The Sting of the LongTail: 5WPR Nabs Client from BlinnPR

November 6, 2007

One unintended consequence that happened as a result of Chris Anderson’s PR blacklist last week was a fight over clients between BlinnPR and 5WPR.

Apparently Blinn’s attempt to use the list to pitch new business backfired when 5WPR retaliated and signed a BlinnPR client, according to an anonymous source. 5WPR’s CEO Ronn Torossian confirmed the tip but would not say which client.

PRNewser came in to possession of the entire chain of emails between the two firms last week and chose not to reprint them. Some are very ugly.

I contacted both 5WPR’s Ronn Torossian and Steve Blinn on Friday. Torossian responded with: “A: Business Week is writing a 2 page feature on me today. B: Blinn is a non existent BS firm.” A is true, see “The Bad Boy of Buzz and His PR Problem“.


I spoke to Steve that night to learn more. Yes, his firm did target the clients of some of the firms on the LongTail blackball list. However, Blinn did seem genuinely unaware of 5WPR’s reputation for publicly feuding with other agencies. He was also dismayed at the possibility of being mischaracterized for what he deemed aggressive business development tactics and hoped people would “drill down” to learn more about him.

He also expressed no interest in 5W’s core areas of fashion, sports, and celebrity stating that type of work is “for people who have been neglected by their parents.”

We had not planned to blog what looked like nothing more than 5WPR’s disproportionate response to Blinn’s stunt till we heard it actually had an effect.

According to the leaked emails, while 5WPR’s Adam Handelsman was emailing Blinn’s clients, Torossian was sending bounty offers to both his staff and to Blinn’s for anyone who brings him a BlinnPR client, as well as a $20,000 signing bonus if they jumped ship to 5W.

Blinn, though a technology boutique of seven people and two freelance is no stranger to blog controversy himself. One of his pitches landed on the BadPitchBlog last February, which Handelsman used in his email to BlinnPR clients.

We’ll update the story when we learn more.

While this plays out, the story of Anderson’s list even reached Times today. While at least one PR person has aligned themselves with the smaller group of “friends” Anderson mentions in the original post, most of the discussion is on the need for reform and education. We continue to be amazed at how much is exposed under the surface in this industry when hit with a mere scratch.

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2 Responses to “The Sting of the LongTail: 5WPR Nabs Client from BlinnPR”

  1. Steven Blinn Says:

    Jason,

    It’s been 18 days since this story first broke and 10 days since your blog post. BlinnPR hasn’t lost any clients or employees to 5WPR.

    Not sure who your source(s) were or how many source(s) confirmed this info to be true but it appears you were lied to and taken advantage of.

    I’m surprised your editor would let something like this pass off as news without confirmation from multiple sources.

    Anyway, I’ll keep you updated if anything changes.

    Cheers,
    Steven Blinn
    BlinnPR
    http://www.blinnpr.com

  2. Steven Blinn Says:

    Jason,

    Just a quick update. 44 days since this story first broke and 36 days since your blog post. Still, BlinnPR hasn’t lost any clients or employees to 5WPR.

    You know it takes a brave person to admit he/she is wrong.

    Cheers,
    Steven


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