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Are PR people becoming the new spammers?

Written by Andy Getsey, CEO

Jason Mendelson, a venture capitalist who blogs on venture capital topics and other things, posted a pretty negative piece about Atomic this morning, Why AtomicPR Sucks Ass and How They are Breaking the Law, Too. He also recently posted a piece titled Are PR People Becoming the New Spammers?. I’ve reached out personally to Jason to talk it over.



He’s certainly entitled to his opinion and to air it openly. But Atomic doesn’t practice or condone “carpet bombing”, and we’ve had very few complaints or “stop” requests over the 10 years we’ve worked with high profile start ups and their VC firms.

Obviously he’s pretty frustrated. It’s unfortunate that our agency gets to serve as the current example in his coverage on the topic; in practice, we try pretty hard to target specific kinds of content only to individuals who are interested, and invest in rather expensive journalist and blogger databases like that from Cision, as many other top firms do.

Our good intentions aside, after looking into Jason’s complaint, I found that he has indeed told a few of our people over recent years to stop contacting him. Though each has attempted to comply, his name has popped back up again on other teams’ lists of relevant contacts. This is partly due to a process/technology disconnect and clearly, we need a solution at agency level to make certain that no one here, on any team, ever emails him again. Or others as cases may arise. Our tech team is working on a solution as I post this.

Jason’s current listing in the Cision journalist & blogger database
Aside from our need to avoid contact with Jason, part of the reason that he (and others) may be receiving contact from PR firms is that he’s listed as a blogger who covers venture capital related topics in the Cision database; an industry standard that communications professionals use in an attempt to target content and individual interactions with journalists and bloggers that are interested in receiving information on specific topics. Here’s Jason’s current Cision profile and contact info:

cision-screen-revised.jpg

We contacted Cision today, and a rep told us that their team actively contacts journalists and bloggers to confirm that they want to be listed in the database, and that many of those listed fill out questionnaires detailing their areas of interest as well as their contact preferences.

According to the Cision rep, bloggers or journalists can opt out of their service by emailing their request to Changes.us@cision.com and Cision will delete them from their database with no questions asked within 48 hours.

Please get in touch with questions or comments to this post or email me: andy@atomicpr.com.

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