Someone must have put something foul in Michael Arrington's Ovaltine, because the founder and co-editor of TechCrunch is one angry hombre! Due to a combination of the floundering economy and desperate tech companies, Arrington feels that embargoes on information have become useless. He claims that tech companies are no longer being selective about which outlets it gives embargoed information to. This, in turn, has resulted in smaller publications breaking embargoes, which screws over every other journalist that's covering the story. Arrington isn't pleased with all the embargo breaking going on and he's even less pleased that most PR firms aren't doing a damn thing about it. To address the problem, he offers a simple solution:
Go crazy brother! Arrington's wrath continues by calling out particularly offensive PR professionals. His stance is pretty amusing and while he's making quite the spectacle, he does have a point. The gaming business is pretty similar -- embargoes are broken all the time. I've lost count of the number of times some crap game site from Italy has broken an embargo, disrupting the plans of every other outlet covering the story. That said, I don't think Arrington's method is the right way to go about it. Antagonizing PR flaks and tech companies will definitely get you attention, but it's not the kind you want. I'm certainly going to be watching Arrington's holy war (secretly rooting for him), but I don't see how this can end well for him and his site. He's making his job and the jobs of the PR people he works with more difficult than it has to be. Maybe I'm being a bit of a hippie, but I think people find the best solutions by working together and working within the system. Raging against the machine rarely pays off.
The whole affair reminds me of one of an embargo situation between journos and PR flaks that I masterfully mediated....
There was a press event held several years ago in an exotic location, hosted by a large publisher. While there was definitely work going on and plenty to be done, it seemed like a monumental waste of surf, sun, and sand to be writing away in a hotel room after demos were shown...at least, that's how I felt. I polled some of the other journos to see if they felt the same way. They did. After feeding the head PR flak numerous beers and tequilas, I suggested that an embargo should be set so that all stories from the event would be posted after everyone returned home. He thought this was a fine idea. And thus, a momentous accord between journalist and PR professionals was made.
Seriously though, Arrington's model of threatening to break every embargo known to man unless he gets an exclusive is very bold, but very rash and probably very foolish. I believe that my beach-side tequila method is far more effective.