Here’s an unusual electronic cigarette policy we didn’t see coming. Editors at PRWeb, the press release distribution company, have decided that all releases mentioning electronic cigarettes — regardless of position, topic, or newsworthiness — are to be blocked from distribution.
This decision relates directly to an ongoing issue with the e-cig industry still containing a substantial number of frauds, scams, shoddy products, and Google rankings cheaters. Press releases are sent out daily boasting awesome quality products, free trials, and all the other things you expect of companies just looking to get you into the disadvantageous position of having handed over your credit card information. Press release distributors probably won’t be on the hook for false or misleading information in a release, but I’m sure they don’t want to chance it.
The rather unusual position of seeking a quote from a PR company did lead to what one can only call a domestic goose chase (not entirely unlike a wild one). Two individuals at PRWeb didn’t even know such a policy existed. One said there would be no reason for a blanket policy since they considered electronic cigarettes to be a healthier alternative to smoking. Another wasn’t even sure the editors had the right within the organization to institute such a policy on their own.
Another two individuals in the editorial department there knew about the policy. There were two major reasons given for it. First, too many advertising-focused releases (those boasting sales, free trials, product quality, etc.) were being sent out simply to help companies sell their products. These releases had no news value at all and for any industry shouldn’t be sent to reporters and media outlets as a means of cheap advertising. Second and more importantly, it sounds like a number of legally hazy or downright fraudulent claims have gone out via press releases and the organization caught some heat for it. PRWeb isn’t keen to let that happen again.
This is a continuing problem for the electronic cigarette industry. Looking at the press releases and marketing efforts of companies (now excluding massive efforts by Blu and NJOY), much comes from questionable sources. This means the first impressions of electronic cigarettes left on many people are over the top offers for free trials (or free trails in some poorly edited spam emails), claims of harmless smoking, and other tactics that look to many like obvious scams. The reputation of e-cigs is improving despite places like PRWeb that seem to admit e-cigs are promising, but aren’t willing to take the time to distinguish between the good and the bad.
The policy only came into shape in about the last 2 weeks and word is, not a single exception or alteration to the policy is going to happen. According to PRWeb editorial staff member Brian (who wouldn’t give his last name), it is a blanket policy and it’s going to stay that way. The electronic cigarette world is well acquainted with its fair share negative policies born of legally fearful individuals or companies. This isn’t that as much as it’s just outright laziness. The company can’t be bothered to sort out real, newsworthy press releases from crap and so it won’t.
It’s a good thing they aren’t a service company. Oh, wait.