On Monday, a bogus press release was issued via Vocus-owned press release distribution service PRWeb indicating that Google had bought Wi-Fi company ICOA for $400 million. Both companies eventually told reporters that this news was false. Apparently, the companies had not even been in talks.
This was not until various publications picked up the story. In our version, we were careful to note that the only source of the “news” appeared to be a strangely vague press release on PRWeb that was not even acknowledged in Google’s own press center.
Finally, PRWeb released its own statement:
PRWeb transmitted a press release for ICOA that we have since learned was fraudulent. The release was not issued or authorized by ICOA. Vocus reviews all press releases and follows an internal process designed to maintain the integrity of the releases we send out every day. Even with reasonable safeguards identity theft occurs, on occasion, across all of the major wire services. We have removed the fraudulent release and turned the matter over to the proper authorities for further investigation.
It’s still unclear who issued the release to begin with.