A story in The Wall Street Journal has convinced me that the stuff I’ve been doing to pay my rent all these years really works. ’Stop the press (releases)! Internet firms live to churn them out,’ the headline screamed.
A story in The Wall Street Journal has convinced me that the stuff
I’ve been doing to pay my rent all these years really works. ’Stop the
press (releases)! Internet firms live to churn them out,’ the headline
The impact of publicity on stock prices was clear 20 years ago when we
issued press releases announcing a company’s earnings with a phone on
each ear, simultaneously giving news to Dow Jones and Reuters. Also,
puff pieces - profiles in Business Week, Fortune and Forbes - were
considered a home run and were regularly reprinted for distribution to
investors and the guys at the club.
The new thing is really serious. The impact of publicity on the Internet
is fast and global. I first noticed it in action three years ago when a
client called to complain that their competitor was getting tons of
publicity and they weren’t. I was stunned because we had just done a
competitive analysis showing our client had dramatically more publicity
However, this executive was not referring to ’journalism’ but press
releases posted on paid newswire web sites. It took awhile to sink in,
but corporate executives and shareholders were placing almost as much
emphasis on paid postings as in news media, and the paid postings
affected stock price every bit as much as real news. Maybe more.
That was the beginning. When they’ve tasted steak it’s tough to go back
to hamburger. One press release per quarter became one per month and
then one per week.
Right now, as it has for many years, the SEC requires full disclosure to
include at a minimum Dow Jones and Reuters. However, the tremendous
number of companies going public over the last decade has left no room
on those two services to post all of the information in a timely
Bulletin board stocks don’t even have a chance. And at certain times
even exchange-listed companies can wait hours to see their news cross
The Internet actually provides faster, broader distribution of news than
old media and it’s only a matter of time before the SEC begins to allow
some form of distribution over the Internet to qualify as full and
timely disclosure of material news.
The problem, though, is similar to the story about the little boy who
cried ’wolf.’ With so many press releases being distributed by some
companies, it’s hard to tell real news from media advisories or
pre-announcements or road apples. A Mirimba spokesperson told the
Journal, ’We do one a week ... they’re certainly not hype.’
My agency is certainly a lot more profitable than Mirimba. Calling all