Consider this a public service announcement for bloggers and public relations professionals. The A-List bloggers are the A-List for a reason. I hold TechCrunch, Venturebeat, GigaOm, and ReadWriteWeb in that category. They work hard, write well, and respect the relationship between themselves and the companies they cover. I can’t say the same for some of the others.
But, after only four months on the job, the new startup (SocialMedia.com), I’ve already been burnt by “embargo busting”. It happened to startups when I was at TechCrunch and now it’s happened to me. Today SocialMedia released a new product called “Social Banners”. I’m excited about them and think they’re the most exciting thing going on in advertising right now (either a testament to the innovation or lack thereof).
However, a blogger released the story ahead of time, which I only found out about while pitching the story (I’m not directly involved in our PR efforts, but I help where I can). Not only did the blogger break the embargo, but they did a half-assed job of covering the launch. They missed rather obvious details calling the technology “Friendship Rank” instead of “FriendRank”.
But not only does the work reflect badly on the blog overall, it also kills the story for a startup’s new product. I understand that accidents happen, but the A-List always looks after the startups. I’ve had embargoes broken by other blogs for stories I did at TechCrunch, but some times we were able to find a way to still deliver an interesting post.
But the best way to avoid the problem of embargo braking on stories you release is to only deal with a list of blogs you trust.