There’s an interesting discussion on Michael Arrington’s blog about PR firms overusing embargoes. Apparently some firms will ask every media contact they know to honour an embargo. This kind of spamming is surprising as it’s been my experience that only top media, of which there are a limited number, are briefed prior to the launch date under embargo. The idea being that the more influential writers get an early heads up, test drive, whatever, that ideally gives them an advantage that helps with their coverage. Limiting who gets this head start also limits the chance of someone breaking the embargo ahead of time.
Embargoes are tricky for everyone but useful when handled right. Basically, we offer embargoes to people we have relationships with and trust. If someone is known to detest them, then we can’t approach him. For these reasons and many others discussed in the replies to Arrington’s post, it’s good to only use embargoes when absolutely necessary.
To this end, check out what Jeremy Toeman has to say about the survival of embargoes.
Ideally, when handled by people who know what they’re doing, embargoes are good for everyone.