Generally speaking, traditional PR focused on relationships with major news outlets which were the primary source of information for the public. As less people read newspapers and watch network news today, more people are using the web to research companies, read reviews, and educate themselves on an infinite amount of topics. What this means is that the traditional methodologies for shaping public image once used by PR companies are on the way out while online reputation management techniques are on the rise.
The parallels between the two are interesting because the objective for both is to control the information that is seen by the public. The difference is that PR is focused on a medium in decline while reputation management exists primarily on the web, where consumer search continues to grow.
As studies show an increasing percentage of searches for all things gravitating toward the web, traditional media as the backbone of the typical PR campaign carries less influence by the day. What this means, in no uncertain terms, is that reputation management is well on the way to replacing PR as the methodology that companies use to shape public opinion and perception. Reputation management has other advantages as well but probably none greater than the simple fact that a reputation management campaign can be executed at a fraction of the cost of a traditional PR campaign.