Wired Magazine Embarrasses PR Folk

Several weeks ago, Wired Magazine’s chief editor, Chris Anderson, took his “revenge” on the PR industry by posting on his blog, The Long Tail, the email addresses of several hundred PR people that sent him inappropriate press releases. The response was immediate and huge; over 300 comments on the blog.

Many agreed with him that PR people can be lazy and should stop spamming press releases without understanding a publication’s or editor’s needs and interests. Others blasted him for contributing to the spammer’s harvest with his spiteful on-line listing of hundreds of email addresses. Several cited the annoying spam they endure from Wired media sales reps bugging them to buy advertising space. My favorite was a short one: “Get Over Yourself.”

My take on this:

Yeah, yeah, true, PR staffers distribute press releases too far and wide. Why doesn’t Mr. Anderson do what many publications do and have an intern or clerical person sift through the public email box (or a “press-releases@” address) and keep a private address for his own network?

So now, instead, he’s into the shame game, embarrassing people from major PR firms like Edelmen. If “PR people” do nothing else, they talk. Does he really want a lot of them as Wired enemies?

My colleague, David Meerman Scott, agrees that PR people are spammers. His blog readers joined in heavily in the debate. David’s book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, available from his site, is deep with alternatives to smothering journalists with press releases, by the way.

As for me, I’m not greatly impressed any more with Wired. Maybe I’ve been reading it too long. I do however thank them for inspiring the “It’s Lame” and It’s Game” format within this blog. Unfortunately, Wired is getting somewhat Tired.

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3 Responses to “Wired Magazine Embarrasses PR Folk”

  1. Gary Vasilash Says:

    As someone who is on the receiving end, like Mr. Anderson, I must say that there are far too many PR people who are far too lazy when it comes to determining who is on a list for press releases. To your point, Dave, about why there isn’t some sort of clerical help: (1) all staffs are fairly bare-boned nowadays, so there aren’t people hanging around who can sift through the spam; (2) why doesn’t the clerical help on the sending end sort through the list? (At our offices we still receive mail–physical as well as e–for people who are long gone from our publication, and in one case, gone from this planet. So how clever do we imagine those PR people to be?)

  2. Dave Schmidt Says:

    Gary:
    Thanks for comments. In terms of sorting the editor list on the front end, we do this for every press release we send out – but it’s obvious that many PR firms and practitioners do not. Very disingenuous practice, I agree.

    Editors have every right to be critical. The “shame game,” targeting individuals, seems a little excessive.

    -Dave

  3. Gary Vasilash Says:

    Well, spam must be dealt with ruthlessly, and if Anderson perceives that he’s being spammed by the people on his list, then rather than just hitting the “delete” button, he’s doing something about it.

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