DaimlerChrysler searches Web for right news outlets

DETROIT: DaimlerChrysler has launched an effort to identify which online journalists it should target with news about the automaker’s e-commerce efforts.

DETROIT: DaimlerChrysler has launched an effort to identify which online journalists it should target with news about the automaker’s e-commerce efforts.

DETROIT: DaimlerChrysler has launched an effort to identify which

online journalists it should target with news about the automaker’s

e-commerce efforts.



At the moment, DaimlerChrysler is working with its corporate agency,

Golin/Harris, on the project. But the company is thinking about bringing

in a specialist agency to help it determine which online news outlets

are worth paying attention to.



DaimlerChrysler created an e-business unit called E-connect in January

to drive both its e-business-to-business and business-to-consumer

initiatives.



According to senior manager of e-Business communications Jeff Leetsma,

the move made it necessary for the company to introduce itself to an

entirely new breed of journalists.



’There’s a whole world of media out there that we’re unfamiliar with,’

he explained, noting that he’s been working with Golin ’to determine

who’s who.’



Leetsma said that he isn’t looking for a new agency to help with the

project at the moment, conceding only that E-connect is ’looking at

finding expertise in a lot of different areas.’



But during a speech at the Michigan PRSA conference earlier this month,

VP of global communications for Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge Steve Rossi admitted

DaimlerChrysler might need assistance in determining which journalists

are truly covering the auto business and which are little more than

hobbyists with Web sites.



’We’re looking for someone who can help us steer through the maze of the

printed circuit-board communications,’ Rossi said.



DaimlerChrysler also faces a more practical problem when it comes to

online reporters: auto writers routinely ask the company for what are

known as ’press cars’ - models reporters can drive for a month,

presumably in order to review them.



’Every e-journalist knows about press cars,’ Rossi said. ’We need to

create some sort of measurement process to see what their reach is and

how valuable their coverage would be before doling out cars,’ he

said.



Leetsma said he hasn’t yet had a problem with car requests, but added,

’The press fleet is essentially designed for the auto press.’



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