Everyone Gets Gazopted via PRWeb – ICOA and Google
Why Monitoring is a Must
My how the interwebs were abuzz on 11/26 when news broke via PRWeb, that Google was buying – for a whopping $400 million – penny stock, wi-fi company ICOA.
The news was reported by AP and picked up by, well, everyone.
Too bad the story wasn’t true.
On Monday 11/26, a press release posted via PRWeb.com stated that Google had acquired ICOA for $400 million in order to “further diversify it’s already impressive portfolio of companies.” The release listed contact information for ICOA and described ICOA’s operations. The Warwick, R.I., company operates Wi-Fi hot spots in public areas such as airports, hotels and retail businesses.
I read the release. I read it again. It looked “hinky.” It contained a typo (that happens), but it was what it did not contain that was odd; no PR contact information on the release, no company spokesperson official quotes, no financial or “about” statements.
Here’s the release:
ICOA Inc. Acquired by Google for $400 Million
ICOA, Inc. is a national provider of wireless and wired broadband Internet networks in high-traffic public locations.
ICOA Has Been Acquired by Google for $400 Million
Warwick, RI (PRWEB) November 26, 2012
Google has announced its acquisition of ICOA Inc. A provider of Wi-Fi to high traffic public locations. ICOA is a leading vertically integrated, neutral-host broadband wireless Internet network provider. Their suite of services and solutions power the unique requirements of high-traffic public locations such as airports, marinas, restaurants and more, while also providing back office solutions for hotspot operators and wireless service providers. Google looks to further diversify it’s already impressive portfolio of companies.
ICOA, Inc. is a national provider of wireless and wired broadband Internet networks in high-traffic public locations. ICOA provides design, installation, operation, maintenance and management of WI-FI hot-spot and hot-zone Internet access. Based in Warwick, Rhode Island, ICOA owns or operates broadband access installations in high-traffic locations across 40 states, located in airports, quick-service restaurants, hotels and motels, travel plazas, marinas etc. ICOA networks are compatible with widely-used 802.11x technology and with virtually all Internet service providers. Further information is at http://www.icoacorp.com.
News outlets quickly republished the release, and ICOA CFO Erwin Vahlsing, Jr. found out about the “news” in an email from a curious investor.
More surprising, is that even after hundreds of outlets, including Associated Press, retracted the story, Yahoo News still has the original AP item on its site.
It appears the “release” originated out of Aruba, using an email that was a close enough construct of an ICOA official email account to fool the folks at PRWeb.
In a 60 minute period of trading in the middle of the day, shares of ICOA INC (PINK:ICOA) briefly touched $0.0004 a share – nearly four times their value one hour earlier – before falling back down to $0.0001.
ICOA CEO George Strouthopoulos said in an e-mail that “[s]omeone, I guess a stock promoter with a dubious interest, is disseminating wrong, false and misleading info in the PR circles.”
These Yahoo Finance message board posts for ICOA make for an interesting read as well – the “Leaked ICOA Report” is my favorite:
What does this mean for your company?
What if a competitor or Brand Detractor published false or misleading statements about your company, and you weren’t alerted until a third-party emailed you? That information delay is simply not acceptable.
As per Firestorm President and COO Jim Satterfield as quoted in ContinuityInsights:
“There is a significant lack of understanding by social media users that monitoring must be equal in scale to adoption, and that monitoring goes beyond marketing analysis; it can be used to track brand and company threat trends, competitor information, employee use and misuse, brand detractor attacks, and a variety of new product development and service enhancement initiatives via customer engagement. Companies that have adopted social media without a clear monitoring plan are not truly using social media.“
Has your company or brand been *Gazopted? Do you have a story to tell? Let us know in the comments, and please: Predict.Plan.Perform.®
*Gazopt From the Hungarian “Gáz”: awkward, miserable, problematic and the English Co-Opt: to commandeer, appropriate or take over.
Gazopting: It is the act of having your reputation, your brand, your message, your identity, or a confidential communication co-opted by an unauthorized person, or by one who is violating a confidence or trust.