Podcasts @ The Dot Conf

A Visit to The Dot Conf website is well worth a visit.

Before I go any further…. not surprising, the dot conf conference has been a sell out for some weeks now and its waiting list only. I think its 300 people attending. [?]


My good friend Darren Byrne and Phil O’Kane then did these for me. Thanks also to Anthony McG who installed the widget for me. Really appreciated 😉

This is the dot conf’s promo video

From the article I was intending to publish, these stats are quite interesting,

New Media Update Podcasting News – wrote an article called Podcast Fans Are The Ultimate Audience For Advertisers – I took the main bullet points out of it just to give you an idea of the reach[?] that podcasting actually has.

  • Podcast fans are significantly more affluent than general population.
  • Podcast fans are rapidly turning away from traditional media and “interruption” advertising models.
  • 37% of video podcast users and 31% of audio podcast users say they *enjoy* advertising in podcasts. By comparison, only 6% say same of TV and radio.
  • Podcasts confer on their advertisers and sponsors a “halo effect; podcast fans give props to the advertiser for sponsoring a show they like.
  • Over 70% of active podcast listeners are receptive to sponsorship messages in podcasts.

*Thanks to Roseanne Smith for this link

  • One in five active podcast consumers are actively interested in host-read sponsorship messages. Survey respondents believe that podcast hosts/creators are actual users of the goods and services of their sponsors.
  • Nearly 4/5 of the survey interviewees listen to podcasts every week, but are not as reachable by other “regular” mass media.
  • Podcast fans say it is not just important to be able to “time-shift” their podcast and other media consumption; nearly equally important is the ability to get unique shows [not available outside of podcast medium].
  • 90% of those surveyed prefer advertising supported shows vs. ad-free paid subscriptions.
  • 3/4 of the respondents use iTunes to find and subscribe and 66% have been listening/watching podcasts for 2 years or more

And finally here’s Bernie’s scratch and sniff boo 😉

Teaching Organic ?

An organic gardening programme is set to be rolled out by Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board across Irish schools. The problem is that it can’t really be organic. It can however be about growing and considering the earth and our actions. This is a programme that will include my child and yours and I personally am not sure I wish for her to be thought gardening under an organic label based on what I have unearthed.
The question further remains as to whether organic is actually better than ‘ordinary’ or home grown vegetables. The problem is the variance in beliefs of what organic actually is, the fact that legislation makes ordinary foods extremely safe to eat and the fact one can actually use chemicals and non-organic seed, yet still be labelled organic.
The Bord Bia slogan ‘organic – good for nature good for you’ has been ruled against in its using by the ASAI [advertising standards authority of Ireland]. However, the EU has a new ‘organic farming‘ slogan – ‘good for nature good for you’.
Ciaran Cuffe of The Green Party disagrees in commentary below.
update: I recorded this podcast Monday evening 12th July – as a result of the comments and responses to this post.


The following email hit my inbox today:



MAY 2010


Gorilla has just completed all audio post production for Bord Bia’s newly launched organic gardens DVD for primary schools across Ireland.

The DVD is an educational package that shows how pupils and teachers alike can convert their school grounds into organic gardens to grow their own vegetables! The DVD also explains some of the main benefits of eating organic food over processed food and moreover provides excellent opportunities for pupils to bring their learning outside of the classroom! The programme was shot over a 2-year period and includes 3 case studies in Dublin, Kildare and Ardee in Co Louth.

Then I did a bit of reading and found this from page 8 of the teaching resource that comes with the DVD:

Realise that synthetic fertilisers and pesticides are harmful and should be avoided if possible.

also on pg. 9:

Teachers Notes: Organic horticulture is the science and art of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers, or ornamental plants by following the essential principles of organic agriculture in soil building and conservation, pest management, weed, and disease control, and heritage species preservation.

It is a form of agriculture which excludes the use of synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, plant growth regulators, and genetically modified organisms. Organic gardeners rely on crop rotation, green manure, crop residue and compost to maintain soil productivity and control pests. It is an ideal way to teach children to respect the environment and introduce them and their families to healthy eating.

also the entire document is headed with the logo:

Organic: good for nature, good for you

Looks like someone is trying to convince the wee nippers that if something is organic its great!….it is of course as you know a little more complex than that (e.g. organic food imports etc, etc).

That aside this email had come in 2 days previous:

Bord Bia have just changed all their organic food logos on their website to a leaf, gone are the “organic : good for nature, good for you” logos…….maybe you could ask why the change?

But, you see this email had come two weeks ago:

was sent this…..looks like the misleading Bord Bia campaign cost 1 Million euro half of which was paid by the Irish public…….hardly money well spent

February 2009
Report by Simon Wright, Organic and Fair
…Lorcan Bourke of Bord Bia in Ireland explained how the the Irish Department of Agriculture funded half the campaign, allowing match-funding to obtained from the EU and giving a total budget of 1 million Euros. After consumer research the slogan chosen was ‘ Good For Nature, Good For You’ (see the campaign at ).

