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Michael Arrington is a successful entrepreneur, investor and a powerful blogger. His Tech Crunch and Crunch Notes blogs cover startups in great detail, so PR people for startups hit him up all the time.
After their client, Mothersclick, dissed Arrington in a very nasty way for writing about a competitor but not them, Todd Defren ran this ballsy post about how the client didn’t listen to their agency’s advice. Arrington wrote that he didn’t mean to ignore Mothersclick, he just gets a lot of pitches, and he has to make choices among them.
Says Defren:

“In fact, though, our advice to the client PRIOR to the incident was, “Your judgment is impaired. Step away from the keyboard. Leave TechCrunch alone. Let Arrington run his blog, you should go run your business.”

“The client agreed, but later suffered a late-night spasm of righteous indignation — near an Internet connection. That’s one of the dangers of working with entrepreneurs. “Passion” is a double-edged sword.
Our advice AFTER the incident was, “Apologize. Publicly. Now. Then, step away from the keyboard. Throw yourself on the mercy of the blogosphere and cross your fingers.”

Just be glad it wasn’t your client who wrote this in a comment on Digg:

” Actually, I was involved in a startup competitor to Maya’s Mom and we tried to get prelaunch press from Arrington months ago (around the same time as he first announced Maya’s Mom) but he wouldn’t give us the time of day. Now that our site launched (about 2 weeks ago), Arrington has still ignored us, despite press releases and direct contact…and now he’s pimping Maya’s Mom…which is owned by a former colleague and friend of his…Fuck Arrington’s biased ass. He as no credibility anymore.”

Following this kerkuffle is a must-read for clients, bloggers and PR firms. Arrington was more polite than a lot of people, including me, would have been under the circumstance. Robert Scoble writes that he’s given up trying to keep track of all the pitches he gets. “For the most part I just simply don’t. I don’t respond. I learned that answering email causes even more email and I simply don’t have time.”
I know what he means, because I also drowning in email pitches. But I don’t ignore the pitches because I get a lot of tips and good sources from savvy PR people, who read my blog, know what I cover and keep their pitches short and to the point. Sadly, they are few and far between.