{Rules of PR no. 40} Make Up You Mind AND Keep Your Damn Mouth Shut

No good deed goes unpunished.

In You’re Welcome, You Bastards, Michael Arrington, the founder of Tech Crunch, knows this well. The article describes a public relations wreckage of an event he experienced with FORTUNE magazine over the upcoming publications of, columnist David Kirkpatrick’s, The Facebook Effect: the Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World.

A long story short, a representative from FORTUNE’s public relations department contacted Arrington about publishing a “exclusive excerpt of David Kirkpatrick’s book on Facebook.”

Hi Michael, I hope you’re doing well. I work with FORTUNE’s PR group and I’d love to chat with you about FORTUNE’s exclusive excerpt of David Kirkpatrick’s book on Facebook, which I’d love to offer for tomorrow. Please let me know the best number to reach you.

Hi Michael, thanks again for taking the time to chat with me and agreeing to the exclusive post tomorrow on the book excerpts. Both the excerpts are attached. As for the timing, the EMBARGO is until 8am, that’s when the stories will be live on FORTUNE.com. Below are the links, so you can include them in the story. Again, you’re set to post as soon as our story goes live and in the first line or two, note that the story stems from an exclusive excerpt in FORTUNE of David Kirkpatrick’s new book The Facebook Effect.

Main story: http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/06/technology/facebook_excerpt.fortune/index.htm

Bonus excerpt: http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/06/technology/facebook_excerpt_early.fortune/index.htm

And if you don’t mind, once you’ve read the excerpts, please let me know if you choose not to post on one and not the other or both, which of course we would love. And please let me know if you have other questions or need additional information. Below is the link to David’s page on Amazon.com and the hardcover date is set for June 10th. Again, thank you so much for working with us on this and I hope you’ll find the information as interesting as we did. And best of luck with your new home.

Sounds fair enough, right?

No, wrong. What followed in the 48-hours after that initial e-mail was a string of absurdity. [Read more…]