Shankman started HARO as a Facebook group in 2007 and the following grew so large he took the concept to the web in March 2008 at www.helpareporter.com.
HARO has been acquired by Vocus, Inc. one of HARO’s largest and most loyal advertisers. According the video below of Shankman and Vocus representative, Bill Wagner, nothing about the service will change. HARO will still be free. Shankman will still write up front notes about where is in the world and what he’s up to.
The only thing that will change is that HARO will now grow in new ways, with these additional resources. One example, Vocus plans to expand HARO to other countries.
HARO is a perfect case study of an entrepreneurial idea come to life. Shankman saw a need and created a service. The service grew in popularity and reach and became a direct competitor to long time paid service ProfNet (read RaceTalk’s post about how they could have merged, but didn’t). Now, HARO has been acquired (a major win for Shankman) providing the service with fresh momentum.
Shankman is also employing a critical PR necessity: transparency. As soon as the acquisition was final, Shankman took to the blog not only providing a written update, but a video message. HARO supporters heard the news directly from him, as it happened. This is key in building customer loyalty and trust, which is the cornerstone of a strong brand.
As long time subscribers to HARO, we look forward to being a part of what’s next for this growing service.