PRSA Accuses O’Dwyer of Hacking, Again

In the latest of a strange game of inside baseball, it looks like someone at Jack O’Dwyer’s PR industry newsletter is trying to hack in to the PRSA site using several different member IDs.  Recently, AdAge trumped up O’Dwyer’s attempts to log in to the trade association’s conference calls as something similar to the News Corp. scandal.  It is not.

Within the comments of a blog post about the latest developments is this clarification by PRSA President Arthur Yann:

“An IP address registered to the O’Dwyer Co., was recorded logging in via the accounts of multiple members, whose passwords had been compromised somehow. Once these specific logins were disabled, we saw several failed log-in attempts from the same IP.”

This does not look good.

However, as O’Dwyer presumably nears retirement, anyone who bothers to watch the scuffle in action wonders why Jack attacks.  For years, he’s been on PRSA for everything to do with its mission, finances, and bylaws.  O’Dwyer’s latest on dues hikes can be found here.

What we suspect is a mix of obsession and protectionism.  Both the newsletter and the professional organization compete–in different ways–for dollars allocated at firms broadly defined as agency marketing.  This, possibly literal coffee can of money, marked “Meh” with magic marker is small and often misplaced by busy PR firms.  O’Dwyer may be seeking intel or maybe just more names and email addresses for his sales efforts.  Agencies now have other ways to market themselves online though if you Google the term “PR agencies,” O’Dwyer’s Top PR Firm Rankings appears in the #3 spot of page one.

Our advice to the intrepid hacker at O’Dwyer’s:  use the many other free and legal research tools available to find names.