] “Secretary fired for blogging wins both lawsuit and book deal.”
  19. 8/9/2007 [Pharma-related story about j&J] “Red Cross sued over its - Red cross!”
  20. 8/9/2007 [Unremarkable story about fellow blogger] “Straight talk with a journalist who turned cutting-edge blogger.”
  21. 8/10/2007 [Shameless Self-promoting ad about his new fiction book] “Declassified CIA documents reveal that drug companies gave the CIA drugs with bad side effects.”
  22. 8/10/2007 [Another shameless Self-promoting ad about his new fiction book] “My new book - KILLER DRUG - on Amazon's top 25 legal thrillers list!”
  23. 8/13/2007 [Shameless Self-promoting ad] “BrandweekNRX beats every record in pharma blogging.”
  24. 8/13/2007 [Rehash of story previously publish in The Day] "Pfizer loses more personal data to thiefs.(sic)"

Monday, August 13, 2007

Clara Barton to be Exhumed to Testify at JNJ v ARC Trial!

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) claims that "Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross (ARC), signed an agreement in 1895 that acknowledged the company's exclusive right to use a red cross on 'chemical, surgical, pharmaceutical goods of every description.'" (See Bloomberg News story here.)

Whoa! J&J sure is bringing out the BIG guns leading up to what promises to be the drug company trial of the century!

I just wish there could be cameras in the court room!

They are doing amazing things with technology these days. I recall a 1997 TV ad showing Fred Astaire -- who died in 1987 -- dancing with a vacuum cleaner!

Imagine if J&J's lawyers could exhume Ms. Barton -- digitally, of course -- and have her testify at the trial -- via video feed, of course! What would we see? Here's just one scenario:

Clive Whitshoe, chief J&J counsel, approached the witness -- actually a TV monitor precariously sitting upon the witness stand.

"Welcome to the 21st Century, Ms. Barton," Whiteshoe cooed. "It's a pleasure having you here."

"It's pleasure to be here ... I think," Barton replied. Her left eye twitched nervously, reminding Whiteshoe of the nervous Commissioner Charles Dreyfus confronting Chief Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movie.

"I have only one question to ask, Ms. Barton. I know you'd like to get back to your final resting place," said Whiteshoe.

"Objection!," cried Owen DoGood, counsel for the defense. "My obscene colleague is conjecturing!"

"Whatever," sighed Judge Blackthorn. "Get on with your question counselor!"

"Yes, surely," said Whiteshoe. "Your honor, I would like to place this document into evidence," he said approaching the judge with a fragile, yellowed scrap of paper.

After a few legal motions back and forth, the paper was allowed into evidence and Whiteshoe approached virtual Ms. Barton.

"Ms. Barton, do you recognize this parchment?," he asked the witness while holding up the sheet to the monitor's built-in Webcam.

"Yes, I do," said Barton after what appeared to be a rather close examination.

"Would you please read the second paragraph out loud, beginning with the words 'The American Red Cross hereby...,'" instructed Whiteshoe.

"The American Red Cross," Barton read, "hereby grants to the Johnson and Johnson ethical drug and elixir company exclusive right to use a red cross on all chemical, surgical, pharmaceutical goods of every description."

"And is that your signature at the bottom?," asked Whiteshoe.

Barton nodded her head.

"Please answer 'Yes' or 'No'. Ms. Barton," said the Judge, "for the record."

"Yes," said Barton.

"No further questions, your honor," declared Whiteshoe.

"Mr. DoGood, do you have any questions for this witness?," asked the judge.

"No questions, your honor," whispered DoGood.

"THE PLAINTIFF RESTS!", Whiteshoe shouted triumphantly!

"And so do I," said Ms. Barton as her image faded away and she rejoined the spirit world.

Friday, August 10, 2007

WSJ Health Blog: Not So Bland Afterall!

Have you noticed a change in the WSJ Health Blog after I commented that "Frankly, aside from the headlines, it's a little bland"?

