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Strumpette Sends Unsolicited Email, Then Redirects

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I have stayed away from the Strumpette fray. It struck me as a lose-lose proposition.

Applaud Amanda Chapel (whoever he or she may really be) for injecting a bit of fun into the sometimes strident and self-important PR blogosphere and get flogged for endorsing an effort that drags PR back into the gutter from which we’ve been trying so hard to extricate ourselves. Attack Strumpette for the oh-so-many levels at which the blog is bad and suffer attacks for having no sense of humor. Besides, so many of my peers have done such a great job of giving Strumpette the attention she/he so desparately seeks. Even Doc Searls has written about her. Twice.

A couple things have prompted me to go ahead and comment, though. First, I checked my Gmail account last night and found two messages from Amanda herself, one on March 26 and one on March 27. The subject line of the first messagewas preceded in all caps by the words: COMMENTS REQUESTED; the message was a cut-and-paste of the first Strumpette blog entry, the one speculating on the duration of Steve Rubel’s tenure at Edelman. The subject line of the second was preceded, again in all caps, merely with STRUMPETTE. It was another cut-and-paste of another blog post.

I don’t remember signing up for emails from Amanda. Come to think of it, I don’t remember an offer to opt in. Which I wouldn’t have. So Amanda (whoever he she is) sent me unsolicited email to draw me to her blog. I don’t know about you, but I would avoid any blog that send me an unsolicited email. Amanda clearly has never been to TheNewPR to read any of the many entries on how to pitch bloggers.

But I’d already been to Strumpette and read all the various opinions appearing throughout the blogosphere. I read about how the site was up and down, up and down (kinda like Amanda, I guess). Multiple visits by the curious and not-too-busy might account for that, if the server hosting the site wasn’t prepared for the load. This morning, though, Strumpette redirects me to a demonstration page for a service called WePublishing, a service that lets you set up your own online newspaper for a mere $200 setup fee and $150 per month. Searls points out that WePublishing has been around since “back when Technorati still counted only 7.8 million blogs.”

It could be that the whole Strumpette exercise was a PR agency’s plan to get a lot of people-particularly PR people-to take a look at WePublishing. You gotta hand it to whatever agency came up with this plan: “Lure people to our client’s site by sending unsolicited emails and manipulating word-of-mouth marketing, then pandering to their taste for a bit of controversy (e.g., the Rubel exit date pool) and a bit of smut. Then pull the ol’ bait-and-switch on em.”

Truly a campaign that would make any agency proud. I see a Silver Anvil in their future.

Or, I suppose, the whole WePublishing redirect could just be some kind of technical glitch. If you believe that, I suspect you’re also still waiting for US forces to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Who is Amanda really? I really don’t care. But if all this truly does wind up being a publicity campaign for a web property, then she/he is certainly nobody I’d want to work with or recommend.

UPDATE: Well, well. An hour later, the URL takes us to this:

Due to a huge spike in traffic, we are having to move to a new server. In less than 3 days! That’s got to be a record.

We should have this all set up within the next 48 hours. Sorry for any inconvenience.

For Amanda’s fans, she’d like you to know that she is deeply grateful for your patience ad concern. She asks that you stay tuned. She’s got a few zingers written and just iching to be published.

Thanks Again. See you soon.

So what’s the real story? I still don’t care.

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Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology which focuses on helping organizations apply online communication capabilities to their strategic organizational communications.

As a professional communicator, Shel also writes the blog a shel of my former self.

Strumpette Sends Unsolicited Email, Then Redirects
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