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.

Have you seen such a beast? I'd be glad to host it if others are willing to contribute. It could even form the basis of a nice set of add-on rules for SpamAssassin. :-)

Given both company names and e-mail domains, it'd be easy to come up with something.

(Amusingly, I got this idea from someone in Tech PR who understands the pain.)

Posted by jzawodn at July 18, 2005 04:07 PM

Reader Comments
# Steve Rubel said:

Hmm, there's non that I am aware of. You might need to blacklist all PR fims with the exception of Voce or other agencies Yahoo works with. I would start with this list.

on July 18, 2005 04:59 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Why should I give preferential treatment to companies that Yahoo works with?

on July 18, 2005 05:02 PM
# Darren said:

Are all the pitches you receive technology-related? I ask because the pitches I receive are all over the place, from defragging software to anti-war-songs. Now, in truth, my blog's subject matter is pretty diverse, but I'm less interested in, say, a comedy festival pitch than a new cell phone (both pitches I've received recently).

on July 18, 2005 05:21 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

I'd say that the majority of them are tech pitches, yeah. I do get my share of random other shit too, but it's probably 20% or less of the total volume.

on July 18, 2005 05:30 PM
# Steve Rubel said:

Jeremy, only because I thought from time to time you might need to interact with them as part of doing business - e.g. you get a media request that you pass to them.

on July 18, 2005 07:29 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Ah. I should have been clear. I was talking about my *personal* email address.

on July 18, 2005 07:32 PM
# John Cass said:

why don't you try the PRSA, public relations society of america. You might ask if you could be a guest speaker on one of their email list serves that might help. I don't think there is such a list though. You could also write a post of the Global PR blog week 2.0. Though not many large agencies are part of the program yet.

on July 18, 2005 10:02 PM
# John Cass said:

why don't you try the PRSA, public relations society of america. You might ask if you could be a guest speaker on one of their email list serves that might help. I don't think there is such a list though. You could also write a post for the Global PR blog week 2.0. Though not many large agencies are part of the program yet.

on July 18, 2005 10:03 PM
# TechJournalist said:

As a techjournalist i get spammed by the same group. As a SPAMassasin user i'd appreciate the filter.

Here's my (short) pain list:
Schwartz Communications
K/F Communications, Inc.
Lewis PR
Bite PR
Cunningham Citigate
Baker Communications Group, LLC

on July 19, 2005 06:04 AM
# Jeremy Pepper said:

First step, get your contact information out of Bacon's MediaMap - that would likely cut down on your PR traffic and email immensely.

Does this also mean you won't take emails from PR bloggers, and will block their personal Gmail or Yahoo accounts? If you are going to block, you need to block across the board and not play favorites.

on July 19, 2005 10:41 AM
# Longsuffering Freelancer said:

You can't get out of Bacon's database. Another intern will just put you back in later this year. Instead, tell them you've been reassigned to whatever your favorite sport is. I get all the golf news before my buddies now.

on July 19, 2005 11:23 AM
# david said:

Jeremy - if there are some really bad offenders, name names. We in the PR industry can take it. In fact some of us might enjoy it.

Now can we all move beyond the 'PR people are the lowest form of life' meme and start figuring out how PR peeps, bloggers and even PR peeps who blog can all get along?

on July 19, 2005 11:46 AM
# Zonker said:

I wish there was a blacklist just for the PR spammers - I get tons of releases that have nothing to do with my areas of interest / coverage ("Acme has hired a new VP!"), but I still need to get releases that relate directly to new *nix products, etc.

I agree on the Bacon's - and somehow, a few years ago, they managed to get hold of my unpublished phone number. Did not make me very happy.

on July 19, 2005 02:38 PM
# Chris Edwards said:

I haven't checked this out thoroughly (in fact barely at all) but is this a case where the CAN-SPAM Act might actually be useful? I'm not convinced that I have ever seen a press release or pitch where there has been a working unsubscribe link, so they start off on dodgy ground.