Take today's post, "John Johnson Leaving Johnson & Johnson", for example. Let me reproduce the whole thing here:

John Johnson is leaving Johnson & Johnson to run ImClone Systems.

No word on whether John H. Johnson (pictured, left) is related to Robert Wood Johnson (pictured, right) or Edward Mead Johnson, founders of Johnson & Johnson.

But regardless of any connections among Messrs. Johnson, we have to wonder whether Johnson will be glad to be free of the possible confusion of being John Johnson at Johnson & Johnson. (We called Johnson & Johnson and got John Johnson's voicemail, but didn't hear back.)

We checked in with Avery Johnson, WSJ's Johnson & Johnson reporter (who doesn't think she's related to Johnson, Johnson or Johnson), but our Johnson hadn't spoken with John Johnson.

What we do know is that Johnson, 49, has been company group chairman of J&J's world-wide biopharmaceuticals unit. He starts his job at ImClone later this month.

Financier and ImClone chairman Carl Icahn welcomed Johnson aboard. "We look forward to working with him to take the company to the next level," Icahn said in a statement.
Now that's funny!

The post was made by Jacob Goldstein. Nice job!

Introducing Ray Jordan, J&J PR Veep, Winemaker!

Every once in a while we are treated to a story that keeps on getting better. Such is the case with the J&J Red Cross Curfuffle.

Yesterday, I summarized what several other bloggers in the Pharma Blogosphere had to say about this (see "Blogger Brouhaha Over the Cross") and today, over at Pharma Marketing Blog, I concluded that the biggest mistake J&J made was to let the lawyers run wild while key PR people were away on vacation (see "J&J Lawyers Go Wild; PR on Vacation!").

When I wrote that, I had no idea who Ray Jordan was -- Ray, you remember, was the person who wrote J&J's response to the Red Cross Curfuffle in the JNJ BTW Blog (read that response here and also here).

Being a blogger and not a journalist, I didn't check my facts nor did I even bother to find out who Ray was. But Scott Hensley over at the WSJ Health Blog did the job for me (see "J&J Versus Red Cross: Blog Edition"). Scott uncovered the fact that Ray Jordan is a winemaker and has been blogging on that subject since 2003! Plus, Scott provided hints where we can find Ray's bio (here t is), which isn't included on the JNJ BTW blog site!

Ray, like many people in pharma corporate communications, began his career as a reporter for a regional daily newspaper. [Just like Ed Silverman!] Ray then made an early career move into finance and systems analysis of business and marketing processes, first with Bristol-Myers.

Just out of curiosity: What percentage of all phrama corporate communications people start out as "unbiased" journalists?

But the most interesting thing about Ray is his passion for wine! His blog is called Chez Ray Winemaking and it is quite neat!

[I won't make any jokes about making wine while J&J burned on the cross!]

Here's Ray with some friends.

"At a recent dinner where the 2006 line of Mollydooker Wines were being unveiled," says Ray, "I had a rare chance to spend a few minutes in conversation with Sparky Marquis, CEO and Winemaker at Mollydooker."

You know, now that I think of it, I know Ray!

He used to work at Pfizer, according to his bio. I met him when he worked there! At the time, I was president of the Internet Healthcare Coalition (IHCC) and Ray was interested in helping that non-profit organization. [BTW, IHCC never licensed any J&J trademarks to 3rd party retailers.]

Remember me, Ray!

It's nice for me to connect a name with a face and learn about Ray's life interests outside of being a pharmaceutical company spokesperson!

P.S. Ray, how about sending me a case of your 2006 vintage!

P.P.S. You know I' kidding, right? BTW, I agree with Fard Johnmar who said in a post today "This, my friends is what corporate blogging [typos and all! -- my comment added] should be all about. Reading the tea leaves, responding quickly and having the courage to grapple with the tough issues of the day."

