Worst pitch of the month: Roundup of truly absurd PR emails in 2013

Summary:It's December, so these just HAVE to be holiday-related, right? Not necessarily.

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Tech blunders, catastrophes and epic fails of 2012

Thanksgiving is over, and we're heading into December. It's time for a look back at all the blunders, catastrophes, epic fails and major screw-ups of 2012.

Moving along to Thanksgiving, I almost feel bad for posting this one. However, it's simply pandering to the audience, which I never appreciate.

Just look at the subject line: "This Thanksgiving, be thankful for PR pitches about next-gen encryption technology..."

There are a lot of things to be truly thankful for, such as good health and being happily employed (I mean it), but throwing "next-gen encryption technology" in there just cheapens the point of the whole holiday. Black Friday and early Thanksgiving sales can do that on their own, thank you very much.

Here's the rest:

Hey Rachel,

Hope you're off for Thanksgiving, but just in case -- read this pitch! :) Coming to you with some security tech news -- a bit off your usual beat, but I saw your piece on Twitter's encryption update and wanted to introduce you to an expert on security and encryption: CEO of ID Quantique, Gregoire Ribordy. 

His company is on the cutting edge of quantum and other forms of encryption and helps banks, governments and others secure their communications. ID Quantique pioneered quantum key distribution technology and has a lot of insight into the future of data security.

Would you be up for a quick chat to hear more? Amidst all the hype about Google and Yahoo (no doubt Microsoft will soon be following suit) beginning to encrypt their data center communications, we also have very relevant first-of-its-kind product news coming up if that's of interest to you. 

Here's a recent Fortune story about IDQ in the meantime.

Let me know!

The pitch itself is actually fine, if not a bit boring. To be honest, I'd prefer straight-forward stuff like this over emails that try to grab my attention by citing Tweets about where I was last weekend. Creepy. (Albeit, journalists are news and email addicts, so we are never really "off" for holidays. So this only rubs salt in the wound -- or reminds us of our potentially unhealthy obsessions.)

Finally, this last note doesn't stem from one specific pitch, but rather a disturbing trend among a few dozen over the last few months.

For reference, I receive several hundred emails a day -- and that is not hyperbole. Between managing a fast-paced news cycle, longer projects, and running out to events on a daily basis, there's no way I can respond to every email. I'm not even going to apologize for that because that's just the nature of the game.

Yet still, some PR representatives appear to take this personally -- or assume that I will respond to each and every email -- because I'm repeatedly receiving more emails that include phrases like "TRYING YOU AGAIN" and even "TRYING YOU ONE LAST TIME" in the subject line. The use of CAPS is theirs.

I'm not sure if people are being taught that this is a way to garner the attention of a journalist, but in fact it just makes the sender come off as aggressive, hostile, and plain annoying. Such tactics are not going to get me (or probably anyone else) to respond, but rather just hit "Delete" faster.

Better luck next year.

Topics: Tech Industry, E-Commerce, Social Enterprise, Start-Ups


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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