Yesterday we ran a cautionary tale about how some shady stock trader fooled almost everyone on the Internet (and made a bunch of easy money) by penning a PRWeb release about a non-existent Google acquisition and manipulating stock prices for a couple of hours. In asking the Big Questions, we wondered whether readers place too much faith in digital press releases and how much we should blame PRWeb itself for the mixup.
We’re not out to besmirch the Vocus/PRWeb brand: We’ve used it, and we’re fairly sure the vast majority of our readers have too. But blogger Danny Sullivan wonders whether PRWeb truly has the power to review all press releases and ensure their “integrity”, and we share his skeptical curiosity.
Of course, distribution is the service’s key selling point—for a one-time fee, reps can ensure that their releases will appear on a wide range of sites both mainstream and obscure/legally dubious. We’ll say this, though: The fact that official “press releases” hyping “Lowest Price Viagra” from “LICENSED and LEGAL European online pharmacy” moved through PRWeb’s filter intact and ended up on the websites of otherwise respectable “distributor” publications like The Houston Chronicle may tell you something about the intensity of the organization’s fact-checking process.