Just Post It?
In a blog post at the end of June, I noted that the Director of the Division of Corporation Finance at the SEC told a gathering of investor relations professionals that guidance on the use of company web sites for investor communication was forthcoming. It certainly didn't take long.
In a release at the end of last week, the SEC announced it is updating its 2000 guidance on the use of web sites and electronic media. In particular, the new guidance addresses interactive content, information disclosure and linking to third party information. Kudos to the SEC for understanding how quickly the Internet has changed the way people access information, and for acknowledging that increased use of company web sites and the Internet is all good for investors.
The implications of this guidance are pretty interesting. If posting a news release to a company web site will now meet requirements for full disclosure, what does that mean for the wire services? How quickly will companies be willing to circumvent that step and just post it? It would save a lot of money, but I have to believe it will negatively impact how widely the release is viewed.
There are all sorts of mechanisms for people that want your news to get it from you - email newsletters, RSS feeds on your site, etc. However, what about all of those people that see your news because it's posted to sites like Yahoo! Finance and all of the other outlets that automatically receive it because of the breadth of the wire distribution service?
I feel like we need to watch this evolve as the SEC settles on its final guidance, and then determine how to advise clients. My initial reaction is that the wire services have done a good job building a set of services that give news releases a good foundation for visibility that PR teams can build on with customized and targeted outreach. Are you inclined to forego wire distribution and just post news on your site? Anyone from the wire services want to share an opinion?