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Blogger Brouhaha Over the Cross

Never has there been such a brouhaha over the Red Cross since Turkey's Red Crescent was accepted as an additional symbol of the International Red Cross Movement at the Geneva Convention of 1929.

At issue is J&J's decision to sue the American Red Cross (ARC) for unauthorized license of the famous symbol to third-party, for-profit organizations selling products like baby mitts, nail clippers, combs, toothbrushes and humidifiers.

The blogs within the Pharma Blogosphere that have written about this include:

And probably a few more that I left out.

Some blogger comments include:

"I actually sympathize with J&J's business stance here," says Steve Woodruff over at Impactiviti blog. He adds "As with the recent case of Novartis and the Indian government, some cases brought as a matter of principle (and I’m sure the profit motive wasn't absent, of course - this is business), to try to settle long-term case law, will bring plenty of short-term odium."

Most other bloggers agreed that this was not a good PR move by J&J. Ed Silverman at Pharmalot merely said "This can't be a good public relations move." He then proceeds to summarize the facts.

In a followup post, Silverman says "J&J, like any company, is entitled to defend its property, including trademarks. But in an environment where big drugmakers are regularly criticized for putting profits over patients, does it make sense to run to court and take on an institution that, for many Americans, is seen as an angel who appears in time of need?"

Ed asked readers to vote on the issue. As of this writing, 57% of respondents to Pharmalot's poll -- not a scientific study! -- think J&J should have sued.
POLL UPDATE: Late results from Ed's poll indicate a reversal: 57% now think J&J should NOT have sued ARC!
Peter Rost, on the other hand, disagrees and had this to say in his NRx blog post: "So seriously folks: Is this about the most foolish PR move by any drug company this year? Or is it the worst move in a decade???"

One commenter pointed out that Rost did not balance his post with the other side of the issue: "If the blogger had done his research, he would have included that the Red Cross is licensing, for profit, the cross symbol out to companies whose products directly compete with those of J&J."

In JNJ BTW's Court?

JNJ BTW Blog's response as of this writing has been nil (see P.P.P.S. below). Marc Monseau's last post entitled "A Word or Two More About This Week's News..." is NOT about the Red Cross flap, but about J&J's "cost reduction plans,' which is soooo old news dude!

P.S. After I posted this, I noticed that Fard Johnmar over at HealthcareVOX suggested that Marc Monseau post something on his blog even if it's "commentary from someone knowledgeable about it. Depending on what he says," said Fard, "this move could help mitigate some of the bad press the company is currently receiving and significantly elevate the influence of J&J's corporate blog."

P.P.S. I think the train has already left the station!

P.P.P.S. Maybe J&J caught the train after all! I just read this JNJ BTW post "You're Doing What?!" It wasn't written by Marc Monseau, but by Ray Jordan, who I don't know (he is not listed in the "About the Authors" section of the blog).

As I suspected, Marc is on vacation, according to Mr. Jordan: "Our small media relations group was reduced even further by summer vacations (including Marc Monseau, who does double duty as our chief resident blogger – that's why I'm pinch-hitting this posting). Nonetheless, we felt most every journalist we engaged with (including bloggers) gave fair hearing to both sides of this matter." [BTW, no one at J&J "engaged" with me yet. Maybe they spoke to Peter Rost?]

"So," says Ray, "I've now lived a classic corporate public affairs nightmare: announcing a lawsuit against the American Red Cross."

Disclosure: Both Fard Johnmar and I have had a number of unofficial conversations with Monseau about his blog and the company's social media communications strategy, but none on this subject.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Murdock, the WSJ Health Blog, and Beyond!

While much attention has been paid to Peter Rost taking over NRx -- the blog formerly known as BrandweekNRx -- no one has voiced concern over the impact Rupert Murdoch will have on the tenor of the WSJ Health Blog, which is one of the venerable stars in the Pharma Blogosphere.

