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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Dec. 03, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 48 (download PDF version)

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NEWS OF SERVICES _______________


PRWeb said a phony press release announcing an acquisition by Google was a case of “identity theft” which was turned over to authorities for investigation.

The press release service owned by Vocus on Nov. 26 transmitted an announcement claiming that Google had acquired wireless Internet provider ICOA for $400M

Vocus CMO Jason Jue said the company has “levels of safeguards and redundancies” to verify releases but added that "”no safeguard is perfect.” He said the company has made additional changes to its processes in the wake of the ICOA release “to guard against this from happening again.”

In an earlier statement, PR director Frank Strong said the company reviews all releases and follows an internal process to verify the source. “Even with reasonable safeguards, identity theft occurs, on occasion, across all of the major wire services,” he said.

Outlets covering the news based on the press release included the Associated Press, AllthingsD, Techcrunch and Silicon Alley Insider, among others.

ICOA's CEO told CNNMoney he suspected a stock promoter organized the hoax, which led to a large spike in trading of ICOA's pink sheets-traded shares.

PRWeb removed the release and turned the matter over the authorities, said Strong.

Vocus CEO Rick Rudman apologized for the flap on Nov. 29. “We’re sorry for any frustration or embarrassment we caused to the people who rely on the news releases we distribute, and we’ve already made changes to do better going forward,” he wrote in a blog post.

Rudman stressed that an editor reviews every release submitted for distribution, checking a variety of factors related to content and sender authenticity. He said the company will “continue to evolve.”

Dow Jones in April carried a fraudulent Bank of America press release, while Business Wire and PR Newswire transmitted phony releases days apart in 2010.

In 2009, two fake press releases announcing the acquisition of a search engine company by Microsoft and Google were sent by a discount online release service,


The National Investor Relations Institute has elected four new directors to four-year terms, including IR execs from Microsoft, HSN and Tessera Technologies.

The new members include Anne Guimard, president, FINEO Investor Relations Advisors; Dennie Kimbrough, IR manager, Microsoft Corp.; Felise Kissell, VP of IR, HSN, Inc., and Moriah Shilton, senior director, corporate comms. & IR, Tessera Technologies.

They fill slots vacated by Derek Cole, VP, IR and corporate comms., ARCA biopharma; Barbara Gasper, SVP/group executive, IR, MasterCard; Nicole McIntosh, VP, IR, Waddell & Reed Financial, and David Prichard, VP, IR and corporate comms., Spectrum Brands Holdings.

Jeffrey Morgan is president and CEO of NIRI.

“NIRI is fortunate to have members such as these who generously volunteer their time and talent for the benefit of our organization,” he said.

PEOPLE __________________



Robert Berra, executive VP and managing director, FischerHealth/Porter Novelli, to ReviveHealth, Nashville, as its first chief strategy officer. Berra was a founding partner of FH, which sold to Omnicom’s PN in 2004. He was previously VP of marketing for Vital Data Technology. Three-year-old Revive, which expects revenues of $5M this year, has also promoted EVP Joanne Thornton to chief accounts officer. She leads staff mentoring, account reviews, and its ReviveU profdev program.

Shannon Stevens, formerly with M Booth & Associates, to The Public Relations and Marketing Group, Patchogue, N.Y., as senior A/E.


Ian McCluskey, editor and publisher of América Economía magazine, to Newlink Group, Miami, as VP, reputation managegment and public affairs, with a goal to grow the practice both domestically and across the Americas. He is former editor/publisher of Worldcity Business, South American correspondent for Bloomberg and Time, and held posts as an independent consultant and at Kroll.

Brian Nick, former comms. director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and adviser to Gov. Pat McCroy’s successful election campaign, to law firm Moore & Van Allen’s public affairs group, Charlotte, N.C., as senior dir. of strategic comms.

Jennifer Kovaleski, journalist for NBC Bay Area, to Randle Communications, Sacramento, as an AA/E.

Butler, Giacchina

Meghan Butler, former senior A/E for GCI/Cohn & Wolfe and media advisor to Seventh Generation, to DVL PR & Adv., Nashville, as VP. Niki Giacchina, exec. assist. to the editor of the Virginian-Pilot, joins as an admin. assist.

Tara McNally, former VP and group manager in Edelman/Chicago’s consumer/lifestyle unit, to Robin Leedy & Associates, Mt. Kisco, N.Y., to head the firm’s new Manhattan office, opening this month. She is a former VP for DeVries PR, Publicis Consultants and Formula PR and reports to EVP/partner Alyson O’Mahoney. Earlier, she was manager of marketing and PR for

Daniel Conway, legislative and public affairs director for the California Restaurant Association, to chief of staff for Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. Joaquin McPeek, spokesman for Johnson, is leaving to become California media director for the Environmental Defense Fund.

Lila Hobbs, Alaska state senate aide, to The Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline, Anchorage, the federal-state push to build a 737-mile gas pipeline in south-central Alaska, as PR specialist in its public affairs unit.

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