Shoot the Messenger: Lifehacker vs. PR, Continued


If you haven’t heard yet, or felt the wrath of having your firm’s domain name outed as a PR spammer, Gina Trapani the editor of Gawker Media’s LifeHacker blog has created a wiki to show other bloggers how to block pitches. Trapani is tired of PR people pitching her at her personal address.

It turns out she mentioned her blocking methods before in a comment on Valleywag during the kerfuffle over the Chris Anderson/LongTail spammers list, but didn’t draw as much response from the PR world.

On the front lines of this debate over How to Pitch a Blogger, and How to Block PR Firms is Todd Defren of Shift Communications, a shop with considerable tech and social media chops, and one of the domains on the list.

Defren figured out over the weekend that Trapini’s personal email is listed on Cision, one of the major PR databases. He also posted a screengrab of the Cision page on Flickr to make that point, and graciously took it down at her request, then protested on Twitter: “@ginatrapani‘s request, removed pic of her Cision entry from Flickr. Wish she’d been as nice about messing with others’ reputations.”

As I was on phone talking with researcher at Cision to verify how exactly they collect contact info, the wiki was updated explaining the same thing: people at Cision add information to journalist profiles based on what they find on web searches, as well as opt-in methods.

We’ll stay on this story as it develops, and stay neutral. Blocking is a little harsh but there are some terrible mail-merge style pitches getting spewed out there. For now ironically, one of the best place to go for web2.0 How-To remains Defren’s PR-Squared blog.

If you’re a blogger and you want to see if Cision has your information, call 312-922-2400 and ask for research. I just did, and added my phone number. Bring on the pitches, but read PR-Squared first.