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Is the PR Business Extinct? Yes

The day SEC under the Obama administration answers the question Schwarz asked three years ago, will be the end of PR industry

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The short answer is yes. In our estimation, roughly 70% of today's PR firms with their traditional public relations and communications business structures will not survive the fast-approaching social media avalanche. The remaining 30% that need to reinvent their position real fast in their newly morphed industry will prosper, compared to where they were and what they were doing before.

For publicly traded companies, current rules dictate that information can be made public by a press release or by a telephone conference call but not simply on a website. Ninety percent of today's PR firms are still in business simply because of this single rule.

For the first time three years ago, in 2006, Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz asked the SEC to change this rule. Well, the new White House is already posting the President's weekly addresses to the nation on its website, completely bypassing the traditional media outlets and vehicles.

Today's PR firms are sitting ducks in the way of tomorrow's social media freight train. They will join the extinct species of dinosaurs right about the same time as newspapers and most print magazines.

When we launched Ulitzer's public beta roughly two months ago, our experience with the public relations firms can be categorized under the following three distinct groups.

1) PR firms who jumped at the opportunity and are using the Ulitzer platform on daily basis to post their clients' news and press releases. In this group of public relations firms we generally see traditional news distribution activity. They understand the platform and use it for effective news syndication. This group will eventually discover new and creative ways to utilize new social media tools.

2) Savvy PR firms who sign up their clients as authors and publish their bylined articles in addition to using Ulitzer's powerful news syndication features. These firms are the ones most likely to adapt and survive the fast-changing landscape of the new PR business.

3) PR firms who understand Ulitzer and are horrified by the idea that their clients may actually find out about it. I had a lengthy correspondence with the owner of a Silicon Valley technology PR company who told me he not only wanted to remove the story posted on Ulitzer but also remove it from Google News and other outbound syndicated news sites. This experience made me think that the founder and owner of this well-known public relations company did not even have a clue how the Internet worked. Now, these PR companies will be the first ones that will vanish with the wide acceptance and use of social media platforms such as Ulitzer.

By the way, new social media tools do not mean Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. I am talking about the tools that do not exist yet or are not widely known today. Today's popular platforms will never pass the stage of mass spam tools; their non-existent effectiveness will be proven null before the end of this year.

Companies with the Largest Number of Professional Bloggers Will Win
Tomorrow's (and I mean tomorrow, not the next decade) marketing game will be played on professional corporate blogging platforms. The companies with the largest number of well-read and respected corporate bloggers will win the marketing and propaganda games. Larger companies will need larger armies of corporate bloggers. The new job description of "professional corporate blogger" will be a very popular one.

To be or not to be, that is the question for the PR firms that will hit the wall at this stage. The ones who are equipped to provide those services whose job descriptions are not yet defined will be tomorrow's brave new PR companies.

Other than that, the day the new SEC, under the White House 2.0 Obama administration, answers the question Jonathan Schwartz asked three years ago, will be the end for most PR companies.

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More Stories By Fuat Kircaali

Fuat Kircaali is the founder and chairman of SYS-CON Media, Cloud Expo, Inc. and Ulitzer, Inc.

Kircaali came to the United States from Zurich University, Switzerland in 1984 while studying for his PhD, to design computer systems for SH-2G submarine hunter helicopters for the U.S. Navy. He later worked at IBM's IS&CG Headquarters as a market research analyst under Mike Armstrong's leadership, an IBM executive who later ran IBM Europe and AT&T; and Fuat was the Director of Information Systems for UWCC, reporting to CEO Steve Silk (later Hebrew National CEO), one of the top marketing geniuses of the past two decades.

Kircaali founded SYS-CON Media in 1994, a privately held tech media company with sales exceeding $100 million. SYS-CON Media was listed twice by Inc 500 and Deloitte and Touche as one of the fastest-growing companies in North America. Kircaali launched Ulitzer, Inc., a revolutionary "new media" start-up in mid 2009.

Fuat completed Bogazici University Business Administration program in 1982 with a Bachelor's Degree. He was one of 50 students accepted to the program out of over 1 million high school graduates that year.

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