Michael Arrington caused a major stir in the PR industry yesterday, announcing that TechCrunch will no longer honor any embargoes – even if they agree to it.
Arrington wrote: “A year ago embargo breaks were rare, once-a-month things. Today, nearly every embargo is broken, sometimes by a few minutes, sometimes by half a day or more.” While a broken embargo can become a major issue for companies, TechCrunch’s decision is going to put many PR people in a difficult situation of offering TechCrunch an exclusive or bringing their news to a group of other outlets that will honor an embargo.
But in reality, isn’t this all about trying to secure more exclusives? TechCrunch now has an excuse to break any news they hear about, even though they may find themselves being left out of the loop when some companies decide they are better served going to other outlets like GigaOM and WIRED where they can pre-brief reporters and bloggers and ultimately share their story with a larger audience. However, at the same time, there will be plenty of companies that will cave in to the pressure of obtaining one highly visible post and offer TechCrunch an exclusive.
It will be interesting to see if other outlets begin adopting these rules as well, and how successful TechCrunch is at securing meaningful exclusives.
Do you think this was a good decision – what’s your take?