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Posts Tagged ‘Vocus’

What You Need to Know About the Pending Vocus/Cision Merger

CisionVocusIf you are a tech-savvy communications professional, you may have been slightly surprised by yesterday’s news that two of the industry’s top providers of cloud-based software would soon join forces.

Private equity firm CTGR Canyon Holdings broke the news of its plans to bring Cision and Vocus together yesterday in a release that promised “new software tools, content and services that help organizations of all sizes to enhance their performance.”

You may recall that this news follows April reports regarding unsuccessful attempts by Meltwater to acquire a majority stake in Cision.

This afternoon we spoke to Peter Granat, the now-former Cision AB CEO who will serve as chief of Vocus and president of the related Canyon affiliate, to get some additional insights into the deal and what it means for you.

Granat’s quotes after the jump.

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5 Most Important Findings from Vocus ‘State of the Media’ Survey

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Last week the integrated marketing software brand Vocus released its annual “state of the media” report, created by surveying hundreds of active journalists.

We found some of the report’s conclusions worth sharing, and Vocus CMO You Mon Tsang answered our questions about what they mean for PR after the jump.

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Public Relations Professionals Pissed Off the New York Times ‘Haggler’

The HagglerWay to go flacks who consistently give this profession a black eye, a bloody nose, a fat lip and a sweet wedgie. You all did it again—except to the wrong dude. This time, your unscrupulous actions of writing eight-paragraph pitches, conducting inane topical outreach and making badgering phone calls have incensed the great ‘Haggler’ of the New York Times. 

To those not in-the-know (and by the looks of this story, that’s several of you), meet David Segal.

He is much more than the consumer advocate reporter known as “The Haggler.” He is a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter who deserves much better than what he reports here, in an article entitled “Swatting at a Swarm of Public Relations Spam.” As I said, way to go.

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More on Vocus’ New PRWeb Social/Search ‘Enhancements’

This week Vocus announced new updates to its PRWeb service, so we’ll take a minute to review. After adding security measures to prevent fraudulent press releases, the company made some tweaks to its product in the interest of more fully “integrating” social and search into the press release experience. A recent study finding that people spend “27 percent of their time on social media, in contrast to about 3 percent spent on news sites” re-emphasizes the importance of making every release as social and sharable as possible.

Here are images provided by Vocus:

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Peter Shankman on His New Book: Why ‘Niceness’ Is the Best PR Strategy

Author Peter ShankmanYou may know Peter Shankman for his work as a commentor, strategic advisor and author of books like Can We Do That?!, an overview of crazy PR stunts that actually worked.

Shankman’s new book Nice Companies Finish First (which hits stores today!) is a little different. Its thesis holds that the big secret behind some of the most successful brands around is a decision to simply be nice or unexpectedly generous to customers on a regular basis. We spoke with him last week to figure out why:

Where did you find the inspiration for your new book?

Well, when I sold my previous venture HARO (the publicity service Help a Reporter Out) to Vocus, I realized that they were really buying my audience. I’d spent four years cultivating and building that audience and I really felt like every member of HARO was a friend, so I wasn’t going to sell it just anybody. I chose Vocus because they were our largest advertiser and, since I wrote all the ads, I believed that they understood that level of respect I had for my audience, and the level of trust my audience put into me. I knew they wouldn’t violate that.

And this realization led you to the subject of “niceness”?

Yes. I started doing research into companies and how they behave in order to see whether companies who treat their customers and investors nicely make more money. I found it to be true — companies that are doing “the little things” a little better than everyone else almost always fare better.

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3 Ways Facebook Hashtags Could Help Brands

The latest rumored change in the Facebook model is hashtags. The company hasn’t confirmed it yet, but most observers expect a hashtag option nearly identical to the one we all overuse so often on Twitter to launch in the near future. Marketers and PR pros are pretty excited about the potential change, and we spoke to Stacey Acevero, social media manager at Vocus, to figure out why.

While Acevero hesitates to call what may or may not happen a “social network war”, it’s pretty clear that Facebook is looking for new ways to make bank — and that its redesign could make the whole experience less frustrating for brands and social managers. Here’s her take on the three possible benefits of the Facebook hashtag function:

1. Makes all of Facebook more searchable: Not only would it make your brand’s own original content easier to find for users who don’t “like” the brand, it would also make the act of conducting market research on Facebook by subject or keyword a whole lot easier.

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Peter Shankman Leaves Vocus and HARO Behind

Consultant/speaker/PR expert Peter Shankman has announced that he will no longer be associated with journalist-to-source matching service HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which he created less than five years ago. He will leave Vocus (NASDAQ: VOCS)–the company that acquired HARO in 2010–at the end of March.

According to an email to PRNewser, Shankman will continue his speaking schedule–he will be “doing some high-level consulting on some major brands in the customer service/marketing arena” as he awaits the birth of his first child and prepares for the coming launch of his third book, Nice Companies Finish First.

To review: like all good publicists who understand relationship equity, Shankman often helped journalists find sources even when he had no dog in the fight. As Facebook attained liftoff in 2008, Shankman created a group to help journalists crowdsource their needs by submitting queries for PR pros to refer them to experts on given topics. It was similar to the older, staid Profnet, but it was free–and Shankman employed his Karmic rules to keep the desperate, spammy flacks away from his media subscribers.

HARO quickly outgrew Facebook’s ceiling at the time, and Shankman adjusted, moving the membership to a sign-up site HelpAReporter.com and ostensibly turning his network into a business.

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Is ‘$100 PR’ For Real?

Yesterday Gawker‘s Hamilton Nolan took the opportunity to give free press to a barely believable project called “$100 PR“–and to provide our entire industry with a bit of good-natured ribbing. While we dispute the idea that the business at large is “desperate for money”, we agree that $100 PR warrants another look.

Created by Laurena Marrone, a PR pro “with over 20 years of diverse experience” that appears to include a lot of music promo work (and the founding of Grit), this “new and extremely unique boutique” firm claims to serve “those who have a need to get the word out about any newsworthy product, service, or event, but cannot afford the high costs of most firms”. Hmm…

According to this guy, $100 PR gives clients “professional PR for your artist, event or venue for 100 bucks”. $100′s own description of its services is fairly straightforward. They include:

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Is PRWeb Just Spamming the Whole Internet Now?

Spam adYesterday 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.

Last night, the SearchEngineLand blog followed up, exploring the issue with relish in a post titled “How PRWeb Helps Distribute Crap Into Google & News Sites”. Fun!

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.

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Vocus’ Q1 Revenue, Operating Losses Increase

Vocus‘ Q1 earnings announcement shows a 29 percent year-over-year increase in GAAP revenue to $34.9 million. Non-GAAP revenue was up 31 percent to $35.5 million. GAAP operations losses totaled $10.4 million versus $3.1 million in 2011. Non-GAAP operations income was $854,000 versus $2.3 million in 2011.

In February 2012, Vocus acquired iContact for $169 million, which sent the company’s stock price lower, down from about $22 to $14. The stock price closed today at $13.25.

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