(bottom of page)

I had also received an email on May 18th. It was signed by the ASAI and noted that:

Subject: RE: Organic Food Claims

Bord Bia have agreed to withdraw the claim.

But as can be seen from the first page of Bord Bia’s schools education programme [above] it still exists.


I don’t hold issue with anyone who goes green or encourages others to do so, especially at such a young age. I applaud it. But like I have said previous – sometimes ‘organic’ has it’s pros and cons.

I felt/ feel the ‘organic issues raised in this superb shop‘ are still incorrect. Not balanced…. call it what you like – but not right when it seems all things organic are groovy [?].

I have spoke on the logic of growing your own before. That versus the fact that 99.9% [not a researched figure] of farmers do not use fertilisers on their potatoes, although they may not be certified organic…

The point that I make is that encouraging children is fine as long as logic applies. In context, I would rather my child chop an old [rotten looking] sprouting potato in half and plant it in the garden [using no compost] than drive to the garden centre to buy seed potato [possibly imported – from another county even] and organic compost – for organics sake.

In which case, I’d prefer my child, in primary school be thought ‘logic green gardening’ as versus ‘organic’ or not to be thought this subject.

To get a gist of what people believe organic is, I asked the following question[s] on twitter this evening: what do you believe organic means? The responses were as follows:

  • Grown naturally without man made pesticides & fertilisers
  • Grown from non-GM seeds, without use of chemical (man-made) pesticides, fertilizers etc. My take anyway.
  • fairly broadly i take it to mean non gm, and free from artificial fertilizers and pesticides.
  • organic is grown without herbicides, pesticides, fungicides etc. or if meat – no growth hormones on organic feed
  • Grown sustainable without pesticides or herbicides in soil which is free of both substances at least for 8 years. No artificial fertilizer!
  • organic: not reared with, or on, land where artificial fertilisers are used.

I then asked: which is better. Locally produced/ grown veg or organic ? The reponses were as follows:

  • 1. Both. 2. Local. 3. Organic.
  • that depends on how you define better, organics flown half way round the world not great ecologically but Irish bananas prolly not great 🙂
  • locally produced
  • I prioritise fresh produce, which more often than not means local as the time betw farm & shop is shorter, but believe organic is best.

To that I note these forms where one can apply to be able use certain chemicals – yet still be labelled organic.

The numbers of those granted such derogation are not published. The derogations that can be applied for can include the use of non-organic seed and copper sulphate [for example].

In search of a definition of organic…. I went [back] to the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association Website

What Is Organic Food?

Organic food carrying the IOFGA logo has been produced to the highest standards. It is produced according to organic farming principles which are committed to working in harmony with nature rather than against nature. Organic farming works within the natural confines of the farming eco-system to provide you with great tasting food!

In practice organic farming;

  • Avoids the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides
  • Requires the highest standards of animal welfare
  • Does not permit the use of genetically modified organisms
  • Uses less fossil fuel energy per calorie of food produced
  • Protects our biodiversity by maintaining suitable habitats for plants, animals and wildlife
  • Encourages people to buy their food locally and in season

When you see the IOFGA logo on organic food you can guarantee that this product has been inspected and approved to meet the organic standards. Organic farming in Ireland is the one system of farming which is fully certified and regulated and we in IOFGA are proud to see so many high quality products carry our logo.

But the reality is one can apply to use chemicals…. right ? I would also point to the 10 reasons IOFGA give as to why one should buy organic food. I’ll skip straight to point 10

10. Good for nature, Good for you

Which I assume they also are not allowed to say [?]. I also still do not know exactly by definition/ legislation from either sites what organic is.

It seems there is vagueness in what organic actually is [exactly] and more-so to that people’s understanding of. The argument as to whether it’s better to balance the books [so to speak] is [pardon the pun] simply more food for thought. ie. whether it’s better to shop local as versus organic and not necessarily local. There is also a point where from a marketing perspective that organic labelling does sell [see above compost image]. Even the farmers markets in Ireland have their flaws as I discussed in my last post. The question I guess still remains of what methodology is better and also from an educational point the information that is being thought.

Maybe Green Party minister Trevor Sargeant has the right idea….? But then he is wearing a GIY t-shirt. Grow it yourself that is. Not organic. Big difference.

UPDATE: 7th July 2010

The above podcast replaces this one.

Also this Organic leaflet 2010 Food Safety Authority of Ireland seems logic enough. Although still lacking definitions in my opinon.

Bord Bia and the IOFGA have been informed of this post.

