Bad PR Pitch to Blogger #852, This Time by netTALK
As a long-time blogger, I get pitches from press relations folks all of the time. Many times the pitches are not very well tailored. Instead, it seems like the PR rep gathers up a list of random bloggers’ emails addresses and then send the same message to everyone, regardless of topical relevance. Tip to PR folks: spamming an announcement isn’t press relations, it’s spamming.
I recently got an email from Nelson Hudes, of Hudes Communications International, hawking a new product, the netTALK DUO WiFi, a phone-like device that makes free VOIP calls over WiFi. Normally I immediately delete and spam-block irrelevant PR pitches, but this one caught my eye. I don’t currently own a cellphone, but I have signed up for Republic Wireless, a phone that, for a low monthly fee, rides on WiFi signals when available but has a cellular network backup when WiFi signals aren’t available. Unfortunately, I’m buried on the waitlist for a phone, and Republic Wireless doesn’t seem to be moving very fast. So I would, in fact, be interested in a WiFi-only option, both as a stopgap until Republic Wireless clears its waitlist, and possibly as a complete substitute if I found it sufficiently robust. Because a WiFi-only “telephone” is an interesting solution, I’d be willing to share my experiences on the blog, and naturally I would disclose my receipt of the device in my review.
The entire personalized text of the email Nelson Hudes sent to me before the cut-and-paste press release (emphasis added):
Below read below and let me know if you’d be interested in doing a story on the netTALK DUO WiFi, it is the World’s First Wi-Fi VoIP Device
If you are, all I need is your address and telephone number and I will send you one to try out.
If you’ve already received this email, please disregard
With great suspicion, I sent in my contact info. In reply, I got the following response from Nelson Hudes:
I will put you into the system and see if the client approves you. In order to do that, I will need all of your social media stats , how often you post and what type of blogger you are
Wait, what? Remember his initial email said: “all I need is your address and telephone number and I will send you one to try out.” Somehow it seems like they needed something more than my contact info after all. (I’ll also add that the info he requested is publicly available, and probably should have been reviewed before sending an email at all). I pointed out the initial email’s language to Nelson Hudes, and he replied:
sorry about that, I should have removed that phrase before the email went out.
Go back and read the initial email. All two sentences of it. Let me know if you think my reply was appropriate:
I can see how you overlooked that. It wasn’t a very important part of your initial pitch to me.
Tip to companies seeking coverage from bloggers: sketchy PR pitches to bloggers do not help build your brand.
Tip to PR “professionals”: if you want some love from bloggers, treat them with respect. It’s always safe to assume the blogger will publicly mock disrespectful emails.
Tip to netTALK: go ahead and remove me from consideration. At this point, it would be hard for me to provide an objective review in light of my annoyance about your bad PR pitch.