I scan the WSJ Health Blog every day, but seldom read every post. Frankly, aside from the headlines, it's a little bland -- just like the WSJ itself. It also lacks personality -- several different journalists contribute to the blog and there is no single, discernible voice. But, it is informative, covers the important issues and gets the facts straight, all of which should please Christiane Truelove who covers the Pharma Blogosphere in her weekly "Pharma Blogs: Week in Review" newsletter.

But the WSJ Blog gets scant mention in Truelove's newsletter and is seldom referenced by other bloggers in this space. Maybe that's just my impression -- let me know if you disagree.

Not the WSJ Health Blog needs us bloggers to help it get readers -- links to the blog are front page and center on the main WSJ web page and in practically every health related online article published by the WSJ.
Will Murdoch make changes to the WSJ Health Blog? If so, what changes will he or should he make?

Fard Johnmar over at HealthcareVOX counted off "4 Reasons Why The News Corp Dow Jones Merger May Be Good For Communications Pros."

Probably the most important reason Fard mentions is the influx of "fresh ideas" and Fard thinks that is good:
"Overall, Murdoch seems to understand that the media business needs fresh ideas. If he finds new ways to monetize content and deliver it to more people more power to him. Change ladies and gentlemen is good."
Certainly, like the WSJ itself, the Health Blog could benefit from NEW readers and a wider audience.

Fard also believes that Murdoch needs to take care that WSJ journalists are not stolen away by the NY Times, Washington Post, and their ilk. "One of Murdoch’s first tasks is to prevent talent from fleeing the paper."

Au contraire, Fard! Murdoch should allow the WSJ old-schoolers to flee and bring in "fresh" blood to take their place. Maybe he should even hire bloggers who have few journalistic scruples, which surely have hindered the ultimate monetization of the WSJ up until now.

So here's an idea along those lines for Mr. Murdoch: Hire Peter Rost to write for the WSJ Health Blog!

Is that a crazy idea or what? You tell me!

Should Murdock Hire Rost?
Yes, why didn't I think of that?!
No, are you nuts?

Personal note to Peter Rost:
Do you see my entire plan now, Peter? First, I sow seeds of doubt regarding Brandweek's decision to hire you... Then, as that door closes, I open a new, bigger window for you with Murdoch! Take the leap! Brandweek will gladly let you out of your contract with them and you will be free to move on to the next stage of your plan to dominate the pharma blogosphere!

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Rost Self-Promoting Spin Machine is in Full Gear!

Since Peter Rost took control of the blog formerly known as BrandweekNRX -- the "Brandweek" part of the name has been dropped and it is now known simply as "NRx" -- he has been hard at work. Mostly he's been marketing himself, linking back and forth between NRx and his Question Authority blog, and spinning facts. When he cannot spin the facts, he just misquotes the facts.

NOTE: It seems that Nielsen Business Media, owner of Brandweek -- the trusted print publication formerly associated with NRx -- is busy putting some distance between Brandweek and the NRx blog. First, the name change, which is evident in the new logo although the URL still has "brandweek" in it. Second, if you go to the Nielsen page that lists its publications, you won't find BrandweekNRx blog mentioned in the "Brandweek" section. Consequently, if you are a new reader of NRx, you are not going to know the association, if any, between the blog and Brandweek! There's no "About" section or anything else that will tell you who's responsible for the blog unless you scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the copyright notice. And who besides me is going to do that?
A recent NRx post entitled "The most effective marketing" looks interesting until you actually read what Rost has to say, which is:
"The most effective marketing is the marketing you're not aware of," says Dr. Peter Rost, a one-time pharmaceutical company marketing executive who has become an Internet-based industry watchdog. "If you see an ad, you know it's marketing. But if a friend or your doctor talks to you about a drug, you don't."

Read the entire article "Under the influence" by By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer.
That's it! No analysis, no discussion, just pure self-promotion! Seems like this will be the tenor of NRx from now on.

