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Back in 2004, I wrote a clueless PR pitch of the month post, and named the publicist because it was one of the worst pitches I have ever seen. Today the subject of her email was “mercy request.” It ended up in my email spam filter because it sounded like a Nigerian prince wanting my bank account info so he could give me his fortune. Actually, she was invoking the Nuremberg Defense: I was only following orders.
She wrote: “Is there any way that you can remove my name from these links?
I have no problem with you keeping up this pitch as one of your Worst Practices examples, and to be honest, I do appreciate your criticism. It’s just that, its been over a year now since I was forced to write that pitch, but every time you google my name, which is an unusual one, your links come up. And I’ve since left that terrible PR company that I was working for,and have grown a lot as a writer and publicist, and if you could grant me this one mercy, I would be forever greatful.
Like I said, please feel free to leave the writing sample up on your site. But if you could remove my name, I would really appreciate it.”
The Price of Visibility
I removed her name from the post, although I don’t know if that actually will remove it from search engines. As for being “forced” to write that email pitch: I told her that nobody can make a fool of you unless you let them.
Search engines contain a powerful history of the career of anyone who is in the public eye. Google my name and you will certainly find that I have been criticized. It comes with the territory of being out here every day and being rather visible online since 1995.
Most of us, like Ms. Mercy, don’t continue to get search engine placements on a regular enough basis for it all to balance out in the end effect. And that’s why it’s so important to think about what your online legacy will be.
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