PR "Professional"

So Steve Rubel jumps in to defend his profession this morning, says I should suck it up and accept the spam and thinks I went too far bashing PR Bloggers and that I should be working with them instead.

This is particularly rich as Steve is one of the "pros" who's spammed me recently.

Here's an email I got recently from Steve, my one and only contact with the guy:

From: Steve Rubel
To: Russell Beattie
Subject: WeatherBug Smartphone

Russell, would you be interested in trying this out for potential blogging? � Steve


Steve Rubel
VP, Client Services
CooperKatz & Co.

Uh. Nice. First, being "pitched" is already annoying, but if you're going to get me to write about something, I expect that you're at least somewhat familiar with my weblog and the things that interest me. Pretty much anyone who actually reads my blog knows that I despise Microsoft products and would never own a Smartphone. This email is akin to saying, "I don't read or understand your weblog, but I know you do this mobile stuff so check out this product from a client of mine - I'm not sure what it does or why it'd be interesting to you, but I'm in PR so it doesn't matter."

It gets better though, I replied (which is a miracle in itself considering my inbox) that maybe I'd review it when the Java version is ready. I thought that was pretty nice.

And then got no reply from Steve.

Ahh, now I realize this wasn't a "blogger to blogger" type request, it was spam pure and simple. This is actually what started my annoyance with PR people in the first place (this stuff simmers for a while before I rant usually). But *then* I get another email a couple days ago from some other person (greaaaat, now I'm on "a list") telling me the Java version is in fact ready. I can go check it out, but not on their web page it's only if you're on Sprint which I'm not (which again, you'd probably know if you actually read my blog) and most likely are prepared to pay for it. Great work there, I'm *really* prepared to write about the product now.

I don't want to blast a mobile startup, I have nothing against WeatherBug by the way - I'm sure it's a great product - they just seemed to have hired the wrong PR firm. From what I understand (since I wasn't there), Steve's speech at Gnomedex was basically along the lines of "look at this uninteresting product that using the power of PR I was able to generate 'buzz' for." And then the rest of the presentation was hijacked for a 15 minute product pitch. From what I heard in person and read online, the audience was not particularly enthralled.

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!

It makes me really afraid for the blogosphere, really.


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