UPDATE: 9th July 2010

Got this from Ciaran Cuffe of The Green Party

which is headed with this logo and slogan [see below]. I’m confused – Bord Bia cannot use the same slogan as the EU can a similar slogan… On second look, the EU have used the word ‘farming’ ? Cheeky 😉

I have emailed this to the ASAI [advertising standards authority of Ireland]


collision course…

The title might suggest I went head to head with some pot plants or crashed into a tree that was doing ’70 down the motorway… Essentially, this has nothing to do with ‘horticulture’. But it does. Sometimes I do greener things that are more relevent to my business. But in my life, my hobby nee my passion leads me to go that extra stretch – because I want to. So why was I a part of a bunch of ‘bloggers’ going to meet a group of PR people?

See, PR wants to know how to get bloggers to talk about their shit. They’re used to dealing with journalists and media kinds who do that for a living, one of the parts of which is dealing with PR-types. It’s a paying job for journos, thus they have to deal with PR.

I asked myself that on the way. Via Mulley Comms – here‘s what I knew. I thought Ricks post explained it well [quotes above & below]. But from my point of view it was very much a case of press releases v spam; billable hours v spare time; important client v i simply love doing this and i have to v simply passionate about this.

They’ve taken this model and started it with us (blogger head on). But see, we do this because we like it, are passionate about it. We’re amateurs. And thus we don’t have to deal with PR if we don’t want to.

From a personal point of view. I don’t get paid to write blog posts. And for the record it doesn’t increase sales. I simply love what I do. And, I love to write. Bopp the two together and I am that [very simply] content 🙂

The flip side is that whilst sending me [blog writer] a press release is fine… it is more how it is done. I do write about gardening and horticulture professionally for publications [job offers..?!]. But the subject is essentially my editors choice. It is not my magazine, but more often I will get paid. In the context of this weblog. It is solely mine and my free time and I simply hope that you love it as much as I do.

Lexia’s case example’s hit the nail right on the head. Invited [free] to the young scientists exhibition it was written about. The alternate was… when the green party start spamming… 🙁 written about!

I find life is generally pretty good once you love what you do. I do. And I, along with so many others, wear my heart on my sleeve. But sometimes, it shouldn’t always be about ‘show me the money’. So how does one get ‘you to write about things I want you to…’ hello is a great start..

After some slight turbulence, the end gist seemed to be that…. Bloggers can’t be bought. But you can give gestures 😉 and if you want ‘bloggers’ to write about your product, service, event or company…. the route to take is to invite the group along; have a chat, demonstrate it and engage the people who will ultimately do the intended PR exercise for you. Once again, this post notes that already.

Serious matters aside. O’Donoghues was the intended after venue and I got to meet some legends [yes you all are.. ] that I had not met before in Mr Phelan and Mr Seroussi and also Roger Galligan and Alan Costello. A note of thanks should also go to Damien Mulley, Lexia and Edelman PR.

Other articles on this evening: Thomas Brunkards review, Alastair McDermott, Eoin kennedy. This article by Piaras Kelly, lovely to meet you Sir, shall be noted as recommended [ty alastair].

UPDATE: thursday 5th March

one thing that did for sure come from the pr v blogger collision course meet up was the ‘PR thursday garden guest sessions‘  – if you you would like to know more about them –  click here and enjoy.

budget car hire….. ?

Toyota Avensis

Full Size 4 Door e.g. Toyota Avensis or similar

Euro €34.00

Price includes all compulsory Insurances, Government Tax, Unlimited Mileage and 24hr Breakdown cover.
Please take a moment to read the Terms & Conditions of rental before making your booking.

cork airport budget car rental areaI arrived at Cork Airport. 4th June. Collected at 9.30am. Returned the car that evening. No damage. Cork Airport to Bantry and return – only. The car wasn’t checked by a member of staff. I just returned the keys I thought maybe €34.

So how much did the car hire cost? on my statement the ‘estimated’ bill is 143.06 euro [pictured below].

I rang Aoife in Customer Services [very polite]. She explained I was quoted €30 [!], theres a sur-charge of €25 because they have to park the cars in the airport; €10 for fuel [no problemo] and some insurances and tax. etc… She explained they have to give a breakdown on your bill. But that doesn’t add up or does it? anyhow.

budget rental car hire bill


How much can I hire a €30 car for answer [without driving it]. It seems €78.06.

My issue isn’t the money amount [you understand me €34 wont break me financially etc]. But lets put three zeros after this. Get your garden done for €34,000 euro no maybe €143,060; no its actually €78,060. And if I put that on my website…. would there be a ‘hoo-ha’? I thought some airline was ‘done’ for that recently…. maybe.

I have emailed this to budget car hire .

