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”:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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)
I sent him the link to the post so he could enjoy it. I guess he did:
I don’t think he gets it. So I tried to clear it up:
Good times on a Friday!
Seems our superstar of PR thinks that press releases aren’t covered under the CAN-SPAM Act because he’s not “Selling anything”
Any thoughts on press releases not being spam? My response:
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)Tweet