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One Fewer PR Data, Services Company to Kick Around

By Richard B. Barger, ABC, APR

Originally Posted

The merger of PR software firms Cision and Vocus has been talked about for months, as industry insiders tried to figure out the synergies of companies known for an influencer database and email marketing.  

The merged company, formally announced by Cision CEO Peter Granat at this year's PRSA International Conference, will keep the Cision name; Vocus co-founder and CEO Rick Rudman is left clipping coupons.  The "new" company also will continue with existing brands iContact, PRWeb, Help a Reporter Out, and Visible Technologies, according to PRWeb.

Dying industry

Light use of traditional media directory and email services, according to Ragan's PR Daily, prompted Katie Paine -- whom they rightly term a "blogger and measurement expert" -- to write, "Right now, the founders and shareholders are doing a lot better than the customers."

Of course, the players don't look at it that way.  Washington Business Journal touts the party line, calling the new Cision "a premier global public relations cloud company."

Apparently a true flack, with either poor writers or little imagination, Granat told PR Week, "What excites me about this opportunity is the ability to use the scale of both organizations and make additional investments in research and development, new technologies, and acquisitions to address the changing needs of the PR industry going forward. [Ugh!] Things like content marketing, social, and sponsored content are all becoming new tools in the PR professional’s bag."

What about small firms?

For what it's worth, our Contacts On Tap™, which had an 8 1/2-year run as a low-cost on-line media directory service for independent practitioners, entrepreneurs, and small PR, MR, and business communications firms and departments, served clients who didn't have -- or, at least, didn't want to spend -- the big bucks required to subscribe to Vocus, Cision (formerly Bacon's), and other "big-deal, brand-name" media databases.

In the end, our supplier (it wasn't either Vocus or Cision) of low-cost media data also morphed into a first-rate provider of increasingly costly, inaccurate, unreliable, low-quality media data, which prompted® to permanently close Contacts On Tap in June 2010.  As we said at the time, "We refuse to provide an inferior product at inflated prices."

We're no longer in the media data directory business, so we wish the new entity well. 

We also hope they see the value of supplying low-cost services to smaller businesses ... but, based on that $$$ thing, we're not holding our breath.

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