When I first started writing about the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, I pointed out that many companies seemed to be using Sarbanes-Oxley as their scapegoat: "We're not meeting this project deadline? Well, if we didn't have to spend so much time on Sarbanes-Oxley issues... We're over budget? If Sarbanes-Oxley compliance didn't cost so much..."
In his latest column for MarketWatch, John Dvorak does that very thing. Dvorak blames a perceived lack of PR "buzz" in the tech space on Sarbanes-Oxley:
Companies simply are not shelling out the money needed for elaborate campaigns as they did in the past... Some blame businesses for being cheap. But I blame Sarbanes-Oxley for this as well. The expense of compliance is estimated to suck 4 percent of the bottom line for most corporations -- money that in the old days would have gone into the PR budget.
I know the corporate reporting law has its problems, and it is expensive. Various groups have been working to correct those things since the law was enacted, with some success. But not everything that ails corporate America today stems from Sarbanes-Oxley.
In fact, Dvorak offers his own list of contributing factors -- not the least of which is the absence of boutique PR firms and "increasing consolidation." He also notes a missing generation of middle managers, the move to do "green" work, and the fact that those who have been in the PR business forever are leaving and a new crop of what he sees as poorly trained replacements are moving in.
All of these factors taken together seem to be more than enough reason for the absence of the "normal" tech buzz. So why bring Sarbanes-Oxley into the mix at all?