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An Idiot Calling The Kettle Black

I get called a lot of names. I get it. It comes with the territory of someone who tweets non-stop with a strong opinion with an air of arrogance confidence.

However, when I get called something like “a complete idiot” from a spamming PR company, it gets my man-panties in a knot.

I hold PR companies to a higher standard since one of their functions is making others look good.

A few months ago, I put out a specific request for Vegas people to get in touch with me through a PR newsletter about a specific topic that I was going to be writing about. I received some great responses, so the world was a good place. About a week later I received a press release about a Vegas show that was a generic email blast.

Yep, I understand the logic. This PR company, seeing my request thinks I’m a media outlet, and using their 1994 way of thinking, they translated it to “this place NEEDS to see everything we promote”. So I decided to correct them, since this email was my personal one and I guard it and know it’s not supposed to be on any newsletter/blast and/or porn list (as opposed to my other addresses?)

So I replied to this very professional person (how did I know he was a pro? Because he was using an ISP email address of course. That’s one step-away from using aol or a hotmail address for business). I requested something very simple. “remove me”:

idiot1

You can also see sign #2 that you’re a pro: ALL CAPS in the subject line.

I had to reply back to this person, since they didn’t have an unsubscribe link at the bottom, even though it’s required under the CAN-SPAM Act

I figured that was the end of that. But then I got another…. and another for months.

Now it was really starting to ruffle my poorly groomed facial hair. At this point some people (mostly those who spam, pacifists and people that read “The Secret”) argue “Just delete the email and move on. Positive energy!” but I don’t buy that. The onus should not be on the receiver to delete these emails. So after replying multiple times to “remove me” I took it up a notch:

idiot2

You’ll notice there is also an email address to the Las Vegas Review Journal. No, I didn’t add that in to do the jackass move of “I’m going to tell the newspapers about you!”, he not only used the BCC function in his email (I can only assume using Outlook Express to send it out) but he used a newspaper contact in the “To:” in his original blast. It’s like he just completed the tri-fecta of moronic email blast moves. The only better move would’ve been putting everyone in the “To:” so everyone could reply-all about removing them from the list.

Amazingly enough, I finally got a reply:

idiot3

Other than the fact that he replied in the subject line with nothing in the body, this is perfect, right? Yay! I wrote back to confirm, yes, the email that you sent the original spam PR to and that I was writing to you with was in fact the email I was asking about. (My reply was simply “yes”) which initiated a reply with something like:

“We will search for it. We have multiple databases that will take us a few days to go through”

I’m paraphrasing here since I deleted the original email. What puzzles me is… who takes a few days to go through email lists? Are they on the old tape reels that are in a storage closet? Is it by hand? Can’t you run a search in your Outlook Express or at least call AOL support to help out a wonderful customer?

After a few days, I received this reply from the potential tech-saviest PR company of all-time:

idiot8

They just HAD to add the part of how they were a big deal in Vegas. Vegas, my fave place on earth. My home away from home. Oh no you didn’t. Everything else was fine! Let me know I’ve been removed, thank-you and we’re good. But something stuck me with that one clout line, so I decided to give them a little advice:

idiot6

Was it necessary for me to reply like that? Of course not. But that one line smacked me of arrogance and I needed to let them know the irony of what they said. They’ve been using my personal email as their PR fax machine, I think I was entitled to give them my thoughts.

Which then brings us to the best part:

idiot7

Really? I’m all for a good ole-fashioned pissing match, but come on. You don’t know how to use email properly, not to mention the compliance issue, you take days to find an email address and this is your stance?

It seems to me that a PR company has a vested interest in sending out targeted releases, with compliant lists and should be happy they weren’t reported.

But what do I know, I’m a complete idiot.

What says you? I would love your thoughts on not only this exchange but PR’s responsibility in general when it comes to email/press releases and client representation. Comment below!

(Note: I debated showing their name/email but after a few days of thinking it over and discussing with some awesome friends, I figured I could get my point across without being “sensational” with it. Would love your thoughts on that as well)

*UPDATE*

I sent him the link to the post so he could enjoy it. I guess he did:

idiot9

I don’t think he gets it. So I tried to clear it up:

idiot10

Good times on a Friday!

