Are Press Releases the New Spam?

5 11 2007

Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine and author of The Long Tail and the Long Tail blog seems to think so. In a dramatic post on his blog, Anderson announced he was mad as hell and he wasn’t going to take it anymore. Anyone who sends him unwanted PR correspondence would be permanently blocked.

“I’ve had it,” he wrote. “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.”

The problem, Anderson explained, isn’t that he hates PR people or press releases in general. He hates the “lazy flacks” who make no effort to learn about his interests before sending an email.

He has a point, on at least two levels. Irrelevent e-mails annoy the people who get them. People who send them are wasting everyone’s time, not least their own.

At the end of a second post on the issue, Anderson pulls out a quote from one of the commentors who understands how to avoid turing PR into spam:  

Almost every email I send to my “spam list” (self titled), gets some sort of reply. Like “Cool event, can’t make it – sorry. Keep me posted on the next one” Or “Wow, can we get two press passes.” Or most often, “Can you email us contestants in our constituency so we can interview them for the local angle?”

Of the 1500 or so people (note, “people” not “titles”) in my self-collected db, I think I’ve gotten 10 un-subscribes. All of whom just switched jobs. There’s no one in our dB that covers the weather. Or wars. Or fluffy little kittens. They all cover tech, robots, AI, etc. And they LIKE getting my “spam.”