Wednesday, October 22, 2008

If you get lots of unwanted emails from PR flacks

I've been receiving a ton of unsolicited emails from PR people hawking products (many of which have nothing to do with food or cooking at all...) and press releases. I've been emailing them all back to ask them to take me off their distribution lists. One guy finally responded that he'd gotten my info from Cision (formerly known as Bacons) a media contact info database that PR folk can subscribe to for money.

I just called them to ask them to remove me from their listings which they said they would (apparently, I was also listed under "holiday gift guides" which explains all the random tech gadget holiday gift guide emails I've been getting...)

Just wanted to pass this info on to you all in case you're suffering from similar deluges of unwanted email from people promoting things. It may not be the only way people are finding you, but hopefully getting off their database will help cut down on the volume.

Here's their contact info:

Media Monitoring and Evaluation Content Support
Phone: 800-252-1427

It's worth a shot!


Kalyn said...

Thank you so much for this information. I was also noticing a huge increase in PR e-mail, most of which was completely off topic. I wrote to the e-mail address you provided and they replied with a nice apology and promise to remove my name from all their lists. Now we will see if the deluge of PR stuff slows down! Will report back if I remember to do it.

Ken Magdic said...

A goal here at Cision is to provide PR people with the best information possible. We encourage our clients to research and appropriately target all their efforts, and to that end, we provide them with the beats, profiles and preferred contact methods, whenever it’s possible. We are currently adding “Website” as a new preferred contact method in response to social media outlets and contacts, such as you, that do not want PR professionals to send them email.

Rather than being removed completely, we can refine your profile for the Website contact preference, which should reduce the unwanted correspondences and ensure that you remain available as an influential contributor on the topics you cover. While there will always be a few in PR that do not practice simple etiquette, the vast majority of our users are looking to pinpoint their outreach to the select few to which it applies.

Ken Magdic
Director, Product Management
Cision US

Eve Fox said...

I hope it helps, Kalyn!
And Ken, I hate to say it but I have gotten probably only 3-4 topic-appropriate emails out of 30-40 that I've received (and even those 3-4 were not things I would ever consider blogging about). I think the basic issue here is that I do not consider my blog to be a media or news outlet in any way shape or form so having my info listed in Cision or some other media database is not appropriate for my purposes. I would much prefer that instead of refining my profile, you had simply requested my permission to list it in your DB in the first place. I'm sure that there are many other bloggers who do not feel the way I do but also many who do so it seems as if seeking permission before listing would be the most effective strategy since, unlike with traditional media outlets, blogs are somewhat of a gray area. I actually work for a firm that does online PR pushes from time to time (I have even used Cision many times back when it was still called Bacons.) However, every time I have built a blog outreach list, I have researched each and every blog that I put on it individually to make sure that my email would not be off-topic. I would be curious to know if you've gotten similar requests (to remove their listings and to change your policy to one of seeking permission to list their info) from other bloggers?

Cybele said...

"We are currently adding “Website” as a new preferred contact method in response to social media outlets and contacts, such as you, that do not want PR professionals to send them email."

What does that mean? They're going to start leaving comments on blog posts?

Opt out is opt out.

(I've noticed an uptick, though no one has admitted that they bought my info, just that they thought that some sort of whatever would be of interest to me and my readers ... and it's not and never has been anything within my realm.)

cybele said...

Here's another one that's going around selling our info:

If you've been getting emails from someone called "associated news" that's where they got your info from ... and they paid for it and say that I opted into their system.

David said...

Ken: Thanks for adding your thoughts. If you'd like to focus and target your pr pitches, perhaps send out a mailing, asking people with blogs whether or not they'd like to "opt in" to your mailing list. (Like many of us, who have mailing lists, which readers need to opt-in to subscribe.)

You could ask focused questions, such as "Do you want to receive messages about non food-related items?"-"Are you interested in doing give-aways on your site?"-"Would you like to receive the latest cookbooks?" etc etc...

That way, your folks would not be wasting their time pitching the wrong people with the wrong things, and in fact, would be targeting and focusing on people that do want to participate or work with you. And it would not be intrusive, and would reduce the amount of unwanted messages, to those who don't.