The heat in the ongoing feud between PR industry curmudgeon Jack O'Dwyer and the Public Relations Society of America was turned up a notch today as the publisher of PR's leading trade publication now not only claims he's been robbed but is openly accusing PRSA of the theft.
The latest chapter in the saga stems from an internal audit of the traffic of odwyerpr.com. O'Dywer's recently learned that Gerry Corbett, a national board member of PRSA, had accumulated grossly excessive usage numbers for the fee-based odwyerpr.com site. According to electronic records, Corbett's usage was many times greater than that of the average single subscriber. Corbett's unique password had 10,510 "hits" in the first 18 days of July, a figure surpassed only by the 11,581 hits registered for the free sample codes.
O'Dwyer said: "The numbers don't lie. Our electronic monitoring has Corbett's access among the most used codes to the site. It's not possible that's coming from one person. Thus far this month, he's had the second highest number of "hits" of any group or individual subscriber."
O'Dwyer blames PRSA. "This wouldn't be the first time," he said. O'Dwyer recounts that in 2005, PRSA was busted for having multiple users on one subscription code. At the time they were using O'Dwyer's fee only service for one $295 subscription as much as companies that were paying up to
$5,000 a year for group access.
Is it theft? Well, in addition to the fact that all contents of odwyerpr.com are copyrighted; all subscribers to the O'Dwyer website electronically agree that they are "responsible for the security of their username and password" and are "solely liable for any use or unauthorized use under such username and password."
Corbett, who also heads the Branding and Corporate Communications Group at Hitachi America, vehemently denies the accusation. He said today he had "no idea" how his personal access codes came to be used so widely. "I never gave them to anyone," he said.