*UPDATED AGAIN*

Seems our superstar of PR thinks that press releases aren’t covered under the CAN-SPAM Act because he’s not “Selling anything”

idiot11

Any thoughts on press releases not being spam? My response:

idiot12

Someone let PRSA know I’ll speak at their event about proper email practices for PR. I’ll even waive my fee. Hell, I’ll waive travel costs 🙂

(note: one of my readers called PRSA just now, they said they’re months away from choosing a keynote for the conference. Awesome)

  • u2665 is in the air

    ahaha! nI want to knw how the convo ended.

  • u2665 is in the air

    ahaha! nI want to knw how the convo ended.

  • Wow. I love the way you handled yourself, and the way I want to do the same to more of these spam mailers.

  • Wow. I love the way you handled yourself, and the way I want to do the same to more of these spam mailers.

  • Wow. I love the way you handled yourself, and the way I want to do the same to more of these spam mailers.

  • Wow. I love the way you handled yourself, and the way I want to do the same to more of these spam mailers.

  • Wow. I love the way you handled yourself, and the way I want to do the same to more of these spam mailers.

  • Wow. I love the way you handled yourself, and the way I want to do the same to more of these spam mailers.

  • Wow. I love the way you handled yourself, and the way I want to do the same to more of these spam mailers.

  • Wow. I love the way you handled yourself, and the way I want to do the same to more of these spam mailers.

  • Wow. I love the way you handled yourself, and the way I want to do the same to more of these spam mailers.

  • Wow. I love the way you handled yourself, and the way I want to do the same to more of these spam mailers.

  • Wow. I love the way you handled yourself, and the way I want to do the same to more of these spam mailers.

  • Wow. I love the way you handled yourself, and the way I want to do the same to more of these spam mailers.

  • Wow. I love the way you handled yourself, and the way I want to do the same to more of these spam mailers.

  • Wow. I love the way you handled yourself, and the way I want to do the same to more of these spam mailers.

  • Pingback: PR Worst Practices | Selland Capital()

  • I love his, “LOOK HOW BIG AND IMPORTANT I AM! I HAVE A SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT! YOU ARE A LOWLY NOBODY!”

    Whatevs. You still suck, spammer.

  • You are awesome. That is all.

  • Eric Johnson

    Scott did the right thing by NOT mentioning his name. If the guy’s an idiot, why give him free press?

  • And Grampa man-panties. Hahaha

  • Wow! I say they knew who you were Scott. Just a gut feeling after reading this whole post. Their way to handle it is wrong for anyone with common sense! I do NOT ever want to deal with them. This makes me want to say, I want to know who this is! lol

  • Beyond belief! But you brought up an interesting point about them not having an unsubscribe option. From my last business, I still get blasts from PR agencies…and very few have the unsubscribe option. But luckily I’ve never run into anyone as difficult as this.

  • Marshall

    Great blog, thanks for the wonderful recap

  • Ricky

    Pardon me for asking, but do PR people have any kind of ethics code? If I were a client and found out this bozo had been claiming a connection to me in a bunch of lame-ass emails, I would fire him so fast his head would spin. And, as an aside, why would a rape victim need a PR firm? Questions, questions.

  • Absolutely hysterical. From start to finish. Thanks for the laughs. And yes, you win on the spam question. And on the class question. A top shelf firm ought to have top shelf manners and software.

  • Ebaileyconsult

    I find this to be entertaining, and it appears that someone was in a rather awful mood to fight back in such a manner. For a professional to behave in that regards shows me a future of rocky management. I only hope for the best for those employed by this individual, or who have to tuck him in at night.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like he interactions I’ve had with various 5W staffers.

  • Amy W

    He forgot to add “My grandiosity is pathological.”

  • I have no idea how I got here but this was funny, I wonder does he knwo who you are? I bet your online influence is way greater than his, that’s why he was blasting you.

    What an idiot.

  • Anonymous

    This is hilarious, Scott. :p

  • I can hardly believe that an actual PR pro would write like that in an email. He had grammatical and structure problems all over the place and came across as a completely arrogant and ignorant “PR pro.” Good luck to you with PRSA, I would go to hear you speak!

  • Lauren

    Why not save a lot of trouble and “mark as spam”? If its marked as spam enough times, your ISP won’t let them through at all anymore to any email address they serve. NEVER respond to an automated email or text. That’s how they know you are real and to keep spamming you.