An Open Letter to the "A-List"

03 November 2006

Updated 5 November 2006: Robert Scoble responds to my original question in the comments on his post:

Niall: I love RSS and would subscribe to that kind of feed. It’s a lot easier to put things on my link blog than take them out of email and put them here.

Strike one! Who else is in? TechCrunch? Boing Boing? Engadget? Gizmodo?

A-Listers (whatever that means),

In my quest to be a responsible public relations representative when it comes to dealing with bloggers (see our agency’s draft social media principles), it’s in my interests to find ways of getting you to notice my clients’ products and services that doesn’t annoy you.

This has been brought to the fore with the recent example of MothersClick and CrunchNotes. Michael Arrington writes about it here, as does Robert Scoble and Todd Defren (from SHIFT, MothersClick’s PR agency).

Robert Scoble sums up the issue:

…it’s a real problem for a small company (or even a big one) to get noticed in today’s world. I don’t know what to do about it. I’ve given up.

Even the best products and services need influencers who can help them get noticed. And like it or not, the opinions you express on your blogs are influential. Scoble suggests companies leave product pitches as comments on his blog, but I’m not sure this is enough.

So here’s the question.

What if there was an open forum (blog) where companies could pitch themselves. Not press releases, but real (and maybe limited in length) pitches. With complete transparency, available for anyone to read and comment on.

The thing is, companies wouldn’t use it unless they knew you were watching.

So here’s the million dollar question. Would you subscribe and promote it as your preferred method of being pitched?

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2 Responses to “An Open Letter to the "A-List"”

  1. Todd Defren

    Interesting idea, Niall.  

    Wish that this had not happened, though I feel confident that our agency did nothing wrong (this time, anyway). ;)

    An idea like yours has some potential to eliminate *some* of the issue, but everyone will try to find end-runs.  

    The trick for all PR agencies is to be smarter, not spammier.

  2. Niall Cook

    Todd, from my reading of events I agree. It seems like you provided the right counsel.

    I also agree about trying to be smarter not spammier. If we can get some of the A-list bloggers our clients want us to contact to at least say: "here’s how we collectively want you to do this" then I think we have a chance of convincing them. If not, then the direct route will always win out.

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