Chris Anderson has had it with being spammed by PR staff, and today he made a line in the sand no one is going to forget. At least no one who’s spammed him recently. Today he published the email addresses of everyone who sent him inappropriate in the last 30 days:
I’ve had it. I get more than 300 emails a day and my problem isn’t spam (Cloudmark Desktop solves that nicely), 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. Fact: I am an actual person, not a team assigned to read press releases and distribute them to the right editors and writers (that’s firstname.lastname@example.org).
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).
Everything else gets banned on first abuse.
The following is just the last month’s list of people and companies who have been added to my Outlook blocked list. All of them have sent me something inappropriate at some point in the past 30 days. Many of them sent press releases; others just added me to a distribution list without asking. If their address gets harvested by spammers by being published here, so be it–turnabout is fair play.
There is no getting off this list. If you’re on it and have something appropriate to say to me, use a different email address.
I sympathize with him, really I do. I think this is harsh. I wouldn’t want to be on the list. It’s a bit vindictive. And it’s just going to strain things more. (I feel sorry for the poor junior staffers who were only sending the email at direction of someone else.)
And if you think his publishing the list of email addresses is something, you really need to read the comments. Wow.
I’m not going to go into the passionate responses I have to people pretty much declaring war on my profession. I’ll leave that for another time.
At which point I read the post… and sat in a sort of daze for a few moments. Then I moved on. One more attack on PR from a publication to which I don’t pitch. Followed by this interaction, all on Twitter:
Dwight continued the conversation on his blog:
When I was a full-time tech beat reporter, I snarled at more than my share of PR people who did brain-dead things, such as send me news releases on things I didn’t cover or tried to pitch me via phone in the later afternoon, when most reporters are on deadline. I even wrote a, um, love letter to them. But I was never as mean as Wired Executive Editor Chris Anderson, who got so tired of PR types sending him random news releases that he bans them from his inbox and posts their e-mail addresses so spam harvesters get them. That’s a little too vindictive for my taste.
It was interesting to see the topic unfold on Twitter, Facebook, RSS, etc.
And I guess I should state that I don’t approve of spamming. You really need to learn who covers what beat in each of the media outlets you’re pitching. You need to create relationships with them. And that’s the “relations” part of PR.