It's more work to deal with but could be a case where even the most boneheaded PR might take notice. For any company that has a domain in the blacklist, use an autoresponder to send them a cease-and-desist notice each time citing CAN-SPAM, log the entries and, after 30 days have passed and you are still getting them, it's a complaint to the FTC or whoever.

It might work for the European equivalent of CAN-SPAM as well if they are using a home address (businesses can't be spammed in Europe apparently - it's all just direct mail).

The danger with blacklisting is that some of these people might start ringing up and asking if you got their pitch. And you really, really don't want that.

on July 20, 2005 12:54 PM
# Alice Marshall said:

PRSA publishes a directory which lists the tech oriented PR firms. I assume that IABC dose so as well. You could cobble together you own list, probably sell it to other reporters. Would you like to hire a flack to publicize you service ;-)

on July 21, 2005 04:27 PM
# Russell Buckley said:

We looked at this recently and came up with the idea of a series of logos to put on your blog. Red means "no pitches", green means "send me anything" and amber invites PR people to click on the logo to find out what your PR policy is.

More info here

So far (early days though) I'd say it does seem to be working, though we're an amber site.

What I think would be great would be a more widespread distribution of the red logos so that bloggers who hate all PR can be avoided for the good of both parties.


on July 24, 2005 11:43 AM
# Adam Zand said:

Dear colleagues at tech companies, PR agencies and journalists:
Haven't we moved beyond the age-old "PR people are spammers" discussion? At Topaz Partners, we work to have solid relationships with journalists who trust that we won’t send them crap. We invite them to our office, events and client companies to provide them with access and an occasional good story idea or breaking news.
I don't have a blast e-mail list for any of my clients and tell my team members to avoid using them. Some clients have opt-in news lists and always give people the option of getting off these lists.

On a day when my Yahoo! e-mail account contains 221 Bulk e-mails and several that squeezed through to my inbox, I sympathize with journalists, but don't think they should eliminate this resource or categorically block our e-mails. Sifting through e-mail is a pain for all of us - Just work with the PR people who get it.

on July 26, 2005 01:30 PM
# Tom Gable said:

I was speaking at Bulldog's Media Relations 2000 and used the opportunity to interview different speakers from the media for a series of articles I was writing for the trades on ending jargon in PR. Rather than a blacklist, a couple of the journalists revealed that they had set up "Bozo Filters" in their email. The journalists filtered out all email from certain agencies and also from individuals who had led them astray, spammed, over-hyped, etc. Then, coupled with a voice mail shield, the journalists were protected from missals from the masses. Should a PR person redeem him or herself, they could be removed from Bozo-dom. One screen wouldn't work for all media, so the customized Bozo Filter approach would seem to be the best.

on August 3, 2005 08:30 AM
# Mark Rogers said:

I suspect that the best way round this both for bloggers and for PRs is for PRs to move away from using email in this way altogether. If PRs make their stuff available in thematic RSS feeds, and blog it themselves, it will find its way to interested bloggers far more effectively than by spamming personal emails. And if the story is an exclusive: the phone also works! If you can't get someone to take your call, you are hardly going to get them to write about you.

on September 13, 2005 11:16 PM
# Robert Cathey said:

Resourceful PR spammers will find your email address, regardless of what you tell Bacon's. Filtering is the only real short-term solution, which sucks because the journalist must do all the work.

Long-term, maintaining a list of PR spammers might help both the PR industry and the jouranlists they're trying to reach. If you scorn individuals (and by extension, their agencies) for sending lazy, unfocused email blasts, you'll eventually force a change in behavior. After all, no PR practitioner wants their clients to know they've been "listed."

A more stringent option is a joint PR/journalist email certificaiton group. It could maintain a registry of authenticated send/receive email addresses. Certified PR pros would have to agree to a code of use. Membership dues (paid by the PR industry) could foot the bill. (Kind of like ProfNet, writ large.)

