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The Delicious Irony of ...

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Do you remember Michael Arrington and TechCrunch declaring “Death to the Embargo” a few years ago?

Maybe not.

Allow me to refresh your memory with the start of Arrington’s rant:

“PR firms are out of control. Today, we are taking a radical step towards fighting the chaos. From this point on we will break every embargo we agree to.”

Here’s what got my thinking about Arrington and embargoes.

In reading The New York Times June 13 print edition – what can I say; still like the tactile nature of paper – I came across the new CNBC/Yahoo! partnership, a story that didn’t make its way into other newspapers (hardcopy).

Which begged the question, why?

The answer —

CNBC provided the story under embargo to The New York Times, an arrangement that included an interview with CNBC exec Mark Hoffman and enabled the print version to carry the story on the same day as the official announcement.

It wasn’t an exclusive.

Surprise, CNBC also broke the news at 12:01 a.m. when the news release also went out the door on PR Newswire.

PRnewswire - CNBC and Yahoo! Finance Announce Strategic Content, Programming and Distribution Alliance

I wrote back in 2009 that all the hoopla around embargoes was much ado about nothing, and that remains my view.

Still, it’s amusing to see a media company applying this technique to maximize its own coverage of a news announcement.

With data visualization all the rage, here’s our attempt at PR visualization.

Business Communication
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.ishmaelscorner.com" title="Business Communication"><img src="http://www.hoffman.com/v3/images/cnbcyahoo.jpg" alt="Evolution of the CNBC Yahoo Embargo" style="border:none;" /></a><br /> <small>The Hoffman Agency is a public relations firm that emphasizes storytelling in <a href="http://www.hoffman.com">business communication</a></small>.</div>

It appears other interviews were conducted under embargo like one with Reuters which allowed for its story to hit the wire on June 13 at 12:33 am, but you get the idea.

From a communications perspective, it’s tough to argue with the results.

I would also argue that the journalists with embargoed access gained fodder to pen differentiated stories.

Just don’t expect the exiled Arrington to give his stamp of approval.


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