I hate to categorize every PR person into this group, but I just think there are so many out there who simply don’t get it.

Chris Anderson, author of the Long Tail, and a blogger who I greatly respect finally lost it and directed a rant at PR people who spam, spam, and spam some more. It’s got quite a bit of attention, and the response has been HUGE. Check out the comments at the bottom of the post with varying opinions.

Some people agree completely with Chris, others think that he went too far and need to get over himself.

Here’s my take:

  1. There are alot of uneducated and naive PR people out there. I feel bad for some people on Chris’ blacklist. Some people will put total trust in companies that sell email lists to people hoping to find a list of potential “leads”. They ASSUME that these companies have acquired these emails in a responsible fashion. Sure some probably have, but others surely don’t. Bigger lists sell. You can’t convince someone to buy your 10 person email list without proof that they are surefire leads. So therefore, size wins. These companies build the biggest lists they can as they will be viewed as attractive to prospective buyers. So what if I get 10 responses out of 1000, it was worth the $500 I spent on the list if these customers if 5 of my leads get converted.
  2. Of course the last sentence in the first point is where the real problem lies. Many marketers know that these lists were probably compiled in a dishonest way, but it doesn’t matter, because as I mentioned above, if we can get 5 sales out of it…

I understand how difficult it is for small start-up companies to resist the urge to go after these big and general lists. You need a sales boost to get your company started on the right foot. It’s a trap that many marketers fall into because it is easy to do. No work involved. Buy 500 email addresses and write one template email and ship it off. Easy days work.

I think Seth nails it here (as he generally does).

It’s hard to do, but start small. Try and build a great website, spend some money on google ads, and get a few leads. Spend all your time on converting those leads. Build relationships and in turn, create yourself a permission market. Completely WOWing 5 individuals will go a long way in giving your business a jump start. Sure it’s hard work…but it’s better work.

This message is not just for those people who buy those lists. It’s also for the PR people out there who surf the web looking for editors online and send them this template email you created. It’s the same problem. If I can send out 25 emails today, maybe I will hear from 2 editors tomorrow! and the vicious cycle continues. Templates can be read a mile away. I know you aren’t interested in ME. Make it personal and authentic. Lose the dry, corporate garbage voice, it won’t get you anywhere.

Chris really reveals the beauty (and the curse for some) of the blogosphere. Bad marketing practices get called out.