RENTON, WA: If you’ve never heard of PRWeb.com, you’re not alone. But the site, which offers a free online news release distribution system, is on the block, and its owners are searching for a large hi-tech PR firm to take substantial ownership in exchange for PR services.
RENTON, WA: If you’ve never heard of PRWeb.com, you’re not alone.
But the site, which offers a free online news release distribution
system, is on the block, and its owners are searching for a large
hi-tech PR firm to take substantial ownership in exchange for PR
According to David McInnis, managing editor of PRWeb.com and co-founder
of site owner The Digerati Group, the company seeks an agency to help
make the site more relevant to the PR community. The company hopes to
receive free PR services for a new dot-com venture it will launch later
’We’re not a PR company, we’re a technology company,’ he said. ’We
launched the site because we wanted to put out a press release and
didn’t want to pay dollars 500 to PR Newswire. The concept was to give
companies like ours, which had a non-existent PR budget, a chance to get
their message out.’
In addition to the distribution service, the site contains an online PR
agency directory. McInnis claims the site is visited as many as 500,000
times per month and has helped more than 5,000 companies - including
Disney Interactive, AAA and IBM - deliver their news releases.
As for why an agency might want to own the site, McInnis said it could
prove useful as a branding vehicle. He added that while many of the
companies that use the service do not currently work with agencies, they
might be more likely to retain the firm that owns the site once they set
aside funds for PR.
PR pros, however, are not sold on the potential arrangement.
’It seems that there’s a bit of a conflict of interest,’ said Tony
Sapienza, president of Miller/Shandwick Technologies. ’Business Wire and
PR Newswire are places any agency can go to release information. But if
the source of information was owned by an agency, I wonder if other
agencies would use it. I’m not sure how long we’d use Business Wire if
it was owned by Fleishman-Hillard.’
Still, Mara Bartucca, a principal at The Horn Group, said she wouldn’t
be surprised if the site found a buyer. As for potential conflicts of
interest, she said, ’If you take a look at Copithorne & Bellows and
Brodeur, which fall under the Omnicom umbrella, they compete with
clients all the time. If it’s a business transaction, they might be able
to keep church and state separate.’