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Natalie Fonseca, Marketing Director, BlogOn 2005 Social Media Summit, made a comment (below) to my post about the behavior of their PR firm, Porter Novelli in response to my request for a press pass to the event.
Here’s my response Natalie:
I have the credentials and the experience to receive a comp pass to this conference without making deals. This is just silly. If I was covering the conference I would of course mention it to my readers. And it would be smart marketing for you to offer passes to a couple of my readers. Pretty much every conference does that. But they don’t make it a condition for giving a press pass to a journalist.
My comments are interspersed in the email, below. Her comments are in italics

[Fonseca] Hello again, BL.
I wanted to follow-up on our email discussion regarding the
possibility of you becoming a BlogOn 2005 Social Media Summit “evangelist.”

[BL] We did not have a discussion. You sent me a coy email asking me to make a deal with you to promote the conference:
[Fonseca] … I’m familiar with your blog and am wondering if you’d be open to a trade. I have a few passes reserved for “evangelists” and marketing partners and would love to talk to you about such an idea.
[BL]I said “No thanks” because you were vague and it sounded like you were trying to sell me something.
[Fonseca]First, in response to your comments about Porter Novelli, I think it’s important for you to know that we hired them specifically to help create relationships between the professional journalists that follow social media and BlogOn’s sponsors, speakers and Social Media Innovators.
[BL] These relationships involve BLOGGING and Porter Novelli does not have a company blog. Surely you could have found a PR firm that walked the walk and talked the talk just as easily as one that is clueless about blogs and rude to bloggers.
[Fonseca] One of the most important things we learned from our inaugural BlogOn event is that bloggers have other ways to contribute to the conference’s community.
That said, over the last few weeks, we’ve talked to a number of professional bloggers and blog experts whom we know about the fact that Guidewire Group is hosting BlogOn 2005 in NY this October to focus on the business side of social media. Not just blogs, but social media of all kinds – including syndication feeds, social networking services, podcasts, etc.

[BL] Uh huh.
[Fonseca] These bloggers are friends and colleagues who are supportive of the conference’s goal, which is to help marketing and communications executives who aren’t currently using social media in their businesses very extensively learn how to do so. And to do so well. So, internally, we’ve been referring to our supporters as “evangelists.”
[BL] I am a corporate blogging consultant with Fortune 500 clients; a sought after and well-paid corporate speaker on the topic of blogging, and author of “What Could Your Company Do With a Blog,” which has sold several thousand copies to corporations worldwide. In other words, I am no stranger to the topic of corporate blogging.
I also cover conferences about blogging and other new media for MarketingVox, MarketingProfs, and several other high-profile publications and blogs. I am always comped to conferences I cover, as are other journalists.
[Fonseca] To thank them for their willingness to spread the word through their blogs and personal networks, we’ve offered them a complimentary pass to join us at the summit. We’ve also created a special BlogOn 2005 logo for their blogs, and have offered them a discounted rate (which you know about) of $695. That rate is good for the first 5 people each “evangelist” refers.
[BL:] Like I said, I have the credentials and the track record to receive a press pass without conditions.
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