This evening Michael Arrington has attracted our attention again. This time he has announced that TechCrunch will not honour embargoes on news stories released by companies announcing news to the media.
This seems irrelevant to his readers: "Irrelevant posting" "How and why is any of this relevant to your readers?" "Rant, Rant, Rant! Whatever!"
But for PR people that would like to work with TechCrunch, this is worth noting. Next time you're organising an announcement, best not give them notice. I think they would prefer that. Arrington's co-editor Eric Schonfeld is suffering from email overload according to this comment. But they're connected. One might argue a media outlet like TechCrunch could survive without needing to be fed stories.
I'd be interested to hear what Mike Butcher at TechCrunch UK would subscribe to - as I work a lot on UK media campaigns and we sometimes to have stories relevant to TechCrunch.
To be totally honest, as a PR person with a few grey hairs, I would say an embargo is used only for truly major news, when you believe several media outlets would want to cover it the minute the news goes live, so you are giving them advance warning and time to write the story. If they want this, then both sides win. What Mike Arrington is saying is that some of his competitors are breaking embargoes and that too many PR firms are trying to use embargoes to sex up their stories, and so he's ditching them as a bargaining tool. Fair enough. But those spammy PR emails that bloggers should now expect a direct route to the spam folder from Arrington from now on.
Update: An embargoed story is OK if it's an exclusive. Let's just hope exclusives don't get bandied around the same way and suffer a similar fate!