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Experts have issued a stark warning alerting news agencies to a potentially life-threatening flood of press releases in which PR agencies desperately seek a link between their client's product and Valentine's Day.

The releases - invariably entitled "Track your cheating wife via GPS this Valentine's Day", or the like - attempt to dupe unsuspecting news editors with promises of plausible surveys. Once the bait is taken, the release quickly packs in as many product plugs as possible before the scam is uncovered and editorial order is restored.

Press Release Filtration Inc CEO Dr Michael Carmichael, a specialist in filtering unwanted press releases from corporate inboxes, said: "A recent survey showed that 23 per cent of news items carried on February 14 were Valentines-related, PR-generated nonsense. This is costing the UK 2.3bn lost column inches of real news per year - equivalent to 23,000 jobs for up-and-coming journalists."

Carmichael added: "Our powerful PRevent software will block Valentine's-related press releases before they even get near an email inbox. Christmas and Easter are also covered as part of the basic package, but for real protection try PRevent Platinum. Last year, its intuitive, self-learning programme successfully intercepted a release ostensibly linked to the Sikh festival of Baisakhi, which was in fact punting 3G mobile content filtering solutions."

The Register editor Joe Fay admitted: "In the last week alone we've had 4,236 press releases related to Valentine's Day. These have to be weeded out by hand, putting an intolerable strain on editorial resources. In the circumstances, I think we would be criminally negligent if not certifiably insane not to rush out and buy PRevent as a matter of the utmost urgency." ®

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