Thursday, March 06, 2008
Bacon's (now Cision) Media Guide is Garbage: A Rant
Bacon’s Media Guide, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.
(Bacon’s is now the Cision Media Guide.)
1. Even after repeated requests over a number of years (dating back to at least 2001), my location is listed as New York. That means my business line, which (like my business) is located in my house, starts ringing around 6AM. I do not appreciate this. For those of you who subscribe to Bacon’s, please note: I am on the West coast. That’s Pacific time. Please don’t bug me before 8:30 or so Pacific time unless we have made specific arrangements otherwise.
2. Even after repeated requests over a number of years (dating back to at least 2001), Bacon’s lists my title as “Technology Editor, Barron’s.” I am NOT the technology editor. I write the Electronic Investor column for Barron’s every other week, and also author the annual review of online brokers. I contribute to a number of other publications, if their budget can accommodate my outrageous requests, and my focus is—and has been since 1991—financial technology. A recent update has me listed as “Business Columnist.” That is so broad that I get at least a dozen erroneous pitches DAILY.
I do not cover employment trends. I do not write about toys during the holidays. I avoid reviewing computers, printers ... hardware in general. But the title Bacon’s has bestowed upon me nets me all kinds of stuff that is way outside my bailiwick.
3. Companies send me books, gadgets, press releases, and countless emails based on the bad listing in Bacon’s. This is a huge waste of resources all the way around. I try to be polite to the PR people who have paid a bazillion dollars for their subscription to this faulty resource—it’s not their fault that Bacon’s has me listed wrong and refuses to correct it. But it gets very difficult when I’m on deadline and a PR rep for a cell phone ring-tone creation software company, or the rep for the next version of Guitar Hero, calls me. I don’t cover that stuff! Much of it ends up in the Barron’s office in New York, which generates even MORE resource waste when a kindly person there boxes it all up and ships it to me in California.
4. My listing apparently leads some people to believe that I not only work in NY, but that I am a full-time employee of Barron’s. I am a freelancer, which means I send stuff to Barron’s when it’s assigned, but other than that I have no contact with the gang in New York. If you contact me about the latest and greatest gameware, or about a management change at some tech firm, not only will I not write about it, but I don’t know who would. Don’t ask me. I don’t know.
Hey, why don’t you look through that copy of Bacon’s and figure it out? What? It’s out of date and isn’t helpful? WHY are you PAYING for it then??
5. I have begged, pleaded, threatened, cajoled, and generally harassed anyone I can find at Bacon’s to fix this thing. I made my first request to fix my listing IN PERSON at a trade show. I found the highest-ranking mucky-muck I could and asked her to make this correction. Whenever they send me an “Update your listing” email, I update it ... and then my listing never changes. The last time I talked with someone at Bacon’s, I asked them to just delete my listing completely and pretend I don’t exist. Instead, they edited it and I still get piles of misdirected pitches.
6. Lots of my writer pals have said that their listing in Bacon’s is wrong, and they can’t get it fixed either. I’m not taking their incompetence personally (though it’s tempting when the phone rings at 6AM). Bacon’s is the journalistic equivalent of the Roach Motel ... we can get in, but we can’t get OUT. Or corrected.
7. I have yet to get a contact that was generated by my Bacon’s listing that resulted in an article. What the hell is wrong with these people??!? Are they making more money by misrepresenting me?
PR people, please ... if you’re using Bacon’s as a resource to guide you to media folks, do some homework. There’s this cool thing on the Internet called a “search engine.” You may have heard of Google or Yahoo. Type in the name of the journalist you’re considering contacting and read a few recent articles.
Does it appear that your product falls within this person’s general range? If not, save yourself some time, and save the journalist a 6AM phone call.
To great fanfare, Bacon’s put out a press release a couple of years ago saying that they’re now “monitoring blogs” and are including that sort of information in their database as well. Fabulous. Maybe they’ll pick up my rant and fix my damn listing!