Bonum Certa Men Certa

Press Fail

Lenin reading Pravda



Summary: How PR puppets are attempting to influence people who mention their clients in one way or another

JUST ABOUT once a week I receive uninvited mail from PR agencies that act as proxies of companies that I just happen to cover or mention. I typically just ignore these E-mails, but sometimes I am pressured to reply and decline politely to engage with those companies and their proxies. Bruce Byfield wrote something similar about the subject 2 years ago (he writes for Datamation and so did I). There are so many sharks like these out there, whose full-time job is to haunt and/or to influence people who write about particular topics. It's like lobbying, which I sometimes call "legalised bribery" ("lobbying" just sounds too innocent). Here is just one example from yesterday (names and identification removed):



Hi Roy,

I've seen your coverage and would like to pitch you on [company] (the open source [field] company) when you're writing about relevant topics. I've been on the [company] PR team for a few months. Until this point my former colleague, [name], owned most of the outreach to you, but with her recent departure, I want to learn what topics you're writing and thinking about most this year.

Mainly, I want to make sure I don't waste your time with pitches you don't care about. Likewise, if there are customers, ISVs or vendors I have access to that can help you on stories, I want to make sure I get you access to them.

I'd love to get 10 minutes on the phone with you. If you'll be in the [venue], I'll even spring for lunch. And if neither of these are options for you, I'd really appreciate if you could take 1-2 minutes and jot down top-of-mind topics you're looking to cover so I know how to help. I'd like to be able to touch base with you every month or so to see what's on your radar.

Best regards, [name]

-- [name] [name] Public Relations [name]@[domain].com [phone #] office [phone #] mobile


This is just something to bear in mind when you read "the news". There are a lot of dishonest people out there and they pretend to give "stories". These are manipulated if not manufactured (sometimes ghostwritten) by PR people. These encounters with PR people are sometimes far less amicable and the E-mail above seems to suggest that these people keep dossiers on individuals whom they never even spoke to*. Microsoft does it for a fact (we have evidence from the courts and other examples). ____ * I was never in touch with them and I reject those practices for fundamental reasons.

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