Here's where I question everything, and occasionally give some good advice. Enjoy.

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    SO I GET THIS PHONE CALL…6 years ago

    So my mobile phone rings yesterday afternoon, from a restricted number, as I'm walking through CVS to pick up more Ibuprofen for my broken rib.

    I answer it, and find myself talking to some woman who claims to be the "head of Profnet," who tells me that me that I've been stealing reporter queries and posting them on my Facebook Group.

    That amused the hell out of me. Not only because I haven't (that would defeat the whole purpose of my group, but hey, that's logical, and you know to never expect logic from corporations,) but also because I thought the very cool Dan Forbush was still head of Profnet. So when I refer to this woman, imagine air-quotes each time I use the term "head of Profnet."

    Anyhow, my first reaction was "um, no I haven't."

    "Well, we have proof that a Harry Potter query was word for word the exact same query on your Facebook group and also on a Profnet.

    My second reaction was, "wait a second - if a reporter shoots me a query, then shoots the same query to Profnet, how exactly is that my fault?

    To which the head of Profnet had no answer.

    I explained to her that a) I'm doing this for the good karma value, b) I don't make any money from it, and c) why the hell would I want to compete with Profnet, anyway? I'm kind of busy um... doing PR, speaking, writing books, you know... things like that.

    To which the head of Profnet had no answer.

    Here's the funny thing: I have absolutely no beef with Profnet! I use the service, and find it valuable! All I'm doing is offering reporters another way to get sources on deadline! Fact is, I can reach my 900 or so people a hell of lot quicker than Profnet can reach their 50 billion or so people. So if that helps a reporter, why shouldn't I do it? And more importantly, how is that "competing?"

    Do you honestly think that anyone who's a member of my group is going to say "Oh, well, now that I get Peter's group emails once every few days, with maybe one or two requests in it, I'll just cancel Profnet."

    Or... Does Profnet somehow secretly not want to help reporters? Huh. That's a bit odd, wouldn't you say? If that's not the case, what are they afraid of?

    Finally, to sort of punctuate her point, (in a completely unrelated way, apparently) she mentioned to me that the "solo practitioner's rate" was going away, and I should expect, when my subscription is up in September of 2008, to be billed the full agency rate, of $3,500 per year.

    To which I said, "won't that piss off a lot of solo practitioners?"

    To which the head of Profnet told me "Well, they're such a small percentage of our business, it really won't affect us."

    Huh.

    So much for loyalty to your customer.

    Never wanting to end anything on a bad note (except when I do,) I asked the head of Profnet if she was located in New York City, to which she said she was.

    I said, "Well, why don't you shoot me an email with your contact info - let me buy you a cup of coffee next week. It'd be nice to meet you," I said.

    To which the head of Profnet replied, "that sounds great. I'll do that right now."

    24 hours later, a few tumbleweeds... some prairie dogs... no email. I'm still waiting.

    But the prescription-strength Ibuprofen is working fine.

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