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Jimmy Wales shames PR editors

By Gregory Kohs



Some companies, like General Motors, Procter & Gamble, and Apple, spend many millions of dollars in promotional advertising campaigns. Other companies, like Rolls-Royce, Krispy Kreme, and the makers of Sriracha hot sauce, allocate no money toward traditional ad marketing. According to Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, we can add his new wireless telephony firm to the list of “no advertising” operations. Ever since its principal financier Andrew Rosenfeld met an unexpected and untimely death, cellular start-up The People’s Operator has put its hopes in Wales’ hands, relying on him to enhance their “no ads” public relations campaign. While the company’s recent initial public offering on the London exchange raised about £20 million for the company’s bottom line, The People’s Operator (TPOP) share price has remained stuck below its initial 130 pence peg, with very little trading activity. Expenditures at the mobile virtual network operator are outpacing revenues by a factor of sixty percent, and its P/E ratio is negative 63. Perhaps desperate for new life, what better way to spike awareness and boost consideration than to send Wikipedia’s co-founder on a media tour to announce TPOP’s new social media platform and its pending entry into the U.S. market? If there’s anything Jimmy Wales is good at, it’s getting his mug in front of consumer eyeballs.

But then there’s the matter of the things that come out of his mouth once he’s on camera. As The Register recently quipped, “How can you tell Jimbo is lying? His lips are moving.” On Monday, July 20, Wales appeared on HuffPost Live, with Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. Wales talked for a while about how TPOP was unique because cellular customers will see 10% of their monthly bill redirected to a charity of their choice.

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