Thursday, October 26, 2006

IR stuck in the mud

IR Daily » Hey Google, Where’s the YouTube Video of Your Earnings Call? - www.irwebreport.com/...


Google just acquired web video sensation YouTube for $1.65 billion.

Google — webcasted it earnings call yesterday using investor relations website outsourcing service Shareholder.com, a company owned by Nasdaq.
Visitors to Google’s investor relations pages have only two choices to access the call. Windows Media Player and Real Player. And in neither case is the call indexed to make it easier to review.
No YouTube? The audiocast archive is available only in Windows Media Player or Real Player formats and there’s no transcript here.
There’s also no podcast option (available free at EarningsCast!) or MP3 for playback in a Flash player.
But what’s stopping Google’s investor relations people putting a video camera or webcam in the conference room?
They could live videocast the call and then post the archive on the site as an embedded YouTube video.
Even little Telecom New Zealand has been doing something like that for ages.
Seeking Alpha transcript sucks away Google IR’s traffic
Here’s another irony. Right now, one of the most linked-to items about Google’s earnings call is nothing that Google itself provides.
It is the earnings call transcript provided by Seeking Alpha, the blog network. Like about 87% of other companies, Google itself doesn’t offer transcripts of its earnings calls.
Actually, if you go to Google’s page on Google Finance, you’ll find a link to the Seeking Alpha transcript buried at the bottom of the page below the fold under the heading “More Resources.” But that’s not indicated anywhere on the company’s main investor relations site.
Drinking your own “Kool-Aid”
Google isn’t the only company that should do a better job of communicating with investors by using its own technology.
Microsoft also uses Shareholder.com for its earnings calls. Funny thing here is that when I tried to load the Q4 webcast in Microsoft’s just-released IE7 browser I got an Active X warning telling me that the website wanted to run Quicktime from Apple Computer Inc. (see the screenshot below)
The warning in IE 7 reads: This website wants to run the following add-on: Quick Time from Apple Computer Inc.
Well-known VoIP analyst Andy Abramson was critical of eBay back in July for not using its own Skype services to host its earnings conference call.
To quote him: “In my view not using the technology you tout …shows a real lack of belief in the technology.”
Investor relations people, especially at consumer Web companies like Google, need to understand that they don’t operate in a vacuum.
Investors can also be your customers, your suppliers or your employees. How management handles its investor communications can make a big impression on their opinions of your company in other areas as well.
I would only add, this is another case for the fast development of XPRL