Michael Arrington, the founder of the popular tech blog TechCrunch, has written his fair share of scathing posts about PR people. Among his many beefs with public relations is the embargo. He won’t accept them—unless they're from Microsoft or Google, although it seems Microsoft is now on the outs.
On Tuesday, Arrington published a series of tweets about Microsoft’s PR firm, Waggener Edstrom. Arrington started with this tweet:
“Embargo break alert. Waggener Edstrom faceplants with new MSN launch. One more and they're banned forever.”
That was followed quickly by this tweet:
“Screw it. we just banned waggener edstrom forever. hall of shame. going to be hard to cover microsoft now.”
What happened? The Gawker-owned Valleywag blog has the scoop.
According to Valleywag's Ryan Tate, Arrington sat on an embargoed news story about a redesign of MSN.com. Deal was he would wait until midnight to publish. “But a dastardly marketing blogger spoiled his exclusive by running the story an hour early, due to some kind of WordPress error,” Tate wrote.
Here’s what Arrington told Gawker about the situation: “They came in and briefed me, took an hour. Then I rearranged my evening to write the post, took more time. The embargo broke by at least 45 minutes and they [Waggener] didn't bother to let me know.”
The embargo can be a dangerous thing for PR pros and journalists, alike. Each party has to trust each other, and in this case, it appears technology—and perhaps human error—is to blame. Brian Solis actually just wrote a blog post about the dangers of the embargo.
As for Waggener Edstrom, oh well. Being on Arrington’s PR shit list is kind of like placement on President Nixon’s enemies list: Once you’re on it, you know you’ve arrived.
Basically, if I'm Waggener Edstrom, I wouldn't worry too much about it.