Marshall had this interesting post looking at Embargoes and how they affect tech bloggers.

Some recent event made me wonder about this. I’ve had a few contacts lately about press release type work. There have been two distinct styles of contact;

The "we so don’t trust you" approach

Recently I had contact from a media staffer who invited me to attend a product launch/announcement. I replied saying that, as I’d be travelling at that time, I’d be keen to receive some information under embargo so that I could draft a post. Obviously I explained that I’d undertake to not post until the embargo was lifted.

The reply came back, nicely worded, but nonetheless apologetic that no forward information could be given due to the intense scrutiny the particular business comes under. This sort of reply, while understandable leaves me feeling;

  • A lack of trust from the company in question
  • Ambivalent about posting at all
  • Wondering why the contact was made in the first place

The "we’re in this together" approach

Another recent contact from another, admittedly smaller and thus under less media scrutiny, business was a completely different approach. Basically they gave me an intro into the product/offering, told me they’d be formally launching on a date in the future and stated that they’d be really appreciative of me writing about it at all, and stoked if I’d wait until the release date.

Obviously this approach made me feel;

  • To some extent a partner of the business
  • Trusted
  • Empowered

No prizes for guessing what I did – you guessed it, wrote a great review and didn’t post it until the release date.

But we’ve got to earn the trust

Recently I was advised about a product release by a SaaS company – they took the latter approach and in consideration of this I wrote a review and kept it on tap until the release date. Unfortunately a less scrupulous tech blogger decided to break the news early. Unfortunately this ruins it for all of us; the vendors are less trustful of bloggers per se, and bloggers, seeing that embargoes are being broken are tempted to follow suit.

Last words

Business need to trust us more, and the blogger community needs to self police and admonish those who betray this trust

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • Embargoes are a joke They’re a way for the tech companies to tug on the inexperienced heartstrings and pump egos. They have no force in law. I rarely agree to them. You’re either telling everyone on a level playing field or you’re not. Simple. Bloggers aren’t going to self police and it’s naive to think they will. Check how Arrington almost always breaks embargoes. But does anyone stop sending him stuff? No. Cuz the tech startups are all afraid he won’t cover them. It’s a ridiculous game and I don’t understand why anyone plays.

  • Ben and Dennis,

    Embargoes make sense in theory for us a company. But, as a young company we’re new to all of this and realise that we need you and we hope you need us. In other words, there’s an element of relationship building that needs to happen first. Of course, we could hire a PR agency who think they can handle everything, but I think its way too important a relationship to outsource

    It would actually be really cool for us to see a post targeted at startups on how to engage with you guys as bloggers, what motivates, what drives your business model and what you need from the relationship.

    Ian Sweeney (from billFLO)

    P.S. Ben, it was great to meet you in person at Office 2.0

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