Google fires shot across bows of wire services

Google has followed Marathon Oil and BGC Partners in taking advantage of the SEC's guidance from 2008 that companies need only post their financial results on their corporate websites and don't have to place them on wire services such as Business Wire, Marketwire and PRNewswire.

Google has followed Marathon Oil and BGC Partners in taking advantage of the SEC's guidance from 2008 that companies need only post their financial results on their corporate websites and don't have to place them on wire services such as Business Wire, Marketwire and PRNewswire.

It's a further sign of a trend towards companies wanting to deal directly with their stakeholders and to have as much control – or perceived control - over the process as possible.

British Airways is another example of this, with chief executive officer Willie Walsh's penchant for posting video releases directly on YouTube rather than communicating via the wires or traditional press releases (you can hear more about this in our video interview posted today with John Lampl, VP corporate communications Americas).

Companies are thinking very differently about how they communicate, and no part of the process is too sacred to be tinkered with – or dropped altogether.

They are using blogs, social networks, video and audio, mobile and all sorts of interactive channels to build word of mouth and interact with their consumers, investors and the wider business community.

This entails a different philosophy on the part of corporations, because in social media-land nothing is controllable, but it is also a warning to wire services that they must ensure their client offerings evolve if they are to remain relevant in the communications framework of the future.

* I may have been a little unfair to MillerCoors in my blog post last week about corporate social responsibility websites. As Kim Marotta, MillerCoors' VP, corporate social responsibility, points out, while the brewing giant's CSR site does have a different web address, it is only one link away from the company's main corporate home page.

There are undoubtedly far worse examples of companies divorcing their main web communications from their CSR activities – or, indeed, not having a CSR strategy in place at all.

However, I stand by my main point that companies should adopt integrated strategies and not somehow see their CSR activity/websites as “separate” to their main business.

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