Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kerr's Law of Pavlovian Press Release Response

Let me introduce Kerr's Law of Pavlovian Press Release Response.

My theory states that any nomination or award given to any group of companies, it doesn't matter who is behind them, will produce an automatic press release barrage from at least half of those companies.

This is especially true with many technology companies, often serviced by press release-happy Silicon Valley firms, which would announce their CEO had a new parking space if it meant getting any kind of attention.

Let's look at today, when a brand spanking new mountain of press releases hit the paid wire services. Those wire services will gladly count their fees for their service and the PR firms who issued those releases will proudly strut that they did something for their client to earn their retainers.

That mountain was generated by the announcement of the Red Herring 100, "The Top 100 Most Promising Tech Companies," which ties in with their annual three-day event, in which you have to fork over anywhere between $2,300 to $3,000 to attend.

I don't know how much weight Red Herring carries now, long after his dot com heyday, or if there is a measurable benefit from winning this award.

All I know is that as soon as the 200 nominations were announced just a mere two weeks ago, the in-house PR departments and outside PR firms shot into overdrive, cranking out a slew of "we got nominated" press releases across the wires. On Google News and of course, Earthtimes.org, you'll find missives from Cymphonix, Zenverge, LogRhythm, Top Layer Security, Reality Digital, Rapid7, INRange Systems and many others. There were just a few genuine press pick-ups on vertical trade web sites: ComputingNews.com, ITNewsOnline.com, and the Denver Post.

Today, the other shoe dropped, the actual awards were announced, and boom, PR Newswire, Business Wire, Marketwire and others were stuffed with another release landslide.

The upside to all this: I'm sure these releases look good on each of these companies' web sites, their investors may nod their heads in acknowledgement and they'll be easily found on a Google search. And you have to feel bad for the companies that trumpeted their finalist status on paid press releases, only to not be named winners (like Cymphonix, Zenverge, and LogRhythm).

Red Herring also got a huge link click boost from knowing that famous Pavlovian response would be in effect.

This has prompted me to go into the event business. I am creating a new award -- "The Four Corners 100," a ranking of the 100 PR firms that have issued the most press releases on PR Newswire, BusinessWire, Marketwire, and PR Web.

I'm going to outdo Red Herring and have 300 nominated companies, relying on those finalists to fire off press releases about their press release quantity capabilities, thereby clogging Google News with insane amounts of linkage to my company's web site.

Somehow, I'll have to create an event and charge a few grand to attend, which is what I should have done with my son's bar mitzvah two months ago. Can somebody please check if the Fountainhead catering hall in New Rochelle has an open Tuesday night next year?

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