Telstra has confirmed it closed the shutters on its nowwearetalking.com.au website, which at times has been used as a mouthpiece to promote its telecommunications sector regulatory ambitions.
It might have been so associated with Phil Burgess and the Sol era that it couldn't get rid of that stench of propaganda.
Mumbrella editor Tim Burrowes
The site, which hosted a network of blogs written by various Telstra staff, has been produced since 2005 while Telstra was still under former chief Sol Trujillo. At the launch of the site, then group managing director of Telstra public policy and communications Phil Burgess said a shareholder came up with the idea as a way for investors to see where Telstra stood on certain issues.
A spokesperson for Telstra this morning confirmed the site will shut down. Telstra has since unveiled plans to launch a new yet-to-be-named site which will sit under the Telstra.com domain.
"The end of NWAT will not mean the end of Telstra's online outreach — far from it," the telo told its subscribers via an email today.
A spokesperson for Telstra today confirmed the site will shut down, but was unable to provide further details at the time of writing.
The site was managed by a handful of Telstra's public relations managers, but was initially headed up by Rod Bruem, author of a blog who last year suggested Optus chief executive Paul O'Sullivan see a counsellor and accused parent company Singtel of being an arm of the Singaporean Government, and proceeded to call it "one of the most hideous totalitarian regimes in Asia".
Tim Burrows, editor of media and marketing online publisher, Mumbrella, said he was disappointed by Telstra's decision to shut the site.
"Bloody hell! I saw [the site] as hugely positive. I know it was seen by some as a propaganda arm, but to me it was becoming a genuine conversation. I thought it was a good place for Telstra to tell their story when the whole Fake Stephen Conroy [Twitter issue] was going on," Burrows told ZDNet.com.au.
Telstra recently launched its own Twitter identity, after reclaiming it from a cybersquatter. Burrows said the nowwearetalking site would make a perfect companion to its Twitter account for more complex arguments.
As for why Telstra has decided to take it down, Burrows speculated: "It might have been so associated with Phil Burgess and the Sol era that it couldn't get rid of that stench of propaganda."