It’s Official: ProfNet vs. HARO

It was bound to happen at some point, and although there have been hints at some ruffled feathers before, yesterday marked another step in the HARO vs. ProfNet competition.

Not familiar with HARO, or ProfNet? Both services match up journalists with sources, allowing journalists to send queries to lists of thousands of subscribers, mostly PR people.

HARO is free for all, ProfNet is free for journalists, but costs money for PR pros. While HARO founder Peter Shankman stated in January, “I have absolutely no beef with Profnet,” that stance has quickly changed to, “Isn’t it a little foolish to predict yourselves [ProfNet] to be the ‘industry mainstay’ when you continue to charge your members for something that HARO gives them, every single day, for free?”

The above comment is part of a back and forth between Shankman and PRNewswire’s David Weiner. [ProfNet is a part of PRNewswire.] The back and forth takes place in response to a story by former Valleywag blogger Jordan Golson, titled, “A source is a source, of course, even when it’s free and turning an industry upside down,” in reincarnated tech publication, the Industry Standard.

Hyperbole can be a blogger’s best friend, and Golson certainly deploys it in his story, when stating HARO could “turn an industry upside down.”

[Image: HARO Founder Peter Shankman]

Is HARO a great tool? Yes. Do we use it? Yes. However, as some have stated, it has yet to deliver the variety and volume of queries that ProfNet delivers. As Shankman recently mentioned, “it’s a time game,” and maybe he’s right. HARO has seen explosive growth, and we can only imagine ProfNet is not happy about the competition, despite their public statements.

Shankman himself sent us an email recently asking us to help him pitch the site to business press, and he is a master at getting others to help promote the site. A key factor in people wanting to promote HARO is the “what’s in it for me” factor, as mentioned by DuctTape Marketing blogger Bill Balderaz, “Every blogger has received a pitch asking him or her to promote aluminum lawn chairs or a new software. Most of these pitches fall on deaf ears because there is no “what’s in it for me.” But HelpAReporter is a great service that has proven its value (at least it has to us here at Webbed). So if I get the occasional reminder to promote the service, I’m going to do it. Not just to be a nice guy. But because ultimately it helps our agency and our clients.”

What’s your take? Will HARO one day surpass ProfNet?