So to recount a sorry tale, recently Jason Mendelson, VC with The Foundry and prolific (and widely read) blogger, posted about a certain PR firm and why exactly he didn’t consider them an exemplary example for the industry. It’s an interesting read but to summarize, The PR firm in question seems to have Jason on short rotation for emails, and this despite his regular attempts to have himself deleted from their mailing list.
After receiving no joy from his requests to disengage, Jason outed the firm, in a post that has attracted hundreds of retweets, 50 or so comments and enough Google juice to put it near the top of the front page of a Google search for the particular firm (see below).
Now I feel Jason’s pain – I’ve posted before about exceptionally bad work from PR agencies – in my position, and while I have many friends in PR, there’s not a lot of value an agency can bring. I’ll always make time to talk to a company that has an interesting story to tell and while deleting emails from those who are outside my focus area might be a pin, it’s a pain I’m willing to endure in return for the direct relationships that ensue from my modus operandi.
I understand that Jason is an incredibly busy man who no doubt faces an ever increasing inbox. I’m also aware that he’s an ex attorney and hence is perhaps a little ultra attuned to rights, responsibilities and obligations. But still I feel a little uneasy about naming and shaming. Yes this agency screwed up, but Jason is a very powerful figure in our industry, his influence is strong, and it’d be a shame to see harm done to this particular business from his wrath.
So what do you all think? Does the duty to expose bad behavior overcome any moral obligation to “play nice”? And does that decision need to be weighted by the individual’s influence and hence possible impact that naming may have? Thoughts?