Today, along with a few hundred other influential bloggers, journalists and industry leaders, I received an unsolicited email from Beth Brody (email@example.com) with a press release in it about Jump Start Social Media Publishing a New E-Book on Social Media Marketing For Small Business.
It wasn't bad enough that it was SPAM, it also openly provided the list of recipients with everyone else's name and email address. Ever heard of BCC?
I don't know Beth and I don't know Brody PR, but I'm going to let them know, as well as all their prospects and clients, that they deserve the huge backlash that they are currently getting. One response (reply to all) in the massive email thread (that continues) from a prominent industry figure reads:
Take me off this f—-g list which I never asked to be on and cannot unsubscribe from.
The list of people this went out to is the who's who of influencers. While I'm flattered that I made the list, I'm also pissed that a Public Relations firm would assemble a list like this simply to spam us. I'm sure the Jump Start Social Media E-Book is quite a good e-book… but I won't go download it, link to it, nor recommend it because I was spammed by their PR firm.
Public Relations firms, more than anyone else in the industry, should recognize the impact of unsolicited emails and the importance of permission-based communication in this world of spam. I have a contact form on my site so folks can drop me a line – that's a great way for a PR firm to connect with me… or through the 80 other social mediums that I communicate on. This was simply lazy PR, pure and simple.
Now my email address is in the hands of God-knows-who because one PR agency forgot all the rules of Public Relations. In kind, I've now published their email address for all the world to see. Feel free to drop Beth a note when you have your next promotion – I'm sure they'll love it!
Brody will also be added to the long list of PR Spammers by Gina Trapani. It makes me actually wonder whether or not Brody might be facing a class-action lawsuit for violation of the CAN-SPAM act since they provided no means to opt out of the mass communications.
Next time you hire a PR firm, find out how they're going to find influencers in the market and how they're going to approach them. If it's like Brody PR, don't hire them. They don't get it. If you've got a firm like Brody PR who's spamming influencers, fire them. They're going to do more damage than good for your brand.
UPDATE: 8/21/2009 Rec'd a very nice from Beth Brody today apologizing for the snafu, Beth has a ‘lessons learned' article coming soon.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: 10/19/2009 Rec'd a note from another Brody PR that we had our links wrong in our Post! We sincerely apologize and the links have been updated.