Until then, you'll kiss a lot of frogs, just to do your job.

on April 18, 2006 06:06 AM
# Margaret said:

So I am curious, now that a year has passed since you made your original comments requesting a pr blacklist. Do you still feel the same way? If it's not obvious I do not like the idea of a blacklist.

If you don't want to be contacted by pr folk perhaps the pr industry could return the favor and develop a list of media who don't want to work with them aka grumpy reporters. Then we could just have lists and lists of haters. Really, where is the love? And the reality check.

As much difference as exists between a bottle of fine wine and well...vinegar, so too exist the difference between a well crafted pitch and spam and the people who develop them are not created equal either. As much as you would like to create a list of agencies with the worst offenders -- you can just as easily develop a list of great contacts that you do listen to and ignore the rest without having to ruin someone's reputation. What's it all about in the end?

Making life simpler? Or trying plug a leaky boat with a q-tip.

on June 14, 2006 11:30 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Yes, I'd love to see a blacklist still.

on June 15, 2006 06:18 AM
# Maxine Bingham said:

There is the (San Jose) Business Journal's "Top 25" list of the largest PR agencies - most of which are tech PR-focused. Usually the smaller firms don't spam.

When I started in PR and got my first job in what was then one of the biggest agencies in Silicon Valley (now long gone), I decided everything they did was wrong - and left to start my own practice.

In those days, people were spammed with generic, hard copy media kits that rarely even made it to the trash bin - editors used to have them stacked up on the floor in their offices - so I started writing very tailored personal notes and hand-addressing everything. It would take me hours and hours, but the effort was greatly appreciated.

Today it's email pitches and hundreds of releases over the news wires every day (I call this "PR by the pound" and really hate it so won't do).

I think it's time to get back to the future - bring out the pen & paper! Or, for the non-Luddites, I've also been using more chat - Skype and Google primarily - but VERY CAREFULLY AND SPARINGLY and with permission from the other person.

on July 20, 2006 09:27 AM
# felicity said:

Hi, I am receiving emails from an individual who is harrassing me bordering on 'stalking'. I want to block her emails thoroughly...that is reject them and let her know that they have automatically not been accepted by me. I have put her address into my 'blocked senders' box but her emails still arrive, re-directed to my 'deleted folder' instead of my 'inbox'. I don't want them to actually arrive at my address at all. I want them to be automatically blocked at her end. And if possible, letting her know that acceptance by me is denied. I am beginning to become a bit frightened. Can you help me? I am with Outlook Express.

on September 11, 2007 01:25 AM
# Jessica said:

Just reply back with some sort of "rejection e-mail" that sounds computer generated

Dear Annoyance,

Please note, your e-mail address (and all e-mail addresses associated with you) have been placed on a black list. This means none of your e-mails get through to an actual person. They will always be sent to the recycle bin and deleted - unread. We have decided to black list you because your constant e-mails are unwarrented and unwanted. If an e-mail arrives in my inbox from you, under another e-mail address, the e-mail will be promtly deleted and the e-mail address added to the black list, as well. From this point forward, I will never respond to any of your e-mails, so stop writing me. Thank you.

on November 19, 2007 05:54 PM
# felicity said:

Thank you Jessica. Much appreciated.

on December 27, 2007 12:26 PM
# Aaron Kwittken said:

What if PR people actually picked up the phone and called you first to pitch their story. There's a novel (old school) idea.

Aaron Kwittken

on July 11, 2008 08:17 AM
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. My current, past, or previous employers are not responsible for what I write here, the comments left by others, or the photos I may share. If you have questions, please contact me. Also, I am not a journalist or reporter. Don't "pitch" me.


Privacy: I do not share or publish the email addresses or IP addresses of anyone posting a comment here without consent. However, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are spammy, off-topic, or otherwise unsuitable based on my comment policy. In a few cases, I may leave spammy comments but remove any URLs they contain.