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“Long Tail” Expert Gives Publicists Short Shrift

In his day job, The Long Tail author Chris Anderson is the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, where, he reports on his blog, “I get more than 300 emails a day and my problem isn’t spam, it’s PR people… Fact: I am an actual person, not a team assigned to read press releases and distribute them to the right editors and writers.” In order to deal with the problem, Anderson moves first offenders to his killfile, whether the person sent him a press release or put him on a mailing list without permission—and then he went and published his entire hitlist for October online. “If their address gets harvested by spammers by being published here, so be it—turnabout is fair play.”

The post has already garnered a lot of attention across the blogosphere, but it’s worth noting again here for the lively debate that ensues in the comments section, and for what book publicists and online marketers can learn from it (and you seem to agree, based on the number of people who forwarded the link to me this morning). Whether or not you think Anderson is overreacting to the problem, the solution from the PR perspective is pretty simple. As one commenter summed it up, “To be effective, build relationships, not lists.” Of course, that raises an interesting question: How easy do the media outlets make it for publicists to start making those connections?

DISCUSS: Is Anderson’s “one strike” policy effective? And if editors want publicists to make relationships with them, how open do publicists really feel the editors are to their overtures?

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