Jul 5 2009
Having your name added to PR lists from vendors like Vocus and Cision is one of the unfortunate outcomes of having a successful blog. The resulting amount of spam and bad pitches can be quite astounding.
This is not to complain. It’s just part of the gig, a result of success, and bloggers like Gina Trapani and Robert Scoble who have complained in the past are simply wrong. If you don’t want the attention of being a successful voice online, then stop writing/podcasting/creating.
I’m not interested in reinvigorating the PR Sucks meme, or trying to brow beat crappy PR practitioners into better ways. Instead, I’ve resigned to the situation, accepting it as the nature of the business. Nothing typifies PR’s ill health more than the appearance of a familiar spammer.
I used to work at an agency where I was a mid-level account supervisor reporting to the president, but also indirectly to a vice president. I worked with this vice president for three years, and kept a distant, but friendly acquaintance after our mutual departures from the firm. Recently, she’s been appearing in my life again vis-a-vis spammed press releases.
Every week or two I get a press release from xxx in my email box. It’s pretty funny actually. Here’s someone who knows me, worked with me for three years, and doesn’t have the courtesy to call me or even send a personal email requesting that I consider her story. Instead, I get the worst form of spam possible: An unrelated, unwanted press release.
How pathetic. And humbling. I’m just a guy on a list.
I’m not putting myself or my agency on a pedestal. It’s likely there are individuals in my company who do this. We’ve had transgressions on my team over the past few years, too, and we’ve handled them privately. But nothing like this recent appearance of familiar, but unwanted spam rang home to me how hopeless the PR profession really is. For every good practitioner, there will always be five like my old VP. It’s the continuing sad state of PR.