Lifehacker editor Gina Trapani ignited a bit of a firestorm over the weekend when she tweeted that she was launching a wiki to blacklist PR firms that send her "irrelevant and unsolicited"' pitches. Some PR bloggers then fired back that maybe it was bloggers that should be blacklisted.
Geoff Livingston blogged that: "I don't feel bad for reporters and A-List bloggers who get this kind of attention. It's part of the job and/or results of tremendous success. Get over it."
Jason Falls goes further, saying that maybe it's time to turn the tables and start blacklisting bloggers: "My suggestion is that by declaring these media members or bloggers unfit for pitching, they are the ones who will ultimately pay the price as they cut their audiences off from the world of valuable information public relations professionals provide them."
Rick adds: "What Brian says is true but it is also wrong and shame on bloggers who hold PR professionals to an unreasonable standard. Show me a blogger who hasn't posted inaccurate information one time or another or flamed someone and later had to apologize for it and I will eat my hat. We all make mistakes."
Couple of points here:
1 - It seems that most people are overlooking the reason that Gina states for creating the 'blacklist', which she states as : "This wiki was put together by Gina Trapani, editor of Lifehacker.com, who welcomes blog pitches to the tips at lifehacker.com email address, which exists for that purpose. She has also always respectfully requested that no press releases get sent to her personal email address in the one place where it is published online. The press releases, however, keep arriving. At her personal email address. Which is why she filters these companies."
And sure enough, on her personal website, right under her personal email address, she adds: "Please, no press releases or Lifehacker story pitches to my personal email address. " So if Gina is, as she claims, getting unsolicited pitches from these PR firms via her personal email, then they are apparently purposely ignoring her requests to not have pitches sent to her personal address. That's a lil more serious than a 'simple mistake' in my book.
2 - All this chatter over 'You're blacklisting me? Oh YEAH? Well I'm blacklisting YOU!' is overlooking the main point; that almost all PR pitches (at least the ones I get) are still VERY VERY BAD. And this hasn't gotten a bit better in the 3 years I have been blogging. I can only imagine how many bad pitches a site like Lifehacker has to deal with every single day.
And I think that's the key issue here. We can argue over who should or should not be blacklisting who all we want. But I think we'd all be a lot better served if we could deal with the real problem; why do most pitches to bloggers from PR firms still suck as badly today as they did in 2005?
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