Yahoo! Bloggers at War with PR Spammers

Story Text:

There's an interesting little war brewing between Yahoo! bloggers Russell Beattie and Jeremy Zawodny, and PR trolls, led by Steve Rubel.

It all started when Beattie, in typical fashion, went out and called PR folks morons

But beyond these morons, are the PR Bloggers who claim to "get it" or at least understand blogging in general and are now spewing uninformed idiocy out onto the world. Follow the links on these pages and it's essentially, a how to guide on how to manipulate bloggers, or how your company should start a blog and how that would in turn help you manipulate your customers and media. These blogs aren't worth the kilobytes they're taking up on some hard disk somewhere.

Despite being a prize pillock, he makes a bloody good point.

Steve then responds which opens the floodgates for Beattie to lay into him personally

Combine this stuff with Steve's astounding observations on his weblog like "Good blogs don't need to have opinions," I actually wonder how much Steve actually gets it. He seems to be getting more links (being an "A-Lister" and all), but contributing to the conversation? I don't think so. And Steve is the guy all the other PR folk are pointing to as examples of good practices!

Then to cap that all off, we have Jeremy calling for a blacklist of PR emails

Does anyone know of a published list of Public Relations companies--or at least those involved in Technology PR?

I get so damned much spam (I mean "pitches") that I'm starting to think that life would be better if I just blocked email from all the big names in Tech PR.

What fun eh? Apart from the amusing little back and forth between Rubel and Beattie lies a bigger problem however. From my point of view, im 100% with Beattie on this: The level of conversation is dropping, and no, you don't "get it" - i suspect few people do, and i'd not necessarily claim to be one of them - but muscling your way into the conversation, jumping up and down on all and any new fad that comes along, does not make you part of the conversation. It makes you annoying to those of us trying to listen to what's being said.

There, i feel better now...


Anil Dash

I'm pretty sure the whole thing started with Anil Dash's post Don't be a bad pitcher

Like a lot of bloggers, I get pitched from time to time by people who want me to talk about their products. It's been a few years since I've covered this topic, so clearly it's time for a review. It's especially helpful that I almost never link to stuff I'm pitched, so I'm safe to criticize bad PR tactics without cutting off the freebies. I don't get no freebies no how.

First, these points aren't aimed at clueful PR people. I've seen smart PR people in action, and even had the good fortune to work alongside some of the best in the tech business. They don't need any tips from me.

That said being an A-List blogger is the same being a celebrity, you have to take the crap with the the perks. Don't complain about the paparatzi following you, if get seated in swanky restaurants on a friday night at 8pm without a reservation. If you're high profile on the web you'll have to deal with spam/pr pitches and other related nonsense, it's part of the deal.You can't eat your cake and have it too.

That said I agree a lot of PR folk aren't getting it. They very often talk a lot without saying anything, and when you do that you're really not a part of the conversation, you're the pesky party guest who overstayed his welcome. I also think it's difficult to be part of the conversation if you don't have an opinion. Without an opinion you're nothing but a yes man. Expressing and sharing your opinion, and participating in the conversation require a commitment, something you can't do with a drive-by comment or email pitch.

The Rise of PR... The Fall of Blogs

Many moons ago, I worked at a web hosting company and was searching for a content management system that people who didn't know much about coding could use to update their websites without messing up the code and I happened upon a blog hosting site- I think it was Pitas. So I set up a "blog" on Blogspot (before it was Blogger), Pitas, and Userland for asite I sued for testing, using the content of that site.

I then submitted it to and promptly got a letter back, telling me that what I had didn't fit the definition of a Blog and the submission was rejected.

If only those letters were still sent out to "blogs" then many would not exist today...

I've watched the rise of Steve "muscling your way into the conversation" Rubel and everytime I got tricked into reading one of his "articles" - which always had great titles - on WebProNews, I wondered if there was a way to filter him out of the news from them. But I'm not here to talk about Steve - who I actually cheer for in the same way that I usually cheer for the bad guy in all movies.

Do I think that PR "blogs" have ruined blogging? No. Do I think that they should be called Blogs simply because they use a Blog format? No. Do I still wish I had that definition of a Blog, so that I could post it here? Yes.

Natasha "That Girl From Marketing" Robinson

The Rise of PR... The Fall of Blogs

True, but allow me to broaden that; The Rise of Commercial Noise... The Fall of Blogs

No matter what medium develops, when it is new the promoters/early-adopters generally assume that it will remain pristine (read: non-commercial). I always think of the Green Card Spam (and wait for the inevitable).

green cards and ham

PR is a strange discipline. A subset of marketing with no products to promote, only the interests and opinions of a corporation.

However, replace "corporation" with "individual" in the above sentence, and you have a blogger.

Nick, for some reason when I

Nick, for some reason when I click the Threadwatch links to Russell's blog, I am redirected to the Wikipedia entry on SEO. Seems to be due to the referrer string rather than IP.

Is this a sign of great wit and charisma on his part, or a technical error?

Yeah, he's a grade A arse,

Yeah, he's a grade A arse, he redirects all links from here...

at least

it takes the heat off comment spammers ..:)


Thanks for the update -

Thanks for the update - interesting perspective on why blogs shouldn't be taken too seriously as media sources.

Seems a shame for Nick to be able to properly link to it - any public RSS reader of RB's posts to link to if you really have to?

how to disable the referer

In Firefox (don't know about other browsers):

1) type "about:config" in your browser
2) locate "network.http.sendRefererHeader"
3) change value to zero

Or, if you have the Web Developer Toolbar, just click "disable" then "disable referrer logging"

"disable referrer logging"

>Web Developer

I wouldn't leave home without it set on disable ref logging. You'd be surprised at the number of forms that are doing a clandestine check.

I have referers disabled

I have referers disabled also, mostly 'cos i can - but i don't have that webdev jobbie, anyone got a link?

thanks claus, though if i

thanks claus, though if i have to run it as a toolbar i'll prolly give it a miss - i like my browser BIG :)

You don't need the toolbar as such

You can just move the buttons around and remove those you don't use, just like the other toolbars. And buttons are very small - they fit perfectly in the menu line, to the right of "Help", so you don't need the toolbar, you can just take the buttons from it and place them wherever.

Just right click and choose "customize" then drag any button to any placement you like :-)

Actually I'm a bit surprised that a known "CSS-fiddler" like you don't have it already, Nick. You can do live changes in stylesheets, outline html elements, get classes, ID's and lots of other nifty stuff :-)

It sits in the right click menu as well, so you don't need buttons at all.

You don't have to run it as a toolbar

Disable the toolbar part under "view/toolbars"

You can then get at it under "tools/web developer" or enable temporarily the view/toolbar option

I've just been looking at

I've just been looking at all the pulldowns on the toolbar, shit, i may have to keep it as it is!

Can't beleive i've been missing out on that!

Referrer disabled - thanks

Referrer disabled - thanks for the tip. :)

Will check out developer toolbar, too.

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