News release wires operate on the premise that you pay a fee -- often from a few hundred, to thousands of dollars -- and they send out your release (or other content) with little if any guarantee of story placement in a major news outlet.
They'll tell you where it went, maybe even who read it, but if the news ended up in a Time magazine feature or the trash bin of Jalopnik's editor, newswires consider their job done and charge their fee.
But could that model, which has existed since the 1950s and '60s with the dawn of PR Newswire and Business Wire, be set for a shakeup this year?
Not likely, but Andy Beal, creator of Marketing Pilgrim and the social media monitoring service trackur, thinks the time is right for a challenger to step in and shake up the newswire business, which is dominated by a handful of players.
In a video interview from the Search Engine Strategies event in Chicago in December, he told Byron Gordon of SEO-PR that among his predictions for the new year is a belief that a start-up company could rock the newswire business.
"I would rather pay extra if I get my story picked up by the New York Times or Techcrunch, as opposed to paying $300 and having it go out there and maybe not get picked up by anybody," he says.
"If there's a new, aspiring newswire trying to build a name for itself, I think performance-based pricing is something you'd find a lot of PR practitioners would welcome," Beal adds.
Beal, a user and fan of Vocus' PRWeb service, sees little chance such a sea change would come from one of the established players in the sector.