A little integrity with that PR, please

by Susan Getgood on October 22, 2009 · 13 comments

in Blog with Integrity,Blogging,Ethics,PR

<rant on>

I’ve got more than a few posts pending, including part 2 of my analysis of the published FTC guidelines on commercial endorsements and an update on Blog with Integrity, but today I received an email that demanded immediate attention.

As many of you know, I collect bad pitches. I use them here on the blog and in my workshops. Someday perhaps they will even make it into a book about community engagement. I get a few myself (and for some reason more lately), but the best source of pitches — good and bad — are my friends and readers.

Today’s example, from a reader, was just about the worst pitch ever. It’s bad enough when bloggers get press releases that quote their previous reviews on the topic. That’s clueless and stupid.

When the pitch plagiarizes a blogger’s own words, and they send her the pitch? There really are no words.

Here’s the pitch, dated 10/22/09:

moving pitch

And here’s the post from which the content was lifted, from 9/29/09:

moving post

Yes, my friends, apparently, this PR agency took the blogger’s intellectual property, changed a few words, and then sent her the pitch. There’s so much wrong with this whole scenario that it’s hard to know what’s worse — stealing the post or stupidly sending the pitch to the victim.

How do I know that it was the PR agency that ripped off the blogger and not vice versa? Apart from the dates, which make it pretty obvious?  Gut. While I’ve only met this blogger once, at BlogHer Boston last year, I have no reason to doubt her. She also had no problem being identified in this post, an inevitable consequence of her by-line. I double-checked.

The agency in question? It’s like the umpteenth time someone has sent me one of their pitches as a bad pitch, and I’ve received more than a few crappy ones from them myself.

This is why PR agencies have to be more than crisp when reaching out to bloggers. You have to be damn near perfect because there are dopes out there doing crap like this.

Makes me sick and embarrassed for the marketing and communications profession.

</rant off>

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Plagiarism and other tomfoolery — You won’t believe this « ToughSledding
October 23, 2009 at 1:05 pm

{ 12 comments }

1 kim/hormone-colored days October 23, 2009 at 12:08 am

Wow, I got this pitch today and had no idea. The timing was interesting because I’ve just started writing a blog at Roost.com about selling my house. I thought maybe the PR flack had seen it, but apparently it was a coincidence.

Thanks for pointing this out.
.-= kim/hormone-colored days´s last blog ..Jewlicious: Shmooze. Nosh. Call your Mother. =-.

2 Susan Getgood October 23, 2009 at 12:24 am

Kim — You are welcome. The content is good. If you decide to use it, here’s the link to the Moving blog:

http://www.moving.com/blogs/2009/09/29/4-books-to-explain-moving-to-your-kids/

Sad thing? It would have been so easy to use the material in the pitch, with the proper attribution, with no detriment to the client.

I hate sloppy work.

3 KimMoldofsky (KimMoldofsky) October 23, 2009 at 12:32 am

Twitter Comment


Whoa! @doverbey @houseofprince check this out [link to post]

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4 edenspodek (Eden Spodek) October 23, 2009 at 12:33 am

Twitter Comment


Shaking my head in disbelief. RT @sgetgood why I am sometimes sick & embarassed for the marcom/pr profession [link to post]

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5 doverbey (Derek Overbey) October 23, 2009 at 12:36 am

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@KimMoldofsky that is so bizarre. Having worked in PR for the 1st 6 yrs of my pro life, it kills me to see this stuff. cc: @houseofprince

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6 MelWebster (mel webster) October 23, 2009 at 12:40 am

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@sgetgood After being in this business for more than 25 years I have learned to ignore the horrible and focus on my clients’ needs.

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7 Sarah Caron October 23, 2009 at 7:02 am

Susan, great post! Thanks! I am just astounded at the sheer laziness of this agency. Unbelievable.
.-= Sarah Caron´s last blog ..Regional Bites: Roast Beef Sandwiches of Greater Boston =-.

8 intertuber (Irwin Hodenop) October 23, 2009 at 7:08 am

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A little integrity with that PR, please: [link to post]

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9 Julie @ The Mom Slant October 23, 2009 at 11:24 am

Whoa.

No words, indeed.
.-= Julie @ The Mom Slant´s last blog ..Raising kids without raising our voices =-.

10 David Wescott October 23, 2009 at 11:47 am

So why aren’t you calling out the PR firm and the person who sent it? That’s gross.

If I get that pitch I’m printing the names. Bank on it.
.-= David Wescott´s last blog ..What’s Really Important? =-.

11 Bill Sledzik October 23, 2009 at 12:21 pm

I have to agree with David. This is plagiarism. But I can also understand your own legal concerns and reluctance to “out” anyone.

This may help. Here’s one blogger who was so impressed by the pitch she ran it verbatim. The company name is in the text for all to see. The agency doing the pitch should come to light very soon, I would think.

http://tr.im/CNkv

Thanks to Judy Gombita for sending me the link to your post.
.-= Bill Sledzik´s last blog ..Things happen for a reason — even in PR =-.

12 kristen_okla (Kristen Turley, APR) October 26, 2009 at 10:33 am

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A little integrity with that PR, please | Marketing Roadmaps [link to post]

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