The Death of Public Relations as We Know It

Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, created quite a stir this week by announcing he will be blocking the e-mail address of anyone who sends him any non-relevant releases and messages. He added oil to the fire by publishing on his blog the e-mail addresses of more than 100 people who did that in the last 30 days (he says he receives 300 e-mails a day). To make himself clearly understood, he added “So fair warning: I only want two kinds of email: those from people I know, and those from people who have taken the time to find out what I’m interested in and composed a note meant to appeal to that (I love those emails; indeed, that’s why my email address is public).”

David Meerman Scott, a well-known online marketing strategist and writer, says he gets “several hundred unsolicited press releases and PR pitches every week. Well over 99% of them are not targeted to me, instead they are sent to me because I am on various PR people’s lists because of this blog, because of my books, and because I am a contributing editor to EContent Magazine and have written for a bunch of other publications. I’m getting the identical piece of spam email as hundreds of other poor journalists.”. He adds “most PR people are spammers”

spam

Flickr photo by Freezelight.

At the same time, Google pre-launches its OpenSocial initiative via influential bloggers who were involved in the project. New-York VC Fred Wilson says: “Google’s launch of open social is interesting. They pre-launched it in the blogs and are getting top bloggers who are also their partners, like Marc Andreessen, to do some of the work for them. It’s smart. Marc’s company Ning is one of the leading partners for open social and I think Ning will benefit greatly from it. So he’s going to promote it because of pure self interest. Which is fine, in fact it’s preferable in my book.”

What it means: you have in this blog post two extreme examples of what to do and what not to do PR-wise. Will Chris Anderson’s reaction create a snowball effect? This could be the beginning of something very ugly which would lead to a major reform of how online PR works. At the same time, this seems like a great business opportunity to build an online marketplace to properly match releases/news with appropriate editors/journalists/bloggers. Anyone interested?

8 thoughts on “The Death of Public Relations as We Know It

  1. Sebastien,

    The contrast between the spam that Chris and I rant about and the success of the Google OpenSocial launch via online social PR couldn’t be more stark. What a terrific comparison.

    Best, David

  2. Sebastien,

    The contrast between the spam that Chris and I rant about and the success of the Google OpenSocial launch via online social PR couldn’t be more stark. What a terrific comparison.

    Best, David

  3. A few years back Al Ries wrote “The death of Advertising, the rise of PR”…Will we witness the “The death of Internet PR the rise of Internet profiling” ? As in a “professional profiling” of unknown people who send us e-mails…

    From a marketing stand point I also see this as a push-pull situation. The OSI seems to be a typical “push” marketing campaign using the web viral possibilities. In Anderson’s case, you’ve got to be more careful who you are pushing to…specially when you are not working top->down

  4. A few years back Al Ries wrote “The death of Advertising, the rise of PR”…Will we witness the “The death of Internet PR the rise of Internet profiling” ? As in a “professional profiling” of unknown people who send us e-mails…

    From a marketing stand point I also see this as a push-pull situation. The OSI seems to be a typical “push” marketing campaign using the web viral possibilities. In Anderson’s case, you’ve got to be more careful who you are pushing to…specially when you are not working top->down

  5. Chris Anderson’s reaction and action is an example of how media people feel about PR people who do not take the time to enquire about what they are writing about. But Chris Anderson went much further and may have showed the way to all who are being targeted in PR campaigns because it is easy to add a bunch of email addresses to a media list and show the client how efficient their PR agency is.

  6. Chris Anderson’s reaction and action is an example of how media people feel about PR people who do not take the time to enquire about what they are writing about. But Chris Anderson went much further and may have showed the way to all who are being targeted in PR campaigns because it is easy to add a bunch of email addresses to a media list and show the client how efficient their PR agency is.

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