Now here’s a new one: a self-proclaimed “well-known” New York PR executive issued a press release yesterday with the sole purpose of drawing attention to himself and his business. Glomming on to AOL’s recent advertising deal with Google and the “icky” new ads suddenly popping on AOL’s site, Jeff Barge took it upon himself to issue “a warning” to the company.

Now, it’s one thing to blog to raise one’s profile, but something different to spring for a paid wire distribution, albeit via the lower cost PR Web. Adjacent to the release, the link to Mr. Barge’s web site strangely goes to a Las Vegas TV news site. In fact, a Google search for his company’s site produces little. One for Barge surfaces some curious results including this one:

Tue, 28 Jan 2003 08:07:25 GMT
“The New York Post stopped an article by Manhattan-based PR Jeff Barge in which Barge accused his industry of being in the “deception business”. The Post says they dropped the story because it was too “self-promotional”. Thanks to Deborah Branscum for the link.”

Apparently Mr. Barge has made a practice of putting out self-aggrandizing news releases with his personal prognostications on the issues of the day. His preferred modus operandi: inexpensive surveys pegged to the holidays, celebrities, or recent news events.

While one must give credit to Mr. Barge for his ability to exploit the news, there’s something very cheesy, or rather swarmy, about this tactic. Take heart, Mr. Blackwell.