Lifehacker: Another PR “Outing”

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As a blogger, if there is one sure way to get a traffic bump, it is to “out” PR pros. That is, to post a list of PR people’s email addresses that are banned from your inbox for undue harassment and sending spam, among other offenses.

We have the infamous list of over 300 PR emails that Wired EIC Chris Anderson publicly banned this past fall to much fanfare.

Now, Lifehacker editor Gina Trapani (pictured left) has posted the PR Spammers Wiki, a cut and paste Gmail filter that will instantly block hundreds of PR addresses based on their domain name.

Not that either need the traffic.

Inspired by a post on Matt Haughey‘s blog, it’s really pretty simple, “The entire PR agency domain goes into the From: and you set it to delete immediately. Instantly, no more PR spam from Alice, Bob, or Steve, forever, and I don’t have to ask to opt-out of something I never opted into,” he writes.

It’s a shame that it has to get to this, but not surprising.

Gina’s personal site has the following disclaimer:

Personal correspondence to gina at ginatrapani.org

Lifehacker-related email to tips at lifehacker.com.
Please, no press releases or Lifehacker story pitches to my personal email address.

There is no way one can read that statement and then proceed to send a press release Gina’s personal email address.


As Peter Himler notes, there were some very big agencies on the list, including those in the tech space like Edelman, Racepoint Group, Outcast PR and Shift Communications. (Shift Principal Todd Defren wrote an open letter to Tripani.) Then there were those that we all expected to be there: 5WPR.

Every time one of these lists gets published, an office wide email goes out at my agency effectively stating, “Phew, glad we weren’t on that one.”

But I like to think there is a reason why we never end up on these lists. We don’t do email blasts. (Ok, so has no one ever sent an email blast? I can’t say for sure, but I do know that it is extremely frowned upon and quite possibly a reason why we’ve never been called out.) Knock on wood.

Maybe, if we’re sending out a party invite or some other sort of invitation, we’ll send it out to a list, but these are mostly opt-in, and for any that are not, it’s sent to a work address and relevant to their beat or at least a topic they would be interested in. We also have an agency newsletter and RSS feed, both 100% opt-in.

The thing is, it only takes one e-mail. One intern, AE or VP deciding to grab a list and let Outlook do its work. That is why training is so important. You are pitching a person. That person does see your emails, even if it feels like they don’t.

Says Brian Solis, “Nowadays, any mistake made in PR is really an occupational hazard where one wrong move can cause a domino effect that has the potential to eradicate months or even years of hard work.”

Think before you hit send and help avoid the domino effect.