TechCrunch is famous for not accepting PR people’s embargoes.
I’m always shocked that PR people care in any way about this, because there are so many ways to force TechCrunch (and anyone, really) to abide by embargoes. Here’s my favorite ways:
1. Copy Evan Williams (CEO/Co-founder of Twitter). Twitter didn’t launch in a tech blog. Or, if it did, it didn’t matter. I didn’t hear about it from any of the tech blogs. Ev, yesterday, even said that if he launched at Demo or TechCrunch that the judges would probably have panned it. So, how did they launch? They handed it out to friends and let their friends evangelize it. I remember first hearing about it from Eddie Codel. Face-to-face. No PR needed. No embargo needed. No “launch date” needed. I remember hearing about Qik from a friend of the company in an Apple store on a Saturday night. Same thing.
2. Brute force. Hire 10 PR people, call 10 journalists/bloggers at the same time and brief all of them at the same time. You really only need 10 people to launch a huge amount of coverage anyway.
3. Take Arrington’s own advice. He left this one in the comments on his post. Release it to everyone on your own corporate blog and then email everyone and say “take a look.”
4. Release the news in a press conference. This is how I learned of Google’s Open Social. I was in that press conference with Arrington. The embargo ended during the conference. We both had posts up in less than 20 minutes (and I was using Qik to live broadcast it).
5. Just give the exclusive to TechCrunch. Heck, that’s what most PR people do nowadays. It won’t bother us.
6. Promise bloggers a special feature that they will get to talk about first if they keep their mouths shut. Yelp did just something like this with me. They put a cool augmented reality easter egg into the product. So, after everyone else had talked about the app I was able to share with everyone something exclusive. It got covered in every single tech blog too, which gave Yelp a double dose of coverage.
7. Promise Arrington that if he keeps the embargo he’ll get an exclusive interview. This works especially well if you are Google or Facebook. But, if you are an interesting company, like, say, Gowalla, I’m sure there’s something you can offer TechCrunch that they’d be interested in over and above the news of your new iPhone app.
8. Donate $1,000 to a charity if Arrington keeps his mouth shut (will cost you maybe $5,000 to keep a few big bloggers in line). Make it public. That way he’ll look like a loser if one of his writers breaks wind first.
9. Sponsor a party at TechCrunch’s headquarters. That way if the news leaks it’ll look bad if TechCrunch doesn’t cover it. We did that with Building43, luckily the other writers stuck with their embargoes and everything worked out, but if it hadn’t you’d still have the launch party to get news.
10. Launch at a conference that all the tech writers from all the different blogs and publications like and will cover anyway, like LeWeb or Web 2.0 Summit/Expo.
What are some other ways you can mess with Arrington’s embargo policy? And how come so few PR people are writing about creative ways to deal with TechCrunch’s policy? (If you come up with some good ones, link to them in my comments).
UPDATE: since one of these really was just giving up, I’ll give you an 11th one. 11. go to a place a lot of Twitterers and bloggers hang out (like the Twitter Conference that ended today) and tell everyone you like the news and see how it leaks out. I did that with my news about leaving Microsoft and told probably 10 to 15 people. I told them on a Saturday and asked them to keep it quiet until Tuesday. Well, of course the news leaked, but not the way you’d think. A guy I didn’t even know leaked the news first and then we were off to the races. Within 72 hours Waggener Edstrom, Microsoft’s PR agency, told me I had gotten millions of media impressions with hundreds of articles and blogs.