Serving The Few, The Proud, The Independents
In the no-win, cross-linked world of publishing media directories, some clown has over-whitewashed the fence. So when you read the following phrases, buyer beware: "Updated daily"; "The most up-to-date source in the industry"; "Guaranteed the most the most-up-to-date directory available"; "More accurate and in depth than all the rest." Need I wash on?
We would like to make one thing perfectly clear: CornerBarPR.com® offers an option, only an option. We launched our cool, nifty, thrifty on-line media database, Contacts On TapTM, to serve the few, the proud, the underserved, the small, weary PR shops and independent practitioners who were shafted out of the on-line media directory market by the big bully conglomerates, Media Map/Bacon's (yes, they're sleeping together). In my opinion, the companies with the expensive products and all the bells and whistles don't give a damn about small businesspeople who don't have lots of green dollar bills hanging out of their pockets.
From our patrons who get it, we get praised daily for providing a VW bug in a road full of Hummers. But from those who don't get it, we continue to get calls saying, "Our firm is trying to decide between Contacts On Tap and MediaMap. Can you tell me the difference?"
Sure we can. We're a meager $395 or $695 a year, and their product starts at $2400 a year and goes higher and higher and ... They provide more, we provide a bit less. They serve big agencies, we serve smaller to one-person agencies. And don't get me started on ease of use or hands-on customer service.
We didn't enter the market to compete with them; we entered the market to give little guys a media contacts option far more powerful and flexible than a static print directory. There, I said it: We're an option -- and a great one at that!
Since launching our Contacts On Tap on-line media directory, the most affordable on-line media directory - bar noneTM, I'm astonished at the complaints we get about accuracy. With most things, you get what you pay for; with Contacts On Tap, you get a whole lot more. You can spend more money, and you may get a little improvement in accuracy. But brace yourself -- and your wallet -- to pay thousands, not hundreds.
Bacon's, now in bed with MediaMap, says it updated 3095 of its entries yesterday. We didn't update that many. Although they're reluctant to actually publish their product prices, with lots of searching you can find some cost information. Their research team's telephone slave labor will cost you a mere $2395 a year for MediaSource. All in favor, say Ouch.
So for those patrons who haven't heard me, we're not Bacon's, dammit. Never wanted to be, never will be. We launched to serve the little, poor guys. The small PR boutiques and prickly sole proprietors. Practitioners like Rich and me.
The idea to launch an affordable on-line media directory was the fallout of one my covert efforts in the parking lot of six-feet under Harmon Smith Advertising. My little agency at the time had just landed a media client, but I had no national directory and no budget to justify the purchase. So I persuaded my AE buddy to slip Harmon Smith's expired Bacon's directories into my trunk one night. Then I burned rubber and went home to pitch from those hot books with cold data. Being appreciative and realistic, I realized they served as a starting point for any campaign.
Today, Contacts On Tap can be had for the price of a print directory and keeps us cheap PR practitioners clean and off the streets -- and out of late-night forays into parking lots. The data is more than a starting point; we guarantee to update any inaccurate data in 72 hours or less. Just tell us what is spoiled and we'll make good.
There's always recourse. Infocom Group, publishers of the National PR Pitch Book, lays this claim: "If you don't find our Pitch Book more accurate and in depth than all the rest, simply return your book for a full refund." And if that still gets your panties in a bunch, there's always the option to purchase their MediaBase product. MediaBase is Infocom's just-in-time, 100 percent accurate, media list service. For $195 and $7 a name, you can have up to 200 completely accurate media contacts emailed to you within 24 hours. Let's see, that's $1595 for a perfect list. A list of 200 contacts.
Actually, that's the basis of a pretty good idea. It certainly is more accurate than what you get from some of the bigger, better-known, more expensive companies. If no-labor, pluperfect accuracy is your be-all and end-all, and you don't have small-business or small-client budget problems, here's Infocom's phone number: 800-959-1059. Tell 'em the nice folks at CornerBarPR.com sent you.
Or you can go with the News Media Yellow Book Directory by Leadership Library, who claims to update daily. Yeah, we do, too. We just don't update every one of our listings every day. Neither do they. Hell, neither does anybody! After further digging, I learned all Yellow Book data is voice-verified quarterly, but they only offer 33,000 journalist contacts, compared to our 65,000 or so.
Some of the inexpensive printed directories don't even bother to give you contact names at all. I guess you're just supposed to say a prayer and send your pitch to "Occupant."
So there you have it. It's an ugly business, but someone has to carve an affordable slice for the little guy. Why not your good friends at the CornerBar? Again, let me repeat, we're an option.
The next time you get peeved about a journalist's phone number or email that's wrong, fire me an email requesting a correction and a cold one. I'd be happy to serve you with a smile and punch your Bar Tab for helping the cause.
We'll give you more of the gory details about this incestuous industry in a future column.