A journalist has spoken out about the problem of spam and the challenge of getting their name removed from various email databases used by the PR industry.
The national press journalist, who did not want to be named, wrote to Press Gazette saying: “It is quite possible I won’t see your reply to this email.
“And this is my problem. I have 83,182 unread emails, and counting.”
They added: “Most seem to be highly irrelevant marketing communications distributed by a handful of media database companies.”
The journalist contacted three of the companies which compile these databases- Gorkana, PR Max and Roxhill – to see if they could get their name removed from them.
PR Max were said to be the most co-operative, while the other two reportedly took some persuasion to amend their databases after initial reluctance.
The journalist said: “We of course can never expect irrelevant PR to go away, and dealing with it is part of the job. But perhaps we can try to keep it in check, or at least debate the issue.”
A spokesperson for Gorkana said: “Journalists can update their own profiles directly using Gorkana.com. Alternatively they have the option of emailing or phoning any edits through to us to implement on their behalf.
“We can also remove anyone who requests not to be featured in the database.
“We are constantly innovating our products and services. The natural starting point for this process is always our own customer feedback. In order to make life easier for journalists we are currently in the process of adding ‘pitch preference’ to all of their profiles. This allows PRs to make contact based on each journalists expressed communication preferences.
“Furthermore, we aim to improve communication within our industry by hosting more than 50 live events each year with journalists and the PR community. These events are aimed to educate PRs on how best to approach journalists’ in a relevant and targeted way.”
Roxhill said in a statement: “This is an issue and we have tried to structure our business to help address it. Our approach is not to simply list the journalists in the database like other providers but through machine learning software identify what companies and topics the journalists have written on historically.
“This helps the PR pick the phone up with confidence knowing that specific journalist has written on that company or topic. We work with a specialised part of the market in corporate and financial communications and our goal is to help them be focused in their communications and cut down on unnecessary spam.
“If a journalist wants to be removed from the database we would like to have a conversation about how our approach can help and that the spam they receive doesn’t originate from our systems. If they’d still like to be removed then, of course, we’re happy to remove their contact details.”