Smackdown In Listserv World :: And Other News

I have been remiss in posting, so here is a lil’ recap of my experiences over the past few weeks.

The most recent event was a smackdown I received in a listserv about PR. I responded to a post requesting information about programs that offered pay-for-play interviews.

… Is anyone familiar with other “shows” that interview clients and put them on air as a pay for play?

My question:

If I may ask, before responding, why are you interested in pay-for-play? Do you intend to utillize (sic) their services for yourself or a client?

Now, I was simply seeking some rationale for pay-for-play. Of course, I do not believe any such rationale exists, but – hey, I thought I’d ask. Also, it may have been my ‘mispelt’ word – utilize – that set the smackdown in motion. 🙂

So, I get this back:

I gotta tell you – if I was (name removed) and got this kind of answer, I’d be royally pissed. I cannot imagine any conceivable reason why you’d need to quiz (name removed) – or anybody on this list – as to why they need information you (by implication) have before you provide it.

You will note that I have purposefully removed the names of the parties. It was a relatively public listserv, but their names are not important.

…play nice
in listservs and blogs – there are rules of netiquette
and I learn them every day…

Smackdowns are to be expected online. I got another one a week or so back for having a signature on my emails that was longer than my question.

The lessons learned through all of this are many. Some of them include:

1. Be careful what you ask. Don’t have a thin skin about any responses you may receive. Blogs and lists are unpredictable.

2. Be careful how you ask it. I could have been more inquiring and complete in my question. I also could have allayed any fears that I was going to ambush the person after their response.

3. As with blogs, there is ‘netiquette’ in listservs. The person providing the smackdown is a well-known PR/Marcom practitioner. I have interacted with him on more than one occasion before. So, I responded to the smackdown with, what I believe, was a kind and non-confrontational response explaining my reasons for posting the question.

4. Don’t post too fast. I find this to be a particular fault for me in listservs. I have a question and I dash it off. I should take more time.

5. Snip whenever you can. For instance, snip the signature file on your emails whenever you can. Don’t include 400 lines of previous messages (unless the particular list requests it) in your replies.

I like listservs. Sure, a lot of it is goofy, but there is learning to be done there. I read the posts and rarely contribute. My main practice is to read and then search for related information. I learn that way. Sometimes it is a bit time consuming, but the result is always good. Learning. What a concept.

Now, the funny thing about this whole event is that the smackdown came just one day after a moment of praise was offered me by the very same listserv member. Also, I have had communications – prior to this event – from the initial question poster, too. He has sent me quasi-releases and even asked for my Plaxo information.

I intended no harm in my question, or response, and ultimately found (the true irony) that the smackdown provider has posted in his own blog that pay-for-play is a “sin” and gives a rather good list as to why it should not be practiced. OK, he was smacking me for ‘netiquette’ and not pay-for-play, but still – it struck me as funny.

The internet. Contradictions. Who knew? 😀

On other notes:

My students have completed their semester work and are off practicing merriment. A great group of students, this semester. Really enjoyed them.

The students did a fine job of participating in their own blogs at and also in their comments at My thanks also to the contributors at Marcomblog as well as James Farmer for his support with

I have several responsibilities with two online efforts that I have been unable to participate in sufficiently of late. So, I will use what free time I have over the coming days to post more in, and on, those areas.


0 thoughts on “Smackdown In Listserv World :: And Other News

  1. Jeremy Pepper

    If it was the same request on information as I had seen on another listserv, I was suspicious about the request as well. This is the same person that presented their blog as the top PR blog … but no one had heard of it, and recently launched a consumer electronics review blog with another name – whom I cannot find in Google – asking for products to review via Profnet. So, fishing for free products (that they would “return” eventually) and possibly fishing for new clients. Classic.

    Something stinks in Denmark.

  2. Robert

    It gets stranger as the initial poster reveals that it involves a former Cabinet-level official in the Reagan administration. The claim is that he (the former Sec’y) is conducting his own pay-for-play interview program and the firm fronting the effort is contacting people with pitches to be interviewed. Hmmm? I’ve never heard of such a program, but – I haven’t heard of a lot of things.