In the wake of a mini-tussle on the LinkedIn Marine Media group, I ask: How are lists of powerful people linked to the revenue streams of those publications who push them?
By Ryan Skinner (email)
It all started with an email from a trusted source at a shipping company. He complained that Lloyd's List, in putting a pirate among its top 10 most influential people in shipping, was legitimizing piracy, and terror. What about the families of those killed or taken hostage by these thugs?, he asked.
As a result, he told me, and I quote: "I just pulled my advertising with Lloyd's." I told him to keep the ads (if he got something out of them) and just criticize Lloyd's List publicly. It would serve his purposes better.
Interested to see if there was similar sentiment in the market, I started a discussion in the Marine Media LinkedIn group (just ask to join, if you're not already a member), describing this one advertiser's response, and asking if there were any other strong reactions.
Lloyd's List responded truculently. Deputy Editor, and soon-to-be editor, Richard Meade accused me of lying, current editor Tom Leander called me to ask if I had my facts straight and a commercial guy with Informa (Lloyd's List's owners) fired emails through.
For the record, I state: No, the advertiser is not a client. And, no, I don't know whether the advertisements were ordered, then rescinded, or if he had merely planned to advertise, then cancelled those plans.
If anything, this silly non-controversy showed two things:
1) Lloyd's List blows at PR. Why demonize the messenger? If a company Lloyd's List had covered negatively in its paper were to respond like Lloyd's List has, it would be a classic example of how NOT to handle a story.
2) Lloyd's List is particularly ticklish at the moment about the commercial aspects of this Top100 list. Patrick Neylan argued convincingly that the list was not created to win advertisers; why, otherwise, would they put a pirate there, which risks opprobrium?
Curious to see how the industry feels about such lists, I have started a poll on LinkedIn, asking whether the Top100 list will impact ad-buying decisions at Lloyd's List. That poll is embedded here: