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Are we helping or hurting by blogging about PR flame-outs?

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I realize the fact that I’m writing this post subverts my whole point, but I’m going to write it anyway because I think it’s an important conversation.

By now, you’ve probably seen the recent PR flame-out between Ocean Marketing (i.e., Paul Christoforo) and a customer (“Dave”) on a number of blogs across the Web (namely Penny Arcade, which “broke” the “story”). If you haven’t read about it (and if you haven’t, just Google “Ocean Marketing” to witness the insanity), I’ll boil it down for you in a couple sentences. Customer sends email to marketing agency repping gaming company wondering when new PS3 controllers will ship. Agency owner responds and that leads to a heated (and childish–I might add) discussion between the two. The email chain is sent by “Dave” to a popular gaming blog (Penny Arcade) and posted and the next thing you know everyone is talking and blogging about it.

We’ve seen this movie before, right?

Think about the Bloggess ordeal earlier this year with a PR rep.

Think back to the run-in Scott Stratten had with a surly PR fella in Vegas a couple years ago.

We’ve definitely seen this movie before.

And, I’m hear to tell you it’s boring. And horribly unproductive.

We get it. There are PR people out there that are poor at their jobs. Isn’t that true in every industry?

We get it. This guy behaved like a jerk . But, last I checked, the internet (and the world) is full of people who behave like jerks. Chances are you probably follow a few of them (I know I do).

We get it. The conversation that was published was reprehensible. It’s disgusting. None of us would act like this.

So, why not leave it alone?

If you’re the customer (“Dave”), why send it to Penny Arcade when you know damn well they’ll publish it and you know what will happen next?

If you’re a blogger, why blog about it? (again, I get the irony here since I’m blogging about something I’m encouraging others NOT to blog about–hang with me)

Think about it.

By blogging about this incident you’re giving more credence to the situation than it deserves (this is nothing more than some ass-hat making a fool of himself–happens EVERY day on the Web, almost literally).

By blogging about this you’re reinforcing a perception that far too many people already have about our industry: That it’s full of shysters like this guy. Please stop now.

And, by blogging about this, you’re merely piling on. Adding fuel to a fire that’s already raging out of control.

Why not just read the original Penny Arcade post, ackowledge the fact that you don’t want to repeat this behavior ever, and move on.

Our industry will benefit.

And you’ll feel a whole lot better about yourself.

Won’t you?

PS: By the way, want some smart thinking about this “ordeal”? Check out Kevin Dugan’s post on the Bad Pitch Blog yesterday.

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Are we helping or hurting by blogging about PR flame-outs?

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