Haven't heard much about Joost lately? That's because the online-video startup, founded by the same obstreperous Europeans behind Kazaa and Skype, seems to be going exactly nowhere. It is the opposite of newsworthy, with its software-based approach to video distribution having been completely undone by YouTube and Adobe's Flash technology. Adobe is adding peer-to-peer distribution, Joost's main distinction, and even investors like Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman have taken to dissing it. Could there be worse news? We can't imagine it. But Joost's flack can.
Kate Larkin emailed a colleague — on her BlackBerry, so we know there was some urgency to it — about a "pending Joost story on Valleywag." When I told her that I didn't know of one, she went back into positive-spin mode: "We've got lots of great stuff going on. Deals closing, browser version coming, etc." (Too bad about the browser version — that might have been timely four years ago.) My experience with PR people — sorry, Kate, "comms directors" — tells me that they only reach out like this when they're trying to defuse a ticking time bomb of bad news. Any idea what got Larkin in a lather this morning? We're ready to soap up.