One company’s problem can often be another’s opportunity - It certainly was for RIPTech. When Internet hackers struck high-profile Web sites such as Amazon.com, Yahoo! and eBay in early February, RIPTech jump-started its public relations program by reacting in real time to events that took everyone involved - except the perpetrators - by surprise.
One company’s problem can often be another’s opportunity - It
certainly was for RIPTech. When Internet hackers struck high-profile Web
sites such as Amazon.com, Yahoo! and eBay in early February, RIPTech
jump-started its public relations program by reacting in real time to
events that took everyone involved - except the perpetrators - by
Because it’s been busy trying to establish its business, two-year-old
RIPTech has not sought publicity - not even when the Melissa virus broke
last year. But now RIPTech was readying to roll out its new ’eSentry’
service, which allows companies to rent Internet security, saving them
the cost and time of developing, administering and updating their own
security programs. Its image is also becoming more important - it plans
to launch an IPO in the next 18 months or so. RIPTech hired O’Keeffe &
Company in early January.
In preparing the PR plan, O’Keeffe & Co. principal Steve O’Keeffe and
RIPTech both believed that once the Y2K issue died down, security issues
would move to the forefront. Most security violations of corporate
computer networks are hushed up. But if ever something really big
happened, agency and client decided, then RIPTech should move fast to
get its name out in not only the trade media, but mainstream outlets
too. It certainly has the expertise: its president and co-founder, Amit
Yoran, is a former security director for the US Department of
The story started on Monday, February 7, when it became apparent that
hackers had shut down Yahoo!. The next day, cyber-delinquents launched
attacks on eBay, Amazon.com and Buy.com.
Timing was important. Reacting too quickly would not be helpful.
Reporters, O’Keeffe notes, would not have welcomed calls on Tuesday
while they were concentrating on the late-breaking facts of the story.
Success in gaining coverage for RIPTech would depend on being able to
provide reporters with analysis and insight. O’Keeffe & Co. let RIPTech
know that its top brass should be prepared, because reporters would be
writing more analytical stories on Wednesday.
Wednesday was a hectic day of quick calls by O’Keeffe & Co., often
telling reporters that the attacks were just a tremor foreshadowing the
earthquakes to come. Opening pitches to journalists usually recounted
lines that the reporters had taken in previous news stories with angles
to consider in developing more analytical features.
RIPTech obtained prominent mention in USA Today on February 10th.
Stories in the Los Angeles Times, Wired News and The Washington Times
also mentioned RIPTech principals. Dealings with local TV news reporters
helped RIPTech obtain exposure on ABC News Saturday and Fox National
Jonah Paransky, charged with overseeing corporate development for
RIPTech, says the media exposure should assist in recruiting premium
talent to work for the company and be useful in dealing with venture
’We no longer have to answer, ’Who are you guys?’’ Paransky says. ’Every
bit of national exposure is helpful to a company like ours.’
O’Keeffe & Co. is continuing to work with RIPTech on publicizing
eSentry, which launched March 6.