Dods CEO Simon Presswell Steps Down With Immediate Effect

Political publishers Dods said earlier today that its earnings would decline year-on-year yet again. Earnings are expected to fall 20% to £2.8 million from £3.5 million the year before. Presswell lasted 17 months as CEO before falling on his sword. Dods’ CEOs seem to last on average 2 years before they get fired. Dods blamed uncertainty and the election for the poor performance. Guido expects to have a bumper 2020. If they are looking for a CEO who knows how to make a profit out of digital political publishing…

mdi-timer 22nd January 2020 @ 6:07 pm 22nd Jan 2020 @ 6:07 pm mdi-comment Comments
Losses at Political Publisher Dods Surge to £5 Million

Guido is frankly stunned to report that political publisher Dods, whose publications include The House Magazine and PoliticsHome, has seen losses this year surge to £5,537,000. The firm shuttered Public Affairs News recently and rumour has it that Lord Ashcroft and Lord Bell fell out in relation to Sans Frontières Associates, Bell’s Ashcroft-backed lobbying venture. The losses are something of a surprise because Dods last year confidently claimed the bad times were over and they were all set for a profitable year. Given Dods main customer base, the public affairs industry in London, is coining it as firms try to figure out Brexit, it is somewhat mystifying. The digital future envisaged seems to have been less profitable than expected…

Something that was not unexpected was the writing off of 70% of the investment in Social360. In January Guido wrote:

Dods bought into Social360 – a social media monitoring service – which has not sold to clients as well as hoped. Many potential clients manage with a combination of Google alerts and Tweetdeck, both of which are free products. The social media crisis solution seems a bit unnecessary, because when you are in social media crisis, you know it without the need for expensive software. Making their database of “Dods People” acessible via a Salesforce CRM plugin seems like a smart idea until you realise public affairs professionals don’t use Salesforce, sales people do. “DODS Signals”, which “enables the tracking of social media profiles and interactions for over 5,000 political influencers”, is essentially a social media list with bells and whistles, which can pretty much be functionally replicated, for free, in Tweetdeck. Unless you don’t know how to search for a hashtag.

Not forgetting that in 2014/15 they bought “Social Lens” for a million which was also subsequently written off. There is also the very real competitive threat from Politico, which is a quality product written by journalists and read by the public affairs professionals who are Dods’ core customer base. All will work out next year says the new CEO after they raise £13.2 million to buy another software company, this time an Indian company, so they can get into AI. What could go wrong?

mdi-timer 4th July 2019 @ 4:36 pm 4th Jul 2019 @ 4:36 pm mdi-comment Comments
Lobbyist’s Gamekeeper Singleton Switches to Poaching

David Singleton who edited Public Affairs News quit as editor some six weeks ago. He is off to WPI Strategy so will no doubt be ethically lobbying on their behalf. He wrote a valedictory piece on his 7 years covering lobbying here. The Dods-owned publication has not been updated since the day he wrote that article on March 8th. Nobody seems to have noticed…

Rumour is that it will be shuttered. Most lobbyists prefer to read Politico nowadays anyway…

mdi-timer 23rd April 2019 @ 2:25 pm 23rd Apr 2019 @ 2:25 pm mdi-comment Comments
Political Publisher Dods Sees Share Price Plummet, Blames Brexit

Political publisher Dods, whose publications include The House Magazine and PoliticsHome saw their shares plummet 33% yesterday, knocking some £7 million off their valuation. In the last 12 months the shares have halved in value. New CEO Simon Presswell is blaming Brexit for an expected profits collapse because of the ‘unprecedented’ political uncertainty. Insiders blame the losses on a lack of customer interest in new products.

Dods bought into Social360 – a social media monitoring service – which has not sold to clients as well as hoped. Many potential clients manage with a combination of Google alerts and Tweetdeck, both of which are free products. The social media crisis solution seems a bit unnecessary, because when you are in social media crisis, you know it without the need for expensive software. Making their database of “Dods People” acessible via a Salesforce CRM plugin seems like a smart idea until you realise public affairs professionals don’t use Salesforce, sales people do. “DODS Signals”, which “enables the tracking of social media profiles and interactions for over 5,000 political influencers”, is essentially a social media list with bells and whistles, which can pretty much be functionally replicated, for free, in Tweetdeck. Unless you don’t know how to search for a hashtag.

None of this appears to have put Dods off expanding, their new CEO telling CEO Today that when it come to prospective mergers and acquisitions:

“we’ve done an extensive study that identifies tens of thousands of organisations that might possess an interest for us. We have defined the criteria of attributes that we look for in businesses that would benefit under our ownership, and we have applied this as a filter across those organisations and have a very specific target list.

If you imagine a 2×2 chart that has two axis [sic] on it, one is complexity, and the other is value. We are able to place our prospects into the appropriate quadrants: those that are high value and relatively low complexity take our priority, those that are high value and more complex take our second priority, and our third priority is on the opportunities that are not yet at high value and are relatively uncomplex. For those prospects, we will be seeking to partner with a select minority of incubators and innovators to bring on board those businesses and technologies in order to amplify them across our network.”

Shareholders, of which Lord Ashcroft is the biggest, might prefer an uncomplex focus on the bottom line…

mdi-timer 22nd January 2019 @ 3:06 pm 22nd Jan 2019 @ 3:06 pm mdi-comment Comments
Dods’ Shard Offices Infested with Maggots

Political publishers Dods – owned by Lord Ashcroft – are suffering a maggot infestation. Must be a metaphor in this story somewhere…

mdi-timer 16th November 2017 @ 12:58 pm 16th Nov 2017 @ 12:58 pm mdi-comment Comments
“F*** Dods”

All is not well at the flashy new Shard office of political publishers Dods. A co-conspirator reveals how shortly after a member of staff was given the sack, the words “F**k Dods” were graffiti-ed inside the very expensive men’s toilets: “All fingers of blame pointed at the recently departed. But when another 3 cubicles were done the same the next day, and yet another the day after, it seems to be coming from current staff. Which is unsurprising given morale is at an all time low”. Not much to smile about there at the moment…

mdi-timer 2nd March 2017 @ 3:37 pm 2nd Mar 2017 @ 3:37 pm mdi-comment Comments
Previous Page Next Page