A flack named Peter Shankman (who enjoys getting tased) has built up quite a little reporter-helping service! Through a free website, Helpareporter.com, Shankman takes in queries from reporters in search of sources for random stories, and then sends those queries out to the PR world, who-coincidentally-like to be featured sources. Everybody wins! Except for the other reporter-source website called Profnet, which does the same thing, but charges a big fee to flacks to participate:
Shankman tells me he heard from a source that ProfNet is so concerned salespeople have been issued talking points against him. With 14,000 "professional communicators" in its roster, ProfNet has a significant cash flow at stake, especially when your competition gives away its product for free.
Shankman says he'll never charge for his service and would never sell his mailing list — the hour and a half per day that he spends on his mailing list results in great publicity for himself — better than he could ever buy. Though, he does make some coin selling ads at "way over $100 CPMs" to advertisers like American Apparel.
Shankman's little service has been building slowly for a long time. By all outward appearances (not counting his service to American Apparel), he's giving away a valuable service for free, out of the goodness of his heart. Which is why I've always been so god damn skeptical of the whole thing.
What's your angle, Shankman? What's your angle? What's your angle? I fully expect this to turn into some sort of cult, or be revealed as a CIA plot to infiltrate the media. Until then, we're withholding judgment.