Firewater.com is putting out PR blazes with a new Web program

CHICAGO: PR agency account execs will be able to wrestle power away from Webmasters, thanks to new technology that will be premiered at the upcoming Public Relations Society of America meeting in Chicago.

CHICAGO: PR agency account execs will be able to wrestle power away from Webmasters, thanks to new technology that will be premiered at the upcoming Public Relations Society of America meeting in Chicago.

CHICAGO: PR agency account execs will be able to wrestle power away from Webmasters, thanks to new technology that will be premiered at the upcoming Public Relations Society of America meeting in Chicago.

'This is a good opportunity for PR firms to offer additional services in times of crisis,' said Doug Kittelsen, whose company, Firewater.com, is offering a new application service provider called AS@P PR.

Kittelsen says his company's product will make it easy for PR agencies to program their clients' Web sites without knowing HTML. This will allow quicker responses by corporations in times of crisis, as placing content on Web sites will be much easier and quicker.

To prove his point that too many PR practitioners still overlook the Web, seeing it as the province of the geeks hidden in backrooms, Kittelsen will have a booth at the PRSA meeting that displays a Firestone tire sans tread and a survey asking how attendees would have responded to the crisis.

'If we can get them to answer honestly, the Web will not be high on the list of priorities,' said Kittelsen, who thinks Ford, far better than Firestone, made aggressive use of the Web in the current crisis, having employed banner ads to lead consumers to its Web site, which then provided information about the problem.

But in today's 24/7 media environment, Kittelsen contends, too many corporations are moving at a glacial pace in realizing the importance of the Web in crisis situations. Part of the problem rests on the slowness of corporate cultures. But AS@P PR removes the excuse that it takes a long time to get reprogramming done for the Web.

What Kittelsen says AS@P PR offers agencies is not only easily-programmed sites but also the ability to carry out sophisticated searches on pertinent topics that can tip off account execs to important information as it breaks.

'We'll offer a suite of services to agencies. They can decide on what features and functions they want to offer clients and customize it to meet clients' needs,' Kittelsen said.



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