PR Intelligence Report
is published twice a month by Lawrence Ragan Communications,
Jack Bergen, president of the Council of PR Firms, which
represents 125 PR firms including all of the big ad agency-owned
firms, and Jack O'Dwyer, editor of Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter,
battle in the April 23 PR Intelligence over who has
the right to rank PR firms.
Bergen argues that the PR industry "makes money in ways that
O'Dwyer doesn't recognize. He should not be the one to define
our business, and we shouldn't be beholden to him."
Bergen says the CPRF requires a signed application from the
CFO and CEO of a firm and that a CPA letter is "optional."
Bergen said payroll is
not a good measure of PR firms' income.
About 5% of the firms that don't provide a CPA letter are
reviewed by an independent CPA hired by the Council, he says.
O'Dwyer says the CPRF is a "rogue organization" that has
"no business mucking around in the editorial arena."
"I have seen too many cases of PR firms putting out bloated
figures only to fold when documentation is sought," said O'Dwyer.
"The CPRF is failing to collect documents that are readily
available such as W-3s showing payroll and top pages of the
latest income tax return," he said.
"By lumping together various PR firm acquisitions to get
box-car figures for one `firm,' and by not identifying their
clients, the ad agency-owned firms have made a travesty of
the rankings," he added.
O'Dwyer says the CPRF
is a "rogue organization" that has "no business mucking
around in the editorial arena."
"Symptomatically, the firms of the CPRF show their disdain
for third-party endorsement, the traditional measure of PR,
by putting out their own, self-certified figures," he said.
Bergen said payroll is not a good measure of PR firms' income
because payroll can vary from 40% to 60% of revenue.
"We're not trying to control the rankings, but standardize
them," he said. "There wasn't a consistent source for industry
revenue. Our listing eliminates confusion."
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