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Press release about AOL acquiring Bebo ranks #1 in Techmeme

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Nathania Johnson did a great job earlier today covering the news about the AOL acquisition of Bebo for $850 million cash. But, there's a follow-up story that Drew Kerr over at Four Corners Communications has brought to my attention.

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Drew emailed me to say, "The PRESS RELEASE carried on Business Wire -- not a news article, of AOL's acquisition of social search engine company Bebo -- is the top item on Techmeme's site today."

He added, "Here's another example of how Techmeme, the highly popular news aggregator among the tech community and tech bloggers, continues to recognize and display Business Wire content as a leading news source."

Once upon a time, you might have seen something similar in Google News. As I reported in "Beyond Beta: Google News Graduates" back in January 2006, Krishna Bharat, the creator of Google News, wrote in January 2006, "We've certainly gotten a lot of feedback from both readers and editors. For example, readers told us they loved the news clusters but they didn't want press releases on the home page (although they are still useful to have in the search results)."

So, Techmeme seems to be taking a different path. Will it last?

Only if press releases meet the high standard set by Ivy Lee in his "Declaration of Principles" issued more than 100 years ago. The so-called father of modern PR said back then, "This is not a secret press bureau. All our work is done in the open. We aim to supply news. If you think any of our matter ought properly to go to your business office, do not use it."

His Declaration of Principles added, "Our matter is accurate. Further details on any subject treated will be supplied promptly, and any editor will be assisted most cheerfully in verifying directly any statement of fact. In brief, our plan is, frankly and openly, on behalf of business concerns and public institutions, to supply to the press and public of the United States prompt and accurate information concerning subjects which it is of value and interest to the public to know about."

So, can the vast majority of PR people live by these rules today? Let's wait and see. The jury is out, but I expect a verdict shortly.


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