Media Interview
Elvis Sun

When Is HARO Shutting Down? - Unpacking the Challenges of the Move to Connectively

Dive into Connectively's launch, the slow adoption by HARO's community, and the challenges facing users during this pivotal transition.

The transition of Help A Reporter Out (HARO) to Connectively is unfolding without a clear timeline, leading to widespread confusion among its user base.

Despite the lack of an official announcement, our analysis suggests that HARO will not cease operations until the latter half of 2024.

Here’s a closer look at the evidence supporting this projection:

User Transition: A Slow Start

A Glimpse at the Numbers: Low Adoption Rate for Connectively

With over 2 million experts under its belt, HARO's transition to Connectively seems to be off to a slow start. Our analysis estimates, based on Connectively's expert directory, that only around 50,000 experts have made the switch, representing a modest transition rate of under 3%.

This figure draws attention to the hesitant move of the HARO community towards the new platform.

Social Media Presence: Connectively's Quiet Front

The social media activity, or rather the lack thereof, of Connectively’s official Twitter account further mirrors this cautious approach. With only 11 followers and no promotional efforts, it’s clear that raising awareness and driving engagement has yet to kick into full gear.

Official Communications: Mixed Signals

If you are subscribed to the old HARO’s email, you'll see communications like this:

HARO Move Announcement
Message included in HARO email asking users to move

However, noticeable between January 26 and January 31. The urgency in their messaging peaked with a direct alert that HARO would soon be decommissioned, urging users to sign up for Connectively. This was a pivotal moment suggesting an imminent shutdown.

HARO Decommission Message
A stronger message that was later reverted

Yet, this assertive message was removed starting February, reverting back to the softer language. This hints at a possible reevaluation of the transition strategy, possibly due to the initial feedback or sign-up rates observed.

The fluctuation in official communications, coupled with the tepid response from the user base and the quiet social media front, suggests a complex transition landscape. It appears that the HARO team have not yet fully committed to the move yet.

As we continue to monitor this transition, it’s crucial for users and experts alike to stay informed and prepared for the eventual migration, while also exploring how Connectively might offer new opportunities for media engagement and exposure.

Challenges of the Transition

Reevaluating the Pay-to-Pitch Model

Our previous discussion highlighted potential benefits of Connectively with the new pay-to-pitch model.

However, the new model remains a significant barrier for many. The idea of paying without a guarantee of success is a tough sell, leading some to favor the free, albeit more competitive, environment of HARO, even though the $1 saved is not worth the extra time they are spending.

Feature Gaps in the New Platform

Transitioning to Connectively also brings to concerns over missing features that were staples on HARO:

  • A less intuitive user experience: Despite promises of an enhanced interface, the biggest feature the old HARO system provided was knowing which queries you have screened, and where to start next time. The absence of familiar features like query tracking and email notifications has made the new platform less user-friendly, according to feedback from the community on Reddit.

  • PR agencies facing steep costs: The new model could impose a hefty monthly expense for agencies accustomed to submitting many pitches for many client. For agencies who submit 10 pitches for 10 clients, this will cost them $2000 per month, a stark contrast to the unlimited submissions offered by competitors like Qwoted and Featured.

The Complexity of Moving a Two-Sided Marketplace

Imagine Uber requires you to download a new app to hail a ride starting today. You might as well download Lyft.

This analogy perfectly encapsulates the chicken and egg dilemma facing Connectively. The essence of a two-sided marketplace is its community, and shifting that base is fraught with challenges, notably:

  1. The reluctance of experts to pay for pitching leads them to cling to HARO.

  2. Journalists hesitate to move due to fewer responses.

  3. A diminished number of queries deters experts from transitioning.

Building momentum is crucial for Connectively to overcome these hurdles, yet efforts to do so appear lacking, which brings us to our next point.

Questions About Leadership and Execution

"2 months behind their fanfare switch to Connectively exclusively. Their Project Manager must be fresh out of Kindergarten.", said Reddit user tterbb.

Criticism regarding the execution of this transition has been vocal, with community members expressing doubts about the project management and the priority level of HARO within Cision's broader business strategy. This skepticism extends to the capabilities of the product team tasked with orchestrating the move.

Key Insights for HARO Users

  • Accelerating the adoption of advanced technologies and completing its transformation is crucial for HARO to avoid gradually losing its market position and relevance in the fast-evolving PR industry.

  • The PR industry is undergoing a significant transformation, thanks to artificial intelligence. For HARO and its users to maintain its relevance and continue serving its community effectively, embracing AI technologies could be a strategic move.

  • Connectively is still a platform rich in journalist inquiries, despite initial challenges. To bridge the gap caused by missing functionalities, such as email notifications, users can leverage third-party integrations like PressPulse AI.