I have emailed this to Fáilte Ireland – the irish tourism board



UPDATE: 23rd June 2008

today I rang the National Consumer Agency. I spoke to Mark [a really nice guy actually] and told him of my situation. He told me to title my email to the NCA as ‘Misleading Pricing Advertising’ here’s what I wrote:

Dear Sirs
further to my conversation with Mark from the National Consumer Agency please find attached link to my weblog which details my experience.
Many thanks in advance
peter donegan
In the meantime I got a reply from Fáilte Ireland, today. Here is their [and my] email. This came with a personal phonecall from [a very lovely lady] Mary Fletcher. Who has asked me to send a copy of my rental agreement to SIMI head man Paul Redmond [email added below]
Dear Mr Donegan
Thank you for your recent e-mail to Fáilte Ireland that was
awaiting my attention on my return to the office last week.
I am sorry to learn of your experiences with Budget Rent-a-Car.
I am today forwarding your communication to the Car Rental Council of Ireland, 5 Upper Pembroke Street, Dublin 2 Tel: (01) 6761690 who will deal with the complaint on your behalf. The Car Rental Council of Ireland has sole responsibility for car rental companies in Ireland.
Yours sincerely
Mary Fletcher
Senior Customer Relations Assistant

From: info[at]
Sent: 18 June 2008 13:21
To: Info Fáilte Ireland
Subject: budget car hire
Dear Sirs
please can you view this post [now at this address].
Many thanks.
peter donegan
Email to Paul Redmond of SIMI
A Chara Paul,
Thank you for taking the time to look at this matter [ ] [ now at this address] .
I have your postal address further to a phonecall from Mary Fletcher of Fáilte Ireland – a lovely lady I must say.
I am posting on the original rental agreement. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
many thanks
peter donegan
UPDATE: JUNE 24th 2008
Paul Redmond emailed me asking if I could forward details of my complaint in a non weblog format.
I wrote this in reply
Dear Mr Redmond,
I am 32 years old. I manage a company that I started eight years ago with nothing when nobody would believe in me. I still work as hard today. This is not me complaining because I think vegetables are too expensive or because I can get that car cheaper elsewhere. The only reason for the weblog is that nobody would do anything. [Its taken until yesterday to get ‘a’ response].
I understand you have a job to do and I thank you for taking this seriously. I feel that re-writing what I have written would be a pointless exercise because the information contained would not evolve or change in any way. For this reason I have copied the article into email format without pictures.
If you require any further information or siply would like to talk to me please contact my office on 01 8078712. The rental agreement is in the post this morning as requested.
many thanks in advance for your time
peter donegan [………………. the weblog without pictures was attached [ ] [now at this address ]

I have been in contact with Budget concerning your recent complaint and include their response below.


Paul Redmond
Car Rental Council of Ireland


Good afternoon Paul,

I have the reviewed the Mr. Peter Donegan case. His charge for the car was €78.06 and not €143.06 as he states.

He was quoted €30.00 plus the airport surcharge of €25.00. He selected the excess waiver insurance at €13.05 for the day which he accepted and signed for.

He was charged €10.00 for the fuel he used

Rental €30.00

Airport Tax €25.00

Excess Waiver €13.06

Fuel €10.00

Total €78.06

If he opted not to take the excess waiver and returned the car full he would have been charged €55.00.

This would have been the charge as per the quote- the airport surcharge is detailed on the quote page, in the terms and conditions and it is detailed on the email confirmation. Please note that reservations can be cancelled at no extra charge up to 48 hours before pickup of the car.

David O’Malley
Budget Car Rental Ireland

Tel: +353 90 6627711
Address: Athlone Road, Roscommon, Ireland …celebrating 50 years of low cost car rental

cc: Car Rental Council of Ireland



I have replied with this email to Paul Redmond

Dear Paul,
is the point not ‘misleading pricing advertising’ ?
– for me it was never the money amount or figuring that out from my receipt
slán go foill
I received this email from John Mernock of National Consumer Agency Thursday 17th July

Dear Mr. Donegan,

I have received your complaint regarding Budget Car Rental and I thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

There are a number of issues that have been raised by various consumers in recent weeks and months, concerning the car rental sector and the possible illegal practices being exercised by a number of companies. Such alleged breaches of consumer legislation relate to unfair commercial practices, unfair terms and misleading price indications.

I can assure you that the National Consumer Agency intends to carry out an extensive investigation in to this sector in the coming months, in order to try and address the issues that are being raised by consumers, such as yours.

We note all the varying complaints that come in to us regarding car rental, which will assist us once we commence our review of the sector.

I hope this response is to your satisfaction and thank you again for bringing the matter to our attention.

Yours Sincerely,

John Mernock (Worksharer- Wednesday to Friday)
Travel & Package Holidays / Car Rental Unit
Commercial Practices Division
National Consumer Agency
4 Harcourt Road, Dublin 2


12th February 2009

nothing until now….. and then this happened yesterday: