Earthlink sets aside dollars 3m for PR and doubles its staff

ATLANTA: ISP giant Earthlink, which recently announced the completion of a dollars 4 billion merger with Mindspring, has doubled its in-house communications department and earmarked approximately dollars 3 million for PR activities in the year ahead.

ATLANTA: ISP giant Earthlink, which recently announced the completion of a dollars 4 billion merger with Mindspring, has doubled its in-house communications department and earmarked approximately dollars 3 million for PR activities in the year ahead.

ATLANTA: ISP giant Earthlink, which recently announced the

completion of a dollars 4 billion merger with Mindspring, has doubled

its in-house communications department and earmarked approximately

dollars 3 million for PR activities in the year ahead.



According to Kirsten Hamling, who will lead the newly merged company’s

PR as VP of corporate communications and IR, Earthlink’s in-house PR

staff has been doubled to 10 full-time communications execs.

Geographically, they will be divided between the new corporate HQ in

Atlanta and Hamling’s Pasadena home base.



The merger resulted in few lost jobs among the company’s PR minions.



Mindspring corporate communications director Kirsten Witt will continue

in the same role for Earthlink. Based in Atlanta, she will oversee the

company’s narrowband and e-commerce communications. Arley Baker, who

oversees broadband, business services and content, will be Witt’s

counterpart in Pasadena.



Additionally, few of Mindspring and Earthlink’s existing PR firms were

shown the door. Though Hamling said she may consider consolidating

agencies in the future, Manning Selvage & Lee, Alexander Ogilvy and The

Bohle Company all remain on retainer. MS&L focuses on consumer PR, while

Bohle handles broadband and Alexander Ogilvy works on executive

visibility and business services.



According to Hamling, the company’s PR goal remains what it has been for

the last few years: ’We want to brand Earthlink as the clear number-two

ISP.’ While dollars 3 million may seem an exorbitant amount to achieve

this, the hefty PR budget is necessary to adequately support the

company’s four business units, ’each of which comprises about a dollars

1 billion dollar company,’ Hamling pointed out.



During the three months since the merger announcement, Hamling’s team

has been involved in coordinating a series of ’Lift Off’ events, all of

which took place earlier this month. These include the coordination of

an interactive online presentation for analysts and shareholders as well

as appearances by CEO Garry Betty on CNBC and CNN.



Claiming 3.1 million daily users, Earthlink bills itself as the largest

independent ISP. Recently reported fourth quarter results show the

company’s quarterly revenues approaching dollars 200 million.



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