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Over the Wire

So a friend of mine was talking about press release strategies and some shrinky dink was giving him a hard time saying that PRWeb is not a news service. He asked me for some clarification and I decided to kill two birds with one stone by posting about it.

Disclaimer: All of the below is my opinion and bias, I probably have 50% or less of the facts – ha, like that’s ever stopped me from complaining about stuff… If I have something totally wrong perhaps somebody like David Meerman Scott might chime in. His opinion may be much like mine, but I’m sure he would have the real facts.

OK, weasel words behind us, here’s what I’ve been told, true or not…

Back in the days before the trucks of the interwebs were delivering all this information through the tubes to The Google, it was a lot harder to get Press Releases in front of reporters and news organizations. Before the web there was a network that would publish news, a private service that people would pay to get their message into, and organizations who needed news would subscribe to it. They had a great network and it was the only one in town. The sales managers looked down and said “It is good.”
This is tied into Associated Press in some way but I’m too lazy to wikipedia it now (and as Chris Penn said this week in Marketing Over Coffee, I can’t be sure that the wikipedia page wasn’t written “by a chimp”, or maybe it was monkey…). I don’t know much beyond the fact that people paid to subscribe to it to get news out of it, and others subscribed and paid to put their news into it.

By the time I was beyond a Rookie there were only two news services – BusinessWire and PRNewswire. As far as I know they are still the big guys. You have to pay an annual membership for the right to send them your press release and push it out (put it “Over the Wire”). I haven’t done this in years but I remember it being less than 10k for the subscription and then there’s a huge menu of pricing for who you want to send it out to. You could pay over a grand and send it to the world, or all kinds of slices from as grand as “High Tech” which is basically East and West Coast, all the way down to paying less than $200 to hit only radio stations in Cleveland.

Enter the Internet. PRWeb springs up and says we don’t need all that crap we’ll just push it out to the web and it will go everywhere, screw you and your private network too (my words, not copy taken from the “About Us” page on their website). In comparison it’s dirt cheap, the last one I did was a one-time flat price of $75.Yes, these are flight attendants, they used to call them stewardesses

So from my perspective, if you are old school and believe video games are the downfall of American society and you still have your Secretary print your email for you to read, then you can say that PRWeb is not a news service because they are not charging you 10x the cash for the same Google juice, and to use a private network that is vastly inferior to the internet (actually that’s just me being obnoxious, I know they both utilize the web extensively now). You could also make the case that these wire services get more attention from the press, but the articles I see in the NY Times and the Journal are just as often getting tips from blogs and websites.

Somebody stop me if I’m being stupid…