Funny Business with Jane Wells

Bikini Clad Workers Mow Down The Competition

It's nice being able to pay someone else to mow the lawn. Now a company in Memphis is taking it a step further. You can pay a little more, and a crew of lawn mowing women will arrive at your house--wearing bikinis. The company is, a three-month old firm using the gimmick to get attention. It's worked. Some homeowners who hire the women have reportedly decided to personally "supervise" them, sitting in lawn chairs and drinking beer. Tiger Time is hoping the weather stays warm long enough so the women will be able to rake leaves this fall--still wearing bikinis. One bikini-clad worker, Blair Beckman, told the Associated Press that while she doesn't like the catcalls she receives while on the job, "you also get a tan, which I need."

Here's a YouTube video of how a local news station "covered" the story.

Last week I profiled an online networking site for businesspeople--a place to make new contacts, do some deals. It's strictly professional. They don't even post photos (yet) because "it's about being true to business" meaning, it's not how you look, it's what you know. You've probably gotten invitations to LinkedIn--they're always somewhat formal. On the heels of that story we received in our collective Inbox the following invitation to, well, something very different.

"Hello CNBCtv , hotsarah would like to be added to your friends list. By accepting hotsarah as your friend, you will be able to send hotsarah messages, view hotsarah's webcam and photo gallery and communicate with each other's friends and network!"

Well, who wouldn't want to get to know hotsarah? Oy.  is a publicly traded microcap that claims not to be a social network, but a social VIDEO network. Sort of YouTube meets MySpace. I find it one more reason those of us with teenage daughters can worry our girls will end up making fools of themselves online and live to regret it. I did find one interesting thing on the site in my research: a parody of "The Simpsons" starring O.J. Simpson. Fox is apparently not pleased.


I did a story Monday on, a software company that helps schools and universities manage everything online from posting class work to faculty training. The stock is up 50% year to date, and it is an amazing under the radar company. CNBC producer Jeff Daniels researched the company and then sent a producer to interview the CEO and customers at a company event. Here's what you did not see on air.

The PR person was out sick, so the head of marketing services was put in charge (along with an outside PR rep) to help our crew connect with the right people. But then our producer (a freelancer) was told she could not ask certain questions. Here's the email she sent us after the shoot:

"Blackboard nixed all of the questions that had to do with how much money the universities spend and had me replace the question about whether or not there might be some Blackboard features that they would like to see changed to, "what Blackboard features excite you most?" Apparently, there is a new edition of Blackboard coming out soon that has already addressed the issues that their clients have and Blackboard felt that it would be a little 'outdated' to ask that question."

WHAT? She also said they wouldn't let her ask the CEO all of the questions we wanted. WHAT??? Did the marketing guy really think he could control the message? Nixing questions about money? WE'RE CNBC FOR CRYIN' OUT LOUD! You're a publicly traded company!

After we got the email, Jeff alerted the regular company PR woman aware of the situation, and she apologized profusely. Again, she was sick that day. She was even sicker after we told her what happened. By the way, just below is the video report I did on

Writing's on the Wall

For people who write corporate memos that say things like "imputed income implications" (see my blog July 19th), reader Fred B. responds with this poetic description of them: "Many mismanaged miscreants mangle much mush in my mind: still, some silly sad snakes slither sideways sometimes."

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