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Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Mercuri’

HARO and RLM PR No Longer Working Together

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Help A Reporter Out, the match journalists with sources email service founded by Peter Shankman, is no longer working with its onetime agency of record, RLM Public Relations. Kevin Mercuri, President & Founder of Propheta Communications told PRNewser that HARO, “fired RLM PR after two months of work.” Propheta was HARO’s agency of record prior to RLM.

Reached for comment, Peter Shankman told PRNewser that HARO had not “fired” RLM. “RLM did a great job for us, and their contract has ended. There is nothing sinister in any way. They got some quick hits for us, it was perfect,” he said. When asked if HARO would be looking for another agency, Shankman said, “Nope, not right away.” RLM PR declined to comment.

Mercuri told PRNewser in September that the agency would be filing a lawsuit against HARO for, “trying to get out of a legally binding agreement.” Shankman told PRNewser that both sides had agreed “on a mutual release from our contract,” and added, “the allegations are without merit.”

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Former HARO PR Agency Filing Lawsuit Against Company

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PRNewser has learned that Propheta Communications, former agency for Peter Shankman‘s popular connect journalists with sources service, Help A Reporter Out (HARO), is in the process of filing suit against HARO’s parent company, Two Cats and a Cup of Coffee, LLC, owned by Shankman.

Propheta founder Kevin Mercuri tells PRNewser HARO is, “employing the age-old trick of trying to get out of a legally binding agreement. When less-than honorable folks don’t want to pay their bills, they disparage the vendor, saying that the vendor’s product or service is sub-par.”

Mercuri say he’s “disappointed” that HARO feels that “it’s somehow right to bash a company merely because they do not want to honor their contract.”

HARO denies any wrong doing. Shankman tells PRNewser, “HARO engaged Propheta Communications to handle public relations duties during the summer of 2009. After working with Propheta for several weeks, we decided to shift the direction of our communications strategy.”

Shankman says his firm discussed the change with Mercuri, with both sides agreeing “on a mutual release from our contract.” He adds, “[W]e believe Propheta’s allegations are without merit, and don’t believe this to be an issue.”

PRNewser first reported last Wednesday that HARO had parted ways with Propheta. The following day, a story appeared on Ragan.com that stated HARO had “quietly named” RLM PR as its “agency of record.”

In response to the Ragan.com post, PRNewser heard from RLM PR CEO Richard Laermer, who said HARO had concerns that Propheta, specifically that Mercuri, “would screw up the story for them.” Laermer says Mercuri, “did not understand HARO. Not one bit.”

If anything, there appears to be bad blood between RLM and Propheta. The background: Laermer once employed Mercuri, who left RLM to lead the Online and Technology division at 5W Public Relations as a Senior Vice President.

HARO Hires RLM PR

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Five weeks ago, Peter Shankman‘s connect journalists with sources service, HARO, announced they had hired Propheta Communications for PR support. On Wednesday, PRNewser first reported that the agency and HARO had parted ways.

In place of Propheta, HARO has hired RLM PR, headed by CEO Richard Laermer. RLM was behind the Forbes feature story on HARO that was published this Tuesday.

Regarding the split from Propheta, HARO COO Thom Brodeur told Ragan.com, “They are very good at what they do; it just happened to be a different skill set from what we required at the time.” Propheta founder Kevin Mercuri seemed to think it was more than just a skill set difference, telling Ragan, “We wanted to move forward aggressively and [Brodeur] wanted to take things slow and steady.”

HARO No Longer Working With Propheta Communications

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First on PRNewser: ForbesTaylor Buley gives a glowing review of Peter Shankman‘s connect journalists with sources service, Help A Reporter Out. Here’s some relatively new information, notably the bits about Shankman not taking a salary and having four salaried employees:

Shankman says he doesn’t take a salary, but his personal finances are not entirely divorced from his business. He did not disclose HARO’s earnings, but says HARO burns about $25,000 a month. He now employs four people on salary: a chief operating officer, a marketing manager and two editors focused on putting together the e-mails.

Did HARO’s recently hired PR firm, Propheta Communications, score the “hit?” We asked Shankman via email, who told us that the Forbes story, “wasn’t from Propheta. We’re not working with them anymore.” The boutique firm, run by ex-5WPR SVP Kevin Mercuri had just announced their relationship with HARO five weeks ago.

HARO Hires a PR Firm

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HelpAReporter.com (HARO), the source-to-journalist matching service quietly hired Propheta Communications as their agency of record recently.

Propheta
is a New York boutique founded by ex-5WPR SVP Kevin Mercuri less than a year ago.

Considering the rapid growth of HARO (nearly 100,000 members), and the media-begets-media snowball affect Peter Shankman has cultivated, we had to ask why, and why now?

Shankman, the self-deprecating gadfly and former agency principal explained to us the move was needed to cope with growth–as was the addition of Thom Brodeur as COO. “As you know, I’m not the most organized person in the world – I’d rather have smart people who are.”

Propheta is mainly on board to handle media inquiries and pitching “WHERE APPROPRIATE,” Shankman wrote in all-caps reinforcing his rules of the road he laid out for his HARO members.

Shankman didn’t respond to our question of whether or not he was bartering retainer against access to placement for Propheta and its clients on his valuable email blasts.