PRWeb gets it wrong twice; TechCrunch gets it wrong once – and right once
PRWeb issued a press release stating that Google had taken over ICOA. TechCrunch ran a story on it. ICOA’s share price went through the roof on it. But it was all false and both were wrong about it.
We all make mistakes. Years ago when I was running ITsecurity.com I ran a news story on 1 April – I’d lost track of the date and fell for a cleverly phrased hoax. It happens. It’s what you do next that matters.
PRWeb issued a statement:
PRWeb transmitted a press release for ICOA that we have since learned was fraudulent. The release was not issued or authorized by ICOA. Vocus reviews all press releases and follows an internal process designed to maintain the integrity of the releases we send out every day. Even with reasonable safeguards identity theft occurs, on occasion, across all of the major wire services. We have removed the fraudulent release and turned the matter over to the proper authorities for further investigation.
That little word ‘sorry’ is soooooo hard to say. Instead, PRWeb removed the evidence, blamed the criminal, and spread the problem ‘across all of the major wire services’: it wasn’t really their fault. Bad show.
TechCrunch, however, left its original story intact, with an update saying:
We were wrong on this post, for not following up with Google and the other company involved but posting rather than… waiting on a solid confirmation beforehand from either source. We apologize to our readers, to the companies involved, and we’ll be sure to act in a more responsible manner for future stories…
but couldn’t quite resist adding a short stab at PRWeb:
rather than trusting the word of a website that doesn’t necessarily hold itself up to any journalistic standards.
Good show – well, 99% good show diminished only slightly by the quick stab at PRWeb.
So, all in all, kudos to TechCrunch for owning up to the mistake, apologising, and not trying to hide it. Shame on PRWeb for trying to avoid its responsibility – and especially for removing the offending fraudulent release. It happened. No true journalist would try to change history.
Which just leaves one small point. Who did it and why? Was it a simple hoax or an elaborate share fraud? I guess the financial authorities will be pouring over the details of who sold shares in ICOA when the price was high…