So, Mike Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, has denounced embargoes. That’s silly. I’ve been blogging professionally for a long time, and admit that delving into the big league after becoming Mashable‘s first employee was a rude awakening as to the ugly politics of blogging. And from working with one of the most professional men I know of in the business (over at VentureBeat), it’s safe to say that such ugly politics aren’t unique to the new media sector. A stunt like Arrington’s however, is.
Even though TechCrunch is a blog, it’s been widely accepted as a mainstream publication. As the embargo system, flawed as it may be, has carried over from newspapers to the world of blogging, it’s understandable and democratic in that sense. But what has the majority of the blogosphere so upset about Arrington’s decision to refuse coverage of stories requiring an embargo is the “fact” that TechCrunch never really honored embargoes to begin with.
I can’t write that last sentence with a straight face, because Arrington saying that TechCrunch “never broke an embargo” is a heart-wrenching statement to read from someone as influential and confident as he is. The actual fact of the matter, in many cases, is that TechCrunch gets a different embargo time than the rest of us bloggers. Cuz they’re special over there. Which leads us to the very public relations system that Arrington feels is so flawed.
Yes, embargo times suck. But we as writers deal with them.
Personally, I don’t get what the big deal is. Where would I be without all the hard work that went into a press release and the marketing behind it? I don’t think PR folks are annoying, I don’t mind gchat pings, Twitter DMs or Facebook messages. I appreciate the effort that leads to my bread and butter. Sure, big scoops would be better, but that’s not always conducive to my quality of life. Spam or not, it’s the nature of the beast.
So who’s to blame here? The PR people that are forced into giving TechCrunch an earlier embargo time? The companies that hired the PR firms and are turning up the pressure? Arrington? Or maybe the rest of the bloggers that are clamoring for a piece of the weblebrity pie, seeking top-ranking traffic on Techmeme and Google News? Everyone in this picture is just doing their job, right? Whatever.
Leave it to a slow news day to conjure up a publicity stunt like the one Arrington just pulled. I can’t imagine that “dealing” with embargoes was soooo bad that Arrington couldn’t handle them anymore. Seriously.