By now this blog post by Chris Anderson, the Editor in Chief of Wired has pretty well made its rounds around the Internet. If you haven’t seen it here is a taste…
I’ve had it. I get more than 300 emails a day and my problem isn’t spam, it’s PR people. Lazy flacks send press releases to the Editor in Chief of Wired because they can’t be bothered to find out who on my staff, if anyone, might actually be interested in what they’re pitching. Fact: I am an actual person, not a team assigned to read press releases and distribute them to the right editors and writers.
Then he proceeds to give the email address of all the people that he has added to his blocked email list in the last 30 days for sending him press releases or just adding him to a distribution list without asking.
The list is 329 addresses long.
I’m not condoning Anderson’s tactics, but I see his point. I think this post from boing boing about blanket email pitches sums it up pretty well.
Pitching us that way is a waste of time because your pitches won’t get read and any future emails from you will be filtered directly into the trash. It’s a disservice to your clients.
And it’s not just about email. It’s more about knowing what you’re doing and whom you’re targeting. Sending out a blanket pitch to every email address you can find seems so much less likely to work than just contacting one of even just a few people about a story. A person saying “we don’t have a need right now, but keep us in mind” is far more beneficiary than a bulk email sent to the wrong person that gets blocked.
I guess the moral of the story here is, be targeted not lazy, and if you do something stupid on the Internet someone is going to notice and probably going to call you on it.
Which brings us to this mess.
One of the inevitabilities of Anderson posting that list of PR professional’s addresses is someone is going to brag about not being on it. Fine, whatever. Bragging about it in emails and then sending those emails to rival companies and to those rival companies clients and then arguing back and forth is something else. But so much worse than that is sending the entire back and forth email chain to a website and being cool with them publishing it.
How does that help anything? It does nothing but make both companies look childish. So just to reiterate my point, if you do something stupid on the Internet someone is going to notice and is probably going to call you on it