PR pair endures dot-com disaster

WASHINGTON: Any PR agency would have thought a technology company with dollars 15 million in cash would be a pretty good client.

WASHINGTON: Any PR agency would have thought a technology company with dollars 15 million in cash would be a pretty good client.

WASHINGTON: Any PR agency would have thought a technology company with dollars 15 million in cash would be a pretty good client.

Particularly so if they were involved in the booming venture capital business.

However, what happened to Capital.com, the tech company described above, is just one story that is throwing cold water on the once-hot technology market.

Capital.com has abruptly shuttered its Washington, DC, operation and is retrenching in its New York office because it is experiencing serious financial problems. Its PR agencies, Brouillard Communications and Big Honkin' Ideas, are owed money and have ceased work on the business.

However, George McGrath, managing director of PR for Brouillard, said his agency has not changed its attitude toward clients in the technology sector. The agency, he said, 'has a diversified enough client base to withstand one disappointment.'

In the past couple of years, PR firms courted technology dot-coms, morphing into agencies that handled only technology companies or quickly adding a practice.

However, reports of company losses have created uncertainty, causing venture capitalists to be more cautious about investment and making it more difficult for some technology companies to obtain financing. The result has been a reduction in spending on marketing and PR.

Regarding his experience with Capital.com, McGrath warned: 'There will always be a new hot thing or sector coming along, but remember the clients you got you where you are.'

Many agencies noting this trend, however, have spotted an upside in the flood of talent returning to PR agencies from the dot-coms to which they fled. Pam Lepley, VP for one such agency, Siddall, Matus & Coughter, confirmed: 'We have noticed a surge in resumes.'



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