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Hit & Run

5:15 PM -- What's with issuing a press release, then hiding from reporters?

Two startups today did just that. NetEffect Inc. , after issuing a press statement about $25 million in new funding -- and hiring a PR outfit to field queries -- took it on the lam when we dug for further details. (See NetEffect Wins New Funding.) Half a day after my initial contact with the outside PR firm, the startup was apparently "still working on" answers to a handful of routine questions, such as "How many employees do you have?"

Another firm, SteelBox Networks , went into virtual hiding after news of its $10 million funding went out this morning. While their CEO is listed as the primary company contact on the release, the editor who phoned for details from sister publication Dark Reading was told the exec wasn't in today. When asked if someone else could help, the admin said only the missing CEO would know that. Talk about a Catch 22!

Happily, NetEffect and SteelBox eventually surfaced. (See NetEffect Nails New Funding and SteelBox.) But the issue remains: If a company puts out a press statement, presumably it's to notify the press about its activities. Going missing the day the news hits reflects inexperience, fear of the fourth estate, or just plain obliviousness.

It's not just startups that pull this trick. Two weeks ago, Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) announced the release of its Thumper storage server. (See Sun Thumps Storage-Server Hybrid.) When the tough questions came, it turned out the release had been made during the company's summer furlough, delaying answers by days.

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