When Rost isn't busy hogging NRx bandwidth with self-promotional posts, he's grasping at straws to counteract criticism. He is not above distorting facts to prove his case, which is not a very good attribute for a "journalist blogger."

For example, Rost didn't like the data I presented from the Pharma Blogosphere Reader Survey, which suggested to me that BrandweekNRx would lose credibility with its most important audience -- pharmaceutical executives (see my post here).

Rost says:
"In my prior post I described how industry consultant John Mack strongly suggested for Brandweek to fire me." (See here)
Unfortunately, as Rost well knows, I never strongly or otherwise suggested that Brandweek fire him.

What I said was:
"IMHO, Brandweek should seriously consider the data I have presented above, because it signals that BrandweekNRX may lose some of its credibility and usefulness, especially among its most important audience: pharmaceutical executives.

"Of course, you have to balance that against all the great publicity and perhaps greater readability that Rost will bring to BrandweekNRX."
Which to me seems like a balanced criticism. I even used "balance" in my quote! Never did I use the word "fire" nor did I call for Brandweek to take any action except to look at the data I presented.

If Rost is willing to twist comments from me to suit his own purposes, then one has to wonder how he twists comments in his coverage of the pharmaceutical industry. This may be a moot point since, to date, Rost has not done much coverage of issues of interest to the pharmaceutical industry on NRx.

Christiane Truelove, a true journalist, summarized my position very aptly in her "PharmaBlog Week in Review:"
John Mack over at the Pharma Marketing Blog was less than thrilled with the appointment. "There’s a saying us Brooklynites have to live with all our lives, no matter where we end up calling home: 'You can take the girl [boy] out of Brooklyn, but you can't take Brooklyn out of the girl [boy],'" he writes. "Which means, you can always recognize someone from Brooklyn by their accent and bias for their place of birth. Applying this to Rost at BrandweekNRX, you could say that, 'You can take Rost out of Question Authority [where he is anti-industry], but you can't all of a sudden expect him to be an unbiased journalist.'"
Truelove goes on to say, "For me, the appointment shows that bloggers can have the makings of good journalists." Good journalists, IMHO, do NOT distort the facts to defend THEMSELVES from critical reviews.

But I am not holding my breath for a retraction and apology from Rost for misquoting me. Let's just move on...

Rost really gets his spin machine in motion in his criticism of the Pharma Blogosphere Survey data. I did not make any friends with that survey! Every blogger who did not get a TOP rating dissed it instead of using the results to improve their blogs. Rost seems to be one of those disgruntled bloggers. He claims:
It turns out that in the "biggest pharma blog survey ever conducted," John didn’t really do a survey of pharma blog readers. He simply ended up with responses from his own readers of his Pharma Marketing Blog. Perhaps not surprising, since that's where the survey was done.
"It turns out"that this is a lie!

First of all, the survey was NOT done "from" my blog (Pharma Marketing Blog). It was done from right here on Pharma Blogosphere. It was advertised on my blog as well as other blogs that opted in to my invitation to get the notice to their readers. Rost even helped by linking to the survey on his blog.

Yes, 73% of the 144 or so respondents claimed they read Pharma Marketing Blog (this excludes those that Never or Rarely read it). A respectable 31% of the survey respondents also read Peter Rost's blog (Question Authority) and 73% of those people also read Pharma Marketing Blog.

If most respondents ALSO read my blog, that says more about the popularity of my blog than about "surveying ONLY my readers," which is how Rost sees it.

Besides, when we* did the analysis of readability, usability and credibility, we only included results from people who actually claimed to read the blogs in question at least occasionally and did not include opinions from readers who never read the blog. So, a blog's ratings are based on opinions of readers of that blog, not mine. If they just so happen to be readers of my blog, that is irrelevant to the analysis.
*I had help analyzing the data from an independent third party: Chris Pounds at Myriad Pharmaceuticals who is an experienced market researcher and who knows how to use pivot tables in Excel and how to exclude data that may bias the results.
You can read the survey summary here and download the raw data here.

