Is your company ready for an Internet-related crisis?

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 off-guard.

"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.

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