Meeja: July 2005 Archives

"Outernet marketing conduit" BL Ochman called the proposal "ridiculous". And it's caused a bit of wailing and gnashing of teeth from others in PR. Jeremy Zawodny's proposal to create a blacklist of flacks who effectively spam bloggers has certainly raised the temperature beyond Tim Bray's death to PR post from last week.

At the risk of repeating some bits from an earlier post, my advice to Zawodny and other people planning on an email blacklist of PRs (other than possibly reporting them under the CAN-SPAM legislation) is that you can go ahead and block them but the chances are they will simply start ringing to see if you got their pitch. And you really, really don't want that.

The sound of the crowd

17 July 2005

Corporations are being told to blog to counter bad publicity. It can't hurt too much as long as it's done right but I can't see corporate blogging on its own defusing situations where the public have got it in for them. It's taken a while to get around to reading through the white paper "Search is brand" published by Market Sentinel and Weboptimiser. A number of people picked up on the advice in the white paper for corporations to get blogging. But I think the advice should come with a health warning.

I would say PR pitches on the whole are a good deal more sanitary than toilet seats but generally a whole lot less useful, although they can be entertaining for all the wrong reasons. The continuing backlash from bloggers complaining about having their email inboxes filled with irrelevant pitches is intriguing as it's at least a year since the first posts I can find appeared on the subject. Anil Dash arguably caught the mood of many when he described what really ticks him off as a blogger having PRs trying to get him to write about some tedious product they are paid to plug. The unfortunate truth about all this is that the situation will be the same next year. Hacks have been on the receiving end of them for many, many years. And hacks have been outing egregious examples in diary and back-page sections for about the same amount of time. And still they come.

Tim Bray's article on The New Public Relations is interesting in a "do you honestly believe what you're writing or did you start before thinking it through?" way. It's drawn some heavy criticism already from the PR side. Tom Murphy does not see himself running beery love-ins and Stuart Bruce among others in the PR world have commented.

Some parts of Bray's piece make sense: I wholeheartedly agree that the trade press as we know it is going to see some big changes, although my personal feeling is that blogs will only play a bit part in that process and the process has already started. But I'm afraid his thinking on why the trade press is in trouble has a little too much of the philosophy that led to the publishing aberration that was the wikitorial.

Experiments with RSS

6 July 2005

One of the reasons for creating this blog was to provide a way of covering changes in the way that the press and the PR industry interact. There are a lot of PR-related blogs talking about the death of the emailed or posted press release now that RSS has arrived on the scene. But not many from the journalist's side of the fence, so this is my two pen'orth on the subject.

I have been experimenting with RSS for a couple of weeks now, so I'm well behind journalists such as Danny Bradbury in that regard, who has been using the syndication system for some time according to his web journal. Bradbury has noted one downside of using RSS: it's apparent one-size-fits-all nature. Most RSS feeds currently come from US-based operations and a common complaint among UK-based hacks is that US releases are well-padded drivel.