Last week, PRWeb got itself into trouble with the release of a fraudulent press release claiming that ICOA, a Wi-Fi provider, was acquired by Google for a cool $400 million.
Shortly after the release went live, executives and those close to the deal at both ICOA and Google denied that such a deal ever took place and that the release was a complete hoax. But not before a heap of news outlets, including the Associated Press and TechCrunch, were duped into covering the story.
Though the source is still being investigated, it is speculated that the release may have been submitted by a stock promoter with questionable intentions, and that it was allowed to go live by PRWeb despite some serious red flags in its content and contact information.
The slip-up has caused a lot of criticism regarding the integrity of news wires such as PRWeb and brings to light the ease in which we often put our trust in “vetted” news sources such as PRWeb in this fast-paced, gotta-keep-up industry.
The debacle with PRWeb is a reminder for all professionals in our digital, Internet-trusting, fast-moving business to not rely on others to do our due diligence for us. It can be difficult to keep up and we all want to be on top of the news for our clients, but there’s certainly something to be said for doing your homework before throwing yourself (or your clients) into the mix.