Nerve.com dumps RLM, creates own agency for other start-ups

NEW YORK: Nerve.com, a site featuring what its founders call ’literate smut,’ has ditched RLM Public Relations and decided to fly solo with its PR - with a twist.

NEW YORK: Nerve.com, a site featuring what its founders call ’literate smut,’ has ditched RLM Public Relations and decided to fly solo with its PR - with a twist.

NEW YORK: Nerve.com, a site featuring what its founders call

’literate smut,’ has ditched RLM Public Relations and decided to fly

solo with its PR - with a twist.



Rather than upping its internal staff, the site has created its own PR

firm, NervePR. The move was prompted by dissatisfaction with the

profession as well as by the founders’ belief that they have more PR

savvy than even the sharpest agency.



NervePR, composed of Nerve.com CEO and co-publisher Rufus Griscom and

director of PR Bryan Blatstein, will be a for-profit venture. Billing

itself as smarter, cheaper and more realistic than most PR firms,

NervePR will do the site’s PR as well as provide counsel to

content-related Internet start-ups. The new firm has already plucked two

dot-com clients from a crop of 20 interested parties.



’We’re going to grow our client base slowly and organically, possibly up

to six new clients this year,’ Griscom said. ’We’re limiting the

ambitions of NervePR to what we know.’



While neither Griscom nor Blatstein has any formal training in PR,

Griscom has done some cultural reporting for national dailies and

Blatstein boasts two years of PR experience - first as an AE on the

Nerve.com account at RLM.



RLM PR became Nerve.com’s agency of record after its highly publicized

self-launch in June 1997. The still-smoldering firm/client relationship

has tinged the debut of NervePR with controversy.



The Silicon Alley Daily (SAD) reported that Griscom had become

frustrated with RLM’s way of doing business and declared, ’There needs

to be a real attitude shift in the PR industry.’ RLM EVP Dave Quast

promptly sought redress in a letter to SAD: ’RLM spent only four months

representing Nerve - and for a measly dollars 2,500 per month.’ Quast

also pointed out that the agency secured over 50 high-profile media

placements in such media outlets as CNN, Time and Newsweek.



Reactions to NervePR have been mixed. Start-ups have hailed it as a

savior, while one exec from a PR firm wondered whether Griscom and

Blatstein are ’just doing something else with their liberal arts

degree.’ An editor-in-chief of a hi-tech magazine who has dealt with

both companies commented, ’Nerve is clearly making a statement. It makes

good business sense for them, and they are really pissed off at

RLM.’



Countered Griscom, ’We’re making a statement, but it’s not against

RLM.



The PR industry needs a wake-up call. Every PR firm over-promises and

overstates its impact. We’ve proved with our site that we can figure out

an industry and do things better than they’re already done.’



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