Would you want your email posted online?

I am a member of the free, media lead service called HelpaReporter.com (HARO for Help a Reporter Out) that my friend Peter Shankman runs. It is a simple service where reporters send him a query when they need a source or quote or other resource for a story they are doing. It is totally free and so easy to use. (You should sign up if you are at all interested in getting media coverage.)

Anyway, the other day Peter made it known that someone with quite a few years of media experience (i.e. she should have known better) had been posting the media leads – including the media contacts email addresses – on her own blog. Peter told her to stop doing this, in no uncertain terms. She complied.

Now today, John Greer posts on his blog that Peter was wrong to tell her to stop doing this. I totally disagree with John on this and tried to comment on his blog. However, in order to even comment there a complete registration is required, including a physical address. WTF? That is ridiculous. Mr. Greer is perfectly fine with making people jump through completely unrealistic hoops to comment on his blog, but he thinks it is fine to post media people’s emails on a blog where they can be scrape by spambots. So, I am making my comment here and tracking back.

Actually, I think Peter is right about this. Any PR person worth their salt should understand that posting media emails on a website is just not a good idea. Plus, why is it necessary? That person should have just posted that HARO is a good, free service and suggest that her readers join for themselves.

What do you think about all this? Feel free to comment here, no registration required.


  1. Kim — I didn’t write that Peter was wrong to tell her to stop re-purposing his emails. I said he was wrong to not have posted any Terms of Service on his site when he created HARO, thus opening the door to what she did. I also didn’t think he comported himself very well with his harshly worded email, considering that he was at fault for failing to spell out the terms of service. As for BNET’s registration process, sorry — not my department. I agree that it’s stoopid.

  2. Jon:

    OK, maybe you didn’t come right out and say Peter was wrong to tell her to stop, but you clearly feel she was more in the right than he was for telling her in no uncertain terms to stop.

    The reason that Peter came on so strongly was left out of your “reprint” of his email. He said:

    “This is not subject to negotiation. You’re putting reporter emails up for Spam-bots to harvest. Have you lost your MIND? And you wonder why reporters hate publicists?

    I notice that you put your own emails in (parens) so they’re not harvested, why would you not have the basic decency to do the same?”

    He was defending the reporters who submit queries to his service from being spammed. This publicist obviously understood the danger by using parentheses for her own email, but didn’t offer the same courtesy to reporters.

    I just think you are making Peter out to be the bad guy. Does he need Terms of Service? Yes. We agree on that.

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