Friday, April 6, 2007

bad PR-and-marketing practice

Now that the final version of the book to which I have contributed is on the shelves, there's something I have to get off my chest. In 'my' chapters I have used a number of web site 'screenshots' as examples for the subjects being covered. At the publisher's insistence, for all images used in the book I had to seek permission to use the images from the web site's publisher.

For small businesses or organizations there was usually no problem. Find an email address, often that of an individual, and without exception, a single email would elicit a prompt response - usually positive.

But with 'big' organizations [and some were global brand names] - oh dear.

The first problem was to find an email address for someone who might help. I did not find a single site that addressed the specific issue. Many included something about the use of content or images from the web site, but not the web site itself - and that was usually in the 'legal' section. So I ended up emailing 'info', 'webmaster', 'PR' or any one of half a dozen others plucked almost at random from the site. This meant that the message had to start with a 'if this is not your responsibility, please pass it on ...' comment. To be fair some responded promptly with permission to print, but not all.

Around 40% of those organizations I sought permission from did not even bother to respond to my enquiry. At best, rude. At worst, very poor marketing.

Let you remind you that I was seeking permission to feature their web site in a positive context [the images weren't used as examples of bad practice] in a text book about online marketing that was to be marketed throughout Europe.

[a] take foot [b] take gun [c] shoot [a] with [b].

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