NEW YORK: While companies are aware of the financial dangers posed
by the Internet, they have not developed a crisis plan that addresses
Internet issues, according to an online investor survey conducted by
Of the companies surveyed, 60% reported that they believe Internet chats
and rumors can affect share price. However, only 20% of companies
claimed to have a crisis communications plan that included strategies
dealing with the Internet.
"Most companies still have not figured out how to deal with the
Internet," said Al Bellenchia, senior partner and director of
Fleishman's global financial communications practice. "As an outbound
communications medium, companies are using it to post information, but
they are not necessarily using it to communicate."
Bellenchia noted that chatroom communications in particular have caught
"Companies seem to be surprised that professional analysis and investors
are looking at chatrooms and the Internet," said Bellenchia. "If
professional investors see them as valid sources of information, then
companies need to take them more seriously."
The 50-question survey was designed to benchmark best practices in
Web-based communications. The survey was distributed to 122 companies.
Of those firms, 62% are headquartered in Canada, 31% in the United
States and 7% outside North America.