Friday, March 21, 2008

Why You Should Know Blog Lingo

Earlier this month, Kathryn Stetz of Qorvis Communications e-mailed TechCrunch, the world's second most popular blog, asking to "order[] a reprint on an article" that appeared there.

The response, a couple weeks later, came from the blog's founder and co-editor, Michael Arrington: "We're a blog. We don't do prints, let alone reprints."

Oops. Or as former Qorvis staffer Jesse Thomas comments, "Selling digital PR and not knowing that TechCrunch is a blog is definitely an embarrassment."

Yet before we scapegoat Qorvis, it's instructive to consider the context in which this snafu might have taken place.

First, I'd bet that Kathryn isn't an account executive. People who exclude a title from their e-mail signature tend to be interns. Indeed, the task of requesting a reprint is one usually delegated to interns.

Second, the request to reprint is probably prudent. After all, reprints take place offline, and in the absence of a hyperlink, which is the conventional form of credit online, it's worth asking if the blogger wishes to be cited in a particular way, or if he wants it noted that the material is copyrighted. (Indeed, one benefit of such a seemingly trivial request is that it establishes goodwill and opens the door for future pitching.)

Still, the fact remains that Qorvis screwed up: Bloggers should be treated with the same respect accorded to their old-media counterparts.

Of course, if such blunders can happen at a powerhouse firm like Qorivs, can't they happen at your firm, too? In fact, it's likely they already have.

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