And who or what, you’re saying, is or are Romeike? It’s a company which aggregates huge numbers of journalists and PR contacts and charges the one for information with which to spam the other.
You can see some of its cheery PR at its web site.
But let’s admit a dirty little secret of the PR/journalist scene: these high-priced products like Mediadisk are just no use, in my opinion. I’ve been the target of hundreds of thousands of press releases, first by post and then by email, mediated by Mediadisk. They’re useless. The press releases are badly targeted; Romeike isn’t interested in my getting just the right press releases, because it would prefer to sell its database more widely, so the more interested it can claim I am, the happier it is. Thus its categories are ridiculously broad, and the press releases badly targeted.
However this can’t last. Email in newspaper and magazine offices has reached overload – made worse by the fact that many newspapers (The Independent, Guardian/Observer, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard, all of the Mirror Group) use Lotus Notes for email. If you set out to design a really bad email client, Lotus Notes is what you’d end up with. (Yes, Steve T, it may be great at the back end, but the front stinks.)
This means that most newspapers won’t find an email you send them. It’s become a needle amidst a hundred haystacks. And when you ring up to ask them if they got it, they’re too busy ploughing through them to know. Or perhaps they’ve just abandoned their email and are watching the wires, which at least have *news* on them.
It’s time to renounce these damn databases. They are a waste of money. A bit of time spent building up your own database – buy magazines! read websites! – will yield far better, longer-lasting results.
And just to add insult to uselessness, Romeike’s latest directory seems to have given my @charlesarthur.com address as the one to send press releases to. It emphatically is not; I reserve that for PRs,and other people, getting in touch with specific ideas. See my contact page for how to contact me; I’ve got a Gmail address for all those press releases. Please amend your directory accordingly.
That’s not quite the end of the story, though. Right now I have around 1,000 unread emails that have been sent to my Independent and Gmail addresses since the start of this year. (Includes spam, but that’s not a sizeable proportion.) I’m not going to read those. Probably ever. A glance tells me most of them are junk. So I’m going to ask Romeike to take me off their database.
Perhaps then I’ll find out who’s really got something interesting to say, and who was just emailing me on autopilot. I still think the future lies in RSS feeds – which resemble, in concept, the wire services that national journalists get on their desks, and to which they pay much more attention than any press release, in whatever form. Interestingly, I spoke to the PR person I mentioned earlier – who told me that there are now RSS feeds for one of their clients, as a result of our conversation. Bonus points to the company for moving quick. Let’s hope many follow.
Update Sunday 20th: Spin Bunny follows this up, giving the view from the PRs’ point of view. OK, a slight touch of the blogosphere echo-chamber about this, but it makes the point that there are lazy hacks too. (Good gracious, are there?)