Jason Putorti, the digital designer behind Mint.com, which quickly developed a huge online audience and was sold to Intuit for $170M, gave a hat-tip to PR in outlining the rapid growth strategy for the web portal.

In a likely reference to Weblogs Inc. founder Jason Calcanis and TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, Putorti noted the "piling on against PR" and those who say lately that in-house PR is enough for a start-up, before he gave credit to Mint.com's agency.

"Mint is an example where we hired a PR agency to do extensive positioning research, and went to town," he writes. "PR was extremely high quality traffic for us, and the optics for the brand were undeniably good. We trounced all of our online competitors, including Quicken -- who sent us legal threats. [Founder and CEO Aaron] Patzer talked to every outlet from Entrepreneur to Essence."

He doesn't name the firm but Mint.com has worked with Atomic PR since its outset.

Putorti also talks about the company's blog, use of Facebook and Twitter, its iPhone app, and other tactics brought the site up to 1.5M users.

(Putorti photo via)