TITLE Press Release Successfully Disguised as News Article
by Leonard Richardson
Published on segfault.org 09/16/1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SILICON VALLEY, CA - Internet startup eFgh announced today that they had successfully gotten a press release published, unaltered, on news site Segfault.org. Although the press release contained little but unabashed shilling for the company and its main product, Open ClosedThing, its close resemblance to an actual news article enabled it to slip by the bleary eyes of Segfault.org editors, said eFgh CEO Rodney Blumenthal.
Open ClosedThing is a Web-enabled, object-oriented ass-covering suite which is fast becoming the industry standard in whatever field it belongs in. Its innovative features, such as dual-speed subwoofers, rack-and-pinion Ethernet support, and optional pituitary gland, are three to five parsecs ahead of the competition.
Although not actually "open" in any sense of the word, focus groups have shown that IT managers are conditioned like so many Pavlovian dogs to salivate at the word "open". The FTC does not require any certification to be done on products branded as "open".
"It's part of the new wave of viral advertising," explains eFgh Chief of Marketing Shane Lugnut. "The Internet age has brought with it a whole lot of hardened people who won't look twice at a glossy ad. So it's neccessary to put that advertising money into subterfuge. We at eFgh have a team of former CIA agents and sophisticated marketing AIs working to infiltrate coverage of our product into trade publications."
"For instance, although we have no plans to do a Linux port of Open ClosedThing, last week we said we were looking into it. That sort of thing gets us enormous publicity."
[see Infoworld: "After false start, Open ClosedThing to give Linux boost, maybe, say rumors, innuendo"; ZDNet Anchordesk: "I've Always Said Linux Needs Open ClosedThing"; The Register: "MS quakes as eFgh ramps up Linux ClosedThing"; Linux Today: "eFgh move a cynical ploy"]However, only recently was eFgh's long-term goal--and the dream of every PR department--met, when an eFgh press release was mistaken for an actual news article, and published unaltered.
"Many PR flacks have studied the art of writing press releases as news articles," says Lugnut. "In fact, many turn to PR from a failed trade journalism career. But the most that is usually accomplished is a warm rehash of the press release by the reporter who recieved it, with some little negative quote from a fat-cat analyst added on."
"What inevitably is missing is the credibility. To give our press release that credibility as a news article, we have experimented with putting in our own little negative quote near the end, giving the piece a verneer of objectivity, We're the first to try this tactic; no other company has yet dared to put anything negative in their disguised press releases. We've already applied for a patent on the technique."
"This tactic of disguising press releases as news articles is not only morally reprehensible, it's bad business," said George Clinton (no relation) of Gartersnake Group. "Business relationships are built on trust, and this whole phony news article business betrays that trust. I'm only kidding, of course."
ISPs love the way Open ClosedThing replaces expensive and hard-to-please customers. Moms love it for its quick network analysis and NP-completeness as it unstops clogged routers and melts those pounds away. And kids are always surprised to find Open ClosedThing in their lunchbox. Consult your local Saab dealer for purchasing information.