Rost and I know that most people won't bother to download the raw data and do their own analysis. C'est la vie!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Looks Like a Duck, Walks Like a Duck, Quacks Like a Duck...

Is it just me, or are the journalists all circling the wagons around themselves and referring only to other journalists when they talk about blogs?

Now that Peter Rost is a journalist blogger and ensconced in the journalist tent over at BrandweekNRX, his first post -- aside from the one about himself -- is based on an interview with Christiane Truelove, an editor at Med Ad News and author of Pharma Blogs: Week in Review (see "The Med Ad News editor has a secret . . .").

"I fear that a blogger who doesn't have a solid journalism background can get into trouble and get the story wrong, if they don't do good fact-checking," Truelove says. "That's the worst about blogging."

Only a journalist with tremendous resources available from Med Ad News can get on his/her high horse and bemoan the fact that bloggers sometimes don't get the story right! As if journalists are infallible that way (remember Dan Rather?).

Journalist bloggers may be dominating the opinion pages of trade publications and trade conferences, but they are not what "traditional blogging" -- never thought I'd see that in a sentence! -- is all about.

The true blogger is outside the mainstream media which have tremendous resources behind them to gather information; the true blogger doesn't have a staff of fact finders/checkers, graphic artists, and ad people helping them; the true blogger does not have huge advertising incomes that are at risk when they write a story that offends a hand that feeds them.

In spite of all that, the true blogger successfully COMPETES with the journalist blogger for readers and often is rated higher in credibility and usefulness by their readers than journalist bloggers!

I also note that journalist bloggers have so much time to devote to blogging, they virtually shut out all the other voices with multiple posts every day! This is blogging diarrhea of the worst sort!

Once bloggers have all the resources and income that journalists have, they cease to be bloggers and are just journalists writing blogs.

IMHO, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it IS a duck, not a blogger!

Jeez! Get a Life Sweden!

Is it only Sweden that hates me?

The Swedes don't take kindly to criticizing their ex-patriot son, Peter Rost. See the reason why here.

Hat tip to Peter.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

It's Official. Rost Takes Over BrandweekNRX!

Well, it's true -- as I was the first to speculate yesterday -- Peter Rost, pharmaceutical whistleblower extraordinaire -- has taken over the reigns of BrandweekNRX "for a while."

I have immortalized this historic event by capturing the announcement (see image on left; click on it to enlarge).

Read it and ... Weep?

Not yet. Let's give Rost a chance. Also, keep in mind that this is Brandweek's BLOG, not the print publication -- the one with the big circulation and that's supposed to be journalistic and objective.

So Rost as BrandweekNRX blogger makes perfect sense... if you intend to flush your blog down the drain as far as pharmaceutical industry readers are concerned -- except for their lawyers, that is.

Rost now joins the comfy-cosy realm of journalist bloggers who get invited to industry meetings that the rest of us are shut out from. In the fall, for example, Rost will be a guest at a major DTC conference in New Jersey -- right in the heart of pharma country! I'm not mentioning names, but the organization that hosts this meeting has been accused of aiding and abetting a lot that's wrong with DTC advertising.

Not that there's anything wrong with inviting the enemy to piss in your tent!

But the more often you piss inside the tent, the less credibility you have when pissing outside the tent, IMHO.

Full Disclosure: I'm a lover, not a pisser! So, I can't jeopardize my rep by appearing inside the tent once and a while. Just in case someone wants to throw a few stones at me.

P.S. Rost said the paycheck from a well-known publication will boost his credibility.

But what about the credibility of BrandweekNRX and Brandweek? I have some data to suggest Rost may have a negative effect on that side of the credibility equation.

For more on this, see "Brandweek Hires Peter Rost, Moves to the Dark Side!"