Adam T. Sutton

‘Black Hat’ PR: Buying Your Placements

August 6th, 2008

There’s a ‘black hat’ marketing technique that predates search marketing, search engines and the Internet itself. It’s buying press. We’re all familiar with it.

Publishers try to avoid compromising editorial integrity at all costs, I thought.  But maybe I’m naive. A recent AdvertisingAge article on buying press says otherwise.

The good news is that the majority of respondents say they play by the rules. But there is plenty of bad news in the survey as well.

Almost one in five (19%) of the 252 respondents to a PRWeek Marketing Management Survey said they’ve bought advertising from a publisher in exchange for press. Another 8% have bribed an editor or producer for a news story and 10% have engaged in “implicit/non-verbal” bribes. And the percentage of marketers that say they bribe is up from last year’s survey.

Those statistics are surprising. Buying press is risky. You might get a prime time feature for a $1,000 handshake. Or you might be the lead in a story on editorial corruption, which could end up with you in court.

Fortunately, the survey says most marketers stick to the rules. They follow proven marketing strategies. They follow the law.

Adam T. Sutton

About Adam T. Sutton

Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa
Adam generates content for MarketingSherpa's Email and Inbound Marketing newsletters. His years of experience in interviewing marketers and conveying their insights has spanned topics such as search marketing, social media marketing, ecommerce, email and more. Adam previously powered the content behind MarketingSherpa's Search and Consumer-marketing newsletters and carries that experience into his new role. Today, in addition to writing articles, he contributes content to the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa blogs, as well as MECLABS webinars, workshops and summits.

Prior to joining MarketingSherpa, Adam was the Managing Editor at the Mequoda group. There he created content and promotions for the company's daily email newsletter and managed its schedule.

Categories: PR Fame Communications Tags: ,

We no longer accept comments on the MarketingSherpa blog, but we'd love to hear what you've learned about customer-first marketing. Send us a Letter to the Editor to share your story.