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O’Dwyer’s Rankings Show 2011 Growth Among Independent Firms, IMRE Not Included

O’Dwyer’s has published the 2011 version of its independent PR firm rankings, with nearly half of the top 50 firms on the list showing double-digit growth.

Topping the list is Edelman, which is up 15.9 percent to $604.7 million in net fees for 2011. Rounding out the top three are APCO Worldwide with $120.7 million in net fees, up 6.4 percent; and Waggener Edstrom, up 3.5 percent from 2010 to $115.8 million in net fees. The full table is available here.

According to the feature story accompanying the table, 24 of the top 50 firms experienced double-digit gains with the biggest leap coming from Jones Public Affairs, a D.C.-based firm that was up 149 percent for the year to $4.2 million.

Absent from the list is IMRE, which previously raised objections to a request from O’Dwyer’s for an ad purchase of $3,000. In an email sent to us and included in that link, Jack O’Dwyer, the publisher and EIC on the site, said, “Firms that benefit from our rankings must support the $500,000 website on which the ranking reside[s].”

IMRE’s fees for the year would have placed them among the top 30 of the list.

In an email statement from O’Dwyer, he once again tries to draw a connection between IMRE’s CEO Dave Imre and the PRSA, saying he raised the advertising issue because he was once a director with the PRSA and is now a member of the organization. O’Dwyer also says the PRSA has a boycott against him. O’Dwyer was denied media credentials at the last PRSA conference.

According to O’Dwyer, Imre is the only firm to voice a complaint.

“Why would all those famous PR names be on our list today and give me quotes if there were anything wrong with the O’Dwyer Co. and its credibility?” O’Dwyer continued.

O’Dwyer also points to the foreward of the O’Dwyer’s Directory of Public Relations Firms, which addresses the rankings, as one more reason why O’Dwyer’s doesn’t have to include Imre, even though his numbers would qualify.

“The rankings should be regarded as an expression of the Directory’s opinion, rather than a statement of fact. The rankings are only intended to be approximations in the Directory’s judgment of a firm’s standing within the industry, and are not warranted to comply with any specific objective standards,” it reads. According to the faxed copy of the foreward O’Dwyer sent us from the 2011 edition, this has been the guideline since 1972. This foreward is not posted on the O’Dwyer’s website. Here is a link to the PDF form that details the information O’Dwyer’s requests from those submitting to the rankings. *

We asked Imre, CEO of the firm, whether he was encouraged by the PRSA to voice a complaint about the advertising request. He said he wasn’t. Imre added that his is a “$12.5 million agency with a 2011 growth rate of 40 percent.”

“We have not been able to show the ROI that we require before we invest in any marketing,” Imre told us over the phone.

We also asked the PRSA if it encouraged Imre to voice a complaint about the advertising request. Arthur Yann, VP of PR for the PRSA responded in an email that they did not. We also asked about any existing O’Dwyer boycott.

“PRSA does not maintain a boycott against the O’Dwyer organization or any media outlet,” Yann wrote.

*We received this fax after the story was posted. The story was updated with this information.

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